Monday, March 14, 2005

not dead, planning potatoes

Perhaps it's because we're teaching the cream of the General Electric Company of Libya's engineers, but there was another power cut this morning. I got a bath in the dark. Mostly, I have corn flakes in my room of a morning, and I've bought an electric kettle - so that was a poor start to the day, I'm thinking, when I noticed that the lights were on in the corridor, shining under my door, so decided to go down to breakfast.

The lifts always take a while to come. As I'm waiting, I realise I'm a bit disoriented, possibly emerging from a darkened room into fluorescent light has done it. It's very quiet, too. I think, Hi! What if everything's changed? If everything works properly, and everyone's pleasant to one another?

Then I thought: Logically, if everything's changed to that extent, you're in the hereafter… I looked around me: the carpet's cheap, some kind of man made fabric; the door edging is coming away. The lift when it comes has masses of smeared hand prints over its chrome mirror-walls. In the dining room there's the operating-theatre style lighting, and the same glum resentment in the air. The coffee's tepid and manky. Nothing new is being said by the same faces.

I'm alive and not-quite well in Tripoli.

Wish I could post something cheery. But then you could say it's a good idea to post the reality of a situation. As one of my colleagues, Marcus, said this morning, you forget the depression and frustration, and only remember the occasional anecdote. My Dad's a great story teller, and tells good ones about his time in the Merchant Navy 40-odd years ago; but he has said that it was almost all boredom and bloody hard work. The funny stories naturally avoid the uncomfortable facts.

Inshallah, a week from now I'll be amongst the earth of the allotment. Home for Easter. Hopefully I'll be able to get a bag of potatoes to plant on Good Friday. And get the greenhouse built and sow the herbs I've been thinking about so much during the last 12 months out here.
I've been growing a clove of garlic in a cut off plastic bottle on my balcony. I'm planning on taking it home in a Pringles' tube. Perhaps its descendants will be flavouring our food years from now.

As for photos: thanks for asking, Loops: pain in the arse to post them from a slow-connexion internet cafe, but i'll make up for that once i'm home - yes, I have a lovely wee didgy camera, and have saved several pics.