Friday, June 13, 2008

worlds apart....

another positively arctic day in africa.

imagine? who would've thought...

i poked my nose out from the covers this morning, all ready to practise immediate gratitude for my dreamy life and heavenly kids, all ready to go and get breakfast on the go, kids up and at 'em for school, and be The General Buddhist Happy Calm Ready To Take Everyones Worlds On Cheerleader (as dear friend Zoe puts it - the cheerleader bit). but ouf! it was fucking freezing. and c was back from safari. and used to getting up at disgustingly early hours.


civilized people do not appear in grey freezing mornings like these.(at least not if we don't have to.) oh no. we remain deep under cover. and warm. and demand coffee in bed and similar pleasanteries. we have learnt our lessons as previously blogged. principessa gabriella appeared upstairs and immediately dived for cover, as all civilized people should. we perused the tatler together while i de liced her hair. (yes. it's ongoing. but the wildlife seems to have come to an end in hers anyway..i think there is a luce disco party going on in mine, although the comb produced no entymological evidence of any sort..) oh yes. the tatler.

frankly. it's outrageous. these itsy bitsy little ugly clutch bags going for GBP 1,932. does anyone else find this obscene? do people BUY these Things for This Amount Of Money? is it Important? i'm not anti-frivolity, you understand, but it seems an awful lot of cash to spend on an ugly little hand bag when it could school a few kids, or feed a few kids. anyway. blah and GAH (a wonderful Dianism) we pick up the same bags at mitumba (massive second hand clothes markets which clothe almost the entire continent) a few years later for about $ 5.

when i peruse the tatler with my little girl, i feel out of the loop. completely out of the loop. like i am observing an alian world...rather I AM the alian. she doesn't. she marvels at these BEAUTIFUL ladies in their BEAUTIFUL dresses and shoes and hair and jewels... i am drawn to the party pages - staring at all these incredibly glamorous BEAUTIFUL people, perfect straight hair, perfect lips, tanned smooth legs in winter, clear skins,white square teeth. who will, undoubtedly, spend GBP 1,932 on little ugly snake skin clutch bags. (maybe if it was vaguely attractive i would understand it more). i look at the faces first and then the names. still. the party in brazil looked fun. it did. tamara veroni and her italian husband who looks like he has put on weight since they got married in venice. was she the one who presented (ish) a Travel Show????? anyway - if i ever made it to brazil or ibetha (sp?) or cannes or wherevever, i bet i wouldn't know what to say or to wear. i would be way too shy to dance or take drugs. and would be highly suspicious of every single man in the vicinity. useless. useless.

in fact i once went to cannes! little old african me! for some posh tourism conference. by sheer luck, (and quite possibly by mistake) i ended up at The Main Party at the terrifically Liz Taylor Like Glamorous Hotel, after an african acquaintance had slipped me a small yellow pill which he assured me would make me feel really happy. near the yachts. of course i took it. silly. very silly. it was all a little trippy after that. and my boss was very angry with me. i felt like i had walked into a Vanity Fair photograph. there were pyramids of champagne reaching the chandaliers and fountains of chocolates and hundreds of people who must have materialised out of the tatler party pages....oh and corridors lined with fake fires (which being african, i thought were real, much to the amusement of my european centric colleagues). i had commented on how bloody dangerous it looked, as i sort of warily side stepped the wild flames.... anyway. swiftly moving on....

the point being here, was that i was bloody useless. and way way way off the mark re literally EVERYTHING. clothes. accessories. hair. weight. i stood there, like a true zambian, mouth open, staring and dangerously close to picking my nose. my handsome collegue on the otherhand was not so off center and was stalked by two very sexy older black and diamond clad ladies. he tried to hide behind me. pathetic. annoying really. like i was his bloody mother or something. i threw him to the lions and ate more chocolate next to the false fires. and eye balled a very good looking egyptian. who was, obviously, gay, it was later pointed out to me. oh. no!? really? der. gad.

you see? bloody useless, man.

oh but one good thing about the tatler (apart from the fragrant pages and the low down on all the terrifically interesting looking contributors) so exciting! so exciting! one of my bestest friends was in last months tatler...looking HOT HOT HOT and DIVINE!!! man. there she was! and i KNOW she doesn't buy ugly little clutch bags for obscene amounts of money. she buys beautiful shoes though for, i suspect, obscene amounts of money....

i never read the tatler. i look at the pictures. i love the smell and feel of its smooth glossy perfumed pages. (how many forests later, i muse.) i never read the national geographic either (probably would if it was about me or a place or person i knew). (hah. should i confess this?) and vogue. i read vanity fair when i come across them. i hate fair lady. deeply. and you magazine. torrid. torrid. oh but i read every little bit of print in Hello.NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOT. who are these botoxed creatures in their overly stuffed mansions? in their shimmering gowns on lawns with children on grey ponies?. incredulous. hello mag should do mugabe in his mansion in harare. and his wife sally in her gowns....

