Like a Gold Ring in a Sow's Nose

Experience life through the eyes of two star ladies - tat, clothes, tatty clothes...and Goblin beefburgers in a tin washed down with a pint of warm flat Panda Cola.

Magneto Does Germany 2007

TIMETABLE

02.30 - Collected from Shifnal
by Bob in Mrs C's Citroen C3. Feeling very tired and apprehensive, staring into the eyes of Windy in the kitchen I had to summon all of my strength to get out of the house.
I sit in the car and immediately dispense with any CD that may have been playing (there was far too high a Phil Collins risk) and put my own selection of music on. Also have lots of coffee to drink, anything to keep the choppers occupied and keep conversation to a minimum.
03.30 M6 / M1 junction approaches and
it becomes clear to me that Mr C. is not much of a motorway driver. He changes lane too late, doesn't accelerate enough, cuts people off after overtaking and can't follow simple road signs. I am beginning to get twitchy and wish that I had driven. It was a simple route, M54,6,1,25,11 and you're there. You'd think.
04.30 South Mimms Services, M25 and he can't even navigate his way off the 25 and into the services! Christ!
05.00 and we are at Stanstead 
after a little altercation when I lost my rag with his navigating dithering (and this is with a Tom Tom!). I tell him which car park to go to and he is questioning me...not a good move at the best of times, especially as I had pre-booked it, so I snapped at him to "just take the frikkin' ticket and park as close to the terminal building as possible as it's brass monkeys".

06.00 Airside
and I head straight for Starbucks for an Americano with double espresso. Then I have a bagel. Meanwhile, Mr C is getting thirsty and we end up in Wetherspoons (see left), which he insists on calling Witherspoons which drives me mad at the best of times let alone now, and he orders a pint of lager. FFS! I keep my temper and force him to neck the last half when they call our gate number. 

 

7.45 Onboard Ryan Air flight to Frankfurt Hahn where I decide I need a nap and settle down leaning my head against the wall. Just as I was nodding off a hand comes behind my head lifting it up to which I say a hissed "what?" and he says he was trying to use his coat as a pillow for me and I am barely able to contain my anger with a forced "I'm fine as I am and I don't need a pillow. Thank you anyway". I am already narked about him putting his hand on my leg in the car. Then he says "would you like to lean your head against my shoulder?" to which I am unable to reply without causing offence (think "just keep your f**ing hands off me") so I pretend to be asleep. I awake to hear him ordering a double vodka and tonic at 8.15 in the AM.

9.30 Arrive at Hahn Airport (see right) and we are met by Michael Lukas, the boyfriend of Silke Jakobs, the daughter and business partner of Dieter, who has been delayed getting back to Germany due to fog in Spain. (Que?) Anyway, we walk off down to the car and the conversation goes something like this.

ML "I will take you to the first hotel and you can see whether that suite will be any good, if not I will take Bob to another hotel".
LG (thinks) "I wish you hadn't said that, he doesn't know about this scenario"
RC "What?"
LG "We are in separate hotels, bottom line" and he's disappointed, I can tell. But so what. Bob gets in the back of the car, so I get in the front, and we're shortly off in a Ford Focus Estate doing well over a ton on the Autobahn. The Ford Focus Estate, with 3 adults and two suitcases, is not designed for that kind of thrashing, let me tell you. During the journey I think I hear Bob calling Michael by the name of Dave, like Trigger in OFAH. I ask him why, when Michael gets out for petrol, and he says that he thought he said his name was Dave. What? What kind of German name is that? Give me strength.

12.00 We arrive at the Landhaus guesthouse (left), 30K from the Luxembourg border. My room is dark and a bit grotty, there are tortilla crumbs on the carpet and the bathroom has towels in it that look like they come from a Blackpool guesthouse. And no volume on the TV. And everything stinks of smoke (more of that later). But it's all mine and Bob is installed in a much nicer place on the other side of town. Bob decides to get a taxi to the town centre and we meet up for a drink, which I need to cope with everything to be honest. I settle for beer and have a few before meeting up with Dieter at Bob's hotel. He is a very relaxed kind of guy, tenacious smoker and very often is heard saying "come onnnn" which after a while makes me snigger. It becomes clear to me that he really only wanted to meet me and I didn't need to go with Bob. Hindsight, eh? After a few more drinks we head off to meet with Silke, Michael (now known as Dave) and Dieter's girlfriend Dympna (she's Spanish but was saddled with this Irish nightmare name) and seeing as Bob was having trouble with Michael's name and Silke's name I told him not to attempt Dympna's and if that he could call her Humpty to me and I would know who he was talking about.

We meet up in a restaurant famous locally for it's steak which I choose and have a very entertaining chat with the chef about French steaks being too rare for me. "Ah" he says, "you wish there to be no blood but not burnt or like this" he gestures at the sole of his shoe. "That's right" says I. "In Germany we kill our meat before cooking it!" he exclaims and disappears to cook the steaks and it's spot on, I have to say.

