Sunday, July 13, 2008

Following on yesterday’s blog, my sister e-mailed me a dozen photographs of Mugabe’s new palace, a building of such outrageous and tasteless opulence it is hard to imagine. The man is completely out of his mind. Only a megalomaniac in the fullest sense could dream of living in these marble halls. He is so out of this world I really am surprised that, like Bokasa before him, he hasn’t proclaimed himself Emperor. The cost of this building and its furbishing must have been astronomical in a country that he has evidently led to bankruptcy and starvation.

Yesterday our neighbour Jannis died aged 93 so this morning I will attend his funeral. This happens very fast here. You die, you’re gone, no hanging about. On returning from a swim and a lunch date we found their gate open and knew immediately what had happened without even noticing the coffin lid standing behind it so, as soon as we had parked the car and changed into suitable clothes, we went across to pay our respects. He had only been dead about five hours. This is the fifth death of an immediate neighbour since our arrival here but they have all been of a ripe old age. The family would have kept an all night vigil with him and I shall miss his cheery greeting of an evening when he saw me watering the terrace. Chris, Douglas and Diane will be on their way by ferry to Athens, all previously arranged and can’t be rearranged for the funeral especially as the reason for the trip is to attend the Bolshoi production of Boris Godunov, a once in a lifetime experience.

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