10. It’s fun being a beach bum

This post is the tenth in a series which starts HERE. (June 1997) You can’t always get what you want But if you try sometimes well you might find You get what you need (name that song)  So far in this blog, I’ve mostly covered the difficult or unusual events, because the bad stuff is the most dramatic.…

8. Telling my mum I’d got married

This post is the eighth in a series which starts HERE. (June 1998) I’m in a Tunisian cabine de telephone, about to phone home to the UK. I got married a week ago and can’t put off telling my mother any longer. It’s a short phone call. She doesn’t have much to say. ‘You’re pregnant so I suppose…

7. A surreal wedding

 This post is the seventh in a series which starts HERE. (January 1997) In the village, Samir’s family home is crowded with relatives and neighbours. There are older women in tachleilas and headscarves, and younger ones in modern clothes, their heads uncovered. Young men in jeans and Hawaiian-style shirts, their hair slick with gel, chat with older men, some…

6. The first lie he told me

 This post is the sixth in a series which starts HERE. (January 1997) ‘That policeman told me you were only eighteen.’ Samir looks sheepish. ‘I’m sorry. It’s true.’ ‘You told me you were twenty-three!’ ‘I didn’t think you’d be interested in me if I told you how young I was.’ He’s right; I would have run a mile.…

5. Not without my daughter

This post is the fifth in a series which starts here (although they do not need to be read in order). (March 1999) My six month old baby is wailing in her father’s arms in Tunis airport. He jiggles her and kisses her head, and she quietens. She’s been fractious all morning; perhaps she senses the tension in the…

4. But she doesn’t speak Arabic…

This post is the fourth in a series which starts HERE. (October 2014) My mum, daughter and I are slumped on a seat at Tunis airport. We’ve been on a whirlwind three day visit for my daughter to meet her deceased father’s family for the first time since she was a baby. It’s been emotional; she is drained…