Excerpt from Grizzling in the Drizzling Serengeti

            The house deal included basic furniture and mattresses obtainable from a government store. The last were theoretical only. We never succeeded in extracting a government mattress from the government. We befriended a small official who came and borrowed a small sum of money from us. We visited a slightly more impressive official and indulged in polite conversation. A little later and before he, for his part, could borrow any money off us, this second bureaucrat was stabbed to death by his girlfriend. Thus perished our hopes of a government mattress. We pushed together two single beds to make our marital romping ground. They were the old-fashioned black metal type with large coiled springs. The mattress we eventually purchased covered only two thirds of their extent  so that, if hot, one could stretch a leg or two onto the cool metal.  Generally, however, the nights at Kericho, six thousand feet up in the Kenya highlands, were quite cold, so we snuggled connubially and cosily together.
            The kitchen was small and painted black. There was no hot water. There were no little gadgets attached to the wall to open tins or crush garlic such as are found to be indispensable in the modern kitchen. There was no fridge. Vanessa grizzled over the kitchen and said it resembled the black hole of Calcutta which I thought an irrelevant and inapposite comparison. She was sick with, and of, pregnancy, and homesick to boot when thus afflicted by gravid queasiness. She spent more of her time vomiting instead of cooking so nothing much was done about this primitive kitchen.
            We explored our new home and town in an optimistic and tolerant mood. Children played in the gutter. How sweet they were! An ancient Kipsigis or Luo or something shouted hoarsely and gesticulated at us. What a character! Everybody smiled or at least stared at us. They did not immediately jump upon us and hack us to pieces with jungle knives. How wonderful! The local bureaucrats instead wielded quintuplicities of forms, interlarded with carbon paper, and filled the air with the pounding of rubber stamps. Everything was new for us, so everything was exciting.
            We bought a secondhand Renault 4 which was naturally far from new and inherently unwonderful. For some obscure French reason, its back end was higher than its front end, and it had an umbrella handle projecting horizontally from the engine in lieu of a gear stick. The entire vehicle looked as if I could pick it up and put it in my pocket while not driving. We kangarooed and stalled our way home as I was having trouble with the logic of the umbrella handle. Nonetheless, we made extensive plans to drive all over the country and half a dozen neighbouring territories. Eventually, we would return home via Asia or Alpha Centauri.
            The garden interested me more than the house the rooms of which we had little to fill. This being the era of pseudo-self-sufficiency, I embarked on programmes to grow vegetables and raise poultry, chiefly ducks. It was pleasant to create a farmhouse atmosphere. I drove to the local government nursery and purchased a hundred and fifty tiny trees of three species, a conifer, a eucalyptus and a whatever. I spent many happy hours planting them out in the garden which covered about a quarter of an acre but which was hardly sufficient for a hundred and fifty trees. Goodness knows what it must look like now.

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