Thursday, April 30, 2020

House of Braganca

Cyprian Fernandes: House of Braganca 9

Braganca 9

Braganca is sitting in his office at Government House, Nairobi. He is listening to a variety of birdlife that frequents the gardens. He is also admiring the manicured lawns. Just outside his window, there are rows and rows of rose bushes and the scent is quite intoxicating. Twenty four men and women work full-time to keep all of the gardens at their Chelsea Flower Show best.
The phone rings. He sort of reluctantly picks up the receiver. At the other end of the line is de Araujo from the Goan Gymkhana. For a moment, after the first hellos, the line is silent. Braganca is convinced that there will be a very humble apology forthcoming. Instead, de Araujo asks: “What was the date yesterday?”
Braganca is taken aback. Why? He is perplexed and reaches for his diary and there it is … April 1 … There is a half-hearted laugh before the line goes dead.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Your memories, your nostalgia, a sentimental journey of joy


Please enrich this post by adding your own memories:

Kenya, East Africa, is always a many splendid country!

Memories, memories, fading memories,
Heartbreak, clawing fingers, extended arms
Desperately hanging on to every shred
Of every memory, places, faces, moments,
Events, happenings, the food, sports,
Nightclubs, clubs, the streets, the shops
The suburbs, the long drives, on muddy roads
Or on silken black tarmac, room for one car,
Ponds Cream white silver sands, Malindi
Watamu Beach Resort, and millions more.

Desperately seeking familiar faces of my
Youth, where, oh where, have they all gone,
Oh the loneliness, of being marooned
On this Earth without my youth, my friends,
Those I have loved, fallen in and out of love with,
Where have they all gone, where has the time gone
Desperate, desperate, betrayed, let down,
Broken hearted, broken spirited, helpless,

What, what is it, why are you waking me?
Oh sorry,
Oh, a nightmare, I am just having, am I?
Felt very real …

Soft, sweet, gentle things, kisses from a whispering Nairobi breeze on any
evening, I remember about the other love of my life: Nairobi.

Slip-sliding on fallen jacaranda flowers, loving every petal, every leaf born nearby.
The coffee farms, the tea farms in Kericho, the wheat belts of the Rift Valley,
the glorious game parks and even some romantic game lodges ... Treetops and
the Mount Kenya Safari Clubs and its once shoddy owners. The Ark, Secret Valley,
the magnificent Mara and memories of the Adamsons, oh mighty Tsavo, Mt Kenya
National Park, troubt in Embu and the green, green grass of Meru and the Central
Province as a whole...; Uplands bacon and sausages the like of which we will 
never see again.

My friends, many colours, many thoughts, many dreams, trust, loyalty,
poverty and riches, you don't count as money or wealth... Watching the world go by in Nairobi National Park or fishing somewhere, anywhere! Tea with a pretty girl at the Tea House of the August Moon opposite the Kenya Cinema.

What is it that psychologically tricks our taste buds into thinking that fruit and veg grown anywhere else other than Kenya (or Goa for that matter) lacks taste, aroma, that just plucked freshness, and just does taste that Kenya sweetness. And why is this particularly true of those gorgeous matundas (passionfruit) that I used to eat by the kikapuful (basketful) at one sitting topped off with a couple of slices of pineapple. And what about the madafu (tender coconut), guava, jumnams, apples, peaches,bananas, berries of a thousand kind? What is it about the Kenyan coast that makes them so different? And all those mitai (Indian) sweets ... why do the
laddoos and jelebies seem so different, the sweetness just right in the syrup, and laddoos moist but firm. Was it the water? Was it the air?

