People have been extraordinarily generous of late. And have bestowed upon me awards which I absolutely do not deserve. Such flattery has left me squirming with an uneasy mixture of delight and bashfulness. The pretty one above is the Wylde Women Award ; Mozi Esme gave it to me. The criteria is that award recipients “teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy”; I don’t think I’ve taught anybody anything new (except how not to raise chickens, perhaps). And alas I frequently fail miserably at the ”living life fully with genorosity and joy” thing; I am often unspeakably ungracious about having to put up with life in an outpost.

But thank you, Mozi, for a lovely award and for believing I am a better person than I really am!

This one came to me from my friend Janelle at Ngorobob House. She is a much more special, and eloquently flamboyant, scribe than I shall ever be. She uses language daringly and vibrantly where I would never have the imagination to use the same word. I have – ironically, though perhaps not? – grown to know her better since we both began to blog. I like to think – simply because I began before her – that my waffling inspired her to get talking too. I like to think you can thank me for delivering her lovely, passionate, full-of-life-and-colour words to you. She’d have probably have done it anyway – begun to blog/blab – but it’s always nice to think you’ve helped drag the latent creativity out of somebody whom you could see bubbling with the stuff all along.

This one was from Potty who is practically a celebrity and who sweetly endured my emails in lieu of comments for months and months because I was too thick to manage to say what I wanted to say via conventional blogging channels and instead sort of stalked her via Outlook Express. I think she was quite relieved when I worked out how to get around the problem without jamming her inbox. I hope Random House or similar is paying attention because everything she writes is brilliante – which is why she got the award to pass on in the first place. And so now I am a stalker and fully fessed up Potty groupie.

And the very grand award here is from Alcoholic Daze who writes about life with her alcholic husband with grace and courage and even – which augments the already evident bravery – humour and all without a trace of self pity. Not even a hint of it.

My scratching was recognised by Not Enough Mud . And Milla at Country Lite tagged me. Which was very nice of her but I need to point out – here and now, for the record, lest anybody who reads me but doesn’t know me yet meets me in the future and is horribly disappointed – I am amongst the most awkward and gauche people I know. I write – like Mud – because ”there are many things I would not talk about. However, I find I am able to write about them. I then find that, far from being a lone weirdo, other people have these thoughts, fears and peculiarities (although maybe not all at once!) and are able to tell me so. More than once I have breathed a sigh of relief or laughed out loud at someone exactly pin pointing something I had been feeling or worrying about, rather reassuring.”

And because – being clumsy and plagued by self doubt in reallife– I feel comfortable on the page. A reallife conversation might leave me tongue tied and breathless and blushing. But at the keyboard I can take the time to articulate what I want, how I want. I can select the words at leisure, like a child does the precise crayon for her colouring. She thrusts the tip of her tongue out of the corner of her mouth and deliberates carefully between the orange and the green, as I do the words. Sometimes the choosing is easy, sometimes I wonder if there isn’t some tiny writerly guardian angel at my shoulder nudging me encouragingly. I like to think it’s Dad, who wrote such beautiful letters to my mother,

The lights have long since gone out and I am writing by torchlight.  There is a grasshopper sitting at the top of the page obviously trying to read this.  I don’t know how he does it – reading from the bottom to the top –  but I am sure he is reading out aloud, probably to the two illiterate moths, the one tiny black beetle and the very sedate and proper praying mantis who are all sitting in an audience around him.  If I look closer I will probably find the grasshopper is wearing horn-rimmed spectacles and a gold watch chain.

Dad in a letter to Mum, 1964


But often its not at all easy to find the right one. And then I huff and puff crossly and snarl at my children and prove I am not a bit worthy of Mozi Esme’s award, or any other for that matter.


Mostly this overwhelming recognition requires that I mention where the awards came from.  So I can confidently tick that box. And put the handsome awards in my sidebar, which will be challenging given that I cannot organise my text font or line spacing. And nominate writers for the same awards.

Which is where I am going to cheat a bit.


Once upon a time there was a wonderful blogger called The Good Woman who moved from Scotland to Kenya and we haven’t heard from her since. Which is really sad because she wrote brilliantly and because now we are all wondering what happened to her. Blogland can be like that – you make fantastic friends who you absolutely believe to be real (because they are, of course) and whom you develop a certain affinity with and whom may suddenly drop from view. Good Woman invented her own award which is what I am going to do.


Because I’m an indecisive cheat, mainly, and because for me, in this splendidly isolated OutPost, I really only get Out by writing and reading and swanning about in cyberspace. So my OutThere Award – which doesn’t have a logo because, as Potty Mummy will testify, as the fact I cannot comprehend why I have gone from single to double spacing will prove, I am too techo-challenged for that, though I can give you an OutThere photograph –


 goes to an assortment of people who have made me feel less lonely OutHere:


Kathleen who feels like an old friend; Ann who is just bloody cool. And a great-granny. Which just adds to how cool she is; Mr Sherman who has been a faithful and patient reader who never tells me I am boring, just politely and gently points out that I’ve already touched on that particular topic; Roberta  because she – another old friend – loves books too.  Nutty Cow because she blogs regularly and because I, who hurtled past the sign for 40 so fast I hardly saw it, am hugely flattered that anybody so young should read my often Grumpy Old Woman rants. And Primal Sneeze who doesn’t really do tags but who is getting one because he had a sense of humour big enough to laugh off the fact I call Him Her.


