Saturday, December 27, 2008


hello! we're back. hoorah. horses dogs cats all alive and joyous to see us. we are fat, brown and smug with holidayness. (i know its not a word but its the truth). buoyant in fact. i loved waking up this morning hearing strains of musical swahili wafting up the hill, having the cats pounce wildly onto our bed. waking up at home.

it's been a while, eh? oh we've had the most splendid time. splendid.
zambia is always like going home. it's where i grew up. everything is so familiar and rich to my senses. evocative. ghosts on the wind. we didn't quite make it into The Bush. it's an african expression. the bush. oh we're going to the bush. what? which one, you might think. the bush is the wild. where the wild things are. so nope. we didn't quite make it there. but we hung out on the sweetest farm on leopards hill road, called sugar bush. nestled into a forest of brachystegia trees. sweeping lawns, horses, red dust roads, guinea fowl calling and wet smudgy rainy season moons. . .

we played the old cowboy songs. oh yeah. of course dylan, the stones, fleetwood mac, john prine. until dawn. until stoned and awake we sang the beatles to yup, here comes the sun... we loved each other all over again, laughed and remembered other times. my friend is pregnant with her third baby and felt as sick as . one afternoon, with a hot summer storm blowing outside, we lay on the bed, me supposedly to keep her company in between vomits and lashings of sweet tea... i fell into the deepest sleep i've had in years. i was rubbish company but met my ghosts of the past in my dreams.

it was nostalgic. my childhood rushing to greet me....those dark forests, the red roads, the blue very distant hills, the rain. the summer rain. . . and the smudgy moon.

i have also come to the conclusion that i honestly really utterly detest airports. especially dar es salaam airport. it's like walking into a sauna. no. really. it is. not a fan or conditioner works. finding your check in counter is lucky. never mind boarding the correct plane.

awfully smug passenger in dar es salaam airport checking into what he suspects is zambian airways: yes, well, i am flying to lusaka, he is going to new york and she is going to hong kong. i would like this bag to go to accra, that one to empangeni and that one to paris.

tired, overworked, couldn't care less, underpaid check in counter person in dar es salaam airport: oh i'm sorry we can't do that sir.

extremely smug verging on punchable passenger in previously mentioned location: why not? you did it last time.

you might well end up in ougoudougou (or flipping mogadishu if you're really unlucky) or even worse, left in dar es salaam when you were meant to get to lusaka... no-one bothers to hang up signs. or willingly give out information. it's just too damned hot. oh. and no-where to sit. zambia airways did it's thing. i would've knocked its block off if it had simply not arrived due to bankruptcy or something inconvenient like that. it was happily delayed for ouf, two hours. i harassed the air hostess with the mostess with irritating regularity. and gave her mamba eyes for the entire two hours. as if she was solely responsible for each singular delay in my life. (by the way air tanzania has been grounded for not living up to any known international air regulations IATA - something like 500 things were wrong with their planes, yet on they blissfully flew with one wing only.)

no. i shouldn't be so, um sardonic. in fact, apart from a little delay here and there, it was like, um, clockwork. really. and i am deeply thankful for our uneventful flights. really i am.

i still hate airports though....

on our way back from zambia we overnighted in bloody dar es salaam. hot as hades. still. doldrum like. no swaying palm trees here. and were driven, albeit chaotically, to pangani on the coast the following day, by mohammed himself, narrowly missing a head-on with an overloaded pineapple truck just passed bagamoyo. the wayward pineapple truck driver was still shouting at us from about 1km away...arsehole. like it was US on the wrong side of the road. mohammed amazingly kept a steady pace throughout our narrow escape from certain death. for us all. even as we surfed the steep curb. inshallah.

the coast was bliss bliss bliss. empty white beaches. no irritating fake rasta beach boys. in fact, barely a fisherman insight. we lolled about in warm blue water. we spent hours bobbing above reefs adorned with one blue star fish and a myriad of fish. we marvelled at fresh turtle tracks and sang like desert jinns around a bonfire on the beach.

god is great, i thought, alhamdoolelah.. . indeed.

and whoosh, here i am back up the hill. in the little pink house. with my life i left behind, standing in the courtyard like a fat old deeply responsible matron, hands on her hips, saying:

hello then! about bloody time too. well stop standing there staring at me like a useless holiday sloth. get ON with's the list: new horses arrive tommorrow. no saw dust so get that too and we ran out of bloody horse shoe nails didn't we you bloody airhead. children need school uniforms and stationery and dentist appointments and new shoes and the fridges are dead empty.. git yer lilly white arse in there and to the kitchen board. AND WHAT ABOUT THE BLOG FER CHRISSAKES!!!!? and remember school starts on 5th of january and of course, you haven't done a bloody thing about it have you? you think you're going to get away with winging it again, don't you and....

on and on and oooooooooon she went...

i pushed her aside and wafted into my airy beautiful empty fridged house and decided to fire the old bag. and get a new one. a high hippy achiever one. who still loves revolutionaries. and believes in a perfect marxist world. and a responsive universe.

do the two match? she quietly muses.....

