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Monday, August 11, 2008



The noise comes and my consciousness hears it from somewhere in the depths of sleep.


I open one eye and listen to the phone ring. If it's B, she will let it ring once more and then put the phone down, before calling again.

On the third Rrrrring the phone goes silent.

I get up from my bed to stretch and wait for the phone to ring again. It does so, and I reach over to pick up the receiver.

"Good morning, B," I say.

"Good morning, but only just. Are you still lying in sleepy-head? Did I wake you?"

I stifle a yawn. "Yes."

"Have you bought your plane ticket yet?"


"When are you going?"


"Can you be more specific?"

"Soon," I repeat.

B stifles a sigh. "Okay, so where are you going, then?"

"Istanbul, and the lost cities of Aphrodisias and Ephesus in Turkey."

"Lost cities? Is that such a good idea?"

"Yes. I want to do a kind of budget traveller thing through Turkey, and get to see some places not so much choked with tourists but with history."

"It sounds like a horrible holiday. No beach bums, no club drunks and no aircon!"

"That's funny. You just described my ideal one. I especially want to see Ephesus. Then maybe I'll see if I can catch a bus trip or something back to England for a bit."

I can hear B groan. "Don't tell me, you've decided to cut back on air flights to help reduce carbon emissions, right?"

I smile at the receiver, but don't reply.

B repeats, "Right?"

"You asked me not to tell you."

B blows a rasperry down the line at me, "Why do you keep pushing yourself? Why do you think you constantly need reforming?"

"Now where did that tirade come from? Just because I want to visit out-of-the-way destinations?"

"You know what I mean. You are on this constant mission to reform yourself, to change, to move. Can't you stay still for one summer and let me enjoy your company?"

I laugh, "I'd invite you to join me, but you couldn't possibly live in a backpack. And why do you make reformation sound like a dirty word? You liked reformation well enough the other day when you said Turks reformed Islam."

"Religion needs reformation to keep up with modern thinking, you don't."

"If religion needs reformation, then surely it defeats its purpose? Isn't the idea of organised religion there to reform you?"

"Oh, don't start getting all philosophical on me so early in the day."

"When I said hi just now, you made it sound as though morning had broken long ago."

"Look mister, do you want me to blow another raspberry in your ear?"

"My honey B, do whatever you want to do."

"Will you just promise me to keep safe? There are some horrible people out there in the world. It isn't a safe place."

"It's true that as Mark Twain supposedly said, Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it, but there is something we don't often realise B," I say.

"What's that?"

"That the opposite is also true. We are the only animal that often helps each other for the pleasure of it, too. If we understand that, there's not much that can go wrong really. It's a sad fact that even though we set high ideals for ourselves, we often fail to live up to them, but the point is to try regardless."

"You crazy, silly, foolish optimist. I adore you. I'm going to miss you. This island won't be the same without you."

"And my blog won't be the same without you honey B," I say.

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