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 in...at 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?
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 it....la 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