Thursday, April 30, 2009

" Dark Continent Dragon Fever"....

i'm not an avid facebooker. but i love to swing by and see what everyone's up to, feeling and thinking.

yesterday i discovered a comment by my friend Omar (S Talib) who said,

"... if we name Malaria and Cholera something more snappy and "Dark Continent Dragon Fever...", we may get as much attention as Swine Flu. I mean, after all, malaria kills a child every 30 sec..."

this struck me as completely true. why does Swine Flu soar to the headlines along with the Obamas and their new puppy, the gloomy world economy, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan? on a daily and repetitive basis? yes. fine to remark on it. fine to know about it. but worse things are happening at sea right now. why don't they cancel ALL FLIGHTS? planes are the worst places for viruses to spread. . . planes are hardly "Green" are they? deadly to our atmosphere right now...they consume an inordinate amount of fuel too...and they spread Pig flu.

malaria at present, poses a risk to HALF THE WORLD'S population.

more than a MILLION PEOPLE die of the disease EACH YEAR.

the parasite is a devilishly clever and resistant little bastard, almost as resistant as lice. except you can't comb the killers from your blood. they seem to develop a resistance to all the latest drugs...oh and HIV is old hat is it?

yet swine flu still makes the headlines.....? FLU? i find this kind of sensationalist reporting irresponsible and ill informed. it seems as soon as any deadly disease makes its way into the first world, it makes headlines. who cares when its mostly third world being affected? it's not us, its them. we're ok jack.

i am outraged.

i have to admire the Gates Foundation for donating US$ 22.5 million with the intention of fighting this great killer. even though i hate the factory which they financed on my doorstep for its complete disregard to local environment...but lets not bang on about this old fruit least they are making mosquito nets and not breeding pigs....
on a lighter note, i heard that bono at a concert once clapped his hands and said,
"... every time i clap my hands a child dies in africa."
someone in the audience shouted out, " well stop fucking clapping your hands then, mate!"

there. off my chest.

thanks for bearing with me....comments are welcome, comme toujours.

tooooodely old pip, y'all, and bisous, buzzing mozzie ones...bzzzzzzzzzzzzz X.X.X. j

Sunday, April 26, 2009

yellow magic... (or the day of the sunbird and wind nymph weddings)...

(this should be continually accompanied by JS Bach's Air On G String...if possible..)

today i have dealt with a deadly set of sunday blues. nothing was remotely funny or magical. just mid line. mediocre. until i spied, with glittering eyes, the skudding puffy clouds across the impossibly blue sky, the sunbird, the wind nymphs and the king of horses....

so here i was on a sunday, picking my nose (not really), checking my inbox, (miserable set of friends i have. nothing has changed since last week. miserable. utterly.), drowning in music, ed kuepper to be precise; album: This Is The Magic Mile - (a new discovery for me and completely hooked) when a teeny emerald green sunbird tapped on my window..he had a blindingly yellow chest and was urgent in his tapping on glass. he was impossible to ignore. i sensed the magic immediately and thought how lucky i was. he flew away. an hour later, the same sunbird flew into the high ceilinged lounge and kept flying into the windows and mirror. so i said, now listen here, fly low and out the door. it worked and away he flew. then later, i was sitting waiting for an email, any email for christ's sake, and in he soared and perched on the stairs, chirping away before dashing away into the lazy blue sunday.....

and i thought, this has meant something. but what? what does this herald?.....when quite suddenly two nymphs appeared at the front door...little south easterly wind nymphs....

they asked ever so sweetly if they could have a wedding in the garden, because, as they ever so politely pointed out, these were the only yellow star flowers they could find within the entire region. apparently...

they solemnly declared that they had not seen any rain for thousands of miles. i desperately wanted to ask them if they had had a dispute with the Rain Nymphs and if they could please fix it at their early convenience. but thought it rude... i said yes, of course they could have their wedding here. they were so beautifully ragged and fresh. they asked only for some lipstick, made of flower pollen and a teaspoon each of warm honey. easily fulfilled requests for these dear creatures....

i asked if i could take a picture or two, to show the big people of The Real World that in fact, nymphs and fairies DO exist. they consented. a little reluctantly, it must be said.
quite suddenly i realized something was missing. so i very politely asked, oh best beloveds, if there was a fortunate groom, lover recipient of this, oh magical and solemn occasion. she slyly answered that not every wedding needed a groom. oh no, her flower nymph persistanly whispered, without being caught, that in fact she had been stood up. devastatingly so. but the show must go on. and that if i quietly walked onto the secret plain of horses i might spy him.....who could resist?

there he was. obvious. proud. unafraid. the fairy king of horses. he wasn't going to let some ragged wild beautiful wind nymph steal his heart so flippantly. or his wings, for that matter.....clearly...
tooooodely old pip, oh bestests, bisous, spinning catherine wheel yellow ones..X.X.X j

ps: and if anyone has any ideas on persitant yellow chested sunbird visitations, let me know...pronto. don't be shy now.


Friday, April 24, 2009 it.

(pic from school inset day)

so lovely Mud tagged me...
had nothing better to here you go...if you are inclined.

1. What are your current obsessions? in no particular order...William Blake seeing God looking at him through a window when he was 4 and seeing a tree full of angels in peckham rye when he was 8. Horses. Cigarettes. Music. watching the sky for weather. moon phases. ok.

2. Which items from your wardrobe do you wear most often? my levis, white T shirt, my grey jodphurs and my spanish riding boots which jake gave me.

3. What's for dinner? not sure. probably beans. i'm out tonight.

4. Last thing you bought? flip...100 bales of hay, i think? oh and three african horse sickness vaccines.

5. What are you listening to? The Herd Of Horses by S. Esanin performed by G. Sviridov USSR. go was the song which came up first on my iTunes. powerful stuff but suspect not everyone's cuppa.

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be? oh Venus. der.

7. Favourite holiday spots? lamu, pangani, west kilimanjaro (sounding parochial enough?)

8. Reading right now? In The Footsteps Of Mr Kurtz & The Faraway Horses.

9. 4 words to describe yourself. shy, reserved, non drinking/smoking, christian.

10. Guilty pleasure? smoking, eating fresh snicker bars and m&m's without the kids knowing.

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak? eddie izzard and seeing somebody fall over by mistake, particularly off a chair or misjudge steps, escalators and lift doors.

12. First spring thing? huh? landrover springs or what?

13. Planning to travel to next? nothing concrete...thinking of zambia or joburg s.a.

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately? whisky and chocolates from tati.

15. When did you last get tipsy? tuesday night. raucously so.

16. Favourite ever film? before the rain. the last good one i can remember seeing...hmmmm otherwise, pass.

17. Care to share some wisdom? "...and above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it..." roald dahl

18. If you could change one thing in your life what would it be? an endless supply of clean natural water and a large field of lucern.
soooooooooooo as these things go....catchy as they are, you've got to answer all the questions, change one and add one....ok? only if you want.
get to it sloths.
toooodely old pip, then, bisous, blue note ones...X.X.X janelle

Saturday, April 18, 2009

saving light...

i see your headlights
heading no-where in particular
on a dark hot night
cracking open by distant
there is no rain.
on you drive and on.
owls, like dreams
in the beams
flash before the screen.
but you don't see them
it seems.

you have so many words
lost to you.
because you buried them
in places you chose to forget.
you can't remember
what's important.
you live on past flights
nights, motobikes -
inner dreams -
it seems.

but i see the shafts of light
in your eyes
fleetingly across your face
like sunlight dance on sea
skidding grace

i want to save them
in a jar
for you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

stranger things...

so there i am sitting. amongst noise, music, laughter, people, cocktails...and a thought rollicks across my radar screen, distracting me from everything physical and immediate. this demanding thought above all others. an image. of a person. who i've never met. i say to myself, how silly. it's only your imagination. but the stranger says hello. here i am. somewhere in the ether of imagination, i meet the stranger. i say, is this for real? or is this a wayward thought? and the stranger laughs and says this is for real.

it's all completely weird.
and makes me shake my head in wonder. and laugh.
don't ask me how it works. but there you were.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

elephant kisses.x.x.x.

pic by safari craig

we're back. the gary glitter gang. from out of space. as in did you hang my picture on your wall?
we had a heavenly time.
but before i carry on blahing (new reference for blogging. keep up keep up.)...THANKS for all the comments. flutter flutter - i just wanna thank my cast, my director, steve, and co star brad...but most of all, my mum who was with me all the way....thanks....(and she waves her oscar for most comments EVER) really. thanks!

the only people who did not in fact comment are:

1. ernest. (does anyone know what's happened to ernest? seriously? do you think god finally got to him? bloody hell....ERNEST? at least post for godsake...?)

2. miranda. (because she really doesn't care enough. and heavy with child.)

3. tim (because he isn't biodegradable.)

4. the periodic englishman( because, well, he's periodical.)

yes. so back to the camping in west kilimanjaro.
for me, particularly, all my favourite things in the world were thrown in together, in one scoop. and nothing sank to the bottom like all the best bits in a pasta.

my favourite things: (she sings)

family, horses, wild spaces and game, guitar, elephant, really really cool people and things; as in beautiful eliza, her fuscia hand beaded indian divine skirt which she bought at the market for LESS THAN US$ 9...(yes. she plays The Gourd exceptionally well thank-you). jamie, dirk and riccarda (the elephant trainers, occasional aardvark wheelers and keepers of bush pigs under the bed) safari craig, carlos, old stone walls, views, new roads.. parties (every second night). not boogie nights kind of parties, but guitars next to fires, (not quite nuts in may, ok???)marshmallows and LOTS of red wine and whisky and manymanymanymanyandmany CIGARETTES.

which reminds me its monday and i have officially Given Up. again. god. first day and counting. bear with me folks should i be a little "off". i am meant to be feeling celebratory....but i'm not. i'm just Bloody Well Not, ok? i am miserable. i feel like a scheming schizophrenic. i can't remember anything. i have become almost gaga, and dangerously doolaley.

so yes. where was i? saturday night. there i was, just back from a ride after the rain across the plains filled with game and distant storms and lightening and pastel skies and eagles like statues as we rode quietly beneath them in the twilight (keeping quiet for once. jesus. it's amazing what happens when you shut your mouth.) giraffe watching us curiously then following us, trotting next to eland, standing with zebra, meeting elephant (wild ones) (scary ones which watched us silently and rather too closely for my liking). my horse did not know how to tip toe......

there i was. there i was waiting in the little stone house for the rest of the family to return from their excursion, lighting the lamps, warming my hands next to the roaring fire, dying for them to come back to hear their stories.....wondering if they were feeling as thankful, fulfilled and ecstatic as i.

they had been to visit nkarsis (means princess in maa). nkarsis is a little ten year old elephant, who was orphaned. .dirk and riccarda had said it was ok for the children to meet her. she isn't very used to children but adores them and "gets a little over excited" and apparently "wants to hug them, take them with her trunk and hug them between her front legs..." Said Dirk The Elephant Training Man. i trust Dirk The Elephant Training Man. i so want to trust nkarsis hugging my children between her legs with her trunk and sweet little tusks but i must confess, it scares the shit out of me.

i heard the car arrive, then three sets of feet hit the ground running for the house, accompanied by shouts Maaa! Maaaa! Maaaa! Muuummmmm! all racing to tell me....their faces filled with light and spark; Life and joy and All Things Good.

each of the children had to blow into nkarsis trunk to greet her. she became very fond of gabby because she is the littlest. and kept coming back to greet her and kiss her. she gave craig high five and low five. she catches sticks and she talks! low rumbling and gurgling. dirk said that she hadn't talked to anyone for a while, until she met the children. interesting. don't you think?

the children burst onto the veranda -= holding their muddy legs for me to see nkarsis kisses in the lamp light. muddy smudges..gabby had a mud splodge on her heart. of course no one wanted to wash their elephant kisses away. who would? rubin said no-one would believe him at school. i said, tell them to ask your mother.

so we're back, in the little pink house on the green hill (beautifully irrigated from gentle steady rains now), savouring elephant kisses and dreamy memories....

god i was so happy when i was smoking.
pic by eliza

toooodely old hoodely pip, You. X.X.X. smacking elephant kisses on your rollicking old heart....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

&*(#ing well comment will ya?

look people.

when i post i expect at least 5 comments in the first 5 minutes, ok?

(just pretend if you have to.)

30 is break point.

get it?

what on earth are you all doing?

waiting anxiously for my next post?!


i knew it.


oh. before i forget. if you have the time or inclination, swing by these two blogs: a relatively new blogger...but with perspectives from the heavens...truly.

and eliza...with an eye for beauty.... extraordinarily beautiful pictures...

give them a twirl.

and bloody well don't forget to comment, will ya?

you shall all be mightily relieved.

we are off camping tommorrow.

where the views are wider than you could possibly imagine.

on a clear day.

i'm making time, babies.

carlos, the beautiful spanish vaquero has (mistakenly) invited us en famille for the week-end. we will be camped out next to his very little, very old, boer west meru stone house, nestled between kilimanjaro and mt meru....all set about with the oldest gum trees you could ever imagine.

the lady is my spaghetti thin riding buddy who was SUPPOSED to be coming with but has instead chosen to go to europe...and has apparently bought herself some italian riding boots of which i am already envious. and is on an Astro Travel For Beginners course.

we will be riding horses and hangin' out with dirk, the elephant man, riccarda (elephant man's wife) and their elephant, nkasis. who is still only ten. but, aherm, big.
we will be camping in the rain.

toooooooooooooooodely old pip until sunday when i shall be back menacing the blogosphere.
bisous bisous bisous...showering you in them...X. X. X lovin' ya all madly and kickin' my heels in the rain...

oh and HAPPY EASTER! hic hop hop. hic.

ps: you don't have to comment of course. love you anyway. honest. X

april rain....

last night, the wind dropped. in the dead of night, thunder rolled far away. the horses escaped their stables. was it thunder or was it horse hooves in the dark? the dogs were howling. spirits? ghosts?

storms have been flickering over far horizons, like giant outdoor cinemas, for the last few nights.
the clouds have been gathering...great towers....
today, the taps have finally been turned on for real.

i can trust the sky again.
the rains have arrived. finally. truly.
glorious, drenching, unrepentant, furious rain. spirals of the stuff, spinning twirling past the window...chasing the horses into their stables....curling the cats up on the sheepskin rug....making beetles sleep, dogs hide....making boys run naked where the wild things are.... seducing little girls to choose blood red satin shorts especially dedicated to mud ball making....and brave safari craigs to engage low range 4 wheel drive....(oh. high range diff lock??)
it is so rejuvenating. we have all been running around screaming, running out in the rain, being crazy rompipales....rushing around for buckets and empty cold boxes to catch the leaks everywhere...the joyous leaks. (remind me about this later on this month ok?)

what does a girl do when she can't ride?

she teaches guitar to the sweetest little student on the planet.
jasper lives down the road.
today we learnt "G" on his sizable guitar.

she opens a bottle of red to celebrate how beautiful life is and dreamily watches the silver flying ants through her open window, fluttering magically in the twilight. she watches how each whistling thorn is decorated with one perfect rain drop.

she listens to jack johnson singing banana pancakes.

she spies kilimanjaro through a curtain of rain, sitting smug, a fat cake overloaded in icing. the great queen of all mountains. alone. beautiful.

how perfect can a day be?

toodely old toodely pip then y'all...bisous bisous - great big fat celebratory rain drop ones...




Tuesday, April 7, 2009

teaching mwali....

at least twice a week, i teach mwali.

riding lessons.

mwali is the syce.

he is a natural with horses. he never grew up with them. but he is gentle and seems to really love them...even though they are just a job for him. i want him to learn as much as he can possibly learn. so does he.

he is a young man. he is not more than 22. he comes from a poor family near tengeru, a long way from here. he supports his mother, his father and his younger sisters and brothers. he is the only one who has a job. he didn't manage to finish school. only because of lack of money. and a family which needed financial support to survive.

he is centered. grounded. quiet. to the point. respectful. kind.
he is fearless, it seems.

he not a person of many words. his english is poor. my swahili is worse.

in our lessons he is so focussed. and he has finally mastered the diagnol. so quickly!

when mwali smiles, or when he laughs, it's like a sunrise.

it's like sunbeams on waves.

it's irrepressible.

i love teaching mwali.

Friday, April 3, 2009

maria perez juanita gomez...

(all pics by safari craig)

maria perez juanita gomez (notorious mexican hoss thief) stole the horse at noon, in a long red skirt and boots of spanish leather. she headed straight for the rio grande, bullets whizzing past her head. she shot two cowboys en route and rode hell for leather as hard as she could, taking a few cows along the way. maria perez juanita gomez headed straight for mexico. back to her lover and her children and her chickens and her dogs. and her metallic blue ford f 250. this horse had always been hers anyways....

the horse arched and pranced....
he jumped for their lives, for the hell of it...and because he ain't scared of nothin'....
maria perez juanita gomez knew 'bout horse whisperin' long before the cowboys in montana did...her grandfather, who was a nez perce injun (and half mexican) had worked as a ranch hand and had traded secrets for beans....those dang cowboys stole it from the mexicans. for sure. hell. they stole most things.
maria perez juanita gomez knew she was home safe and free, when she and her fine hoss drew up, in the shadow of the mountain, where her grandmother grew beans and chickens...and the finest peyote this side of the rio grande. although maria perez juanita gomez snr. flatly denies it.
her grandmother immediately lit another candle on the shrine to holy mary, mother of all vaqueras and slaughtered her fattest hen in celebration of her grandaughter's return. peppered with mexico's finest chilli. maria perez juanita gomez knew she had the finest hoss EVER this side of the rio grande. si. she was the happiest girl alive...and so was her hoss....

many tequillas later, maria perez juanita gomez knew she loved this hoss more than any man...and if any goddang cowboy ever tried to steal him back, she'd skin him alive. injun blood runs pure, hot and red in her ain't no joke.
adios amigos...and of course bisous bisous bisous X X X hot red chilli pepper ones, hooah...X j

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

mohammed, mimi taka chocolate....

(pic taken when everything was green a long time ago...)

in a house filled with maasai sticks, knives, pangas, catapaults, bows and arrows, guns and every other weapon imaginable, and beautiful brave boys who i love more than my heart can bear, i decided it was time to dedicate a little post to the girlie wirlies of the house, of which there are two (vero and eliza excluded). i grew up in a house of women. my two sisters and i and my dear mother. when i first "Became Pregnant" (how on earth did that happen? certainly not immaculately...?) i automatically assumed it would of course, be a girl. so imagine my shock and surprise when the first boy arrived. i mean, how do you clean "it"? so by the time the second boy arrived (don't think you'll be rushing out to buy tutus and ballet shoes, i was told by the doctor when he perused the scan of a boy who was apparently much larger than the first), i was resigned (and delighted, of course) to the fact that i would be the feisty mother of boys. so when i "Became Pregnant" for the third time, i automatically assumed it would be another little boy called, possibly Tom, or something suitably short and sweet like it. and along came The Girlie Wirlie....Gabriella Lara Rosa Texiera Doria. A Big Fat Pink Girl, unostensibly and unforgettably deposited on my chest, new, with her little wings curled up neatly between her shoulder blades, who immediately loved to eat, who regarded us all completely solemnly for the first five months, poker faced. no matter what we did...where's the baby. boo. peekaboo. tickling. splashing. hopping about like mental people, dangerously contorting ourselves into impossible positions. she remained throughout our bizarre and desperate antics, solemn.

she eventually blessed us with an infectious laugh in jomo kenyatta airport when her elder brother was doing yet another rendition of Where's The Baby? BOO! and took us all by surprise. laughter, like water bubbling from the spring of the world, burst out into a hot gloomy afternoon! she hasn't stopped since. now anything and everything can make her laugh.

