Someone’s loaded MS AutoRoute onto the PC in my classroom and, during a quiet moment, I entered my postcode and zoomed in on home. It was a big mistake. There was no detail on the map, but nevertheless I could picture the paths, the roads, the houses, the metro line, the shops, the trees… The Deneside and Murray’s, where luxury of luxuries, you can go and have a conversation, a read of the paper, watch the gee gees on telly, have a pint and a packet of pork scratchings.
Outside the classroom window there’s some waste ground with a fallen tree trunk – eucalyptus I’d guess – about 80 feet long. There are the marks of a fire half way along its trunk where someone’s tried unsuccessfully to burn it. Beyond that there’s a bit of land containing a derelict bus, and an old car propped up on stones. There are some youngish date palms and technicoloured shrubs I can’t identify. Past them there are some tennis courts, and then dusty Zawiyah sprawls on for mile after mile of biggish houses, with their local style of high walls and iron gates. And not a bit of cheer or a kind word this side of the Mediterranean.
You’d have to say I’m homesick. And seven and a half weeks still to go. Bugger.