Sunday, April 19, 2015

Playing with perspective – the amazing street art of Julian Beever


When I write I always love playing with people’s preconceptions. My good guys are rarely all good, and there are usually some redeeming features in my bad guys. It’s not only the characters I try to do this with, but the situations and locations as well. And whilst I hope I never cheat the reader, what you think is going on might not be case.

When I worked as a photographer, it was often said that the camera never lied. Fortunately, though, it could be made to be exceedingly economical with the truth. It all depended not only on lighting and filtering but also on exactly where you placed the camera in relation to the subject of the shot.

Someone who is a master at playing with our visual perception is British artist Julian Beever. Julian studied art at Leeds Met. University and did a variety of different jobs, from English as a Foreign Language teacher to tree planter.

Julian Beever self-portraits

He began pavement (that’s sidewalk to anyone across the Pond) art as a busker to fund his journeys through numerous different countries, mainly pictures of well-known faces to grab the attention of passers-by.

Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots on Oxford Street, London

By the early ’nineties, however, he’d developed his anamorphic 3D artworks which have brought him commissions and acclaim around the world. Here are just a few examples of his work. More can be viewed on his website, or in his book: Pavement Chalk Artist.

 
A Slight Accident in a Railway Station, Zurich

Lift Off from Cape Dover: a drawing used to raise money for the BBC Children In Need appeal in 2013
Part of a series used by White's Electronics of Inverness in Treasure Hunting magazine
Waste of Water: sometimes it's hard to know what's really there in Julian's artwork, and what isn't!
Eiffel Tower Sand-Sculpture: this drawing in Paris was the subject of an episode of American TV series Concrete Canvas
Let's Be Friends: drawing for the TV show Unbelievable, done in Tokyo as a plea to the Japanese to appreciate the beauty of living whales
An amazing example of Julian's ability to incorporate features of the landscape into his artwork...
This wrong view of the snail really shows the skill of the 3D drawing. Julian had to stick paper to the glossy bench in order to be able to draw on its surface, and further back he used a standing steel post as one of the snail's horns.
Times Square: drawn, where else, but Times Square, New York!
Yorkshire Water: this drawing in Sheffield was never finished beyond this rough stage. Work was halted due to ... Yorkshire water in the form of heavy rain.

Julian works in pastels, and points out that the images only appear 3D when viewed through a camera  lens or on a screen like a phone or iPad.

His work is stunning, as I'm sure you'll agree.

This week’s Word of the Week is anamorphosis, which comes from the Greek anamorphoun, to transform. It means a drawing or projection, which presents a distorted image that appears natural when viewed from a certain angle, or with a suitable mirror or lens.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ion Trewin : An Anecdotal Memoir by John Lawton


There’s more to books than writers. However much we might try to pretend otherwise everyone who’s ever written for this page knows damn well that a good editor, publisher can make a difference – Edward Garnett, Max Perkins … Ion Trewin. Ion died on April 8th after a lifetime in newspapers and books. It’s not a cliché to talk of publishing greats. He was one.



His reputation ran ahead of him. I’d heard of Ion Trewin long before I met him. He’d worked for the Daily Telegraph in the 1960s, and was literary editor of The Times until the strike (or was it a lock-out?) of the early eighties, at which point he moved into publishing at Hodder & Stoughton, at a time when publishing and Bedford Square were all but synonymous.

A couple of years later I landed back in England after a spell in Spain and hit the moment of realisation that awaits all us old hippies – ‘1967 ain’t coming back. Bin the tie-dye and get a job.’ This was 1984 and proved every bit as grim as predicted.

I wanted not to do any of things I’d been doing any longer. I did what any educated fool would do – I started putting rings around job adverts in The Grauniad, expecting not much.

I answered this one, a paraphrase you will understand: ‘Wanted young literary agent with interest in American fiction to build up list of new writers for major London agency.’

I applied, expecting not much.

They replied.

Oh fuck … it was Curtis Brown. My heart sank, I’d bummed around the edges of London publishing for a couple of years before the Spanish expedition and the joke about Curtis Brown had been, ‘Give them a shirt and they’ll stuff it.’

I thought about withdrawing. Didn’t do it, and went to the interview expecting … not much.

After an interview of startling incompetence (on their part, not mine) I left expecting … not much. But this was 1984, Big Brother was watching over me. I was called in a second time, to find myself magisterially grilled by another London Lit legend, George Greenfield (John le Carré’s agent and the model, if such there be, for the Hon. Syd in my story Bentinck’s Agent) after which I knew damn well I’d got the job.

