Sunday, December 31, 2006

What Happened to 2006?

Something's going on here. It can not possibly be that that was one full year...I am being short-changed; someone is diddling me out of my full number of days weeks and months... 2006 hasn't even started yet... I haven't got used to writing it yet...

It must be these new decimalised, metricated years. Back in the pounds, shillings, pence, feet and inches days years were
L .......O .......N .......G .......
You could at least get used to them before they finished but now one minute you are saying Happy New Year, the next minute it's Merry Xmas.

I'd better get to the shops for the Easter Eggs.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Morning After...

Condolences to my best mate in England, Dave, whose father died yesterday morning.

Apart from the horrible moment when you first hear the news, I found, when my father and mother died, that the next morning was also a pretty horrible thing. Those few minutes just after you wake up and things are momentarily as they were until you remember...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

They Made It!

One of the planes which managed to squeeze itself out of the foggy chaos that was Heathrow yesterday was my daughter’s flight. Take off was delayed 40 minutes of course, landing was over an hour and a half late and there was an awful, long wait at baggage reclaim during which the rumour began to spread that the bags had been left behind in fog-ridden London until they finally came tumbling out onto the conveyor belt.

And suddenly there they were; tired but relaxed, bronzed and healthy looking – the three intrepid travellers.

When she got home Biddy found the place somehow smaller. I suppose we all go through this, do we? Especially if we are away for a longer time in a place where things are very different.

I remember when I came back from a mind-expanding year living in Greece, when I was 20, finally getting home and sitting in the living room in Liverpool thinking how different everything looked to how I recalled it… and how small. And over the next days I found the house, the street, the city - everything - somehow smaller, less imposing, tamer. It’s as if you leave something behind, as if something dies; a childhood image of the place you have lived where things seem bigger than they are – and now you have eyes which have seen the world from a different perspective. It was very unsettling for me and it will be for Biddy too, I expect, but it’s part of growing up. It goes along with realising that your parents are people as well as parents… ho hum.

Anyway, it’s great to have her back.

Between them, the three girls took something approaching 2000 pictures – so we have the nice prospect of going through them over Xmas, and New Year and probably up to Easter!

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Foggy Day in London Town...

Right Biddy has arrived from Bombay at Heathrow airport to join the tens of thousands of frustrated punters who are waiting for flights. There are conflicting reports coming from the airport. The BBC's reporter on the spot says that tents have been erected where passengers can wait for some sort of flight to whisk them from their misery but that they are totally overcrowded and some people are having to wait outside in the cold - a spokesman for BAA who run the airport says, somehow predictably - there is no problem and the tents are only 75% full.

Here's a report from the beeb: BBC News Video

At the moment Biddy's flight on to deepest Bavaria is still scheduled but we don't know how long that will be the case...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fog... Freezing Fog

Fog is causing havoc at Heathrow airport at the moment - perhaps you wonder why I, here in deepest Bavaria, should care a hoot about that? Well, Biddy's flight from Bombay/Mumbai leaves this evening and arrives at Heathrow tomorrow morning... and then they have to fly on from Heathrow to Munich... hours and hours of flying and hanging around even if there are NO delays.

I used to like foggy days in Liverpool as a kid... it was great going to school in the morning and being able to imagine that the place had disappeared completely - there was just a gap where the school should be... until you got close enough to see that there was unfortunately a grey wraith-like school-shaped mass...

But this fog, this freezing and aeroplane hindering fog I do not like! Quite frankly it can fog off!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bombay, Long Way

So I reckon Biddy must be in Bombay now. Bombay, by the way, is now called Mumbai on the same principle that Peking is now Beijing and Barcelona, according to various newsreaders on tele, is now Tharthelotha.

She and her two travelling companions are coming to the end of their 2 month Indian trip. On Friday they fly to London and then on to Munich... to what will most probably be an enormous welcoming committee!

They have had some amazing experiences and yet it seems that they are ready to come back too... which is perfect timing.

