22 Oct 2014

Power trip

E and I are doing late night Tesco run. We are in intense negotiation as he is attempting to persuade me to change my mind about something. He has spent the last 10 minutes and 3 aisles addressing each of my objections to his request and dismantling them in a considered, mature way. I am slowly realising that his eagerness to accompany me was less to do with the shopping experience or my dynamic company and more a divide and conquer thing.

E: So... There's no real reason why I can't go to the airport with dad tonight then... would you agree?

Me: I am genuinely impressed by your skills of reasoning. You are constructing strong arguments there for your case.

E: Thank you.

Me: How will you use these powers of persuasion as you grow up? Will you use your superior intellect and rationale for the the good of mankind or will you use your powers to manipulate others and bend their will to your own...?

E: Hmmm.... (Thoughtfully rubs his chin in a cartoon villianish kind of way). I'll probably do a bit of both....

6 Oct 2014


The first time I try out any unfamiliar currency I always have this nagging doubt in the back of my brain like I'm about to be busted. Like someone's going to call me out on this and I'll have to admit that yes- here I was about to trade something real and tangible and useful for a bit of coloured paper. Sorry.

So far this hasn't happened, but what if (after the apocalypse) it stops working? Then I'll know I've been right all along and have just been playing the game along with everyone else pretending I understood why.*

*We have found and agreed upon the lowest common denominator that's a bit more compact and easier to transport that goats.

5 Oct 2014


So... After months of planning and fund raising and visa applications and injections and ordering currency and (v last minute) packing we've been to Kenya and come home again and I'm left feeling a bit like a kid on Boxing Day - wishing it was Christmas Eve again so I could do it all over again. 

(And when I say it I mean the bit that happened when the plane took off as all the preparation was pretty much done for me. All I did was follow the email instructions, get jabbed when I was told to and show up at the airport).

I totally wasn't prepared for this. I thought the being away bit would be hard if anything was going to be- not the being home. It probably didn't help that we were so manic with work in the run up to going and I was so (unusually) super organised that I've come back to a tidy office and an empty inbox - bar the junk emails and voicemail messages I get copied into, so there's nothing to get distracted by and focus on. Maybe just as well as I've no energy or motivation to do anything. 

Chris said it's not unheard of for people to spend a short time volunteering in a far off land, be exposed to extreme poverty and hardship, then return home to the western lifestyle and suffer a mental breakdown. Ha! The Larium (anti malarial) is starting to look a less attractive option now- although it was the cheapest. Which is why I'm on it. The vivid dreams are quite fun though.

I'm not in melt down. I'm just working out what the changes mean. Like puberty I guess- there's no going back. You can't unsee the slums.

I'm having flashbacks to student nights out half a lifetime ago... Fury Murrays in Glasgow... a permanently sticky dance floor... air thick with fag smoke (masking the flatulence and BO)... clutching bottled cider (harder to spike and easier to dance with)... singing along to James with my best mate:

Now I've swung back down again
It's worse than it was before
If I hadn't seen such riches
I could live with being poor
Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Sit down next to me...

Except the lyrics have flipped round in my head. And I don't know what the consequences will be. 

I am rich.

I've always known this and been grateful for it. Even when our card has bounced at the checkout or we couldn't go food shopping til the child tax credit came in or we had to put just enough fuel in the car to get it home rather than fill it up properly. Even then things were good. We had a home and smart price tinned goods in the cupboard. There was no danger of starving to death or having to sell a kidney or one of the children.

I am really, really proper rich. Super dooper wealthy. With an eternal inheritance as well.


And now I have to live with it knowing that poverty exists.

It really does.