Ahoy and avast you scurvy yardarms. Aboard the ferry heading for Newcastle, sun is shining outside, sitting in a snug little bar drinking Heineken and banging on this thing. Just enough wifi to piss a guy off. I’ve made this crossing before and it seems like this is a nicer boat than some. Let me say right off that a burger and fries is EU16.50, which is about 300 dollars, unless the exchange rate has adjusted lately. If I were willing to give them EU35.00 I could eat a steak or some fancy fishes and act like a big shot, but I would bet you EU 18.50 that it wouldn’t be worth it.
According to my Tour Book, I have just come from Windek Germany, where I stayed at the home of the one and only Wolfgang Pracht. Wolf. We had some talks, me and Wolf.
I think I choose to not write publicly about Wolf, because if he wanted to talk to my few readers I’m sure he would do so, and it feels unseemly to turn around and repeat our conversations. He was a fine host, a very interesting person, and a new friend. I’ll leave it at that.
Next day. Crossed with no incident. I was hung up for awhile at passport control while they verified and registered my Sponsorship number or whatever it was, but I didn’t mind at all because I was in no hurry and they were very nice. I think their computers were down, so they had to call someone on the phone. Finally finished up and found that they had a taxi waiting for me, the driver relaxing and reading his paper. Another nice person. I started to feel like that’s the way all these Geordies act. (A Newcastle native is a Geordie. Don’t know why) [they supported the Kings George I and George II during the Jacobite Rebellion in the early 1700s. future kev] This guy told me all about the area, and told me where my gig is, and was generally so helpful that I thought he was going to turn off his meter and drive me around for a little bit.
Got to talk about the drinking around here. But I’ll have to do that tomorrow, after I’ve sobered up.
So, about the drinking. Waiting in the boarding area for the boat the afternoon of departure, the passing fragrance of fresh smoked weed, we were very close to Amsterdam after all so that was no surprise. But a lot of the younger guys and some of the girls were shit-hammered-shouting drunk. I mean, pleasant, no trouble, just really exuberant. But good and fucked up. We got on board and off we went. I found the above mentioned quiet bar, and stayed out of the disco two decks above, and lo, it was good. The next morning as we were disembarking, and by that I mean getting off the boat, they were still drinking. Still civil mind you, but cracking hot cans of beer
at 9 am. Some were drinking red wine. One guy had a fifth of some kind of whisky (I somehow never got close enough to read the label) and I noticed that the cap was nowhere to be seen. Half empty, he was working his way through the line like the rest of us taking good long pulls like he was hydrating from a water bottle. I watched him approach the passport control officer waving the fifth around. She just laughed at him and sent him on through. Now, listen, anyone who knows me knows that I drink more than my share. But this was some championship swilling I was witnessing. And I don’t ever want to rise in the ranks to these heights. Couldn’t probably. I would just vomit to death.
So, like I said, I had the nice cab ride to my hotel, got there around 11:00 or so, and I’ll be damned if the lobby wasn’t filled with basically the same people. There must have been forty men and and another forty women crammed in there waiting for transport, and at least ninety percent of the men were drinking warm cans of beer, big tall ones. Several came off the elevators with whisky bottles, to the warm cheers of their brethren. These were apparently the captains of the teams.
Let it be known that I’m only a lonesome rogue reporter here, with a little hangover myself, no judgements, but if you ever see me working my way through an early morning customs line in a tank top and skull cap drinking from a half empty whisky bottle, will you please give me a good talking to? Thank you.
What I want to talk about next is the unbelievably beautiful drive we took today, my new tour manager Shaun Whitehouse and I, along Hadrian’s Wall from the East to the West across the North. We had to ignore the South entirely, because we had our hands full, direction-wise. I would show pictures here, but with my iPhone I couldn’t come close to showing you what I saw. The word Epic comes to mind. We saw similar countryside years ago driving from Scotland down through Wales, and it was just as stunning. But this was a surprise somehow, because almost the moment we crossed the line out of Newcastle we were in it, and I had no idea that was going to happen. If I ever get a chance to come back here, I’m going to take a long long walk. [I borrowed a photo from DiscoverAdventure.com, go there to see more. future kev]
Future Kev, still here: Next morning. Glasgow, played last night, all is well, heading out. Here’s a photo of the street, which I tarted up pretty good. Cheers.