I’m walking in the desert. I’m not sure how I know it’s the Sahara, but I do. I suppose I did visit the Sahara Desert when I was in Tunisia a few years ago, but from where I’m standing, it just looks like desert.
High dunes surround me, and the sun is high.
It seems redundant to say that it’s hot here, somewhere in mid-forties Celsius. If there were any Americans with me, I would confidently tell them that was over a hundred and ten Fahrenheit. Again, I have no idea how I know this.
Scorchio! I mutter sourly, wondering why I’m here without a hat. Without shades. And, looking down, without trousers.
I wonder if I’m dreaming, but I’m distracted by someone shouting what sounds like orders from somewhere above me. Looking around me, I can't see anyone, but the roar sounds familiar. Bear? King? Yavin? Nope, it sounds less like wildlife and more like human. Besides, I’m not sure I've ever heard the elder badger speak, let alone shout.
I follow the outburst and start to make my way up a dune to the south. This is as hard a task as I remember. The beautiful windblown patterns dissolve under my feet into dry pools that swallow my feet. Plod plod plod. My breath begins to strain. This would be superb training if I were a sprinter, but as a slightly overweight writer with sedentary habits, it’s just slog.
As I near the top of the dune, a large canvas shelter hoves into view. Beneath its shade, a familiar figure bellows into a metal hatch in the sand at his feet.
Belay that order, Number One! Torpedoes are not the solution! He then strains to listen to a tinny reply. No, neither are the Polaris missiles! We shall wait ‘til we can see the whites of their eyes, Mister!
It’s iDifficult. He’s dressed as an Admiral in the British Navy. My best friend, The Part-Time Evil Genius, slams the hatch and spins the wheel to secure it. He curses violently, sounding rather like Charles Laughton in Mutiny On The Bounty.
Having a spot of bother, Admiral? I halloo cheerily as I finally crest the dune.
He looks my way. Ah, Roth! Finally, some sanity! he shouts with a wave, and beckons me into the shade. He indicates the hatch and mutters, I swear these commissioned henchmen have more stripes on their cuffs than they have brain cells.
I step inside the broad open tent. It has a large awning out front, supported by two poles. There are striped deckchairs out of the sun, along with a drinks trolley, a hugely fronded fern, and an old fashioned gramophone with an amplifying horn.
And the hatch. Now that I am closer, I recognise it for what it is; a conning tower from a submarine. I notice the tower’s wide, curved handrail behind the fern.
So… what are you driving today? I ask, my curiosity getting the better of me.
HMS Repulse. A decommissioned Resolution Class nuclear sub. I raise my eyebrows at him. I picked it up on eBay, he adds by way of explanation. The postage was a little high. Drink?
Please. Odd to find it buried in the Sahara, I say conversationally as I occupy one of the low-slung deckchairs. Over at the drinks trolley, 'Difficult drops ice into glasses and pours us a couple of long tonic waters. He conjures lime slices from a bag under his hat, and drops them in with a fizz.
Is that where we are? I left my satnav in the car. He sighs as he carefully applies the needle to the gramophone. Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade crackles its way from the ancient equipment. Beautiful. It’s been a bad day. You know how it is.
I grunt and nod, having been through many exploits with him over the years.
So, what are you doing here? He hands me my drink as he takes to the second deckchair. We clink glasses in salute. And what happened to your trousers?
I shrug. Not sure. I have a vague memory of a pizza-eating competition in Cleveland.
He grunts and nods, having been through many exploits with me over the years.
Well, he says, I’m not worried. These things tend to work themselves out.
True enough, I say, my mind wandering. You remember that time with the frozen lake and the painted cow?
He raises a finger in agreement. Exactly. And we got her to Flagstaff before Arbor Day.
We clink glasses again. I toast, Here's to Daisy! and we both chuckle.
Time passes. We sit lost in contemplation, sipping our drinks as Rimsky-Korsakov weaves his magnificent sea tale in the aether. We don’t need to fill the moments with chit chat; we're old friends. Besides, quiet days are a luxury.
After perhaps fifteen minutes, a periscope surfaces and looks east. I follow its line of sight, and point towards the horizon.
Hey look. The tide is coming in.
My friend sighs, then stands and dusts himself down.
So. Can I drop you off somewhere?
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2010
Captain's Blog - Supplemental
Well, it doesn’t happen very often, but I received an award this week. As ever, if awards entries aren't your thing, feel free to slip away and enjoy a nice cup of tea. Ooh, and a slice of bakewell tart. Lovely. If you’d like something daft to read, may I recommend Intervention In Aisle Three?
Still here? Great. Matthew over at AbodeOneThree was kind enough to push a new award of his own devising my way; the Feels Like Home award.
He gives this to blogs that make him feel welcome, and who make “this strange virtual world more comfortable and habitable”. Matthew is one of my favourite writers, so I’m delighted.
I’m supposed to pass it onto five folks whose blogs make me feel the same way. And, for once, I can entirely comply. These following blogs are always a pleasure to read, and are part of my daily routine, which feels like home to me.
So, stand up and take a bow:
1. Kato over at Pandora’s Box. I’m never sure what to expect from Toronto’s finest, but whatever it is I enjoy it with my first coffee of the day.
2. Chrissy over at I Shoulda Been A Stripper. Happy times, sad times, and times past in Cleveland. Smashing photos, too. Love it.
3. Steph over at Nicole Kidman Stars In: The Astronaut Dropped. This is a striking tale of Steph’s life in a Scottish house that is haunted by the ghost of an astronaut. No, really. Go read it from the start, I’m hooked.
4. Nancy over at f8hasit. Another wonderfully eclectic blog, chock full of things Nancy cares about. For me, a must read.
5. My eccentric pal iDifficult, over at his eponymous, evil genius blog. Need I say more?
Thanks for sharing the love, Matthew!
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009