Archive for April, 2011


The geographical position, and the height of the land combined to create a landscape that had not its like in all the world. There was no fat on it and no luxuriance anywhere; it was Africa distilled up through six thousand  feet, like the strong and refined essence of a continent. The colours were dry and burnt, like the colours in pottery. The trees had a light delicate foliage, the structure of which was different from that of the trees in
Europe; it did not grow in bows or cupolas, but in horizontal layers, and the formation gave to the tall solitary trees a likeness to the palms, or a heroic and romantic air like fullrigged ships with their sails clewed up, and to the edge of a wood a strange appearance as if the whole wood were faintly vibrating. Upon the grass of the great  plains the crooked bare old thorn trees were scattered, and the grass was spiced like thyme and bog myrtle; in
some places the scent was so strong, that it smarted in the nostrils. All the flowers that you found on the plains,  or upon the creepers and liana in the native forest, were diminutive like flowers of the downs,–only just in the  beginning of the long rains a number of big, massive heavy scented lilies sprang out on the plains.

The views  were immensely wide. 

 Everything that you saw made for

greatness and freedom, and unequalled


The chief feature of the landscape, and of your life in it, was the air. Looking back on a sojourn in the African highlands, you are struck by your feeling of having lived for a time up in the air. The sky was rarely more than pale blue or violet, with a profusion of mighty, weightless, ever changing clouds towering up and sailing on it, but it has a blue vigour in it, and at a short distance it painted the ranges of hills and the woods a fresh deep blue.

In the middle of the day the air was alive over the land, like a flame burning; it scintillated, waved and shone like running water, mirrored and doubled all objects, and created great Fata Morgana.    Up in this high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.

The wind in the highlands blows steadily from the North North East. It is the same wind that, down at the coasts  of Africa and Arabia, they name the Monsoon, the East Wind, which was King Solomon’s favourite horse. Up  here it is felt as just the resistance of the air, as the Earth throws herself forward into space. The wind runs  straight against the Ngong Hills, and the slopes of the hills would be the ideal place for setting up a glider, that
would be lifted upwards by the currents, over the mountain top. The clouds, which were travelling with the wind, struck the side of the hill and hung round it, or were caught on the summit and broke into rain. But those that took a higher course and sailed clear of the reef, dissolved to the West of it, over the burning desert of the Rift Valley. Many times I have from my house followed these mighty processions advancing, and have wondered to see their proud floating masses, as soon as they had got over the hills, vanish in the blue air and be gone.

We grew coffee on my farm. The land was in itself a little too high for coffee, and it was hard work to keep it  going; we were never rich on the farm. But a coffee plantation is a thing that gets hold of you and does not let you go, and there is always something to do on it: you are generally just a little behind with your work.In the wildness and irregularity of the country, a piece of land laid out and planted according to rule, looked very
well. Later on, when I flew in Africa, and became familiar with the appearance of my farm from the air, I was filled with admiration for my coffee plantation, that lay quite bright green in the grey green land, and I realized how keenly the human mind yearns for geometrical figures. All the country round Nairobi, particularly to the North of the town, is laid out in a similar way, and here lives a people, who are constantly thinking and talking of planting, pruning or picking coffee, and who lie at night and meditate upon improvements to their coffee factories.

Coffee growing is a long job. It does not all come out as you imagine, when, yourself young and hopeful, in the streaming rain, you carry the boxes of your shining young coffee plants from the nurseries, and, with the whole number of farm hands in the field, watch the plants set in the regular rows of holes in the wet ground where they are to grow, and then have them thickly shaded against the sun, with branches broken from the bush, since obscurity is the privilege of young things. It is four or five years till the trees come into bearing, and in the meantime you will get drought on the land, or diseases, and the bold native weeds will grow up thick in the fields,–the black jack, which has long scabrous seed vessels that hang on to your clothes and stockings. Some of the trees have been badly planted with their tap roots bent; they will die just as they begin to flower. You plant a little over six hundred trees to the acre, and I had six hundred acres of land with coffee; my oxen dragged the cultivators up and down the fields, between the rows of trees, many thousand miles, patiently, awaiting coming bounties.

There are times of great beauty on a coffee farm. When the plantation flowered in the beginning of the rains, it was a radiant sight, like a cloud of chalk, in the mist and the drizzling rain, over six hundred acres of land. The  coffee blossom has a delicate slightly bitter scent, like the blackthorn blossom. When the field reddened with the  ripe berries, all the women and the children, whom they call the Totos, were called out to pick the coffee off the trees,together with the men; then the waggons and carts brought it down to the factory near the river.

It is impossible that a town will not play a part in your life, it does not even make much difference whether you have more good or bad things to say of it, it draws your mind to it, by a mental law of gravitation. The luminous haze on the sky above the town at night, which I could see from some places on my farm, set my thoughts going,  and recalled the big cities of Europe.

And it was a live place, in movement like running water, and in growth like a young thing, it changed from year to year, and while you were away on a shooting Safari. The new Government House was built, a stately cool house with a fine ball room and a pretty garden, big hotels grew up, great impressive agricultural shows and fine flower shows were held, our Quasi Smart Set of the Colony from time to time enlivened the town with rows of quick melodrama. Nairobi said to you: “Make the most of me and of time. Wir kommen nie weider so jung–so undisciplined and rapacious–zusammen.” Generally I and Nairobi were in very good understanding,and at one time I drove through the town and thought: There is no world without Nairobi’s streets.

