Alone in the embassy, Abidjan.
I arrived very late last night, and Jo met me at the airport. Her driver helped me collect my bag, which I was convinced would not appear, as my connecting flight from Heathrow to Casablanca came in late, and I had to run to make the Abidjan flight. But appear it did, so I have clothes, toothbrush and Lucy Mouse.
Jo and I sat talking a while on the terrace. It’s great to be spending time with her after years of flying visits, although she has buggered off to Ghana for 3 days, leaving me with the run of the compound, and only her staff and the guards for company! The staff have gone home for the night, and it is incredibly quiet. The embassy building is not enormous, but feels it – huge rooms, built around a courtyard containing a fantastic display of tropical plants, and a little fountain. Outside there is a pool, and gardens. It’s like being in a small, luxurious hotel. By yourself. Except that around the compound is a high wall topped with razor wire.
I got up this morning and emerged from my shower to be presented with croissants, coffee, mango juice, papaya and yoghurt. Other meals one has to make for oneself, as the cook only caters when Jo has real guests. The hardship! But breakfast will make all the difference – instant structure, and I’m fed and awake without even having to think about it.
I reviewed my notes on The Boa Constrictor, came up with a plan of attack, did a couple of exercises and wrote a scene. A short, unnecessary scene, but hey, I put one word after another and I wrote something. I need one of those word count wotsits. I’m taking a NaNo approach to this: target 50,000 words in the next month, and then a couple of weeks to tidy it up before I send it to my uni group. I feel good about it. It’s hard not to feel good here. By Friday I may be going bonkers with loneliness (the staff are even worse at English than I am at French) but right now it feels very good indeed.