One of the first things to come under discussion, apart from 24 packets of butter, was the dog. And when I say dog, I mean a DOG, although anyone could be excused for thinking she was a lion. Her name was Nina and she was the biggest Great Dane I had ever clapped eyes on.
Unfortunately she had been seriously ill with tick fever and consequently was as thin as a rake, with every bone protruding under her sand-coloured coat. One of our obligations to her owners was to try and build her back up to full size. Full size?
We were relieved to find that none of the children were afraid of her, despite never having come across such a large dog before, let alone have to share their home with one.
We were shown our new house and it more than makes up for the lack of decent shopping facilities.
The house is a sort of straight zig-zag shape. Or an elongated H with the top right arm and bottom left leg missing. This is extremely difficult to describe in words. I’ll draw you a sketch.
It is in Riverside, the same residential suburb as we are in at the moment, only about a mile further down the road and stands on a large corner plot bounded by a high, fancy concrete wall. It has a big garden with trees and stuff, most of which I have yet to identify.
Shortly after the exodus of women, came the labour force being driven home.
Hundreds of men crammed in the back of lorries, which came in a multitude of shapes and sizes. But they didn’t just stand up in the trucks, they also sat on the roof of the cab, or on the rear and side panels, with their arses hanging over the edge. The state of some of the roads in Kitwe left a lot to be desired and as the vehicles bounced in and out of the potholes it was a miracle that the passengers all stayed in, or on, at all.
One of the other great mysteries was the shape of the trucks and buses. I came to the conclusion that they must buy them from a specialist manufacturer, as they all had the same trait – lopsided bodies and back wheels which took a different route to the front wheels. They looked like they were driving crab-wise. No wonder so many ended up in ditches.
The It’s-a-Knockout competition was very well organised. The teams were made up by employees of the various companies operating in and around Kitwe. We wandered around to watch the various, often hilarious, events which included the usual jousting on a pole; racing – on stilts – through a maze of beer crates; walk the plank – blindfolded, and many more. The kids were a bit puzzled by all this – they couldn’t understand why grown-ups were playing the sort of games normally associated with children, but on a bigger scale. They took some convincing that they couldn’t join in (and I wouldn’t have minded a shot at a few of them myself). We eventually strolled back to the rondavel and got around to cooking our food at about 4:00pm.
Ziggy and I were given the privilege of using the braai first in view of the fact that we had the youngest children. That turned out to be more fortuitous than we had anticipated, because just as we sat down to eat, the heavens opened. Chaos ensued as everyone tried to squeeze everything, including themselves, inside the area protected by the thatched roof.
Within three minutes we had: twelve adults (I’m not sure where the extra two came from); eight chairs; five kids; a pushchair; two tables; six coolbags; two coolboxes; a beer crate and a potty – all crammed under the twelve-foot diameter roof.
One day Brad came trotting indoors followed closely by Vicki who, being a little snitch at the time, piped up,
“Mummy, Brad’s got a lizard in his hand.”
Naturally I didn’t believe her. Foolish me. Next minute Brad put the lizard (actually a gecko) down on the floor and we watched it scuttling around the kitchen. Really it was not as bad as it sounds, until its tail fell off when Coke pounced on it. The gecko beat a hasty, stunted retreat and the severed tail continued to wriggle. URGH. Until Coke ate it. DOUBLE URGH!!
On the subject of creepy-crawlies, on another occasion the kids called me to the front door to look at a ‘mosquito’. It was five inches long. It was not a mosquito.
We had recently purchased a book entitled Insects of Zambia and after quick reference to this discovered it was a stick insect. Using some blue tack, I stuck a 50p coin next to it for size comparison and took some photographs. As the name implies, it looks just like a stick. On a tree you probably wouldn’t even notice it. But as we didn’t normally have sticks growing out of our front door we were able to spot it quite easily.
Also Chapter 13
If Brandy wasn’t handy Coke would try to bite what/whomsoever was. He mostly went for the ankles or calves, but in the case of Vicki he took a liking to her fat little bottom, so he tried to grab that. I was in fits one afternoon watching him chase her up and down the garden, Vicki attempting to outrun him, but standing little chance. But the funniest sight of all was Coke with Leon.
Leon had been playing in the paddling pool and as usual had no clothes on. Coke was sniffing about nearby when something very tempting caught his eye, whereupon he hopped up to Leon and tried to bite his little willy. Naturally, Leon shouted and ran off. Coke found this a great game and ran after him. So there was Leon running around the garden, holding onto his spab, with Coke at his side jumping up trying to bite it. Every time he almost succeeded Leon
would yell “Hey” at the top of his voice, at which Cokey would bark. For the next few minutes all I could hear was – “pitter-patter pitter-patter, HEY, yap, yap”, “pitter-patter pitter-patter, HEY, yap, yap”, etc
Eventually Leon came running inside, shouting to the puppy right behind him,
“HEY, you shouldn’t do that to me!”
