Sunday, November 23, 2008

red hot poker time...


it's red hot poker time. when the clouds hang low, threatening rain, and the grass is really green. the air is still. humid. and always at night far off, there is distant lightening. flickering. i love it. this time of year. its so brooding. expectant. unspoken.






(you see, i'm trying so hard not to be a horse bore. or a child bore.)




ok. so friday night was dinner at the vets house. they are both vets, he italian, she belgian. he is always working in places like afghanistan, pakistan, somalia, sudan (oh maybe not yet, but i know he'll end up there at some point) and she is the brave woman who camps out in maasailand, on her own, injecting 1000's of cattle single handedly then driving home solo with shitloads of cash. tough. beautiful.




he is so charming and italian. like he gave me a scarf from afghanistan and when i asked where i would be sitting, she smiled like mona lisa and said " oh next to giuseppe of course." i was elegant about it. trust me. like the time he invited me out to oldonyo sambu to watch him dehorning maasai cattle. so i donned granny's cloche hat, packed the children and two ayahs ( and a security car following just in case. joking) and followed - "no really its fine. i'll take my car. really! because we have to be at a lunch party at one. no really!", sort of thing. so yes. followed italian vet man into the rolling west meru pastures. and there we sat under a blazing sun, surrounded by maasai, watching mr vet man chasing cows and wrestling them to the ground, topless, and aherm, dehorning them....lots of blood sprayed across bronzed chests sort of stuff.... sweaty dusty work...



until we delicately excused ourselves and headed up the completely wrong mountain for our lunch engagement. the children and i and two ayahs ended up in a military zone at the tippy top of a mountain. according to first born, who white knuckedly gripped the dash board as we zig zagged incorrectly up the mountain, grinding along in low range 4 wheel drive, we were higher than an aeroplane. even the soldiers were taken aback to see my little family and i so high and so illegal.



it was the second turn right, not the first, apparently.



so yes, eyebrows were raised all round and there was much guffawing behind white napkins, when pathetic excuses for being late were:
oh man. took the wrong turn up the wrong mountain. yes. at the army radio tower! yes THAT one. i know! oh, before that? i was coming back from oldonyo sambu. well um watching giuseppe dehorning cows. yes. what? yes. dehorning. HORNS. cow horns.. .
oh you know what? just fucking forget it.
and i tucked into my pate with a purple face.




yes. where was i? oh yes. trying desperately hard not to be a child or horse bore. yes dinner at the vets. well. hardly had we finished our pork, with non english speaking guest, amilio, shaking his head sadly at the fact that we were headed to umbria and not his family house in naples in april, when paolo, vets second born, burst into the room, howling uncontrollably, gripping his arm. and a very realistic looking AK 47.... did i say he was howling?


so i said " whoops. looks like it's a dislocated elbow,"


safari craig frowned at me and said " oh rubbish. stop being a drama queen. he's fine."


vet man flew into italian papa mode, making loud noises, accompanied by spectacular arm gesticulations, above the very fine and very loud singer from sicily, still solemnly blaring from the stereo. tough belgian vet mama, calmly made everything right. and flipped the creme caramel calmly onto a platter, for safari craig, me and stefano, vets first born, then fled after paulo and papa into the night.



paolo was medivacced to nairobi at 2 in the morning, with a seriously bad fracture and was operated on yesterday. he will be fine, apparently. phew.



so much for me being a drama queen eh?




i should have been a doctor, i say.






and did i already mention that i rode the appaloosas through the coffee on saturday evening? oh. we have some fine fine hosses.... and that's all i have to say on the matter. so help me god.





and for the rest, i lay on the veranda, drinking tea, watching the crimson breasted sun bird in the fiery red aloes, and dreamed up a storm .....




Kitchen Board: Sunday Evening: 23 november 08



Contributors: Veronica and daniel.
Comments: man. supplies are LOW. especially on sweet things...
so, toodely toodely toodely...bisous X X X red hot poker ones...hooah. x j













26 comments:

family affairs said...

I so should have been a doctor too...and you so need to go to the grocery store Lx

Miranda said...

Oh aina, poor Paulo. Heh heh - I can imagine the scene, with Craig and u. So looking forward to coming home, ain't that a belssing? See you soon best-friend-in-the-whole-wide-world

Dick said...

Doctor, maybe. Novelist/short story writer/travel scribe, definitely. Brilliant stuff - such pictures!

Dumdad said...

We're always running out of Nutella and, no, I don't eat the stuff but the kids love it.

But what is dog rice?!

Janelle said...