Green mangoes with salt and chilli powder, red paw paws and yellow papaya. Days when Coke was a drink and Fanta orange was the prize. When girls smashed ripened pomegrenate seeds on their lips or drank vimto make their lips red, centuries before they were emboldened to wear the "devil's colours" lipstick. The looked great au naturel! White Bobby socks, those girls’ shoes from Bata, pinafores, long skirts, shorts skirts, ribbons in their hair, gold chains around their necks and coconut oil in their hair and Ponds vanishing cream on their faces … strange perfumes, little dabs behind the ears and the upside of their wrists. Oh, and the boldest with a little dare-devil mascara. Boys in short pants, short-sleeveds shirts. Long socks in tennis shoes or leather shoes if you could afford them. Skinny belts tightened to hold up the khaki pants. Bruised egos and grazes knees from football, twisted ankles and countless cramps, reddened knuckles and swollen ankles from hockey … boys who wore those girls’ shoes with a strap at the front. Or the joy of walking barefoot on green, green grass or brown depending on the season of rain or dry. Picnics, climbing trees and perhaps the greatest joy of all … gone fishing for tilapia or black bass or freshwater prawns in Stone Athi. Later, the Drive-In (all boys jammed in a car or the lucky ones with girls’ heads on their shoulders, and this and that.)

Grams and jugus (groundnuts) cooked in hot sand ... delicious also charcoal grilled corn and yam chips (mogo), sweet sweet mandaasi (deeped fried dumpling), irio (vegetable mash), maharagwe (beans), skinny muchusi (curry) and the king of foods: ugali (mealie meal). Roasted bananas and delish banana fritters. Like kisses, soft, sweet pancakes with honey or fillings of grated coconut and joggery! The fruit and vegie carts outside our homes each morning followed by the lullaby of the "chupa na debe" (bottles and cans) men! The happy-go-lucky tiffin carriers who took warm, daily cooked food for the bwanas in town.

Stern fathers who rarely spoke to their children and mums who fussed worse than mother hens and you only learnt to miss all that when they were gone but you loved them every minute of your life.

Music: Fadhili Williams and Malaika that opened a new world of music to the uninitiated. Bata Shoe Shine Boys and Inspector Gideon and the Police Band who showed us new kind music with Kenya soul. Henry Braganza and the Supersonics, The Bandits, the Rhythm Kings, Cooty's bands, The Wheelers, Max Alphonso's unforgettable harmonica playing, Steve Alvares and his band and the talented Alvares family, classical, jazz, dance and pop.

Escape to India at the Shan or Odeon or the wonderful family musical parties or those boisterous but wonderful Sikh weddings. And just for afters Jevanjee Gardens: basking in the midday sun, not too far from the hustle and bustle of the city, in the then beautiful gardens where children ran wild like butterflies on Saturdays and Sundays where the family gathered for an Indian picnic made in heaven. My nostrils are still filled with the rich aromas! Green Hotel for delicious Potato chips and Coke or chai or faluda (at Keby’s).

Dinner at too many Singh's restaurants or Punjabi snacks at tiny bars in the suburbs or roast chicken at the Sikh Union accompanied by four fingers of Scotch paraded as two fingers, the forefinger and the little finger. The gentle advice from my many Sikh uncles!

Puberty and growing up at all the social clubs, especially the Goan clubs, the music, the dances, the girls, the friends, the sports, the laughter and carefree, happiest times of my life.

Blue jeans and blue suede shoes (if you could find them, got mine at an Italian shop in the city), Elvie Presley kiss curls and shortsleeved collars turned up. The girls looked even more beautiful, first in the teenage years and then into early womanhood. Some mums and dads got even more scarier. Thank God for our emissary, Tony Reg D’Souza. Tusker, White Cap, City and the imported stuff. Scotch, gin and T, Rum and C, Vodka and O, Brandy and... G ...Vincarnis, white wine, red wine, BabyCham.

Embassy, Dunhill, Rex, Clipper, Jogoo, Sportsman, State Express, 555, Players Navy Cut, Senior Service, Pall Mall, CravenA, B&H, Black Cat, Woodbine, Chesterfield, du Maurier, Gitanes ... and this and that... biddies?

Working at the Nation: the greatest moments of my life! Daily drinks at Sans Chique and World Cup at table football against the Laval gang, the late Cyril and Guy were a deadly combination.

Lunch and drinks any Saturday at the Tropicana and their brilliant salad ray!

