Saturday, 9 February 2008

Triplets kidnapped in Yemen

Yes. Grit, Dig, and the three little gritlets are all going to visit Yemen, so here's hoping the above turns out not to be the headline half-way down page 7 of the Independent next week. Sometime then, we will be disgorged from the relative comfort and safety of the UAE and tipped into a strange land, and hopefully not into the hands of a tribal fanatic half way up a mountainside holding an AK47 and a grudge.

We are as prepared as we can be. Once in Yemen, we're not planning on travelling about (much) thanks to the killing of the Belgian tourists recently. But between now and then, if we decide to get cold feet, and reckon a UNESCO World Heritage site can be found on the south of England anyway, then we could point, if not to the kidnappings, to the Yemeni tribal conflicts, and the 1997 Sanaa massacre (on the latter Wikipedia so helpfully supplies information) as good, sound reasons to stay at home.

But let's face it. What is there at home. Apart from relative peace, order, stability and a wage. Oh well. The opportunity's here. Let's grab it, go off, learn about life, and learn about ourselves. At the very least we can say 'Hey up, we needed to study Islamic culture, and pitching argumentative triplets into the middle of a muslim society seemed to be a good way to do it'. And at the worst we can say, 'Sorry about the diplomatic incident. We promise not to do it again'. (But we'll probably not say that in Arabic.)

Anyway, the next few days are all about managing a safe and efficient departure to the Middle East. Regular readers will know that Dig pushes off at short notice all around the world and this time, instead of being left alone and at home to have the back gate fall on me, or run the house, the business, the kids, and life into the ground, Grit, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are all packing their toothbrushes and going with him.

On the minus side this family trek probably will mark the end of Dig's sojourns in Yemen and the surrounding countries. (Evidence: Dig used to get a regular invite to Windsor Great Park to be important in commas on the Queen's property, until one year the little grits turned up and ran around the estate dining rooms in red plastic wellington boots. Neither he, nor we, have been invited back since.)

So because I am busy packing and getting all upset because Squirrel has made a life-size model of a goose in the front room out of newspaper and distributed the clippings all over the floor, tables, sofa, TV and computer, for a few days on Grit's Day there might only be pictures. And then it will all go strangely quiet.

However, when we return I'll probably look at my handwritten diaries, notes and jottings and use them to fill in, retrospectively, all Grit's days with something, like what we ate for breakfast.

Please understand filling in something for everyday really is not to keep anyone informed about how triplets cope, pulled from a comfortable house in secular Smalltown and dropped down next to a camel on a mountain to explore what it means to be a Muslim child growing up in another part of the world. No, of course not. Unless there are author's rights to negotiate. No, maintaining an everyday chronicle is just to toil forward to the end of another year's diary blog in December 2008 when I can go PAH! I did it! A post for every day! HA HA!

For the moment I'll not write anymore, not about the fight in Tesco between the security staff and the robber, not about feeling sick after finishing off an enormous bowl of cherry brandy pie with chocolate sauce and cream, and not about finding a burned out car mysteriously appearing next to our own in the car park, all of which is the stuff of Grit's normal life. It will have to wait.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this, from Squirrel.

Grit: Do you know, Squirrel, someone wrote a lovely comment on my blog the other day. It put me in a really good mood. And guess what? A mummy in a good mood just bought a pack of chocolate biscuits! Would you like one?
Squirrel: Can I take five?
Grit: Three is quite enough. Now, let's think about this. (Eager to teach a nice bit of vocabulary and some morals into the bargain.) Did you see how when someone was nice to me, that good deed sort of stayed there, didn't it, but it also changed. It became transformed. The good deed transformed into something else. It transformed into chocolate biscuits!
Squirrel: Are the chocolate biscuits a good deed from you to us?
Grit: Yes! Exactly! And now it's your turn. What could the chocolate biscuits transform into?
Squirrel: Poopy.


Brad said...

God love ya Squirrel. Seven year old wisdom.

Trip sounds exciting. Go and be our sponge. Soak it all up, take many pics and report back. I can't wait to hear.

Gill said...

Squirrel might be onto something! Mmmm... cherry brandy pie... and wow, Yemen?? That's quite an adventure!

Angela said...

Have a safe trip...I look forward to reading all about it!