Archive for July, 2017


July 13, 2017

The mornings are cold. In the east, at Home, it’s cold. It’s winter. Only in the unchanging far away Outpost are the seasons mostly obsolete: it’s wet or its dry, there’s not much in between. And there is never mist. Or cloud. Except before the rains. But here, now, back Home, the cloud squats low. You’d never know you were beneath two of Africa’s most imposing mountains: Kilimanjaro lies a little to the west; Meru soars directly above me. But in the morning you’d never know. In the morning, when I wrap warm in a fleece and slippers (which would only have garnered dust and scorpions in the Outpost), my mountains hunker sulkily beneath a thick grey down.


In the mornings Hat, who is home for this summer/winter holiday, and I often venture to the shops. A novel experience for the two of us who have mostly spent the last ten years exiled in not-so-splendid isolation. We trawl a small supermarket which is microscopic in comparison to Tesco but a veritable Aladdin’s Cave compared to what we are used to. There is more than one trolley. And yogurt. And a selection of hair products. But we always buy our fresh produce on the road on the way home. I select tomatoes from ladies who sit in the dust, straight backed, legs out directly in front of them. The tomatoes are pillar box bright red against the softgreytalc soil.

Today we saw a goatherd. He sported a fabulous pink coat and a jesters hat and he waved his stick at his flock. Hat and I decided he was quite the best dressed herdsman we had ever spied. I coveted his coat: for its chic cut and its vibrant colour.


And in the evenings we walk. For miles. The dogs go nuts. They can’t believe their luck: long, regular walks are a new thing. They charge back and forth, wearing big canine smiles, tails wagging as if to say, ‘thank you! oh thank you for bringing me to this delicious place where there are guinea fowl to chase and monkeys who laugh at me and endless ponds and pools and rivers to dive into’. We walk, Hat and I, and we talk, the glorious close absolutely private chatter of mother and daughter. She will leave soon, for a year away, in South America. I want to gather up every hour, keep her close, instill as much confidence, courage, reassurance in her as I can, as if to stock pile it lest she feel lonely whilst she is away.

The sun has shooed the clouds away, the mountains have regained their humour, shed their moody blankets, both stand incredibly proud and tall, Meru a cut glass profile, distant Kilimanjaro shimmers as a ghost on my horizon, its peaks smudged by dust and haze. The Natal rose grass blushes in the admiring last rays of the day.
And we walk until night is nearly upon us.