And as for me... I will be delighted (and not a little relieved) to have her safely back.

Ashes to Crashes

Well, England went and lost the Ashes series... 3-0 so far and two more tests to go. What a bunch of wallies.

In the second test they spent the whole match on top only to throw away a victory near the end and this third one which has just finished they managed to throw away at least twice in the same match!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Reflecting on the Weekend

We have friends staying at the moment whom I haven't seen for nearly two years. They now live in the wooded hills in the south of Portugal and are here in deepest Bavaria for Xmas family visits.

Talking the other night, Verena asked me how I had managed with getting over my mother's death last summer. I realised I hadn't.

It's a strange thing, you get used to it... to the bare fact of it; so, if someone I have not seen for a while asks how she is I can blithely tell them she passed away last year; there is a kind of routine rehearsed storyline I can relate automatically without engaging my emotions.

But, for example, last week, when we had a look at some of the excellent photos my older son has had taken for his acting portfolio, my first reaction was to think how I could send them over to Liverpool for my mother to look at and then there was that shock of bereavement which reveals this big empty hole in my universe where she used to be.

The other night we also talked of that strange feeling of wondering if your parents, although they have died, would be happy with what you are doing. I don't know if everyone has this feeling but in my head it's in a file called "parental approval" which is in a little section of my brain called "still-a-child".

Finding that in myself it seems weird to think that it was probably in my father and mother too... that they also wondered whether their father and mother would approve long after they had died... and I wonder if my kids suspect it in me?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Early Munich Morning...

I decided to go out for a stroll round the block this morning before getting stuck into today's stack of translation. This is just an apartment block round the corner with a few reflected sunbeams on the facade.

It's bloody freezing too... but how nice then to get a croissant and bring it back to have with a coffee... simple pleasures.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Rose by any other Name...

I can't go in to how this subject cropped up the other day but in the course of a conversation the name of an English prison was mentioned.

We do have some good ones, names I mean, for prisons... and some boring ones. The prison in Liverpool is called Walton Prison - not very exciting really and then there is a new prison which has been built on the outskirts of the city. It was no doubt a good idea of the city council to build the thing in the middle of nowhere but it does have one drawback. I discovered that while my mother was in hospital and I caught the bus to go and visit her. The bus takes a relatively circuitous route and stops at the prison on the way to the hospital.

Now, there is no other building, shop, house or anything for miles around and so if you get off at that stop you can ONLY be going to visit an inmate. A bit embarrassing if you are a young mum with young kids and you get off or on at that stop - it's pretty obvious that your husband is doing time!

I bet the councillors didn't think of that.

Anyway, in Manchester they have strange ways.. I mean Strangeways which is a pretty good name for a prison but by far the best is the prison in west London.

How could you beat a prison with the name "Wormwood Scrubs"?? It's pure Dickens... if a prison had a sound it would be... w o r m w o o d scrubs... you can hear the cell doors creaking...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ashes to Dust?

So after 4 and a half days on being in a good position in the test, England have managed to collapse and give Australia the chance of wining the game! The idiots!

There is about an hour to go and it is very tense...


One hour later... as one commentator aptly put it, "England successfully snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ashes to Ashes

The second test is just about to start in Adelaide... which is a real bummer cos in deepest Bavaria it is 01.20 in the morning.

England got themselves nicely slaughtered in the first test but we somnambulists are all quietly confident that we will show the Aussies a thing or two from now on.

So, it's back to the Guardian's ball-by-ball coverage until such time as I nod off!

By the way, to any of you who have absolutely no idea what I am on about there is probably no point in explaining... but it's cricket, innit?

A test match is an international cricket match and the Ashes is what England and Australia play for...

Now my laptop battery is down to 14%, England are 24 for no wicket which is a tentative but solid start - considering there are another 5 days to go - so it might be time to go and nod off for a while and then come back to find 250 for 2 at tea or 157 for 8... ooh, me nerves like...

Come on, Engla-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz