Tuesday, September 16
Toldbodgade bridge, looking at Nyhavn, Copenhagen, 17:00
This morning, as a sign of respect to last night’s meal, I skipped breakfast. The meeting started at 9:00 and I was there at 8:50. Lunch was lax followed by exceedingly rare beef fillet, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts and baked shallots. The afternoon session finished early at 15:30, and we all agreed that we would go out and explore Copenhagen.
Outside was about ten degress warmer than the basement meeting room we have been in, and I was very glad to get out into the warm fresh air. I wandered off down the pedestrian streets for about an hour, passing Magasin where I went to buy crispbread and similar delicacies. The weather is so hot that everyone is out in t-shirts and shorts. After walking for ninety minutes I am hot. I stand on the bridge by the new harbour lookingd down at the long line of pavement cafes. In a few minutes I will decide to walk that way and then decide to stop for one, expensive beer. I will find a secluded seat and pay what appears to be the equivalent of 10 euros for a pint of chilled Tuborg Classic.
There are two tables, one on each side of the door into the bar. An old lady is on the one opposite me, and we both have a spare seat. For no reason at all I suddenly find myself looking at the chair opposite me and saying, “Right, what next, girly whirly?”. Then I realise what I have done and just sit there not thinking or doing anything for five minutes. Earlier today I was looking at my bookmarks and found Auo’s blog, which is still online. At one point in it she was writing about having a bag in a bag, and describing this as an inside joke, which I suppose it was. Maybe that triggered it. Whatever: its a sentence I will never have a reason to say again, except to remind myself of when I used to say it and get a response.
Later, finally sipping my beer, I will remember the funniest joke in the world which, as it happens, was written and told by Bob Monkhouse. He said, “we were talking and somebody asked me what kind of death I would like. I said that I would like to die quietly in my sleep like my father. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.” I will know, without question, that Auo would have found that hilarious, and I will wish that I had remembered it a year or so sooner, so I could have told it to her.
At 18:30 we will set off for a restaurant called Wining & Dining, for tonight’s gastronomic adventure. It will be a long evening of slow dinding: cold salmon followed by veal followed by cheese. We will get back to the hotel at about 23:30. I will go to bed and decide that I agree with Irma. Eating too late is bad for your digestion, and thus bad for your sleep patterns. I will wake up almost every hour with odd dreams, until at 6:30 I wake up with a start, realising that I have left the bike that was in my room downstairs in the meeting room. I will wonder whether it is okay to leave it there, or wheher I should go down now and fetch it, until I realise that the bike is entirely imaginary.