Memories

Nov 13 2009

There is an old school joke that came back to me as we drove into town the other day:

“What do you call a woman with three bottles of Guinness on her head and a lump of wet clay in her hands?”
- Beer-tricks Potter.

In Africa everything is carried on the head. Children carry their schoolbags. Women carry their fruit to sell. What prompted this bout of nostalgia was someone walking along with a crate of beer balanced perfectly and supported by nothing other than a piece of padding under the crate. He wasn’t molding clay at the same time, but its a hard act to follow nevertheless.

Talking of nostalgia, we were doing the weekly shop in Nakomartt supermarket today (the closest there is here to Tesco) and came across a long forgotten piece of history on the bookshelves. Janet and John – Book 1 was there resplendent in its original cover. For anyone over the age of fifty, Janet and John was the standard reading and writing primer for primary schools. Sure enough, inside the front cover, there it was – first published 1959. The pages brought memories of childhood flooding back. I don’t remember my father ever sitting in his armchair in a suit and tie reading the newspaper, but that old picture was still there.

And further along the shelf there is a thin selection of children’s comics, aimed presumably at the ex-pat community. There on the end, all the way from the city of jute, jam and journalism were the Beano and the Dandy!

This is the middle of Africa and there is much here that is strange, like people carrying beer on top of their heads. So it is nice to come across something familiar now and again to remind us of where we came from.

Incidentally, and talking about Dundee, on the day we left Dunfermline we needed to make some space in the Land Rover. There on the pavement, the book-box was emptied out and we chose six books each from the pile. Unfortunately, the Broons annual didn’t make the cut. Never mind.