Sunday, 16 October 2011
Saturday night in Liverpool near Lime Street is busy and loud. Straight to Deryn's, feeling my way round the print-out map. Lawrence, Gwyneth and Judith are already there, with Ian. Deryn has saved some food for me. It' all good humoured and gemütlich, though we know why we are here.
Afterwards Lawrence and I walk back to the apartment rented for us at the Printworks. The place is clean and modern but bare to the point of prison-like austerity. No bedside table or bedside light, in fact nothing but the bed and a wardrobe. Lawrence, having got here earlier, has his own. No soap. There is however a kitchen / lounge which is perfectly fitted with one vast orange sofa in front of the TV, Two floral photos on one wall. A glass table. There's a kettle but no teabags or milk in any form, in fact nothing but a bag of sugar.
Lawrence and I decide to go out for a drink, but this is clubland, full of very loud bars and kids on the way to being drunk. In the end we return to the nearest bar which is more middle aged. Loud but friendly, a group of forty+ women done up to the nines, one in a seventies floral trouser-suit. After a couple of Jamesons we return to the apartment, make bathroom arrangements and retire to our individual rooms.
The trouble is that this is Saturday night and clubland, so there is constant noise below up to 4:30. Singing, conversations, shouting, more singing. Very little sleep.
Breakfast in the morning means a walk through light rain (no umbrella) vainly seeking for a cafe. We pass a smart place where a girl is just opening the door. We ask her if she knows an open cafe nearby. She doesn't, but offers us coffee and, once an expected breakfast group are through, some proper breakfast too. We are lucky as the coach party finds they are late for their flight so rush off before breakfast. I have my favourite eggs benedict but with crisp bacon instead of ham. On our return to Austerity House, we find it doesn't seem quite so prison like now that we have eaten and the rain has stopped.
What a strange miscellany this part of Liverpool is. Grand municipal buildings, a Georgian block, a long deserted cafe sign with no apparent space for a cafe. Some vacant lots. Some modern business or apartment blocks, narrow half-ruined streets leading to main roads, the lot organically undeveloped. And Austerity House.
Lawrence is watching New Zealand v Australia as I write. I have seen no rugby at all this world cup - everything is too much on top of me. The week coming up is scary. Better scary than empty though, I suppose.