Monday, May 25, 2009

Tea Time

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, by Alexander McCall Smith. 

This is the latest book in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and it will have you longing for a nice cup of bush tea. As with the other books in the series, nothing much happens, but somehow many things are learned. 

This quote will give you some of the flavor of the book. Mma Ramotswe loves her little van but it is not doing well, mechanically speaking: 

She continued her progress down Zebra Drive, steering the van carefully through her gateway with all the care of a nurse wheeling a very sick patient down the corridor of a hospital... As she went inside, she debated with herself what to do. She was married to a mechanic, a situation in which any woman would revel, especially when her car broke down. Mechanics made good husbands, as did carpenters and plumbers--that was well known--and any woman proposed to by such a man would do well to accept. But for every advantage that attended any particular man, it always seemed as if there was a compensating disadvantage lurking somewhere. The mechanic as husband could be counted on to get a car going again, but he could just as surely be counted upon to be eager to change the car. Mechanics were very rarely satisfied with what they had, in mechanical terms, that is, and often wanted their customers--or indeed their wives--to change one car for another. If Mma Ramotswe told Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni that the tiny white van was making a strange noise, she knew exactly what he would say, as he had said it all before. 

"It's time to replace the van, Mma Ramotswe," he had said, only a few months earlier. And then he had added, "No vehicle lasts forever, you know."

"I know that, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni," she said. "But surely it's wrong to replace a vehicle that still has a lot of life left in it. That's not very responsible, I think."

"You van is over twenty," he said. "Twenty-two years old, I believe. That is about half the age of Botswana itself."

It had not been a wise comparison, and Mma Ramotswe had seized on it. "So you would replace Botswana?" she said. "When a country gets old, you say, That's enough, let's get a new country. I'm surprised at you, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni."

This unsatisfactory conversation had ended there...

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