Life’s a Beach

Sorry.  I’m back. Couldn’t stay away. Couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Found that the words clamoured. That even Outpost extricated, I still had – have – things to say.

How different so much is. Where to begin. Change jangles and rattles.

I bumped out of the outpost – a place I’d formed a sometimes uncomfortable allegiance with, developed a curious fondness for – and onto the beach. Flung from East Africa’s far west where the sun dips over the hills and sinks into inland seas and found myself sandy, salty gazing at dawns that sear my ocean drenched, eastern horizon.  Tanzania has slid behind me.  I am back home in Kenya.  Home simply because this is the place I was born, the one that tethers my particular clan to this continent; my Scottish grandfather traipsed up here from Scotland via a ship that docked further south more than 100 years ago.   Yet I have spent more of – most of – my life in Tanzania. An anomaly: this ‘coming home’ malarkey. The children all know they’ve come home: they who have never spent a day of their life living here. Until now, until Christmas.

But for my husband this is definately about coming home. This bit of beach. Where he grew up and goggled and dug for tek-teks and harpooned supper over the reef.   I’m in the small house he lived in as a teenager; the one built by his father, Grandad Simon say my children of a man they never knew and I only met once. There is a wind swept Tamarind tree planted to the south of the house for their paternal Grandmother, a baobab further along for a much loved Great Uncle. No wonder they are so confident of their roots.

But mine are still trailing. The cuckoo in the nest.  Change is always unsettling, there has been, as my husband articulates gracefully, ‘snot and tears’. Mine. Mostly.   In this hiatus of transience, where all five of us are far flung and scattered until dust settles, I miss the things that ground me: my children, my glass, Ant  – especially Ant – who should be with me  (this is his home after all) but cannot be yet, my words and even – I’ll whisper it – my Outpost.

But all change corrects itself, balance will be restored. I have, after all, found my voice and the words are lining up more tidily now  (a happy symptom of a quieter mind) so that I can pin them down to the page.  My kilns will arrive with my paintings, my own bed, more of a wardrobe than 3 bikinis and half a dozen pairs of shorts, my Outpost has been pasted in the ether so that I can remind myself it wasn’t always as glorious as memory might try to seduce me into believing it was.

And Ant will be home soon.



PS I considered – should I have a brand new blog for a brand new life? But no: I am still me. It’s just the view that’s changed.


rm xx

37 Responses to “Life’s a Beach”

  1. D. Says:

    How wonderful to hear your voice again. I could barely believe my eyes when I saw your new post. Thank you for deciding to continue to write. You are, as you will have noticed from the many comments, important to quite a number of us whom you have never met.

  2. daisyfae Says:

    delighted to see you again! looking forward to more words ahead!

  3. MsCaroline Says:

    So glad you’ve come back. Have been wondering where you’d gone and am glad to see you’ve landed somewhere just as lovely!

  4. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thank you D – thank you for such kind encouragement. If you can bear it I’ll drag you on another adventure: a sand on your soles, wind in your hair, salt in the air adventure.

    Thank you daisyfae: more words, they’ve found me as I find my feet …

    MsCaroline: it is lovely isn’t it; especially lovely today. a white horsetailed sea and a powder blue sky with a wind that’s chasing the enervating heat away. glorious.

  5. robyn Says:

    and what a life I am sure it will be-your words are soft and sweet and sound happy

  6. TatuMbili Says:

    Oh how you’ve brightened my day! I’m so glad to see you back! My brother has landed up working back at Diani: at some point, I will be coming home to visit him and sit on the lovely beach. I’m so homesick and your words are balm to my soul. Thank you for coming back!

  7. Marie Says:

    So excited to see you here again – and how beautiful the place y’all call home!

  8. Addy Says:

    And what a view. Great to see you back and I’m looking forward to new stories…….

  9. Lizzy Frizzfrock Says:

    I was so thrilled to get your new post on my iPhone this morning! And what a new view you have! I do not think I could ever return to my “home”, but your part of the world is different from mine. Actually, I could relocate to my home state, just not my home town. The home folks are way to conservative for me… or I am way to liberal for them and I consider myself a centrist. Guess it just depends on ones outlook.

    Anyway, I am so glad you are back and ready to share your words with your loyal fans! Cheers.

  10. Iota Says:

    Great to hear you again. Keep blogging, please.

  11. Kit Says:

    Glad you’re back and the view looks wonderful too!

  12. Bush Mummy Says:

    Yay.. you are back.. so pleased.

    BM x

  13. The Mad House Says:

    I couldn’t bear to leave a comment on your last post, but I whooped with delight when I saw this and I have read it over and over and would be delighted to follow you on another adventure.

