Tie your camels.

First I felt one wet droplet land on my head, looked up and watched the slow drip drip of water coming through the bathroom ceiling. I woke the old git, who stood naked watching the rain come through the wooden slats. I went downstairs and got two buckets. Placed them under the steady stream. Himself went to bed, Suki joined him, and I decamped into the baby room – moving a 3 stone lurcher is nigh on impossible especially at two in the morning.
Joe and his Lithuanian co-worker have been fixing our roof. Very old wooden beams have rotted. They came on Saturday and were due to turn up on Sunday. Sunday came and went, the rain started at two in the afternoon, the dog went for a walk with the kids next door, but the three of them abandoned the muddy field. Then at 9.00 p.m Joe called. ‘Where have you been?” I asked. The ooosbind and I had talked about how we hadn’t put Joe down for a waster or a con-artist. “Sorry,” Joe said, his voice cracking. “My nan went into hospital for high blood pressure, had a fit and died last night. I’ve been helping my mother.”
Young Joe turned up this afternoon and sat in the kitchen with us drinking coffee, he was only half present. He and his Lithuanian mate, stopped the leaks, finished the roof, varnished it and promised to come back and clean up the drips on the bench and the path.
And so today begun with consolation in the kitchen, I called El to say that I had cancelled my day due to the lurgy that has taken our little town by the throat and squeezed the living daylights out of it. I’ve been coughing and spluttering since last Tuesday, missing party’s and yoga and cancelling my teaching.
Collected the dawter from the station and told El to come to the cottage. She dodged Joe’s ladder and had the last cup of coffee from the cafetier. She nibbled on a big chocolate chip cookie as Suki tried to join her. She told us about her 23-year-old son who had just completed The Linden Method, a form of persuasive healing that after four days has released him from the madness of his OCD. More consolation in the sitting room, and just when I was about to make a fresh pot of Blue Mountain in walked my delicious ex-son-in-law all the way from Bali via Bristol.
I tidied the attic, put away all the clean sheets and duvets and made up his bed, he wanted to sleep under red sheets, in a cool room. Bali is never cold, he wanted crisp fresh English air and cotton sheets. When in walked B’s godmother, all organised by the dawter. By 8.00 o’clock five of us were sitting round the table in candlelight, eating pasta with mushrooms and spinach, Brussel sprouts and leeks in olive oil and a rustic lamb stew that was three days old and so unctuous even the vegans amongst us wanted to lick the casserole dish clean.
After clearing the table we had a choice more consolations, current affairs or a film? Could we bare to watch the news? Could we bare to watch the PM being grilled by a journalist who was showing a picture on his phone of Jack Williment-Barr lying on a pile of coats while awaiting treatment for suspected pneumonia at Leeds General Infirmary? Could we bring ourselves to watch the First Minister speechifying, and refusing to look at the image. It was almost tempting to watch the buffoon as he took the phone and thrust it into his pocket. The man whose mouth is a loose canon, the man whose privilege has left him with as much empathy as a dead cock sparrow, the man who represents the few not the many, the man who has a steam train of supporters who will lie and kvetch until they get want they want using below the belt tactics could we tie much more? No! He was switched off. Confined to nothingness. Removed from our living room.
Conversation faltered as jet lagged travellers went to bed, godmothers drove home to Goudhurst, ‘oosbinds poured themselves another beer and the dawter watched a documentary.
And now it’s past three o’clock on a cold and frosty morning. We no longer have holes in the roof but we do have gaping holes in our society. On Thursday we vote. Heseltine urges us not to vote for Boris Johnson and his vagabond crew, John Major, Tony Blair, and my mate Eunace from the down the road, who has never voted anything other than Conservative in her life, is now turning her back on a party she describes as myopic and scary. Tom, our postman has delivered letters to us for over thirty years and now stands discussing the state of the nation over gardening magazines and fliers for the Green Party.
My child said I was not to worry, the climate, elephants, and little Jenny Wrens will make a come back with the help of science and David Attenborough she also said;
‘Believe in Allah but make sure your camels are tied down.’
I Googled it: This saying as relayed by the scholar Al-Tirmidhi, is an ancient Arab phrase attributed to the prophet Mohammed who, when one day he saw a Bedouin leaving his camel without tethering it, questioned him as to why he was doing this. The Bedouin replied that he was placing his trust in Allah and had no need to tie the camel. The prophet Mohammed then replied, ‘Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah.’
So I get it! Whilst I have to trust in the universe I still have to vote those callous fuckers out…..

2 thoughts on “Tie your camels.”

  1. Oh I hope so Jeni – god knows what the country will be like with another 5 years with these idiots.
    When I had my own decorating business in Londom you got me through listening to you on the radio in the afternoons – I Love You !

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