Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's all about identity...

Sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for. There I was, last week, complaining about the lack of Valentines Day cards and picturing myself dying alone with my cats, when out of the blue a card arrived. Well, not so much a card arrived as a card was handed to me in a pub. It was, admittedly, given to me as a tongue in cheek gesture (which, by the end of the evening, was a rather fitting metaphor…) but I was bloody delighted to receive it. My delight was dampened slightly by the fact that the sender of the card bet me a fiver that I'd receive one by the end of the evening. I took the bet - any other year I'd have been five quid up - only to see said sender dip into his briefcase and take out the tell-tale red envelope. (I hate gambling with a passion. This is why. The odds are always stacked against you.)

So far so lovely. But there is a snag. I have promised said card-sender that I will not blog about him. The temptation is strong, but it seems the right thing to do. It's all very well setting myself up for public ridicule but it wouldn't be fair to do that to anyone else. (And anyway, I work bloody hard penning these entries, trying to put a farcical gloss on my daily life. If he wants to make himself look an arse he can do it himself.) So I find myself with lots to write, but unable to share. Which is a shame, because I reckon you'd laugh out loud if I told you about how I split open his nose with a mug that managed to fly off a shelf in my bedroom in the early hours of Friday morning and soaked us both in the process. But, as I say, a promise is a promise.

So, instead I will have to dwell on more weighty matters. I am off to Wales on Friday for a Jewish Leadership Training weekend. I've been invited to run a couple of sessions on Jewish Identity and Being A Jewish Woman. I cannot for the life of me understand why I've been chosen to do this. You know that the community is in trouble when I am held up as a beacon of Jewish Womanhood. But I will take the opportunity to spread the word. If the women on the course are not putting on tephillin by Sunday morning and insisting on their right to wear a tallit while saying kaddish in a mixed minyan I will suggest that they demand their money back.

The other mystery is working out why the weekend has been scheduled to take place in Wales. In February. Not only will it rain incessantly, but we are staying in a wooden built, vegetarian hostel, so there won't even be a nice warm meaty meal to look forward to while we shiver our way through each session. My good friend C is running the programme and her last words to me at the planning meeting were "bring warm clothes". Not a good sign.

I had flash backs of Colomendy . An outdoor recreation centre in North Wales that has been imprinted on the memory of every Liverpool school pupil since the 1940's. Think Russian Gulag with a little bit of Sobibor thrown in. If you think this sounds flippant, take a look at this.

I recall that the bathroom (which was communal - naturally) had "Ablution Block" written on the door and the campus as a whole was made up of rows upon rows of long wooden dormitory buildings. Every year, the lower 6th form (aged 16) would be sent to this Belsen-esque facility for 5 days of 'group-bonding' and 'personal growth'. But it's surprisingly difficult to grow, personally or otherwise, when your sleep has been interrupted by nightmares about SS guards in jackboots knocking down the dormitory doors.

I have been assured that, vegetarian status notwithstanding, the hostel that we'll be staying at this weekend is actually delightful, if basic. There will be single rooms, which is just as well, since my days of sleeping in dormitories are well over. Some even have a sink in the corner - so no need to trample outdoors in the dark, wearing flip-flops and bathrobe, trying to find the "Ablution Block". And the view from the communal areas is stunning, apparently. C has warned me to leave my cynicism at home and attend the scheme with an open mind. She obviously senses my fear that it will be all kumbaya, group hugs and camomile tea. Which is better than jackboots and outdoor toilets I suppose.


Blogger tafka PP said...

I remember Colomendy well! Looking forward to hearing about the happiness and the clappiness.

1:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ti'n llawn cachu, twpsyn pen cachi

7:38 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

PP - (happy birthday by the way) - the weekend was brimming with happiness and clappiness. will give you the full story in due course

Anonymous - how do you say mysoginistic ignorant coward in welsh? if you want to say i'm full of shit, just say so. hiding behind (mis-spelled) welsh is pathetic...

11:36 am  
Blogger LG said...

had to write because i loved your between the lines storyline. maybe i got it all wrong but i think not. am smiling lots

ps i thought colomendy was some wierd KD thing but judging by PP's post apparantly it was like general studies -- something that everyone up north knows about just to make the londoners feel out of things for a change

4:43 am  
Blogger R.x said...

LG - you almost certainly didn't get it wrong. the bed shook. the mug went flying. his nose split open. (if i was really crass i'd make a gag about never making someone bleed during sex before...but that would probably be going too far...)

2:19 pm  

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