1. Another German class today. i attend with Ethan and Michelle, both American English teachers. i’ve been learning German, on and off, since September 2009 so my grammar is theoretically better than theirs, but in practice not. Ethan, a gregarious drunk, probably uses German more than i do. i am often frustrated to the point of Neanderthal rage at my inability to use this frigging language on the street. However, our tutor is very good and after a lesson i always feel high, excited, believing i can actually speak German. Of course i can’t – i can only speak within a very very narrow framework. This is the skill of the good teacher, and why teaching beginners is so different to – well, everything else.

i’ve stopped trying to learn German on my own, after getting (almost) nowhere. i’ve shifted back to Italian, with bliss. i prefer German but Italian is so much easier, logical, instinctive, open, that with almost no work i can make good progress, whereas learning German is more like running up a mountain with a rucksack full of stones.

It would no doubt help, with my German, if i ever talked to anyone other than other English teachers, but being a sociophobe somewhat hinders my progress.

2. i discovered my mattress was half-covered in mould, on the underside. i have learnt a lesson here – don’t lay mattresses directly on the floor, especially not if you dry clothes on your radiator and rarely open the window. Nothing else for it, i got drunk, wrestled the bastard out of the flat and left it on the pavement for the council to pick up. They helpfully offer to pick items up as long as you pay and they are not left “against hedges, under walls, on private property, behind parked cars, on pavements, on grass, under trees”, i.e. anywhere a man could leave an unwanted item. Nonetheless i dumped it against a hedge, on the pavement, behind parked cars, and if it’s still there in 24 hours i will douse it with booze and burn the fucker.

My room is immediately and pleasingly much roomier. It was a double mattress, so exactly twice as wide as i require. Tonight i will attempt to sleep on the sofa bed Morgana gave me back in March. It has an enticingly spartan look to it. Given that some of the best kips i’ve had were on sofas, this bodes well.