I'm Home - What Next?
'day in the life of 'More...
problem with my
DIY? (I Think So)
reason to Do It Yourself More...
Another Football Story
Gratuitous story of football derring-do More...
It's not all exotic African adventures,
I'll have you know. Life here can be quiet, sometimes isolated,
even dull. So to illustrate my point, read all about those
I'm Home - What Next?
WHAT NEXT indeed! Every
week-day evening I have to fill the hours from 5.30pm to bed-time.
Now this doesn't mean goin' down the pub, or vegetating in front
of the goggle-box! Nor does it mean having friends over, or ringing
them for a natter! Reason: Malawi has no television (and I cannot
afford a video recorder); getting a telephone installed is (almost)
as unlikely as the UK government admitting it has erred; and darkness,
without transport, prohibits all other social opportunities.
So, I usually spend each
and every evening at home, alone. I read yet another book, or write
yet another letter, or maybe I listen to that Public Enemy tape
again (on my ever so powerful Sony-Walkman, with speakers!). And
if I don't have the laptop - because Rachel has custody of it that
week - then I don't even write letters! (You have seen my handwriting,
Is that it? Is that all?
Well, I do listen to the radio a little. Let's see, there's Focus
on Africa at 5.00pm; at 5.30pm it's Outlook; at 5.55 it's Words
of Faith; at 6.00 it's Newsday; at 6.15 it's Money Focus or the
Jive Zone or ...; at 6.45 it's the World Today; at 7.00 it's Newsday;
at 7.05 it's Focus on Africa; at 7.45 it's Sports Roundup (Alan
Shearer cost how much!?); at 8.00 it's Newsday (same episode as
6.00 and 7.00)... Get the picture!? (And I haven't even mentioned
I do enjoy the BBC World
Service, but I don't think that listening for over 3 hours
each day is that healthy. There must be more to life, than listening
to crackly short-wave repeats of how Boris Yeltsin is fit, and how
Mr. Karadjic will soon be stepping down from power. (Oh yeah!)
So, I listen to the radio.
But I sometimes exercise at the same time - steady on! I'll do press-ups,
or sit-ups, or a 20 minute skipping session.. Maybe, I'll cook as
I listen to the radio: some huge tomato-kidney-bean thingy, to last
me through the week. Or, I could have a bath after all that exercising
(or even cook and bath). Or maybe - as the world spirals ever downwards,
through reported genocide, mid-air sabotage, or another coup d'etat
- I'll wonder, in my inimitable and positive way, why no bugger
ever visits me! Is it any wonder I'm in bed by 9.00, most days!?
(And you think the weekdays
are bad. This month, I spent 3 out of 4 Saturday nights in. That's
just a little bit too much recovery-time from an over-indulgent
week-end, even for me!)
So, when you've got your
feet up, with your take-away pizza in one hand, and the video remote
in the other, think of me eh!? I might be gazing at gazelle, or
marching up Mulanje, but I may also be Boring in Blantyre!
Time to switch the radio
off, I reckon...!
I'VE BEEN having a spot
of bother with my bicycle. The left-side pedal doesn't want to stay
connected to the bike. Rather, it prefers to gradually loosen until,
if not corrected, it falls off! Hmm! One pedal - bit of a rum do!
(Can you believe that
a keen-eyed pedestrian followed me for about a hundred yards to
give me back... my pedal! He just held out this pedal, and I looked
at him blankly, and then I noticed that my bike did indeed have
one of its pedals missing. Blank became incredulous. Just don't
Now, tightening a pedal
back to the frame requires a special kind of tool - a 14mm socket
spanner, or equivalent. But none of the bike shops had one, and
none of the volunteers had one either. The only tool I could find
was a mini-socket-set-spanner affair, that just couldn't apply enough
torque! So I'd tighten the pedal, and fifteen minutes later my right
leg would be circling as normal, whilst the left looked decidedly
drunken and clown-like, as the pedal wobbled all over!
And even when I found
the right tool, the pedal still refused to stay on for more than
a day at a time! Eventually the 'man who can' paid me a visit, and
gave the bike a complete overhaul. No pedal problems again, but
then the chain fell off. (But that's another, just as interesting,
DIY? (I Think So)
I MADE a bit of a blunder,
this month. I complained about my hot water tank leaking, not once
but several times! The men from Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC)
had little choice but to investigate the problem! And investigating
the problem means - have you guessed it yet? - it means removing
the tank from my flat, until further notice. No tank, no hot water
- and it was cold!
I only know that that's
what happened to my tank because Annie, my worker, told me as such.
The men from MHC have no need for such communication, to its valuable
customers. So something else I didn't do much of this month was
- take a bath!
Well and truly in Malawi-mode,
I left it for a while - a week! Still no tank, though! "It
may be ready Friday, otherwise it will be ready on Monday".
It wasn't. "Sorry, we ran out of gas [for wielding, I guess]
- it'll be ready tomorrow [Thursday]." It wasn't. Nor Friday.
"Can you be at home, this afternoon [Monday]?" Yes I can,
why do you ask? Then - da, da, da, daa! - on returning from work
Tuesday, I found my tank had been returned. There it sat, outside
the toilet, looking fixed and fine but not looking very plumbed
or installed! (Loud inner scream!)
Throughout all of this,
through all the excuses - which, in this country, were probably
valid - did I lose my temper, or raise my voice, or even knock someone's
head violently against a hard wooden door? No I didn't. But did
I think about doing it? Yes, I bloody did! (It was fixed the next
Yet Another Gratuitous Football Story
IT SEEMS no newsletter
is complete without one: a glorified description of my latest footballing
exploits. Not wishing to disappoint...
Well, really there was
nothing that special about this particular social game of football.
I was playing for Royal Insurance, and our opponents were called
Carlsberg Brewery. Nothing exceptional here, even despite the rather
impressive green and red strip that they wore.
BUT - and here comes
that goal - I did score a bit of a beaut'! One of those goals where
the forward takes the defender on, pushes the ball past him, beats
him for pace, and then running flat out, fires the ball low and
hard to the bottom left hand corner! It simply...!
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