Fate, as often, intervened in the shape of a twat in a yellow Cortina who ran over me and my motorbike. Laid up for six weeks I was able to mull over the job on offer. I took it. Started with a walking stick, and limped onward.

By Christmas that year I was enjoying Lit London, pleased to be living above the breadline and more than a bit baffled by it all. Perhaps I was out of my depth? In the New Year, the stuffed shirt joke came back to bite.

Frank Delaney presented Radio 4’s Bookshelf, far and away the best book programme the BBC ever had. Frank wrote non-fiction at that time … books on Betjeman and Joyce for Hodder & Stoughton. He came in one day after lunch with Ion, quoting Ion as saying ‘There’s no agent at Curtis Brown I’d recommend to any of my writers.’

Ouch.

But … it was my moment to test the depth of which I might be out. I asked no one’s permission, rang Hodders and left a message inviting him to lunch.

Does all publishing revolve around lunch? Probably.

Ion accepted. I met a big bear of a man, with a beard that was already turning white.

“You’ve been an agent for how long?”

“Four months.”

“Learnt anything?”

“Such as?”

“What are we, the publishers, doing wrong? What would make the writers happier?”

Easy peasy.

“Communicate between books, drop this attitude that you are their publishers only when they have a book ready. Consult about things that will cost you little … covers, author blurbs … they want a say in all of that. And pay up. I don’t mean pay more. I mean pay what you have agreed to pay, whether measly or generous, on the agreed date. Late payment annoys writers more than anything.”

It was the start of a long relationship.

I found myself drawn to publishing’s rogues. They were more interesting than all the others … the gentle roguery of André Deutsch, the not so gentle roguery of Colin Haycraft (Duckworth) and the twinkling mischief of Ion Trewin. Asked by the Booker Committee if he was ‘devious’ Ion replied that he was. Perhaps it’s the same thing. I was always drawn to the mixture or humour and mischief in the man.

Over the next year I sold him three or four books. We never discussed what he thought of the company. Just the books.

And over that year it became obvious I was never going to make the grade as an agent. I was a northern hick from the hills. I did not know London. And of the handful of universities I’d been to only one was on the map that counted. I was an outsider and I had come to see that that was a killer disadvantage.

But … what next? To quit was financial suicide. The only out was to get paid to bugger off. Not that hard. Let it be known you’re looking elsewhere, throw in a bit of bad behaviour and you can get yourself canned.

I did good deals for my writers, but the best I ever did was turning a tin handshake into a brass one.

I have declared a principle in this. Getting fired means simply that you are letting others make the decisions you will not make for yourself. In the days when I had a CV (gave up such nonsense years ago ... ‘if you need to see my CV you can just fuck off!’) I had no hesitation in putting ‘fired’ on it.

But … what next?

Four publishers phoned me in my last week.

A nice woman at Collins (before they had a Harper): “Don’t stay as an agent. It’s so obvious you don’t like it.”

A nice man at Constable: “Don’t even think of setting up on your own, it will kill you.”

André Deutsch: “We should meet, my boy.”

“How about lunch, André? I have the use of the company credit card till next week.”

I took him to Le Caprice off Piccadilly. A stinger.

Does all publishing revolve around lunch? Probably.

Two bottles of wine, and when the meal ended I scored him a hundred fags on the company card.

“I’d like to offer a job but I’m over-edited to death. But on Fridays, around five, the cap comes off the whisky bottle. Join me.”

I did. On several occasions

And … Ion Trewin phoned:

“Come over. I’ve a job for you. Not much, but it will keep the wolf from the door.”

I became his chief reader, and over the next couple of years I read more books than I can count for Ion, for Eric Major and for Nick Sayers (who is still at Hodders.)

By 1987 I was where I’d been aiming for all along … in television, a business in which everyone was a rogue, at Channel 4 … a loose collective of indies where I think you probably could not get a job if you weren’t a rogue.

But there was downtime. I showed Ion the unnamed novel I’d started in Spain.

“So, this is chapter seventeen?”

“Yep.”

“And the other one is chapter twenty-two?”

“Yep.”

“I don’t mean to be awkward, if anything I mean to be traditional. Where’s chapter one?”

“Haven’t written that yet.”

