Quentin goes to Belfast


Quentin’s ever complicated travelling plans and his refusal to even contemplate a cheaper or more convenient mode of transport to Belfast makes my feet ache more than they do anyway, from being on them most of the day. The first involved an overnight coach from Victoria , a ferry crossing, another long coach trip then a taxi.

He is a man of slender means. Even though he was unable to get a refund for this ludicrous plan, he made alternative arrangements through, his words, the airlinecheapo.com. I said doesn’t sound like an airline I’ve ever heard of, but perhaps a travel agency. He said no no no, it was totally an airline. He was feeling a bit down , so was watching an Abba tribute band on youtube.

My painful feet informing my bad mood, I said, why not just cut to the chase and get real Abba, followed by an equally irate , “Let me see your travel plans.” Now he showed me a better plan. This plan by the very famous airline cheapo.com involves getting six am flight to Luton ( which is a billion miles away) to Dublin.

I actually put my head in my hands and said, “Why are you going to Dublin , when you are booked into a hotel in Belfast for nearly six hundred quid” He said that is what cheapo.comadvised. I said but then you have to get up at three in the morning or earlier to get to Luton, then get from Dublin to Belfast, as well as pay the money for the fares you can’t get back.

He said it’s fine, he had a better plan.

I just didn’t give a fuck at this point, not about his plan or lack thereof, but of my throbbing foot ) the toenail has gone black, this does not bode well for a very physical job) so I sat down and said so how are you going to get to Luton that early. He said he would go the night before and sleep in the airport.

I said how is that better than sleeping on the coach, in fact how is any of this creeping up to 800 quid plan for five days in Belfast better than flying directly from London to Belfast?

And he said it was his mistake, confusing Dublin with Belfast. And I felt sorry for him, and felt like killing the people at cheapo.com for not realsing he was old and confused and ripping him off. I mopped leaning on the less painful foot, I was in a really bad mood. He showed me the Stephen King novel he was reading, which had musical notation in it. He had a go on the recorder and he said can you tell the tune, and I said, probably Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, and he said yes probably, it does seem to crop up rather a lot.

He said this was his last holiday apart from one Age Concern or some army vet thing will lay on at a reduced price. I said where to. He said Bloomsbury. I said oh, that’s good for the British Museum.

He said no that was in Kensington. I said no that’s the V and A and two others, he said no no no, he knows for sure it’s there because that’s where he saw a prototype model of Robert Louis Stevenson’s railway.
Every single bit of my right side hurts, from the blackened toe upwards. I am going to dose up with paracetamol and plasters and hobble to my next dumb ass job. I think I might not say a word for the rest of the day. How the heck do dancers dance when their toes turn black? Why has my toe turned black? I don’t even wear heels. I asked Quentin if I could leave early. He said yes. Small mercies.