Monday, September 29, 2008

strange days...

(pic by safari craig lake natron 2008)

there is something strange in the air. i can't quite put my finger on it.


is it the weather? the whiteness of the sky? the faint sexy scent of dust and rain in the distance?

i am beginning to know this mountain weather. this equatorial mountain weather - which whirls and swirls about the place, confusing you.


the nights are full of wild, hot dusty, mountain winds, battering the little pink house. screaming like a boiling kettle. and the stars are fat and still.



i am paying attention to my dreams. when sleep finally overcomes me. it's not that i am fighting it. the wind keeps me awake. (and so does the clanging frigging wind chimes! i must remember to take them down when the house guests arrive tommorrow. they won't get a winks sleep otherwise)


i am sleeping with my big zambian crystal.( and a stabbing knife under my pillow - nice. like i even know how to use it. ) the crystal has rainbow light and powers extraordinaire. i have been dreaming about really kind loving people. about someone who watches me sleep. who moves their arms quietly and carefully from under my head so as not to wake me. and when i wake no-one is there.

soul mates? angels? another part of me? who is that?




i dream of a wise man who lives in a small hut at the top of a dry wind beaten mountain. of an old woman (short grey hair almost a judi dench look alike) shooting bullets into the water where i am hiding...calling me, calling me.



apparently you can tell your soul mate by the light in their eyes.


one of my students wrote "my mother is fossilized every week." get it?

and gabby was stomping about the house this evening in full fairy regalia, saying," look! this is what japanese fairies look like," as she pulled her eyes to the side as far as they could go and wiggled her fairy bottom.

(pic by jake. japanese fairy on shela beach, lamu many moons ago)

people are strange. beautifully wonderfully strange.




The kitchen board is blank tonight because all the shopping is done done done! hoorah.




zoe darling zoe in ireland, sent me some beautiful music ..with some lyrics which flipped my heart like a pancake. a song called starlings by elbow off the album called the seldom seen kid.



STARLINGS written by Guy Garvey for Elbow.



how dare the premier ignore my invitations.

he'll have to go.

so too the bunch he luncheons with.

its second on my list of things to do.

at the top is stopping by your place of work and acting like i haven't dreamt of you and i and marriage in an orange grove.

you are the only thing in any room you're ever in.

i'm stubborn selfish and too old.

i sat you down and told you how the truest love that's ever found is for oneself.

you pulled apart my theory eiht a weary and disinterested sigh.

so yes i guess i'm asking you to back a horse that's good for glue and nothing else but find a man that's truer than.

find a man that needs you more than i.

sit with me a while and let me listen to you talk about your dreams and your obsessions.

i'll be quiet and confessional.

the violets explode inside me when i meet your eyes.

then i'm spinning and i'm diving like a cloud of starlings.



Darling is this love?



oh well. now. those are lyrics. this is poetry. and oh yes. this is love, darling. indeed, this is love.



toodely toodely pip and bisous xxxx wild windy summery ones x j



Friday, September 26, 2008

rubinovitch zorro texiera doria - The One And Only.


so last night, after writing about the state of africa and all the horrors, i was tidying up my desk, or rather pretending to; sort of making vague fluttering movements with my hands- more like shuffling things around - and i found rubin's phone. rubin is my second born son - with the largest blue eyes you have ever seen and hands round, the size of plates - he is only nine. he is extraordinary. his mind thinks quite differently from the rest of the world. some of the time. in those wonderfully quite unexpected times. it's truly inspiring. and indeed, thought provoking. at times, plain mystifying.


he sees the spaces between the words and the lines. i remember once, when he was littler, i was reading a story to him. a story with no pictures. just printed pages and he said oh mummy look at that beautiful tree. so i looked outside. and he said no, there. and pointed onto the printed page. i said where? and he traced the shape with a chubby grubby finger between the words in the spaces and suddenly a beautiful tortillis tree leapt out at me. i was stunned. i battled to see the words again. all i could see was the tree. i didn't want him to lose this ability. but i think school is slowly training him out of it. he doesn't like reading. or writing. but he knows how many nuts and bolts it took to make the eiffel tower.




look. i KNOW mothers are not supposed to snoop but i can't help myself. so snoop i did. around his phone and into his text messages. i was immediately inspired to dedicate an entire post to this darling extraordinary person of nine and to share these utter gems with you. happily, i am one of the main recipients of these short and sweet messages. am wondering why i never received any? perhaps he sent them to another lucky person.




the recipients are: me, marnich (12yrs - friend of first born and rubin's) tinus (marnich's dad - marnich's very big dad. clearly marnich had his dad's phone i hope?) and rubin's dad, safari craig. i have not changed anything. these are direct transcripts. my comments are in brackets.