Lulu, thanks for visiting..i know. safari craig in town as i tip tap type. x
hey mo! can't WAIT to see you!! xx
thanks dick! x
and DD dog rice is broken old rice you buy at the market...cheap,which we boil up for the dogs...!? x j

Caroline said...

muli shani Janelle, too long since I've been able to treat myself to a long session of ngorobobhill, worth the wait. wish i were there too, copperbelt feels a bit too like Bratislava at times, not a bronzed italian vet in sight. lots of love xxx

Val said...

whoa - rivetting stuff!! know what I'll be dreaming about tonight...
what a fabulous joyous post!xx

tam said...

That gorgeous mini drama queen in the pink robes!

Poor kid, man. He's going to remember this as the time Mama carried on serving the creme caramel while he had a real dislocated elbow. Eina.

You are having rather a splendid life, aren't you?

Janelle said...

caroline! lovely to hear from you. its been a while. eliza and i were on riding safari together...and we spoke fondly of you...was wondering where you had gone...e says you might be coming this way? HOPE so! xx
and val, yes, indeed!!! happy dreamin' cowgirl! xx
hey tam tam tamara....yes i am having a splendid life..its all intentional you see!? xx j

Mud in the City said...

How did he do that??

Love, love, LOVE the spotty horse pics! Very 'in' this season I believe.

xx

Anonymous said...

Love the post Janelle, wow, and the pictures, so beautiful! Reading your posts is always, always a treat, making me dream...
Got to put out a book with your beautiful horse safari adventures with you lovely spotty horses.
Joëlle

Lori ann said...

You Janelle are the opposite of boring dear, and anyway, i like when you tell us all about the horses and babies. Is that a zebra i see on your couch??
xx

tut-tut said...

What unexpected vantage points your photos bring! poor guy, though.

nmj said...

i barely stopped for breath reading this, i love the way it's written...

nmj said...

ps - is that tree really called red hot poker? - it is outrageous in its beauty...

Sydney said...

Hi Janelle -- I had to come click on your name where you had commented somewhere because my sister shares your name and WOW, you have the LEAST boring blog I've ever read. (i'm with commenter nmj)

I mean, we do starbucks (snore...and not me but most of us) and then lose oursleves in our cell phones til we get to our computers etc... In comparison it's tragic how much we are missing out on......

I'll be back, and please come stop by mine -- I have three -- each with a different flavor. Hopefully at least one might be for you!

Janelle said...

Mud! thanks. yeah and they go like dreams...! x j
Joelle! Thanks so much...would love to be known as a dream weaver..oh yes! x
nmj! thanks! well i love your blog too...its so succint. actually the tree is called a coral tree...erythrina. they are indigenous and all in flower at the moment, truly beautiful! x

sydney thanks for the kind comments. i will indeed come and visit all your blogs! HOORAH! x j

Anil P said...

That must be some hill you went up. The ride down must have been quick ad jumpy. An adventurous picture this. Made for a wonderful read.

Dumdad said...

An award for you to collect over at my place.

Reya Mellicker said...

Wow wow wow wowowowowow!!

there is NOTHING boring about you Janelle, absolutely nothing.

Breathtaking pics and what a story - wrong mountain, Italian vet/Belgian vet, riding your fine horses.

W O W.

What a life. Some folks don't have a thing to say about what they've been up to. Not you. Not ever!

You are SO cool even in the red hot season. Bravo.

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

lovely. and funny. loved description of finding yourself in military outfield. and then trying to describe the dehorning to fellow lunch guests. so been there. poor little paolo. yup. you should definately have been a doctor. x

Janelle said...

thanks anil p...well the drive down was slow and careful, all sweaty palms etc. x
THANKS DD!!! coming to collect it! kisses hugs and jubilant jumps! hoorah! x
ah reya, thanks darlin'! xxxx
and anthea!! glad you popped by! indeed...a DOCTOR..you see? i have been misguided in life..oh yeah. you SO KNOW those lunches....garumpgh garumph xxx j

karen said...

I do love your kitchen board! Also a great fan of the very special "Early Grey" Tea, which is i think is what's sneaking off the corner of your board.. and this is what we seem to call it in Botswana, too! :-)

alex said...

Love those pics of your new spotty appies, right up my boulevard! Enjoyed this so much, funny and brilliantly descriptive as always, your writing takes us right there. So talented you lovely.
PS We WILL ride together one day!
XXXXX

Janelle said...

karen thanks for visiting..love love your blog...! hoorah xx j
alexii!! c'mon! come visit SOON and lets ride !! oh and also thanks for the facebook comment. THANKS HONEY. its a huge compliment coming from a literary connaisseur as yourself. seriously! xxx j

family affairs said...

WHERE ARE YOU ? It's been nearly a week and I think you're showing off about how many comments you get these days! Lx