It got thrown back at me. Instead he commissioned my one work (to date) of non-fiction: 1963: Five Hundred Days. By coincidence the year Ion had come up from Devon to join the Daily Telegraph: his year, his subject. I never did quite work out why he’d eschewed university. He seemed to have missed nothing.

By 1992 rumours were circulating that Ion was being headhunted by a new publishing house – Orion, being brick-built on Weidenfeld and Nicolson’s near fifty-year foundation. I asked. He denied. I did not believe him.

About the same time Channel 4 work took me to lunch at the House of Lords to meet George Weidenfeld.

Does all publishing revolve around lunch? Probably.

When we’d thrashed out a programme George asked if I’d bring my next book to him. I professed unwavering loyalty to Ion.

“Hire him, you get me.”

George did not take the bait, so I waited for, and attended, Ion’s leaving party at Hodders and duly followed him to Weidenfeld, where I set the finished novel in front of him – now named (by Ariana Franklin, not me) Black Out.

“Imagine the mess we’d be in if I’d bought it for Hodders,” he said.

Quite.

After that he was my editor for another fifteen years. Can’t remember how many books, but most of them. A minimalist at editing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A superb communicator … I’d hear from him a couple of times a month in pre-e-mail days, more after. I never saw/heard him lose it. Ne’er a cross word. Not sure I even heard him say so much as an ‘oh fuck’. Given my propensity for bad behaviour (never, ever leave me alone in an office with Ikea shelving and a cricket bat), no small thing.

One, and one only example …

Orion were late with an advance. Not days or weeks, but fuckin’ months.

I worked out the interest on the sum so owed at Bank of England base rate, added two per cent and invoiced them. This resulted in an invitation to lunch from Ion.

Does all publishing revolve around lunch? Probably.

We met at Orso’s in Drury Lane.

The invoice was passed back to me across the table.

“I can’t possibly pay this.”

The invoice was passed back to him across the table.

“Why not?”

“Because no author has ever tried a stunt like this before, and I won’t be the one to set a precedent by paying.”

The invoice was passed back to me across the table.

“So?”

“So this is what you do. Invent ten …” (could have been five or twenty, this was an age ago) “… manuscripts that you have read for me and re-invoice for the same sum. I put it through the books as reader services. But if you stick to this line of yours about charging interest on late advances … well … we’d be starting a revolution.”

That sounded so appealing, but … I pocketed the invoice and did as he said. Invented manuscripts and authors (who knows? The Brian Clough Book of Quick Desserts might have been a winner) and billed Orion with a phony invoice. I think he enjoyed the scam as much as I did.

Ion was the best company in London. Not above gossip, connoisseur of the craik, wholly devoid of malice.

We’d lunch at his club – the Garrick. If in New York at the Harvard … or was it Yale? (I always get ’em mixed up.)

Does all publishing revolve around lunch? Probably.

But, er … not always, as on occasion we’d breakfast at Simpson’s-in-the Strand. If he was watching his weight … and at peak Ion was a very big man … he’d have porridge or muesli and I’d get stuck into an Arbroath smokie. We had dinner at my house in Islington, but, and this marks a boundary of his sense of privacy, never at his in Highgate.

I’ve been widely reviewed in my time. I take no credit for that. It was all down to Ion, a man who, it seemed, was as far from the outsider as one can get. He knew … everybody. All I, the outsider, had to do was … hang on.

I never doubted Ion would retire rather than hang on, and publishing being ever in flux I could understand why he did retire. Nor did I think this would be the end … Lit London … no … Lit Britain would always find work for an idle Trewin … so he never was.

Ion Trewin picked me off the scrap heap.  I shall miss him more than words can tell.





Friday, April 17, 2015

The Southern General

We are in the throws of the undignified name calling and ludicrous argument that passes for political debate over here. It will go on until May 7th when various reprobates will think they run the country. And hopefully keep out the way of those that actually do.

                                  
                                   The hospital is being transferred  from this  to this..

                                                                 The Death Star

Some things are  too important to be in the hands of politicians. I think Gordon Brown thought that  about interest rates and  handed  them over to the Bank of England.

The NHS is a popular football for the various political parties to kick around while most of us believe that it is too valuable to be in the hands of  any political party.

                                      
                                              The helicopter landing pad

I have always suffered from migraine but since February they have changed character. From the 'go away and leave me alone while my head feels like it is being skewered so I want to lie still and watch the kaleidoscope on my eyelids' type of migraine, to something much. much worse. Rolling on the floor, banging my head off the tiles, pulling hair out type of pain. Short lived, but brutal.
Even I reckoned this was not normal.

