Kebab Book review

March 19, 2010

chicken-kebab.jpgBB King is twanging in the ceiling, largely drowned out by the chatter of customers, the clatter of the kitchen, and the hum of extractor fans over the ovens. The hooting laughter from an elderly couple in the corner, lubricated by a bottle of red and another of white, punctuate the din. Chairs scrape. A Lebanese behind the counter shouts in good humour to a man who struggles with his English too – he has been here eight weeks, fled from a Swedish winter. They both struggle with their English and shout in increasingly loud tones to make each other understand – it is a common mistake. Read more

Green Red Zone

March 13, 2010

green_zone2901.jpgThere was something unsettling sitting in the offices of a certain government department in Baghdad and hearing senior civil servants, some with PhDs from US and European universities, cynically observe that they had swapped their home grown dictator for Dictator Bremer of Washington DC. Perhaps most disturbing was their discussion about how they were poised to assist the imposed coalition government but how they were rejected and ignored – ironic given these are the folk now trying to administer their country and get it back on its feet. We sat in a boarded up building that had been bombed and looted. Here met men charged with providing utilities and basic living infrastructure four years after Bremer had arrived. Outside sat queues of silent and staring Iraqi citizens, waiting for a chance to petition their minister – a novel concept for them. Not all the signs were hopeless, though in my town we are not searched for weapons before we meet our local member. Read more

Turns out Albert Priest was…

March 7, 2010

…the town clerk (not sure which town) in the 1920s or so who thought it would be good for all in that part of the bush to have some water delivered via the channel that now bears his name.    Once can only suspect he well earned the naming rights since, as a town clerk, getting such a venture accepted, funded, launched and completed may well have turned into a life calling.