Faluda at Keby's (had to do this twice, because my late wife loved this and once walked the length of a Bandra street loving every new flavor). The world's best lamb samosas and aloo (potato) bajjias at the Ismalia Café opposite the Khoja Mosque.

Maru's Cafe in Reata Road. Kheema-mayaii chapatis (egg and mince), delicious kebabs cooked fresh everywhere, the likes of which I have never seen or tasted again.

Quiet contemplation in the grounds of the Jamia Islamia Mosque or Holy Family Cathedral. Coffee with lawyers at Nairobi Town Hall. Coffee and snack at Snocream. Midnight rendezvous at Embakasi Airport. The drives to anywhere outside of Nairobi .... Karen, Nairobi National Park, Thika, Kiambu, Liumuru (haunts of secret lovers, far from prying Goan eyes or their resultant torrid gossip), Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru anywhere, a million dreams.

World's greatest breakfasts at the Wagon Wheel Hotel Eldoret, Kericho Tea Hotel, Nakuru Hotel. Best chips and sandwiches at Brunners (Queen’s Hotel) Opposite the City Hall.

The bathing of the mind at any game lodge: Watching that magical moment, the last nano second when evening morphs into night. The first chorus of the night orchestra mixed with the grunting, sighs of the animal kingdom going to lala.

Being somewhat mesmerised by the magic of Karen and in awe of you-know-who I met only once or twice. Lost and won at the Ngong Racecourse. Loved every moment at Langa Langa and the Nakuru car races ... especially watching that daredevil Jack Simonian. East mud, bogged down to the waste sometimes at Easter during the East African Safari. The colonial streets of Nairobi when two cars on the road meant a traffic jam. The Italian men's clothes shops, the like of which I have never seen again. Those windows filled with ladies' gorgeous hats, all so grand in their feathery grandeur.

All Saints Cathedral and Holy Family Basilica. In awe.

The schools. Each in their separate memories. The ugly side of life in all quarters, most of us quarantined from all that ... but we accepted it was all life. Tough, but British administrative order for most, pain for some. Injustice. A clean city, somewhat clean towns and districts. The wonderful buses and taxis we rarely rode, it was easier and safe to walk even at four in the morning. Or ride a bike. The absence of kitu kidogo. Lines at the Post Office, at the Tax Office, at the bus stop (sometimes) but everywhere ... order and more often than not courtesy within your kind and sometimes from other kinds.


But, one day it would soon end. It would be time find a home elsewhere. The trickle of the exodus began sometime before 1960, blew out to pandemic proportions (I exaggerate a little) by 1968. 

The East African Standard and the Sunday Post which I read second hand and The Nation where my whole life and perspective changed completely for the better and I worked along side great white folks as equals ... except for the pay. Even the Aga Khan was prejudiced when it came to money. Who am I too complain? I got a new life and a wonderful, unforgettable career at the age of 16 going on 17. That is another story.

Eastleigh, Pangani, Juja Road, River Road. Starehe. Kariokor. Karen, Dagoretti. Killeshwa, Lavington, Mincing Lane, Nairobi markets, the churches, the temples, a million smiles. Nairobi West, South C, South B, Nairobi West, Langata, Embakasi, Kilimani ………..

The world's greatest nyama choma (barbecued meat) served with onions tomatoes, green coriander, pinch of salt, drop of vinegar and on the rare occasion a slice of lemon.

The bands, the music, the dancing, Swiss Grill, Topaz Grill Room, Equator Club, Sombrero, Starlight, Equator Inn, Jeans Bar, Caiados Bar, Indian Bazaar, Museum, Ngong racecourse, Kiambu Club, Limuru Golf Club

Waited with panting nostrils each Easter to cover the East African Safari. I will treasure every single moment I spent in every game lodge, one of the greatest experiences of my life and everyone should do it at least once.