                                
                                                   new meets old or vice versa

Went to Gp and got stuff to stick up my nose as soon as the headache starts. This medicine works very well but gave no clue as to what was causing  the pain. He diagnosed cluster headache, often called the suicide headache because it is that painful. I am lucky that, with me, the pain is there and gone within thirty minutes and (so far) it is always in the small hours of the morning. But I can’t imagine living with that pain four or five times a day. If a patient does, the current treatment of choice is a having a brain stimulator surgically placed in the deep part in the brain to derail the signals.

                                   
                                          Fancy car park. With no spaces.


The only problem was my cluster headache is not in the part of the head that gives cluster headache. So the GP referred me for a neurological appointment at the Southern General Hospital, known by locals as the Suffering General. He said it was not urgent, the appointment may take a while to come through. The subtext of that ( and what the political debate is always about) is that the waiting list is a bit long at the moment. But just to make it clear, if you really need it, it will get done and the NHS will do it quickly. But if you can wait – you wait.  Neurology is always busy as for some of their patients, waiting is a matter of life and death. Mine wasn’t, Mine was just sore. So a routine appointment was requested and came through within two weeks. On a Sunday. Subtext,  so busy they were doing Sunday clearance clinics. I had a thorough consultation with a neurologist  who was very nice and very engaging. What did I think? What did she think? What did I think of what she thought? Why can I not have cluster headache in the same place as everybody else? Because it might not be cluster headache.

                                        
She recommended two MRI scans - brain  and neck. Not urgent. The appointment for the scan came through  two days later.  Eight o’clock in the morning.

                                          
                                                      Nice quiet surroundings for the patients


And that was this morning.

By now, the neurologist and I had been thinking about Arnold Chiari malformation which means the bone at the top of the spine is a bit wonky so bits of the brain start to slid down the spinal canal.  As you can imagine, that is a wee tad sore.

                                       
                                                   This hurts!

But I am consoled that it only happens to folk with big brains. That is not really true but it’s my blog so I can say what I like.


It used to be thought of as a fatal condition but as scanning gets better it has been realised that a few folk are walking about with various versions in various degrees of malformation with no symptoms what so ever.  Until something else annoys it. Like an old spinal fracture. Like mine.

                                        
                                                      Where exactly  do we walk?

And when the neurologist read about that, her little face lit up in a true light bulb moment.  That is now coming back to haunt you, she said with something approaching glee.  I was still with the theory of big brain in a wee head.

The Southern General is a big Glasgow Hospital, right on the side of the Clyde at Govan. It is slowly being rebuilt into a super hospital called the ‘death star’.  It has become a local talking point as it has been built with very little regard to patients.
And the fact that patients need transport.
And maybe need somewhere to park their car.

                                      

Driving around the Southern General building site for an hour and a half to get a parking place is common. Locals now need permits which they have to pay for, to park their own cars in the streets outside their own house. Promises of free buses, and patient transport have not yet come to fruition.  The radiologist who dealt with me parks in the garden centre a mile and a half away and walks it from there.

The hospital/ building site is about fifteen  minutes drive from my house so I left at six thirty am for my eight am scan and got the last parking space available on the first drive round. I sat in the car waiting and writing the next book ( as Jorn said, any time, any place, anywhere) while the builders in front of me kept taking their clothes on and off like some geriatric Coca Cola advert. I don’t know what they were wearing underneath their t shirts, but it needed ironing. The old jokes are the best as Jeff proves time and time again.
                                  
The old hospital  was based in a Victorian Workhouse. If there was a fire,  patients had to be strapped  to their mattresses  and bounced down the stairs. The hospital then had big wards, a stern matron, no MRSA,  no talking back and stank of Dettol and boiled sprouts.
                                       
Now the whole scene is weird; builders everywhere, trucks, diggers, cement mixers, people walking around confused and lost, taxis doing u-turns, wheelchair users bumping up curbs, patients running from A to B, then B to A, posters telling folk where to go ( the posters have been drawn over as a new building was added or opened or closed ). There are over head tunnels temporarily connecting bits X to Z as Y has not been built yet.  To get to the scanner, I had to walk for about twenty minutes from my car, into a reception, upstairs, along a corridor, through a kitchen ( so it seemed), passed a few disused lift shafts,  all the time following a series of printed out signs sellotaped on the wall,  over tunnels, under ground until I bounced almost by accident into the MRI scanning reception. After the scan , the nurse took me by the hand,  across the hall, into an office, over some boxes and out a side door, and lo and behold, there was my car.

