Monday, 14 October 2013

Memory of Kenya

Unlike Elspeth Huxley, whose book The Flame Trees of Thika, which I wrote about yesterday, I do not return to Kenya frequently. I was never entirely at ease during the 22 years I lived there and prefer living in England.  However I do have some wonderful memories.

On one occasion, when we visited the Nairobi National Park a lion sauntered in front of our car along the narrow, road which was not tarmacked. On either side of the road, the rich red of African soil, was scrubland interspersed here and there with thorn trees like weird sculptures.

Not once did the lion look back, not a breeze ruffled his splendid mane and the sun beating down from a Madonna-blue sky disturbed us but not the king of all he surveyed. Belly full, he ignored the giraffes, z

Flame Trees of Thika

I lived in Kenya from 1961 to 1982. During my years there I visited Thika. When I first went to Kenya I had not heard of Elspeth Huxley's non-fiction book, The Flame Trees of Thika, Memories of an African Childhood, first published in 1959.

I can't remember when I first read the autobiography, but I do recall finding it very interesting, although Elspeth Huxley's experiences in Kenya were so far removed from mine.

The other day, after I met my friend at The Coach and Horses in Rickmansworth I was delighted to find a secondhand copy of the book in a charity shop.

I've finished reading it with a sense of nostalgia for the beauty of the country.
The Flame Trees of Thika is a fascinating account of Elspeth Huxley's life and that of the first settlers in and around Thika, amongst whom were her parents, Robin and Tilly.

The author breathes life into her descriptions of the African tribesmen and women, their way of life, their beliefs and their attitudes.

I shall search for two of her other books, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, !"A Journey through East Africa",and White Man's Country, "Lord Delamere and the making of Kenya," as well as her novel, Red Strangers, a story of Kenya.