The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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7:28am on Wednesday, 21st September, 2005:



Well, that's the closest I've come to death in a while.

I've been to continental Europe often enough now to be unfazed by their breakfasts. I took in my stride the "soft-boiled eggs" that were cold (and consequently indistinguishable from the "hard-boiled eggs" ), the individually foil-wrapped custard cream biscuits (that tasted of Nice biscuits, which is to say not very nice at all); the odd-shaped bread; the unflavoured yoghurt you're supposed to put jam in (I think). The first hint that things were perhaps awry was when I tipped the warm milk from the hot plate (the only milk available) onto my cornflakes: some of it shot off and landed on my trousers. Only being here 2 days, I hadn't brought a spare pair; I'm going to look even scruffier than usual when I give my talk tonight...

No, what nearly killed me was the coffee.

I'd drunk about 4 glasses of orange juice, but had made a coffee (the hot water not being hot enough for tea) so decided I maybe should drink it. The architecture of the cup was such that after I'd taken a swig, it sent another wave down. Unfortunately, I was breathing at the time. The resulting coughing fit sprayed coffee over everything within a metre in front of me ("cone of coffee", it's a second-level D&D wizard spell) and lasted so long that the only other person there (a member of staff) came and asked me if I was still alive. Some 20 seconds later I was able to croak an affirmative reply.

She asked me in English, too, not Dutch; they must get a lot of us suffering from the effects of a poor understanding of Dutch coffee cup design.

Eggs are brown here, by the way, which robs my earlier outburst on the subject of some of its sting. Before you ask, they were brown before I coughed coffee on them.

Referenced by Lying Guide Books.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).