Packing Up: Further Adventures of a Trailing Spouse
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Brigid Keenan was a successful young London fashion journalist when she fell in love with a diplomat and left behind the gilt chairs of the Paris salons for a large chicken shed in Nepal. Her bestselling account of life as a "trailing spouse," Diplomatic Baggage, won the hearts of thousands in countries all over the world.
Now, in her further adventures, we find Brigid in Kazakhstan, where AW, her husband, contracts Lyme disease from ticks, the local delicacy is horse meat sausage, and Brigid's visit to a market leads to a full-scale riot from which she requires a police escort. Then, as the prospect of retirement looms, Brigid finds herself on the cusp of a whole new world: shuttling between London, Brussels, and their last posting in Azerbaijan; navigating her daughters' weddings while coping with a cancer diagnosis; and getting a crash course in grandmotherhood as she helps organize a literature festival in Palestine.
Along the way, dauntless and wildly funny as ever, Brigid learns that packing up doesn't mean packing in as she discovers that retiring and moving back home could just be her biggest challenge yet.
his wasn’t green. After Mass, AW took me sightseeing. We drove out of Baku past grim Soviet-era apartment blocks in a bleak landscape covered with rubbish, on through old oil fields with rusty cranes and derricks, pools of scummy black oil, and more garbage, and then into the ‘countryside’ where there is not a living green thing to be seen, just rock and mud and railway lines and groups of more grey housing blocks. I never saw a more desolate landscape and I felt depression descending over me
soldier.’ We got back to Baku feeling tired and rather as if we were returning to boarding school – even the Caspian Sea was black and sullen-looking. It is incredibly windy and dusty. I quite like the dust as it acts on my hair like dry shampoo, but AW may have to find some goggles like Biggles’ to stop the dirt getting in his contact lenses. We had dinner at Sultan (it’s become our dining room now) and then watched the Daniel Day-Lewis film about the early days of the oil business, There Will
the meantime, this flight is weird enough to take my mind off my mental health: there are 170 men on board, all oil workers from Aberdeen wearing only T-shirts over their tattoos, even though it is really cold, and there are only eight women (including me and the hostesses). The men have been on oil rigs in the Caspian Sea for weeks where no alcohol (or women, obviously) are allowed, and so they’ve been out on the binge in Baku all night and haven’t even had time to develop hangovers yet. The
that I am going to pray by the body of Jesus.’ He gave me a funny look, and said, ‘What do you mean? Of course it isn’t here!’ I had just forgotten the whole central tenet of my Catholic faith which is the Resurrection . . . Hamada led us through crowds of pilgrims carrying crosses (he says there’s a roaring trade in renting out crosses) and on to the most famous pastry maker in Jerusalem. The small shop was tucked away in a corner against the Holy Sepulchre building and didn’t look at all
parents had lived. AW would follow on Christmas Eve. The stewards on my flight home were so outrageously camp that I almost forgot my fear of flying in irritation. One of them put on a passenger’s fur hat and did a little hip-wiggling dance for his colleague behind the door of the coat cupboard where the other passengers couldn’t see, and then, after the routine safety speech, he added that the whistle on the lifejacket was for attracting sailors and rolled his eyes saucily. During the flight I