Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Other worlds

We are home for 24 hours, travelling en route from Dubai, aiming for Barcelona. This is how Dig lives, and I like it. I like it so much that I could give up my soul to this, and travel, constantly. I would never come home. Home would be where I am, here and there; best with Dig and Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, and we would make up life just as we needed. Simple pleasures. But of course now, at my age, I need a hot dinner, laundry, pressure showers, working kitchen, black coffee on waking, and clean white sheets too. Luxuriously, these travel essentials appear on those rare days I touch down into Dig's world. Along with cars and drivers, lunch at someone else's expense, and proper parties with smart talking chit chat and champagne.

Well that is how it has sometimes been, amidst the Dubai desert and the harsh Yemeni mountains; finding a decorous Britishness handing out the fizz. Dig's life we've glimpsed as we've tagged along behind, peering, oohing and aahing at the sounds and the sights. And with Dig we have been allowed to inhabit sand-blasted houses thrown up in the desert, cool down in alabaster bathrooms, drop by on diplomatic gatherings, ride camels, and sip mint cooler.

On the days we have been led by the hand into this other world, then Grit and the little gritlets have tried to smile nice when required and not be overwhelmed, out of our depth. Mostly, when we are there, the important people are hospitable and indifferent, gaze past us and look intently only to Dig. In the past that's a circumstance I've been glad for or resent, usually swayed by how many children I have hanging from me, how much I've drunk and what frock I'm wearing. But this time, when we can be explained away as the family brought along as an after thought for a rare together holiday when the work is done, then in everyone's eyes we can be properly placed, as taggers along, an explanation as to why we are living out of one small wheelie bag, and why all our clothes are washed one colour. Then it's easy for us to be unimportant and get on with what's necessary, like feeling the warm, rounded relief of the white gypsum plaster lifted up in alphabetic patterns against the brown mud brick of the San'a town house we've so happily inhabited, before leaving without dignity and with Tiger in tears.

But in the 24 hours we're passing through the UK, it is not Dig's world we're meeting. It is Grit's. Grim, back to earth, and slapping into normality. I wake this morning, sleep-crashing through timezones, and hear banging. Opening the window I discover two men heading up to the roof, forty foot high, one tied to a rope, perched atop two wobbly ladders, the other hugging the bottom of the ladder because, he says, he's two stone heavier and better on the ground. I'd go and stand in the garden and find out what's going on, but I can't locate any warm clothes and anyway, scaffolding is blocking the back door.

So today Doug and Dave are on the roof, there are ladders and a rope hanging like a noose over the front door and metal pipes everywhere, but there's no time to know or explain. Tomorrow we're out in another direction, to Barcelona, and while Dig's working, Grit and the gritlets will be wondering about Dig's world while strolling down Las Ramblas.

6 comments:

Brad said...

Welcome home and safe travel, and please post some pics? eh ? Looking forward to your travel stories.

Trevor said...

Ahh, Barcelona. One of my favourite cities in the whole world. The atmosphere, the scents, the stories...happy days indeed.

However, as much as you are enjoying your world-girding ways, we need you back home and blogging. Dig's world sounds fine but it's Grit's which keeps us fascinated. It's just a bit selfish all this being on holiday stuff...

Dani said...

Sounds amazing. Missed you. I love Barcelona too, and can only vaguely imagine Yemen, or the delights of Dig's World. Hope you have a lovely time.

Angela said...

Can't wait to hear more...sounds fabulous!

Minnie said...

Ay. You enjoy yourself. xx

grit said...

hi all, it's good to be back with so many of your blogs to read too!