This I Say to Thee, Thou Wedding Guest

15 October 2011

I took a stroll through the Old City section of Baku this morning, braving the insane traffic of Neftciler Boulevard which most people cross by basically daring the speeding Petro-brats in their Beamers and Mercedes to run them over. It’s best to attempt such a crossing in a group, as in ‘they can’t kill all of us’.

I visited the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, built around 1400 by a Sufi Muslim ruling clan, which has a replica of a catapult on the parapet which I assume they used to hail big rocks down on the invaders who visited regularly from what is today Russia and Turkey. Today the cool, narrow streets surrounding the palace are quiet except for the domestic sounds emanating from the windows of the houses and the occasional appeal of a rug merchant.

Ruins have a way of casting you back over the course of your own short life and I was reminded that in 28 days I will be standing before a celebrant at the Lansdowne Club in London and will “give away” my second daughter. I know I must be — and am — happy about this, but there is at the same time a massive sense that after looking forward to the day when she would take this further step towards her independence it also means she will never again need me in quite the same way.

It’s Okay. I’m sure I’ll manage. Somehow.

Rupert Scofield


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