6am wake up call. With 2 hours sleep, not hungover, still drunk. I try and crap but nothings happening. I have a sit down shower. On the way out the door my breakfast arrives. Jim Bowen may as well of delivered this.
“Look at what you could have won.” I sign for a breakfast that is costing someone 30 sheets, I take a croissant to go and meet the team in the lobby. My car arrives, I pray my driver doesn’t speak a lick of English so I can sleep for the 5 hour trip to Villerat. Today is the tour of the Montblanc factory.
My driver Fabian is a cool guy, but he asks me three times if I want to stick my iPod in.
‘You asked for it pal.’
I stick on the greatest hits of Lalo Schriffin and read my book on Confucius. Only the hangover is overtaking my capacity to digest ancient Chinese philosophy and I fall asleep.
I wake at the Swiss border. A cop with a gun eyeballs me as he sticks his noodle through the drivers window, probably wondering why the car smells of alcohol – but lets us through.
Fabian wants to talk about Brexit and whether we should stay in the EU. It’s all my fault, I asked what he’s studying and it turns out he’s doing a Masters in Economics. I think I fall asleep as she’s talking. All I remember is waking up in a Swiss village called Solothurn.
The team head to a cafe by the river. Charles from Esquires poses a hypothetical.
“Do you think it’s possible to swim across that river?” I’m tempted to find out, only if I didn’t make it across my parents would have to come to Switzerland to identify my body. They could probably do with the holiday but my Dad is not a fan of foreign food and plus, it would be horrible PR for BMW and Montblanc.
We arrive at Villaret for a tour of the Montblanc factory. I walk through an air lock security and feel like vomiting.
During lunch, two representatives from Montblanc, Florence and Florian give us a mini run down of the history of Montblanc and the group are all asking telling, insightful questions. I haven’t spoken for awhile, and am concious that I’m coming across as disinterested.
“Do you have any bears in the forest?” I ask looking out into the picturesque landscape that has rolling hills, snow capped mountains and circling buzzards. I really should have just said nothing.
On the tour I steady my anxiety with long breathes. I’m sweating away in the lab coat and all the windows are shut to prevent contamination. Nothing can jeopardise the beautiful construction and the studious craftsmanship that goes into making a Montblanc watch. No air conditioning. I think if I throw up now, the smell of vomit would hang around for weeks.
It’s time to leave. It was interesting only I felt horrible for being such a forgettable presence. On the way back to the airport I convince Fabian to stop off at Lake Geneva for some photos. I felt sexy, almost like Deniro in Heat making that fatal last stop to whack Wayne Grove instead of taking the safe ‘out’. Secretly I need a new Tinder profile, only I look hungover in the close ups so delete the majority.
At the airport I hug Fabian goodbye. I make a connection from Geneva airport to Frankfurt. Paul texts me that Liverpool are 2-0 up versus Everton.
“Name me a famous living German.” I text.
“Boris Becker.” He replies.
“Bingo.” I write. Fuck Angela Merkel and fuck Duncan. (See Things to do in Munich when you’re Pedro).
I buy a croissant for a fiver bringing the daily spend to 35 sheets for two croissants. From Frankfurt to Birmingham. I get a taxi home to Peterborough, and when I climb into bed, I replay the days events in my head. “Do you have any bears in Switzerland.” You asshole Brooker.