The first time I took a girl to the Thorn Tree. The first time I took a girl to lunch inside the Thorn Tree. Champion and Caviar at the Norfolk sauna! Exquisite lunches at the Muthaiga Golf Club .... Limuru, Kiambu, golf clubs. Lunch at Parliament House, any day a memorable event. Impala, Parklands, Nairobi (tennis), Railway, Kongonis, sports clubs something to savour ... many others too. Lots of Tusker and apres hockey, cricket, rugby, soccer ... Once high tea at the old Torr's or Pan Afric Hotel and those forgotten hotels in outskirts of Nairobi. Sans Chique, the watering hole of journos and others who are best forgotten. The Lobster Pot for that very special posh lunch? What do you remember most ... please to this!

Nairobi Market... all those flowers and curios and everything else.

I am sure you guys have your special memories. Please add.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The late Elsie Antonette Maciel

The Longest Honeymoon

By the late Elsie Maciel

I'd dreamed about getting married on the roadside of the Great Rift Valley escarpment in the beautiful little chapel the Italian prisoners of war had built to mark the end of their work on the building of the Nakuru-Nairobi highway. But my parents wanted the wedding to be in their newly-built home in Kitale. So we had a wonderful wedding day at my family's Kitale home.

At dawn one of the ltalian war prisoners came carrying in his hand a shallow basket of real orange blossoms.What bride could not hold her breath at such a sight? Trust an Italian to bring that romantic touch.

After the wedding I left with my newly-wed husband Mervyn on the evening of our wedding day. We left our guests still celebrating.

Our honeymoon in the wilds began as we left Kitale by the sleek weekend train, joining the romantic Uganda to Mombasa Mail at Eldoret, and then on to Nairobi for a short stay. The dinner on the train was a perfect wedding celebration. The next day we boarded the Nanyuki-bound train from Nairobi. Two friends picked us up at Nyeri and we drove on to Isiolo via Nanyuki. At Isiolo, our friends had organised a royal reception, which gave us an opportunity to meet many of the townsfolk.

At sunset the next day, we boarded a heavily- loaded truck in Isiolo for the onward road journey to Marsabit. We drove through part of the dark night before pitching camp at Laisamis, amidst roaring campfires. I sat on a log absorbing the atmosphere and looking out for a roaring lion. As we settled down, I saw, through the haze, a hysterical Rendille woman holding a child and making a dash for Mervyn. In what appeared like a begging posture, she pleaded for a lift to Marsabit to take her sick child to hospital. She turned to me and said, 'Watoto wengi,' wishing me many children in Swahili.

I watched Mervyn as chiefs and important tribesmen arrived to greet him and shake his hand warmly as though he'd been away for a long time. He handled the situation with authority and good grace.

I looked towards the sick child, about 11 years old, and as I shook his hand I felt his fevered skin. I offered the Rendille mum half an aspirin tablet, which she promptly gave her child. I thought no more of it.

The sky filled up with more and more stars I'd never really noticed stars as I' d never camped out in the open before. The breath-taking scene made me feel I could touch the sky! Ever since, the night sky, rare shooting stars and stardust remained my grace before bedtime.

They set up two camp beds for us, and with my hand in the hand of my hero, I fell asleep, safe and secure. We entered Marsabit early the next morning in an unusual almost magical cold mist. A group of very happy women waited around a U-bend to surprise us with presents of sheep and lambs, the best of their flock. I was lost for words and did not know how to cope with such kindness and generosity. By the time we arrived in the government boma, we had six animals, with more people waiting along the route to surprise and greet us.

Honeymoon in the Wilds
With Dubas (Frontier Tribal Police)
We ate breakfast with our neighbours, yet another celebration spread! Our host and hostess, who had also recently married, knew the feeling. After breakfast - came the most spectacular moment. Mervyn walked me down the garden path, his eyes beaming with pride and laughter, to the door of our home. We made a fairy-tale entrance. From the moment I set eyes on the lovely stone cottage with its tin roof, I couldn't stop making plans for it.
By the afternoon, the township Chief and Elders had a tea party for us. The women turned out in bright-coloured clothes of satin and silk and the men wore their traditional attire. They welcomed us warmly to the festive occasion. Beautifully dyed, hand-woven circular and square straw mats, almost in geometric design, decked the walls of the reception room. Our hosts sang, danced and ululated after which we drank very sweet, hot and strong spicy tea and soft drinks. The Chief 's wife presented me with twelve large walnut sized amber beads.

