Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gutteral Rumblings

Being a Livetoeater, as opposed to its more emaciated step-sibling, it means that a large portion of my life is dedicated to the act and indeed art of eating, therefore, it shouldn’t come as a huge shock if a similarly large portion of my fast decomposing grey matter be dedicated likewise.

So, yes, more food!

This strained and bedraggled scotsman is now the proud owner of a solar drier which has, as you can imagine, brought no end of optional additions to the culinary experience in these sand rich parts of the globe. Fruit and veg has a habit of rotting in the space of about three and half minutes which, due to its organic nature, is hardly surprising. The problem isn’t the quality so much as the quantity. Buying a couple of onions isn’t an option. 100 Francs (10p) gets you about a dozen and the same goes for pretty much everything else. In a land of big families it makes sense to be able to buy in bulk but little ol’ me, cooking for little ol’ me, struggles to find a use for 38,629 tomatoes a week.

The fridge does its best, but with power being as sporadic as it is, it means that weekends can pass when food sits unchilled within it’s incongruously white walls. The solution: a solar drier. Met a man who made ‘em. Made ‘im make me one. Man made it. Man gave it. You name it I’m t/drying it.

It made its somewhatmoresubstantialthanIthoughtitwouldbe appearance a couple of weeks ago now and since then I’ve been able to add sundried tomatoes, sundried onions, sundried bananas and goat to my diet. The goat, incidentally, was a by-product of the drier and was not itself dried.

Being a goat and one of Insatiable Curiosity at that, it thought that it might try and scale the technically challenging partially glazed face of the contraption in question and in so doing placed a dainty hoof through the aforementioned glazing. This, seemingly, was the last in a long line of straws and when I got back from school I found that the neighbours had dispatched said goat and were in the process of readying it for consumption.

Guess it won’t be doing that again.

A lunch of barbecued goat ribs was followed by the presentation of a bowl of goat bits which defined the word ‘offal’. No idea what many of the bits are and even the resident biology teacher could only tell me that they were entrails. Yes, thanks for that. I realise that. Which ones is what I want to know. He shrugged. I thanked him and went on my way.

They were already cooked, I hasten to add. I wasn’t just presented with a bloody bowl of gore; Mrs Neighbour had prepared them in her own easily imitable style, which is to say, soaked in Maggi®. “You can cook them in the way you usually do,” she added ... Can’t admit to ever having cooked a bowl of goat entrails before but there was a challenge there so it would have been rude not to accept it.

Rifling through the bits I can say with some certainty that there was liver, kidney and something which I believe was stomach. There was a chunk of irregular shaped bone with an irregular covering of what I’d like to describe as meat of the common or garden variety. Then there was the wiggly bit and the bit with all the tubes. Haven’t the foggiest notion as to their origins, or indeed function, but as with most bits of animal, often it’s best not to know. And besides, they made a very tasty curry.

Time has huft’ighted it’s often ponderous way to well past my bedtime. There’s less than week twixt now and the oft mentioned end of term and the excitement that is the festive period. This, therefore, could easily be the last posting of 2007; a year that started incredibly and nearly ended inedibly. On Friday I’ll be starting the Christmas travelling, heading south on the train for a festive stint in Anglophone parts. A festive sojourn that could not be anticipated to a greater extent than is the case.

To say that I can’t wait would be the biggest of understatements but to try and put my anticipation into words would be an exercise in futility.

And just before I sign off, a Christmas-from-this-end type online card to satiate the visual sorts among you. This last weekend was spent in the vicinity of Maga; a town that until 40 years ago was little more than a collection of mudhuts. These days it’s a sprawling metropolis of mudhuts and the Far North’s main source of all things pescatorial.

Spent a very pleasant time in the shade of a million trees, at the side of a perfectly chilled pool and took in a skimming ‘cross the 27km long artificial lake that 20 feet of dyking has spawned; a skimming to the natural waterways that feed its watery imensity to try and spot an aitch-eye-pee-pee-oh ... or five.

We mutually kept our distance and our engines running. The photo’s don’t do them justice but it did give me 280 opportunities to see what more my camera can do ... an edited samplet by way of a taster. I’ll try and be more visually stimulating in the new year but technology tends to hamper my attempts.

On that note, hoping that one and all, or one at least, have a splendid festive bit. I’ll give your eyes a rest and will be back with more on the other side.


  1. El.lo.wee.al.!
    Your excellent blog has provided plenty of food for thought, thoughts on food and good clean verbose fun in 2007. Look forward to reading more of the same in 2008, perhaps while trying to get my baby son back to sleep. Yes indeed, one of them scary-as-hell things is scheduled to arrive just in time for Hogmanay. (Be careful what or whom you prod in Cameroon!)
    Hope you have a splendid, entrail-free Christmas and a lizardless New Year.
    Awra best,
    in memory of our shared thespian activities in Milan,

  2. Anonymous3:30 pm

    Festive greetings mate. Hope you have a brill Christmas away from the flies and bugs that seem to plague you. I am beginning to wonder if it is just you… whether the flies will follow you to the ends of the earth. Strangers had a fine Xmas party last weekend, and including our modest version and the work one tonight I am well and truly Chritmassy. Happy Days. till next yr.
    Mr C.

  3. christo10:50 pm

    A touch tardy I think as I believe you are now in deepest darkest civilized parts of Cameroon. Have a wonderful Christmas, I too will be spending Christmas on the beach, but not so much white sand as can't stand. One of most relaxing Christmas's as can't carry anything so I just sit back and let the world run around about me. I obviously try!!

    Speak soon
    Christo, Milly and the Taylors

  4. I know it's not quite grey ol' Britain but I hope it's a colourful season for you in the bush. I'm sure 2008 will continue provide you with an endless supply of stories. Chin chin.

  5. Mowerman5:22 pm

    Now you have escaped the insects and the goat curry and dried fruit, I feel safer saying that I have single handedly eaten a whole turkey, a ham, four christmas puddings, 8 partridge and 24 mince puddings and the pear tree itself over the last week. All done whilst seemingly upside down in a huge bucket of alcohol. While putting out the empties - I saw on one wine box my address under which in large red letters it said " Fragile". That about sums it up! Hope your change of diet to sharing food with the Gorillas was better. It has been alternatively effin 'wet or effin freezing for December. On balance the chocolate sand sounds good. Hope Mt Cameroon is/ was fun. Happy New Year etc.
    Lang may yer lum reek


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