8 October 2002


OldEric says (:-} Yes, Yemen is in the news at present. I remember Yemen for other things. When I was a young Merchant Navy Radio Officer on my first trip to sea and just in my late teens we called in at the port of Aden to discharge a small amount of cargo and take on bunkers (refuel) we were on our way to the ports of East Africa . We anchored in the small enclosed harbour which was surrounded with large, almost menacing black volcanic cliffs and the small township was perched on a narrow ledge-like strip on the edge of the cliffs. The black cliffs and the sparkling blue water gave the place an almost exotic feel, especially with the colouful bum-boats circling the ship. The ship I was on, the SS Modasa as well as cargo carried 200 passengers. The bum-boats rowed out from the township carring all manner of goods, veritable floating shops, were very popular with everyone. I had to buy something and my eyes settled on a large wall or throw rug with a deer scene woven on it. Just the thing I though and I bought the rug. It was the first item I had bought with my new income and I felt pleased with this first purchase. After the trip was over I took the rug home and gave it to my parents, the first real present I was able to afford. I suppose it was a small thank you for the struggle they had to send me to study for 2 years at South Shields Marine College.
After the death of my mother and the family home was broken up my father gave me the rug and we brought it to New Zealand with us. For many years the rug covered our dining table until it was old, worn and faded. Sometimes I would look at the rug on our dining room table, remember my parents with affection and think of my first visit to Aden. This morning as I write this my eyes mist and I feel sad and drained. The title of this piece shold have been "the rug and my parents".

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