Burning Spear – Tradition

Hello to all.  I’m very tired today after what’s been a busy week with two trips to London in the past 7 days and another to come.  On Tuesday I attended the funeral of my eniste.  There isn’t an English equivalent to this word; the closest you’d get to it is uncle.  But an eniste (pronounced e-nish-te) is the husband of your aunt, in this case my father’s sister.  I was awake at 6 that morning due to an early departure for one of our Italian girls, Marta but after dropping off the other three , I set off for south London.  I arrived at the New Peckham Mosque, opposite where I lived till 1976,


with 40 minutes to spare and there appeared to be an older man there who’d been even more punctual than I.  It was my father, who I hadn’t seen for a while and looking quite smart in his blue jacket.



In time others arrived and the service in the mosque was conducted in English, Turkish and some Arabic.  I then followed in a convoy to the cemetery and may have jumped a few lights in the process but I don’t think I’d have got there in time otherwise as the route was through all the back roads 8 miles onwards to Grove Park Cemetary near Bromley, where there is a part set aside for people of Islamic background.  In my car with me was my uncle Veli and a cousin from Cyprus who I hadn’t seen since I was about 19 years of age.  I must have been related to 80% of people at the cemetery and I met old neighbours who I hadn’t seen for over 30 years.

Once we were all gathered around the grave and Hassan Mehmet Ali was lowered into the space dug out by the diggers the hoca (or imam) conducted a short service and then we all took our turn filling the grave with the earth with the spades left for us to do so.

Hassan Mehmet Ali was a devoted family man who enjoyed the company of others and here’s a photo of one such occasion I was present at a few years ago.



Hassan eniste is at the front sat on the right.

It was a long day and I dropped my uncle and father off in Camberwell and Newington Green with the aid of google map aid on my phone.  At times I would be directed to ‘turn left in 200 yards’.

‘Don’t take no notice, go straight’ I’d be implored.

This week was my first in my new office and so far so good.   The desks are smaller so it’s a little cluttered when I’m sat down.  The first morning was fairly chaotic as crates were unpacked.  An employee of the local authority patronised me when I was seeking out an IT guy to help me set up a printer.  They thought they could show me and then acknowledged that they couldn’t.  I’m not such an idiot that I can’t do the basics myself.  Thankfully this person was only present to oversee the transition from one office to another so life can go on as normal soon.  And we might even use Blu Tac to attach information to walls if we need to.  Yesterday I was locked out of my locker so had to wait until a colleague arrived to tell me where spare keys were kept.  My work phone and laptop were then retrieved and I could get on with some work.

After the departure of four girls another four arrived on Wednesday, Jeanie from France, Nadine from Austria, Caroline from Denmark and Elizabeth from Slovakia.  They are a quiet bunch.  They don’t even talk to each other.  Caroline is the most confident of them all and we have learnt that she loves music but isn’t allowed to go to festivals due to the degree of drunkenness that occurs at them.  One thing I learnt from the Italian girls that departed is that their word for bathroom is the same as ours, although spelt a little differently (Bagno as opposed to Banyo).

Yazeed continues into his fifth month with us and I have had to tell him to turn down his gangster rap this week.  He is driving me mad at times but he has such an innocent personality that it’s hard to be cross with him.  I did spot some cigarettes in his room and I asked him if his parents knew he smoked.  He shook his head and did a throat slitting gesture.

Our holiday plans are coming together, with some train tickets and accommodation booked.  We will be travelling across Europe by land and sea for three weeks in September.

Living in a big house it’s easy to just hide things rather than get rid of them.  When we had a clear out a couple of weeks ago we found 2 empty bottles of cheap Morrison’s own brand vodka.  There are two suspects.

A couple of weeks ago it was Robert’s birthday and I wished him well via his other half in Australia.  Thinking about him I remembered when he talked me into going to the gym which was an evening activity in our school.  His killer line was ‘are you happy with your body?’  Well I was 14 or 15 at the time and which young boy of that age is supremely confident with their appearance?  ‘I’m not unhappy with it’ was the best response I could offer.

I’m still watching Glastonbury coverage on IPlayer.  I enjoyed the set that Chic did on Sunday afternoon.  It doesn’t exactly feel like Good Times at the moment but the glass is half full.

I’ve tried avoiding the subject of politics in the past couple of weeks but it is clear that Teresa May is in office but not in power.  She is having to make many compromises.  It must be painful for her, with her reputation of being difficult, to accept she can’t have her way.  The success of the Labour Party in the general election has killed off many of their most extreme measures, one by one.  No promotion of selective education.  No attack on the living standards of the retired.  And they are being pushed hard to stop attacking the living standards of the working age population who work in public services.  These are all welcome but I have to point out that they are doing this because they have to.  Not because they want to.  We will see what they do about free school dinners.

How long has Teresa May got left as Prime Minister?  I think the Tories are only keeping her as leader because they don’t want to expose their divisions.  Just yet.  I think she will be allowed to conclude the Brexit negotiations.  And then most of her party will turn against her because of the compromises she will be forced to make in order to get her plans through Parliament, where she is in charge of a minority government.

I think UKIP may also regain some support as a result of what they see as a betrayal of the British public.  That’s if they don’t disappear within the next two years whilst trying to create support for a version of the British Nationalist Party.  Some Tory MPs were not opposed by UKIP in June in return for agreeing to meet with UKIP members regularly.  I wonder how committed they will be to that when they consider the 2% vote they received.

One member of the Tory Party that is getting a lot of coverage is Jacob Rees Mogg.


He is one of those who is likely to turn against Teresa May if she does what she has to as a result of being the leader of a minority government.  Every time I see him or hear his voice it is an absolute pleasure….

I’d like to sign off with a three minute track by the joyous Burning Spear called Tradition from their 1975 LP called Marcus Garvey.

Things I recommend; being happy with your body.

Things I don’t recommend; smoking.  Easy to start.  Hard to stop.  I succeeded eventually over 10 years ago.




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