Today is a very special person’s birthday. That’s right, today Mr. Ken Kurp turns 23. Oh, and it’s Wittgenstein’s birthday too, though he’s older than 23 and he was nuts and Austrian. Here he is, escaping from Alcatraz in ’33.

i decided to celebrate this dual birthday by teaching a private student in the morning – another German engineer, he designs locomotive engines and has pretty good English. So far my students are either Arbeitsamt types or engineers – the former are hard to teach, the latter generally easy, and for me much more interesting. Today’s engineer even completed my joy by talking about logic, at which point i mentioned Wittgenstein and got a nod of recognition – or so i thought, perhaps it was a head spasm or even a kind of Teutonic dance.

After work i had an ice cream with Morgana – she has decided that regular doses of ice cream cool her otherwise uncontrollable fits of psychopathic rage, so ice cream has become a part of her daily routine, and all is well. Sudden bursts of sunshine gave way to fierce, brief rain, then sun, then more lunatic rain, blown into our faces as we try to eat ice cream like the civilized human beings we aren’t, huddled against the rain and wind under the cafe awnings, squealing against the cold and the wet, catlike. She looks to be escaping an old dark, impishly glad and scheming over ice cream, ancient in her youth and lust, mismatched ocean eyes, blue and green, shining. The sight of her almost malevolently savouring ice cream is not to be forgotten.

Tomorrow i drive out to a company to teach more engineers. The town’s name is a little odd, and tugged at my mind. So today after ice cream i went to the car rental place and a friendly Bosche showed me how to drive their tiny car, advising me “but here we drive on the other side of the road.” A small but important difference.

i haven’t driven for 6 years – apart from once with my sister when she had a mental collapse at the wheel – and i’ve never driven outside of Blighty. The trip home was most amusing, terrifying and delightful as i kept thinking “stay on the right, stay on the right” and tried to decipher the satnav’s barked German commands to get back to Casa Elberry. i had problems with the oversensitive brake, and the automatic transmission (i prefer manual – more control, more sensitivity, more skill). In the end i decided to go at top speed, as, over certain speeds, my mind goes funny and i just do the right things; for a dog of my temperament, any speed under 60 mph is highly dangerous, as i have to deal with it in my normal frame of mind, with predictably terrible results:

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