I’m returning following a very expensive trip to Koln having completed a two hour training session with really lovely people. Germany makes me happy. You know where you are with Germans. Things are clean, practical, ergonomic and design-friendly. Spanking new structures are functional, yet exciting. All of these things make me warm. Anything combining hyper-functionality with fluoro yellow is always going to rock my world. Spain is XFactor. Germany is the embodiment of 300bpm Techno which is NoBadThing. Valentino Rossi is possibly a surrogate German, as am I.
Leaving my Germanophilia aside temporarily, I left a solidly gloomy, drizzly November London behind (albeit with fabulously distracting tube ads) and flew through a warm, golden sky to see the spires and river and modern new architecture of Cologne peeking through light smearings of cloud. The rolling, evergreen landscape looked almost mystical but it made my heart leap.
During the short, comfortable flight, I wrote a schlocky little verse for MF’s second birthday in five days time and dreamed of all the things I wanted to do for and with her between now and Christmas. But my acquisitive nature was tempered by tears as I’d heard some sad news from my dear friend that caused me to ponder and be mindful of the now, rather than filling my diary with things to tick off.
Landing, I headed straight to the little shop to fill my bag with Kinder MilchSchnitte. I know they are disgusting, but it’s the association of youth, their elusiveness and the weird yet familiar texture that makes me so happy. They taste like nothing on earth – like a McDonalds’ filet-o-fish or Spacedust or a Sherbet Dip. That they make you think “what the hell is that?” is possibly part of their appeal only for you to decide it’s ill-advised to investigate further…
Two hours later, I’m back waiting for the plane to send me home to Monkeyface with a new book in my bag and having wrestled with myself not to stock up on more Milchschnitte that will likely be a soggy mess by the time they reach my fridge. I’ve also got minichocs leftover from the session melting in their foil wrappers. Any trainer knows not to leave their approval stats to a room unfurnished with candy bribes, but I should have left them for the cleaners rather than bringing them back for my London sessions.
Unable to find any sufficiently child-friendly toddler books, I’ve grabbed a big board book with lots of busy, cartoon illustrations of an airport, with lots of things to point out. I know that it will be a brilliant travel companion when we come to take our first flight together and it has a quality that I can imagine I would have poured over into my Tweens. I hope it will fascinate her and she, when older, will wonder about Cologne and Germany and the small German words on the back of the page and that it will be another crack through which to see out as her little world starts to widen. Yet I will also symbolise the constancy of our love for her, wherever we are and whenever we are apart.
For the lovely Pip, whom I was always destined to meet and so grateful for friendship and joy. We missed each other at the same university, in the Midlands, Germany and we both survived tech support in the same bank. There is nothing we haven’t shared: laughter, scattiness, time-optimism, Ibiza, the Midlands, marriage and sadness xxx always