I know, I know and I do apologise…I have not blogged since before Christmas It seems odd to now ensconced in 2010. 2010. It’s not the sci-fi world I had quite imagined back in the late ‘70’s. Where on earth is my plasma gun?
And so folks…I best fill you in.
Zambia was both wonderful and at times very difficult. On a positive note Dad’s condition got a little better for a while and by the time my younger sister arrived for Xmas he was up for cooking in the evening and enjoying visitors. My sister arrived anxious about the trip and feeling a little as if she were carrying her past on her back like a rucksack of paper cuts and although we did much together to dull some of those tiny little knives it was still sometimes hard for her to cope with all the changes in both Dad and the Lusaka she had last seen over 6 years previously. But she held her own and her last evening was a revelatory riot of fabulous stories from her time working in the Zambian bush and the local zoo.
It was also good to have a sister-in-arms for a while against some of the bullying we had to put up with from my father’s partner. Although my Dad has been with her for nearly 12 years and although I know she can be a kind and thoughtful person, her jealousy and insecurity about his children still exceeds her sense by a very great deal. (Saying she is difficult is like saying Dick Cheney is not really a ‘people’ person, or that Bill Gates has spare change or Tiger Woods has got balls. Sorry.. ‘had’ balls. It is a tad of an understatement.)
But I don’t want to dwell on that stuff because I was there for Dad and I got to be with him every day over the five weeks. It was great to see him feeling strong enough to go out for a meal and to cook salt beef again, to sit calmly next to him when he was hyped up on steroids and listen to the opera ‘Leonora’ at full blast (or as I call it ‘steroid-sound’,) to sit chatting with my sister, Dad and great friends and food on a cool porch in the New Year.
‘SJ’s Porch’ (c) T.Bush Jan 10
At the airport in Lusaka at 6.30am on a Thursday morning, Dad and I said goodbye and for a moment I felt just like the 10 year old kid going back to boarding school. I wondered if I would throw up on my shoes.
‘I love you Dad,’ I said and walked into the trolley in front of me. From behind the barrier Dad looked anxious and pale, sweat beading his forehead, leaning on his cane. I tried to pull myself together and gave him a grin. It must have looked ghastly but vaguely convincing. He nodded and turned away and I staggered through customs to the boarding queue.
I finally sucked up the last drops of glittering hot African light from the runway and holding them deep in my lungs ducked into the dark cabin and was immediately waved into what the cabin steward called ‘the naughty corner.’
‘Give us a moment love,’ he said winking ‘You’ve been upgraded.’
That same steward drip fed me Kir Royales and delicious nosh until I could no longer figure out what buttons on the sleeping chairs did what and passed out happily.
There there was several hours on a creaking coach through the night
Grace arrived a few days later thank goodness. Due to inclement weather and a few other problems there was no chance for her to do refresher training before she arrived. For five weeks she has been ‘just a dog’ competing for food, toys and love with three or four other dogs, two horses and a bunch of chickens. She charged around my small flat then sat down, head cocked and looked at me with both love and confusion.
‘How do I reboot her?’ I asked the trainer nervously scanning Grace’s tummy for red buttons. As it turns out it was me who needed rebooting. My brain was so full of Zambia, so higgledy piggledy with emotion I had forgotten even the simplest commands. Grace however although slightly shell shocked has seemed more than happy to reassume work. She took me twice to London last week …but that’s another story and I’m sure you have things to do and other blogs to read so I’ll let you go. More soon I promise! Grace back at work. (c) Tim Jan 10