We were up from the coast in a bran’ new land,
A verandah became our camp.
We topped and tailed ’neath mosquito nets
And our light was a hurricane lamp.
From the leaves of the bushes edging the lawn,
At dusk huge moths came a’purring
And the moonlight seemed to glint in their eyes
As they flew toward us a’whirring.
There on an orange tree’s lowest branch,
Completely matching the green,
I found Cammy with circling eyes,
Horned, wary and terribly lean.
Through tears of joy I grasped him
Behind his head by the back,
Carefully avoiding what looked like claws
I ran in - oh, I had the knack!
For days he was a plaything,
We tried every color we knew.
And I tell you the story that they go pop
When you put them on red isn’t true.
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In September 1951, fresh up from Mombasa we rode in my father’s green government issue Ford truck. It had a homemade hutch cover with a swing door over the back. For a couple of days we stayed at Neil Stewart, my Godfather’s place, called Dagoretti, camping on their enclosed porch. I found my first chamaeleon in the orange tree on his lawn.