Monday, May 31, 2010

Stork Colony

When I was a safari guide, many moons ago, there was a stork colony that we’d drive to and were guaranteed to see great game. Situated on an ox-box lagoon were three or four old gnarled and weatherbeaten ebony and winterthron trees that the squawking nesting storks would make their home for a few months of the year. They’d decorate the place white and play loud music; you could hear them long before you actually bumped across the ox-bow and rounded the corner to the drama of their lives. 


The trees were adorned with teeny baby fluffy white storks. And they’d sit atop their trees and squawk and shout and flap their wings. And the parents would wearily go off every morning and fish. And they’d bring the slippery flappy fish for the upturned babies’ beaks. And many would find their mark into the babies’ bottomless tummies but a good many more would slither and fall to the bottom. And every now and then the cute little fluffies would also lose their footing and tumble down.




Camera pans down and cue dark scary music.


The waiting big toothed jaws of the predators below. There they lurked and circled, waiting for the feeding frenzy. A slippery fish here, a succulent fledgling there, its eagerness to fly outsmarted by its inability to do so. 


Crocodiles, hyenas, marabou storks, civets, leopards. Nocturnal and diurnal, airborne, waterborne and land (bourne?). Mammal and reptile. All classifications forgotten.


The reason for this rambling narrative? It reminds me of something. Every time I put my daughter in her high chair to feed her the cat gets up from wherever he has been basking and starts circling underneath, waiting for the baby to drop her bits of food. Which she does, most diligently. A twirl of pasta here, a chicken drumstick there. And every day, three times a day on a small hill on the outskirts of a Tanzanian town, they re-enact a suburban version of the Nsefu Stork Colony.


Picture Window

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Then and now

I love staying at my dad’s. Going for a walk early in the morning to the bottom of his plot. Walking into sticky cobwebs that catch the morning light. Looking for spoor telling the story of the night – a duiker here, a bushpig there. A mouse, an elephant shrew. The dogs bark at a bushbaby. taunting them big eyed up a tree.


Meeting up with old friends. Having a funfun games evening with old girlfriends. You know the game Articulate? One person has a word on a card and they have to describe it without saying the word. And you have to guess. And see how many you can do in a minute? Guz had Jay. She said “It’s a bird. It’s also a letter of the alphabet” so I say “ABCDEFGH – Swift!”

Maybe you had to be there.


Talking with my ex who lives in my dad’s studio.  Him full of reminisces

Remember that huge puff adder we found in the generator room?

Remember the Korean client who trod on a puff adder.

Remember Sebastian, our squirrel.

Remember that wounded lion we had to dart, the one that you walked into.

Remember when I nearly shot you. And you had to dismantle the mechanism on the rifle so that I wouldn’t try again.

Yes. Yes, I remember

And having a session with Rosie the psychic masseuse who looks at your feet and into your soul, and tells you your secrets.

But the best thing. The best thing is that I’m ready to go home. 

To Tanzania. To my man and our little pink house on the hill with its pretty picture window. And I love Zambia and its place in my heart but I no longer ache to be here with every fibre. I now also love my new home, my new friends and the new adventures to be had.

And that’s the main thing, isn’t it?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The father's exhibition

Okay, so its my dad's turn now. He had an exhibition opening on Wednesday. Here are a few of the pics. No words today, maybe tomorrow!

These are all pretty big

A selection, more later

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The night of the exes

my ma and my gal and me. And some dogs

In haste. For some reason thought I'd have loads of blogging time in Zambia. But. I don't.

So. I'm in Zambia for a couple of weeks. Me and the baby gal. The baby gal and I. And peculiarly my mother and my sister and my father are all in the same place at the same time. Which usually happens like... well... twice. My wedding, my sister's wedding. My parents are divorced, see. It's not like they don't get on, it's just, agh you know. History n all that. So there has been much sitting around on the lawn, playing with clothes pegs (the baby), drinking tea (the grownups), spraying picture frames (the father - he has an exhibition next week so I'll be able to post lots of his pic like I did my ma's). My (pregnant) sister came up (down?) for a few days specially to see us and its been fab, just fab.

And tonight at dinner. Exes all over the place. an ex wife (my mother) and an ex husband (my father), an ex boyfriend (mine - he rents my dad's studio at the bottom of the garden) and my mother is staying with my sister's ex up the road. Jeez Louise, you couldn't make this shit up!

But shhhhh, the baby is alseep and I reaaly want to be too, so toodleoo and I'll try and write a better post tomorrow.

Or not.

I have some posts swimming around in my head. Remind me to tell you about the python.

and this pic of the baby gal for Lemon Gloria coz her baby has the same monkey on his PJs

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Speaking of ash clouds

We have a volcano in this part of the world – well the place is lousy with them really (which, according to my dentist is why there is so much fluoride in the water and why I have to use rain water or Cool Blue water from Dar es Salaam to avoid fluoride staining on my child’s teeth. The things you learn when you have a baby!) Anyway, we have a volcano here called Oldonyo Lengai. And every now and then she erupts. And all the pilots fly in a little closer to have a look. Once a friend did just that – flew in a little closer to and got a slick of ash all over her windscreen. And then had to go and find a rain cloud to fly through to clean it. Hmmm!

Picture window

Picture window with moths

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mr Time plays tricks on us

You know that book I started writing in November? That I said I’d start editing in December and get in good shape some time in 2010? Well, I’d like to say I’ve been working frantically on that and that’s why I’ve been so bad at blogging. But. It’s not true.

Or maybe I’ve been really busy with work? Nah. Work? Wassat?

Its just Time you see, playing tricks like he always does. Boy, he’s good at that, no? One day I’m writing a blog post and the next day you realize it been more than 2 weeks since you last said anything on this here public sphere. Well. What to say, what to say?

Do we talk about the weather? How the misty mornings swirl and whisper? How we can hear the rain water gently trickle and gurgle down the pipes and into our big underground water tank? How winter has stuck her foot in the door and is slowing trying to edge her way in. How the wildflowers smile at us ever time we drive down the hill? How we slip and slide down the road at the bottom of the hill in the rain, wildly gesticulating to the pedestrians to Get. Out. The. WAY! This fishtailing and sliding? No, I have no control over it and I seriously advise that you move move MOVE!

Or do I tell you about the baby? How she loves her new aeroplane tyre swing that my friend made us? How she miaws at the cat. Squints her eyes at him. Copies everything we do? Or how she is trying to crawl but is just not quite there yet. How bloody damn cut she is.

Or all that other mundane stuff?

The rugby? A Tanzanian vs a Kenyan side. Us cheering from the sidelines. Shouting encouragement as the Tanzanian side slip deeper and deeper into the quagmire of Losing. Us eating ice cream all the while.

How my mother broke down AGAIN. And we finally put her on the next plane outta here. Her car is fixed again now and sits forlornly in our yard, looking sad and neglected. A foreigner in a foreign land, different number plates for all the other cars to see and jeer. He wants to get home, I can see it in his headlights. Need to make a plan to do just that.

And we had a lunch thingy. With all our friends from these parts. Sun and wine and silliness. And fun, of course. How we say, 'what fun that was, we MUST do it again' Knowing full well it'll take us another year. That Time thing again.

And. And. And. And. Huh, so there has been stuff happening after all.

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