Show Me Some of That Spanish Dancing…
I’ve been thinking a lot about the ‘possible’ upcoming deployment – I say possible as I really think that the Medics will stick their oar in and put the kaibosh on it. My mixed metaphor there basically saying that I don’t think that they will allow me to go – my dicky-ticker issue might just be too dangerous – even though it is asymptomatic right now, we don’t know about the future…
But the thought of NOT being able to go, particularly after all the work I have put in so far, meant that I did get a bit, well maudlin, I suppose you could say. I have invested a lot in the process so far, and I have not even started the proper training for it yet. I got my head around that this is a fantastic challenge but the problems I’ve had medically have meant that it might have been wasted effort. And this, as I say, sometimes gets me a little down. It did this particular day and to get myself out of this crappy state of mind I was getting myself into I decided to put some music on. I did a shuffle through my iPod and found one of my favourite albums – the Counting Crows’ Films about Ghosts. If you’ve not listened to it, or the Crows themselves you should give them a go.
I was plodding through this album, pottering around the house, when one of my very favourite songs came on – Mr Jones – and it took me to thinking about an earlier deployment I did.
You see not all deployments in the RAF (and I guess the services in general) are to sandy places in the Middle East where you have the potential to get shot at and blown up and so on. The RAF in particular, as part of NATO has lots of exercises of different sizes running all the time, so that partner nations can practice working together. One such exercise was a maritime exercise off the coast of southern Spain. The aircraft I was working on were part of the ‘defenders’ and we were deployed to an airbase near to Seville called Moron. This was a fabulous deployment – Seville in the summer for a three-week trip was just lovely; we worked hard, but also played hard and enjoyed all that the city offered.
We ate well and drank plenty, working 12-14 hour days and then on our off shift time going to a bar just around the corner from the hotel that we were staying in. This was called the Europa Bar and the owner was very pleased for us to use the bar – after all there were 30-40 of us and we must have spent a lot in that bar – some nights starting there with the intention of going into the city for more drinks and food but ended up staying there. Staying there so late that the owner would lock us in…It wouldn’t just be us that he did this for of course, some of the locals would stay and we would practise our Spanish and chat and they would practise their English. It would be stilted, but the beers would flow and the chats would go on, and then later the owner would put the music on.
This would be traditional Spanish flamenco; you know the sort that you hear at any staged Flamenco show when in a hotel anywhere in Spain, but the difference came was when the locals got up to dance. Just normal Sevillanas and Sevillanos having an evening out would get up and just do flamenco. It was amazing. But not as amazing as the transformation that came when one girl got up to dance with the owner.
She was the kind of girl, in her late 20’s, who, and I am being kind, you wouldn’t really look twice at. She wasn’t striking in any way. Slightly over-weight; she was the kind of woman who would blend into a crowd – you’d see her sitting at a table and then pretty much ignore her. She wasn’t un-attractive, but she was not a stunner who you would be drawn to. She was just sitting there enjoying a beer and a chat with her friends.
Until she got up to dance. And then she changed. She transformed. The way that she moved and held her hands and her body and how she swayed her hips…she was transformed and became…stunning. Fantastic. Sexy. Beautiful…and she danced one or two songs and then went and sat down and was back to normal.
And I am taken back to that bar and to those flamenco dances every time I hear the lines of Mr Jones by The Counting Crows –
‘She dances while his father plays guitar
She’s suddenly beautiful
We all want something beautiful
I wish I was beautiful
So come dance this silence down through the morning
Cut Maria! Show me some of them Spanish dances’
And it cheers me up. That girl comes in to my mind and I think about how she had surprised me. Maybe the doctor will surprise me too. Maybe he’ll let me go. Not all is lost yet! And anyway the work I have put in hasn’t been wasted – I am a lot fitter now that I was 3-4 months ago. I have proved to myself I can apply myself to a challenge and I am almost ready for it…
And it makes me just a little bit more able to cope with the bad news that I think is coming my way. ‘Cos I don’t think the doctor will let me go to Afghan. But then I think of all the places I have been in the past and I think of the things I have seen. Well, I have been lucky. I do have things still to do, and I really want to challenge myself by going to Afghanistan, but if I don’t get that chance, well, I’ll just have to find another challenge.
But that itself might be the challenge.
And I might be lucky yet…