1) to me: Hi mum. Cum bake. (meaning come back... had i told him i was off to The Purple Planet again? where no-one can disturb me? from where i might never return? couldn't possibly have. used that one when they were really small so it had a devastating impact on their seperation anxieties - and worked like a treat. shut them up pronto.


me:" WELL DAMNIT THEN! MUMMY IS GOING TO THE PURPLE PLANET RIGHT NOW WHERE NOBODY CAN HASTLE ME AND ITS ALL PINK AND GREEN AND PEACEFUL AND FULL OF CHOCOLATE AND ANGELS AND I AM NEVER BLOODY WELL COMING BACK!!!"


lost frightened confused child: but mama can we come with to the Purple Planet? please mama (in very small and pathetic voice)


angry psycho white trash mother (probably clutching a cigarette back in those bayad ole smokin' days in the side of my mouth) : OF COURSE YOU BLOODY WELL CAN'T! WHAT WOULD BE THE GODDAMN POINT THEN????



2) to me:Hi mum. This is inposiballe (what? smsing? or spelling? or fitting the cat into a small tupperware tube? what?)




3) to me: three little phone images of cupid shooting his arrows..




4) to dad: Dad i need anathe bow (as in bow and arrows - dad is out in the middle of the bush obviously bumping into bow and arrow touting people)




5) to dad: hi dad was u.s.a fun? (pass. dad is sitting next to lake natron, a few miles from the kenyan border....?)




6) to marnich: Hi murnich cuming to storm braker from rubin




7) to marnich: Hi budy. Cuming to tgt. From rubin doria (just in case marnich was unsure which rubin was smsing him... like marnich has thousands of friends called rubin in arusha.)




8) to marnich: Hi manich.




9) to marnich: hi idiat (!!!??)




10) to marnich: Hi fuker. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the last three were sent in quick succession. )




11) to tinus (marnich's really big dad): shatup (!!??)




12) to tinus: (as above): so




and rubin is the only person i know who, on being accused of showing his middle finger to random drivers in the middle of town from the back seat when he was about 5, unbeknownest to me (well. he was being so good and quiet) said that it had been an accident. that it had all been a mistake. that he hadn't done it on purpose. like the devil made him do it..it all started when a green landrover overtook us and the driver turned laughingly, but slightly wide eyed, towards us as they sped off. i said, oh i wonder who that is? and rubin said oh i don't know. so i sped up and overtook the landrover. it was dave dot com, the IT man. a little while later safari craig called and said that dave dot com had phoned to report the fact that rubin was throwing the middle finger at passing traffic....


but not on purpose. not on purpose. sort of haphazardly, as it were. the hand had a life of its own. as hands sometimes do. oh whoops. there it goes again. whoa.


Kitchen Board: Friday Night (FRIDAY NIGHT?) 26 Sept 2008


Contributors: Veronica, Gabriella.
Comments: well. no flash again tonight. but instead, a sweet petal of a child...
toodely pip y'all and comme toujours, bisous, XXX the warm dusty african kind. xx janelle








Thursday, September 25, 2008

dinner



tonight the mind goes back to africa again and again. its because i've been reading this book called The State of Africa: A History Of Fifty Years of Independence by Martin Meredith. hardly light bedtime reading. i am more than half way through it and i can assure you its one very fat epic with tiny print reeling off about much madness and about a lot of fat, murderous, thieving bastards. who all committed unspeakable atrocities under the banner of lenism and marxism (apart from the south africans who practised their own special brand of heinous apartheid) and became the biggest fattest capitalist pig bastards the world as ever known. no wonder the continent is as it is. we are only starting to feel the repercussions now.


