My old employer rang to ask whether I’d be interested in doing my old job for a couple of months. We conducted the conversation by text, because I was, at that moment, sitting in the cafe of the Imperial War Museum and it would have cost a fortune to conduct the conversation by phone what with roaming charges and all.

The timing of the call was good because: a. I was sitting in the cafe of the Imperial War Museum thinking, ‘Oh, my, London is incredibly expensive and we’ve still got ten days to go’; b. life as a trailing spouse* in Abu Dhabi is a little boring; and c. it is a long time between now and my next break at the end of the school year in June. (I’m not sure if this is a healthy approach, but I survive life here by planning escapes).

I was supposed to start work tomorrow, or maybe even today, but youngest has been struck down by a rather nasty virus and the mister has a series of meetings he simply has to attend, so I might not start until the day after tomorrow. Kind of funny, kind of not.

On the morning the lads and I left Abu Dhabi, we were glad of the jumpers we were wearing, but in the twelve short days we were away, ‘winter’ ended and I doubt we’ll be needing those jumpers again. It is rumoured that yesterday’s temperature reached 36. For sure, it was hot. Sort of like one of those exam weeks in Adelaide. Thankfully without the hayfever, but my fingers have swollen, and my ring must be pushed over my knuckle where only last week it could be slid.

Spring doesn’t even start until tomorrow.

Because the trip to London was somewhat impromptu, the only cheap flights made a stopover in Bahrain. The time in Bahrain passed without incident for me, which is how I like my time to pass these days. I seem to be sending many ‘thinking of you’ messages these days, and it feels ridiculous to be doing so, because I mean, really, how does that help someone who has just seen a boulder, loosened by an earthquake, come crashing through their house? But I do, I do think of them. In the middle of the night and first thing in the morning and all through the afternoon, I think of them.

It occurs to me that it is almost two years since my novel was launched and I have published nothing of substance since. I am thinking that perhaps I am not a writer after all. I don’t feel as sad about that as I would have imagined I might, but the realisation that I don’t feel sad is making me think in a thunky kind of way. I think perhaps I will open my word processing programme sometime soon.

How’s things in your neck of the woods? she asks, but does not demand a reply.


*real, actual term used to describe a person such as myself

15 thoughts on “Return”

  1. 1. What Pavlov’s cat said
    2. I have designed a children’s play thing and am now waiting on costings from a manufacturer. Isn’t that exciting. As to how I would actually fund its manufacture is a totally different thing and while I tell myself it takes at least 18 months for a decent business to turn a profit I then have daydreams of it taking the world by storm and not being able to meet demand and thereby becoming the Birkin bag of children’s toys.
    3. So at least you’re not deluded.

  2. It’s 1:20am and I’ve just finished the 10 month process of writing a literature review by staying up late on a Monday night, toasting my finishedness with Glenfiddich.

    Maybe I’ll be a writer some day too …

  3. Joanna Trollope said you couldn’t really write a novel till you were 35 – I read that at 32 and cheered up considerably.

    I’m 41. No novel. You’re doing better than I am.

  4. yes what Pavlov’s Cat said. Your book is a writerly book, and you are a writerly person in the best way. Plus, you are also a comedian, which most writers don’t bother to do through lack of imagination or something. I would like you to write another book, but it’s only selfishness because I would like to read it (and so would my mum).

    I am a public servant, same as last week and the week before. My husband trailed me down here and he is having his revenge by starting a PhD.

  5. Of course you are a writer! As others have said, this very post is writerly.

    You are simply in hiatus. Which is fine.

    You MUST NOT give up on your writing. (Taking a break while you sort out other things – like everyday life – is another matter, if that’s what you need.)

    1. Hi Jo! Thanks for dropping by, especially because you have reminded me that I did manage to write something during this time, something publishable even, and I am still really pleased with that piece of writing.

  6. Wasn’t there a famous author whose first two books were twenty years apart? You’ve got a while up your sleeve yet. As for planning your escapes, I did that in Alice Springs and I was still in Australia. Whatever helps you through.

  7. Do continue to enjoy planning your escapes. There’s no escape for me to look forward to now (mine used to be backpacking with Nic) so I badly need to know that someone=you is still doing it and happy in the process. That makes me happy too.

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