‘They gave us supper early. We were saying, Soon They’ll Feed Us At Three.’ I said, In this cold weather if it was me I’d say to you all at lunch: Eat Up! Your Supper’s Ready! so I could get home early. She had a good laugh at that.
‘I played the piano at supper.’ Oh, good. What did you play? ‘The piano’ she says mischievously and laughs. The she sings, ‘Lady of Spain I adore you – right from the night I first saw you … ‘
‘We would dance to this in the Masonic Hall. Folk dancing. Also to When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. And a Welsh dance and a Scottish reel.’
‘For Girl Guides I had to play a March for my piano badge. Mrs Steytler said I was playing too fast, the girls marching couldn’t keep up. Then I had to play God Save The King, we were still under the monarchy then, in the Commonwealth. And Elizabeth has gone to hospital for the first time.’
Well, she’s 93, I said, same age as you. ‘Oh, I thought she was Pat’s age, older than me, and Margaret was my age.’ I think she’s 1928, same as you, I said. While we were talking I checked. True’s Bob, Mary was right, Mrs Queen is two and half years older than her. Pat’s age. I was foolish to contradict her. What do I know about poms?
‘I saw her in Boksburg, you know. She was keen to get back home to the only boyfriend she ever had. Philip.’
We shared a meal in Vwaza Marsh National Park, Malawi. On the way there we delayed stocking up with food, thinking surely the next market will be better, but each town was the same: A big market square with lots of stalls, but only a few occupied, and those only offering a few oranges and sweet potatoes, arranged in neat little pyramids. Eventually we arrive in camp not having bought anything. We resolve to fast and go back to Rumphi for some oranges and sweet potatoes before moving on to Nyika Plateau.
The Vwaza game guard comes over to hear if we want to shower and when we’ll be eating. He will light a fire for us. On hearing we won’t be, he brings his own sadsa/phuthu/maize porridge on a tin plate! We have a vacuum-sealed sausage of salami, so we add that and share the meal. Everybody wins! He heats the shower just right and carries it up the ladder and pours it into the bucket with a tap on it so we have a hot shower. Luxury! I spoilt that woman!
In the Comores we shared a meal We delivered a book on Bruce Lee martial arts to well-known Comoran beach guide “Bruce Lee” in the Comores Big island (a gift from a previous guest who heard we were going there). He invites us for supper at his humble palm-frond thatched home in the nearby village where his wife cooks for us. A number of plates with porridge various veges, and one plate with four tiny fishes – which they put on our plates. We say we must share them, but “No. You are our guests!” they insist.
In Jozini, Zululand we shared a meal
Whenever I visit Tobias he and Thulisiwe treat me to a lovely meal in their home. This time it was curried chicken and phuthu. As always Thulisiwe gave me a bag of her home-grown roasted and salted peanuts to take home.