it's about men who went mad with power; men who became paranoid of being overthrown which drove them to torturing and murdering the innocent who dared to speak up. the innocent who had no voices. the silent ones. it's about those who managed to overthrow the "big men" and became one themselves. its about sheer greed. ulitmately.
one of the most haunting tales is of mengistu (along with idi amin, mobuto, gaddafi just to name a few) in ethiopia who overthrew haile selassie , the emporer of ethiopia, a direct descendant from the marriage of Solomon and Sheba. the following quote is from the book. mengistu replying to his minister's concern over the ravages of drought and displacement and the impending tragic disaster which eventually killed thousands of people - documented in the book in the chapter entitled Red Tears:
- YOUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY IS TO WORK TOWARDS OUR POLITICAL OBJECTIVES. DON'T LET THOSE PETTY HUMAN PROBLEMS THAT ALWAYS EXIST IN TRANSITION PERIODS CONSUME YOU. THERE WAS FAMINE IN ETHIOPIA FOR YEARS BEFORE WE TOOK POWER - IT WAS THE WAY NATURE KEPT THE BALANCE. TODAY WE ARE INTERFERING WITH THE NATURAL MECHANISM OF BALANCE, AND THAT IS WHY OUR POPULATION HAS SOARED TO OVER 40 MILLION...LET NATURE TAKE ITS TOLL. (sic ed repeat let nature take its toll.) JUST DON'T LET IT OUT IN THE OPEN. WE NEED A FACADE FOR THE OUTSIDE WORLD, SO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE WE'RE DOING SOMETHING..."



so make it look like we're doing something.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

dust angel sings again, briefly.






so the dust angel dragged herself from the dust last night and went to a singer song writer evening in town to present two new songs...solo. with the three kids in tow. my band was called The Dust Angels, so i am, obviously, the singular thereof. the angel part is not any deluded reference to my kind self, you understand. dust on the other hand, is entirely applicable.



it was a great evening, with some wonderful performances from all sorts of people in our backwater town. magere the rasta man was there, from Warriors band, and sang a sweet song called "Scandanavian Girl". the title sent twitters through the crowd, much to his delight. the rasta boys always attract the young girls from europe. because they look so cool, especially when jammin' reggae on stage. magere is a great performer. and a wonderful person. when he saw me last night he said "eh malaika ya vumbi! where you been, baby?" (dust angel in swahili) i love been called baby at 42. like when i went sailing around zanzibar a few years ago, and the young, very young (they looked about 12, and were most likely 20? 21? or something ridiculous like that), very delectable crew of this spectacular old schooner, called me "princess". i looked levelly at them and retorted, " baby, i think its queen to you...", as i leapt off the dangrously high mast into the sea below..but that is quite another story.



my friend bob finally sang his incredible "Summertime" which has been in the making for the last 25 years, or so he says. bob is something else. he has played with tina turner, a long time ago. he looks like a blues man from a smoky blues bar in new orleans. he has some stories to tell. he's lived a varied life, if you can say it like that. and the biggest dimpled smile. he has taught me so much about performing, writing, rehearsing, music. and bob can rip some notes on an electric guitar when you're not looking...when we played in nairobi the girls were shouting "we love you bob!" he had worn a white muslim kanzu (dress) , the muslim kofia (hat) and a pair of Nkrumah sun glasses.



marcello sang an amusing song about having to write a song for the evening. flo sang unaccompanied - her african woman voice soaring into the quiet stars.





david seng'enge, who should be seriously famous, performed his guitar instrumental (Dreams) with Liza. liza has played motzart concertos in Carnegie Hall. seriously. she is an utterly brilliant musician. what she is doing in arusha, god only knows. she runs a music school called umoja. (liza in action on RHS) . i always think of her in an amythest taffeta gown, bowing deeply to a packed Carnegie Hall, her old violin at her side (its like 18th century of something) with roses flying through the air....get it? instead. here she is in arusha......go figure.





david (below) is studying music and helping to teach at the school....that man knows the guitar more intimately than himself, i suspect. the guitar seems like an extension of his heart. he listens. and i love the way his great cheeks shake when he plays with every fibre if his being. and the way his fingers race up and down the fretboard, knowing each nuance before the notes themselves. david should be famous. i wish i could say to the world, " i give you david seng'enge". I give you David Seng'enge.





























and i sang New Leaves and The Photograph. my fave lines from new leaves (a song about bastard exes) are:



who do you think you are?
acting like some crummy superstar?



i get such a kick from singing them. aren't they so bad? nothing "deep" about 'em. very gary glitter. but, i think they work. they made people laugh last night. at least.


and how about:


didyoueverthinkitwouldturnoutquitethisbad?
did it ever cross your mind?



you see. i am made for backwater towns.




