Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Throwback Thursday: Introducing Anri

As many of you know, I lived in Madagascar from 2009 to 2011 before I had to leave because of my mouldy lungs. I taught at a local high school, along with a very good friend from South Africa, Anri-Louise.

I’ve decided to do a regular “Throwback Thursday” post because there were so many memorable incidents in those two years. Some posts will show how much has changed since then, some will show how little has changed and some will be plain hilarious. Today I’m introducing you to Anri as she was back then, in my first (of hopefully many) Throwback Thursdays.


Anri in a tree with a Lemur. Fortunately she didn't fall out and it didn't maul her.

Anri in a tree with a Lemur. Fortunately she didn’t fall out and it didn’t maul her.

My good friend Anri-Louise, who teaches at the school with me, and whom I have known for many years, is a delightful, engaging and hilarious lady, but a daily accident waiting to happen. It all apparently began when she was just 6, got her first bicycle and rode straight through a sewerage-filled ditch.

At first I wasn’t sure how it was possible for so many off-the-wall things to happen to one person, like the time she arrived at school and told me how her shoe had been washed off her foot by a freak flood of water in the street. She rescued the shoe but dropped her jacket into some glorious Mada muck. It smelled for weeks, despite the several washes.

Many of her incidents have occurred at home, like the one that involved a hot water bottle and a frozen chicken. It was at the height of winter, and I was borrowing her only spare blanket, which forced her to prepare a hot water bottle. She duly climbed into a toasty bed only for the bottle to explode, scalding her jersey (sweater to the Americans) to her skin.  The store room with spare mattresses upstairs was locked, she couldn’t find the key, and so she hobbled downstairs in much pain to sleep in the spare room – only to find that the water had leaked through the floorboards and soaked the mattress … Knowing that she needed to ice her scalded wound, all she could find, that was big enough, was a whole frozen chicken. And so, that night, she slept fitfully in a waterlogged bed, with a chicken strapped to her waist and had to deal with major burns and a soggy bird in the morning.

She has come to expect these incidents, and so goes to some effort to avoid them when she sees the potential for catastrophe. Like on “clumsy” days she will only deal with plastic plates, and won’t cook potentially-dangerous food. Recently she was hanging a mirror at home, perched precariously on a chair, and was most excited that she neither toppled off, nor broke the mirror, nor fell on her head. However, after washing her hands in the kitchen sink, and shaking them dry, she hit a sharp knife which was in the drying rack, cut her finger to the bone and ended up spraying blood around the kitchen. We just shrug and laugh.

Anri also manages to attract the weirdest men – like the one who walked up to her in all seriousness and declared, with a glint in his eye, “I want to be your man! If you know what I mean?” But that was at least less creepy than the drunkard who stalked her for half an hour crying, “I sleep alone, I sleep alone,” or the Rastafarian, dreadlocked dude in a red satin tracksuit who attached himself to her while she was at the airport getting ready to fly back to South Africa. I believe some proposals may have been given too. She’s also been followed home by a guy on a scooter, insisting she catch a ride with him, despite her protestations of “I’m way too big to fit on there with you”.

Holiday incidents too, have kept us amazed and amused. While travelling with her parents through Madagascar, and staying in a beautiful little lodge in the rain forest, she stepped out of bed one morning, straight through the floorboards (with one leg). Lying with her knee jammed in the floor, her foot in the foundations, and the other leg bent like a leg shouldn’t be bent, she couldn’t even call for help because (as she explained), “I was in my pyjamas!”

Mostly I’ve been exempt from having to witness any of her episodes. But last year December a few of us went on holiday together to a beautiful little island off the coast of Madagascar. One afternoon she left us to go for a walk and to “clear her head”. We were on an island, it was kind of impossible to get lost, but when it started raining and night had fallen fast, we started wondering where she had got to. The next thing she burst into the room, hysterical, in tears, and the story emerged: She had gone for a walk, along the beach, but hadn’t seen the tide coming in and so got stuck around a rocky outcrop. To cut a long story short, she started to crawl back across the wet rocks, slipped into a bed of sea urchins, and got their spikes embedded in her hands and feet.  A dog tried to rescue her by pulling her by the hand, but this just terrified her, so, with bleeding feet she ran away as fast as she could – only to be pursued by a local making “strange guttural noises.” I don’t handle emotionality very well, and so stormed out leaving the girls to deal with her.

Another incident on the same island saw her delightedly skipping across some rocks, only to misstep and land waist-deep in the seaside sludge … in front of the Malagasy Minister of Tourism, who was unable to keep her dignified composure.

Most recently when she called us to say she was bleeding internally because of a cyst, and that she had developed kidney stones, our reaction was once again to shrug and say, “It’s just Anri. She’ll be fine.”

Just this week her coffee maker exploded, splattering the whole kitchen with brown gunk. (I say “exploded”. This is not an exaggeration…)

What’s next? Who knows, but we wait with bated breath for our good friend Anri’s next mad “episode”.

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2 comments on “Throwback Thursday: Introducing Anri

  1. derekmidgley
    February 20, 2015

    Really, it sounds like she missed her calling to collaborate with Rowan Atkinson!

  2. There_Lot
    February 20, 2015

    She sounds like a laugh a minute..

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2015 by in Humour, Throwback Thursday and tagged , , , , .
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