Saturday, 11 September 2004

Not The Nine O'Clock News

Just as well the vegetarian thing hasn’t started yet; last night there was a work barbecue, where one of the little piggies met his end. As with all true African barbecues, we spent the night in complete darkness while tin plates of unidentifiable pieces of animal were passed round. Mostly it was good, although I did spend a large portion of the evening praying that I wasn’t going to pick out an ear or a piece of intestine. Such things are surreptitiously thrown to The Dog. The Dog is not well today; he has overindulged.

This morning I had to do a vegetable appraisal. Everything is rotting. In the fridge, out of it, in dark cupboards, in cardboard, in plastic, in the open air – doesn’t matter. Rot, rot, rot. I started with the sweet potatoes. The first one I picked out had a hole in the top. Not a big one, but noticeable. So I look at the hole, and a wormthing looks back at me. He is not much bigger than a pin head, but I can see two black eyes on his sickly white body, and two little horn things on top of his head. He starts bobbing in and out of the hole like a meerkat. I am repulsed and fascinated in equal measure. I put the potato to one side, and start dealing with the others which have grown black furry beards, but every five minutes I am compelled to pick up the first potato and watch wormthing bobbing in and out. It is sickening, but riveting.

We are teaching people here how to make preserved foodstuffs, for when times are lean and there’s nothing fresh. The Husband has made several jars of chilli and chutney for our house. It is all fermenting. Shall I just stop eating altogether?