Kitchen Board: Sunday morning: 21 September 2008


Contributors: Veronica, Darth Vader (think he morphed out of the tv screen).


Comments: its a long list for monday. aargh.

wishing everyone a wonderfully chilled out sunday. and the best week ever ahead. listen to your dreams. pay heed to your thoughts and words.. toodely pip and bisous bisous toujours xxx janelle

















Thursday, September 18, 2008

a veritable menagerie (and growing)





well. the picture says it all. paka popped into 5 little pakas....thank god safari craig was still here. her labour howls completely freaked me out. we moved her into the bathroom where she howled to the moon. so i said to craig: "OH. MY. GOD. she doesn't want to be alone. she doesn't want to be alone." my eyes wild and wide. to which he replied: no indeed. she doesn't want to be alone. off you go then.


"oh i can't ! i can't! please please please go to her. you're used to being on the other end!" i wailed as i simultaneously phoned darling mo - god honey! she is having the babies...! i felt so wretched for the poor darling cat.

mo smsed back: i am coming right now! you see, mo is like dr doolittle.

anyway - by the time the process was in swing i was like an old mother hen, checking up on her, cluck cluck clucking stroking her, encouraging her as each little kitten was born. truly miraculous and aren't they DARLING? (um don't mention the dad..he is a rough character from down the hill - large, wiry haired orange tom and smudgy nosed - the children won't be knowing him or mixing with his kind - needless to say - i am particularly fond of the first born - who looks remarkably like a mini tiger - orange with black stripes...)

so. latest animal count stands as:

horses - 4

cat adult - 1

cat babies -5

dogs adult - 2

dogs babies - 2

fish, fighting siamese (vaguely responding to bob) - 1

human adults (en famille) - 1 (at present)

primates, juvenile - 3 (excluding one visitor from troop next door)

Kitchen Board: Saturday Morning: 20 Septemeber 08


Contributors: Veronica, Darth Vader

Comments: pass.

toodelypip and bisous bisous bisous xxx got to rush to the stables now...animals coming out my ears...whew. xxx

Monday, September 15, 2008

swamps, somalis, school and chameleons called geoff






i am here. i am still here. just snowed under... and back at school...



thinking of you though and missing my slow time on the computer, concocting tales of the unexpected and such things.






so a bulletin update as i am utterly exhausted due to the fact that i am entirely unused to being gainfully employed.






safari craig is back safely from the moyowasi swamps. if you look carefully at todays pic you can see him wading in leech infested waters, amongst miles of malarial inducing reeds, floating islands and croc infested water. tres indiana jones...




my sons have given me strict instructions on what to wear at school and i am, under no circumstances, allowed to wear my jackie o shades on campus, or god forbid, show any stomache flesh. godsakes as though i would on purpose....? i must have done in the past though for them to be so insistant about it....oh earth swallow me up, WHEN? apparently we are supposed to dress office smart. i thought i was spot on. apparently not. according to safari craig over tea this afternoon. and friend paul oliver (also safari man ) . apparently i look well, um, too hippy ish you know.... button UP and loosen it up a little...jeez. i thought i looked frankly, office smart bloody spot on....?



not so. must work harder on it. get rid of maasai beaded sandals and things...and move onto um, like WHAT? paul suggested sequinned brooches and lapels....now this is worrying. i know they joke and love my maasai sandals. i know they do.




i still feel a little lost on the curriculum and consequently like an imposter. these kids are all super bright too and will see through any bullshit. must act convincing.




my first born was hideously embarrassed when i told everyone over supper this evening that i conducted a meditation for the year 7 expressive art class....shouldn't i have?? i mean, what do i know.




