Well Hello, Potential Audience

With my impending interview at Ruskin College Oxford for the part-time Creative Writing and Critical Practise degree course looming I nailed some boring domestic tasks early on and then intended to move into more serious pursuits like going through my in tray and clearing the simple things and writing a serious post. Un-bloody-likely. Though I woke up absolutely brimming with ideas I had no idea I’d end up hosting an ad-hoc male coffee morning.

My mate, who is a Senegalese immigrant to the UK and has the unlikely job of police officer, and I end up discussing the problems in Mali and the modern day roots going back to 1991, the arming of certain African states by – guess who – the Americans and the fact that many of the incumbent administrations have found that the way to get the Western powers interested and investing is to work an Al-Qaeda link into the mix of bad guys. We thrash out the problems and I end up lending him two DVD’s. He is also a Muslim and has had a glancing insight into the murky world of the war on terror by dint of a six-month attachment to a specialist counter-terrorism team. Nothing like a group where the bulk of folks haven’t really got an idea what they are doing and blunder round managing to cause more upset and division within the communities they are – allegedly – trying to bring on-side. Clint Eastwood had a word for it. That word was Cluster***k.

Then my brother rocks up ‘cos he is bored and has done his one work task for the day. Coffee made for him. He then starts showing more than a passing  interest in the sourdough bread I am baking. In the meantime he decides to have a swing on my RockRings (a strength development aid for climbing made by Metolius) and promptly breaks them. Huh? These are supposed to last a lifetime. Could have been v dodgy if one was fully committed in a hold and they had failed fast.

The policeman goes and eventually, when the bread is out of the oven, (that’s why he was hanging on)  dear brother departs with half a huge loaf of freshly baked bread having subtly delivered the innocent remark, “how will you and MFTS eat all that”?

It’s hard being a Domestic Goddess.

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Thats Torn It Then

It took several repeats before the penny dropped. Where had I heard the name Bamako before? Where?

I have had an ambition to climb the Kaga Tondo in Mali for over 6 months now that was inspired by an article in Summit magazine about the 10  “must climb” peaks in the world. The Kaga Tondo, the tallest of the five fingers of the Hand of Fatima formation in Northern Mali just looked so very very, very cool. More importantly it was within my very average climbing abilities. I have had my eye off it for a few months now in the drive to get a job and the small fact that I’d need at least £2k. Additionally, the only time to really attempt it is when it is a freezing 30-35 deg C in the desert daytime. That’ll be Jan/Feb 2013.

Deutsch: Hand der Fatima, Felsformation bei Ho...
The Kaga Tondo is the tall skinny one.

Now, with just a month to the presidential election there has been a military coup in Mali overnight. Bamako is the name of the capital city in the South. The South was supposed to be the safer part of Mali and the FCO don’t advocate travel in the North whilst the Canadians seemed far more laid back about it 6 months ago – as Canucks often are – so I thought I’d go in my guise of a Canadian and hope any marauding Touraeg’s intent on kidnapping a worthwhile Western trophy wouldn’t spot my mostly British accent and consider that, as a Canadian, I was a worthless Bob & Doug style hoser. Although things have changed as of late… Now the entire venture seems far too fraught with hazards, which is deeply disappointing.

I don’t fancy being kidnapped and possibly shot because I don’t think that I have rich enough friends to raise a decent ransom.

PS: Interesting fact about the Kaga Tondo… The first Westerner (Todd Skinner I think) to summit the 1600 metre formation found clay pottery on the top….do the math!