  14. Anon Says:

    So glad you are back again – best blog on the circuit. Insightful, amusing, empathetic and beautifully written. Keep it coming.

  15. Natacha Says:

    I can’t help feeling a bit jealous! It all sounds so exciting!
    We have frost over here in Luxembourg.

  16. Jana Says:

    Wonderfull to see you back!

    Kenya, hmmm… I lived in Ukunda for a few years and this place will always be very near my heart. I remember the smell of the ocean in the afternoon and the soft wind in the palm trees.
    Enjoy your new chapter in life, it is truly a magical place and all it needs is some time for you to feel settled and at home.


  17. Ellie Says:

    Oh I am so so glad that you have found you can write again for yourself and for us, here. Thank you 🙂

  18. Kate Says:

    As all the others have said already, I’m so glad you are continuing with RM as it special to so many of us. Stunning photos! Hope your kilns arrive when you have enough time to use them.
    Keep your chin up, chook. x x

  19. nuttycow Says:

    Welcome back RM – lovely to see you again. Which part of the coast is home?

  20. Rob Says:

    Yay. Something to brighten up the winter.

  21. gotoflo Says:

    Great you are back. I follow you sometimes from Paris and sometimes from Frankfurt/Germany. Either city I’m admiring your way to live, the chance you and your children have to get to know so different cultures.

  22. sarah Says:

    so glad you are back. i follow you quietly from my own outpost of life as an immigrant in the usa. may be wrestling with my own change here soon. thank you so much for sharing your insightful words with the world.

  23. Jackie Says:

    Found you! (and Janelle’s too – thanks for telling me).

    Many thanks for tea and vino last week, and hope you’re not too lonely in you corner of paradise after the departure of Daughter No. 1.


  24. QldDeb Says:

    Great to see you back, and in such a wonderful setting. Keep up the writing, this internet blog thing is quite addictive and I miss any of my blogs (assuming a kind of ownership there, don’t worry, I havn’t got enough money to come over from Oz and stalk you) when you go away.

    I live on the beach too, in North Queensland. Enjoy the quiet walks and the early morning beauty. It keeps me grounded.

  25. 3limes Says:

    I recently left East Africa for a very different landscape, Bahrain. Change can be very inspiring and a different view outside of the window is a different view in the mind. Sniff that salty air.

  26. tash Says:


  27. Elaine Says:

    Hooray! It’s great to see you back here again. I’m so glad you decided to continue blogging – I was really missing you.

  28. A Forgan Says:

    Clearly your blog is hugely popular! 🙂 Lots of happy people to have you back and up running. Enjoyed your last post as well. 🙂

  29. Marina Says:

    Hi! I have just spent the best part of two weekends reading your blog, working my way back from 2007 to today and I feel as if I had just read the last page of a wonderful book. Which is always sad. So I’m very glad that you have decided to continue blogging. Your voice is inspiring on many levels, two of which I would like to share: first, as many others do without ever having set foot on it, I have a deep love for Africa and your blog helps me feel close to it, somewhat. And second, I am a psychotherapist and find your perspective and insight on depression and mood disorders helpful in bringing attention and lessening the stigma associated to mood disorders, especially in women. Thank you. Keep writing! 🙂

  30. janerowena Says:

    Like Maria, I only found your blog fairly recently – in fact, just before you ended it! I am so pleased I saved it so that I could find out that you are all OK! I’m sure that adjusting to where you are now living will bring its own challenges, but at least utter isolation won’t add to the stresses.

  31. Carol Says:

    Yay! You’re back! And by all the comments posted you’ve obviously been missed. Enjoy the new adventures, keep up the glass and the blog. Xx

  32. Leilani Lee Says:

    I have missed you so much! Don’t drop the blog, please. You are an amazing writer.

  33. Caroline Says:

    Phew, so glad you’re continuing. Love reading your blogs, it keeps everything in perspective. You certainly keep me cheerful. Thank you RM.

  34. Family Affairs Says:

    No need to change your blog and start again – you, like me are now considered to be a dinosaur in the blogosphere and it would take you a very long time to rebuild – and for why when as you say you are still you……keep it going and welcome back L x

  35. doglover Says:

    I had given up hope some days ago. And clicked your blog on my favourites list by mistake! Only to find you back, in a different place, with all your followers delighted, as I am!

    What a lovely picture, So glad you feel home and will be even happier when your things arrive. Including your glass – I was sad when you said you had left it all behind, till I read on!

    I’m at the end of my own happy day, made even happier by this good news that we will still be able to read your marvellous prose. Welcome back!

  36. Adriaan Says:

    Sent you an email……not sure if you have seen it or not. AB.

  37. kathleen7 Says:

    Great to see you back. I kept checking and hoping.

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