i remember my dear friend A, in zambia....a very handsome heroic bush man. with eclectic tastes. A who, in an interview on film no less, on being compared to indiana jones replied, "who IS indiana jones?" and was serious, at the time, i THINK. still not sure. anyway. whenever he caught us reading client copies of Hello he was utterly disgusted. mortified and liked me a little less each time i suspect. he could never quite understand my lady di fetish either. yes yes yes i know! still. and i have always publicly confessed my love of abba unashamedly. and ALWAYS confess to my farts. hey. i'm just like that. who cares.

oh seeing i mention A. it's time for The First Snake Story. as promised a while back. A hales from my beloved luangwa valley, eastern zambia - from whence my fellow blogger and soul (deep soul) sisters and i hale ( and luangwa valley has to be one of the most unique and utterly beautiful places left in the entire world. wild. magical. hot. full of forests, rivers, elephant, lion, termites and snakes. literally Where The Wild Things Are.

the rumpus began and am not sure it ever ended...(more on this another time.)

snakes. c (my nearest and dearest), being a close friend of A, is, apart from being super dad and super husband, a herpetologist. as mentioned previously, he has taught me all i need know about snakes. here he is with fellow enthusiasts (see pic on LHS). dr jurgy on the bottom RHS (the one all in um, denim - cira 1970(?) - in a jean suit and who now lives in china, the one who took the pic of the live goldfish in keyrings on a chinese beach previously blogged about.)
Donald Broadly is THE snake expert (pictured in safari suit circa 1966 Bulawayo, highly probable). and then My Darling on LHS in suave linen from india. you see? these are the people i fit in with....imagine? C wrote Snakes Of Zambia with the invaluable help from Dr Jurgy and Dr Broadly. not the sort of book which would be a best seller. but the kind of book where one tends to read the small print. so my point being, in other words un-tatler like....

i became used to snakes in the old paraffin fridge. when c was writing the book, he would shove them in there to cool off - which makes them sleepy, easy to handle and therefore motionless for photographs. apparently. sometimes i would open the fridge when they weren't that sleepy yet from their rude antarctic circumstances.... they were, understandably, more than a little annoyed.

ME: whew. its a hot day. think i will just go to the fridge to get a glass of coolish water (old paraffin fridges never get anything vaguely cold apart from snakes it seems but then not always). i open the door and out shoots an orange striped tiger snake, at eye level, fast, focused and furious. hmm. yeah. well. it's not something you ever quite get used to. you learn to open fridge doors cautiously though.

i digress from A and the black necked spitting cobra (from here on referred to BNS Cobra). see picture. large, black, fierce mother &*!(@#^&*@#$^@% snakes. poisonous. don't particularly like backing off. are particularly accurate when spitting into eyes. and infamously always attain LARGE sizes.

A's Story. Rainy season. Luangwa Valley. River floods massively. all camps and houses are under water. A's house goes underwater for a few weeks. as the water subsided, he and his darling G were there cleaning out the mud and ooze when in their bedroom they discover a large BNS Cobra. A deals with it accordingly. smashes it dead with a stick and leaves it for dead on the front door step and continues the mopping up process. a little while later they decide its time for a tea break. they get to the door and with a sinking feeling, see the monster snake is no longer there. usually it wouldn't be a problem but the river was still flooding and they had to wade through knee deep water to get to the Tea Zone. A sees a coil appear in the muddy water, steps in with a broom and tries to hook the snake clear out the water, when suddenly he feels it coiling itself around his leg. coil after coil. one strike and basically it's all over. he slowly lifts his leg out the water, balancing on one leg, like a stork, and grabs the snake behind the head (gasp gasp i kid you not) and asks his darling to unwrap the rest of the mailto:*&!#!%#$^^&*!@#^%$%from his leg. which somehow she managed to do. after this he smashed it to a pulp to make sure it really was very very and entirelydead. snakes are like that.

shakily A and G decided on brandy instead of tea at ten. as one does. as one does.

i might feel bloody useless with tatler party people, i might openly love abba (chica what?), and i might not buy or own ugly grossly expensive snake skin clutch bags but man, i can open fridges with snakes inside them. (i just wish that sometimes he would tell me or at least put them in jars....)
Photographs: Dave Legge, Kerri Rademeyer, Jake and some keen herpetologist.
Kitchen Board: Friday Evening: 13 JUNE 2008 (god its been friday the 13th all day and i never realized...)
Contributors: Veronica.
Comments: (still wondering what "Torn Batteries" are? assuming it means torch...)
OTB (Oscar Tom Baker neighbour's child who is three) left the tap on in the kids bathroom and so now there is no more water...was longing for a hot shower defrost. oh well. boo hiss. can't be helped and all that. must to bed. must to bed. where civilized people go. put the sleigh dogs to bed and hide from the polar bears scratching at my windows....nighty night then. X


ciara said...

