Across Continents

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Mud and mascara

Smutty face - web

I’d given the usual assurances that I’d grab a shower. Change into clean clothes. Just as soon as I’d got to the room where I was staying. But hadn’t quite appreciated how filthy I was. A consequence of sixty miles into the centre of the city of Xi’an. A less than subtle blend of suntan lotion and diesel fumes. And a bit of mud. Admittedly I’ve not checked, but I’d be quite surprised if the Chinese MoT includes an emission test. At least one that any lorry’s ever passed.

Only later, catching a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, had I realised how dirty I was. Deeply ingrained. Mortified. Black smudges around the eyes, difficult to remove. As if poorly applied mascara. Or so I’d imagine. Never tried it. And even if I had, don’t think I’d be admitting to it anytime soon. Better to own up to returning to primary school with blackened palms. Spot of murder. Butler did it apparently.

[Author’s note: Curious about the butler? Then visit www.bookscumbria.com and search for a book titled “Murder in Cumbria”. By a chap called Ian Ashbridge. Chapter about a small village called Newton Arlosh. Family holidays haven’t been the same since….]

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