Having got her off the Dhow, over the road, up the steps and into the lift we were exhausted. No, it’s not the cat’s Mother that we are attempting to bundle along but my dear Mama, who today excelled herself, letting the side down left right and centre. After the stern lecture she received from the three of us, she retreated to her room repenting, we hoped!
Actually, she was so disorientated after her sail up and down the Creek, also her pallor definitely left a lot to be desired, would you believe, it was a deathly shade of green! Sadly, don’t think she will remember or repent, we are resigned! But surely can live in hope!
So, Mike and I continued as normal, getting up early, trotting off to work to be reunited over lunch, which was usually taken around 2.3Opm.
Whilst, my parents were with us we normally arrived back in a state of total trepidation wondering what Mother might have been up to during the morning, would she, I wonder, have hatched another plot, if so, what would it be this time.
She had already made her mark by tagging along with wives who had elected to help out at the Barasti refugee camps, which were situated far into the desert. These camps were the temporary home to many very sad illegal immigrants and were run under the auspices of Save the Children Fund.
I have no doubt that these visits, together with the distribution of food parcels, would have lifted the spirits of these poor abandoned people. Thank goodness she was out of harms way doing that and for those few hours we were able to breathe a sigh of relief and be thankful for small mercies!!
On other occasions she would gaily announce that she had been asked to make up a fourth at Bridge, sometimes these sessions started at 8 am in the morning. Oh, what a to do it all was trying to keep up with her!
My dear Father used to sit quietly in the corner, pondering. Let’s face it having been married to Naomi for so many years he was surely used to being confronted by the unexpected on a regular basis. Now let me tell you about her next brainwave, are you sitting comfortably, because you surely need to be!
As I previously mentioned my parent’s were BP pensioners and BP was a prominent Oil Company in the Gulf with a good representation in Dubai. Without exception, the red carpet was rolled out for Naomi and Gordon, they were honoured guests where ever they went, naturally, they were made especially welcome by the BP Walla’s in Dubai.
Then it happened, calm before yet another preverbal storm! At one fateful party, Ma met a couple of locals, who obviously had connections with BP. We will never know just how the subject arose or, in fact, who broached it first, mind you I have a shrewd idea!
Never one to miss an opportunity Mother suggested to these two that before her holiday was over, she would really like to have an audience with Sheikh Rashid, the then Ruler of Dubai and did they think such an idea would be possible? If so, how could it be arranged? Obviously, we didn’t know what was going on otherwise she would have been bound and gagged!
Needless to say, she was full of this idea as Mike and I both quaked in our boots. She wouldn’t stop talking about it and kept desperately trying to get in touch with her two latest chums. Unfortunately, Al Moosa, one of them owned a shop beneath our building, too close for comfort, and the other Zacharias lived in a Pagoda which he had built some way out in the desert, a little difficult to miss; consequently, they were sitting ducks.
It was all becoming a very tricky indeed, with me thinking Mike would get the sack or maybe he would find a shotgun and shoot Mother, as at this stage, it might possibly be the only sure way of deterring her. We knew it was a vain hope that she would have second thoughts and let the matter drop, as this definitely wasn’t her style, what were we going to do!
The rows that ensured were nobody’s business; she wouldn’t be deterred, as she was hell bent on this, her latest mission, and this was to have an audience with Sheikh Rashid, right reason or none. I was sick with worry, Mike was as mad as hell and I seem to remember that my poor Father had taken to lunging for soothing Whiskeys. No I’m not joking our nerves were in tatters!
You have to hand it to Naomi, she was like a dog worrying a bone, and with an immense amount of cajoling, she managed to get her ‘mission impossible’ up and running. To this day, l I don’t know how she did it, as she was definitely flying solo on this occasion!
Somehow she had managed to rally Zacharias and Al Moosa and announced that they would be calling for her in a couple of day’s time to escort her to the Majlis, where the Ruler usually received his visitors.
It didn’t even cross her mind that Sheikh Rashid might not be too happy inviting her into his inner sanctum such was her determination and I might add enthusiasm. We departed for our respective Offices, I remember, being almost too terrified to return home that lunch time, in case, she had been shot by the firing squad or Mike had got the sack or even carted off to jail.
Well what do you know, she returned to the fold, bursting with pride, yes, being Naomi she had more than accomplished her mission, she had been received by Sheikh Rashid and he had even allowed one of her chums to take a photo which he subsequently signed for her.
Phew!. Yes, we had to hand it to her, naturally she was the talk of the town and nothing was going to stop her now, surely she can’t have any more desperate Dan ideas up her sleeve or can she!
I do have to mention, though, that for some unknown reason she had taken to wearing wigs, think she thought donning a wig was very much easier than whizzing to the hairdresser every five minutes, this was another little eccentricity of hers. Of course, this day was no exception; thank god it didn’t blow away with the excitement of everything, or take off with all the hot air that was being generated.
Once she had come down to earth and we both realized that neither of us had got the sack or were in jail, she recounted just how the morning had progressed. Mohammed and Zacharias had driven her to the Majlis, which was situated beside the Creek in Bur Dubai, the other side of the Creek from us.
Actually, a Majlis is a meeting room, where, in this case, the locals who for some reason or another would like an audience with the Sheikh would sit and wait in the hope that they would be called forth. Obviously, a few strings had been pulled that morning but this is where Naomi found herself sitting alongside Bedouins and local business men waiting her turn, whilst being surrounded by armed guards, who I believe she kept telling to stand to attention. Thank goodness we were far, far away at the time to know what was going on.
Eventually, her dream came true and she was ushered into the inner sanctum to be introduced to Sheikh Rashid. I believe she sat with the Sheikh for a while and through the help of an interpreter she mentioned having lived in Abadan in the Thirties and attending the then Shah’s wedding.
Yes, they enjoyed a common bond, the love of the desert, which undoubtedly shone through and must have bathed their meeting in a warm glow as it surely was a wondrous occasion for Naomi and indeed supremely unique for Sheikh Rashid.
As far as any of us are aware Naomi was the first lady ever to be received by Sheikh Rashid in his Majlis and I have serious doubts if many more have ever followed in her footsteps.
Naturally Naomi was simply delighted and we were left dumb founded. Oh, Mother, you’ve done it again!
I do so hope you have enjoyed this little tale. In the meantime thanks for dropping by.
Essay 46 will be published on Tuesday 24th November, 2015