In which there are no camels to be had & Colin Dexter recites poetry.

Someone recently asked me to write about my adventures.  I have obviously lived a very modest and quiet life.  I am probably what Charlotte Bronte would have been like if she had been allowed out to the pub in Haworth, but, still, the request got me thinking.

I suppose there was the time when I went up the Great Pyramid just outside Cairo. (I had gone to Egypt with a girl pal of mine to celebrate my 24th birthday). I ascended holding the hand of the guide (a little old man) who had placed a lit candle stub on my palm, sticking it there by means of applying hot wax to my hand.

Mother Distracted:  The Great Pyramid
The Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt

Holding my hand was apparently non-negotiable.  He advised me to duck as we entered the dingy and slightly cheesy smelling interior of one of the World’s greatest architectural masterpieces. Surprisingly there is not enough room to stand up until you reach one of the pyramid’s antechambers and there is very little left to see, but the experience was amazing. You felt the presence of thousands of years of history like a shimmering force field.

On the same occasion, I wanted a camel ride but there were no camels in sight.  There were, however, fine Arabian horses which my friend and I agreed to hire.  Two twenty something girls alone in Egypt with limited horse-riding experience.  What could possibly go wrong?

Camels in Cairo
The camels had all apparently legged it on hearing of our approach.

All was going well until the guide, whose English was limited to the phrase “Tally Ho” slapped the rump of my friend’s horse making it bolt across the desert horizon.  All you could see was the horse’s and my friend’s rear as they vanished in to the sunset with my friend shouting “mum-eeeeeeeeeeee”. The guide decided he had better rescue her so cantered off after the bolting steed.  He did this by shouting “Tally Ho” and dragging my horse with him by holding on to my thigh.

Leaving aside the time I got locked in toilet of a Great Western Train en route to the great metropolis of Swansea, my life has been relatively adventure free so far – I mean in the sense of great sweeping adventures that change your perspective for ever.  Times when you meet unforgettable characters, eat unidentifiable food and behave in ways alien to your usual demeanour. Although arguably that could describe a night out in Dinas.

Then there was the time I met the late great writer Laurie Lee in his local pub in Slad.  Being entranced by the beautiful “Cider with Rosie”, we were slightly star struck to find him having a quiet pint. Lee himself was funny and down to earth, having to dash off only to return a few minutes later because he’d left a chicken, his Sunday lunch in the oven and bringing us copies of his book of poems “My Many Coated Man”.

Laurie Lee
Laurie Lee – source:

I also met Colin Dexter (the writer of Morse) at the signing of the last Morse novel, The “Remorseful Day”.  Whilst we were waiting for everyone to troop in, the author recited classic poetry (off the top of his head) to keep us amused. He was so entertaining it was almost a shame when he broke off to start talking about Morse.  Some people’s intelligence just shines through and Colin Dexter is one of those.

I’m a big fan of literary adventures.  That’s why I love Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, the old lady sleuth who solves crimes generally by sitting in her arm chair and applying her knowledge of the psychology of the inhabitants of St. Mary Mead to dastardly criminals.

Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple
Julia McKenzie as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple

The thing about adventures is that you have to be brave enough to have them.  I wish I were braver, but these days I find that the notion of a trip of more than a couple of hundred miles is quite a stressful proposition.   That’s what having kids does for you.  A trip to Devon when they were babies involved more equipment than going on tour with Motorhead.  (No I haven’t, I’d worry about my Tinnitus).

I really hope though that I ‘woman up’ enough to have some adventures with my kids and that they are braver than I am and explore the world and its wonders.  As long as they remember to phone their mother, of course.

In the meantime, just plump my armchair cushions up for me and put the kettle on, would you?



  1. Kacie Morgan
    3 May, 2015 / 1:47 pm

    Great post – going to visit the pyramids in Egypt is definitely on my bucket list!

  2. 2 May, 2015 / 4:07 pm

    I've never been to Egypt before, always fancied seeing the pyramids x

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