Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Travel Diary 13 July 2010

With travelling, my dreams are suddenly more leisurely. This morning I dream about a student - not one, I should add, that I've ever met - who has written a fitness book based on her own seven-day-a-week regime. “I began exercising this much to get along better with my brother,” she tells me. It is a poor work, though, and the student herself, I cruelly observe, is not a good advertisement for it. She puffs her cheeks and replies, “You should have seen me before.” I even have time to read her second book (self-published), an action thriller based entirely on her desire to have a political organization run by Mr Crape so that his followers can be called Crapears.

I wake at 4:30 to half-light and faint bird calls coming from across the football pitch next to me. I lie listening to the birds for a while, waiting for something, until I realise that I am subconsciously waiting for the kookaburras to join in. It’s just light enough to read without putting the light on. I’ve brought with me Lawrence Durrell’s Prospero’s Cell.


The British and just as lovely as ever, with the matter of whether of the world works still more or less dependent on good manners. On the train to Leeds, the free wi-fi comes with a request to be considerate of others, and not download too much. In the conference centre, an Italian tells one of the assistants that he is having trouble with the wi-fi, which he says comes and goes. “Oh, yes,” she replies. “We can’t do anything about that, I’m afraid. It’s always been a bit patchy here.” He is waiting for her to continue, while she expects him to say, “Righto, good to know it’s not just me then. Thanks awfully.”