I’m writing this on Mariana’s powerbook (with an Italian keyboard, as far as I can tell), standing in her room in the Yellow House. I have just been presented with my key in a short but moving key ceremony. And I’ve seen a little of Kiel.
Some of you might be needing some explanation here.
I got up at 6:00, having got to sleep at 1:00. Consequently the notion of Bright-eyed-and-bushytailed-ness doesn’t enter into the equation anywhere. Any time benefits I might have gained from getting up early are lost by my standing under the shower for half an hour trying to wake up.
I repack into a smaller bag, leaving out several items of clothing that (a) I do not like and (b) would not wear. The only reason for my taking them therefore would be that they had long harboured ambitions for foreign travel.
I check my itinerary and the National Rail website and discover that I need to leave and hour later than I thought I did, and then realise that I need to pay my phone bill. I always end up paying my bills in the last several minutes before I need to leave the country.
I get out at just after 8:00 and struggle up to Liverpool Street and thence to the cattle trucks that are laid on to transport the feckless poor to Stansted Airport. I also encounter my first pointless queue in a day comprised largely of standing in long pointless queues. On the way to the airport I listen to Promenade by the Divine Comedy. It helps.
Stansted Airport is a sort of high-tech shanty town north of London. I suddenly realise why people choose to spend all that money on airline tickets: to avoid having to go to Stansted Airport. The RyanAir departure desk is a hideous scrum of what I’m going to call (as I’m in a good mood and trying to be charitable) humanity. So: Long Pointless Queue II – Longer and More Pointless. Eventually I get a boarding card and am allowed to enter the hallowed turf of the departure lounge (as long as I can stand another long pointless queue on the way there).
Reader, I’m not overwhelmed by its splendour. I do get a large cup of coffee, though, my first of the day.
At the gate there is not one but two long pointless queues, one for people with check-in numbers up to 65 (this includes me, a rare inclusion in an elite for me) and one for the other scum. Strange that an airline like RyanAir has to institute a class system, and such a strict one. I avail myself of the opportunity to make my traditional Departure Gate call to Ben and (realising that at this moment I’d be having an AT lesson) I text Maude to tell her I’d much rather be AT-ing. She replies immediately with instructions that I should allow my neck to be free so that my head can lead forward and upward and my back lengthen and widen. This also helps, even more than the Divine Comedy, though not as much as the actual lesson. But then I’m going to Kiel, so I shouldn’t complain.
Eventually we get on the plane (I’m allowed to take my guitar with me, and strap it into its own seat, a disturbing level of anthropomorphisation. At least it doesn’ have a name), and eventually we take off. My inflight music is Elgar’s Cello Concerto. You might be interested. Probably not, though.
We get to Lubeck a bit late, I pick up my bag and get some cash and find a taxi driver whom I give the impression that I want to go to Kiel Hauptbahnhof (a considerable way and thus a considerable fee). I give him this impression because I tell him. When I correct my mistake he is annoyed and moans audibly throughout the journey. He also asks me why I didn’t take the bus. I respond to this by overtipping him. Go figure.
Lubeck Haubtbahnhof is swarming with punks, many of whom wouldn’t have looked out of place in 1976. The train is clean and arrives promptly and doesn’t insist I queue pointlessly and at great length. I’m hideously grateful for this.
Christian and Mariana pick me up at the station and take me to the Yellow House. Which is where I began this entry. So here I am, home. Christian is whipping up some food. Hurrah.