December 6th, 2009


Gluhwein Mit Amaretto...

Monday: H has a disabled person's taxi allowance card, so we ordered one to get us to Victoria Coach station without schlepping bags on and off two busses and walking in the rain from the main station.
Unfortunately, it was an hour late, so there was a certain amount of nervous meltdown. Still, we got there in good time, and spent the rest of the day on our 'Silver Service' coaches, and the ferry. There are a lot of crazy-looking people on the ferry, probably including us...
One of our drivers is a hideously genial Dutch guy, who keeps making terrible lame jokes, and patting all us sad old ladies on the arm. Some of the tourists really like that sort of thing, but I feel patronised, and give him the Death Stare. ( Cackle.)
Bad weather, missed connections, etc... We arrive at the ship after midnight and just flake out. Cabins REALLY tiny and boiling hot, but we manage to get a window open. ZZZZ....

The Dusseldorf markets ('a ten minute walk,maybe') turn out to be about two uphill miles from the ship, including a whimpering,crablike ascent of some frightening open stone steps. Squeal. We survive, and check out the church of St Lambertus, after which we hit the markets.
It's true; gluhwein tastes a zillion times better in its proper habitat, especially with a shot of something like amaretto to enhance it. Oohyah!
It's chilly and damp, with drizzly intervals, which will continue throughout the trip, so the warmth of the mugs, and the alcoholic anaesthetic is extra-welcome. We also discover the unlikely-sounding ecstasy of potato cakes with applesauce. H samples the sausages, later, while I scoff one of those big squishy pretzels. I think we miss one market, as I don't recall seeing a skating rink, but they're all pretty much the same. Old-fashioned tin toys seem to be very popular. Not child-appropriate of course, but charming. A lot of the stalls have quite appealing tchochkes, but certainly no bargains.
Back on the ship, the food orgy continues, with lavish buffets.'Vegetarian' option means fish, for me, which is fine, as I haven't got around to renouncing it yet.
Scarily, I've forgotten to pack some pens and brushes! This really sucks. There's one particularly deranged-looking couple I'd like to do cruel sketches of. She's very short,wears package bows in her hair, and lurex gillets. She repeatedly tells everyone about her panic attacks. He looks like Royal Dano as the spacey prophet of doom in the Houston film of MOBY DICK. ('Mornin' shipmates, mornin'...') and eats with his mouth open.

More thrills to come...
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Dream I Had In Dusseldorf...

I'm taking part in a seminar of some sort, run by Terry Wogan. His daughter, a fairly successful goth/punk performer, has become a highwayman, and goes around with a lacy stock and a lil' panto-style three-cornered hat edged in feathers, robbing people. Wogan, although devastated by this career path,sticks by her.
I have written an article describing the daughter as a 'talentless cunt'. Wogan finds out, and furiously has me ejected.