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Thessaloniki

Tuesday 28 September 2010.

Up 02.00. Dressed. R got up too. Ate weetabix and milk. Did not exercise but I made my bed. Drove starting at 03.00 to the Carlton Hotel car-park. Piddled at Lusk service stn. in the car park on the way (doors closed). Hotel bus to the airport. Drank coffee and ate a bacon roll and some potato cake. McDonalds. More food on board the Malev plane to Budapest. Ham and cheese large croissant. Coffee and orange juice. Tough time in Budapest airport. I barely made the connection for Thessaloniki. A Magyar inspector even put my boots through the x-ray machine. I took my small St. Francis rosary out of my left trousers pocket after he had body searched me. That gave him pause. But he certainly did his job thoroughly! My Rugby bag was the second piece on the carousel. I was relieved to see a sign for ENUSP at the exit. An attractive student called Anastasia and her boyfriend (?) drove us in her Lancia to Hotel Capsis. Caught the bus with Michal Caletsky to Aristotle University at 17.00. Cross-eyed with sleep. Sat through a session dominated by Mary Nettle. Congratulated Peter Lehmann on receiving his PhD earlier in the day. Not impressed by either Mary or Peter. Dinner at 20.00 under the vine leaves in a restaurant near the university. Several courses. Salad, cheese, fish, pork, wine, chips. Nice dinner. Michal and I left early because he wanted another beer and could not get one at the restaurant. Caught the bus back to Hotel Capsis. I went straight to bed. Although my room-mate, a stocky Jew who snored explosively, wakened me I slept through until 08.00 tomorrow. The air-conditioning fan was situated above my bed. It seemed on the cold side but presented no problem. I sweated a lot today. Dressed in underpants, vest, black Ping long-sleeved golf gansy, black 44” “legal” slacks, grey sports socks, brown patterned braces, tan John Evan boots. My logic was that I needed pockets for travelling? But the gear including my black and white check Kennedy McSharry jacket added to the heat amplified my rate of exhaustion. Was given a chocolate wafer bar, orange juice, tea; on the flight to Thessaloniki. Very attractive hostesses (3) on the plane to Budapest. The plane was full. The plane to Thessaloniki was half empty. Also a Malev flight. The flight from Dublin took off ½ an hour late. Put pressure on me because I had very little time to make my connection in Budapest.

Wednesday 29 September 2010.

Impressed by the Greek speaker at the conference. Ham roll for lunch. Workshop on ENUSP. German chair anti. Dinner at the restaurant near the university. Stewed beef. Wine (2g). Drank a wine in the hotel (€7) and bought 2 beers for Michal. €2 x 3.50. Took a shower. To bed c 23.00. Did not sleep for some time. Had a long dream about Eamonn’s death. “Die vogel singt im baum,” Katarina Vogel gave my day a lift. A lovely animated young Berliner. Dressed in underpants, black 44” “legal” slacks, navy Le Coq Sportif T-shirt, navy FootJoy golf socks, tan John Evan boots. Took my boots off and relaxed in the back seat in the assembly hall of Aristotle University in the morning. Cool at the restaurant and a little rain. I got a good sleep last night. Had no difficulty with the bus. 2 tickets + a bottle of water cost €1.70 at the kiosk across the road from the hotel. Felt together and enjoyed the day. Took a shower before bed. Had a conversation with Daniel in bed. Dispelled my paranoia.

Thursday 30 September 2010.

