1 December 2010

Freezing At Ze Edge

Kisumu, Kenya 
Yup – it’s pretty cold down here, we even had some snow on Friday which pretty soon turned to rain, and now it’s just cold – between 5 and 7 degrees. Not as cold as the UK of course, which is suffering a closedown due to unusually freezing weather.

I have to admit, we’ve never had it so cold so early. I used to watch my old French neighbour (now departed) to see when he covered up his lemon trees to protect them from the frost and I would follow suit. He never did this before January but already the trees are shivering and my poor fish in the pond have been ice skating – upside down!

So as we freeze down here where everybody thinks we have beautiful weather all year round, J is sunning it on the equator having reached Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria. A few months ago when she was planning her trip, I wondered why she wanted to go in November. Now I know.

Kisumu - Right on the Equator
Whilst she’ll be poncing around in shorts and t-shirts, me and the kids continue to watch the electricity meter flash like a disco light and throw mountains of wood on the fire. The electric blankets are on all night and even Shadow sleeps at the bottom of my bed rolling around and wrapping himself up in the shagpile carpet.

It’s just too cold to do anything. I got all wrapped up this morning and cut some wood and I have to say I was nice and warm but as soon as I stopped, the feet got cold and I had to have some soup to defrost myself.

And then there was a knock at the kitchen door. That’s twice this week. The other day I thought I could hear a knocking and went to the main front door but there was nobody there. I shouted out just in case the person, if it was a person, had walked down the lane but again, no answer.

A few minutes later the knock returned so this time I opened the kitchen door and there, standing in the pouring rain was a pompier (fireman) calling to sell me one of their calendars – their annual way of raising a bit of extra cash. I await the postman who will call and sell me exactly the same calendar for the same purpose and for the same 15 euros – or whatever you’re prepared to give them.

It’s a no brainer really. Don’t pay the fireman and your house will burn down with the pompiers standing round warming their hands, whilst with the postie, important mail will be returned to the post office which means a pain of a journey and standing in a long queue.

This time, I was in the kitchen so the door was opened pretty quickly.

‘Ze edge’, said this guy whom I’d never seen. ‘Ze edge’, he repeated.

‘What edge?’ I replied.

“I’m ere to do ze edge’, he stated.

‘What edge? The edge of the path or the car parking area?’

‘No no – I am ere to cut ze edge.’

How would you like to cut 200 yards of this ?
And at that I realised he was the gardener from next door who, poor souls, have to cut a hedge which must be all of 200 yards in length and in some places is 15 feet high.

The neighbour who lives in Brussels is obviously coming down for Xmas and before she arrives, a team of gardeners descend on her property and manicure her garden to within an inch of its life. As for me, it’s great having this edge, sorry hedge, which bounds my garden from hers, beautifully trimmed. And it’s all free!

Makes a change. 

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