Monday, July 14, 2008

an electric complicated wiring story: more tales from The Pink House On The Hill.

bollox to a responsive universe. i never dreamed up today. i know i didn't.

perhaps i have forgotten to practise gratitude. well. THANK-YOU THANK-YOU THANK-YOU from the bottom of my enormous gooey heart for the new battery in my car. but You didn't have to make it catch on fire at the bottom of the hill now did You? so there i was with my second and last born children and godwin's old dad who lives in a village at the bottom of the hill, trundling into a wet wintery african morning, armed with shopping lists, money (at long last) and a fairly positive attitude. christ. i stopped and picked up godwin's old dad, didn't i? i mean how thoughtful is that? eh? eh? You there in the long white dress with the big white beard... yes You, You deaf old biddy.

next thing i feel a coldness. i think. oh that's odd. windows are all shut. i feel the air coming out the air con vents. i make sure all switches are off. strange. the air con hasn't worked in years. how very odd. next thing the cold air is accompanied by an even more bizarre odour, smartly followed by smoke. which increases by the second. it suddenly dawns on me that we are on fire. forget about moses and the burning bush. jesus. try janelle and the frigging burning toyota. so we screech to a halt at the bottom of the hill and i shout at everyone to bail. "GET OUT QUICK! THE CAR IS ON FIRE! THE CAR IS ON FIRE!" the kids leap out like baboons. the old man sits still and stares in front of him, cradling his walking stick and thinking of happier times; he hasn't even registered we have stopped. oh jeez. " haraka haraka! iko moto indani ghari! hatari sana! haraka!" my atrocious swahili aside, the next minute godwin's old dad swings into action and fast. i try and turn the car off but it won't. it simply won't be turned off. oh hell. oh bollox. we are about to explode a la james bond film. how miserable. under this old flame tree on a grey miserable morning. argh. so i try and stall it, forgetting that the old man isn't as fast or nimble as the kids and is still busy bailing...because of fast declutching to stall the flipping car, i knock the old man off his feet, banging him on the head with the car door as he is down in the mud. oh for godsake. its terrible. rubin second born " maaaarrrrhhhhmmmmm - you hit the old man. you hit the old man!" as if i hadn't bloody well noticed. i mean it wasn't like we were speeding along you know... and the car still won't be turned off... i scream back " FIND WATER! FIND WATER!" last time it was "FIND A MAN! FIND A MAN!" so off the kids run shouting "maji! maji! maji!" while the old man stares closely at his knee. a nanosecond later our maasai neighbours appear with buckets of water. one man tries to open the smoking bonnet, which i thought rather brave of him. the bonnet refuses to open. he begins to violently wrench the bonnet repeatedly. eventually the car turns itself off. there are hisses and spits sparking inside the engine. we manage to prise open the bonnet (keeping it in tact at the same time). not to be a mechanic bore, the earth wires (but not the most important ones, the little ones that go off to the left and into the bottom metal bit) are burnt to smithereens. no flames and no more smoke. a finger is pointed and i hear " A Short. This Is A Short."

phone safari craig who happens to be in town, entre safaris. the car shall have to be towed. there are no two ways about it. if we start it, its likely to catch fire and burn - completely. so best we don't. it was towed away sadly. it sits in the workshop as we speak. if anyone is interested in knowing what was wrong, please comment me and i shall fill you in as and when i know. its an electric, complicated, wiring story. but what absolutely gets me everytime is WHAT CHANGED since yesterday? me and machines share no common bond. i get The Screen Saver face when staring into an engine. any engine. i really couldn't give a &@*(. it must just work. and if it won't then it must go away and be fixed by someone who loves and understands engines. and they mustn't try and explain what went wrong and where the problem is. i am simply not interested. never will be. is that too much to ask?) like in my guides exam, in the mechanics section, i kid you not, there is the question: explain how 4 wheel drive works? numbnuts. clutch, and throw the smaller gear into low range, pop out and make sure your hubs are locked (an easy thing to forget - when you are stuck in the mud...of course i locked the bloody hubs for godsake....lemme just check....oh ()@*&$%&*^@#) - not to labour a point or anything careless like that...

moving swiftly on. next. onwards and upwards. kids and i squashed into a landrover, which works, rah rah, chug merrily into hideous town to cross off another shopping list. will it ever end? will it? this endless list making? did i omit lists in my last life or something? perhaps i didn't itemize well enough? or maybe i was some selfish egyptian queen who sent slaves off into cairo with reams of shopping lists whilst i lay next to the Nile being cooled by palm fans and oiled with essential oils? and was a thankless mean old cow.

