At the most hectic time of the entire year – being so busy at the pottery as we strive to get everyone’s orders out in time for Christmas; organising watercolour card-making workshops for local learners; commissions to be executed and posted, and the inevitable social calendar in which I fail miserably to participate – I managed, against all odds, to reach Israel on the second attempt, and reunite with one of my dearest friends after what we now realise is nearly six years.
There was no drama this time (although there could have been, as I turned up at the wrong airport terminal for my return flight and found myself on a shuttle bus for what seemed like hours), except for wondering where the years have gone, and how to make sure such a lengthy separation never happens again.
True friendship survives distance and time, especially in the age of technology which can bring people close. But there is no substitute for a real hug, or for sharing precious moments ‘just being’.
In my absence there has been a new addition to their family: a small, hairy, super-intelligent little terrier called Nicky. Objecting to being left in the apartment while we went to the beach, he took his revenge by lifting his leg on my bag. I can only imagine the suffering of those near me at airports and on planes, but what could I do, except put in my earphones and pretend not to notice?
My visit was designed, this time, to coincide with my birthday, which was marked by a cloudless blue sky, swimming in the sea – which I decided should be a yearly occurrence as I’m sure it was, back in my previous life – and an incredible Sri Lankan spread provided by Seylan’s Mum, who also brought along the party, including a vodka bottle I should probably have avoided.
I ignored the doubters and found the tiny cafe where I enjoyed, on the last visit, a dish of the best hummus I’ve ever tasted, and it has been on my mind ever since. I knew only vaguely where it was, but instinctively sniffed it out, the others in tow. They thought it might have closed down, like so many others, due to Covid but when I glimpsed the dark green facade and saw the long queue outside, I knew I could tick the third item off my wish-list. The only thing I failed to sample was the incredible bus-station felafels that I couldn’t get enough of on my last visit. Yep – it’s all about food.
Seylan and Nimrod – it was much too short. But so much better than nothing. Let’s hope you can soon visit me here instead, and may you have better luck negotiating the transport!