Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Last night I left behind thoughts of Morocco and my head went to Afghanistan. I went to help out at a reception to celebrate 30 years of Afghanaid's work in that country. In a gallery off Tottenham Court Road they have a fabulous selection of photos of Afghans at work - cleaning water, building bridges, working on Singer sewing machines, and learning about emergency aid solutions: all projects initiated and financed by Afghanaid. 

I wore a Pashtun hat and spent the evening trying to persuade people either to a) buy the book or b) enter the London Marathon next year for Afghanaid (we still have places if anyone interested!) 

The Afghan Ambassador to the UK opened the exhibition officially. I was surprised when he identified himself: he wore a tweed jacket and seemed very scholarly - he wouldn't have looked out of place as the librarian in Ealing Town Hall. His 'escort' - a large burly man in a thick overcoat - disappeared as soon as he was safely inside . Probably essential these days. 

There were a lot of stiff, grey-haired Army types who knew the country like the back of their hands, but there were also a lot of young arty people who were very good value and very enthusiastic about the Marathon ... so, I made a few recruits and then spent the tail end of the evening on some curious Afghan canapes (dates filled with marzipan and nuts?) and a few rather un-Afghan glasses of Sauvignon ... 

Back to Morocco tomorrow!

Monday, 4 November 2013

I've never been interested in big careers or making lots of money - I just need to earn enough to enable me to do what I want: to have a life full of colour, travel and adventure ... and one that means something

I'm not sure that I have always achieved this and I'm not sure that it's an easy choice either. But I have to try. People talk about being 'driven' and I think that's what I'm driven to do, always trying to seek out fun, different things in life. Because life has to be an interesting adventure, doesn't it?

My new venture now - cos it is getting harder and harder to make the money I need to make this life - is to take small trips to Morocco. I've been going to that magical country for over twenty years and I just love it.

I don't want to be too ambitious with this - and so I am only going to focus on Marrakech and Essaouira. I know both really well and so could pass my days there taking people to all the best places. We will start in the old medina of Marrakech and I will take my groups on walks down intriguing little streets between high pink walls, streets full of stalls and donkeys and people and life. Leading us to old palaces and gardens, to palm-filled squares where craftsmen sit making lanterns, to shops full of slippers and spices and soaps, to the souks, an endless maze of enchanting alleyways ... there is so much to see and do.

And then from the magic and mayhem of Marrakech down to the sea and the chilled-out port of Essaouira, a walled town built on the ramparts of an old Portuguese fortress with stupendous views out over the swirling waters of the Atlantic, the waters swirling as they go round mysterious islands with old ruins and black rocks and birds.

Yes, that's what I want to do. And now to start ...