I am fairly good at housework but I am not meticulous, tiles in the bathroom get dirty, grunge gathers in corners, the floors get grimy, the tatami mats gather dust. You get the idea.
I contact a house cleaning agency and a couple of days later, the wonderful Ai san shows up. She bustles me out and tells me to come back 4 hours later. What to do for 4 hours? Take photos of birds of course.
Such a good morning as there are lots of birds on the triangular pond again. The new lens is excellent.
I get back to a different apartment, it is spotlessly clean and sparkling. So uplifting; thank you Ai san.
To overflow the cup, Ginowan City sends me a book of vouchers that I can use to buy stuff in local small businesses. The idea is to stimulate the local economy post Corona, as Covid is known here. I hope Hanada san’s wine shop takes them.
Tomorrow, all Corona restrictions are lifted in Okinawa. This means we can drink in restaurants and have parties at home. Hooray!
Looks very good. Can you send her over when she’s finished at your place? Great that you can have drinking parties at home again – can you fit enough of them in before you depart for California where Corona is still causing a lot of trouble?
Enjoy the new freedom!
Hello Neil. I hope this finds you well.
I went looking for you on the Web because (a) I’ve often wondered what became of you and (b) more to the point, a friend of mine, a science writer from Edinburgh named Sue Armstrong, has started researching her father’s time as a colonial medical officer in the Sudan. I seem to remember you saying that your dad had been a District Commissioner there, and also hazily recall a story you told about coming out of unconsciousness in a Libyan hospital to find you were being visited by desert nomads whose fathers had known your father. Is any of this right?
Sue’s father was Dr Peter Harry Abbott, and he was in the Sudan from 1942 to 1956. Does this ring any bells? If it does, or even if only resonates weekly, would you be okay with Sue getting in touch?
I went to the British Library a couple of weeks ago, and scanned excerpts from two books of Sudan reminiscences for Sue. Sue also told me about an extraordinary-sounding book called Sudan Canterbury Tales, in which her father appears as the teller of “The Doctor’s Tale.”
Do you ever come through London? That is where I live now, married to a North London lass. I’m still in touch with the old crowd – John and Lexie, Ellen Hays, Suzanne Cherney, Carolyn Smith, Paula Fotopoulos… I gather Wally Dalton is still alive, still drumming, still in Cork.
I’d love to catch up via Skype or WhatsApp one of these days if you’d care to share your contact details.
All the best,
What a surprise! Great to hear from you.
The story is that one of my brothers was treating an old very rich Sudanese in the Royal Free. When he came round from a brain op, he saw my brother and reportedly said “You’re the son of Commissioner Calder!” He and my Father had been great friends in their youth, spending years riding around the desert of Northern Sudan on camels!
I have a copy of Sudan Canterbury Tales somewhere.
I would be delighted to talk to Sue.
I am now retired and split my time between Okinawa and San Francisco, both great places. In fact I go back to SF next Tuesday for 5 months. You can follow my parcours by dipping into previous blog posts. I have been in Japan for nearly 11 years.