Drowning in Berlin ...

Ralph Mellon
Ralph Mellon

I stumbled bleary-eyed back to work this week after spending close on two days on a laptop trying to book a holiday in Berlin.

Normally, it’s unwise to entrust me with such responsibility, because of laziness and a general desire to evade, er, responsibility.

But, as I was simultaneously returning a favour and arranging a landmark birthday present, there was no way out – ironically, a bit like Berlin at one time.

I turned 50 a couple of years ago and my brother gifted me a short holiday in Tenerife.

This year, he hits the half-century, so it’s incumbent on me to reciprocate by organising a brief break of his choosing. East Germany it is.

Now, it’s a dozen years since I took sole charge of organising flights and accommodation abroad, so I was meticulousness personified.

With flights sorted, I then must have glanced over every holiday apartment in the city before, late at night, I tried to book one.

The fraulein who owns it emailed back to say it was too soon to confirm – could I contact her again in, say, three months?

Figuring I needed a break, I settled back to watch ‘Deutschland 83’. We still need somewhere to stay.

Big night out: Having unexpectedly received my ticket for Christmas, I’m off on Sunday to Edinburgh to catch Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer in their 25th anniversary tour show, which I’m assured is still on despite Bob’s recent triple heart bypass.

I loved the ‘Big Night Out’ show on Channel 4 circa 1990 – risking a cliche, we’d never seen anything like it before.

Its successive series on the BBC were great too. Looking forward hopefully to revisiting Novelty Island, Graham Lister, Action Image Exchange, Donald and Davy Stott, Morrisey the Consumer Monkey, the Man With The Stick, and others, and hearing: “You wouldn’t let it lie!”