Pants of the Apostle
We have been in Turkey this last few weeks attending a conference and enjoying life in a little bubble for a while. I can’t remember looking forward to coming home less – this next few weeks feels overwhelming, and we all feel bit vulnerable. We’re heading into goodbyes with the people we ‘do life’ with – the kind of friends like Robin and Rach who I told recently, ‘I’m struggling. Please can you have our children for the night?’. There’s not many people you can ask that kind of thing, it’s precious. Anyway, we had a lot of fun away, we relaxed and it was great to feel sunshine on the skin. We have rolled home, full of baklava – hopefully this will act as a sort of pre-emptive comfort food.
A few days ago we went to Ephesus, where the apostle Paul stayed for a few years seeing the church go from 12 to tens of thousands. I am not a huge history person and our kids have an inbuilt resistance to anything smelling of the ‘e’ word (‘educational’) but it was hard not to be impressed. Here we are in front of the library. Makes Worthing library seem a bit bland eh? But at least we have revolving doors and slopes for skidding down.
An apostle means ‘sent one’ so in some ways we give a little sympathetic nod to Paul. On his mission trips he got shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, stoned, left for dead and generally abused wherever he went.
The nearest hardship I have faced is that I’ve suffered with a type of estate agents-induced obsessive compulsive disorder checking my phone whenever we had wifi to see if we’d exchanged on the house. Just as a watched kettle never boils, a watched email account never pings. Our hotel receptionist even sent a prayer up to Allah – covering all bases….. OK, it’s not like a shipwreck I admit…. so, what else? Well my computer died – does that count? We had a mini earthquake! Only a little shimmy if I’m honest but it sounds dramatic. Fin got us horribly lost in Istanbul at 11pm. We were walking along a dual carriageway around the city… and then the path ran out. Isaac got stopped at customs and put in the cylinder where they scan your body. The offending items? Nerf gun bullets found in his pockets.
But not much to compare with Paul really. By far the biggest drama happened on the way. On the Monday, I left work at Guild Care, hoping people would pack whilst I was out. Child B only had a skateboard and 5 pairs of pants in a suitcase when I got home. There followed an evening of ‘how many pairs of pants do I need?’ (14), ‘where’s my pants?’, ‘some of my pants must still be in the wash?’, ‘I definitely need more pants’ etc etc etc EVEN THOUGH I HAD SAID TO DO ALL THIS AT THE WEEKND. It nearly pushed me over the edge, I don’t mind admitting. Did the apostle Paul even have to pack pants? Somebody leave a comment please and tell me what they did in those days….? ANYWAY we left the next morning, feeling smug that we hadn’t fallen out with each other. We checked in and it turned out that we had missed our flight. Lots of phone calls to robots and Indian call centres ensued. It turned out that when Mr. N had booked it (at 1am several weeks before, in the middle of lots of other stuff) his card got turned down so the transaction failed. He re-booked it with another card, forgot about the whole situation, and printed out the original transaction, i.e. the flight that we hadn’t booked. I haven’t seen him so stressed since we got lost on the way to our friend Polly’s wedding and he ended up following her up the aisle with his guitar, like a sweaty little paige boy. So anyway, back to Gatwick 2015. We had to do a lot of maths, phone calls and spontaneous decisions. Should we just go back home and pack up the kitchen… and watch the Great British Bake Off? Or should we fork out loads of cash and press on, even though the new flights meant we’d be away for longer than planned. We decided that Nichols Move Forwards.
“It’s better than getting rabies” piped up the Asian Smurf as we gritted our teeth and legged it through to departures.
And then the slow realisation: we don’t have enough pants.
(PS. Newsflash: Return journey – we got put on an earlier flight, and put in business class!! The exact opposite of our outward flight. And contracts HAVE finally exchanged today, we found out when we landed. I felt so sad I cried all the way to baggage collection. But relieved mostly, especially as it has happened without me getting a restraining order at the estate agents – very proud of self.)