Vincent the night watchman was a very funny character.
He was short, no more than five foot one, quite skinny and was always seen
wearing a multi coloured striped poncho and a straw hat. He looked very much like Clint Eastwood in the Spaghetti Westerns but without the rifle.
He spent alot of time in our cellar which was also accessed via the garden and had no doors from the outside.
Mum didnt seem to mind that he kept chickens down there!
He always seemed quite merry but maybe that was because he might have smoked Ganja!
Some time ago friends had given us a young cat which we adopted into our family.
Tina loved Pippa, the name we gave her.
When Tina slept on the rug the cat could be found nestled next to her tummy. When she was small she used to carry her around by the scruff of the neck like she was one of her puppies she never had.
Pippa went on to have 3 kittens, which was a bit of a shock.
Vincent had found her with them in his man-cave below the house.
Two were tortoiseshell and one ginger. Dad named them Pippa2, Susie and Bandy Gandy, he was the ginger tom. He named him that because of his bandy legs.
I thought it was the stupidest name i had ever heard!
Prior to the kittens arrival we had also acquired two huge Dobermans, Rover and Maxim.
They belonged to some Belgian friends of dads who had gone home on leave for a couple of weeks, we had the space and agreed to look after them while they were away.
Rover was a battle scarred veteran, very soft and gentle despite his past warrior behaviour
and Maxim was a feisty young and full of bounce. They got on well with Tina who accepted them into her home.
The kittens on the otherhand were another story!
All three dogs would hug the walls of the lounge as they tried to enter if the kittens were holding court in there.
They would creep very slowly as if they couldnt see them. They were terrified of these small balls of fluff!
Two fierce Dobermans and an Alsation were totally put in their place!
Bandy Gandy would rush up to the dogs arching his back and leaping as he closed in on them, trying to make himself look as big and ferocious as possible. It was hysterically funny. The dogs would then run for cover back out in the hall.
One day mum made a very kind gesture and gave one of the kittens to Dzio as a gift for him and his family.
Dzio came back the following morning and announced to mum that his wife had told him to tell ‘Madam’ thank you very much and that they had all enjoyed the kitten!
They had cooked it!
That is all i am going to say about that as it traumatised me for weeks after and needless to say Dzio received nothing but glares from me and I avoided him permanently having gone down in my estimation from then on
I was by the window one afternoon checking on Fred and Ginge, who were still there….alive and kicking even after mum emptying the contents of her hairspray on them.
Louise had come in the lounge and was chatting to mum.
She’d received news from England.
Before coming to Kinshasa she had attended an interview for an airline to be an air hostess.
It was a lengthy process but she had finally been accepted to go and train with them down in London.
It was very exciting news and she would be leaving Africa very soon to go back home.
There was a strange phenomenon on the verandah one evening. The outside lights were on and flocking to get to the light were these huge flying beetles!
We were warned not to go near these as they were very dangerous.
Apparently if they landed on you and you tried to get them off, they would leave their legs stuck in you!
I have no idea if this was true or not or something made up by Dzio to sound dramatic!
The only thing that would get them off was fire or a lighted cigarette.
They made a loud noise as they slammed themselves into the walls of the house and would fall to the ground. Sometimes they would land on their backs and not be able to turn themselves over again.
I tentatively used to use a long stick from a distance and turn them back over again. These insects were probably the only things I was really quite scared of, nothing else really bothered me.