i have to say though, i crossed paths with a few angels in town. you know, people being helpful when they didn't have to, helping me reverse out of tetchy parking spaces into roaring unforgiving traffic, with smiles on their faces. people letting me into the gas shop, as the doors were closing for lunch and allowing me the last minute. friendly warm people in the queues at shoprite (an african tescos but completely crap) maybe i just looked desperate today??? or maybe i shone?? who knows?

i have confiscated the play station. yes. i have. and have concocted up projects for the 11 yr old Boy), the 9 yr old (boy) and the 5 yr old (girl) for their long summer holidays: i have decided to wholeheartedly Raise My Children, for once. (snigger snigger, i hear you, lets see how long THIS one lasts...)


1. Daily Journals - chronicles of their days. todays:

Rubin: Smoke came out of my mum's car. It came from the A.C.D

Daniel: the writing eminating from his head, in the speech bubble below, says: I had nothing to do so I just drew what I had in mind and this is what came out.
worrying or WHAT? do i give back The Play Station?

2. Drawing course (Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain) - all lectures conducted by me. book on desk to be perused and course to be followed stringently. rauss rauss unt kartoppelkopfing.

3. Sports: tennis, running, football, riding (and hitting polo ball with mallet in ring to try and keep boy interest peaked) learning to ride bicycle for 5 yr old, and motor cross for older kids.

4. everyone has to learn a musical instrument to carnegie hall concert level and no less by the end of the holidays or else: last born - violin (outside teacher) and piano by mother. second born - guitar taught by rock star mother. first born (one nearing puberty and hormonal turmoil years (don't think i ever left those) - hatefully opted for piano taught by hateful mother.

5. cooking classes conducted by darling sal from next door (in exchange for teaching her first born jasper guitar; jasper who is allegely excited and is in full knowledge about the latest turn of events. as i said. allegedly). boys fear cooking shall turn them into girls. (gasp gasp gasp - WHAT?)

6; photography - bird pics for danu p's bird book. work on movie script with kids. ask rich client to bring video camera from the states . make movie and sell rights to spielberg and make millions.

all children were coerced in helping with latest disaster this evening as chronicled below. i felt it would be good for their sense of community and responsibility, and hey, who knows? it could be the start of The Day I Knew I Wanted To Become A World Famous Horse Cardiologist. i asked them to please halter the wounded horse and bring him to the house. minutes later i hear;" it won't fit!" and there they are trying to put the halter on upside down wrong way round. "oh i thought the eyes looked through here." bloody clueless.

first born took the pictures then felt queezy and begged permission to leave "operating theater" (which was front garden and verandah). second born assisted vet admirably - passing scissors and things. last born assisted by merely being present - making fairy houses amongst the injections, blood, bowls of dettol, and steel implements.

so there i was, home, after burning cars and horrible town, settled in front of computer about to update blog and CHECK ON COMMENTS (eyebrows jiggling in your direction) when mwali, the syce, reports old horse sirrocco has " very very bad cut". i go to inspect and OH MY GOD. it's a huge huge GASH....a foot long and an inch deep between his front legs...hideous hideous hideous. i call our amazing vet Lieve, who drops her banking chores in a jiffy and cruises out bee bar bee bar bee bar to our hill.

lieve is one of these amazing woman. she hales from belgium but has lived most of her adult life in africa. she has worked on several projects here in tanzania, one of them with the maasai and their cattle. she would travel out to the middle of no-where - northern maasailand and inject over a thousand head of cattle. she said that these people were the best payers ever. i deeply admire her for her toughness. i would be way too wimpy to go all that way alone, inject 1000 cattle or more for fierce warriors, camp out on my roof and head home on lonely roads with trunk loads of cash...

even though sirrocco is old (26) and today badly wounded, he is a very very strong horse. he wasn't having any of it, even after a hefty tranquilizer. there i was, trying to make him stop and stand straight, and to stop him from plummeting over the edge of the hill. my god. lieve giving me strict instructions not to let him fall on her because well, then, what would we do? quite. ok um. " now you stand up you big old17 hand horse, you hear?" whoa. whoa.

bloody hell. anyway. hats off to lieve. she cleaned and stitched up the wound.

we ended the day with a single malt. or two. standing in the kitchen, heating up the soup whilst swapping tales of our lives and felt much better for dolce vita. si.