the beeb are still filming around us. we now have a refugee camp at the bottom of the hill. bbc will be filming here on wednesday and thursday. the sitcom is called Taking The Flak, a black comedy on journalists in africa, written by a wonderful wonderful friend of mine called Tira Shubart. who is possibly one of the funniest women i know, the cleverest, the coolest and most adventurous. AND horse mad like me! HAH! she herself has been a journalist and recounts tales of being dropped in the middle of a desert in somalia and being suddenly surrounded by shiftas or pirates and thinking ok this is it then realizing these young warriors tinkling in silver and shaking automatic weapons very much in her direction were in fact, orating poetry, as it turned out; and not reciting her last rites from the koran - or dark cold tales of behind the iron curtain back in the bad old days, dodging bullets on icy streets.... she is a total fundi on the middle east and has written books and terrifically intelligent things like this.. my friend tira is one hellova woman and i throw rose petals in her path...and some! i am completely honored she is my friend. completely.




gabby seems to have settled into school...or at least is getting there. getting used to it. and mr shaw is settling into africa a little more as is ms frampton the art teacher. it's quite a thing coming straight from a kali london school, where students stab each other, apparently on a regular basis, to a little sleepy african school on a dry windy hill, blasted by unadulterated sunshine for most of the year, decorated by swarms of bees and birds and fluttery butterflies and puffy clouds....where things move slower and there are flies on your mealie meal. it takes getting used to. i loved the way ms frampton described mr shaw in the local market..."like a rabbit in the headlights.." ag shame man....oh and i overheard the headmaster, now my boss, saying to the year 12's " guess what? good news! we have tins tins and tins of kawasaki green paint for the walls!"




hooray. it made me laugh into my coffee in the staffroom. i am happy to be back at school. so far, it's inspiring...this is good. this is good.




Kitchen Board: Monday Evening: 15 September 2008.




Contributors: Rubin, Veronica, Janelle


Comments: i knew i should have taken this mornings board. there was a looooooooooooong list and one or two classics, dog borns being one of them.




and how could i have forgotten to mention: Geoff. The Chameleon: a common two horned chameleon who arrived on sunday for dinner, along with tom and india. he really is splendid. and deeply loved by daniel. although i have just been told by safari craig that geoff has been released. welease wobbin into the wild acacia behind the house. nevertheless, here is a really bad picture of him on the plastic flowers. oh and bob is doing fine. i think bob might be a really really old fighting fish. must try the mirror trick on him...oh that's for another post.....! anyway - i give you splendid two horned geoff.


toodely pip and bisous toujours xxx janelle

Thursday, September 11, 2008

for my danu pops.


it was daniel's birthday today.

he is already twelve.

i remember when he was born. he almost died.
two out of ten on the apgar test.

my golden touseled haired boy.

my spaghetti thin baby. with a big head.
who i kept under blue sheets in the hospital so i could look at his extraordinarily thin legs and his perfect new face. on his ET shaped head.

who never ate anything.

is twelve today.
somehow he grew. despite never eating anything.

he received today:

one samurai fighting fish.

one fish bowl.

two fake corals (one blue one orange) for his fish bowl

one fish net.
one small tub of blood worms (to feed fighting fish)

one shark key ring (from miranda and mark)

one bow and arrow made by rubin.

one queen cd (greatest hits)

one wind up torch (from sal)

one manchester united cap (from tati and PO) and i suspect the most favourite present.
one rock hard home made birthday cake.

he went to bed the happiest boy on earth.

and i shall go to bed the happiest mama on earth.

toodely an' all with enormous love and gratitude.

xxx

janelle

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

guess who came for tea?








well. lashings of apologies all round for not having posted sooner.




there are a number of excuses.




the main one being - Africa.




i have had no internet connection for over twenty four hours. i received a paltry little email on the safari email account saying i had to change some effing setting. some DNS setting 23598723459827QEROPI*WE (*wkjn\F098WER AND BLAH. my internet connection is about as reliable as an untied yo yo....its crashed about three times already. its driving me insane.








well. i nearly blew my top. i did sort of. i put my head in my arms and bawled my eyes out. and it worked. suddenly i had internet again. like when i was stopped AGAIN by the cops yesterday. about my windscreen. i simply had no more stories to tell. and neither did he. so he said, well. i am going to have to fine you. so i sighed, oh ok. and then he said, why do you say oh ok like that? and i shrugged my shoulders and burst into tears. he gave me a warning only. but oh it took so much energy, that last charade. i must must must get my windscreen fixed. but now i can't BECAUSE...read on!