One afternoon soon after we arrived in Marsabit, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find the most magnificent Dubas (Tribal Policeman), in his special white uniform, gleaming in the bright sunlight with his post-office red turban, the ammunition in his bandolier all polished, his rifle strapped on to his left shoulder, and in his right arm a great big bunch of fireball lilies, which matched his turban. I stood spellbound and speechless. What could I say that would thank him enough? He seemed to sense how I felt. He laughed, handed me the flowers and bade me farewell. There shall never be such a gift of flowers for me again!
A couple of weeks into our stay at Marsabit our cook, Sheunda, came to announce a visitor. Reluctant to leave my sewing of new curtains, I stood up slowly and followed him. I found at the kitchen door the very same Rendille mum who had appeared at our honeymoon camp site. Beside her stood her now fit and healthy-looking son. Having tracked me down, she had come to thank me for the dawa (half an aspirin), which she said had made her little boy well again. She bowed low in an obvious gesture of gratitude, wishing me once again many children. I offered her a mug of tea. The whole experience left me so humble I wanted to hide!

And so continued our unforgettable honeymoon in the wilds, an experience I shall treasure for the rest of my life.

OVER THE NEXT few days there will be many tributes and eulogies celebrating the life Elsie Maciel will be written, spoken and recorded in many places. Below is a humble effort incorporating Mervyn’s thoughts from the last days of her life and a small excerpt from Bwana Karani.

Condolences to

Goa-born Elsie spent most of her early life in the Kenya Highlands (Kitale). Following her marriage to Mervyn, she moved to Marsabit in the inhospitable N.F.D. (Northern Frontier District) and fell in love with the place and the people. Sadly, however, she had to leave the area as there were no medical facilities for their second son (Conrad) who was born with a congenital heart condition, a condition that eventually claimed his life at Kisii, at the tender age of under two years.

Elsie and Mervyn had been married to 68 years: Elsie Antonette Collaco and Mervyn Maciel tied the not on August 16, 1952, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Kitale, Kenya with Fr John officiating.

End of a Bachelor Era (excerpt from Bwana Karani)
As each day passed, I soon became aware that my days of bachelorhood were not to last very much longer. My fiancee and I had planned a wedding in August (1952) — there was much to be done in the way of organizing the whole affair. We were hampered in the planning of this event by the fact that there were no telephones at Marsabit. Most of our arrangements had to be conducted through letters, and with the mails being infrequent, things did get hectic at times. The local post office must have made a small fortune from the many telegrams we often had to send!
I spent Christmas of 1951 with my fiancee in Kitale, and on Boxing Day that year, we got engaged. A very simple occasion at home where only the immediate family and the Parish Priest, Fr. John Hawes was present. The announcement must have taken everyone by surprise as nothing had been planned. We were certainly thinking about plans for the wedding, but the engagement itself was a spur of the moment decision. The following week, our engagement notice appeared in the local Press and many messages of congratulations started pouring in from relatives and friends alike. We had also informed my brothers abroad of the forthcoming event. Within a few months of my returning to Marsabit, the Notice of Marriage was out in Kitale (my fiancee's hometown), and the DC's office there had sent a copy to the DC Marsabit so that it could be similarly displayed locally. Our friends were quick to offer congratulations. I felt really great — it was a proud moment in my life, even though some remarked that we were too young to be thinking of marriage. Young we may have been, but we certainly knew we were in love and were equally aware of the great responsibilities that lay ahead of us. The only preparation I had so far made, was to save up a whole case of Scotch whisky from the monthly ration of one bottle that my friends and I received. I was grateful to all those who had sacrificed their quotas so that I could build up this stock. Scotch was hard to come by in those days, and since my fiancee's parents would be doing all the catering for the wedding at home, I felt that this small contribution would not come amiss.

