Year Amid Winter 10
YEAR AMID WINTER celebrates its 10th birthday this month. For those that don’t know (which is most of you) the book was originally released as a series of e-blogs in 2012 and got a release as a PDF ebook in 2015. It has since been released in the EPUB format.
ABOUT THE BOOK
(from the original press release)
The book comprises three parts: OXFORD (living in a recession), AUCKLAND (becoming a TESOL teacher) and ISTANBUL (learning the hard truths of teaching in a foreign country) and charts Hayes departure from the UK only to find himself in a similar position in New Zealand, hence his becoming a teacher, setting sail for Turkey and a whole new adventure. “I’m still paying for that decision” He says wryly.
Excerpt from Auckland…
I caught my first Auckland train into town from the all new Glen Eden station, and thankfully a return ticket costs twice as much as a single not 10p difference as par the UK.
I was excited as a youngster on a train for the first time as the sky tower swung into view and finally pulled into the architectural splendour of the underground Britomart – presently as funky as New Zealand gets (as there is no tube or metro) with its coloured lights and shiny hanging spheres.
Public transport is often a bone of contention with Aucklander’s who see their cities infrastructure as inadequate considering its sprawling size; reportedly twice that of London. However a recent slew of development has seen most of the train station’s rebuilt with new signage (which strangely omits the Maori language).
On alighting at Britomart, I first studied the station interior and smile at the absence of ticket barriers (since installed). Also in Auckland is the fabulous Newmarket station which is also reached from Britomart and the New Lynn station is worth a look.
The book was originally entitled ‘Auckland Eventually’ but when it became painfully clear the city wasn’t the home he thought it would be a chapter on Oxford had to be written from memory. This details a time when the UK had entered a recession and housing came free with two faux-christian landlords.
WHERE EAST MEETS WEST
The Istanbul chapter details Hayes first teaching gig and the industry he had entered into – TESOL – by all accounts the wild wild east! Here’s an excerpt…
I pass through into the main terminal and see a familiar array of faces waiting; some with pieces of white A4 paper with names scrawled on, it’s merely a case of locating which one is holding mine but none of them correspond. No-one is here to meet me as planned!
I reach for my phone and call my emergency contact, the American known to most as Krankenstein. However there’s no sign of that yet and initially she’s apologetic and makes calls to get someone to me. I exit the terminal and stand outside in the cold winter air waiting for the van with my schools name on it. It never comes.
What has happened is they have sent someone in an unmarked car who doesn’t know what I look like and I of course don’t know there is anyone there at all. I need to get back inside but Ataturk has the terminal from hell. While most are x-rayed after passing through security, the authorities that run Turkey’s airports have decided no-one enters the terminal without being x-rayed! This I discover in time is the same for most public buildings, particularly shopping malls.
I’m in (again) but this time I’m not leaving until my contact appears. I make another call, sit and wait. After four hours a man of Turkish appearance approaches, “Kelvin Hayit” he says greeting me with a smile while his hands clutch a minuscule scrap of ragged paper with my incorrect name on it. “Hayes” I say gratefully “but it’ll do.” We get into the car and another phone call ensues this time to the person I e-mailed my flight details to. She speaks to me as if it’s my fault. I am not happy with this idiot and sadly she won’t be the only one I’ll encounter.
YEAR AMID WINTER is the precursor to 2021’s HOUSE OF MANY FACES, detailing his travels in China and southeast Asia. Meanwhile, you can purchase YEAR AMID WINTER on its own or along with VOYAGE OF NOMAD here.
PLAYLIST AND CREDITS
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Life On Your Own – Human League
In Dark Trees – Brian Eno
Where I’m Calling From – O Atlas
Sunlight Seen Through Towering Trees – David Sylvian
Summer Moved On – a-ha
So Alive (from the Best of) – Stellar
Young Blood (from Passive Me, Aggressive You) – The Naked and Famous
Apart of You (from Sugarpills) – Kids of 88
Scared of Flying (from Best of 1990-2000) – Strawpeople ft Leza Corban
More Than This (from Avalon) – Roxy Music
Emerald and Lime (from Small Craft on a Milk Sea) – Brian Eno
The Judgement is the Mirror (from The Waking Hour) – Dalis Car
Revolutions (from Revolutions) – Jean Michel Jarre
Naminanu (from Archive 2 1976-1992) – Genesis
Last Train to Istanbul – Steve Hackett