It’s been a slow few weeks with very little to grab the attention or, indeed, to write home about. Somewhere between a couple of Eid celebrations we slipped into a some mild, domestic drudgery; shopping, meandering, contemplating and deliberating our lot. It’s kind of funny how normality creeps up on you and before you know it, you’re peering over the lip of a newly formed rut. Fortunately, we recognised it before it entrapped us and a small scouting party went off to the U.K. to report on the weather and buy all those favourite items that we are so deprived of out here, like a particular brand of toothpaste, a certain hot chocolate powder and some T-Shirts from the Primark. The helm at home was ably supervised by the lonely one (who was meant to be working but somehow managed to avoid it).
Before all this happened though, the M.V. Logos Hope came to town. It is the largest, floating bookshop in the world we are told, and who are we to say otherwise. We paid our ‘tuppence’ fee for the bus ride to the ship and boarded her as though we were about to embark on some incredible ocean voyage of discovery. Once inside, we followed the masses into what can only be described as, well, a bookshop. The ship travels around the world selling books to those places that might have a shortage of them; English books mostly but some local language stuff, of course. They had recently been in the Far East and were heading for Africa I believe. I did take a photo or two of the ship but for the life of me cannot find the folder in which they should be sat.
Apart from the books, some of which we did purchase and so added our financial contribution to this non-profit making organisation, there was a very large, walk through display with a live narrator guiding you round and explaining some of the harshest aspects of all our personal lives. Very odd we thought. During a stop in the onboard cafe for drinks and an ice-cream, members of the staff would sidle up and ‘chat’ wanting to know ‘your story’ and then telling you theirs. Recalling the books (over 5000 titles I might add) there seemed to be a disproportionate amount of religious books, specifically Christian books to be exact.
It dawned on us that we were amongst, what we politely call, the ‘Happy-Clappy’ brigade and it wasn’t just the 5000 titles they were spreading – they were spreading the word of Christianity. The crew were a young crowd from all over the world, Australia, China, Africa, South America, Papua New Guinea, Germany, UK, and everywhere inbetween. I immediately tried to sign up for the next sail-away. You can sign up for 3 months, one year or two years. I opted for the two year stint.You have to be over 18 years old – good on that one! And be able to financially support yourself – good to go! Sadly, one is also expected to share the beliefs and ideals of the organisation and that’s where I slipped up. I’m so used to being immersed in an Islamic world that I may have given the impression that I didn’t uphold those particular Christian beliefs. I shuffled down the gangway, the pain of rejection clearly written on my tanned brow. All in all, a darn good way of seeing the world we thought; but not for me – not this time anyway.
The Eid Al Adha holiday is drawing to an end and so it is that we must now face the long, laborious haul until the winter holidays (Christmas to the religious). We hope to revisit one or two of our favourite camping spots as the weather cools and maybe plan a getaway during the winter months, India maybe, which is only a couple of hours or so away – somewhere chilly perhaps – maybe Scandinavia somewhere, who knows. Here at home we still have the ‘Fjords’ to explore on the northern tip of the country. Oh yes!, Fjords in the Middle East. We still have the Grand Canyon to walk down. Oh Yes! A Grand Canyon in the Middle East. Just because it’s gone a little quiet round here doesn’t mean to say there is nothing left for us to do. On the contrary; to fit in everything that we have planned, it’s gonna take up every weekend and every holiday ’til the end of next summer. Who knows, we may have to stay a little longer than anticipated. We shall see.
P.S. No pictures this time but check out this from the BBC: