January 28th 2008
I came from a prayer meeting in Church and had just rejected a kind offer of a lift in to town. As I got closer to the city centre I saw an elderly chap trying to fix something under his car at the other side of the road. I walked across and asked if everything was all right and if he needed any help. He had had a flat on one tyre, had changed the wheel, and now he couldn't get the tray that held the spare wheel under the car back into place. I later learned that he had been there for more than two hours! I took a look under the car and tried to find the reason why the tray wouldn't get attached to its hook.
As I was lying under the car he asked me if I came from Ireland, cause I somehow seemed Irish. I got a good laughter and so did he after I told him I was from Norway. But I had to give him some credit for the guess because of the touch of red in my hair. He went on to ask me about my studies and how long I had been in the country. When he heard that I had recently left Singapore after two years his face lit up. He had known someone from Singapore once, and a couple from Kuala Lumpur. And when he lived abroad Chinese martial arts teachers were in demand. But this was all back in the days he lived in Israel... "Israel!?" Now it was my turn to get curious. What? When? "Were you with the British army?" "No, I was installing telephone systems." But he was troubled with hay fever and had to move in to one of the cities. "Israel is nice. And, many of the other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea too. Especially Greece. Greece is nice. Have you been there?" I had to admit I hadn't, but added that my sister lived in Rome for a while. The thought of Rome seemed to get him excited and I was highly recommended to go to the Mediterranean Sea.
The tray was getting into place and as I was tightening the bolt that held it. -we came back to Leeds. It was a tricky operation and it was a system that should forever discourage you from buying this as a "wife's car." Not because she couldn't handle it, but because hopefully you'd love her too much to let her go through that kind of job.
As I walked towards the city he drove past me and we waved each other farewell. My legs felt light and I had a big smile. But no wonder, we had just traveled around the world.