Chapter 21 (The New Year’s Eve party)
I had brought Ziggy a choice of harem outfits; powder blue or emerald green. He felt the powder blue was more his colour, saying that it matched his eyes. When I went into the bedroom to do his makeup, I was totally overwhelmed by the sight before me. He had already donned his baggy pants, but underneath them he wore his jock strap!
I don’t know if you’ve had any experience of jock straps. In my opinion they are not a pretty sight at the best of times; but exposed beneath sheer, powder blue chiffon…
Well, it was just something else – the eye-catcher being the huge bulge at the front and bare arse framed by the narrow straps at the rear, you certainly didn’t need to use your imagination.
I mentioned earlier that the majority of the women always appeared to have a baby strapped to their backs with a shawl or large towel. This lady had obviously been feeding her child when she got the exciting news about the washing powder, consequently the baby was strapped to her chest.
To put it politely, she was not a small woman. In fact she had breasts the size of water melons and she had obviously not had time – or perhaps she just forgot, or possibly never even intended – to tuck away the current milk dispenser when she commenced her sprint.
The child, probably about six or seven months of age, was not to be deterred in its endeavours to gain sustenance and as the woman ran, her ginormous breast bounced around before her with the babe frantically trying to catch the generous nipple in its mouth every time the tit swung in his direction. How the mite wasn’t knocked unconscious by this weighty appendage I do not know.
I’m sorry, but I laughed until I cried. I just couldn’t help it. Thank goodness I was hidden away in the car at the time.
Mfuwe Lodge consisted of several semi-detached wooden chalets surrounding the main facility, which comprised Reception/shop, a lounge/bar and dining room. The facilities were quite basic but pleasant.
A large area overlooked the Mfuwe Lagoon, which was home to some creatures and watering-hole to many more. Immediately in front of the lodge grounds the lagoon water butted against a dam-type façade, presumably to prevent the various animals from walking straight out of the water to enjoy the human company. Otherwise the lagoon was mostly surrounded by trees and bushes.
In the water we could see hippos, well their ears at least, as the rest of the head and body was completely submerged. I privately wondered if hippos could breathe through their ears. Every so often one would raise its head out of the water and yawn expansively, exposing massive tusks and a cavernous mouth large enough to swallow a small car. These visual displays were interspersed by a strange hippo communication which sounded like a very stout old-English gentleman slowly laughing “haw, haw, haw, haw, haw” at a modest witticism. There were also lots of birds, many heard but not seen and vice versa, which at future times we became quite interested in spotting and identifying.
Continuation of letter to my parents…
The kids are fine. In fact the Terrible Trio have latched onto a new game. They pile into the wheelbarrow – sometimes complete with Cokey – and persuade Jackman the gardener to push them all over the garden, which he does, at GREAT speed. He has them screaming with delight as he winds his way around the trees at a precarious angle. How the dog stays in without being able to hold on is quite beyond me. It is hilarious to watch.
Then we heard sounds of movement in a bush nearby, but before we could reach it the thieving bastard managed to run off into the vlei. However, there we were lucky enough to discover the cassette player, one of the large Onyo speakers and my wicker basket – stuffed full with a variety of goodies.
The next move was to get the car, so Ziggy fetched the car keys and tore off down McFrazier Road whilst I stood over the recovered loot wielding my axe.
It was only at this moment that I looked down, to see that my attire for this venture was not entirely appropriate – or fitting to be more precise.
Wearing only the corduroy overalls, my tits were sticking out either side of the bib like a pair of puppies peeking out from behind a pillar. Thank goodness the thieves had been running in the opposite direction. The mind boggles at what a sight my far from petite, bouncing boobs presented as I tore down the drive screaming like a banshee and waving my axe.
This was our first experience of school Races – other than our own half a lifetime ago. I had forgotten how much fun kiddies races were and while still taken quite seriously by some budding athletes, our three weren’t exactly in that league.
Leon was very inventive in the sack race. Instead of jumping awkwardly along like the other kids, resembling constipated kangaroos, he stuck a foot in each corner of the sack and proceeded to walk, very slowly, up the track. The level of concentration on his face whilst doing this was classical. When he reached the finishing line he just stood and waited there, wearing a big fat grin, for someone to come along and remove him from his sack.
Vicki on the other hand simply stood rooted to the ground at the starting line, with her face turned sideways and refused to go anywhere.