Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Christmas thoughts 1 Ok so it was a bit late in the afternoon, and I had been slaving over a hot stove and I had already done the washing up, and it was my child’s first Christmas and her first cold. But as I finished washing the roasting tin I turned on the radio and listen to the Queen’s Christmas message, and I swear my eyes pricked.
Without flannel and without verbal pyrotechnics she spoke of duty and honour. She extolled the fine men and women in our forces in a way that will remind them that despite the actions of our government who she them as a means to extend global influence but a real nuisance when it comes to the Treasury round. She spoke of the other eternal truth, the one in which they are thought of and honoured by a people who sleep soundly knowing that there are those who will defend us, if necessary unto death.
“This year I am speaking to you from the Household Cavalry Barracks in Windsor because I want to draw attention to the many Servicemen and women who are stationed far from home this Christmas. I am thinking about their wives and children, and about their parents and friends. Separation at this time is especially hard to bear.
It is not just a matter of separation. The men and women of the Services continue to face serious risks and dangers as they carry out their duties. They have done this brilliantly. I think we all have very good reasons for feeling proud of their achievements - both in war, and as they help to build a lasting peace in trouble spots across the globe.
None of this can be achieved without paying a price. I know that all our thoughts at this time are with the families who are suffering the pain of bereavement. All those who have recently lost a close relative or friend will know how difficult Christmas can be.
These individual Servicemen and women are our neighbours and come from our own towns and villages; from every part of the country and from every background. The process of training within the Navy, the Army and the Air Force has moulded them together into disciplined teams. They have learnt to take responsibility and to exercise judgement and restraint in situations of acute stress and danger. They have brought great credit to themselves and to our country as a whole”.
Christmas thoughts 2 My landlord and his family are, as I think I’ve mentioned, Assyrians from Eastern Turkey. They live downstairs and provide a level of permanent entertainment. Normally this comes in the form of dozens of relatives of all ages cramming into the tiniest of Brussels stairwells, and providing us with regular supplies of fresh-baked flat loaves, stuffed vine leaves and most recently soup. Now the soup stuff is novel as the grandmother, a black, bearded crone of about 4ft 6 turned up at the from door a week or two ago and proffered us a large saucepan full of, well she kept say “Soup,” prod, proffer, “Soup!”
We smiled and thanked her, to complete incomprehension – our Aramaic being weak at the best of times. The soup was gluten, salted with the odd bit of oat suspended in the mix.
Well this family, who live downstairs have spent the last fortnight, almost nightly being the target of local youths – Levantine in appearance – who take pleasure in hurling fireworks at their windows. This has been getting increasingly aggressive and last night somebody from the landlords flat downstairs fired at one of them with what I assume was an airgun. Noww I expect to be be woken in the middle of the night after somebody has firebombed the building.
Christmas thoughts 3 Best present – Prince of Persia – Sands of Time. Fun and great graphics, splendid game play and hours of doing nothing
Worst present – The Assyrians downstairs have been given a Karaoke machine – I pray they break it soon.