Despite yesterday’s drama, I had to get up at 0600 this morning to get into town by train for a breakfast meeting with a foreign minister. One of these things where he was addressing a group of about 100 people over breakfast; except that I was one of the select ten people at the top table with the minister. Who doesn’t actually speak English. But his French is good. Oh well, one more for my list. No need to get up so early tomorrow.
Found it very difficult to concentrate on work thereafter. Had a very pleasant lunch with an ex-intern, which took the sting out of things a little. (Oddly enough, am seeing another ex-intern for lunch tomorrow.) But a lot of the day seemed to be dealing with post-crash paperwork; getting a new copy of the green card faxed from the insurers (somehow I mislaid the original yesterday) and then faxing it in turn to the bloke I crashed into as for some reason my handwriting at the time was not legible.
Am ever more grateful to all you guys for moral support, but particularly to M. from the Dutch Inter-Church Peace Council who looked after me yesterday afternoon. We knew each other quite well back in Bosnia in 1997, but this was the first time I’d seen her in three years – we had been meant to meet up at a meeting she organised last year, but she fell ill at the last moment. (Though she did drop me a friendly email earlier this year.) I hope that if ever I have an old acquaintance pitch up on my doorstep with a similar tale of woe I will be able to rise to the occasion equally well.
No marks at all to the research institute where I was making my presentation, the reason I drove up to the Hague in the first place. The lecturer in charge smelt suspiciously of booze for so early in the day, and did not endear himself to me by trying to lecture me about the politics of Northern Ireland as a substitute for making small talk, let alone reassuring noises about the crash. The students clearly had no idea who I was, and the promised map of the Balkans to illustrate my talk was in German and dated from the Cold War, so included parts of three countries which have ceaased to exist in the meantime. There will be a modest speaker’s fee, plus travel expenses at the standard rate, but all in all it was not worth it.