Pack and follow

There is a well-known story about Richard Burton. On leave from his posting in Damascus he went to the foreign office for consultations. They cross posted him. Isabel received an email which said “Dahomey, Pack and Follow”.

We said goodbye to our beloved family on Wednesday 26th January. Unlike most families, we left home and our children stayed behind. The dog and his staff (or the chowhouse) will be Sam (22) and Tabbi (21), Emma (21) and Richard Scrivener (37).

Australia Day was not the best day to fly into Perth. Our plane touched down at 8.30 Western Australian time with fireworks visible from the window. The Sky Show had just finished. The CBD was always closed for the Sky Show.

Our taxi went around and around the city as the meter climbed. Not one road was open. Bob tried his legendary negotiating skills on several police at barricades, but WA police are tough. We were welcome to walk – Miss Maud’s Swedish Hotel was about twenty minutes away. It was at this stage that I started to doubt the wisdom of bringing our luggage with us - all three large cases, two carry-on bags, a laptop computer, a suit carrier, and a handbag.

The taxi dropped us on a slightly sleazy street corner outside a Fast Eddy’s. There I sat with a mountain of luggage while Bob chatted to police on street corners to see when they would drop the barriers – then when the barriers were dropped he spent nearly an hour trying to locate a cab.

Meanwhile a constant VERY cheerful stream of Sky Show watchers poured past me – several had done a lot of pouring the in the last few hours. One fell over my pile of cases and lay there hiccupping occasionally until his friends hauled him out. Several insisted on shaking my hand. A Swiss group was a bit indignant that the party was over as soon as the last firework blinked out.

The best one asked – with a glance at the luggage – if I was “leaving the old man?”

I told them I wasn’t – that he was in the small case.

“Little guy isn’t he?”

“No – just smallish pieces!”

Miss Maud’s Swedish Hotel is called just that and is a ‘medium’ accommodation – no porters, lots of stairs and right angle bends and narrow corridors but heaps of charm and very nice staff.

Food is legendary in Perth – just for a smattering – breakfast came with fresh pancakes and a mountain of blueberries and raspberries and whipped cream. Dinner had an even bigger mountain of every type of seafood you could name and some I couldn’t. There was also a selection of pickled herring and roll mops that had Bob’s mouth watering and made him smell like a cat who had eaten sardines.

I’ll skip the time in Perth – while relaxing and interesting for me it was hard work for Bob.

We are now in Dubai courtesy of Emirates - business class as it was a long trip. I will never really be content in economy again.

They kept asking stupid questions – like “would I like lobster for dinner, or chicken thighs or steak?” We had incredible leg room – I had to use toes on the touch screen as it was to far away otherwise!

More later – if I don’t send this my email time willrun out!


The Final Countdown

The packers have been. We have hardly any furniture. My cat wanders from room to room trying to find a bed to jump onto and uttering plaintive complaints.

Bob and I are leaving home. The children will stay.

Bob is an diplomat who has just been posted to Cairo. In the Australian service spouses claim that while we are interested, we will follow. I am following. Bob is also accredited to Syria, Sudan, Libya and Tunisia so this will be a really interesting posting, with a lot of travel thrown in. He was accredited to Tunisia in the days when we visited Jordan, so I have been there before. In those days we had two younger children, so I only managed one visit.

My blog will be a record of those travels, available to anyone who wishes to read it. I ask only that you pass on the address of the blog, not lumps of my text.

I had intended to run a Yahoo mail list for those who wished to receive emails from me. This involves much less work from me.

My dear friend and webmaster, Kate Andrews, has organised the site. It is up to me to send it an occasional email.

This is the first....testing....testing...

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