- i am gainfully employed at school and had my first day today.




this time around - it's the secondary school english post - year 8's. and half time. so it's perfect. fits in with the kids' schedule and all.




but what's a simile again? and a metaphor? god help me. i have a mountain of revision to do.




but feel empowered by my decision as i can now help with family finances. i am terrified to take my first class next week. what will i teach them? as my dear friend GT says, "enter hot english teacher - they'll learn something, not to worry." jeez.


i have elsie, my friend who is a true healer, to thank. i arrived at her house on saturday to collect my boys - not for a consultation. and she quietly made up some homeopathic drops which, she said, would help me decide. it is empowering to make decisions and give your life direction and dimension. i am such a hippy. always have been. floating aimlessly along life's currents here and there. waiting for the big neon lit cowboy hand to point me in the right direction. well. it ain't out there. its in here.





so. yup. i am teaching.





and on sunday guess who came for tea? Ruby Wax! what a wonderfully funny lady she really really is! i was charmed and utterly delighted to have met her. see dear friend milz and ruby below.




Kitchen Board: Tuesday Evening 10 September 2008

Contributor: Veronica
Comments: my life. money. dogs. food. staff.
toodely toodely pip. and bisous xx janelle
oh and ps: if anyone has any bright spark ideas about Expressive Art and teaching it, please let me know PRONTO before Monday. I would be deeply obliged.
and PPS: ernest. you are welcome to comment at any time on any of my posts...










Thursday, September 4, 2008

Myrtle






(all pictures by buzz, tanzania 08)



i have been thinking of dedicating a post to my good friend myrtle. because she is a magnificent woman. today seemed poignant because i suddenly missed my mother, who died, ouf more than twenty years ago. it all came up because of sending the last born princess to school. and its been a little emotional. which made me contemplate mother daughter relationships. and made me think of how i was sent to boarding school at the tender age of 5, on a bus from lusaka to salisbury (harare now), through the border, which was shut to all other traffic because of the war. i remember how i pressed my face against the window and cried and cried and she stood there waving bravely and cheerfully until we rounded the corner and i couldn;t see her anymore. i heard after she had died, that apparently she would go into deep depressions after she had sent us all away. anyway. all this running through my head, when suddenly a vision of her appeared, in her pink sari, and she was laughing and terribly happy. it appeared when i was bumping my way from school, passed the effing factory, in swirls of dust, swerving goat herds and maasai herdsman. and there i found myself sobbing, tears and dust stains. weird.






and so i come to myrtle, who is in fact, my sister's mother in law. and i wish she were mine. she is the most magnificent woman left on earth, after my mother. she is judi dench in real life. she is still a racy girl at heart. she still sneaks in smokes around the corner and isn't scared of sleeping by herself in a tent on a lonely windy hill in the middle of tanzania. she was the only one who listened to and liked my music when everyone was here in july. she has lead a true and passionate life and takes no prisoners. she is really tall for a woman and carries it off with grace and style. hard with a pair of size nine feet. myrtle knows how to laugh at herself. she gets irritated with kids and loves singing and dancing to frank sinatra greats. yet gives me music from some mystic aboriginal man. which is beautiful. myrtle believes in spirits and the magic in coincidences and dreams. myrtle wears her emotions around her like a cloak. she has dancing eyes and is a bloody good sport. myrtle is one person i know who loves to be outraged. her outrage gives to laughter. she is a good listener. she loves a good time and is always marvelously outraged at great natural beauty and far flung views. along with things like trillion hours flight from singapore to nairobi; at the pathetic excuse for a thorn tree, at The Stanley Hotel' s Thorn Tree Cafe. at the bad driving in town oh at most things. being showered in myrtle's outrage is a wonderful thing.




i stayed with myrtle (and dear mickey her husband who died last year - another classic) when i was pregnant with the first born. i remember the nights when i would wake up, for the umpteenth call for the loo at three in the morning. i would stop in the passage, in the quiet chill and silence of the early hours and listen to the tinkling of the wind chime in her courtyard of jasmine and magic and watch the stars turn and the planets slide across a great zimbabwean winter sky. . . and hear the emptiness of the great tarmac road heading into no-where.




