The girl on the plane (if not the train)… an Airbnb update…

ANOTHER Sunday, another guest. We haven’t met yet. She was in her room by the time I returned last night.

I was going to ask the young Californian woman about Donald Trump, if the energy could be summoned up. The trouble is, thinking about Trump is beginning to sap my optimism about the world. Thinking about Farage sees my hope drain almost away. And thinking about the pair of them in that golden lift dispenses with the last drop.

There they were, grinning in grisly unison. We are not going to hell in a handcart, as the old saying has it, but in a gold-plated lift – a lift that rises to a tower of monstrous bad taste, home to a man of monstrous bad views. Going up – or perhaps down.

Anyway, I can’t ask the young Californian about her president-elect, as she changed her booking, moving from two nights to one, then cancelled at the last minute. Something about the cost of train tickets (expensive, I know, but not yet as prohibitive as flights across the Atlantic, but there you go). This sort of thing happens sometimes with Airbnb. People come and go sometimes before they’ve even been. As she cancelled late, we will still be paid for the one night.

This seems fair enough. The bed was made, the room was clean and I had spent time sending email messages to the eventually non-appearing girl from California.

I wish they all could be California

I wish they all could be California

I wish they all could be California girls

Or perhaps not. Instead of the young American, our guest is a middle-aged writer from Hebden Bridge.

I wish they all could be Hebden Bridge…

Not sure that works as well. Maybe this replacement guest will have an opinion on Trump when she finally comes downstairs.

The woman I haven’t yet met was coughing in the night, as was I. She coughed in her room and I coughed my way out of bed and came downstairs at around 4.30am. Warmth and comfort came with a mug of tea with honey and a dash of whisky. I coughed some more and then fell asleep until 7.30pm: result – or it is if you are restless me.

Coughing doesn’t much improve your chances of a good night’s sleep. On this occasion, honey and whisky did, although I should point out that I don’t usually do that. I was feeling sorry for myself and the whisky was medicinal. If I am coughing again tonight, the early-hours cuppa will remain unfortified. I leave early on a Monday morning for my weekly workshop on magazine journalism with first-year students. At least half of whom will be coughing. One or two might be yawning.

“The trouble is, you know, it’s first thing on a Monday morning,” one of them said to me one week. He’d stayed behind for reassurance about a ‘homework’ task that was proving difficult for him. I think I cleared the problem up for him; and he cleared something up for me, the sight of all those pale faces first thing on a Monday morning. That explains the occasional yawn, or at least I hope it does. Things warm up towards the end of the first hour and can even approach lively by the end.

It’s a good gig, by the way, and one I enjoy very much, especially seeing shy or awkward students come out of their shells to write something good, which they are starting to do as the end of term looms.

Coughing through the night means I have not been out for a run this Sunday morning. That run usually clears my head, so this entry from my ledge is written with an unclear head.

As for the state of the world, sometimes I wonder whether worrying about the ups and downs of politics is even worth the energy. It’s an old habit, though, and you need to connect somehow, even if you’d rather unplug yourself for good.

If you do detach yourself, you leave the world to the terrible Trumps and the foul Farages and their itchy ilk. So, we stay interested or at least we should try to.

The woman who isn’t Californian has not come downstairs yet and we want to go out in half an hour or so. This also sometimes happens with guests, wherever they are from.

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