1 Aug

Pre-Ls, and in fact pre-M, I went for a long weekend to Czechoslovakia.  We had a 7am flight from Stansted; I was an East London dweller at the time so figured that it would be an easy journey.  So, the night before, I went out with work, unpacked, unprepared.  A supplier was taking us to Zilli Fish; we’d given his company a lot of business, it was the early 2000s, so the night was expected to be legendary.  But I wasn’t going to participate in any of this nonsense, oh no.  I was going to have a celebratory glass and a nicely chargrilled swordfish then head home to pack my bag, obtain an early night, and pick up my dearest friend for our girls’ weekend in Eastern Europe.

The night was, in fact, beyond legendary.  I know this since I did not leave til the bitter end.  At about 10pm I suggested to my friend that instead of driving to hers, I got a cab.  At about 11.30pm I offered to collect her from her flat in said cab, missing out a transfer to her car which would lose valuable time, I reasoned.  Shortly after that, I booked the cab, and went on to a club.  Nice work.  This can be viewed as a very belated apology for such behaviour.

I got home about 1am (sensible and early for those days, deary me how I have changed.  Not sensible and early with a 7am flight to Prague though, perhaps).  I packed my small suitcase with all the necessities for a long weekend in Eastern Europe; passed out; woke up with the cab hooting outside my maisonette; and somehow made it on the plane before I passed out again.

It transpired that the necessities for a long weekend in Eastern Europe were, in my ‘tired’ and ‘full of swordfish’ condition, five pairs of trousers, two pairs of ‘undergarments’, and a single top.  There was a cardigan, of sorts, and fortuitously my toothbrush made it in there too.  It is fair to say that it wasn’t my most glamorous weekend away, but following that night, one of my soberest.

The point of this lengthy digression, apart from reminding myself that once upon a time I did find it possible to do such things, is to highlight how far my attitude to packing, these days, is removed from this.

I have two lists on the go for our week in Sweden and Denmark (note, please, that both places we are staying are fully equipped with washing machines).  One, in my planner, is the Must Not Forget At All Costs.  It is in my planner since I look at the planner all the time, so its contents become seared into my brain.  The other is on a piece of paper which acts jointly as a prompt for M to email the lovely people whose apartment we’re in in Denmark (critical questions include: can we have their WiFi password?) and as a multi-functional list for all four of us, with different combinations depending on a wide variety of factors (eg. Ls: 5 pairs of pants; us: 4 pairs of pants – theory being, you see, we are less likely to encounter any ‘issues’ in that area and there are washing machines, so the kids essentially have ‘one for luck’ pre mid-hols laundry session).

The ‘throw it all in, get it wrong, buy something inappropriate at the airport as a substitute’ packer is replaced by the ‘if anything’s forgotten it’s personal failure and five strokes of the cat o’nine tails’ packer.  Tonight is phase one, always only phase one on the penultimate night as I always work late then to allow for phase two on the final night.  Tonight is ‘things we can manage without for two nights’ – fresh toiletries, Veet (no time to de-furr with all these packing complexities) and unread books, plus underwear, naturally.  Tomorrow is more critical.  I will update, then, if I can, but it’s pretty all-encompassing, so that update is unlikely…  Meet you on the other side therefore…


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