09 October 2011

Coming and going

When Jon does as much as going to the supermarket for his groceries he already gives a goodbye party. But this time he was really leaving for a while, so a proper social gathering was due.

Later this month an exquisite selection of my hiking friends will be visiting the country, and such event needed to be prepared. So a proper social gathering (be it with me on skype) was due.

Unfortunately they were due at the same time. Sometimes two things happening at the same time means one can attend only one, but this occasion saw the combined talents of a woman (multitasking!) and a professor on transport geography (logistics!) and a brilliant plan was constructed. We would take the assemblage to Jon's favourite pub in deepest darkes Plymstock; me on my bike and the rest by cab, stopping by at Jon's place to fetch his laptop. I would then try the wi-fi in the pub in question and the neighbouring one; in case that worked it would all be simple. In case it wouldn't I would, when the time came, bike to Jon's, laptop and all, and use his own wi-fi. And after business return to the pub for further libation. Brilliant!

I arrived in the pub of choice, where Jon, including laptop, and the others had already gathered. This pub had no wi-fi, and a quick reconnaissance mission revealed the nearest other pub wasn’t as well-endowed as I hoped they would be. So I returned to the celebrations and started enjoying a pint. Then I realised, aided by a text message, I had forgotten the time difference between the Netherlands and the UK, so I jumped onto my bike and rode to Jon’s as fast as I could, which isn’t particularly fast due to the terrain. There I managed to safely get past all locks and alarms and whatnot, and no time later I looked straight into the living room of one of my friends. Even it was only a screen it was as if I was back in Amsterdam! Image is so powerful.

We have done such things many times before, and we got through the agenda like a hot knife through butter. I really look forward to the actual trip now!

Then we were done. I restored the house to its original state, biked yet again over the bugger of a hill between Jon’s and the pub, and arrived there to be immediately serenaded by the pub owner. Jon had already told them to nuke my food; I was hungry by now! So I ate while the rest drank, and it was a splendid evening.

On the other side of the pub some merry singing had commenced. And it seems that singing and guitar play in a pub has the same effect on Jon as Lionel buggering off in a random direction underground: he won’t have other people have all the fun! So he conjured up a guitar from somewhere and started strumming away. I don’t know many of the songs in his repertoire, but I did find myself belting along to “the bonny banks of Loch Lomond”. Mind you, we had people from all around the Commonwealth, but no Scotsmen. Nobody Welsh either, but we even enjoyed a rendition of the Welsh national anthem. And why not.

A good night with anticipation of all sorts. I hope Jon has a great time in Germany, and I look forward to seeing my friends on the bleak windswept hilltops of Dartmoor!

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