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  • Writer's pictureNondiarist

A Ghanaian in England: Big stones, Henry VIII, a horse and some dreadlocks

November 2018. There’s a bitter wind slicing across the Salisbury plain. The sun might be out, but it makes no difference to the number of layers we’re wearing. We are African women in England.

These stones, however, have withstood the elements and will continue to do so. It’s one of those moments when you really, really wish you had a time machine.

How DID they transport the stones and erect them? Five’ll get you ten that the project was over budget and behind programme and even then some of them have fallen down over time. Maybe they should’ve allowed for that tower crane after all.

I tell you what - that girl is stronger than she looks.

The last person we expect to see at the Dickensian Christmas market down on the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 2018 is Henry. He’s got his timeline mixed up for sure. He’s not overly concerned that all these tourists are gawking at the remains of his Vice-Admiral’s flagship – and the remains of some of his crew – he’s on the prowl for women. He chats up Anita for a bit then proposes to me.

Me: “You’ve got to be kidding. With your track record?”

Henry: “Aw, c’mon. Own house, GSOH, full time job, lots of money…. Most women are keen.”

Me: “Two sent packing, one expired, two for the chop. One of them hung in there, but what’s in store for me? Hung, drawn and quartered? Thrown out of a helicopter?”

Henry: “Thrown out of a….sorry, what?”

At least Ebenezer's got it right.

Having never sat on a horse, or even been near a horse, in her life, Anita proves to be an able pupil. Two sessions on the amenable and tolerant French Trotter, Floxy, and she’s adopting a pretty good seat and guiding him in circles.

She buttered him up first, though. Gave him a good brush, teased out his tail and had a few words with him before mounting up.

Then Anita informs me that a radical change is long overdue. She books herself into the local salon specialising in styling Afro-Caribbean hair.

The Jamaican barber is cautious: “Are you absolutely sure you wanna to lose the dreads?”

She’s had them for 12 years, she says, but now is the time to move on.

It was sad to see them go, but at least the riding helmet will fit better now.

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