i would lie in deep hot baths, with my baby turning inside, reading by candlelight late into the night, books from myrtle's shelf. true stories of victorian ladies adventures into the sahara with wild and woolie arabs . of richard burton the explorer's wife, who burnt his diaries. of gypsies and things extraordinaire.


but what touched me most during that waiting time, was near the end. when she quietly left some fresh starched towels in my room saying gently, " well you never know dear. the baby could come any day soon. and you might need these in the night. night night dear. night night."


myrtle taught me my most favourite sayings:



"its all a load of my eye and Betty Martin."



and when i would sigh and say "oh i wonder when the baby will be born?"



she would say, all matter of factly, with her dancing eyes, " well dear. you will wonder and wonder until the crows build nests up your bottom and then you'll wonder how they got the sticks up there." and she would give me a basket and say " now go and pick me some mulberries. that'll get it going." it didn't. or " shell these nuts" as the dogs were rat catching underneath the table. or eye the marmite level suspiciously whilst throwing a glowering glance at the unaware cook.



she said they were ancient victorian sayings. all those funny sayings...others about if horses and beggars and...could never remember that one.



we watched slide shows of her and mickey's safaris to lake turkana (lake rudolf then). where truck loads of furniture and fridges would be driven up to these wild and windy shores. when we exclaimed at the excessive back up, mickey and myrtle would jointly say," well dear. any fool can be uncomfortable." too bloody right, i say.

myrtle would encourage me to go into the local town and hang out with my contemporaries.

firstly i didn't really want to because i looked like a balloon on two legs, with a very small head. about to pop. and secondly, i much preferred her and mickey's company. particularly in the evenings, around the fire, with the farting dogs and mickey in his kikoi and slippers, smoking and cursing the news and the mugabe state of affairs - in quite a rude way. in a very rude way. and thirdly, the only thing that fitted was a pair of dungarees and some ghastly 20 year old tracksuit pants with holes in all the wrong places. so no. i much preferred to stay "in".






myrtle seemed to have been brought up in the english countryside - hay stacks, and strawberry summers. cavorting slightly (or perhaps subtly), one gets the idea, with royalty. she is straight out of a 1930's country living mag.






myrtle has survived World Wars. She knows about loss. She knows about hard times and keeping ones chin up and all that. she's a no nonsense kinda gal. and she serves probably the best tea ever. and Best Sunday Lunches ever, all elegantly set in silver and deliciously hot and mint sauced. under the table would be scores of jack russels and on the walls etchings of english hunts framed in silver and warm red silk curtains. yet she will turn up her sleeves and wash up in my little grimy disorganised kitchen and say things like " oh hooray! we've new sponges tonight!"




oh woe are we she lives so far away in new zealand now.


oh how i miss myrtle.





myrtle's the kind of person who would lead an expedition of mimi and toutou go forth proportions. (the story of the two boats which were taken to lake tanganyika via the congo to sink a german war ship on the lake....a journey against all odds) i can see her. striding in her mozzie boots, crossing off her lists, stopping every now and then to wipe her brow saying "god its bloody hot out here!"; painting wild flowers and butterflies along the way, rolling her eyes and saying " good god!" a lot at her porters, who would be terrified of her. and stopping the expedition a lot en route for smoke breaks.




i would like, whoever reads this post, to raise your glass to myrtle. and myrtle, if you're reading this old girl like you said you would?

i say, chin chin dear myrtle. chin chin. to you and your good health.




Kitchen Board: Thursday 04 Sept 2008








Contributors: Veronica and Janelle



Comments: no flash. can you see me hanging onto that enormous heart which has somehow dislodged itself from a bunch of them and is heading up to space and no-where? by christ, its too high to let go now. at least it isn't yours. . . . toodely pip and all that malarky and many many bisous xxx janelle

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

wave to the nice people.


Today is International Disturbed People's Day, people, as in all you bloggers out there. Please send an encouraging message to a disturbed friend... just as I've done. I don't care if you lick windows, see dead people, or occasionally pee yourself... You hang in there Sunshines, you're Bloody special.

Read last night on BBC website: could have been one of us.

