Socks & spoons, sunsets & stones – a sibilant start to something

Did you really mean to be here? Hmm. I’m not convinced. But not wishing to disappoint in case you tripped over this site by accident and stopped to read, here’s a taste of things to come.

Based on the premise that no-one reads the first blog the first day it’s up, I’m going to start very small, aim very high and not say very much. It would be a waste, wouldn’t it?

Here goes.

Socks. Wet socks to be specific. These humdrum items were very important in my life, in fact they were, without exaggeration, life changing.

Spoons. These are very useful weapons when facing burglars on a pineapple farm – if you’re deluded. I don’t mean cake-baking sized spoons, but large wooden spoons of the type often used to stir mealie-meal porridge or nshima  in Africa.  (Even so – deluded.)

Sunsets. Everyone loves a good sunset and Africa has a few. One a day in fact. They can be spectacular, depending on where you happen to be at the time. The one that’s heading rapidly through the pastel-pink-sugar-almond stage to the black grape phase on the banner is in the Luangwa valley, Zambia.

Stones. Here we get a bit technical. It’s where some people perk up and others glaze over. Archaeology. Cleavers, choppers, flakes, microliths, burins, cores…. And digging, blisters, camping, long-drop (and not so long drop) loos, tsetse flies, AK47s, lovelorn youth and so on.

There we have it, just some of the exciting topics you can look forward to in the coming days, months, years – or whenever I finally get around to sorting out the blog’s appearance to my satisfaction and begin to have a clue what I’m doing. Until then, if you’d like to read something I’ve written that is a bit more grabby from the start you can always tuck into ‘A Wake of Vultures’ which is available from the Cosi & Veyn website as a paperback and on Kindle as an ebook. Quarter of the profits go to the Liverpool University Africa Endowment Fund  (see – it’s not just a cheap piece of blatant self-promotion!).

Oh – and did I say – this is a memoir so I can write in it whatever I want – a memory, a plan, an adventure – or total fiction. Yes, my blog, my rules! I can also delete your post if you are unpleasant. Trolls be warned, you’re wasting your time.

It’s also MINE, all mine. Don’t plagiarise me and if you quote me say so. Thanks.

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3 Responses to Socks & spoons, sunsets & stones – a sibilant start to something

  1. I shall be first, I shall I shall. You did well to get this far.


  2. John Kemp says:

    Well, I didn’t intend to be specifically here, but I was looking to find out more about you and this is where I ended up. Of course pots don’t really count as stones, but you’ve probably come across.the names Nkope and Nkudzi. Nkudzi was home and Nkope just beyond the far end of the bay. Landscapes – the photo on the cover of your book is – what, marvellous, beautiful, breathtaking if you were up there. At Nkudzi it was rather sunrises than sunsets, over the far side of the lake. And in October-November, those enormous billowing, white clouds building up and up above the mountains across the lake. I crossed the Luangwa several times (by road) back in the 60s. Now on to read more of you. How long will we have to wait for your next book? Will you set more in Africa – please?


    • Today we’ve had our third day of sun after what seemed like an interminable winter. It feels as if people are blossoming along with the cherry trees in the long-overdue warmth. I walked around Liverpool docks at lunchtime as the Mersey ferry came in to the Pier Head. The new and old buildings, the tall ships – it all came together, magnificent and inspiring. But several trips in a very hot car doing tedious chores brought me back down to earth with a bump. And then I came home to your comment. The tedium of chore-doing was forgotten. Thank you. I haven’t been to Lake Malawi – yet – but the African names took my straight back to ‘the valley’. More Africa? Oh yes. A second book is largely written but after a rainy, cold, Zambia-free summer I began to find it difficult. I intend to finish it after (or during) this summer’s trip when the sights and smells and sounds are fresh. I will say hello to the Luangwa for you, remind it of you. Thank you again for making my day – and for reminding me how evocative of Africa even one word can be.


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