15:30: Arrive at Aylesbury
We arrive at 3:30, which is the time suggested in the email. But surprise surprise, we’re one of the last to arrive. Not entirely unexpected. As I lug my heavy case (made heavier by virtue of the fact it has my music stand inside) and bassoon over to the coach, I find myself wishing again that I’d chosen to play something smaller like the piccolo.
16:00-19:15 Travel to Dover
The coach journey is, by and large, uneventful. After a brief interlude where a blue thing falls off RedCoach and we go back to get it, we don’t stop at all until we reach Dover. ElderlyCoachDriver, who seems a bit too doddery to be doing anything as strenuous as driving a large coach, explains that the bridge we’re on has two pillars. At least his vision’s still alright.
We change drivers at Dover. The new ones are from Durham and they are extremely cheerful. I expect they’re looking forward to the 18+ hour coach journey to Plzen. Because they’re mad.
“Rule 3: We are making these rules up as we go along.
Rule 2: Remember Rule 1.
Rule 1: Wear your seatbelts.”
Remember those rules. There may be a test later.
20:15-22:45 Ferry Crossing
Don’t get confused. The crossing was only an hour and a half. Seems a bit excessive for that crossing.
Fish & chips for dinner. This may be my last proper food until we get back from the Czech Republic. For all we know, we’ll be eating cabbage and boiled veg all week.
22:45-00:00 More travel
We watch The Dark Knight. I don’t really see much of this film, because two things block my view. The first is the girl in front’s head. The second is the mirror in front of the nearest screen. It’s ok though; I couldn’t have heard it anyway, because the sound is excitingly low. Maybe we should start a game of “guess the dialogue”.
The film ends at midnight. Everyone’s making tired noises. I expect we’ll probably get some sleep soon.
Damn this inflatable pillow. There’s always a bit you can’t get air into.
Or not. The people in the two rows in front have apparently decided to be noisy all night. This, as you might guess, makes me extremely happy.
As I drift in an out of consciousness (mostly in), I hear them play I Spy and 20 questions. EngineerFriend (aka RidiculouslyTall. He got an upgrade. So sue me) confuses them (and me, if I’m honest) by making his 20 questions answer Ian the conductor. This is bewildering for two reasons: 1) He wasn’t playing 20 questions. and 2) Ian is not on the coach. In fact, he isn’t even in Europe right now.
It is too early to think.
6:30-15:30 Travel through Europe
I must have fallen asleep after all. The last I remember was glaring sleepily at the noisy redhead. It was 4:30 then and it was starting to get light.
It’s still too early to think. So early in fact, that the rotating toilet seat completely throws me. Metaphorically, not physically. I’m not still on the toilet seat when it rotates, is what I’m basically saying.
Breakfast is a roll and butter and a cup of hot chocolate. It’s pretty average, but then again, it is just a bread roll. We’re in Germany now, so a lot of people have chosen ham options. What I’d really like would be a bacon option. Failing that, I’d like a direct teleport to the Czech Republic option. At least it isn’t as far as Italy. Then again, nowhere is as far as Italy. I suppose Russia might be.
We arrive at the hotel two hours after we’re expected. They haven’t got our rooms ready, so we spend approximately half an hour moving cases and instruments randomly about the hotel. RedCoach performs an exciting pirouetting maneuver, thrilling everyone.
I steal FirstBassoon’s bassoon, panicking the member of staff tasked by FirstBassoon to look after it. FirstBassoon, like a third of the orchestra, will not be arriving until this evening.
16:00-18:00 Swimming and suchlike
After an extremely awkward few minutes getting changed into our swimming costumes in a massive hall in a communal sort of way, I’m left with but one question. Why on earth did the adults stay in the room for this?!
Swimming is a nice way to cool down though, even if I do get the sneaking suspicion my face is burning. At least I remembered my arms and legs, even if I did forget that stupid exposed circle on my back. Damn that exposed circle.
I am of course delighted to hear that I’ll be rooming with LoudGirl from the coach and BassGirl. BassGirl I know from school. She is nice. LoudGirl cannot shut up to save her life. She whines a lot.
After a quick, slightly scalding, alarming shower, it’s time for dinner.
The first course is chicken soup with weird balls of pasta. It’s ok. The onion makes it hard to love though.
The second course is mystery meat (probably pork) with salad and undercooked potato. It is hard to love.
Pudding is cheesecake. By this point I feel sick from too much food.
Oh God this rehearsal goes on forever. My vision is blurring by about 21:00, which adds much needed excitement to the pieces. Ian is either waving or weaving. Who knows which anymore.
ThirdBassoon is no help. Then again, he might not even be there. I could be seeing double.
22:00-23:00 Waiting for the adult to tell us we can go the **** to sleep
It is too late for thinking. Once we’ve managed to turn on the fan and snuggle under a sheet (much too hot for blankets. Idiots), IrritatingAdult knocks on the door.
She says a lot of condescending things to us. I manage to be a vaguely polite human being.
Yes, it’s a struggle.
LoudGirl is much less irritating when she’s not with a lot of other very noisy people. She spends all her time on her laptop anyway.
Once we agree to WAKE UP the next day at 8:00, it’s time to tackle the pillow,
I can’t quite work out what’s weird about the damn thing, but it’s probably a question for another day.