Africa

In Sight of the End

My son Leon, aka my marketing manager, asked me this morning,

“Can you remember when you last wrote anything on your website?”

“No.”

“Well neither can anyone else, because it was so long ago.  Don’t you think you should do something about it?”

“Yes. What?”

“Why don’t you quote something funny from your next book? Preferably using words of more than one syllable!”

“Leon, I have just this minute finished editing one of the chapters in the new book, and it left me in tears. And I don’t mean tears of laughter either. I can’t think of anything funny right now!”

“Oh.  Well when you’ve got over that bit, work on something.  Please!”

So here I am, working on it.

You know, this authorship lark isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Well, not when you’re as disorganised as I am.  For a start I have to be in the right mood to write.  This ‘2000 words a day between muesli-o-clock and a healthy lunch’ routine doesn’t happen on the street where I live.  If I’m not in the write frame of mind it’s an absolute waste of time.

This was proven earlier in the year when I gave myself a dressing down, for not ‘getting on with book 3’, as my current masterpiece is imaginatively referred to.  So I sat in front of my laptop and instead of playing spider solitaire I wrote about some random occurrence circa 1985 in Lusaka.

I actually managed to almost complete a whole chapter.  Then other lifely commitments (like cooking or sitting making up new words ) overtook my time, so it was a few days before I returned to my book-ing.  As is my wont, I read through the piece I had begun, before proceeding to finish it off, to find that I had actually written the biggest load of boring drivel conceivable.  You’d be better entertained by reading the Smith section in a telephone directory (for those of you who can remember those!).

Another issue thwarting the progress of book 3 is that I ran out of letters. No, I don’t mean A,B,C,D,E… letters, but Dear Ethel, type letters.

The material for my first two books was a doddle to establish because I had scores of copy letters I had written to family and friends reminding me of what had happened in my life.  But after living in Zambia for over four years, and had my folks visit us there and see what life was like, these letters became less frequent, so I now have to rely on my memory – a very risky source.

But fear not, dear reader, for the good news is that I have now actually reached the end.  Admittedly a few bits in the middle need a little tweaking here and there, and a multitude of editors have yet to be unleashed on its contents to annihilate the typos and unscramble the grammatical errors, but the end is in sight, as the policeman said to the flasher.

And you’ll be delighted to hear that book 3 does, in fact, contain lots of funny bits.

 

PS.  Don’t worry, I’ll have worked out a real title for Book 3 before it’s published.

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Jeepers Creepers

SOUTH AFRICA, Sunday 14th Feb 2010

You’ve heard of something being as interesting as watching grass grow?

One Thursday evening Leon came round for supper.  While we were waiting for the roast, we decided to have a game of cards.

Waiting for him out on the patio, whilst he was buggering about with something inside, I was sitting looking at nothing in particular, when I thought I saw a slight movement – of a plant.

Now you might ask, “What’s so unusual in that?  They are not exactly solid as concrete or contained in a hermetically sealed, breeze-free tank, but grow wild and rampant in your garden.”

Ah, Yes.  BUT it was a totally windless evening.  Not the slightest hint of even a breath of wind was to be felt.

Then, you might remark “There must have been an insect or even a very small lizard crawling up it’s nether regions.”  But “No”, I would reply, “I checked all over and around it”.  There were no foreign bodies to be found lurking anywhere upon it.

It was moving entirely by itself.

SH!T, I thought, the Triffids have landed.

Actually it was the tendril of a Morning Glory plant which has chosen to infiltrate the bougainvillea bush just outside my patio.  This particular tendril had grown its way around the white, plastered pillar which supports my patio roof, so it was all on its little ownsome, and thus clearly definable.

About 30cm (or about a foot to the unmetricised) of tendril leant against the pillar.  Until it started to move – away from the pillar towards where I was seated on the patio.

I rubbed my eyes and looked again, but as I stared at it, sure as eggs is eggs and the Pope’s a Catholic, I could physically see it growing.

I thought “Sod me”, or words to that effect, and after checking it out for a few more minutes, called Leon to come and witness this amazing phenomenon, cos even surer than eggs is eggs and the Pope’s a German (at the time of the incident) Catholic, no-one would believe me if I told them about this, without having a witness.

I said to him,

“Leon, just stand perfectly still and watch that plant, and tell me if you can see anything unusual about it.”  After less than a minutes, he said “Bloody Hell, it’s MOVING”.

We continued to watch until after about seven or eight minutes the end of the tendril had moved a couple of inches away from the pillar.

I went and called Ziggy to see it too, but in his own particular idiom he told me to go away.

Leon and I were transfixed by this marvel and only when it was too dark, did we realise that we should have been videoing this close encounter with nature.  But I did manage to take a couple of photos showing its progress.

When I first saw it, the tendril was flat up against, and halfway across, the pillar, as in photo 1.  It then started to move towards me until it was eventually about six inches away from the wall (photos 2 & 3).

In the final picture it had turned and was making its way back to where it had originally come from.

creeper-1

Creeper 1

creeper-2

Creeper 2

creeper-3

Creeper 3

creeper-4

Creeper 4

By this time we had realised that it wasn’t so much ‘growing’ as moving round.  Spookyyyy.

But to watch it in action was like seeing one of those documentary programs where they speed up the film.   Albeit this was somewhat slower, but it was LIVE.

Watching grass grow definitely has nothing on watching a creeper creep!