Arriving in Durlach after the maelstrom of the post tour holiday period that was fraught with organisational responsibilities and the delightful pressure of playing host to Simone’s mother and partner was a welcome respite. It was the first time our parents met and we both recognised the further coming together of our respective worlds. Although we had a quiet New Year together mostly spent in our own company after her mother returned to Karlsruhe on the 30th I was still coming down from a tour and in a slightly confused state.
I found myself still disorientated and with an unemptied suitcase in my bedroom which was still in my mind a hotel room waiting to be checked out of. I was still leaning with my head against the wall in the toilet when I had a pee as I had done for weeks on the moving bus as that was the way to steady myself and not create unwanted spillage. Getting back into domestic routine was proving difficult and watching TV until after 2, devouring movies and catching up on endless recordings, my want. Wine flowed too freely but the kitchen became an obsession as we cooked and ate heartily and the lurgy with attendant lung racking coughing up of evil phlegm receded in the face of decent and regular food. It seemed too short before we got the taxi to the airport and the flight to Frankfurt on the 2nd January.
Sausages and beers on the trains to Karlsruhe signed us in to the next residence and we got to the flat in Aue courtesy of a pick up from Simone’s eldest daughter Tara who arrived at the hauptbahnof with Borgie the Irish wolfhound and a plateful of home cooked fudge she had made for me from a cookbook I’d given her for her birthday and which she had used to good effect for my Christmas present! The next few days we treated as holidays from the World and I took up residence on the balcony once again. We didn’t need a fridge to chill the wine and I loved staring at the stars above the valley in the wee hours as the frost dropped in.
Ideas were forming in the darkness and plans were afoot.
Simone’s other daughter Mona was staying with us, as much as teenager’s with overcrowded social diaries do, while Tara stayed with her father who still had her youngest ,son, Liam in Poland with him snow boarding and skiing. It left Simone and I a welcome near empty house for a few days.
It kicked off on the Monday when Simone went to work and I was left with a full beam on to business on the laptop and the office phone here.
Yatta was churned up with the European rescheduling, the previous accounts and the ongoing insurance claim, so I stepped into the gap and took point on setting up the summer. It proved fruitful and some early breaks got my spirits high. Like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with other players working on similar puzzles, all of the pieces in the same pile and all of us vying to finish before the other and doing deals on exchanges of bits in order to complete the picture for the summer.
Some e mails went disturbingly unanswered, others closing quickly. I could only cast the lines with what I thought was the correct bait and hope my intended catches would bite and I could land what I needed to thread the summer together into a concise, consecutive and viable routing that Yatta would have to verify and we as a circus could feed off. I used to do this in the old days and was having to get to grips with hunter and gathering again pretty quickly as Yatta was close to being overwhelmed with responsibilities. It was working and by close of day at the end of the first week between us we’d doubled our tally of possibilities and beyond!
I was working hard and playing hard and with a return of family to the flat they were bemused by my eternal phone calls and engrossment with typing on my laptop. The bottle bank was visited more regularly than they expected on normal visitations and eyebrows were raised somewhat. I was in “battle” mode, rising late, typing manically and fervently and occasionally raised voiced as the puzzles began to get solved.
An evening with “Bucchi”, aptly named as booker of the Sean Tracey band where I decamped a bottle of fine whisky with him while discussing touring scenarios didn’t ingratiate myself with Simone’s kids but led to a major rethink about my position here in a future life in Germany. It also led to my involvement a few nights later when I took to the stage at the Jubez in Karlsruhe to perform “Feast of Consequences” and “Sugar Mice” to a highly appreciative audience!
The dog walks with Simone’s Irish wolfhound, Borgie gave me time to think on my own and after the gig we had to de socialise and return home so he could take me out, the strangest thing I can ever remember as a come down from a show. I’ve been loving the solitude of walking with him at nights and during the day as Simone works at her mothers shop in the city despite the pouring freezing rain interspersed with sharp sunshine and lung filling wind that clears my sometimes bleary mind.
The ” cunning plan” changed, I have an idea for a novel based on my balcony experiences and overall the time here has been searingly productive.
The funniest thing was that when I talked to my mother the other day I responded to a comment she made by saying “Genau” which in German means exactly. I have found myself actually dreaming in German these last few nights! Maybe it’s just the time spent here, maybe it’s watching “House of Cards” with German subtitles on our empty dark Winter nights and continuing to absorb the language. I do feel a lot more comfortable here these days and find myself thinking in the language rather than translating between the two when I have conversations.
I’ve been reading the Cormac McCarthy “Border trilogy” novels these last few weeks in moments of pause and loved his use of Spanish within the dialogue. Maybe it’s had a subliminal influence but I have to say there’s a huge input to experiences over here and a massive addition to observation that has sown the seeds for something more different and bigger than I thought. The finest writing I have read for a very very long time
The lines are still in an ever flowing deep stream and my concentration on developments is sharp with my reactions trigger ready. I cut myself off from a World of madness and focus. I can only deal with matters in front of me, the rest I have no control over. I deal with the moment.