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Archive for March, 2013

Trapped inside a Leela Dutt novel!

Just occasionally I get the sense that I am trapped inside one of my own stories – usually “Rubik’s Cube” or my short story “A Question of Belonging”. Yesterday I was dashing out of the front door carrying a rattling bowl full of assorted saucepans and frying pans – as you do – when the phone rang. Elderly friend with bad cough; Robin picked up the phone and agreed to buy cough mixture on his way back from Meeting in the city centre. I went on my way to our other Meeting, car piled high with bags full of a vast array of medicines old and newly purchased, winter clothes, soap and anything anyone could think off, all destined for a convoy to Syria that we’d heard of, led by the Islamic Chaplain at the university. I’d been given much of this by Kate and her neighbours. At Meeting there were others with duvets and much else. We all set off to meet up with the Chaplain, a dignified and charming Syrian man who has dedicated his whole front room to collecting stuff that is needed in this appalling conflict. Over cups of Syrian coffee he told us that he will be going on the next convoy in April, with two lorries and four ambulances. Sadly we had to abandon the chocolate bars I’d secreted among the urgent medicines – I thought chocolate might cheer people but no, they would melt in transit and anyway the ones I’d bought would be far too few to share among all those kids.  This willingness amongst so many people we know to contribute practical help reminded me of the time over three decades ago that the Peace People of Northern Ireland sent a man over here to escape the violence, and our local Quaker Meeting collected practical stuff to fill his new home – I wrote about that in “A Question of Belonging” which appears in “Kingfisher Blue” and can also be read for free on line at http://www.wonderbookland.com/leela-dutt

But that wasn’t the end of the day; the elderly friend with the bad cough fell out of bed yesterday evening and we had to go round to see if we could lift him, reminding me suddenly of the elderly neighbours in “Rubik’s Cube” all those years ago.  Things have changed – these days we have mobile phones, and our friend was able to use my phone to speak directly to the man at NHS Direct, when he couldn’t reach his own landline because he was stuck. Eventually the paramedics arrived and decided that he did need to go into hospital briefly – so now I must stop blogging and find out how he is this morning. Meanwhile another link with the past: “Rubik’s Cube” is a novel about the different threads of family life are entwined, and one last text I got last night was from Jo wanting me to bring my old straw hat so that she can turn it into an Easter bonnet for Rosie in school tomorrow…coverRubikscube

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