in may, i went to linz to attend LiWoLi; i then had 2 nights back in munich to wash my clothes before heading to rome for the Live Performers Meeting. on the way to the airport, i observed to andy that one good thing about having such a fast turnaround meant that i hadn't forgotten to pack anything, since i hadn't really unpacked. as these sage words left my mouth, the sickening realisation dawned on me that i had, in fact, forgotten something rather important: the power supply for my laptop. it was too late to go back for it. for a moment i contemplated whether or not i might get buy on borrowed power supplies - after all i was going to an event with nearly 500 artists, probably all of whom would be travelling with a laptop & the majority of them the same or similar to mine. but ... i didn't know any of them at all, i had to give 2 presentations plus rehearse & prepare, plus attend a separate online event on the friday night ... my laptop battery is just about as good as new, but it was too risky to go without a power supply. the only good part to this story is that an electronics shop at munich airport had my power supply in stock, & were only too happy to relieve me of 99 euros in return for it. well, it's just another lesson; i hardly ever forget anything. & now i have 2 power supplies, so if one breaks i have a back-up, & while both are working i have one in the bedroom & one in the living room.
a couple of weeks later, andy & i made an overnight trip to south tyrol (as one can do, when one lives in southern germany). we hardly needed to take anything with us, just for one night. as we neared the austrian border, andy casually asked if i had my passport with me. i always carry my passport when we go on trips like this - even day-trips to salzburg or innsbruck, i always take my passport. except this time. but i've never had to show it before - border controls on roads between germany, austria & italy simply don't exist anymore. i always carry it and i've never had to show it. except this time. apparently, there'd been some big political event in vienna that weekend, & security was tight in austria. we were stopped at the border at scharnitz by a border guard who wanted to see two ausweisse. andy showed her ID card, & i had nothing (not even my nz drivers licence, since i'm in the process of applying for a german führerschein & the officials have my nz licence now). no photo ID at all. the border guard was actually very nice - he said that he didn't mind if we carried on, but that i could face a €1000 fine if someone chose to fine me; but he wasn't going to fine me. i could also end up stranded in austria or italy, unable to get back to germany & my passport. so we turned around & started the hour & a half drive back to munich. by the time we got home, andy had decided it was still worth going to south tyrol, so i dashed inside for my passport & we set out once more. it was about 5.30pm by the time we got back to scharnitz; the police car was still parked at the side of the road but there was no sign of any border guards. i had my passport & nobody wanted to see it. we carried on to the austrian-italian border, where nobody wanted to see my passport. we came back the next day and nobody wanted to see my passport. but i won't forget it again.
when i was a kid, we had hankies; if you were lucky, you had hankies with cute animal pictures on them, or embroidered flowers. when i had a bad cold, i used toilet paper or dad's huge hankies. tissues just didn't exist, except perhaps in doctors' surgeries. but gradually, over the years, disposable paper tissues started to assert themselves. parents of young children began to consider the family size box of tissues as necessary as toilet paper. then came the patterned boxes, and then the purse pack. the arrival of purse pack tissues was the last nail in the coffin of the hanky. i was even surprised to discover one day that a box of tissues had introduced itself to my house; someone had thoughtfully brought them around when we gathered because a friend had died. the box stayed on top of the piano in the living room for years.
of course, purse pack tissues can be very handy when you're travelling, especially in places where toilet paper can't be assumed. but they've become so ubiquitous that nearly everyone carries them, & here in germany the brand-name "tempo" has become the word for tissue. nobody, it seems, uses hankies anymore - except perhaps my mother, & me. i still have some (rather threadbare) hankies that i inherited from my gran, & one very large white one which it's possible i may have originally "borrowed" from dad. i don't remember buying any hankies, ever, except as presents for gran. but now i've developed a hankering for handkerchiefs, & since it's a mere 6 weeks to my birthday, i'd like to suggest to anyone out there who was planning to send me some extravagant gift that actually what i'd really like is some nice new hankies. oh, and cloth serviettes. that's the other thing i'm sick of - paper serviettes. i want cloth ones, like we grew up with. ones that can be washed & used again. i think mum is still using some of the serviettes we grew up with. quite possibly some of the hankies as well.
that's what i'd like for my birthday this year: cloth handkerchiefs & serviettes that i'll be able to wash & reuse a hundred or more times.