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The bees are buzzing again

The bees are buzzing again the queen is working her magic. The flysheet on my hammock works. I discover this during a thunderstorm that cracks across the sky one evening. I like to pitch it high enough that I can stand straight underneath it and arrange things inside before jumping in. I wasn’t sure how cold it was going to be be at the night. But the R.A.F surplus thermal underwear I put on when it gets dark has the added benefit of covering most of my body against mosquito bites. I slip a lambs wool sweater on just before going to bed and lying on top of a fleece blanket proves adequate to prevent heat loss from below. I have an emergency thermal reflection blanket if it should get very cold but up to now I haven’t needed it, which is just as well because I would be terribly conscious of the really loud crinkling noise it would make if I changed position.

Leonard wants to sell me land. Or a suit, probably both. I imagine him measuring me with his tailor eye wandering how much cloth he can cut out of this mzungu. His family are royal he tells me again, his grandfather Masanja one of the last powerful chiefs of the region. Still he’s not too royal to come straight out and tell me to buy him a beer as I am leaving. I profess I don’t have enough money and he says just add what you have to the bill. I decline his offer and suggest I buy him a beer next time.

The Bulabo today has a bit more action but I still have no real idea of what’s going on- but then neither have many of the audience judging by the answers I get to my inquiries. The art form excels in sheer exuberance and jubilant chaos more than any great display of skill though stick around for long enough and you will be treated to some fine acrobatics and tricks with snakes. This is not a show for the tourists, the spectators are Tanzanians, Sukuma mainly, the atmosphere that of an amateur league Sunday football match with a touch of funfair thrown in.

Later in the evening Edele and Maimune both turn up at the house. Laurian invites them both to stay for food but Edele runs off, clearly upset at the competition. Maimune stays and jokes around with Shegera, Paulo and I and then we walk her home. Paulo and I walk arms wrapped round each others shoulders as he and Shegera joke around- “Christmas! you buy me ticket to come to England for Christmas!”

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