I was born to wander.
My father an artisan, my mother a nurse, each day they spent precious time looking for a way to escape the cold, wet, dirty, downtrodden life that most poor Glasgow residents led in those days. At last a way out was presented to them on a silver platter and so, with great hope and a little trepidation they packed me up, sold all they had and headed off to Africa.
My first real memory is of giant bugs, black as my nannies face creeping inside the concrete sink outside the kitchen window grasping at water drenched straws that I threw in to rescue them as they whirred their wings ineffectually to escape a horrid death from the swirling drainpipe. At four years old I was precocious (or so my Mother said) as I had found a sudden interest in all things natural around me, from chameleons to grasshoppers painted green and red; every thing was mystifying and filled with the pepper bright magic of youth.
The rich smells of Africa filled my questing nose and led me to dark old gardeners leaking pearls of sweat, precious in the aridity that surrounded them to make grass grow and trees flourish, quite how they accomplished this is quite beyond me considering their total ignorance of modern horticulture, and yet things grew.
When old Jack stood up from his beds and potting he stood proud a
Warrior son of warriors, fierce tribal scars marked his cheeks and
His tree gnarled arms would lift me flying high as the thorn trees into a blue dreaming sky filled with the sun and crickets.
Each day jack would take me to school riding high on a seat made by my father behind him like a parcel to be delivered safely sometimes after school he would take me to his home over the Kafue river deep into the huts and bomas of his childhood where children as ragged and dusty as a summer with no rain ran swift to catch us as we peddled past in search of beer for Jack and Coke for me