Wasn’t feeling too well yesterday so am taking it easy. Thank you for helping: here are some of your own comments on the blog anecdotes, gratefully received over the last few weeks. Too much effort to give all the blog references so I’ve added a phrase or two to explain if necessary. Apologies if you didn’t want them published. Too late now!
My thanks to ….
S: “The Sudan Club [the British Club in Khartoum] is certainly etched in the memory. Women were not allowed in the bar during the day – I went in once in a swimming costume to the horror of the old hands who did not think some emergency (was it someone scratched by a cat?) justified the intrusion.”
C: “My father was a prisoner of war in what was then Siam, one of the Bridge on the River Kwai mob, captured in the fall of Singapore. Dad was saved by the dropping of the bomb in Japan.” [DP: the Revd B saved also]
H: “In the last week of February 1973 B, J, A and I went to a small party in Khartoum to celebrate the departing US Chargé d’Affaires and the newly appointed US Ambassador. They were all playing on the floor with J’s toy cars. Later that week on the 1st of March the two diplomats were seized by the Palestinian Aylul al-Aswad and then executed.”
M: “Reflecting on your latest musings, I’ve come to believe that our willingness to ask questions that have no definitive answer is what separates man from beast.”
B: “I disgraced myself in the Buckingham Palace Garden Party by wearing excessively uncomfortable high-heeled shoes. I remember having to hide behind a rhododendron bush to take them off.”
H: “A good friend of mine, the famous Palestinian xxxxx, asked if I would carry some letters with me from Khartoum and post them in the UK. I was extremely apologetic, but said that in the present atmosphere I couldn’t think of carrying them. I was very sad to tell her that and still am.” [DP: years earlier I’d carried letters the other way, regrettably]
A: “Your remarks on travel without modern communications technology struck a chord – it’s something I regret. Seems to me that we have lost something in the need for self reliance, evaluation of risks etc, and willingness to accept responsibility. But the new stuff is clearly addictive.”
L: “It has occurred to me that lives bear a remarkable likeness to big Venn Diagrams: lots of circles/compartments within which different parts of our lives sit. These compartments, just as Venn diagrams, overlap to a greater or lesser extent.”
M: “I’d forgotten all about the tortuous leaving procedure [from Khartoum] until the recent blog. I seem to remember a few years later in India, when faced with bureaucracy, telling my friends, “It was much worse in the Sudan!” No compensation at the time, but the trauma had obviously lingered for a while.”
G: “It’s a real pity that you missed the early days in KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia]. You would have enjoyed them. And you would have thrived in the Gulf War(s). The terrorist attacks less so. Tossing heads from windows a mere 250 yards away, and a friend of J’s dragged behind a car for over a kilometre. Not fun.”
H: “A and I were in Aswan with our fire engine when we heard of Kennedy’s assassination.”
R: “Your role as emissary reminded me of my taking letters to refuseniks in the USSR under Brezhnev.”
H: “I’ve just found a schedule [for the illegal church in Saudi Arabia]: On 5 April 1985 you were Lay Reader for the Good Friday service : Genesis 22: 1-18, Psalm 22: 1-11, Hebrews 10: 1-25 and a dramatic reading of the Passion according to John.”
And to all those who congratulated me on shaving off the beard …… and to show that I’m trying to keep fit …. here I am a few weeks ago proudly wearing the victor’s yellow jersey. I’d just won the Tour d’Appartement.