On arrival in the small Commission Directorate-General in 1980 I was introduced to a small, bubbly, blonde local girl to help me adjust to life in my new location. On my second night there she offered to show me the nightlife, never again to find the locations of at least six buzzing gay bars and nightclubs she transported me to around the city, introducing me to her flamboyant male acquaintances. It was very entertaining, and blessedly non-threatening. In the smart Commission bar in the city centre I quickly befriended around ten girls and a friendly Welshman, David who worked for a private company (more of whom later).
Work and travel
In my department they were slow workers either through lack of experience or a laid-back syndrome so I made short work of their backlog for the first time. The work was monotonous and I figured that the only way to progress in a career would be to transfer to Brussels, so I swiftly applied. It meant only a few months there during which time I spent a long weekend in Berlin, passing by train through East Germany and visiting east Berlin through the renowned Checkpoint Charlie. Two young British entrepreneurs claimed to have been approached with a view to industrial espionage.
My other holiday was four days in Vienna to soak up the music, outdoor concerts and the opera. From the train’s departure I was stalked by a tall, well-dressed, unattractive man with scary cold eyes who creepily stroked my face when I drifted off to sleep. On arrival I felt helpless as he followed me to my hotel, even requesting the room next door to me and the stalking continued every day, pausing only when he was interviewed for work at the IAEA, the purpose of his trip. In a cafe he joined my table to tell me he was married amongst other things, which did not prevent his dark pursuit.
I finally escaped to the Munich beer festival where a friendly group took me under their wing. A great night where I won chocolates and a huge stuffed bear in a shooting contest at the fairground. Then back to Luxembourg until my departure for a permanent post in Regional Policy, Brussels one week later..