i like your writing...i'm trying to find something to compare it to, but i can't quite grasp what words/thing i'm looking for. but it's of the highly intelligent writing nature of course. and hey, a woman who confesses their own farts is ok by me. i once had a di obsession, too. :)

p.s. i usually do more lurking than commenting on your blog. i really enjoy reading it.

Janelle said...

ah ciara THAAAANKSSS! glad someone was out there on friday night...was starting to feel like a sad blogger with no life..blogging away on a friday night whilst the rest of hte blogger world were, i assume, out on the Tiles???? Tatler parties and things!? xxxx janelle said...

i look at the pictures in tatler too. i don't get it very often. when i do i grab it by its fat spine and shake hard to get rid of all the inserts. and then, like you, i marvel that somebody has GBP 1932 to spend on a little bag that will fit nothing more than a tampax and a lippie. i go everywhere with a huge huge huge bag. from the mitumba. it fits my camera (in case i need it as i did on school run once when came upon hippo wandering aimlessly thru streets of babati much to consternation of pedestrians), note book (because i never stop pretending to be a writer in hope i can kid others into believing i am more interesting than i am), mace spray (which was not confiscated at dar airport tho tweezers were: apparently easier to murder a pilot with pr blunt tweezers than lethal pepper spray, who'd have thought?), make up bag full of ancient eye pencils that are smudged around interior, batteries, plasters, torch, penknife, gum, occassionally a stale biscuit or two, sometimes the odd screwdriver, handfuls of bills, the occassional photo/letter/brochure of a hotel i shall never visit (because like the ugly bag in tatler i can't afford it). Oh. And lippie and tampax.

once again, lovely lovely words. lovely lovely pix xx

Janelle said...

heh heh heh! LOVE your comment..bloody funny you are..but still. your last post made me cry...ouf! so beautifully written!

tam said...

augh. shudder. that story still gives me the heebies.

I love bags. I have a bag fetish. but have never spent more than R150 on one. Most of them are home-made, and my favourite was made by a clever artist friend - she took an old book cover (Trials of the Girl Guides) and turned it into a sweet bag. I have about 10 dormant bags with old receipts, melted lipice and peeling fluffy tampons in them. When my current bag gets too full of the same, i just retire it with the others and then i empty out an old one and start again.
THose dead snake bags scare me. I think its a sign of souldeath. Like you've crossed over to the other side and your eyes will get the glassy flat greyness and we will know... the deatheaters got you.
Shoes are entirely another matter.

As always, you're writing up a storm and its not sad to blog on a friday night, i don't think. ***

Janelle said...

heh heh heh! me too!!! i have decided now that i need a briefcase...with Sections. and a phone Section so i don't have to scrabble around in The Mess searching for it in the middle of traffic. and a Pen Section. and a Wallet Section. and Cosmetic Section (for lipsticks, tampons, brush)..want one for my birthday. Love you Tamara Guhrs! XXX janelle

Dumdad said...

"Who is Indiana Jones?"

I like that. Good for him.

And, although I'm more a hard rock fan (Zep, Purple, Free etc), I like Abba. What's not to like? Wonderful songs.

Snakes? I've just been cycling in Bois de Vincennes and I bet there were one or two grass snakes lurking in the undergrowth. But am I scared? No sirree. Indiana Dumdad goes where angels fear to tread. I cycle on the wild side. Ouch, just stubbed my toe, must go for a lie-down....

Veronica said...

Somehow, I can't picture myself in hand to hand combat with a Cobra - fear I'd come out on the losing end. Remind me to visit during the dry season :-)

Exquisitely Black - thank for stopping by. I love how you told this story.

Janelle said...

hello dumdad!? where you been?? clearly cycling...but you know. pole sana about your toe?
and Veronica! HELLO! thanks for stopping by! glad you enjoyed the read...asante sana! x janelle

Miranda said...

Do you remember when A killed that puff adder that had been in the tyre that Charlie had been playing in? And A killed it dead dead dead (as you do!) and threw it onto the fire whereupon it latched onto a coal and extinguished it with its venom. Eeeee. Those two stories give me the willies.

Janelle said...

yeah!!!! KABISA!!! sis sis sis..and the cobra from the long drop,,,shot in two...and the head half came alive after 10 minutes at LEAST!!! XXXXX

ed said...


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