The Flame trees of Thika
I believe the first time I watched the TV-series “The Flame trees of Thika” was in the mid-80s. For some reason about 2 decades later I started thinking a lot about it. I tried several times over the past years to “find” it with no luck. Most of the references I got was to the book, but it was the film I wanted to watch. I finally got my hands on the series recently and found it as delightful as I had found it back then. There are lots of very interesting events and conversations in the series (actually a 7-part dramatization of the book), but one of the reason it seems to have stuck in my head is because of the event surrounding the making of the marmalade (I have lifted the conversation verbatim from the film).
The film comes highly recommended by yours truly.
Mrs. Nimmo – stirring the pot of marmalade on the fire:
Mrs. Nimmo: “What … on … earth … is that?”
Mrs. Nimmo – using the ladle to poke at the dead floating rat.
Juma (the cook): “How did that get there?”
Mrs. Nimmo: “That is what I am asking you, Juma.”
Shrugging his shoulders (as usual)
Juma: “Perhaps it fell off from the ceiling.”
Mrs. Nimmo (disgusted): “Ewhh. Is that the custom of this kitchen? Do rats fall everyday from the ceiling, or do they jump up from the floor?”
Juma: “Rats come to sugar like brides to a rich man. I have told the mam-sab she must build a new kitchen as big and fine as the stables she builds for her horses, but she does not listen. So how can I keep the rats out?”
Mrs. Nimmo: “You can get rid of this one for a start.”
Mrs. Nimmo: “And then throw away the marmalade.”
Juma (is shocked and confused): “Throw away all these good sugar?”
Mrs. Nimmo (sternly): “Do as I say.”
After Juma gets rid of the rat.
Mrs. Nimmo: “Then pour the rest away.”
Juma still in shock (to himself): “Throw away good marmalade?”