In which I arrive in Ireland

Diary entry – 6:15am, 30th Aug. Newcastle Airport

Eating a disgusting excuse for food in the terminal Costa.  There are well over a thousand people here rushing about; it cheers me up a bit to know that the holiday season isn’t over, this summer has been long and drab.

I’m so tired I feel sick.

After a lovely evening in my friend’s house in Newcastle, we went to bed in her attic room at the top of the second floor.  The bed was set up beneath a large skylight.  The rain pelted it all night, keeping me from getting into deep sleep – instead I drifted through lucid dreams about Laura and I walking through a storm, and also about Roger the Alien, surprisingly.  We were up at 4.45am, before the sun.  A taxi arrived at 5am to take me to the airport.

When I got here, I had a terrible fright.  I looked at my ticket and read 173, Fri 30th Aug.  Panic hit me like a thunderbolt.  The festival starts on Friday!  I won’t get there til tomorrow.  But I’d checked over and over that today was the 30th.  This was compounded by the faint memory that this was not the day I’d intended to travel, there were no flights on that day.  Surely I’d have booked a day early rather than late?  Wouldn’t I?

I took out my phone and googled the festival: Friday 31st Aug – Sun 2nd Sept.  Was that tomorrow or today?  I tried to retrace my steps over the week.  I looked at the ticket again, taking deep breaths and at last saw what it was: It said FRI 173, 30th Aug – Fri was just some code for the flight.

Proof if it were needed that I shouldn’t be allowed out on my own.

I have impressed myself with my frugal packing.  Usually I bring a spare ball-gown and high heels, momentarily forgetting that I spend 6 days a week in jeans.

Contents of suitcase

Sony DV camera, swathed in towel and university jumper

Nightie.  A nice one, for sleeping in dorms.

2 x hippy dress

Make-up bag

Dry shampoo (though forgot wet shampoo)

Sun cream


MP3 recorder


Phone charger

Changes of underwear and T shirt

Wearing: jeans, T shirt, tie-dye hoodie, leather jacket and sandal trainers.

The flight passed without tragedy.  Whenever I arrive in Ireland, I have the feeling that I have escaped my life – for the past week I have been feeling like my head was about to crack in two from stress, but when I breathed my first breath in Dublin (the air here is warmer and cleaner than back home) I finally thought it could all be worth it.


In which I panic

It’s the eve of my journey.  Tomorrow I will depart a friend’s flat in Newcastle at 5am to begin a long and irksome journey, with the island glinting like paradise on the horizon.

To Do

Collect camera from university – Done.

Pack around the camera (cannot be done until I am sure the camera is under 15kg) – Done.

Change £200 into euros – Done.  And pray it will cost no more than that.

Buy something with credit card then pay it back to build good credit rating.  Unrelated, but important.

Get documentary-maker demeanour right – Not done.  Feel juvenile and scared.

Print boarding pass for flight and hostel. – Not done.  Should probably stop blogging until this is done.

In which I am annoyed by Ryanair

I have spent today with two constant companions: my debit card and a budget Irish airline.  I had virtually no choice, because charged £270, as opposed to Ryanair, where I got them for £57, if you don’t include the £50 they charged for you taking a bag.  Nevertheless, they outrage every moral fibre in my body.  I hear that the tres moderne thing to do with anger is thrash it at the internet, so let’s see what I can do:

Their site keeps deciding I’m a robot because I cannot read their stupid scrambled image words.

They allow you to book under the title Master, but not Miss – is an infant boy more likely to be booking a flight than an unmarried woman?

They have tried to sell me: insurance, a bag (in case Ryanair charge me extra for hand luggage), a car, a hotel and a text telling me when my plane is due.

£50 for a 15kg bag?!  I really hope the camera fits in there…  This will require some strategic packing.

There is no rai…

There is no rail link to Dublin airport.  That is all.

In which I start a blog

This morning I woke up shaking.  In less than two weeks I will be on a remote island filming a documentary and I hadn’t booked the flight or the camera yet.  In the creamy blueness that preceeds the dawn, I lay there swearing at myself.  The reason I stalled thus far is a financial one.  A big, scary, financial one.  For the past two years I have lived hand-to-mouth on student loan – this year, I’ve not even had that.  The amount of money I have to throw at my career, a career that I don’t even have yet, is terrifying.  It is wake-up-crying-at-4-a.m. terrifying.  The day after I get back from this endeavour I will be on a train to London for an interview for an internship at a prestigious media company, staying the night in a hostel, returning the next day and all in a pair of respectable black shoes that I have yet to buy.

Personal cost = £150 approx.

And that’s just to earn the opportunity to spend a fortnight working for them for free.

Anyway, in that peculiar way we do, I was stalling buying the ticket in case some much cheaper form of transport was invented before 30th August.  The scientists were dragging their feet, so today I would have to start booking planes.  The trouble with this is that I was doing it without knowing where I was going to have to be to get a camera.

Unfortunately a composite part of my camera had become indisposed (It’s the battery. Don’t tell anyone.)

I fumbled for my phone and tapped away at it.  An email was waiting from the Chair of my student telelvision station.  He had reservations about letting me take a camera out of the country for 20 days.  “What about if I took one of the old DVs?”  I tapped back.

Later that morning, after more fitful sleep, he replied in the affirmative.  “Look after it though, Tess.”

“Like it was my child!”

Camera: check.  And an mp3 recorder just in case.

Accommodation: check.  A hostel for a night in Cork, then three nights in a hostel called Tir Na Nog on the island.  Paid for!

Now the only problem was my lack of transportation.  Last year I arrived on the island a day late, having made no allowances for the eccentricities of the Irish transport system.  Supposing I go to York to collect the camera a few days in advance, the best part of my jounrney will be the plane from Newcastle to Dublin.  For reasons known to themselves, Ryanair don’t fly to Cork.

Return was a very reasonable £57.  Though if I was going to be taking a bag, that would be £107.  And I couldn’t be a ‘Miss’ according to their booking page, I was either married or a Ms.  Add into this the cost of the trains and the buses, you begin to see my worries.  I can’t divulge them to my parents, because they don’t see the merit in anything that’s not financially sound in the short term.  It will be worth it, won’t it?

This documentary is a free-lancer’s wet dream, I hope I don’t screw it up.

God, I hope I don’t screw it up.

As I was buying the plane tickets, the internet cut out completely and cancelled my purchase.  I began trembling again, and the dog look at me pityingly.  Jesus, what a mess.

It’s not normal to need a gin to book a holiday, is it?  Then it came to me: A blog, I thought.  A dumping ground for my neuroses.