Archive for November, 2017

Unpacking Piece by Peace

November 13, 2017

So there. Moved. The house is done. I trip on snags all the time. Two days ago the water heater blew up. A hiss. And then a massive pop. Bang goes hot water. Now I bathe in a bucket, tossing warm water over my head with a mug. The power is faint and intermittent: a whinging generator and batteries. Mr Lyimo ensures me my world will be a brighter place soon.


Sitting Room Before

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Sitting Room Before

When I unpacked from my halfway house into this, I calculated, as I glued furniture that had come adrift this move, or the last … or perhaps the time before that …? Who knows. In any event, I calculated that it was the tenth time I’d unpacked my motley collection of increasingly dog eared possessions in as many years.

Occasionally, when I am tired and I can’t take a hot shower and wash my hair and I must mop the fridge yet again for it defrosts between meanly wheezing bursts of power delivered for a couple of hours each evening by a sickly generator, occasionally I feel so tired of it all – of the moving, the relentless round of repairing falling down houses as home – that I could weep. Sometimes I do. Once or twice I have curled in the corner of a room and howled.

But then I scold myself, stand up, blow my nose and unpack another box. That’s just moving. That just moving once. I’ve done it once a year – on average – for ten.

And then I fill the laundry bucket with hot water, I squeeze in and I bathe and the ridiculousness of this whole mad adventure makes me laugh. I light a fire in the glorious fireplace I have restored – the best I have ever met I tell friends, for the langurous, generous way it burns wood, slow and long – and I gaze into flames cradling a glass of red wine and I feel calm. Quiet. Replete.

As if I’m home.



Sitting Room After



Sitting Room After


At this time of year, when the Short Rains fall (or not, as the case may sometimes be, though not this year – this year they are tipping down) my new mountain home is damp. The dogs traipse mud through the house. I lay discarded packing cartons as wall to wall carpet in vain hope of mopping up their paw prints . It doesn’t work. The dogs gambol in wagging wet tails which spray paint my new Off White walls with the red earth colour of fertility. I don’t have a lawn yet. But I have planted one and it will grow – such is the fecundity of the soil here and the abundance of water.

Early mornings and the light streams into my as yet un-curtained bedroom.  Through windows I can see densely wooded mountain side and above that, just above that, Kilimanjaro’s snowy peak, Kibo. It is so close I almost have no perspective. It is like silver against the blue. I can hear the throaty rattle of Colobus monkeys in the forest.


View from my bedroom window, Kilimanjaro’s Kibo above the tree line

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Snow capped Kibo from the garden


By noon though, the cloud has curtsied low and brought with it grey nets of rain so that all my views are obliterated. Yet when I don boots to slosh out with the dogs at the end of the day, the cloud has inched upwards, Kibo is visible again, it’s snowy head whiter  and the sweep of the valley between me and Mt Meru huge and brightening and aluminium-foiled for the water that lies on the plains below. I stand and look for miles and miles and miles. It is an impossible view. I wonder if anybody else in the world can see as far, as wide, as I when I stand on my mountain side? In the Outpost, my views were foreshortened but my skies were vast and lonely. My life telescoped. Here I am living a wide angle life. It feels good.


Mt Meru

The sweep of the valley to Meru in the west

On Sunday morning Ant went down to the farm. Come with me, he said, we’ll go on the motorbike. So we did. My arms wrapped tight around him. Reckless. Riding with the wind in our ears and the sun on our faces so that come evening my skin was pinked with Outside Life. And I laughed and I laughed and I laughed and Ant said, ‘beats quite alot of the last ten years doesn’t it.’

And he is right. It does.