Monday, June 22, 2009

The battle of wounded knee

Picture the scene.

My sister is rushing off to the university in her little red car to get exam papers to mark (its a really lovely little red car). I have the remote to the electric gate so I say I'll let her out. I am sitting on the ledge near the gate, bleary eyed, in my pj's. My new verycomfy verywarm tracksuit pants and a ridiculous pair of verywarm verypurple veryslippy slippers (appropriate word) from Lesotho that my sister has lent me.

The gate rumbles open and she reverses out the driveway, but there is a car passing so she stops. I, still half asleep - and not used to electric gates - press the button again and the gate starts to close on my sisters car. FUCK, I think, FUCK! I'm going to crush my sisters car in the gate! I have a flashing red vision of crumpled tin and squealing gate. The next Darwin Award. So I jump up and try to run towards my sister, mouth moving, no sound coming out. Slow-mo, you know? And then time speeds up double time and I slip and fall really really hard on my left knee on the concrete driveway. Knee-hand, up again, 'gatecarTamFUCK!' (do I just think it or say it this time?) fall again, right knee right hand. Smack the top of my belly as I put my hand out, but not too hard. Its where the baby's bum is now so maybe just a taste of things to come. Har har.

Usually when I fall my first instinct is to laugh (coz falling is funny, right) but I get too much of a fright and instead crumple down in the driveway semi crawling towards the car sobbing. Is the baby alright? Did I crush the car? Did I scratch it? Is my sister okay, is the baby okay? Aina my KNEE! I have a vision of the camera panning up, slow-mo again, a birdseye view, sound blocked out. My sister getting out the car coming towards the heap on the pavement. Also bursts into tears. Puts her ear to my big belly. Sees my torn trousers and veryred grazes. Is it a comedy? High drama? Both? All very dramatic and if it weren't so bloody sore, very funny! Heck, it IS funny even though it is so sore. But all is well, I had a good blub and I'm now walking like I have a wooden leg. My centre of gravity is all weird anyway (duh!) and now when I try to put my trousers on or sit down on the loo I feel like a robot and every step I make I hear a tinny voice in my head saying 'recalculating'.

On Facebook I say Miranda is aina (sore) and receive a flurry of comments from people thinking I'm going into labour. I'm sure when THAT happens, dear friends, I'll a)not be giving a running commentary on FB and b) you'll be able to hear the screams from there, so fear not!

Anyway, it could be so much worse and I feel great after that little moan, so thank you!

Oh and the car was FINE! Who knew that electric gates stopped when they hit something and didn't just keep trying to close with the force of one of those aeroplane tugs behind it? Okay, don't answer that.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back to the present and into the mind of a pregnant woman

Today I have a strange yearning for tree frogs. I don't know how or why I just woke up thinking of them. Some of you will know what I mean - those sweet little white frogs that perch in the most ridiculous and hilarious places. And catch you unawares like a pop up book. That make you laugh out loud. They look like porcelain figurines. I always wanted to make a photographic book of all the silly places you’d find them. On the toilet roll, in the soap dish (seems to be their favourite place), on the lid of the whisky bottle, 5 in a row on top of the mirror (with one facing the other way), in your tea cup (careful when you pour your tea – I’ve done that before), in the door jamb (usually squashed and dried!). Day in day out they just stay there. Well obviously the squashed ones do, but the other too. (Door jamb – is that a word? You know what I mean).

(scuze me, just off for a pee)

Anyway, moving swiftly on…As you will have noticed I’m still alive! I DROVE in Jo’burg all on my own and didn’t get lost or end up in Pretoria or die or anything. I am veryvery proud of myself! It may not sound like a big deal but it is, believe me! My sister and her beau are in Durban, frolicking in the sunshine so I decided to bite the steering wheel and get out there. And here I still am. Drove to the gym and swam in their flash heated pool. Then to the shopping mall, wandered around and stared at all the people and all the things. It’s a thing I do.

Oh and a while ago my sister and I went to check out the birthing centre where I’ll be having the baby (insh’Allah. Hopefully it'll be there in 3 weeks time not tomorrow in the middle of the Brazil vs US soccer match I'm going to in Pretoria!). Its fab. (scuze me, just off for a pee) Like a hotel room, big double bed, bar fridge ('lets get WRECKED!'), huge bath, little garden attached to each room. Its brand new and when we went they were still hammering in the last nails and splashing on the last coat of paint. Made me feel strangely at home, like last minute camp building before the clients arrive. I’ve just heard that they delivered their first baby there so thankfully I won’t be the guinea pig.

Guinea pigs

I think I dreamed about guinea pigs last night

They’re funny creatures aren’t they?

A bit weird

And they smell peculiar

But I love the noises they make

Oh I met Mud the other day! What FUN! Of all my blogging mates I knew I’d really like her. None of her friends know she blogs (which I'm sometimes quite envious of!) so we decided I'd be a friend of a friend. Which is easier said than done. So when asked 'So how exactly do you two know each other again?' I just kept shtum and let Mud do the talking! I was glad it happened when we were both there and not when Mud had gone to the loo or something. 'Oh, umm, my uncle knows her grandmother' 'Oh thats weird, coz she said that her old school friend Jim used to date your sister' 'Oh THAT! Ha, yes ummm well my uncle IS Jim and my sister...ummmm. help!'.

I never had a pen pal at school (I was waaay to cool for that! Actually I tried. We all had to write to these French kids in Reunion, in French. My best friend had one and I was supposed to write to HIS best friend, which I did but he thought I was really weird (he told his best friend who told my best friend who told me!) and I thought he was really boring so it didn’t last long. Anyway, this is what I imagine it would be like if you met your real life pen pal. It was fun.

Oooh is that black cherry yoghurt I spy. Scuze me….

Where was I? Mud. Ah this probably deserves a post all on its own when I’m thinking straight but when is THAT gonna be? It was great. We went out to lunch and chatted like old chums. She came with her friend who went to university with and was mates with Johnny, an old friend, who I've written about before (whom?). How weird is that! And on that same day, after lunch, I went for a walk down my sister’s jacaranda lined street and bumped into an old friend from university. Funny old times. This day I was beaming.

Okay, enough of this now. Miranda, step away from the computer, you’re scaring all the nice people out there.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Travels through memories past - more old pics

from grass house to wooden house. Our next home. Dry season and rainy season. My mother still lives in this house

So after the sepia Chibembe days (last post) we moved to a more permanent camp. This one not on the banks of the hungry river, but on a quiet blue-green ox-bow lagoon. Full of water and lurking crocodiles in the rains, green and puku studded in the dry season. Chibembe has almost entirely been eaten by the river now - all that remains are a few crumbling, stubborn structures, when we-ing about the Good Old Days.

We moved to Kapani when I was about 7 or 8 and stayed.

This valley is home. My DNA is scattered amongst the mopane trees, soars up with the crowned cranes at dusk hollering 'Owani, owani!', floats out over the river into the quiet dark ebony groves and digs iteslf into the fine glittery sand of the dried up river beds. My ghost will surely hang out here when I die.

School, Kapani

The guest houses. What am I WEARING??

Saturday, June 13, 2009

People in Grass Houses Shouldn't Stow Thrones

There's a joke that goes like that but its really very feeble and I can't remember it anyway so....

When I was in Lusaka I discovered an old green tin trunk of my dad's brimming with old pictures and newspaper clippings. There are some really funny ones and at the risk of boring ya'll I'm going to post a few up here.

Me doing the ironing...

..and playing with my bicycle. I LOVED that thing. The guys legs moved when you pushed it.