Once the superhospital is finished, there will  be rest stops, sherpas and Sat Navs.
                                      
So the scanner has not been moved to the new  bit yet so the waiting area was well worn, battle scarred and depressing. But it was spotlessly clean and the service was second to none. So what  if the gowns looked as though they have been washed to within an inch of their existence, the bit of the service that actually saves lives was running like a well oiled machine.

I was aware of the comedic drama the other patient  - some old guy who had been hauled in off the street outside for his scan  as he was having a last minute fag, and wouldn’t come in until he had finished.  I bet he was having a scan for a growth in his lung. He was round; five feet five in every direction and too breathless to undress himself.  And the nurses were great with him, humorous and cajoling but taking no nonsense.
                                       
                                             Fried egg roll, black coffee and notebook!


After a hour of being zapped and blasted, I climbed into the small Fiat and drove round  (and round and round) to the garden  centre…. Just to chill before going back home on the motorway.
                                       
                                                  goodies at the garden centre....

                                         
                                                These are the size of one of small asteroid.

                                         


                                        


                                            


And did some more writing...
                                                               The view out my writing room window!



Caro Ramsay  17 04 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The surprise of deserts

Michael and I have just returned from a trip to the Kalahari desert, where we had research to do for the Detective Kubu mystery that we are currently writing.  (It is still without title.)

Ever since I visited a desert for the first time, over forty years ago, I have been fascinated by them and the things, flora and fauna, that live in there.  A trip to a desert is always the time for a surprise. 

In fact, our Detective Kubu would never have become a detective had his childhood friend, the Bushman Khumanego, not taken him into the Kalahari and exposed the hidden worlds that live there.  The following excerpt from A CARRION DEATH tells that story.

Kubu owed the Bushmen a debt of gratitude.  His childhood Bushman friend, Khumanego, had shown him how the desert was alive, not dead as he had thought.  He remembered vividly how in one school holiday Khumanego had taken him sweltering kilometres into the arid landscape and drawn a circle in the sand a few metres in diameter.

“What do you see?” Khumanego had asked him.

“Sand, stones, and some dry grass.  That’s all,” he had replied.

Khumanego shook his head gently.  “Black men!” he chided.  “Look again.”

“I see sand and stones, some small and others a little bigger.  Also some dry grass.”

An hour later the world had changed for Kubu.  Khumanego had shown him how to look beyond the obvious, how to explore below the surface, to notice what no one else would see.  In that small circle thrived a teeming world - ants, plants that looked like stones (lithops, he found out later), beetles, and spiders.  He loved the lithops – desert plants cunningly disguised as rocks, almost impossible to distinguish from the real things.  They blended into their surroundings, pretending to be what they were not. 

The trapdoor spider also impressed him.  When he looked carefully at the sand, almost imperceptible traces of activity clustered around one area.  On his knees, Khumanego pointed to the barely visible crescent in the sand.  He gestured to Kubu to pick up a twig and pry the trapdoor open.  Kubu complied, nervous of what he would find.  The open trapdoor revealed a tunnel, the size and length of a pencil, made from grains of sand and some substance holding them together.  Khumanego tapped the tube.  A small white spider scurried out and stopped on the hot sand.



“This spider,” Khumanego whispered, “knows the desert.  He digs a hole and makes walls of sand with his web.  He makes his home under the sand where it is not so hot.  He listens and listens, and when he hears footsteps on the sand, he opens the door, jumps out, catches his meal, and brings it back to his home – appearing and disappearing before the insect knows what is happening.  Very clever spider.  You don’t know that he is there, but he is very dangerous.”

Kubu thought that the spider and the lithops survived in the same way – avoiding attention by blending into the background.

It was the experience of seeing so much when there was so little to see that had the greatest impact.  Khumanego had taught him to open his eyes and see what was in front of him.  “Black people don’t see,” Khumanego had said.  “White people don’t want to.”  Kubu returned home that afternoon and vowed he would never be blind again.  From that day, Kubu had trained himself to be observant, to see what others did not and to look beyond the obvious. 

