interview for Ethiopia

Posted Sunday February 21, 2016 by Hazel Durbridge

Specky and her puppies

Dear Peregrine

Totally ignore this if it wasn’t you who rang last week, but from initially thinking it was a grant enquiry (as I get lots of exotic callers) it occurred to me it could have been you. You will be disappointed to know that your undercover attempts were totally wasted. A* said, quote, ‘Mum, I’m sure it’s one of your male friends – posh and funny!’ Is that a compliment?!! Anyway, if it was you, I’m glad you called and please try again sometime when you feel like it. I haven’t got your mobile anymore as I deleted the number when your phone was stolen and I only have your old house number, so I’m not responding because I don’t care – I just don’t have a contact.

My ‘community meeting’ was a residents’ meeting at Great Ashby, just outside Stevenage, which is an atrocity of closely built houses which are exorbitantly expensive and just suffering from endless development problems, roads too narrow and not enough parking (which is national planning regulations) playground areas not installed, grass not getting cut, a country park with public access through a posh cul de sac – I feel sorry for them. They are led by a maverick community champion with an oversize ego, prone to making Julius Caesar like Shakespearian speeches (I kid not – he is an ultimate drama queen) and putting the fear of God into council officers who just can’t cope with public wroth in such scenarios. I had to do a lot of diffusion of tension which is what I get sent along for.

I’ve changed my car – finally steeled myself to the inevitable financial loss and picked it up Saturday. The CD player wasn’t working this morning, but I need to check the CD.

Big secret – and you are the ONLY person I am telling (apart from FP). I’ve got an interview for the Country Director Post for Ethiopia with VSO. Is that not exciting? I’ve probably only got shortlisted because it is such a war torn place they don’t get any applicants (158 out of 162 countries on the economically viable scale) but what it does do is give me hope. If I can crack the shortlisting process, sooner or later I will get something. Anyway, I’m off for a 5 hour grilling next week. I just think it would complete the process of turning my life around and back on track. I was always courageous and adventuresome – looking outwards. I think when tragedy strikes you become very narrow and insular in your vulnerability and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life like that. I read the information papers at the week-end and I didn’t know who the main governing figures are. What do I know about Ethiopia? Haile Selassi and Band Aid. I would like to get my brain round the bigger picture of life.

I had a very cheeky thought. If I do go abroad and J2 chooses to go to Boarding School in this country, I could try and visit that Dorset one you knew about and maybe you could befriend him a bit? You and J2 have a lot in common – kind hearts and a tendency to strop. He loves male company and can talk for England and he would get attached to you and be affectionate in a way you seem to have lost out on with the godson you fund – or maybe that has all changed now. I’m sure FH would visit him, maybe he will even have him live with him, but if not, he will need some mentors and you have a lot of knowledge and expertise to share if you were so inclined. (I can only say this because I’m writing it – it was just a thought!)

On Thursday I am off to Cambridge to meet new secondee, A, who has come from HMI taxes, to induct him in the ways of Scarman. Then I am popping to see L who was really FH’s mate more than mine, but has chronic arthritis at the age of 45 and is bed ridden. His partner also died two years ago and he is alone, bar copious amounts of very strong beer and wine. Great brain – wrecked body – do you sympathise?!!

That’s all my news this week. I hope you still get something out of my letters. I can stop you know!



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