50. The Tokolosh.

I have just come back from a night away in a game reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo province. It’s a strange old place. It’s a bit of a backwater in South Africa. It doesn’t have any big cities, and the provincial government is riddled with corruption and incompetence. But that doesn’t mean that nothing interesting goes on there. On the contrary. For example there has, of late, been a sudden and massive surge in sales of coloured salt in the Limpopo. Special salt. This salt;

As subtle as it is effective.

As subtle as it is effective.

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18. The Sausage Tree.

I feel a little guilty. On Tuesday, I put up a post that claimed to be about magic. But it wasn’t. It was about car guards. So today, I’m going to write about real magic. Just as soon as I’m done telling you about Sausage Trees. This is a Sausage Tree.


Its proper name is kigelia africana. It grows down in the Lowveld. It’s one of the bigger trees down there, about twenty metres tall, with a spreading canopy of thick green leaves that provide a dense, cool spot of shade. It has bright red flowers that look like they should be carnivorous. They’re pollinated by bats. Continue reading

16. Everyday magic.

Every now and then, I like to read a little bit of fantasy (no, not the Nancy Friday kind, you dirty buggers. The Tolkien kind). As in most genres, some of them are brilliantly original and compelling. And as in most genres, most of them are pretty formulaic. There are gruff dwarves with huge axes, grumpy magicians and elves in impractically tight tights. And magic, it always seems, is dying out in the land, a sad echo of a bygone golden age.

Elf-girls don't need tights because their bikini-armour is electrically heated.

Elf-girls don’t need tights because their bikini-armour is electrically heated.

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