Tangiers

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My 8 year old daughter is the 3rd lead in a Bollywood movie. It is an action adventure romp kind of thing. We are shooting in Morocco, in Tangiers.

So, another busy day on set and we have been in the most awful sand storm all day. Endless buffeting, sand everywhere and a heightened feeling of angst from the extreme conditions.

We are shooting in a house on top of a hill overlooking where the Atlantic and the Mediterranean seas meet. It is beautiful. The drive here was exquisite and there were so many stunning villas, gardens, woods and different landscapes that really took us all by surprise.
We all stood to attention yesterday as the King of Morocco drove past the hotel. Today we went beside his massive house on the way to our very isolated location.

Camilla and Louis came with us but were too feint hearted to take the full day so naffed off in a  taxi back to Tangiers. We are here, on the beach till five in endless waves of sand blowing tempers, hair, clothes, props and attendant camels all over the place. Isadora has a few more shots in these hideous conditions then we are into the main house which is rather lovely. A beach house over a ravine. The kind of place I would like to escape to right now. There are two set ups with her inside the house then we are finished for the day.

She slept ten hours last night and also ate a huge breakfast and managed a good lunch, too, so that stress has diminished. All the crew are seriously delightful, especially the Indian crew who are so positive, charming, kind, interesting amusing and fun that it is rather awesome to experience them.

My moments are odd. I battle with the experience of being no one but Mummy. I find it hard, to just walk the edges of it all having been in the middle for so many years. But I suppose it is getting easier. I sat in a shelter this morning that was held down by several Moroccans to stop it blowing away, and tried to think. I tried to get perspective and distance but the conditions are so extreme it was really hard to focus my mind. It was wandering all over the place. In the end I decided to sit and meditate. My favourite meditation. I pulled my shawl around me and crossed my legs. Put my hands as they needed to be to activate the neutral mind and found it easy to go off on the mantra and chosen route into the ethers. It was lovely. And the man holding down the tent prodded me to ask me if I was asleep! Too funny.

Lunch was in a café nearby and really was superb. My first good meal here. And now we wait to be called back down to the sand blizzard.

Saturday Night

They did not tell us this was a night shoot which is annoying and tiresome. So getting us both mentally prepared for the experience had to be done on the job, at 11pm when we discovered that it was not just one shot but several in the Casbah Museum which is very lovely but totally open to the elements.

So like the naughty mother that I am, the only way to stop her being sleepy and tearful was to feed her coffee. So I did. I told her she could go onto therapy later over the moment but that we needed to get through the night and this was the only way.

We are now faced with 5 days off and I really have no idea what we can do! All suggestions most welcome. It is at this point that I wish I did not have Louis, or that I could send him off to Spain with Camilla but how to get him back, She keeps suggesting or perhaps even insisting that we go to stay with her for a few days but it is expensive, cold and dragging all the luggage and them across Spain is quite low on my list of things I would like to do right now.

We had a good day today: we had a lazy breakfast and they swam whilst I updated the website and pretended to be working. We then took a cab to Café Hafa, the other side of the harbour, It was cold, windy and utterly the most unhygienic place Isadora had ever been in. She was not amused at all! But at least we can say we made the effort to see it. Built in 1921 it is the oldest café in Taqngiers and has seen all manner of luninaries pass through its’ grubby portal.

From there we walked back through the city for about 30 minutes, mostly downhill, to try to find somewhere slightly decent to eat. We did. A Moroccan version of an Italian restaurant. The pasta was disgusting but the pizza delicious, the coffee superb, the service belligerent and the ice cream excellent. It was another amusing meal and we then carried on downhill back to the hotel.

Isadora and I slept for 2 hours and then we went to find a good Indian restaurant we had heard about. It was fine. All cooked to order which meant it took 90 minutes to get our meal but Camilla taught us to play Rummy with Harry Potter cards whilst we waited. Again, great fun, then a high speed dash to meet the driver to come on set and to hurry up and wait.

It is now 2.30am. Isadora is fine. Coffee seems to be the way forward. Isadora drank a cup of the milky nectar and has been smiling rather than tearful ever since. The security guards are all ganged up in the dark by our bags, smoking hashish and I found the body guard of the main actor quietly eating vegetarian pizza. I joined him and now feel, after another cup of coffee, a little more up to the next couple of hours.

I have been sitting in one of the exhibit rooms, surrounded by Roman bits and pieces, writing text for the new website. When I get into the zone it flows.

Isadora is doing really well. Better when I am on the side, in view, but not part of her immediate circle. Somewhere, somehow, there is a competitiveness or an uncomfortableness for her with me too close. She likes to have her own circle around her but to know that I am in the wings.

I think she has a future, I think she will do more of this, especially now she knows what it is. The opportunity to teach her to master her mind is something I do not miss. Her mind is as awful as mine. I watch it engulf her, I have watched it since she was two or so, and these long days, moments of commitment when she wants out but cannot go, are all perfect times to teach her about how to manage herself. I suppose I learn too, as I have to present perfection in this aspect to get her through. So it is a learning curve all round.

They did her master close up at 4am…….