Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Time's relentless tattoo beats with no respite. Tick tick. Or tick tock. Whatever.

After two days in the desert sun my skin began to turn red. After a year (and a bit) at Defra, my brain began to turn frazzled. In a matter of days (tyrannical - you see?) I will be landing at Bole airport, hoping beyond hope that the bag (complete with its cargo of toothbrushes, chocolate eggs, jelly snakes and breakfast cereals. Among other things) will somehow managed to have followed me all the way via the hospitality and efficiency of our Gooner sponsoring air jockeys at the Emirates.

I will step into a country where there is very limited access to the internet, a nationalised mobile phone provider, and - of course - terrifying grinding poverty all around. I will be returning to basics. In the absence of internet, reverting to a pen and pad. Till I realised that I couldn't spell, I thought that there had been no reference to Shashamane, so harboured thoughts of placing a marker in the sand with a nice Wikipedia update. I was wrong, and in any case, for a variety of reasons, I may not be permitted to pay a visit to such a place.

That in mind, I hope to be able to take a trip to Lalibela at the very least to witness the startling stupidity and beauty of the rock carved churches. Of course, I may just end up sitting on the edge of a bed clutching my stomach and wishing for the rain to stop.

Cursed as I am with a brain (of sorts) I can see into the future, and the most pre-occupying thoughts I have at present are around what I will face when I return to this land of milk and bitter and the prospect of actually paying my way in the world somehow.

It may be that you should come look for me in a Shashamane shack. I will be the white man with the huge spliff.

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