Fully satisfied that the arrangements for our wedding were proceeding very smoothly, I returned to Marsabit after my short leave in the certain knowledge that there was now not long to wait before the Big Day or Siku Kuu (as they say in Ki-Swahili). On many an evening, there would be 'extra' celebrations at Marsabit. Some of my friends who knew I would be losing my bachelor 'freedom' felt that the last few days of this carefree era should be suitably remembered. I must admit that the six months between returning from my casual leave and leaving to get married, flew by. I was back at Kitale once more a few days before the wedding, and together my fiancee and I were able to attend to the last-minute details.
My future in-laws had recently moved into their brand new house — an architect-designed bungalow with four spacious bedrooms, a modern lounge-cum-dining-room, with an equally modern bathroom, toilet and kitchen. The whole house had been tastefully decorated and adequately furnished; as this was to be the first family wedding to be held in the new home, no expense had been spared to make the place look like a mini 'palace'. The builders had also worked round the clock to ensure that the house was completed in good time for the family to move in well before the Big Day.
My fiancee was very popular in the Kitale area and the district generally, and the wedding presents that were beginning to arrive from all manner of people, brought home to me the great regard and affection these people had for her. There were gifts from the simple folk and the well-to-do alike, among the latter was one from the then Secretary to the Duke of Manchester (Mr N. O. C. Marsh — an imposing figure of a man). Many local farmers who knew her well when she worked at the KFA (Kenya Farmers Association) had also sent in their gifts and good wishes, and we were greatly touched by the generosity of so many. Even those who could not make it to the wedding, and those who weren't even invited (we had to restrict numbers because of the available space), had sent tokens of affection. Most of the arrangements for the wedding were well advanced by now — the bride's trousseau was complete, so were my suits, the bridesmaids' outfits, etc. The parish priest of the small Catholic Church had asked us over a few days before the big occasion — for a general face-to-face talk on the all-important religious significance of our marriage, and the great responsibilities we were soon to undertake. Being a close friend of the family, talking plainly to us both came so naturally to Fr. John Hawes. My younger brother Wilfred, who I would dearly have liked to have been my best man, was away in England pursuing his studies, so I had to choose my next favourite relative instead. Here, I must admit, I broke away from tradition and asked my married cousin, Jock Sequeira (an Education Officer in Mombasa) — to do the honours. Normally the person chosen is, I believe, a bachelor. Jock arrived a day before and was the only member of my immediate family at the wedding; sadly, due to family commitments, Beryl was unable to accompany him. Most of my other relatives were too far away to make the trip — a paternal uncle (Luis) in Mombasa, others in Zanzibar, Mocambique, Uganda, and my two brothers in Bombay and England respectively. Still, I knew they would all be with us in spirit.

My Els

Elsie was the perfect spouse - very loving and caring, thinking always of others rather than herself.  Healthwise, she's not been lucky both in Kenya and here; had several operations here and spent many days in hospital following many operations; despite all this, she was at her happiest when entertaining visitors and enjoyed spending a lot of time with the children and after grandchildren.

In addition to her culinary skills, she was a seamstress (made the wedding gowns for both our daughters, just days after she's returned home after a major operation. Also made the 3-tier wedding cake; made her dress for the wedding and even a Pageboy outfit for our grandson.

She has knitted endless jumpers for me and the whole family and friends. She even made a 2-piece suit for me.

In addition to all this, she was a great cake maker and made cakes for family birthdays and also for people's anniversaries or weddings. Her pickles were much sought after especially by the Curry Club of Britain -her Bombay duck and Tendlim pickles were a /Goan favourite.

She excelled at pottery and her work was exhibited here in Sutton and also at some other Craft Fairs.

There is so much I could write about her. A great samosa maker. Friends and family still rave
about her unique samosas and pickles. She adored her grandchildren and encouraged them
to take an interest in arts and craft.  She was also a great gardener and later a great
help in the allotment we worked at for nearly 15 years.

She was not a party person, nor overtly religious but her faith meant a lot to her.

