<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Rachel Kellett: Life and Times

Life and Times

2001 With Pip in France and Morocco

Roquebrun (with lost luggage)
River Orb
Clement playing for Pip's 41st

Dar Tamsna

Bird song and clear light. Breakfast outside, in the semi shade, an epicurean table of fruits and odd dough breads and jams. I manage three pancakes with delicious honey (fruit and yoghurt abandoned).

Rendezvous at Heathrow airport. The group collects. Conversation with Pam Rose:
"How many are here? One two, three .... I've been counting 5 all my life....And it's always the same who are late - where are Caroline and Andrew?"
"Were they late arriving at birth?"
"They were as a matter of fact"
The Caste:

The Rose Clan:

Pam and Stephen Rose (the origins)
Pippa Rose (the cause) and Mathias
Andrew Rose and Mel
Chris Rose and Lucinda (the advance party)
Caroline Rose
Mathew Rose
Beatrice Villa (flying direct from Paris)

The Diluters:

Jonathan Cohen and Jane
Jill May (and husband Mick arriving later)
Phillip and Sally Seers (arriving later)

A call comes through on a mobile from the advanced party, Chris and Lucinda: "Bring some golf balls from duty free, they're very expensive out here." Its obviously an arduous task being sent out ahead - ostensibly to avoid the possibility of the entire Rose family crashing in one plane.

It's the beginning of an Agatha Christie - we all collecting with our different stories, exuberant, exotic. Who is going to murder who?

Dar Tamsna - our villa, or collection of 3 villas - is in a compound of palm trees just outside Marrakech. We arrive at night. Candles light the path ways, and crackle in the passage ways. I have an open fire in my bed room, lit and spitting and a vase of roses by my bed, clad with cold cotton sheets and old fashioned blankets. Above on the ceiling a still propeller fan, for another time of year.


Our Guide, Abdul, is lucid with detail: No house can be built above the height of the Koutoubia Mosque, and all buildings have to be ochre in colour. Ah the advantage of a benign dictatorship - none of our 60's tower blocks

"And excuse me.... saffron, indigo, cobalt, mint, henna...." "And excuse me, this is the Souk. It has 325 streets, and 24 gates." Numbers - guides always know numbers. But we are not American, and the figures return to the dust.

1. Almoravid Fortress. Ochre walls of thick earth, with irregular holes where pigeons now perch, but originally used in its construction as air vents, important for the material structure as well as through drafts. Large storks nest at the tops, "They bring good luck" says Abdul. The four large internal tanks of water are now orange groves, and through the ruined floor you can see the complex under and above ground water pipes, reminiscent of a Roman system.

2. Saadian Tombs. Death in Morocco retains all class distinctions of life. The more important you were the higher the raised mound on top. All, however, no matter what station, are buried on their sides, head facing to Mecca.

3. Yves St Laurent Gardens. Small tropical garden laid out by a French artist, Louis Majorelle, now seemingly maintained by Yves. Buildings of vivid cobalt blue.

"And tell us about the politics and economics, Abdul. What are Morocco's natural resources?" (We ask serious questions these days)

"Above all we have the White Petrol", says Abdul. "That's what we call Tourism." And we are it.

Lunch by the cool pool. Delicious marinated vegetables and some kebabs.


Early evening warm up in Djemaa el Fna square, an open place of street entertainers and food sellers. In Mathias's honour, we patronised the street tooth extractor. Food stalls sizzling, sheeps heads waiting, dancers, snake charmers, foruntetellers - all of life.