Sunday, 14 June 2009

Rotterdam 1

Dragging self from bed, packing, scurrying, then C takes me to Norwich Airport where I sit for two hours, drinking a coffee and dreaming. Flight efficient and short in sunshine, one piece of hold-luggage appears blissfully second off the belt, and within five minutes of waiting my lift comes and meets me. We drive the hour to Rotterdam. Flat fields (naturally) cows, a few sheep, one windmill, several rivers and canals. My lift is kind and good but speaks English a little haltingly. He is a furniture maker. I drift out of conversation into drowsiness. Rotterdam looms like Futuristic City with its various shaped towers an glissandos and edges and angles. The Maas on our left is broad and highly kitted-out for action, except that unemployment is high. The longest part of the drive is the one-way system round a single block. It takes 20 munites. But the hotel eventually obliges by coming to a compromise with the car, so the two draw up next to each other

As soon as I arrive - literally at the check-in desk - I am asked, 'Are you coming on the trip?' "Give me five minutes,' I say, dump my bags in the room then descend again, boarding the bus. On way there chat to Italian poet Umberto Fiori. In the garden of the kind ex-treasurer of the festival there is food and drink. Eleanor Livingstone from StAnza is there so we talk. Then there's Yang Lian, and the Dutch poet Arjen Duinker. It's hot. Sweeney somewhat over to the left, or right. Lady from Jerusalem Poetry Festival introduces herself. On way back to bus chat to Mourid Barghouti. I think I am quite famoused out.

There is little of me left and what there is needs to be horizontal. I have a very busy week ahead, starting tomorrow.


Thank you for lovely comments and postings on Facebook re: Book Quiz Triumph. Bear in mind that recognising a few quotations doesn't mean I am one of those bulbous-browed, European, intellectual types with a theory on everything and a soul as deep and profound as a lead mine. It just means I remember, what I remember, quickly. Nice, all the same.

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