Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



I have been doing some (not a lot; it’s not a good idea to go hog-wild with these things.) tidying of files. Or, in this case, piles. Not the kind requiring a proctologist. Paper piles. Letters. Old receipts. Rude limericks jotted on envelopes.

All pertinent at the time. But now somewhat superfluous.

Anyway…I came across a letter from an old friend. Written when he was a young friend. (Yes, I do tend to be a bit of a hoarder.)

This friend was, at the time, working  with some doctoring chaps in Darkest Africa. He wrote:

… the local tribesmen still build grass huts. They are sufficiently sturdy til the rainy season sets in and even then may last quite well. A bit like those cute olde thatched rooves on English chocolate boxes.*

But, of course, there is always a certain amount  of rivalry and some of the headmen go to bloody ridiculous lengths to up the ante.

Last year, one of  them figured out how to build a second storey. Well, a shelf, really, but he was cock-a-hoop that he had the grandest hut south of the Nile.

Well, not to be out-done, the #1 wallah from down the river figured a way to go one better. He had a new Council Chair built (they hold regular Council sessions to hear local grievances ) with all manner of carvings and inlays. And, naturally, it had to be blessed by the witch-doctor/priest and the local vicar even read a psalm and everyone got stewed on millet beer.

By the time the news got upriver to Chief Two Storeys there was a fair bit of embroidery attached, if you know what I mean.

The first guy decided  he would like to have “that chair.” He would look a proper King on a proper Throne.

So he stole the damn’ thing! How the hell he managed to get it away from the Chief’s hut and down to the river and paddle it home I’m buggered if I know. But he did.

Then, of course, he had to install it. Upstairs.

Dr. Doug had to do some fancy stitching on a gashed leg when one of the blokes fell off  some tree branch scaffolding.

So, they get the stolen chair up there and all’s well until it rains. Silly coot would have been better to steal a bloody boat! The extra weight on the top floor and the added weight of the rain hammering down sent the whole thing sliding down into the mud.

Just goes to show...

people who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones!

*I think he probably meant pictures of thatched cottages on chocolate boxes

An aside to my friends in various parts of the Sub-Sahara…artistic licence, OK?

Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!

14 thoughts on “TRAWLING THE ARCHIVES.

  1. I so love the fact that you kept this letter. . .



  2. This reminds me strongly of a visiting choir from N. Spain, Bilbao or Santander or somewhere, that I was sharing a programme with once. I remember we rehearsed just about everything it was possible to rehearse, not just the music, but entrances, where everyone stood, bows to acknowledge applause, etc. etc. By some mischance we neglected to practice coming off stage, apart from designating the choir member to lead off and vaguely indicating the order in which the rest should follow. For purposes (I suppose) of sound insulation the stage exit was a revolving door, an appliance with which our guests were surprisingly unfamiliar. Chaos resulted, as those behind cried ‘Forward!’ and those before cried ‘Back!’ (as Lord Macaulay wrote in How Horatius Kept The Bridge) and apart from general panic there were not a few injuries with fingers, arms, heads etc. trapped in the revolving panels. We should have rehearsed all this beforehand, of course, rather than put all our Basques in one exit.


  3. Very clever, both Dr Doug and Christopher. Groans and simultaneous smiles.


  4. Carol… ought we to start a collection of puns?
    No, perhaps not…:-)


  5. I like his spelling of “rooves”


  6. What a fantastic story! Thanks, so much. It makes me wish I had hung on to all the correspondence from when I was younger. I shouldn’t be so quick to purge. It’s history, you know!


  7. I’m so jealous. All I have are old ransom notes. I kinda miss my sister now.


  8. what a great letter. Keeping up with the Joneses is universal. I also think it’s great you saved the letter. I’ve thrown out all my old letters and wished now I hadn’t. Oddly, I’m a hoarder when it comes to rarely deleting old email correspondence, I suppose that’s the 21st century equivalent of the same thing.


  9. Ellen…I know people who saved old love-letters, ribbon-tied in weekly bundles and stored in shoe boxes (usually covered with wallpaper).
    In my case, anything “saved” is more likely to have been simply scooped up and shoved somewhere with something else. Or used as a bookmark! 😉


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