I am still recovering from my first real test as a Ground Hostess at the Airport, did I pass muster? Indeed, I hope so. What a harrowing experience for everyone involved, but I’m so very glad that I was able to assist, in my own little way, and maybe make those dreaded good byes a little easier to bear.
Actually, on those occasions, I think I morphed into a real life Mary Poppins in my endeavors to jolly everyone along, maybe I have missed my vacation! Mind you, I would definitely have needed to take singing lessons! What ever, if I can help in any way to ease those anxious moments, then that is what I must do.
With all the boarders dispatched and the airport returning to normal, which meant being exceedingly quiet. Actually, most mornings, I virtually had the place to myself, my goodness what a wonderful skittle alley the main concourse would have made!
I was able to wander around to my heart’s content, like a kid in a candy shop, exploring every nook and cranny, upstairs, downstairs and in the ladies chamber! I occasionally found myself in the basement, where the kitchens could be found, passing the time of day with the catering staff.
They too were often at a loose end because very few of the airlines passing through habitually utilized their services. Maybe, they had horrors of old goat being on the menu, I jest!!
I know, it really is quite unimaginable knowing the frantic pace of today’s Dubai that there was ever a time when the Airport wasn’t inundated with planes and people twenty four/seven,
It really must sound like the stone ages, to you all, but back then there were days which were bereft of any International arrivals or departures what so ever, amazing!
This is a snapshot of how today’s world beating Dubai International Airport took it’s first tentative steps into the ‘big time’ and just look at her now, that is called progress! Those were the days when one had to wait, maybe, one or two days for a plane to take you to London or Bombay – How times have changed! Wow betides anybody if they couldn’t keep up. In retrospect, a fast pair of running shoes were required, possibly jet propelled!!
The home front had settled down too, sailing had taken a back seat, as it was deemed a little too cold to potter up and down the creek in next to nothing. In fact, my time was being taken up by weightier things. Like what, I can hear you ask?
Would you believe, I am now a very important person; well I think I am and that’s all that matters! I have been elected on to the Social Committee of the Country Club. Alas, not too sure how much my input will help to make this a fine dinning experience for the members. I was always brimming over with ideas, but most of them were somewhat crack-pot, to say the least. Once again, I think it was three out of ten, must try harder!
We held our first committee meeting in the New Year when, it was decided that the inaugural function should be a little do scheduled towards the end of January. This didn’t really leave too much time for a brain wave to occur, but what we really needed was divine inspiration, but where was that going to come from? Actually, the solution was staring us in the face all the time, not surprisingly, we were just a little slow off the mark!
As so many of the ex-pats in Dubai were Scottish or claimed to be, and for some reason best known to themselves they all had the same great friend called Johnny Walker! Everybody seemed to know this chap his popularity knew no bounds! In fact, knowing him would seem to entitle most able- bodied ex-pats in Dubai to be eligible to join the Caledonian Society too! Now there’s a thing!
After much dilly-dallying we had, what is it called, a light bulb moment, brain wave whatever. How about holding our version of a Burn’s Supper, this would engage the Scots in our midst and also be a good starting point for the first ever hooly at the Country Club, history in the making for sure!
Having unanimously decided on this splendid idea we sprung into action, first things first, must find paper and pencil to start a list. Why is it that to do anything bloody lists are required but bloody lists we had to have, one for this and one for that and one for everything else!
I might add most of these bits of paper had nothing on them because ideas were thin on the ground. In our exuberance, we had not given a thought to the fact that, as yet, there were no real kitchen facilities, serving areas, plates, glasses and cutlery, in fact, the place was bare!
Undaunted, an idea sprung to mind, I now knew many of the Military who had been posted to Sharjah, either serving in the TOS or the RAF and also there were small contingents of ‘an.others’ dotted around. To cut a long story short a chef, together with a side- kick and even a lone piper were press- ganged into action. How amazing was that?
These boys had been volunteered to come to a maiden’s rescue by my Military chums, who to this day, shall remain nameless. Unfortunately, these poor guys didn’t know what they were being volunteered for, most definitely army maneuvers with a difference! Obviously top secret too!
In the end we had to leave it to the Cookhouse Boys to conjure up some delicious eats, after all beggars can’t be choosers. Just hoped and prayed that this food was not actually earmarked for the Officer’s Mess! What the hell, we were surely on a roll!
We thought we were so god damn smart being, such great organizers, which really meant seeing just how much we could get away with by using feminine guile. Well, how did it all turn out? They say pride comes before a fall, don’t they?
As it was supposed to be a Burn’s Supper we really should have had Haggis on the menu, but that was definitely out of the question. Actually, I don’t think the menu contained one ingredient normally associated with a traditional Burns Supper expect, of course, a wee dram or two! That would more than suffice though!
With great anticipation we assembled to organize what we could in redlines for the arrival of the cavalry, this being in the form of a commandeered Army Bedford Truck, which would hopefully contain all the victuals required to make the evening go with a bang.
The guests were beginning to arrive, clogging up the bar; eagerly waiting for what they were sure would be a sumptuous feast, especially as we were not actually doing the cooking, where was their faith?
The first person from Sharjah to arrive was the lone piper. Jock took up his place beside the tree on the mound at the top of the hill and beneath the light of the silvery moon proceeded to play those wonderful laments that always bring a tear to the eye, and this evening was no exception. Yes, Scots can get a little maudlin listening to the skirl of the pipes when far away from home! It’s par for the course!
Time seemed to be racing by with no sign of the Bedford Truck which was carrying all the victuals, oh my God where is it, what has happened? We waited and waited but by now all the partygoers were either pickled or fractious, and we were becoming exceedingly anxious, it had seemed like a good idea at the time. Surely, the British Army couldn’t/wouldn’t let us down, would they? What could we do, nothing really, we had no means of communication, not even carrier pigeons fly at night!
Much later, but by this time everybody being past carrying and threatening to sack the Social Committee an Army Scout car was seen dashing up the Awir Road towards the Club house Bringing the most astonishing news, which you will never guess, and that was there had been an attempted coup in Sharjah.
The Sheik had been killed together with one of his guards and all hell had been let loose. The palace had been surrounded by Sharjah soldiers and troops from the TOS. In the ensuing skirmish several troops had been wounded together with a British Captain. Thank goodness though, the rebels surrendered the following morning.
To this day not too sure whether we ever received the food, if it fell by the way side or possibly was shot to smithereens, one thing was certain none of us would ever forget that night in a hurry. Yes, the first major function at Dubai Country Club surely went with a very unexpected bang!
And still the piper played on bewitching us with his mournful tunes, reminding us that we were not marking the battle of Bannockburn but a battle, much closer to home. This battle was taking place right under our noses, up the road in Sharjah, some might say a little too close for comfort.
Hi Everyone, hope you have enjoyed this ‘little cameo’? Your comments would be greatly appreciated.
Essay 4O will be posted on Tuesday 29th July, 2015