Sunday, 22 February 2015

Safely Home

Yes, I'm back in the bosom of Wiltshire. My house is warm and welcoming (once I've lit the woodburner). Snowdrops gather in hopeful clumps in the garden. The man at the market remembered me.

It's always disorientating, coming home. Everything seems the same, and it's easy to slot into the same old ways. Yet each trip I do is enriching, and I come home with questions and memories that I want to cling on to. It is a privilege to travel as I do, and would be wasteful to cast it aside as I slip on the coat of normality back home.

I will, in time, put photos here on the blog. Just sorting them out will help cement memories. But give me time - I've only been home a couple of days. I'm still recovering from the journey.

It was a bit of a marathon, from Singapore to Bangkok (woops, I forgot to check that both airlines used the same airport ...), from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi, from Abu Dhabi to London - and then home.

The route taken by that last flight was the most tortuous. We headed straight up the Red Sea (keeping well away from Yemen), then north of Basra and south of Baghdad, then a significant detour to avoid Syria and parts of northern Iran, turning west to make sure we stayed out of Ukrainian airspace ... I know it was necessary. But what a dreadful reality it reflected. It underlined, for me, how the world feels increasingly dangerous.

While I am settling back into my market town, where the biggest grumble is about the road works making children late for school, more and more people must live in war zones. I sit and read by my fire. While others run in terror from the guns and the bombing. There is food in my markets. I have shoes on my feet and clothes to keep me warm. If I am ill I can go to the doctor. My grandchildren go safely to school. And millions of people - as innocent as you and I - are swept into conflicts that are not of their making. Their homes suddenly under rubble and who knows when, or if, there will be food in their markets.

Surely, if there were more women in positions of power, we'd not allow such bloodshed? We might sit up all night over endless cups of tea (or glasses of wine) but we'd not see people go hungry. We'd not see children murdered. We'd not see women raped in the name of war. If our menfolk carried guns we'd withhold the conjugals till they came to their senses. (Oh I do not it's not as easy as that, but it does feel as if everyone has stopped listening to each other and reaches for weapons without thinking.)

And so, as I gather my corner of the world together after my weeks away, I can't help thinking of those whose world is forever in pieces.


  1. A lot of sad truths there, but I'm glad you're safely home having enjoyed your time away. Looking forward to seeing the photos. (I'm embarrassed to say I haven't properly sorted out my photos from our trip to India in December!)

  2. What a tortuous route home and those detours say it all. The world is becoming increasingly angry. I like your theory that women would do better at running the world but I fear that power corrupts and that very soon they'd no longer act like women. Glad you're home safe and sound. Keep warm x

  3. You are right. It upsets me every time I think of Syria.

    But welcome home, and count blessings, indeed.

  4. Marvellous and very realistic post. Great that you are back home, too.

    It's worth thinking also of who makes those casualties possible. If you sell weapons, as the UK and US do, then those weapons will be used at some point, usually against civilians. I haven't been back to KL for five years now but it's likely we'll have to follow a similar route to yours.

    Greetings from London.

  5. Welcome home!

    You've written a thought-provoking post. I haven't traveled like you have, but those same thoughts about other places and people of the world trouble me, and make me feel guilty for being so fortunate. It makes me wonder if I'm a horrible person for being so happy when others are so sad... and for feeling peace inside when war's all some have had. (an approximation of some lines from a poem I wrote for "Old Broads Waxing Poetic")

    If only women ran the world... (Then again, some of our female politicians are so power-hungry, they seem to have lost track of the fact that they're supposed to be serving we the people, not the other way around.)