It's been a long, hard few months.
Or, looked at another way, 2008 has yet to really ingratiate itself with me.
The year started more or less as it mean't to go on. The wonders of British Rail (or whatever the heck they were called that month) and over running engineering mean't a nice 5 train 26hour trip home from Holyhead – after New Year in Ireland – took me over 40hours, 16trains, a boat and a bus, plus a missed meeting and 150euro extra cost. And that was a good day.
By the time i had got to May, I reckon that i had paid something like 1500euro extra for travel, due to assorted problems from other people, and been delayed for about 100hours. For which, despite filling out numerous forms and spending feck knows how long trying to talk to useful (or even any) humans, i received not a single penny, cent or ore in compensation. My “i wish i could send them letter bomb's instead of Christmas cards” list currently includes Network Rail, Virgin Trains, Eurostar, SNCF, DB, SNCB, Skanetrafiken, the AA, Kiki, Gemeente Delft, SouthWestTrains, First bus in Somerset, Försäkringskassan, Migrationsverket, Swedish Police, Länstyrelssen, T-K and several others. At one point it was so bad, I almost voluntarily flew...
Whilst ther ehave certainly been some good moments, there have not been enough. And when you add in the hassle of trying to fix a parking ticket that never was (useless Dutch b*stards – Despite having spent a chunk of time there over the last 15years, and loving it, I am now advising everybody to under no circumstances ever visit the city of Delft again), a dent i put in a hire car when i was half asleep, and another which was vandalised by youthful thugs, and I've unexpectedly lost close to 3000euros this year, for which only one dent and 500euro is in any way my fault, and despite fighting long and hard in all cases to get some kind of apology, compensation or something. And it's really not a great sign when the economy is collapsing around you and you suddenly need to start being much more careful with money. Then there was the incident in Italy and assorted issues, w*rk being, well, w*rk, the wonderful return of Kiki and several other things. At that point the Swedish government came up with a cunning attempt to somehow screw me over with ever virtually every single department. Thus at the moment, I have no right of residency right, am not in the national social insurance scheme, have no driving licence, and in a moment of culminatory glory, had my birth certificate “accidentally” destroyed by the Swedish police. When i complained, they told me to report it to the Swedish police...
With 30 also suddenly rapidly approaching, it all adds up to only one thing. I need a break. Perhaps another trip would be in order. After all, it's been over 2years since i got back from the last proper trip. Luckily, stunningly, you could almost say brilliantly, I had had the foresight last autumn, no less, about the same thing, and before all the rubbish i am complaining about above (all offers of help on any of the above, greatfully received) had even occurred, had started to make arrangements for my next trip.
“Arrangements a year in advance?!”, I hear you cry, or perhaps would if my ears weren't so blocked. What on earth made me, someone who rarely knows which country he will be in that same evening, make even vague plans so far ahead, let alone a booking. The answer is one that confuses even me, but as you will have no doubt guessed, is somewhere a little different...
I even managed to spend my second to last night in the UK, not sitting having a curry and beer with old friends as had been planned, but by the side of a main road waiting 4hours for the breakdown crew, after the clutch in the van i was driving utterly collapsed. Oh yay.
Thus after the hassle of this year, leaving comes not a moment too soon.