(2017– an unusually detailed, day to day, mundane entry. Editing the 5 pages of writing to give just the flavour! I think I was experimenting with writing styles and needing to air some personal frustrations!)
“Bitter sweet, winter days….foggy, misty glens and saffron, snow burdeoned, clouds. The low winter sun casts a pale yellow aura on the barks and bracken. Air that feels like ice. Frost lies in the shadows.
Slept badly, tossing and turning, awoke to the dream sound of my mother crying. I felt very frightened….took a long time to get to sleep again.”
Followed by a long description of a very frustrating day, trying to get my bike into a car, discovering that the car would not start, the saga of trying to find jump leads on my Dad’s farm ending with this telling sentence…
“…and when I went to hug him and to apologize for using his time, he stiffened and curtly pointed out how I always seemed to have to spread my problems widley and involve everyone in my shit…. I saw red. He said I should realise how lucky I am to even have a car. I do not ‘have’ a car. I get to use the precious farm car, that would normally be sitting virtually unused. I pay my own fuel, I maintain and keep an eye on it….o.k. it is depreciating, but it is an old , well-used car. of course I am grateful for being able to use it and I express that, or try to! I do not need to be told to be and therefore subtley accused of being irresponsible and disrespectful!!! Aaargh.
I’d spent 3 hours trying to get his car started, to take it to his mechanic to remedy some serious faults that would have got worse if no action was taken. I felt gulity that I had bothered everyone and stupid that I was not able to do it all myself…..judge from the above what is true. I began the drive into Lochgilphead in angry floods of tears…”
(after leaving vehicle at the garage, cycled the 6 miles back to my boyfreind’s house)
“Such a beautiful cycle ride back. Really cleared my head….The bridge over the canal was spectacular. The pink, slate reflective water, the heron flying through the clinging mists….”
“The drive to work. The wind. Strong and powerful. Leaves in the last struggle, flipping silver, grey and gold in a frenzied battle against winter. The sea, steel blue with white caps beating the boats as they lay in the harbour. As I drove the huge landscape unfolded before me. The sky was early tinged with pink and peach. The shepherd’s warning, storm. Suddenly the sun broke through, but as if the wind had ripped out it’s rays, it hung, a spherical, glowing ember, for a second, before the rushing silver clouds hid clothed its raw nudity again. The ground, littered with the remains of summer green. The change in seasons.
Driving toward Lochgilphead the sky was cracked with pink and the autumnal blue haze hung across the plain.
Mornings like this make me question my plans. Something pulls at me here, moves me. I could quite happily spend the rest of my days here….in fact I think I shall look in estate agents today!”
“Late night discussions of something important forgotten.
The long ‘lost’ rambles through canvas and dust, old, city market. Massive and maze-like it sprawls like a lazy Asian dream. Busy in sound only.
The cool sight of gold on red velvet in a shady street, the hot money market, full of men and sincerity.
The hopeless talking with one man about his dreams of studying in England. My guilt.
The old friend seller, recognition, and a rush of comfort and ease as I share with them cawwa and a biscuit or two. The endless promise of,
“Anything. Anything you want , Madame, I will send to you….”
Tikk. O.K. I am a simple person. I ask no more than the comfort of your friendship and the shade of your store on this hot dusty day.
A street wise man is he, Hajee Zameer.
“Many animals make up the jungle.” says he.
I say, ” I think I am the monkey!”. They all laugh with me.
There is another tourist in my hotel I have grown to respect.
A quiet engineer, disguised as an artist.
Yesterday we walked together, in a contented kind of way, through the market world.
A small boy, selling bags.
“Bag sir? Aik rupeea, aik rupee…”
On and on he went, running next to us.
Slowly my friend stopped and took a bag, examined it slowly and then deliberately placed it over the boy’s head!
The boy laughed. The street laughed. I laughed. Nice.
A man with 7 live chickens nestling in the crook of his arm.
Mango juice and sweat.
Quiet moments. Business only….studying silver….going back today to buy more. Special kind. For selling in India.
Bumped into some old familiar faces from last year. Very good to see them.
One guy, weary and thin and working very hard in the anti-opium offices…showed me the new posters and art work. Too busy to stop for long.
And then the Canadian I had met in Goa, who had recommended I come to Pakistan and the Kalash in the first place! What a small world eh! Met up in the Dean’s Hotel that evening for a long catch up and dinner. Very nice. Miss him now…I am going up into the mountains and he is coming down. Very excited now about seeing my Kalash friends again!”