Last week, I found a blog post by Seth Godin.  He talks about failing in order to be successful. All of us fail. Successful people fail often, and, worth noting, learn more from that failure than everyone else. The first thing that I thought about is how the lean philosophy talks about rapid experimentation using the PDCA cyle.  If we are experimenting then by definition we will fail.  It is what we learn from these failures that can help us impr … Read More

via Beyond Lean

Change the way you look at world


Don’t promise when you are happy…Don’t

 reply when you are angry..Don’t


 decide when u r sad


Think about honoring your parents this

birthday instead of expecting presents

from them.  They gave you a body, so say

thank you to them for the rebirth you

currently enjoy.

love this dialogue –

Abed: That’s why I was willing to change

 for you guys—because when you really

 know who you are and what you like

 about yourself, changing for other people

 isn’t such a big deal.

Abed Nadir: When you really know who you are and what you like about yourself, changing for others isn’t such a big deal.
Jeff Winger: Abed, you are a God. If you’ll all excuse me, I have a man to beat in pool while wearing shorts.

They say no-one can get inside your mind.  Bullshit.  They’ve been inside mine so often there’s nothing left .

Suffer In Me. Suffer With Me. Through Suffering Alone Shall
Ye Find Redemption. The Kingdom of the Mind is the Ladder to
the Stars. Post-hippy bullshit of the purest ray serene, piped
out at a precisely calculated assimilation rate on a frequency
even my brain can’t black out. Sense-enhancers to stop me fighting it. And an authentic InnerLife program – one of  thousands – to verify my enlightenment ratio. Get your head  round that, sis. Or whatever.  Fact is, brain matter’s in short supply around here. Even such lowgrade matter as mine has to be refined and  recycled. Twenty years ago – inasmuch as time still matters  nowadays – we did something, don’t ask me what, split  the wrong atom, shifted the wrong antigen, pressed the  wrong button, screwed with Cosmic Forces and infected *™  the species. Result? Near-total wipeout. I was mostly out of  my skull at the time so I wasn’t taking much notice, and nowadays I’m out of my skull all the time. I was Chosen. You too, perhaps. Yippee.

Punters pass me by without a glance. They are wholesome,
noisy, red-faced, parting around me to merge again
into a hot river. In my time amongst the narrow streets and
the Whitby fogs I’ve almost forgotten how healthy the
living can be. And yet there’s something about them all, a
kind of family resemblance. Something a little too bright,
too glowing to be real. I remember the old familiar holidaymakers
in Whitby, the thin young people in black, their
sad, strained faces, their greyness, their dull expressions.
None of these people are dull, all of them touched with a
lustre I begin to recognize . . . The ruddy complexions. The
sagging waistlines. The open faces. The brimming illusion of
life. So this is where they go, the wrong sort; pushed here by
market forces. This is where they belong, among the bright
lights and the arcades, the fish shops and roller coasters.
Indistinguishable from the real thing. Better, some might
say. Never dying, never changing: cheery holidaymakers
on a trip that never ends. Slowly I pick myself up and
head back through the crowd that gluts the pier. Heads
turn to follow me. Delicate fingers flutter against my skin.
Dimly I wonder how many of them there are, by how many
they outnumber the living. Ten to one? A hundred? A  thousand? Or are they now so many that they prey on each other, bloodlessly, greedily, shoulder to shoulder in rough,
grinning comradeship?  The lights of the pleasure beach are gaudy as a fisherman’s
lure skipping across the dark water. Life, they promise. Heat and life. Too weak to wander far from that  distant hope, I make my way wearily back towards them,
trying not to meet myself along the way; just another sucker  slouching back down the long dark road to Bethlehem.
In these days of Botox, body piercing and failed cosmetic surgery,
it is tempting to fantasize about other times and places, which we
think of as being more romantic than our own. Dream on. 
IT WASN The UNTIL I CAME TO COURT THAT I REALIZED HOW much rich people stink. If anything, the rich more so than  the poor; in the country, at least, we have less excuse for  not washing. Here, to have a bath is to disrupt everything.
The water must be heated, then carried up to the room
with sponges, brushes, perfumes, towels and countless other
impedimenta; not to mention the bath itself- cast-iron and
heavy – which must be brought out of storage, cleaned of
rust, then dragged by footmen up countless flights of stairs
to Madame’s boudoir.  There she waits, en deshabillee.

But Madame is wealthy; her household boasts so much
linen that her maids need wash it only once a year, on the
flat black stones of the laveraie, by the bank of the Seine. It
is September now, and the linen room is only half full; even
so, the growling musk of Madame’s intimates carries up the
steps, across the corridor and into the morning-room, where
even four vases of cut flowers and a hanging pomander fail
to mask the stench.  Nevertheless, Madame is a famous beauty. Men have
written sonnets to her eyes, which are exceptional, so I am
told. The same cannot be said of her rotten teeth, however;
or indeed of her eyebrows, which are fashionably shaven,
being replaced by mouse-skin replicas, stuck with fish’glue
to the centre of her forehead. Fortunately the smell of the
fish-glue is slight, compared with the rest, and does not
disturb her. Why should it? Monseigneur uses the same aids
to beauty, and he is one of the most highly regarded gentlemen
of fashion of the Court. The King himself (no rose
garden, His Majesty) says so.

‘Kennedy?’ That had been his name, long ago. But he’d
thrown it away with the rest of his life: with his notebooks
and stories, his films and comics.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

I love not man the less, but Nature more,

From these our interviews, in which I steal

From all I may be, or have been before,

To mingle with the Universe, and feel

What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.