Today is a no-pressure day, that is, no responsibilities in regards to having to be somewhere, no appointments, no gigs, no studio, no sesh, no travel, no festivals, camel riding or bungee jumping, just stay in bed as long as you like. So I was up late morning while Olivia slept till early afternoon after her busy sleep-light schedule of the weekend. But as she woke up I lay down again and fell asleep for two more hours, I must have needed it. I woke up to realise that despite the lack of physical responsibilities, I still have the catching up with emails and contact people who have been waiting to hear from me for weeks, well, tomorrow night I’ll be home and then I can start with that, eventually. Olivia won’t be there, she is staying in Germany to see friends and will return to Porto on Saturday.
So we did crazy things like go to the shopping centre, wave at the Portuguese woman in the bakery whether she was there or not and marvel at the weird atmosphere in normal land. The mannequins were dressed in awful yellow tops and beige skirts, their cold dead stares challenging the dressers to do better. The fruit section has less fruit than I’ve been used to in Porto and Sydney, obviously, you aren’t going to find dragon fruit on the Rhine or it seems papaya but I thought they flew everything in ripening on the way? But then I wondered whether exotic fruits are eaten here, surely they eat mangoes? Who knows?
When we go to the shopping centre we take podcasts of famous inspired speeches so we don’t fall asleep whilst we are shopping. When we leave we steal someone else’s car to keep it interesting. One truly real thing we do is we take the longest possible route home, otherwise, we’re back before we left. We turn right instead of left and drive by the Rhine and today Olivia pulled off the road and we sat in a small parking area for 20 minutes to be in the presence of the entity that is the Rhine. It’s low, it’s summer and it’s hot and I said to Olivia, “Where are all the barges?” On cue, a big long silent barge appeared from nowhere and slowly drifted towards Amsterdam. There were also two canoe crews putting their lives at risk in the dangerous waters.
We drove towards the legendary Ludendorff Bridge towers and did our best to stay close to home without driving directly towards it. Crops in the surrounding fields have been harvested and at night the occasional combined-harvester can be heard rumbling through the wheat like a lonely monster, scaring away the animals with its noise and its lights. It’s a thrill to suddenly be back to summer after spending six weeks in winter, mainly because of the light, the sun lingering in the sky for hours after Sydney was cast into darkness.
Dinner and the women’s Euros semi-final, England-Sweden, England winning convincingly 4-0. But it’s pack time, tomorrow I fly to Porto and I have to carefully pack my bags, and get the weight right, Ryanair are always seemingly looking to find a way to give you that extra charge and I’m always carrying records and they’re not light. I’m trying to figure out how to distribute them throughout various bags. It will have been two months since I was home and that’s ‘I’ not ’we’, I have to wait till Saturday for it to be both of us.