Beginning

This is a page excerpt from the second chapter:

N is a number 1 x 1036 that measures the strength of the electrical forces that hold atoms together divided by the force of gravity between them.

Anything slightly less would mean a short-lived universe and no expansion.

(Martin Rees – Just Six Numbers)

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NSO NSO
1919 -1948

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts.” William Shakespeare

Mr Julian was an English gentleman who had left England through the dreary port of Southampton on a wet, wintery day, heading for Durban in South Africa. His objective was to escape the depression of post-World War I England. Soon after arriving in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, he took a job in the government department of Native Affairs and after seven years in the civil service as a junior working in various parts of the vast country, he was promoted to the senior position of Native Commissioner in the Selukwe area of Southern Rhodesia. There he met and married Jafaru Bollo, a local Matabele woman of considerable standing in the community; a unique event in as much as at that time mixed marriage was not a common occurrence. The locals called Mr Julian by the nickname ‘Nso Nso’ because he could never remember anybody’s name and always referred to this or that person as ‘so and so’. Just after the birth of their first daughter, Jendaya, Nso Nso succumbed to a severe bout of malaria. Jafaru had tried in vain to get the doctor in the closest town to visit them and dose him up with quinine, but as he was on a long trip in the bush collecting statistics for a World Health study, he could not be reached in time. Nso Nso was buried with full honours according to the African tradition, which included the slaughter of several goats and much dancing and beer drinking.
Jafaru was left on her own to bring up Jendaya. Moving to Que Que for a change of scenery. There was little known of Mr Julian’s relations back in England, and several people wondered if he had any at all. He had never talked about them.

Around the time Jendaya took her first tentative steps Jafaru caught the eye of another immigrant, a Scottish gold-miner and cattle-rancher called Robert McAllister Meikle, a colourful character whose nickname was ‘Chirikuri’ meaning ‘a man chewing tobacco inside the earth’. They married within six months of meeting and he became an excellent husband and stepfather to Jendaya, instilling in her a strong ethic in how to live a decent life. The combination of influences from her African mother and Scottish stepfather created her uniqueness amongst her peers.

Years later Les Abendstern saw Jendaya for the first time during his mid-twenties at a dance hall in the tiny town of Que Que in the midlands. It was love at first sight for both of them and they were married within three months. It would have been sooner but there were several hurdles to negotiate beforehand. Les’s father Aaron was born in Lithuania before the turn of the century, in 1898, and then he emigrated to Rhodesia before the start of World War I. After several years of training he became a Rabbi and earned his living serving the Jewish community in his neighbourhood, as well as doing statistical research work for various large institutions in the country to supplement his meager income.
The idea of a Rabbi’s son marrying out of the Jewish faith, and to a lady of colour, was a matter of considerable difficulty within his tightly knit community. Therefore it took some time to persuade them to accept such a possibility. Aaron’s stature as a man of immense knowledge and understanding of the Torah, Mishnah and Talmud, and his brilliant mathematical mind, enabled him to formulate a formidable argument that supported his point of view for Les’s choice of wife. After much debate the community eventually accepted his position, thus enabling the marriage to take place. Aaron then urged Les to marry Jendaya as soon as possible, concerned that the community might change their mind.
In this and all matters relating to the community, Aaron’s wife Sharon supported her husband and son in the best way she knew how, by going about her business in a dedicated manner, working tirelessly for charities and assisting the families with their myriad problems. She also took every opportunity amongst the community to make known her feelings of love and support for her daughter-in-law.
The wedding was a grand occasion attended by the whole Jewish community and by Jendaya’s widespread and varied extended family, all looking to take maximum advantage of the sumptuous feast laid out on the long tables covered in crisp white tablecloths. Rabbi Abendstern officiated, with help from the local Catholic priest, as Jendaya herself was a staunch Catholic. After a short but romantic honeymoon in a small and well-appointed cabin on the banks of the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls, they returned home. Shortly thereafter their son Hazael Abendstern came into the world. The year was 1948.