Friday, 7 August 2009


After some recent rather self-indulgent obfuscatory philological excesses, I have decided to tone down my language and indulge less pathologically in orthological extravagances. So today’s entry will be uncluttered and factual. A personal campaign for plain English.

the shadow says it all...

A motorbike drones overhead, aiming for the tamarind tree. The locals call them black bees. This one is so large that I can see it reaching the mango grove eighty yards away. There’s a kiskadee in the shower and a rooster in the wheelbarrow. A dog crept into the kitchen and ran away with our whole bag of eggs. The brazil nuts are so fresh they evoke juicy coconut. There are seven kinds of mangoes here: the buxom (some disagreement over whether it’s really ‘Buxton’), water spice, grafted, table, long, Julie, and sour. My favourite at the moment is the water spice, which tastes of lavender.

A diet of flour and rice is transformed by onions. I just bought the last two pounds in town. The barbecue grill is the only safe place to grow basil. Elsewhere sheep, lizards, cows or hens eat it. The netting on the bedroom ceiling is drooping with poo, ite leaf fragments knocked down by rain, and cockroach carcasses. The kitchen isn’t exempt either: I heard myself saying calmly the other day, “Don’t leave the chopping board there to dry honey, the bat shits there every night”. I no longer notice noises I’m not worried about. B tells me the shower door creaks very loudly. I don’t hear that. I do hear the horses shrieking in the middle of the night, the knocks that turn out to be cowhorns on my shutters, and the anonymous rustles above my head in the dark. I killed a medium-sized scorpion at 5:45am today with three hard blows of the hammer. It’s splattered all over the kitchen. I shook for an hour. I won, though. Really it should have been shaking.

How did it go? It didn’t really work, did it? You don’t tone down Aishalton. Words aren’t even the half of it. It’s not an obvious place- facts are rare, rumours rife and mobile, knowledge scanty and people friendly-reticent. Perhaps I need the elaborations to bolster an illusion of volition. B conjures up the beautiful in images. These words are my attempt to wave a wand over the ugly, the scary, the infuriating and the dull, so I can live in it better. I’m aiming for more grace and more aplomb. That would be my dream combination.

1 comment:

  1. Do not fear embroidering your language as although it adds beauty to the fabric, it also adds strength. (I have come up with that all by myself... just now!)Love Win