I don’t expect anybody to do anything with their award. Unless they feel compelled to pass it on, in which the only criteria would be that nominees have helped to feel you less lonely when you might otherwise have felt a little bereft of company.









10 Responses to “OutThere”

  1. nuttycow Says:

    Oh! Thank you!

    I just love your father’s letter. His style is very similar to yours (or yours is very similar to his, I suppose) – your mother must have loved getting letters from him.

    *sigh* I wish these were the days when it was still the norm to receive love letters.

  2. lori Says:

    Wow. You need a hug. I love reading your words. You should be more gentle and loving with yourself, I love how you decide the way things will be(or not) and not go all to pieces whether its “right” or not. And dear, it’s really all relative, i mean, if the photo you show is the view from your home i would trade at least 3 of my children to live in that solitude. In the small beach community i live in we are shoulder to shoulder, quite literally, we have the mountains at our back and the ocean at our feet and our neighbors on our right and left and coming out of our ears. It all makes me crazy. But i can only imagine how it must be for you. You are doing what alot of people really only dream about. Sending you a big hug.

    peace + love

  3. Roberta Says:

    I am so honored. (I had to click on the name to make sure you actually meant me!)

    I have made so many friends through this computer. People I will probably never meet “face to face”. Some I have had the great pleasure and joy to meet.

    I think this internet thing will stay around a while, don’t you?

    Thank you again. You are greatly admired for the life you live, the strength you have and the ability to convey it into words!

  4. Kathleen Says:

    Well I don’t know what to say to actaully being mentioned. I’m appreciative and appalled all at once. Its funny tho in reply to your post about being more eloquent in writing than in person, I am the opposite I can go on and on about “stuff” with comments from others like “how do you know all of this information” but when it comes to my blog I’m afraid I’m somewhat stilted. Its been an exercise for me and I’m afraid I have failed somewhat. I do know that I enjoy reading your blog a great deal and I do tell others that I have a “friend” in Africa that lives in an Outpost. Blog friendships are hard to explain to people that have no experience of it, but of all my friends that I have in person or in blogland its the blog friends that are the most unique to me. I will accept this “OutThere” award and will post it to my blog in honor of being accepted by my friend at the Outpost! Cheers!

  5. Potty Mummy Says:

    Great post RM, and as I’ve said before, I really did not mind you finding me out (though am glad I finally know now how you did it – I was wondering). The excerpt from your father’s letter was wonderful; whilst e-mail is a remarkable tool for keeping in touch, there’s something about a letter in an airmail postmarked envelope dropping onto the mat that says ‘I care’, isn’t there? And sadly, it’s something our children will probably never experience. Oh well. Enough maudlin chat. Thanks for the name check and congratulations on all those awards!

  6. Mud Says:

    Thank you for that post – I think you articulated something many of us feel and Lori is right – give yourself a hug, your words brighten my world and make me appreciate such wonderful observations.

    On a separate note, your father’s letter was marvellous. Such a way with words and images (which you ahve obviously inherited) paints a much more 3D vivid picture than most mortals can.

    Thank you.

  7. Primal Sneeze Says:

    Yeah! What they all said.

    Thank you very many for the picture-award. Paward? Picard?

    ps. Her His URI is http://www.primalsneeze.com not primalsneeze.wordpress.com

  8. The Good Woman Says:

    Hi there Mem

    Your timing is sublime. I have not vanished, just been a touch caught up. I now find myself in Washington DC, 7 months pregnant. And (as of yesterday) with a Mac… and broadband! It’s a long story and on my return to Blogworld I considered letting my sleeping blog lie. And then, today, unable to resist, I started scanning my favourites and found here that at least one had not forgotten me! Which, after all this time, I had not expected. So thank you Mem. You have made my day and inspired me to re-enter the world of blog…tomorrow…

  9. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you all.

    Nutty – I agree: it’s sad the people don’t write letters anymore. i used to love receiving them: they were a lifeline, at school especially.

    lori, no, sadly not my view. we were way outthere in the bush when i took that. the sky looked especially big and africa recklessly vast.

    thank you Roberta; yup, think internet will be about for a bit. thankfully! i’d be desperately lonely without it.

    i agree, Kathleen, blog friendships are difficult to articulate. you feel a bit of a saddo when you describe them to non-bloggers. but I also get a rush when i see somebody I ”know” pop up with a post.

    thanks PM: i agree, letters will be a joy lost to our children’s generation …

    thank you Mud: it was a lovely letter wasn’t it. I’m glad mum kept all his letters,’and i’m fortunate that she let me read them. they are full of similar observational gems.

    oh gawd PS, not again. how did i manage that. at least now i hope i’ve got sex and site sorted? apologies.


  10. I’d like to thank my pet rock… « Parlez-vous moo? Says:

    […] up, Reluctant Memsahib passed me her own award… The Out There […]

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