Kitchen Board: 27 December saturday night 08

Contributors: Janelle and Gabby.

Comments: pass.

and toooooooooodely old pip, you. glad to be home again. bisous comme toujours xxx j

oh and ps: i started smoking again. damnit. and i have lice.....she confesses in very very small letters....


karen said...

welcome back, Janelle! sounds like such a magical time away (apart from the airport!) beautiful photos... make me feel like going on holiday immediately! good luck with that very Responsible List :-)

Reya Mellicker said...

We have missed you SO much, but it's worth having you away just to read all about it when you come home.

I've rolled up my sleeves ... now ... you want me to do what? for the new horses?

I hate airports, too.

tut-tut said...

yes, welcome back; love your rolling wavelike words.

word veri: fatedes

Bill Stankus said...

Snow. This was the holiday of snow. Lots of it, too. Can't imagine, nor remember what hot feels like. Dust? What's that?

BTW, I'll gladly trade places!

Val said...

great you are back! welcome home:-)
hang onto that holiday feeling if you can as long as possible... all sounds magical fun and soul food.yay! bet the menagerie were happy to see you? xx

Dumdad said...

Welcome home! (Home being the blogosphere, of course).

I hate airports too and rarely fly nowadays. In fact, I can't think of the last time I was on a plane. God bless Eurostar.

Lice?! Smoke 'em out - but then you're already doing that!

It's nice to hear your "voice" again.

Miranda said...

Ah welcome home. Can't wait to SEEEE you!!!

Lori ann said...

welcome back janelle! sounds like you did the holidays right. i loved everybit of this.
oh, and i have those 2 living at my house too, the bag and the hip, its a constant battle.
and i'll pretend like i didn't hear you say you hate airports.... ;)

xxx lori

fush and chips said...

A winner post Janelle. Nice like hot buttered toast and a cup of earl grey, it lit up this wonky jet-lagged morning).

I hate airports too. said...

welcome home welcome home. i love that fat brown post holiday feeling. and sand in shoes. always sand in shoes and towels and bags post beach. and hair like straw and hearts that sing. i hope i see more of you in 2009 x

Janelle said...

karen, thanks for the welcome! yeah. its good to be back. all the best for 09 xx j

reya! righto. could you start by filling up all those hay nets! great to hear from you. all the very best for 09..x j

thanks tut tut!! it was hard to start blogging again after all this time so glad my words rolled along for you...! love health and happiness to you in 09 xx j

hey bill! pop over for a visit..hit these beaches...! wishing you and yours all the best for 09 xx j

val, howzit man! yeah am hanging onto it for sure..saw pamu in great to see her...menagerie becoming LARGE! new horses arrived yesterday! xx j

hey DD! GREAT to hear your voice too! coming over to yours in a see what you've been up to! may 09 be the best one yet for you and yours..xx j

hey lori ann! ok...i never said it! HAH! lovely to hear from you. love happiness and health to you and yours for 09 xxx j

fush! delighted to read your comment. THANKS! have the best 09 there is to have. xxx j

and anthea indeed. lets see more of each other in the new year. YES PLEASE! love and all wishes to come true for you in 09..oh yeah baby! xx j

family affairs said...

Phew. You're home. I'm listening to Miriam Makeba and thinking of you in your pink house. I met a safari man yesterday....he's taking builder bloke black mamba hunting - can I come and hide with you before taking his body home? I always start smoking around now. Then you've got something to give up for New Year. Lx

Adrianne said...

Welcome back and Happy 2009! That picture of the white sand, clear blue water, and perfect blue sky is just amazing. I didn't think places that pretty really existed. And to think, you had it all to yourself! Wow! I want your life (or at least your vacations)!

Dick said...

Welcome back home, Janelle, and thanks for another heady, ozone read. Quite a Christmas!

Miranda said...

Ahem, my comment? Hidden in there? No reply? Great to see you today and catch u on all the goss. xxx

Janelle said...

eh lulu! yes yes come and hang with me on the hill and send builder bloke after black mambas. BLACK MAMBAS??? what??? xxx j

adrianne. they DO exist! all over the place...! i am so fortunate. everytime i go back to that little sand island in the middle of the sea, i am reminded all over again how beautiful the planet really is. love xxx j

hey dick! happy xmas to you too! thanks for sweet comment! xxx j

mo mo mo!!!! I LOVE your comments...can't get enough of them...and LOVED even more seeing you me

Mud in the City said...

Welcome back! Despite the fact that I am spitting jealous of your post holiday glow.

At least you have lice. That makes me feel slightly better (!).

nmj said...

fabulous beach!

i too hate airports, they are a necessary evil.

i too may have caught head lice (from my nephew), my head itches like crazy.

happy new year to you!

QUASAR9 said...

" i harassed the air hostess with the mostess with irritating regularity. and gave her mamba eyes for the entire two hours. as if she was solely responsible for each singular delay in my life. (by the way air tanzania has been grounded for not living up to any known international air regulations IATA - something like 500 things were wrong with their planes, yet on they blissfully flew with one wing only.)"

lol Janelle!
Happy New Year to you too