The charms of English pubs

So, the deed is done. Finally, after almost a year’s slog, our guidebook to Sudan is ready for publication. Tomorrow, it will be sent to the printers and we can relax for two weeks (the plan being to do so in Egypt).

The past week has been pretty gruelling, as we have read and re-read the book. Packaged it up, then spotted a crucial mistake, and repackaged it. Again and again. Seemingly ad infinitum. Until today, when, finally, we are pretty damn happy with the finished product. Let’s hope future travellers to Sudan are, too.

My obsession with this book over the past couple of weeks explains why I have been so lax in updating this journal, something that will change in the coming months (I hope).

I am now in England, where I plan to stay for the next couple of months (sorting things out here) before returning to Sudan. It is a very strange thing how far away Sudan really does seem, now that we are back in the lush greenery of the Wiltshire countryside. Perhaps further away than any place I have ever visited has seemed to me.

This was a thought that struck me, with no small amount of force, the other day when I took our guidebook to our local pub (a charmingly friendly place, pictured in the photo above) for the final proof-read. Thinking, of course, that munching on porc scratchings (a terrible addiction I still have, which Sudan has not been able to ween me off) and quaffing good old English cider would add an additional layer of creative zest to the finished product.

Distracted by the local patronage discussing boils, bunyans and falling out with the wife – “I’m in the dog house now, really I am, but, yous knows what, I’m beyond caring. Mine’s a double scotch.” – it occured to me how really far I am away from where I was last week. I looked at the pages before me and thought: Did I dream all of this?

For that is certainly how it feels.

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