02/03/2012 17:06 GMT | Updated 02/05/2012 06:12 BST

Diary from Kabul - Mosquitos and Bacon!


One of the curious things about 'upping sticks' and leaving it all behind, is that a part of your life continues without you, and yet somehow you are still living it. After all you carry the thought of it with you, it's not as though you just section that part of your life off. And it comes at you in odd ways too.

I still get emails, of course, from every company I have ever bought something from in the UK, and I cannot thank them enough for cluttering up my bandwidth and inbox with inane offers on sofas I neither need nor have space for. Thank you also to, truly, though I am not sure that the three emails I receive a week, probably until I die, is entirely reflective of the £4.99 I once spent with you last year, for what dumb piece of Chinese plastic I do not recall.

And there aren't enough cupboards in the world for the Viagra I could buy, nor pants big enough for the penis I will have if I take every offer that comes my way. And though I am grateful that people care enough to bother, and really I would hug you all wherever you are (Russia I think) if I met you, please desist.

When I flip the lid on my laptop in the morning, and watch as a flood of emails trickle through the digital ether: "receiving one of 17", the moist excitement I feel is incalculable. Here it goes, I've got friends, yep plenty of them, I am so well loved, how will I get any work done just being me!? And then I see with piqued disappointment that those busy little servers at Facebook and Twitter are just letting me know that someone in Singapore I will never meet has just started following me - lucky me. Curious I investigate further, and digest the crushing news that they are following 23,475 others (how do they find the time?). I am one of 23,475 other charmed souls! In the stakes of popularity it is a needle in a haystack, darning, not skewer.

So I don't get too excited when my laptop goes ping anymore, I am assured by precedent that whatever they are selling, I don't want. However, and this is no small however, occasionally an email drops by that reminds you in the most circuitous of fashions that there are still some things from before, that you love and miss.

In Afghanistan, officially of course, you can't get pork, as officially you can't get a drink, *hiccup* but of course it is available. But here is the rub, you find yourself eating bacon that could have been stripped from a rat, a small, infected rabid rat at that. It bears no resemblance to any bacon I have ever eaten. I have pubic hair that is longer, and... wider.

During the winter months in the UK, I have whiled away several thousand Sunday mornings watching small children muller themselves (always a joy) on a rugby field, as their cold and bitter father's pass a bleak hour or two drinking tea, and eating bacon sarnies. And ask any of us what gets us through when the rain is horizontal and your toes stay in your shoes long after your feet have left, and like a choir we sing in unison "BACON!"

Once a week I receive the group email from my son's rugby club in the UK, and Pavlov-like, I resemble a gnashing drooling hound held only be a geographical leash. Last week I sent them an email pleading that they never take me off their mailing list. They think that I care about the Under-14s result on Sunday, bless them, but I couldn't give a toss, really, it's the memory of BACON!


Happy to Report:

Well I never thought I would see the day that I uttered these words, but I had another mosquito in my room last night, and it bought quite a smile to my perky little face. Those of you who have witnessed me, Basil Fawlty style, jumping on beds at 3am trying to swat the 'Hun' will appreciate my complete and utter hatred of these malfeasants. I don't care if it's only the 'female anopheles mosquito' that passes on malaria blah blah blah, as has been pointed out to me a squillion times. At 3am I want sleep and if it comes in the permanent form provided by this infectious disease, it's an option I am happy to discuss.

What I hate, what is most likely to precipitate a snappy trip to a shrink is the incessant buzzing adjacent to my ear in the middle of the night, in the sure knowledge that in 20 minutes I will have a welt on my temple the size of a fried egg, and a burning itch that requires pints of some unspecified and sticky unguent to mollify! Malaria would be a gift under these circumstances.

So you can imagine my confusion at seeing the little fella buzz past my nose at approximately 11pm last night, and I discover an affection hitherto unknown, meekness that wasn't entirely in keeping with our shared history of enmity. I watched him buzz around the room, and I admit things became playful, I produced balletic swipes, little pretend touchés without intent. And he would fly past me in mock defiance, a swoop here, a dive there. But we both knew we were just playing, we were friends now. And then I killed the bastard dead!