At 5.30am I decided to give up trying to get back to sleep and get up. Drinking tea and watching the street slowly come awake for the last time. Annette had forgotten to switch off her tree lights last night and they twinkled in the dawn. Yesterday evening Susanne and I walked up to Bismarck's Stein for the view across the city – there's a lot about Bismarck in this town because he went to university here. By all accounts he was a terrible student who was put under house-arrest four times by the university authorities. Evidently he once rode a horse into a lecture. I wish someone had done that when I'd been a student, but the idea of rebellion then was doing the crossword whilst pretending to take notes. As we walked up the hill the full moon rose over Nikolausberg and Susanne and I wondered if the new residents of the Chinese Restaurant at the bottom of the hill were pleased by this; it had previously been China Haus and was now Golden Moon.
Jonas, my friend's teenage son, called round last night. I've spent some time coaching him in English and he's got an amazing vocabulary and can talk at great length, but gets bad marks because his grammar is weak. He's 17 years-old and is all limbs and neck. My friend had asked me to talk to him to get some sense of how good/bad his English is and the first time we met we talked for an hour about his interests. Jonas announces rather than talks – 'I am an atheist' he told me at our first meeting. 'There is no god' he added, just in case I hadn't got it the first time. I think he wanted me to argue with him because he seemed disgruntled when I nodded in agreement. He brought me some flowers yesterday evening and wished me well and asked if he could visit me some time and that he would email me.
Later we had dinner with other friends and their two teenagers, Victor and Carmen, joined us. My memory of being a teenager is that I was pretty dull and had very little to say to adults, especially adults who might be friends of my parents. Carmen is charming and chatted about what she hopes to do at university and about her recent visit to Paris. Victor is shyer but spoke to Johnny about Physics and then disappeared to do his homework, which might be code for X-Box. We ate Tortilla Patata, some Serano Ham and various sausages and salamis and drank Rioja (Piluca, our friend, is Spanish and her husband is German).
So far, the removal truck is 40 minutes late and Johnny's making telephone calls to find out what's happening.
It's a grey morning but I can see some light over the university playing fields so perhaps the sun will come up later. My head feels grey and fuzzy – hopefully some light will fall over me too.