I've been away for a little more than three weeks, making the most of someone else's summer, trying in vain to keep the sorrow and relative darkness of another Perth winter at bay. En route a flyover Iraq and the floodplain of the two great rivers. One of the birthplaces of agriculture, cities and civilisation. A few days after my arrival I had the chance to see the exquisite Nimrud wall panels in the British museum. 2700 years old, they tell the tale of war (with Syria), religion and plunder.