Howard and Michele were very genial sociable hosts. We really enjoyed our time with them. We spent our last day with them on one of their boats. “ShenzI” is their dive boat and 3 Malawian men braced themselves to support a regular aluminium ladder, opened as an A adjacent to the boat, to ‘receive’ the fat one on board. Shenzi is a mother of a boat, constructed of cedar and powered by a Lister engine left behind by Livingston, I presume. Lets say it doesn’t rush and that adds to its abundant charm.
Conversation aboard was equally laid back. The pace and timing of comments was kept by Lister’s chug chug chug punctuated only by the call of fish eagles. “We aren’t at the southern end of the lake” said Howard “and if we keep going north from this point, it will be the equivalent of setting out from Johannesburg – bound for Durban.” Over 300km of water. They dived and we snorkeled while the good gentlemen tended to the BBQ. Life in the colonies has sadly not got any easier.
With the car packed we set off for Taffy’s place; about 30km along the lake and quite different but also lovely. Taffy was in the business of selling all you need to dispose of the dead before deciding to give that away and establish a series of cottages on the lakefront. Sadly his wife died of cancer and my impression is that he still misses her hugely. He is ably assisted by 7 Malawian gentlemen who speak perfect English and whose diction and choices of phrase are strraight out of the 1800’s.
The journey to Taffys was short. However, negotiating potholed roads litterd with bicycles and dominated by menacing overloaded trucks was a bit of a challenge for me and for one poor chicken. “Why” I kept asking “did the chicken cross the road”? Taffy’s years in the business would have meant that he would have been the only person who could have done anything for the poor chicken. And stopping to negotiate compensation with each of the people who didn’t own the chicken didn’t seem like a smart thing to do.
Speaking of wildlife, poor old Cecil has featured highly here too. And I am so bored with it. Not because the event, the emotions it has let free or the merits of it all are boring. What bores me is the limited views that are espoused over and over again with no new perspectives that I have heard. And worse still, it seems to be the catalyst for Anne and I to quickly lose friends we never had.
Speaking of wildlife and of survivors, cockroaches are renowned to be the ultimate survivors. Not far behind are South Africans of my least favourite subspecies. They seem to have fled the scourge of black equality and rather than shrivelling up and being relegated to the anals of history, they have simply relocated. What’s more, they have found a way of circumventing exchange control rules (previously the exclusive domain of Jews and Indians) and they have managed to carefully pack and carry all of their bigoted opinions and they have transported them intact and without breakage.
Just survived a trip in high winds, on a Mokoro boat that wouldn’t start skippered by very inexperienced 16 year old from Oxford and an 18 year old from Durban. Wet, very much too close to three hippos and now in need of tea. Locals shouting frantically from the shore. Actually tea with whisky might be better.