Showing posts from 2017

It's been a long, long time.

The last time I was here was 26 years ago. I was in my middle 20s, had only just met the woman who would become my wife and the mother of our children.   It was only the second time I had travelled outside of the British Isles. I had no real idea of what I was doing and absolutely no idea why I was going to India.   And even less idea of what I was going to happen once I was there. On the outside I was there to meet two friends, one I still have and one I have lost.   Nicky – dark haired then – less so now, Scottish, lives in the Lakes with a host of children and (in all probability) a decent whiskey waiting in the cupboard.   Mike? Well that’s a different story. I have no idea where he is.   Sometimes you pick things up and sometimes you put things down.   And sometimes you are put down yourself; put down by somebody when they see no utility in carrying you further.   It turns friendship into an object and conversation into scripted theatre.   It turns friendship into someth

In a big country.

Everything is big these days.  Big meals.  Big games. Big news.  Big risks.  Bigger promises, backed by bigger lies.  And today’s big is much bigger than yesterday’s, and will be much smaller than tomorrow’s.  Yesterday’s big TV will be tomorrow’s phone screen.  Everything is so big, and hence so uniformly forgettable, that when you come face to face with things of genuinely enormous magnitude it takes you by surprise. Four and half hours out of Melbourne airport and I’m still in Australia.  For much of that time the view down from the window has shown nothing but red soil and rock pocked hills running off into the distance.  The flight path to Darwin takes you over Australia’s red centre, over lands that are some of the most thinly populated in the world.  For the most part, over landscapes not riven by the familiar comfort of road or rail.  The straight and narrow of human transport is missing – instead the land is broken only by lines of stone and the trans