Not drowning, but waving


When I was in the Serengeti last March/April time Joe, the Yr 5 teacher, came up with a game to keep us amused.  Any time another safari car came by you had to wave at the occupants of the car.  Easy enough you would think, but the game was to keep on waving for as long as you could, beyond the comfortable limits of being polite.  You won if you managed to wave for the longest time, especially if the others waved back.  If they didn’t they were normally termed ‘miserable bastards’ and waved at anyway with a fixed grin on our faces.  It was like a car version of this:

 

Long car journeys when I was small always involved waving at other travellers, people in coaches, other children trapped in the back of cars being dragged by their parents to god-knows-where and, of course, truckers.  You were most successful if you got a trucker to honk their horn at you as you drove past.  Sometimes this would be accompanied by Dad’s truck driving country song mix tape.  Later, in our battered space cruiser, the Fairport Convention album ‘Glady’s Leap’ got stuck in the tape player and so was on repeat for about 3 years.  When I hear this song, I can still picture myself staring out of the moon roof, trying to count stars as we went Driving In The Dark. 

 

I’ve been playing the waving game a little bit since getting here.  It’s one of the things I do to entertain myself when I’m plodding around on my own.  It seems to work well on boats, although everyone else gives up a little quicker than I do, but then they don’t know we’re playing.  If they did, they’d probably try a little harder. 

 

What I have noticed in most of the places I’ve been to, around the UK, Western Europe, Tanzania, Kenya and now Thailand, is that children still delight in getting a wave out of strangers driving or sailing by.  In Tanzania, children would rush to the sides of the road waving frantically, on the motorways of France, Spain and Germany they press their faces up against their car windows, hands madly shaking back and forth.  In Thailand there’s a mixture of the two, kids by the side of the road, perched on scooters, in the front of pick up trucks.  And anywhere you go you are greeted with huge smiles.  If only we were by more adults. 

Red, red wine


Actually, that’s misleading from the start, sorry. Today’s moderate level of suffering was solely the responsibility of white wine, but I don’t know a song about that, or a film and I’ve got to stick to my theme.  Even if rather loosely.  I’ll cook prawns in a red wine sauce for dinner in a bit if that makes you feel better.  Actually, that’s not true either because it’s nine o’clock and I should be going back to bed soon.  I will be eating a blueberry swirl ice cream as I type.  Just to keep you updated.

Shall I start again?

Probably best.

Today I think I’ve had my first hangover in about 9 years.  I got in from the bar at about 3, woke up at 6 needing the loo (like you need to know) had some water and – probably a mistake – a chocolate orange brownie.  I tried to have the sensible bacon sandwiches but that didn’t happen for a good six hours.  I’ve been tired, a little bit shaky from too much of a sugar rush and have spent the day very productively in bed watching Elementary and Southland.  For those of you who don’t know, Elementary is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes tv series set in New York with Johnny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson his sober companion.  It’s not as good as Sherlock but I like it.  Southland is a tv series about police in South Central LA.  It has Ben McKenzie (AKA Ryan ‘Fists of Fury’ Attwood from the OC) in it and is a better show, but harder to watch when feeling delicate.  Another show that has graced my computer screen today is Hart of Dixie, with Rachel Bilson (also OC) but by far the best is Grey’s Anatomy.  I love it, it’s trashy, it’s melodramatic, they keep killing off my favourite characters, but I can watch it over and over again whenever I am feeling like crap and it cheers me up.  When I run out of new episodes I go back to series 1 and start again…

Sorry, tangent, that happens when I’m eating ice cream.

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“…you were born in a merry hour…”


“No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born…”

William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favourite Shakespeare adaptations.  I think it’s a very accessible way of seeing Shakespeare, which I started seeing live on my 12th birthday.  Yes, it’s a bit far fetched that Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves are brothers and Keanu’s not really worked on his acting, but Michael Keaton is a joy as Dogberry and it has a great pairing of Beatrice and Benedick in Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh.  The characters just spark off each other from the beginning of the play/film, trading insults and quips, with equal levels of intelligence. They deceive themselves in thinking that they don’t care anything for each other, but after being tricked by their friends they have an open and honest declaration of their feelings and have one of the strongest relationships in Shakespeare’s plays.  (Sorry to anyone who has actually studied literature, I just really like Shakespeare and that’s my understanding of it, feel free to correct me in the comments….)

Growing up I saw these films and plays, I read books and imagined that one day I would meet someone  like Jo Marsh meets Professor Bhaer, Beatrice and Benedick, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy, Emma Woodhouse and Mr Knightley, you get the picture.  Basically someone who gets me, can put up with my nonsense and give back as good as they get from me.  Someone who I feel completely comfortable with and can just be myself.

Now I know someone like that, in fact my Mum even said he was my Mr Knightley, and I’ve loved him for years.  With all that’s been going on I thought it was about time to tell him, because he might feel the same, or he might not, either way I would know and could either give it a go with him (not sure how that would work in separate continents) or let it go and find someone equally marvellous but who wanted to be with me.  So I told him, I wrote a letter.

I was very stressed waiting for a reply – never post something important over a weekend, it just drags out nervousness – but when I got one, well, it wasn’t exactly what I hoped for but it was good to hear.  Not sure why I was worried really, I knew that he would be really good about it and reply in a way that wouldn’t hurt my feelings.  So, yes, it doesn’t seem like my life is going to be working out as it does for literary heroines, but there you go, it rarely does.  I’ll just have to keep reading things with a pinch of salt and remember that reality isn’t always so neatly plotted – happy ever afters don’t just drop by, you’ve got to make some choices to help you find your own, but if you don’t try you’ll never succeed.  So I tried and it didn’t quite work, but I’m glad that I did.  I’m now back in touch with a really good friend and don’t have to be trying to hide how I feel (apparently I wasn’t so successful in that anyway because he already knew.  Balls)  I know he’ll always be there if I need him and life is much better with him in it, whether we are a couple or not.

So that’s that then, and in 5 days I go back to Africa.  These past five weeks have been a huge mixture of emotions, but I’ve got normal life to get back to…

(For those of you wondering, I know I would be, I let him read this before publishing it, it seemed only fair.  His only comment to add was: “You should mention that I was wowed by your paella.  I certainly was.” So there you have it.)