Breakfast of cereal and milk, egg, rashers, and 6 small sausages. Coffee. Bought a bottle of water and two tickets. €1.70 at the kiosk. Left Daniel and AN Other in my wake and travelled alone on the bus to Aristotle University. Forgot the name of the stop, KAMARA, but the bus driver restored the name in my memory. Reports on workshops. V. Boring. Regional meeting of ENUSP. V. Good. I offered to serve as a board member or as a deputy. Dutchman with crutches elected. A tall voluble Quaker from England selected as deputy. Mary Nettle chaired. The woman from Liverpool took minutes. Good structure. Satisfactory meeting. Iris Holling facilitated the general assembly and election. Gabriela Tanasan elected chair. The psychologist/interpreter/soccer player had a hand in it. A Belgian who did not seem to have the capacity was the only one who offered initially. A disaster averted? Exeunt Peter Lehmann and Mary Nettle. The big Greek spoke extempore, used the translator efficiently and made a good impression on me. Someone called him “a big bully” to me the other evening. Assertive rather? Sat beside Roslein (SME) at dinner in the same restaurant and beside the Liverpudlian woman on my right. Salad, cheese, garlic paste, beef, wine, broccoli and cauliflower. Walked via the sea-front to Aristotle Square. Concert. Dancing. P’d in a restaurant. Wall demolished. Victory? What next? Chaos or worse. Drank 3g wine in a small bar with Michal, Vogel, Iris, Mats, Rosso (the dark devil woman). The dark woman confessed to me her fear that she is experiencing the onset of Alzheimer’s. Danced for over an hour in Aristotle Square. Gave Iris a spin for “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Wonderful atmosphere although it was cool and breezy. I sat into the shelter in the cafe where we drank. A lovely bar-tender accepted from me a peck on both cheeks as we departed. Sang some of The Leaving of Liverpool as we walked back to the Capsis Hotel. Stefan, The Liverpudlian, and me. Michal walked home with Katrina Vogel whom I praised to the sky. An old woman took my hand and tried to rip me off with a bunch of flowers. €20? €10? “Too dear,” I insisted, “Kathrin is a lovely girl but I am not going to waste money.” I was serious but the woman did not bargain further and after a little repetition withdrew. I took a shower before I slid into bed. Did not get off to sleep right away. Stomach a little acid in the night. “Blanc de Blancs?” Regurgitated in the night but luckily it did not catch my breath as has often happened in the past. Still a full charge on my mobile. Chat with Daniel in bed about ENUSP before I slept.

Friday 1 October 2010.

Well I think I got up out of bed before 09.00 and dressed. Mixed cereal and milk; two fried eggs; lots of thin small fried rashers of bacon; coffee. The stout Greek with the angelic smile sat at my table and we discussed with some enthusiasm the concert in Aristotle Square last night. Had to get my card “treated” in order to open the door of 210 which is the room I have been using. Sorted out my receipts, papers, and packed everything. Met Michal in the foyer at around 11.00. We walked down on a sunny warm morning towards the port. We were refused entry but a girl official in a wheelchair was very personable towards us and directed us towards the sea front around the corner. A girl served us Greek coffee at a street table with high chairs and Michal and I talked about marriage, cameras and enjoyed the view of the sea and the misty mountains beyond westward. I took off my boots before I sat down so I was comfortable and relaxed. We circled on, at Michal’s suggestion, to Aristotle Square and walked back up to the main thoroughfare where we caught the bus back to Hotel Capsis. I had a single ticket in my wallet because we walked home from the university yesterday. I opened the window of 210 for the first time and raised the curtain and the blind about half way. Having completed my journal for yesterday in my reporter’s notebook I sat and chilled out in the chair by the window for about half an hour. The bus pulled up in time at 14.00 as promised. Reached the airport about 5 minutes before 15.00. Checked in and experienced no problems getting boarding passes. Flight 3.55. We had time to sit down and relax at the gate before we boarded. Parted with Michal at Budapest. “We’ll correspond and see what is possible?” I suggested. Met Hugh McReynolds and had a chat at gate 20 in Ferrighey. Football, dogs, Fr. McEnteggart, Denis Faul, etc. I bought a small red heart shaped box of marzipan chocolates for Rosanna and a small bottle of a Hungarian herb liqueur. Paid with my MBNA card. Chocolate crisp flat bar for food on the way from Thessaloniki; cheese roll on the way from Ferrighey. Drank apple juice, orange juice, water. All free of charge. No charge either when I checked out of the hotel. Long walk in Dublin airport. Took a trolley out to the coach park. Chat with a couple from Bailieboro. Missed calls from Rosanna. She told me when I rang that she thought I had missed my flight. Coach from the Carlton Hotel rolled up dead on time. Reassured. Piddled in the Carlton before I drove home like the hammers of hell in my small white 2010 Toyota iQ. Reached home about five or ten minutes before midnight. Rosanna had a fire of briquettes on. I ate rashers and sausages and then cereal and milk. We talked in friendly mode for nearly and hour before I unpacked and retired to bed. Dressed this morning in gusset-less trunks, vest, white long-sleeved shirt, brown patterned braces, black FootJoy golf socks, tan John Evan boots, 44” “legal” slacks. Emptied the pockets of my black and white check Kennedy McSharry jacket which I carried and put on only when I reached Budapest. Lowered my trousers to piddle at every opportunity. Took off my boots for most of the flight from Budapest to Dublin. Chat with Berthold C. Kosel in the foyer before the bus left Capsis. About lapis lazuli silver rectangular ENUSP brooch he is going to make. Washed my teeth before bed with Colgate toothpaste.

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