Kitchen Board: Monday Evening 14 July 2008

Contributors: Rubin and Daniel Doria (entirely)

Comments: could this be the beginning of the blockbuster? is that how daniel sees his mum and dad? ? gasp gasp...or his brother and himself? tant pis. at least the shopping list is done. hah. toodely pip and xbisousx


Ernest de Cugnac said...

Struth! What a day, what a life. Poor old Sirrocco. You don't say how it happened; maybe you don't know. In case it's useful, I have treated very bad wounds on horses with honey. Spooned straight into the wound. Antibacterial and antiviral.

Diana said...

And all I can do is sit here reading with my hands in my hair going "Aaaah! Nooooo! Aaaaaaaaaaaah!"

You brave soul, taking the Playstation. Me? I've not the gumption. I bow to you. And raise a single malt.

bellananda said...

things i love about your blog, besides your warmth, descriptiveness, and laugh-out-loud humor: the fact that you cause me to stop and realize that yes, indeed, people in africa have the problems of whether to confiscate the playstation (africans have playstations!) and figuring out what to do with their kids over summer vacation.

obviously i am in dire need of another pilgrimage somewhere; i'm becoming far, far too insulated in my rather comfortable midwestern existance, worrying about and putting together local food security, keeping up with my job and bills, making time for family, etc. thanks for giving me such wonderful, more-than-welcome jolts of reality, along with your beautiful photos! said...

what a great story. and told so well. with such humour and warmth and crazy janellabella colour. i loved it. i'm truly sorry about shitty day. but look at the tale you told as a consequence. there's an upside; there's always an upside. xxx

Janelle said...

thanks ernest for the honey advice! i always FORGET about honey..and have jars of wild honey in kitchen...we are not sure how it happened...going to trail through paddock today to see if we can find out what he cut himself on...its so nasty and messy...yuk. poor old thing. good to hear from you diana! i know! i thought i was really brave too! eesh. now i have my work cut out for me. and bellananda! THANKS for your lovely lovely comments!! am glad i have inspired someone...?! hey anthea - and thanks to YOU you inspirational lady...and you are so right..there really is always an upside...lots love to you all x bisous xx j

Dumdad said...

Apart from that, what did you do with your day?

Lists. Lists are the bane of my life. I need to write them because I'll forget otherwise but if I don't complete the list I feel as if I've failed. Especially those overoptimistic lists:

1. Change lifestyle.
2. Lose weight and tone muscles up to Mr Olympia standard.
3. Write novel.
4. Eat healthily, cut out fatty stuff and sugar.
5. Drink sensibly.
6. Etc etc.

Then when at the end of the day I've done none of the above I sink into despondency and have to drink copious amounts of alcohol, eat bacon sandwiches and chocolate cake to alleviate feelings of self-loathing.

New list

1. Drink more wine.
2. Put on 5 kilos by end of week.
3. See how many Big Macs I can eat.
4. Think about writing novel.

Janelle said...

yeah exactly DD! good to hear from you...same same. if i don't write it down i forget. maybe we should just leave The Lists. and then perhaps we'll remember only the good things and life will change accordingly...hell. i don't know. for godsakes. write that novel, goddamnit. xx bisous xx

Miranda said...

oh I LAUGHED! Your kids are ausome! No really, they are!

john.g. said...

Hi, Janelle! Found you via Dumdad. That was one hell of a day! Well done for getting through it all.

Janelle said...

thanks mo! and hello john g! thanks for popping by...oh well. what else is there to do? but to get through it and laugh, of course. . ! x bisous x

pam said...

You see? The universe IS responsive. Giving you ample opportunity to amuse us. X pam

pam said...

you see? The universe IS responsive. It is gioving you ample opportunity to amuse, charm, delight, captivate and entrance us!
x pam

tam said...

Oi vei. You make me laaaugh!! "screensaver face' I love it. Now, when you did the Parenting bit, were you wearing the wig?

Bush Mummy said...

Hi I'm from a different Bush, the Shepherd one in London, W12 - but I absolutely LOVE your blog and have been chuckling to myself for the last 20 mins reading it.

Fabulous.. I'll be back

Bush Mummy x

Janelle said...

pam tam and bush mummy! THANKS THANKS THANKS!!! karibu bush mummy! glad you enjoying and pam WHEN you coming darl? and tam...god! yes ! the wig! i must i bisousx