The Small Rains Down Do Rain

by wjw on April 19, 2024

Here I am in the UK in the autumn of 1980. I’m in Greenwich doing research for the Privateer books, and I’m standing in front of the clipper ship Cutty Sark. I seem to be an older and more weathered person than I remember.

I seem to attract extreme weather whenever I visit Britain, and 1980 was no exception. The wool cap and bomber jacket were inadequate for the freezing weather, which usually included freezing rain.

From Britain I went to Germany to visit friends, and from there I took the long journey by rail and ferry to Greece, where it also was cold and rainy. In Hanover I was delayed by the fact that I was using an expired train schedule dating from the summer. The train was supposed to leave around 0930, but because train schedules changed at the end of the summer season, the train was now scheduled to leave at 2300. I was compelled to spend the day in Hannover.

I was given a booklet with a walking tour of Hannover, so I went to Scenic Spot #1, which involved traveling down a street full of trendy boutiques, just in case I might want to contribute to the local economy. Looking at the description of Spot #1, I found it said, “This is where the statue of Schiller was until we moved it.” On to #2, which involved going down the street of trendy boutiques yet again, on ly to be told “This is the location of a famous medieval restaurant which was destroyed by British bombers, and now there’s a new restaurant on the site.”

I was beginning to enjoy this business of not seeing the things I was supposed to be seeing, and so I went on (past trendy boutiques) to #3, which said “If you look to the left you’ll see a woods. On the far side is our zoo, which you can’t see from here.”

Fuck it, I thought, I’ll go to the zoo. I spent a pleasant day there, found dinner and then my train.

If you can’t do what you want, you can always watch the funny animals.

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