Until we are together again, my darling … Mervyn

A couple of tributes by Mel D'Souza

In Memoriam
Elsie Antonette (Collaco) Maciel

Praises to any and all
who are near and dear,
not only when they are loving and living...
to hold, hug, and embrace...
Not only when they fill a shared life
with years of happiness, not only
when they show us,
by personal example,
their devotion and dedication
by daily deeds done with the greatest
of care, kindness and consideration,
not only how to be truly humane,
how to be totally humble, how to be
brave, courageous, unafraid
to endure times of greatest difficulties...
how to deal with loss, grief, and pain...
how to be welcoming to others...
how to be sharing, caring, and giving…
for kith and kin, family and friends,
being hospitable and openhearted...
being genuine, generous,
hospitable and openhearted,
full of surprises and talents,
preparing culinary delights
and wondrous works of art…

Those are all great memories
to value, to treasure, to recall,
to fill heart, mind, and soul...
with total contentment,
when they are no longer with us,
no longer in our midst,
taken from us to commence
their final journey to a divine destiny,
no longer able to share
times of tenderness,
daily deeds done with great skill, and
at times even with great daring...
while being pleasant, and knowing
how to surprise and to please...

Those are memorable moments
to relive when thinking and
speaking with profound gratitude
of all the gifts given and left to us
as the legacy of love
by dearly departed...
now resting in eternal peace!

Gerhard A. Fürst
Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Thursday, April 9, 2020

My Mother Taught Me ...Thanks Mike

Dear all at home and abroad,
A group of British people are flying home on a plane chartered by the government during the coronavirus pandemic.
The pilot's voice comes over the intercom, saying, "We're flying at 35,000 feet. Visibility is good. The weather in London is fine and clear, at 15 degrees Centigrade... Oh, and by the way, I'm working from home."
We are also working from home, sorting photos, decluttering, enjoying the peace and quiet of the neighbourhood and grateful that we did our overseas travelling last year.
We are grateful too that Australia is coping with virus quite well and feel for those places, particularly the UK, that are going through so many deaths. We worry somewhat for the US which seems ill-prepared for the virus. We feel more concern that Americans will have a choice between Trump and a candidate who could not beat Hillary last time round. These are the best on offer  not much choice for an election where voting is not even compulsory.
We are heading for a weekend of around 37C with the beaches likely to be closed if social distancing is not observed. We have a pool so the family can visit if they keep their distance. There’s always things to do in the garden, so we can get out after checking the latest jokes, though the virus is losing its humour. We have time, too, to count our blessings.
Most of you receiving this are of the age to remember the original home schooling, when our parents passed on advice in the most bizarre manner. The younger generation will not remember these verbal instructions but you receiving this will recall many.
Have a chuckle now at what they taught us when we were  growing up in a more carefree environment.
1.  My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE .
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."
2.  My mother taught me RELIGION .
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."
3.  My father taught me about TIME TRAVEL .
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
4.  My father taught me LOGIC .
" Because I said so, that's why ."
5.  My mother taught me MORE LOGIC  .
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."
6.  My mother taught me FORESIGHT .
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."
7.  My father taught me IRONY .
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."
8.  My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS .
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."
9.  My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM .
"Just you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"
10.  My mother taught me about STAMINA .
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."
11.  My mother taught me about WEATHER .
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."
12.  My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY .
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times, don't exaggerate!"
13.  My father taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE .
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out..."
14.  My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION   .
"Stop acting like your father!"
15.  My mother taught me about ENVY .
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."
16.  My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION .
"Just wait until we get home."
17.  My mother taught me about RECEIVING .
"You are going to get it from your father when you get home!"
18     My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE .
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."
19.  My mother taught me ESP .
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"
20.  My father taught me HUMOR .
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."
21.  My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT .
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."
22.  My mother taught me GENETICS .
"You're just like your father."
23.  My mother taught me about my ROOTS .
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"
24.  My mother taught me WISDOM .
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand.
25.  My father taught me about JUSTICE  .
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”

 This should only be sent to the over 70 crowds because the younger ones would not believe we truly were told these "EXACT" words by our parents…      


  This invaluable collection of photos was sent to me by David Mungai. He says it is “for the acknowledgement of Kenyan History, the celebra...