The Road To Morocco – My Diary, Part 5.

Today the second day of BST was cool and bright at 7.ooam but promises to be warmer than yesterday.  As I mentioned yesterday it is my father’s 97th birthday. He was born on the 31st March 1918, the 10th day of the German Spring Offensive or the Kaiserschlact as the soldiers knew it.  Germany’s last throw of the dice aimed at the junction of the French and British forces on the Somme and they so nearly made it but Generals Gough and Byng stood firm and soaked up the pressure so by this day 97 years ago the Kraut effort was petering out, they had run out of steam, ammunition, food and will.  It was the end of the war really even though many more poor soldiers were going to die during the German death throes over the next eight months.  My father was born weighing just over 2lb and the doctor threw him to the end of the bed and said “he will not last”, but according to family legend my grandfather’s sister Aunty Lizzy picked him up, cleaned him, put him in a drawer, surrounded by blankets and fed him brandy watered down by fresh cow’s milk.  He survived but that first taste of liquer put him off drink for life or at least until he was well past 80 when he remembered that early delight and decided to partake again.  Over the years we have had our ups and downs but I credit him for bringing me up and giving me the health I have but I do not want to think that I have another 28 years of life left in me.  However living out here for say 25 years is worth considering providing that good old perve Queen Lizzie keeps paying me.

Again I go on about the nicety of this heat, it is so dry, no humidity and although very hot you seem not to sweat and as long as you have liquids preferably of the oenological variety, everything is grand.  Mine host and daughter No 2 are off for a hard days work, the teachers have the kids and all will be well with the world as far as I can see.  The situation in the compound is so good you do not need to go out sight-seeing, your day can be filled with the delights of the compound.

So with parents off, the kids at school, the dogs locked up, only wife and I and the three ladies in the kitchen.  We waiting for a little nourishment, the ladies in the kitchen wondering if we want something to eat, but both sides too polite to ask, a kind of stalemate which if nothing happens shortly will be sorted soon, the hunger pangs are getting fierce.  I will give them five more minutes but I would love to prepare it myself and be a burden to nobody.  However Fatimzara must have heard my tummy rumbling because here it comes as delicious as ever, omelette, olives, bread and cheese, fresh orange juice and coffee.  I am ready now for the day.  It is 10.00am and a lovely 16C, a bright blue sky and the clouds a thousand mile away.  Ibrahim busy in the garden, Khalid in the depths of the pool equipment, which is a large manhole into a subterranean workspace full of pipes, flanges, valves and meters.  The painter, Yusseff, still upset is busy rectifying the problem from Saturday.  Today he looks to be about to succeed and we should have water gushing in shortly.

I could sit here forever in this heat with the bustle of the ladies quietly coming out of the house, the three Arab lads effin and blinding in Arabic about 20yards way and peace and joy pervading everything.  I have just measured the plot on which the house stands, it is 86 yds x 63yds plus half x 86yds x 35yds, which equals 1.21 acres.  As much as any man wants to live on.  Life has come to a standstill, peace reigns superbly.

It is 12.15 and the temperature about 24C, the smells coming from the kitchen idyllic, lunch cannot be that far away.  Khalid is preparing to hang the curtains around the lean-to, the painter is frantic, his work being slowly overtaken by the drip, drip of water coming from the inlet, some dodgy valve defying everybody.  A bucket under it will solve the problem, somehow nobody has thought of that and I do not speak Arabic.

I retire to the house which as usual is as cool as an English cucumber, a fine respite from the sun and certainly a haven.  Crowds are beginning to gather, pupils from the school, teachers, parents.  They are like animals on the farm gathering for feeding time.  I’ll join them.

A superb lunch cum mid afternoon meal with a whole spiced chicken, salad, raw broad beans and mixed vegetables (carrots, peppers, cucumber, onions cooked in olive oil and herbs from the garden), a dish fit for certainly better than me.  A siesta for an hour at 4.00pm and thus ready for an evening’s carousing.  Plenty of good conversation about living in Morocco, providing employment for nine people and that is just to live, the morality and the necessity and how the nine view it.  To them it is a source of necessary family income.  Each family member tries to go out and earn a bit, all of which is put into a pot out of which is bought the essentials of life, what is left is shared out and there ain’t that much left.

For the employer, these employed are a necessary item in order for them to conduct their business.  They could not look after a property this big and continue to put the hours in their work.  For me as I have said before, I feel uncomfortable with people wiping my arse, the house becomes two separate sections, theirs and ours.  I get up early in the morning before the ladies come so that I can make myself a cup of coffee without invading their space.  I might be a bit new at this game but I feel no different after a week.  I prefer independent living.  I like eating when I want to eat, I do my own dhobi.  I like to make my own coffee to my own taste.  I suppose I am a little old fashioned in a modern kind of way.

However the evening went well with lots of questions, none more so than the adequacy of the family who own the hotel where we ate, who have more than good fortune behind them and who the son in law and daughter No 2 are about to jump into bed with.

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