Its 14 days until the odyssey ends, and today marked the end of the first triptych with the presentation, after a Herculean effort, of an assignment where informal learning was discussed. Remaining, I have to slay a hydra, untie a knot of Gordian proportions and refrain from unnatural relations, but I only have to do this within about 6000 word, most of which are already etched. so principally it's editing from hereonin. Naturally, in seasons such as this, a young man's thoughts turn to "what's next?" and although I barely qualify as young, I too have been drawn by thoughts of what may lurk beyond the banks of the Styx.
In less purple terms, I am trying to work out how to get to Greece for Lydia's wedding. Lydia, as you may or may not be aware, is a favourite niece and is shortly to be married in Greece. When I say shortly, I mean on, or around, the 21st May. RHB cannot attend for work reasons, so I am to be the representative of Large Mansions. But there is a problem. My final assignment deadline is the 20th May, and usually I use every available day to complete assignemnts - even if written weeks in advance, there's no writing that cannot be improved by assiduous editing, as the absence of in these spontaneous journals will negatively attest. Given the date, and in view of the fact that matter transportation has not yet been invented (hurry up Physicists) I cannot allow myself until the 20th to complete. I must be on a plane by the 18th.
The question you may ask yourself though, is a plane to where??? A direct flight to the nearest local airport is not possible as inbound flights are once weekly and i would have to depart on the 15th to make the wedding, which because of a realistic perspective on how long final assignments will take, is not possible by about 48 hours. I therefore have to get a plane to elsewhere, then make my way to the wedding location, by hook or by crook.
The solution you may say, is simple: fly to Athens then travel overland to the wedding location. Very simple. Foolproof. This is actually true. I could get about one from a zillion planes to Athens, practically on an hourly departure, rent a car and drive to the wedding with two days to spare. But, as the adventurous among you will realise, this solution is too simple. It lacks adventure, unpredictability. It is a pragmatic solution, and when you consider this is an adventure of a lifetime, that Albania, Serbia and Macedonia are within reach, as well as Italy, and that after three years of being an undergraduate, I have a real need to 'find myself', and that I have no better half whose comfort I need to consider, the real solution becomes obvious. The trip cannot simply be getting from here to there and back again, the trip itslf must become the adventure.
How to plan for such a voyage? Here I draw on experience. The last time I arranged a long range trip, practically everything went well. I arranged outward bound flights, accomodation,and researched the local area providing, IMHO, a wonderful venue. Where there was a slight hitch was that I forgot to arrange transportation back again, thus causing a frantic, death defying three hour drive through the hellholes of Turkey, and causing RHB and myself to be stranded on our return to Blighty. This opoeration, complete with forgetting to arrange return transport took three months or so of careful planning. This time, I will have about three hours, just before I get on a train to what ever airport I am flying from to whatever destination I am flying to, to arrange the thing. My possible itineries involve MAnchester-Rome Flight, Rome to Bari train, Bari to Greece ferry then 'somewhere in Greece' ( I dont know yet where the Bari ferry ends up) to 'somewhere else in Greece' ( I have no clear idea where the wedding is) by the mode of transport commonly known as "somehow'. The second planned route is flight to Tirana in Albania form somewhere in the UK, the somehow get to Greece from there.
I lay the details of my plans before RHB and the assembled cats. RHB looks as if she's just caught someone falling asleep in an exam, then for the first time in our relationship, snorts loudly. THe cats follow suit.
"Whaddya think?" I say, "Brilliant, isnt it?"
"I think you'd better finish your assignments" she says " You can make up whatever fairy stories you like after that".