I go to Newcastle for the weekend because flights are cheap and I am homesick. Homesick for the people and the sun. Homesick for a place that wasn’t even my home for very long.
I get up much, much too early and have a panic attack in the Jetstar lounge about the weight of my carry-on. I fly into Newcastle when the sun is barely up and think a lot about how little sleep I am likely to get this weekend.
Beth and I go to the movies to escape the torrential rain. We buy a ticket to the next movie that’s on and smuggle in barely concealed pastry. We eat doughnuts in the darkened cinema and try to ignore the loud dripping from a light fitting which steadily leaks water into a collection of buckets.
I GM my first game of Paranoia. beccamarsh covers herself in toxic waste the moment the mission begins, Rachel blows up the entire team with a grenade and Fin grows a giant crab’s claw and uses it to crush communists.
We watch old Eurovision videos late into the night. Eventually Eurovision morphs into Jedward and we loudly explain to the less versed among us why Edward is easily the better twin. We dance and sing and laugh and yell the chorus to “What’s Your Number” over and over and over.
We get up at 5am and put glitter on our faces and make tea. Wrapped firmly in blankets, we dance with just our arms so as not to expose our lower halves to the cold. Everyone votes a lot of times for Belgium and some times for other countries and we’re not sure if our votes count. We yell a lot at the TV and are glad that Russia doesn’t win. We have pavlova for breakfast.
I dream that I nap all the way into the evening and am slightly disappointed when I wake after only two hours. Fin and Rachel teach me Agricola. I do ok, thanks largely to a last minute fencing decision. We listen to Conchita’s album three times in a row.
Beth and I walk along the cliffs, up hills and through parks and down along the ocean. I think about the event I want to program on these cliffs and how I didn’t really appreciate Newcastle’s coastline when I lived in reach of it. We stop for Calypsos and watch a tiny fluffy seagull waddle up and down.
When I walk out of the airport the wind is so cold my face goes numb and the feeling is so at odds with the hot sun and sea breeze of the morning. I just keep thinking “I wore a t-shirt today” as I pull my jacket closer. Home to boyfriend cooking me schnitzels and TV and our flannelette sheets with the pastel zigzags. Home. I have too many of those.