Swedish woman in airport muddle

An elderly Swedish woman tried to get herself on board an international flight by climbing onto an unmanned luggage belt after her suitcase. It was unclear if the woman thought this was a new check-in method.
The incident happened at Stockholm's Arlanda airport.
The unnamed 78-year-old thought she was just following instructions on how to check in for her flight.
She carefully lay down on the conveyor belt and was whisked into the baggage handling bay where she was rescued by surprised staff.

"It was a bit unfortunate," said Ari Kallonen of baggage handling firm Nordic Aero. "The little old lady arrived at the airport and had to take care of herself.
"Unfortunately, she did not understand when she was given check-in instructions. She took the belt together with her bag. Luckily it wasn't a long ride - only a couple of metres."
The woman did not reportedly suffer any injuries, managing to catch her flight to Germany, police said.
The airport does provide a service, on request, to help guide elderly or vulnerable people through the departures process.


Kitchen Board: Wednesday Morning: 3 September 2008

Contributors: None
Comments: i am so bloody efficient. i lie. i never bought the bulbs yet. i am changing to energy saving bulbs.

Monday, September 1, 2008

a close shave...






(pic by safari craig - lake natron 2008. http://www.craigdoriasafaris.com/)

the fever has gone. and so has my voice. completely.
the kids of course, love it. they say i am being so nice.
well. it's because i can't shout at them. like i normally do.
and when i do (try and shout at them) they laugh kindly at me and say i sound like a sweet little old granny. frankly, i hear the german man. remember him? oooergh.


god. it's so frustrating.


i am taking this voicelessness as a sign from the ever responsive Universe that it's time to shut the eff up and listen.

hey ho. and that's precisely what i am doing. what do i hear? what do i hear?

the wind. i hear the wind. and everybody wanting something.
how do i say it? i am in a deep blue place. a nothing place. where peoples mouths move and i don't hear the words. oh no. that's me isn't it?

the kids are back at school. i am not sure about mr shaw (for you DD), gabby's teacher. the classroom looked all dark yesterday. oh school is such a drag. it really is.

and i ALMOST started teaching again!? i had even said YES to the headmaster. on saturday (2 days before school started!?) because he is a total sweetheart. (school started yesterday being monday). the year 4 teacher from england pulled out at the last minute. the headmaster was desperate and asked me. of course i said yes. unthinkingly. i like to help out. it's in my nature.

i had a sleepless night that night. after i had said yes. disturbing images of me standing in front of a hopeful class with a pen in my hand and a finger up my nose. an empty head and an empty classroom and not a clue where to begin...where is all the stationery? the chalk? the books? what does one learn in year four..? ok class lets do yoga? and do you know that the universe really is responsive? and look where you ended up. hah! go figure... shall we start on the zen of bunking school instead then? on changing the course of your lives? did you know that school is overrated? righto. lie on the floor and let's listen to some Pink Floyd while we aimlessly wait for the end of the day "we don't need no education. we don't need no thought control blah blah blah...". well. shall we?

what the hell was i thinking????

so first thing sunday morning i phoned the headmaster and said i had had second thoughts. i absolutely had. this was very challenging for me. changing my mind. and letting him know. not easy for me. normally i would have just carried on willy nilly just to avoid letting someone down. for years. toiling away all for a boiled cabbage at the end of the month. to my hugest relief, he was completely understanding and incredibly kind.

my heart and soul did hop skips and jumps and let a million happy celebratory balloons off into their blue starlit skies. whew. that was close. that was a reeeeeeeeeally close shave.


but i say to myself, and some others, that i wimped out. and i think lots of people are secretly disappointed with me. don't you hate that?

and then afterwards, i don't know what happened. i feel blue. i am waiting for it to pass. wait wait wait wait. maybe it's because of my voice. i feel it's more of a dislocation. of sorts.


there is something familiar about this observatory distance between me and my life...looking at my life down a telescope, sort of thing. floating further and further away from it. from myself. i see myself far far across the dusty plains. there i go back to the doldrums of routine...so who is this watching me then? god. don't tell me its the, um, Germ--- aaaargh! no!
anyway. its all rather close to the surface right now. so people. bear with me.


Kitchen Board: Tuesday Morning: 2 September 2008.

Contributors: Janelle.
Comments: there is only one bulb working. its been like that for weeks. i have a block against bulbs. in the kitchen.
toodely pip and bisousbisousbisous xxx janelle