1970 Tanzania, East Africa
Essie leaned back in her chair, a mug of black tea resting on her knee. She gazed out through the open front of the tent. In the early morning light the rocky plain below the camp was painted in smudgy tones of brown and grey. Away in the distance she could see the silver gleam of the lake. Rising up behind it was Ol Doinyo Lengai. A wreath of cloud drifted across the summit, hiding the cap of strange white lava that looked like snow.
From overhead Essie heard weaverbirds calling between the thorn trees. The air was cool and still. She tried to draw it inside her, so that she would feel it there later on, when the sun blazed from a sheer blue sky and a hot wind blew in from the north-east.
‘That’s the last of the marmalade.’