Saturday, 31 May 2008

Colonising Margaret's house

Last Monday night, I went to the latest Historical Association lecture, www.hao.org.om. Due to start at 8, I duly turned up at ten to, and discovered people milling around outside the venue – the man with the key hadn’t turned up. So, Margaret kindly offered her house in substitution. Fifteen of us, including Prof. Adrian Roscoe, the speaker, went in a convoy up the road and took over her lounge. The talk, Empire, literature & historiography: some African angles, turned out to mainly about colonisation, covering a spectrum, which included Roman Britain, Pilgrim America, and the scramble for Africa. It was surprising the things I remembered from university, and I mentally checked off many books and authors mentioned, which are stored at mum & dad’s. My favourite uni. professor, Dr Jeremy Krikler, with whom I did both degree & master courses with components on colonisation, had a different perspective of African colonisation to the very British Professor Roscoe, so provided cause for thought. Other thoughts were that I have neglected my interest in history recently, and now want to resume studying. Thoughts of the PhD titles I wrote several years ago have resurfaced too. Due to knowing many of the colonisation concepts and ideas, I would have liked more of the talk to be on the African literature, and was disappointed that Prof. Roscoe only touched on oral history and then moved on, which is a field I am interested in. Overall, a very good talk, and one that didn’t make me feel stupid as others have. After the talk, Margaret laid on tea, coffee and an assortment of cakes. Ignoring the fact I don’t have room for 15 people to be seated in my lounge, all I could have managed at short notice would have been 3½ stale digestive biscuits and the tea or coffee in shifts due to a shortage of cups. It made me appreciate Margaret stepping in to save the talk.
Prior to that, I had been very busy. I had my first two Italian lessons; the grammar is very similar to Spanish, but the pronunciation is very different and difficult. On Tuesday, some friends & I went to see the live comedy show Whose line is it anyway?, which was very funny. A week last Friday, I was treated to lunch in Darcy’s, and having eaten too much we went for a walk along the beach. It was too hot and humid to walk, so we went to my friend’s house for a dip in his pool. Lovely! That evening it was off to Alessandra’s for dinner. It’s apparently an Italian tradition to have pizza with friends or go to the movies on Sunday, which for us here in the Middle East means Friday, and she is keen to continue it here. We didn’t have pizza, but a lovely 3 course meal, and was a great way to finish off the weekend.

The week continued to be busy after the lecture with a conference on Wednesday night, which I ducked out of half way through. Yawn! Then, Thursday evening was sad as I went to the first of many leaving events planned over the next 2 months. Many of my friends are teachers at the end of contracts after 2 or 3 years here and consequently are leaving. This week it was Rob & May, who I know from my Nizwa days, and a large group of us went to the Crowne Plaza for dinner and drinks in the pub. After, it was down to Rock Bottom for a funky house night with a guest dj from the UK for a few more drinks and a dance. Finally, last night Alessandra & I went for sundowners; a couple of large Pimms each. Unfortunately, she had to leave to go to a leaving do; it’s that time of year L, but I was joined by John for dinner. I don’t think my budget for this month is going to do too well, as I’m halfway through it already and have a week off mid-June, although I’m staying in Oman so shouldn’t spend too much. Famous last words? I think it’s another history assoc. lecture next week, and the last ROSO concert until after the summer on the 11th, so I guess I’m staying busy.

No comments: