Saturday, March 26, 2011


i thought about you this morning...when i heard the guinea fowl calling down in the ploughed field below the house. lucas has begun planting...and there are loads of guinea fowl that move in early in the morning and peck out the seeds, i think. hearing the guinea fowl in the mornings always takes me home to a place i know...

and the rains have arrived. and they're thunderingly glorious. god i love 'em. the wait, as painful as it was, was truly worth it. i love the nights, watching the storms flickerin' far away across the plains. sometimes raging around the old tin roof and the rain, the rain on the roof as i lie cosy under the hyrax rug feelin' safe and warm and dry...

last week end we headed out into the maasai steppes to visit bram on his farm for his birthday. he farms out near lokisali mountain which you can see from the ngorobobs far out across the plains... in the morning there were torrential rains. we thought should we? shouldn't we? those mile long black cotton soil plains become impassable...the sun appeared around noon and we thought, hell yeah, why not. so away we headed. the road looked like this from the very can't see him properly, but that maasai man only had one leg. he was travelling from loliondo which is hundreds of miles away, up the rift wall, to visit a healer who has become hugely famous here in tanzania. here he is on his way home. still with one leg. not the sort of place where lifts come by too easily, it must be said.

so we made it through this tricky bit. and all the next tricky bits until we arrived at the first karongo. a karongo is like a dry river bed which only runs in the rains. there are loads of them around... and here we had to stop.

and there we sat. the rest of our friends (another three car loads) arrived...and more landrovers full of maasai arrived...some the other side, some this side. and there we sat...there was much discussion about how long it would take for the water to subside. some said two days. some said one hour. some said three hours. we all sat and sat and discusssed and watched a rock on the other side to see if we could see the water levels changing...

and we sat...and sat....waiting...

and waited and sat...
the sun marched on with the time...more cars arrived. more people. until there were 14 cars...mostly landrovers and one tractor.

yes. all those people came from inside that one landrover.

these landrovers were on the other side. waiting. there was only one thing for it. open the champagne meant for bram's birthday, get the guitar out and sing, watchin' the sun start to sink along with the water, which by now was slowly subsiding. there was something which made it all ok to wait...there was no where else to go...sitting there was where we were all meant to be. we were all heading in the right direction somehow....the wait was temporary. stories were told. ideas exchanged.

as twilight snuck in, two brave people decided to check how deep and strong the water was but they turned back. the full watery moon had started to rise...we weren't givin' up, no sirree...

after waiting for 5 hours we made the crossing, with great excitement and trepidation, at 8 o clock that night. the water had dropped to a safe crossing height... successfully. there was something so magical, racin' 'cross the plains, the rainy moon high, lighting the road, the crickets and frogs in chorus, insects flyin' into the windscreen, lightening flickering far away. bram was waiting with roast lamb, roast pork, fine wine and lashings of chocolate cake. we sat late into the night, watching the water silver on the big rock behind the house. we felt alive and didn't think about the journey home, until the gentle rain woke us early the next morning.

but that's another story.

Kitchen Board: 26 March 2011: lazy saturday afternoon. ngorobob hill.

umeme is electricity...not sure how this got onto the list? there simply isn't any to be found in the entire country, it seems.
being saturday afternoon a siesta is in order and then a ride on the spotty hoss before it rains again. life is sweet.
toodely oh bestests. bisous X X X sexy rainy hot sun ones on yer lips. x j

Monday, March 7, 2011

stars 'n physics and all that jazz....

some things are easy to understand. definite. like, um, 1+1 IS 2. and don't anyone start getting all clever here. you're definitely going to die. fact. even though chuck berry doesn't think he will. he's 84 and still doing gigs. completely understandable.

other things are not quite so easy to understand. in fact, they're inexorably, exhaustingly, tantalisingly goddamn tricky. but if you give yourself enough time to think about them, you'll be able to choose an option. there are always at least 2. if you have the mental strength of a hermit and the patience of a bird stalking cat, then you could wade through endless options of understanding. and end up in lovely nothingness apparently. quite. go figure. and feel awfully good about yourself in nirvana. noddy badges all 'round.

not sure i buy into that theory of if a tree falls in a forest and there's no one to hear it, has it fallen? or if you're a man and a woman isn't there, are you still wrong?.....well maybe. i mean if a great big fuck off 200 year old baobab lies snapped and broken it has definitely fallen, hasn't it?

most things just are. and you'll never work them out. like stars. and fallen baobabs. like coincidences. like secret patterns in life. like the way books fall out of the shelf at you in libraries or book stores. the very ones you need to read. or the pages fall open at exactly the right place. and you sit down then and there, plonk in the aisle and start reading. they can steal your bag, pull tongues behind your back (i love pulling tongues at kids staring out the back window, when their ma can't see. i do a real vicious one) or sigh heavily as they have to step over you. people are usually ever so polite in book stores. at least the ones i've been into. everyone's ever so efficient. and studious. i love seeing who's reading what. matching people to sections. i used to like all the esoteric sections, the African sections, biographies, photography, psychology sections. i am so bored of self help sections. they ALL say the same thing. believe me. and they don't work. smug bastards ripping us all off 'as all. i'd like to see them all shiny new and perfik.

so there i was a few days ago sitting in the library at school wonderin' 'bout thangs. as one does. the "well dear, you'll wonder and wonder until the crows build nests up your bottom and then you'll wonder how they got the sticks up there" sorta wonderin', when my eyes wandered to a book called Illustrated Dictionary of Physics. i think, if i rightly recall, i was contemplating Option 2 Of Present Conundrum #482, which made me realize that i know nothing about anything at all, when, quite suddenly, i spied the book. snug between the encyclopedias britannica (how anarchic is our library?). hell, when you know nothing you might as well try and learn something. anything.
the titles read like romance: energy. motion. dynamics. turning forces. gravitation. density and pressure. magnetic fields (Fields of Magnetics! how glorious is that?), reflection of light. sound waves. transfer of heat. temperature.waves. electric current. static electricity. perception of sound. and suddenly i thought i could begin to understand love. why on earth haven't i ever studied this shit before, man? i suddenly understood why aeroplanes drop out of the sky and that breech position is NOT going to save you. (another definite). and that the "rear rotor blades of a helicopter apply a moment to the helicopter which prevents it from spinning...". naturally i've always known something stops it spinning (thinking screw or iron rod) but a MOMENT? pg.14 under the title of Turning Forces. ...and suddenly it gave the whole idea of moments another meaning. i've taken the book out. i'm drawing delicate little pictures of atoms and molecules all lined up and boxed and arrowed and coloured in, in all their various "physical states". all i know is that i like doing this. i like reading this.

so i've searched more. and i've found a beautiful orange book on astrophysics. i think... i wasn't allowed to take it out. but i wrote down my favourite quote. it made me think of people: (i'll make it small so i can fit it all in and sneak past being labelled laborious)

"...roughly half of all the stars in the sky are found to be in binary systems, in which two companion stars orbit their common center of mass with periods ranging from hours to many thousands of years. According to Kepler's Laws (still to be leaned about), the wider the separation between the stars, the longer their orbital period. Binary stars may be born together from a rapidly rotating protostar that split, or one may capture the other in a close encounter after birth. some may eclipse each other, causing variability in their observed brightness. Binary stars are important for determining information about stellar masses. Some binary stars are so close that transfer of material can occur between the components affecting their evolution and producing variations in their light output..."

i'll be reading about dead stars next. you can still see them, you know.

i'll let you know if i become a guru at the end of it all. or maybe an artist. and i'll write a self help book but with poems and pictures of little atoms and spinning helicopters which lost their "moments" and aeroplanes falling out of the sky with straight blue arrows indicating the downward direction.

Kitchen Board: Early March 2011: 10:40pm Tanzanian Time...

and it has rained oh bestests. twice in the last three days...we can always do with more but i ain't complainin'. it's more than deliciously charming, i tell ya. bruised skies over the maasai steppes. the smell of rain all sexy and coolness in the air.... my best. oh and before i go. here are some pictures of liza's ancient triffikly expensive broken violin which we tried to fix with super glue and leggin' (inner tubing which basically holds the entire african continent together). it broke while we were rehearsing for andre's funeral. i have since heard it broke again and frankie operated on it using a special animal glue and lots of clamps. the entire finger board lifted off. but oh i shouldn't be telling you this in case anyone wants to buy it one day. AND she'd just spent around US$ 2,000 getting work done on it in NYC....oh dear... she said her violin mender would be spittin' snakes....well. it worked for a while. and we have another gig tomorrow. cross fingers. pray for one of those "moments" eh?

toodely toot oh best beloveds, bisous X.X.X. musical spinny momentous ones. x. j