as a mother, jomo kenyatta airport has oddly enough, (i mean of all the gin joints..?) played a major role in parenting yard sticks. before The Girlie Wirlie arrived, before The First Laugh Incident, i was on my back from lamu, with two tow head boys in tow (hah) en route to lusaka. of course, there was a delay of hours. it was just before christmas. being the sensible natural earth mother i am, naturally, i perused the book shop and found, to my delight, a book filled with excerpts from all the great painting masters yet at the same time, with a christmas theme. i thought, aha, i can introduce my boys to the idea of christmas and what it's all about using these beautiful images. the boys were only three and one at the time and not prone to the drone of long stories or print. this book hadn't any words only vivid rich pictures. because we lived in the bush, at the time, in luangwa valley, they hadn't been cursed by television (oh hang on. someone had a copy of those dastardly telly tubbies i think, but that was it) and i am quite certain they had never been to or heard of church, god or jesus. their reality consisted of cake stealing baboons, elephants wandering through the garden, nyau dancers, long hot afternoons at the pool waiting for the clients to leave on game drives so we could hoover up the rest of the cake for tea, pam and her paintings, miranda in her uma thurmann phase, adrian and sandy's baby stalking leopard and being dressed up like mini michelin men in the dead of a summer evening so they wouldn't get malaria.

so there we sat, me serenely explaining the pictures. i noticed the crowd around me noticing me.... smugly reading the thought bubbles above their heads:

oh look at those beautiful children with that lovely sensible earth mother, occupying their time and blah blah and my halo became large and eye piercingly bright. god. almost unbearable. i mean, i was earning mega brownie points! there were nuns in the crowd too. i was on a roll.

i explained about the Star of David and pointed out the shepherds in a beautiful botticelli excerpt. the next painting was the stable scene....and i was saying and that's jospeh and mary and oh look, there's baby jesus....! and first born looked up at me, all of three, his angelic curly blond hair framing large chocolate innocent brown eyes and said in a loud coherent questioning voice:

oh. jesus fucking christ?

like it was his middle name.

well well well. exposed. finished. i think he had only ever heard either his father or me saying this at times of exasperation, which, at the time, were numerous. obviously.

anyway. i digress. the next time i sat there was with The Girlie Wirlie when first born made her laugh. finally. she has already been into a church, a record for the family. she talks about god, mary, jesus and his brother mohammed. oh and of course there are all my buddahs, laughing and travelling rotundly next to mary on the fire place.

while the boys have been blatting things with bows and arrows this week, we have been at home together. playing piano, making chocolate cake and licking the bowl, having foot wrestling matches (which she wins), ludo, which i win, and reading Green Eggs and Ham, impressing me beyond belief. i love how she colours in angels and draws flying dolphins with smiley faces, how she loves the cats and wraps them up, how she lets the horses lick sugar from her hands...
i love the way she dresses - in sparkly caftans and ribbons and satin slippers from Real Persian Princesses (thanks tira) while at the same time single handedly dismantling a chicken carcass with a primate dexterity. i love it how she thinks chicken pox are called chicken pops because they "look like a popped chicken"...apparently. for those of us in the know. i love it how she sings her own songs about golden fish and butterflies flying away to their friends. i love how she is a little magpie, making little junk collections which are to her, more valuable than the crown jewels. how she says princesses have such a hard time. i love how she can dance, how she loves music and knows where middle c she wore her cat suit to the coffee lodge for lunch and the boys were too embarrassed to walk next to us....i love how she adores books and stories and is indelibly attached to every single toy on her sparkly indian bed...

i love how she fiercely loves chocolate as much as i do...a worrying fact, come to think it. i shall have to be more cunning from now on. how she said at lunch (which was healthy salad and avocado) oh mummy, lets run away to mohammeds and i will say mohammed, mimi taka chocolate. (mohammed, apart from being a holy sacred figure for many, is also the man who owns space oil, a petrol station down the road, with a little shop which sells the freshest snicker bars and m & m's in the region.)

i love how she is my little shadow, constantly keeping me in check, reading my mind, teasing me. how she thinks she wants to be with me forever....

i hate it how my words can crush her so easily....

i love my Girlie Wirlie, irrevocably, unconditionally - a love like no other.
and chocolates of course.

bisous bisous bisous X X X Girlie Wirlie Ones...X j.

oh and PS: can you tell it's school hols? second post in two days...utterly prolific....(or bored...?)


adios and jubilantly over and out....!!!