A lot of alcohol was consumed between me, Bob (the most obviously) and Dieter and Bob was doing my head in and we had words at one point and I wouldn't speak to him afterwards. Dieter obviously insisted on paying which Bob was making a fuss over and embarrassing himself and then we left and Dieter called his mate Lorenzo up and asked him to speak to me "this beautiful woman" - bless - and thus I spoke with my very first Mafioso... After dropping me off and saying he would return at 9 the following morning I staggered to my room and immediately called Dan and went on a profanity strewn rant before getting in the shower and staying there for about 30 minutes. I finally fell asleep amidst my tobacco scented sheets at 2.30AM.

Thursday 9.30 and Dieter arrives to take us for breakfast. I start to notice that not only do they smoke but they smoke an awful lot. Remembering dinner the night before it dawned on me that not only do they smoke between courses but they smoke between mouthfuls! There's always a fag burning down in an ashtray somewhere, a tell tale plume of smoke from some ashtray on the table. So Dieter settles the bill and we go and collect Bob and then we collect Humpty and I am then forced to sit in the back of the car with Bob who is trying to sprawl in a way that will make part of his body touch mine. So my bag is wedged in between us. Bob is really hungover with a bad stomach. Not me though, I was starving and Dieter (whilst smoking, using his mobile and driving at very high speeds often round tight corners) was looking over his shoulder at me and telling me that we were to meet with Silke at the restaurant. It was here that his nickname of The Legend was born.

Breakfast was, for me, an awkward affair. I opted for the traditional German breakfast fare (sausages and cold meat with bread) and tried to eat it as if I knew what to do (and with no alcohol to loosen up with I was really tense). Bob wasn't eating much and this man normally will eat anything so he was definitely hungover. After this we went back to the office and after a short drive and about 10 fags Dieter pulled up at his office/house. We spent a couple of hours there whilst we discussed some business and Dieter had another packet of fags and then we went for brunch...which consisted of sausage in curry sauce from a sausage stall! Bob nearly threw up and pretended to eat his around the corner from us before throwing it in the pig bin. I quite liked it and then Dieter had the woman vacuum pack a couple of sausages for us to take home! Bob was going green by now. Then it was back into the car for more fags and a long drive to Bernkastel which is a lovely place on the banks of the Mosel and we got there in time for an afternoon snack...which turned out to be sausages and sliced meats and bread. "Didn't we have this for breakfast?" thought I but still tucked in. Bob was really suffering by now and not only was the food making him bad but Dieter and Humpty must have had about 10 fags in 45 minutes so the smoky smell was ever present. I found myself thinking how much Dan and I would enjoy a break there (this is when I wasn't thinking "Jesus. Do these guys ever stop smoking?").

16.00 and it's time to go back towards the airport, all the time worrying that Stanstead would be shut due to snow. We arrived at the terminal and the Legend just parked up in the drop off bay, lit a fag, got the cases out of the boot, and walked into the terminal puffing away. Can you imagine that here? Firstly your car would get towed, possibly destroyed in a controlled explosion, and then you would be frog marched out of the terminal building for smoking. He went for a coffee whilst we checked in - the relief at finding that Stanstead was open was tangible. Another night with Bob and I would have gone mad. It took us about five minutes to check in and when we met up again with Dieter in the cafe he was on his second fag. His coffee arrived and then he had another fag before taking his leave. Probably just squeezing another fag in before he got in the car. As Bob said, 9 euros a packet over here would slow him down a bit.

18.00 and the flight is delayed! Time for wine and lots of it. Bob had to make do with Orangina because he was driving but I was happily chugging the wine back. Eventually we land at Stanstead at 8.30, two hours late and we must have circled the airport about 10 times before we landed. Bob had fallen asleep with his mouth hanging open on the flight. Nice. Then, back in Stanstead he tried to tell me I was going the wrong way to the car park (needless to say I wasn't) and then the homeward journey commenced with me wishing I was driving as Bob did 70mph all the way home - tedious! And I reckon he was half asleep as he was making some appalling driving errors. And he didn't know the way back - how is that possible when it's the same journey?  I thanked him for driving again and he tried to hold my hand whilst rubbing it which again tenses me up and puts me in the mood to say "get your f**ing hands off me".

11.30 and I'm home. And I would like to visit the Legend again. But alone.

DINNER WITH STEPHEN AT SIMPSONS, BIRMINGHAM

APART from transport and weather and hotel problems, I had a lovely time. I had to get the train there as Stephen was waiting for me in Birmingham and we were staying at the Etap overnight. The train was cancelled because of a suicide attempt earlier in the day, and apparently whoever it was did die and it was a good job because I ended up waiting an extra hour in the freezing cold for the next train so if they hadn't have died I would have finished them off myself. I was chatting to Stephen about being late and he was saying that the hotel had no heating! I was wondering if I would ever thaw out. When I got to Birmingham it was pissing it down so I was in full on Krystal Tipps mode. I wore my red dress and Stephen was very sweet, saying I was the best looking woman there and how stunning I looked in my dress. As a Michelin starred restaurant it was very very expensive (100 notes a head) but we had such a great time and ended up in the Mailbox drinking champagne. Lovely evening.


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