Well, I had great intentions of blogging regularly about life back in the UK but have been so busy I haven’t had time. Plus, to be frank, much of what I’m doing isn’t really worth broadcasting… but I have a few updates .
I had three main focuses for this trip. Firstly to get my hand checked out by a doctor. Happily they thought it was healing well and I just need to continue massaging vitamin E oil into the scar.
Secondly to visit friends and family (this list is in no order of priority). I’ve been mostly staying with my parents and at my brothers, broken up by visits and nights out to friends. So far Shaun, Joni – a colleague from my StreetShine days, Krusty – a colleague from Vietnam who I haven’t seen since 2002, Andrew – an old friend from junior school who I haven’t seen since …1981!!! and Sam & Lucy – old guests who I haven’t see since…the beginning of January.
Obviously my book is a big priority for me right now – it’s certainly doing well amongst those that know me – thank you! The trick is to now get the message out into the wider world. I say this, not just because I want to be a successful author – of course that would be nice – but in these times, I think the tale of someone choosing a different life, trying to live self-sustainably, trying to live within a vastly different culture in these times of intolerance – well, I think those are things worth shouting about. Although the book will be interesting for West Africa enthusiasts and people that know me, I think there’s potentially a much greater audience.
Here are extracts from a review:
Squirting Milk at Chameleons is more than A Year in Provence goes to Africa. Author Simon Fenton details how his need to escape led, through sheer serendipity, to a new life, and a new family, in Abene, Senegal. But just as he refuses to wallow in the bad times, he’s not blind to the corruption, the poverty and all the other festering sores on the skin of this great continent as he narrates the good times. Fenton writes simple, direct prose, aware perhaps that this is the best way to present a continent which lives in the same way, and he’s particularly good at picking out the seemingly mundane from the thrall of the exotic, finding joy in mangos, observing how a self-proclaimed witch doctor turns tail in the presence of his mother-in-law, and exposing the faultlines along which his two cultures clash.
Squirting Milk at Chameleons isn’t merely the story of one man’s journey from mortgage slave to accidental african. It’s the story of Africa, in all its filth and its glory.
A piece of good news for me is that I’m going to be working on an ongoing basis for Eye books, helping with their digital marketing strategy. It’s a win-win in that if I raise Eye Books profile, my book should reach more people. The top photo is a selection of their books.
Eye books is an independent publisher who for 20 years have been publishing books about the extraordinary things ordinary people have gone out and done. Everyday people, who decide to stop simply thinking and talking about their dreams and desires, and actually do them. They believe that the more you put into life the more you get out of it. They aim to inform, educate, motive and inspire readers to be able to let go and do what they think they can’t, however big or small. Or at the very least read and marvel.
I can’t wait to get home although it’s great that I can speak regularly with Khady via Skype – even if this is the best image I can get:
She did pass on some sad news – Bandit, our dog, died suddenly – she thinks he was bitten by a snake. I’m sad, but I’ve learnt not to get too attached to animals in Africa. R.I.P. Toubab, Jaifonday, Scrappy, Woof, Mango and Bandit.
I’m now preparing for the book launches – Oxford this thursday and Brighton the following Monday. Everyone’s invited!