[As an aside, I am not known for my green thumb.  When I first saw lithops, I recognized their potential.  So I smuggled some into the States, planted them on a bed of stones in my home in Illinois, and proudly showed them off to my friends, who were suitably impressed.  When the lithops inevitably joined all my previous plants in flora heaven, I continued to display the planter of stones, and my friends continued to be impressed.]




Southern Africa has two deserts: the Kalahari, covering much of Botswana and stretching into northern South Africa and eastern Namibia; and the Namib, which covers most of western Namibia, along the Atlantic Ocean.  I’ve been fortunate to visit both in the last month.



In general, these two deserts are quite different.  The Kalahari comprises vast areas of sand, low scrub, and a few trees, whereas the Namib often fits the more traditional view of deserts, with even sparser vegetation and sand, sand, and more sand.

Kalahari

Kalahari

Sossusvlei dunes in the Namib

If you want to drive in the Namib, you'd better know how!

The oryx (gemsbok) needs little water to survive.

The single purpose of our trip was to visit a village in the central Kalahari called New Xade, near to which a Bushman called Kabbo, in our sixth novel, was found dead on the side of the road.  An autopsy revealed three surprising things: he was probably well over a hundred years old, closer to one hundred and fifty; his internal organs were the same as a man of forty; and third, a bullet was lodged in an abdominal muscle, but there was no entry wound.

We wanted to visit the area to ensure what we wrote about where Kabbo lived and roamed was accurate.  And we wanted to see if we could find what Kabbo had been eating that made him live so long.

We were also eager to visit New Xade because it is the focal point of a great deal of antagonism between the Bushmen and the Botswana government.  The government argues that it has a constitutional requirement to provide education and healthcare to all of the citizens of Botswana, but it is impossible to do this if the Bushmen maintain their nomadic lifestyle.  So it resettled many Bushmen from their traditional areas around the village of Xade in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to the village of New Xade, seventy kilometers to the west.  New Xade, the government claims, provides the required schooling and healthcare, and is a far better place to be in contrast with roaming the desert, not knowing where or when food and water would be found.

Initially, we drove the five hours from Johannesburg to Gaborone, where we spent the night.  Then we took the paved, Trans-Kalahari Highway for seven hours, avoiding the cows, donkey, horses, goats and sheep that favour the firm footing afforded by a paved surface and the lush grass that grows at its edge to the safer pastures away from the road.  Obviously some drivers were not nimble in avoiding animals, as we saw cattle carcasses and a few abandoned vehicles.  Eventually we reached Ghanzi, not far from the Namibian border, and over-nighted there.  Finally, the next day, we drove the 100 kilometres on a white, calcite sand road to New Xade.

Donkeys are better
This probably hit a cow at night
Fortunately the ostriches preferred the bush.

The road to New Xade

And true to form, the desert provided some surprises.

First, instead of being dry, parched, and inhospitable, the Kalahari was green and lush as far as the eye could see, with grass growing tall on the side of the road and fields of yellow flowers adorning the landscape.  In many places, pools of water lay next to the road, extending back into the bush.  We were told that the area had received two-thirds of its annual rainfall in two days the previous week – over 200 mm (8 inches) in thirty-six hours.  Villages had been flooded; and rivers flowed that were normally sandy courses meandering through the scrub.

The Kalahari desert!
Kalahari desert 2
Flooded village

Suddenly there were flowers

New Xade was also a surprise, but not a pleasant one.  To call it a dump would be paying it a compliment.  The only things that may have been working were the school – but we couldn’t really tell, as it was school holidays – and the clinic.  But all the other buildings of substance stood empty and derelict.  Most of the homes were in poor repair, and people were sitting around doing nothing (alcoholism is reputed to be rife).  We saw no shops, and the bill-boarded craft shop didn’t look as though it had been opened in ages.  The government may have met its constitutional requirement, but it doesn’t seem to be interested in the welfare of the people it has moved there.  Michael and I were both bummed out - and sad, very sad, at what we'd seen.

New Xade craft shop - looked unused

New Xade pedestrian

New Xade children at play

New Xade residence

Top-of-the-line New Xade residence

Another top-of-the-line New Xade residence - there were only a few

Not top-of-the-lineNew Xade residence
Another not top-of-the-line New Xade residence

Traffic warning

Overall, our research trip was a success, even though we didn’t find Kabbo’s secret plant.  We learned something new; we didn’t hit an animal on the road; and we saw the Kalahari in a once-in-our-lifetime finery.


Stan - Thursday