And see us in our splendour.
This is when Ngorobob Hill Billies leave the hill and go camping. I can't for the life of me work out why people LOVE going camping, (or for picnics for that matter).- ants in your saamies (sandwiches), dust in the butter, sticky mibas (thorns) in your sleeping bag and shoes, burning smoke in your eyes while you sweat over a fire trying to cook lunch in the boiling midday heat and then eating it balanced precariously on logs with your knees around your ears, and getting stung by scorpion..oh the list is ENDLESS.
But its always such fun afterwards. Such bloody good fun, I say.
Nevertheless Sal persuaded me that we needed a break from our lofty abodes and that we should head to Lake Eyasi for the week-end and camp out in the palm forest and swim in the spring..."Oh the kids will LOVE it..Come on! Stop being a bore.You've never been there. Blah blah blah .." and i was easily persuaded, a brain fart in time.
After hours of bone jarring, teeth rattling, hideous roads, past stoney barren hills, where people actually make a sort of living from growing onions out of the rocks, we arrived and struck camp.
Don't you love that word? STRUCK camp. It sounds soooo efficient. So military. Bish Bash Bosh Bingo DONE RAH RAH! Here's your medal!And a slap on the back! Brownie Points, Brownie Points. It seems to me that whenever camp is to be struck, it's always at the end of a rather long and hot journey, and this heavy, sweet laziness descends over one like a tranquilizing drug (sort of a zanexy effect), for the entire duration of the camping section. It's like my hands and feet are heavy. Striking Camp becomes A Chore. But maybe it's just me.
Of course, camping equipment is something that our family doesn't own, so Sal kindly leant her tents and sleeping mats. With great fervour the boys (my boys - on the LHS of the pic) set about building our tents. I thought it proper that they learn these manly things early on in life. Help their mama, you know. My temper soon rose to boiling point but I had to keep it under control as there were people about (family doesn't count). And i remember Daniel (he was ten at the time - this all happened last year and we haven't been camping since) holding my cigarette, kneeling down, trying to hammer a peg in or something...to be helpful... while i threaded the ruddy pole through the loops but it kept breaking apart and getting caught in the middle of the canvas loop and it was all just so clumsy and overwhelming....
Nevertheless, camp was struck, against all odds.
And then you have time to lift your head and realize why one goes camping...The sun had dipped below the horizon, Sal had lit the fire and the paraffin lamps, the sky was hazy purple and wind blown, Lake Eyasi lay wild and vast (and sort of menacing - ish...) in front of us, the hyphaene palms sighed like a sea above our heads and the first stars peeked quietly through the trees accompanied by a late old moon proverbially floating like a balloon across the sky. Supper was DONE...brought from Sal's house - chipatis and beans and everyone felt full and peaceful and tired. And dirty. Who cares about showering anyway? and there were MARSHMELLOWS! and cheap warm boxed red wine, which, frankly, tastes divine out a tinned cup when you are sitting in the dust, with a halo of stars on your head. In fact so divine i drank about four (or was it eight? or, um, blah...whatever) in quick succession.
How seductive to lie in your tent with only netting between you and the sky and watch the starry universe cut its old arc, trailing the milky way like a veil behind it....
There is no sleeping in when you are camping. Oh no. First light you are up (with a dull red wine head ache, a Saharian thirst and dust in your throat) huffing and puffing over a stubborn fire because we WILL have tea and coffee, after we have washed the old red wine and bugs out of the tinned cups lying used and abused next to last nights ashes.
Whatever... A few panadols, a liter of water and some very dark sunglasses later, i can courageously take on the white-blue, hazy, lazy African day offering itself so surely to me and float in crystal fresh springs and slow time. Yes. Camping is cool. I love camping. I do.
After a week-end of windblown sunsets, dust in your hair how sweet to get back to our home on the hill, where the wind is crisp and the view is far and your bed is soft. And its home. And we had fun. And we can tell C all about it.
Oh and PS. Rubin won the Spotty Tie at school today for being a good Hitler. (is that possible?) and for going up three levels in reading.
How we beam. How we beam.