Each month we’ll spotlight an author
and share a little something you may not know
Susan Mac Nicol
So here's a leading question: Have you ever been chased by a rhinoceros? No? Well, I have.
You might not know this about me, but before we emigrated to the UK when I was 7 years old, we lived in Kenya for a while. My older sister was born in Nairobi right on the equator.
I remember stunning blue seas and white fine sand so hot my dad had to pick each of us kids up to get us to the edge of the sea. I'll never forget my poor dad having to hop quickly from foot to foot in his flip-flops because his feet were burning.
We lived in a cool, low-slung bungalow in the middle of Malindi. There were cows grazing in the back garden, sunshine all day long, unbearable heat, and I spoke some Swahili, which, sadly, I've now forgotten. We had a lizard who lived in a tree near the house. On the way to the beach, we used to stop and feed it. We thought it was a chameleon – turned out to be an iguana. We had a huge tortoise who lived around the house who we used to ride on.
The house staff used to get up early in the morning, gather up the hundreds of flying ants lying around the front porch where they'd been attracted to the lights the night before. After pulling off their wings, they’d fry them up as a tasty snack. I probably ate them. I don't recall. I say ugh now.
The rhinoceros incident happened when we on our way home from a neighbouring town. The “veld”' as we called it, were the fields of dry grass and sand flanking the narrow dirt roads, and housed plenty of animals running wild, as they should in their habitats.
Mum had a little grey VW Beetle and we think the rhino thought it was a female of his kind. So as we pootled down this dirt road, all us kids could see out the back window was a cloud of dust and an amorous rhino bearing down on the car. Luckily the Bug moved faster than he did, but boy, was it an adventure.
Ahh, those were the wild, wild days....
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