Pinning a tail on the donkey might have proved as reliable a way of taking a decision as the one I used to pick where to spend my year abroad. In my defence, I was a naïve 18-year-old student living away from home for the first time.
I was due to spend the second year of my degree abroad. I was studying French and German, so my year involved six months in France, then six months in Germany.
For the French leg, I had been offered a choice of Le Havre, Limoges, Pau and Rennes. I didn’t know any of them at the time. I feared Le Havre might be all too much like Calais, so I rejected it. Pau seemed a long way to go. Besides, I’m no skier. So that was out too. And Limoges… cows, pottery? Really?
All of which left Rennes. It had the convenience of being in Brittany and was, therefore, easy to get to from England. Ferries went from Portsmouth to St Malo, then all I needed to do was take a direct train to Rennes.
So, the Breton capital became my home for half a year.
By the end of my time there, I had come to speak French fluently. Whether I had improved my decision-making processes is another matter.