I have bought three books this month. I shouldn’t have, technically I’m still starving to death in a beautiful flat in West Germany (can I still call it that? It’s still in the west, after all). The thing is, I am at the research stage of “Lost Son” and, well, I can’t do that bit with imagination – or internet – alone. No, we want a bit of Coward and Hill. I’ve just added Underdown to my list of scholars and of course the C17th chronicler John Evelyn. It will at least, save me from a trip to the MERL collection in Reading.
And, more reassuringly, it appears that I might have reached the end of Queer Street; teacher training is finished and it transpires I have quite a few teaching hours coming my way. To that end I have been staring at the first few pages of my teaching material for most of the afternoon. Now that at end of financial anxiety is in sight, I have decided to worry about the teaching instead. Although to be honest, that sort of worry is so boring I might just skip it and spend the time planning the lesson instead.
Today I tried to buy a bike. I went to the second hand shop I found recommended on the web but was told that the cheapest bike was 200 Euros. Blimey, I only want two wheels and a saddle. OK brakes would also be nice, and handlebars. Anyway, someone on the Internations site had also recommended eBay so I had a go and e-mailed someone about a bike up the road from me. I then also e-mailed the tax office and so when my phone rang I wasn’t at all sure who I was talking to. This guy was actually calling about the bike but he just mumbled something and was then silent. Obviously, having e-mailed my questions I was expected to recall and repeat them verbally. I was admittedly a bit thrown, and I hate speaking on the phone when I don’t know who the hell the person at the other end is. Doing it in German does slow things down a bit admittedly but the question “Don’t you speak German” is not one I’d recommend anyone ever ask me because yes, I do speak German but my level is not that of a native speaker and if I have been thinking in English you will have to allow my brain a few moments to switch over.
Grr. Anyway, my Munich friend – who might be in Leipzig – warned of buying a bike without checking its original selling price and the brand so I am still on foot but I have at least been prodded into buying a bike lock so I am ready!
So, the Berlitz training is over! I’m relieved to have it finished and I won’t miss the 3-4 hour round trip to get there but they were a lovely group of people and I hope we stay in touch. I am lucky enough to have quite a few hours of work ahead of me and it means that I can start planning some visiting trips. Back to England next month for my winter clothes and then Berlin, Munich / Leipzig and, in May, Ypres. So, progress in every sense of the word. 😉
Last night I treated myself to a packed of 4 Ferrero Rocher and a Die Zeit magazine on Fascism in Europe. Apropos the telephone conversation above, the German is a little above my current capability – magazine in one hand, dictionary in the other, pen between teeth – but I think I may have, inadvertently, started the research for the sequel to Healed. Which was originally going to be called The Sky, Blue (opening words of Hymne L’Amour if you read the French version) but may now be titled The Battle Lost & Won which ties in with Leo’s medical condition and the effect of WW1 on those that fought even into the 20s & 30s.
Ooh, quite impatient to get going now… but back to the lesson plan!