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Easter blog April 2014 (written in Marrakech)

Again, as so often in life, it is a question of ‘Looking for the Opportunities in the Problems and not the Problems in the Opportunities …’. This time, that is not so difficult. Some might almost think I missed the flight back from Marrakech to Sevilla (and so ‘home’ to Tarifa after a four-month absence) on purpose. Rest assured I would not have let (son) Paul drive to Sevilla to meet me had that been the case!. No, I got to the airport to find the departure time had been changed and the plane had left at midday. I had not been notified.

My favourite driver, who I have now known for years, told me the news with a big smile. He had already phoned my friend, Khalid, Manager of this Riad where I stay with such unadulterated pleasure, who was waiting for me together with Hassan, my toothless porter, at the parking and they trundled my luggage back and into MY room which I had only vacated – with true regret – one hour earlier. The Dutch owners of Riad Siwan, who have become real friends over the years, had already been informed and the wine was waiting for me and we giggled together over yet another delicious dinner on the roof terrace. Son Paul reacted to my sms with his usual expansive eloquence – one word – ‘n-joy’. This morning it is heart-warming to receive sms-messages from Tarifa friends saying ‘Welcome Back’, read as I laze on a sun-bed on this lovely terrace, blue, blue sky, a large fresh orange next to me, the deafening call to prayer from several mosques a cacophony of competing sound. I have just finished the novel Paradise Lost by the brilliant Dutch author Cees Nooteboom and giggled out loud at his description of his visit to a health farm in Austria when the lone potato on his plate, which is his evening meal, cries out for the company of a juicy steak. After my wonderful meals (and wine) over the last few months (tonight it is delicious oysters from south Morocco to be eaten at a long table with other fun-guests under a starry sky) I, too, should perhaps book myself into a week of self-deprivation which I know I shall not do!

I now return to Sevilla on the next flight on Sunday – this direct flight saves me the overnight train to Tangier and the hassle of the ferry with heavy luggage and no porters on the Spanish side. Even after all these years I have to brace myself against the fact that I am returning to a place and not a person.

Guest House Dar Cilla will (hopefully) be full for Easter and Martina, my ‘dream-manager’, has the discrete knack of making me feel I am needed. As we all say as the years go by (ever faster it seems) we must ‘live for the day’ and optimize life to the extent that health and means permit. I dread empty days, but enjoy doing everything in my own time, having siestas, never having to fight the clock ….having a reason to change in the evenings before having a drink with guests on the roof terrace looking back across the Strait to the Morocco I left a few hours earlier. The proximity of Morocco to Tarifa has proved to be such an unexpected bonus!

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