The Lost Washing Line

We bought meat and vegetables at a huge market in Errachidia

One day in Meski we discovered that we had foolishly forgotten to pack our washing line when we left Midelt. We realised we left it tied between two trees. We were very upset – it was an essential piece of equipment, purchased from a chandlery in the UK and not easily replaced. We explained to Hamid what had happened and he telephoned the camp site at Midelt. The next evening there was a knock at our door and there was some kind person with our rope! We were amazed and so grateful to Hamid for organising it. Midelt was almost a hundred miles from Meski and the rope had been abandoned there for over a week.

We had dinner with Hamid and family that evening. He lived with his parents, his wife and three little boys. They came to the camp site to guide us up the steep steps to their house in the village. We walked through a maze of narrow, unpaved streets and entered their house through an ornate metal door set in a wall. Inside were date palms in a courtyard that led to the house. We enjoyed a meal of bread, salad, beef and turkey skewers cooked on charcoal, with vegetables and followed by fresh fruit. The house had two storeys – the top level was open to the sky and was used for drying laundry. In the summer when the temperature rose to 45°+ the family took their mattresses upstairs and slept under the stars.

The following day we went for lunch to Hassan’s. He lived with his wife and five children in the nearby town of Errachidia. We ate whole chickens stuffed with spiced noodles, followed by fruit salad. At Hamid’s just the three of us ate together but at Hassan’s the whole family sat around the table. One of Hassan’s daughters, aged 16, spoke excellent English. We thought her twin brother didn’t speak English at all – until the subject of football came up! Hassan’s house was quite large with three storeys, open at the top. Outdoor shoes were not worn in the house nor were bare feet acceptable and there was much tutting before we were found some sliders to wear when we were being shown around the house. Note to self – next time bring slippers!