Thursday, August 8, 2013

Champagne Charlie

So Robert Mugabe’s Zanu party won the Zimbabwe elections by a handsome majority. Golly gosh! Whoever would have thought it? There’s a turn-up for the books. It’s just as well foreign monitors were banned and the election was monitored only by Africans. I wonder if the results would have been different if it had been the other way around. At his age (89) will he be able to see out what is obviously his last term of office? And when he’s dead and gone and only the memories of over thirty years of misrule are left what’s the bet there will be mass mourning and he will receive the accolade of being “Father of the Nation.”
There’s a dove that at daybreak starts his cooing and keeps it up intermittently for an hour or more and does the same thing in the evening. He really is a persistent little bugger and I can’t work out which of the many trees that surround us he’s sitting in. It’s a lovely sound. Reminds me of my boyhood in Natal. I have a mental picture of wattle trees, a farmhouse and an ethereal winter’s mist. He doesn’t wake me up at sparrowfart or the first cooing. It’s my bladder that does that, but I can go back to sleep listening to him. Haven’t heard much from the cicadas this summer but maybe that’s because I’ve grown even harder of hearing.
It’s the fig season again and there’s a glut of them and they are delicious. Unfortunately with everything that’s going on here, the building changes to the house, rehearsals for CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE, meaning the breakfast room has become a temporary stage replete with scenery, props, and costume rail, the house is in chaos and there is certainly no time for something like preserving them. This Sunday in the old school we are going to do a rehearsal of the show before an invited audience. It will be sans musicians and the pianist, music apart, is an integral part of the show (so I will be reading his bits and pieces), and recorded music which is not easy to work to. After that it will be time for Chris and Douglas to pack everything up ready to be shipped to England although it is quite a few weeks before the show goes on at Wilton’s
Despite the plump green figs creating something of an illusion I don’t believe the olive crop will be much cop this year. We’re desperately in need of rain. Haven’t seen leaden skies or a drop of rain for months. The jungle that was our garden is parched and showing distinct signs of withering. Even the walnut trees are drooping and they, like the tamarisk and the oleander, normally manage the summer with no problem. Watering is needed, it would also cool things down a bit, but, again because of all the work involved with the changes; in particular the MI from the lane down to the garden door, Douglas has not had time to rearrange the watering system which means any watering has to be done by hand and that again takes time. August of course is not the time for rain though we have had it a couple of times over the years. One year Douglas took the roof off the old part of the house in order to renew it and he hadn’t removed the last tile before the heavens opened and flooded everyth8ing. And it wasn’t a sort sharp deluge, it went on and on and on…

I love the story of the holiday maker who in July asks a local shepherd if it was going to rain and the shepherd looks up at the sky and says, “Yes, in September.” It’s like the Irish who, when asked for directions to some place, point and say “It’s just down the road,” which means anything from a hundred yards to a hundred miles. I look out the window up at the sky and it’s a clear blue with not one wispy cloud to be seen.

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