Sunday, 6 December 2009


Well, it's Sunday night after an action-packed weekend of socialising. On Saturday I failed to rehearse for the Christmas 'Opera' I am performing in next week. The rehearsal time had been changed but no one had informed me so I arrived just as everyone else was leaving and just as the rest of the family were sitting down to a nice lunch at home. I probably haven't mentioned this star-studded performance yet but I have been delighted to get straight into some good singing. Arusha Community Church, where we seem to have washed up, is putting on 2 performances of Amahl and the Night Visitors this week  - a one act Christmas 'opera' about an overnight stop of the 3 Kings on their way to visit the new-born King. I get to be a shepherd (i.e.chorus). There is also a carol service on 22nd December so yet more singing - hurrah!

Anyway, after returning home for a quick sandwich, we headed out to our first social engagement of the weekend: an afternoon at the home of one of Kitty's classmates. The two of them had seemed to get on well at school (they are known as the two talkative ones...) and they had a wonderful afternoon together, playing very happily with very little input from the grownups for about 6 hours. The family turned out to live in the middle of the forest on the lower slopes of Mount Meru. The directions went something like:

Drive out to Usa (about 40 mins from us, mostly on 'good' road although with some lethal speed bumps)
Turn left at the sign for the Dik Dik hotel and carry on that road (aka very bumpy dirt track) for some way
Turn right at the sign for the hotel
Follow that road downhill and through the river
After a long sweeping bend you get to a series of Y juntions.
Go L, L, R, R, L
And you'll get to our 'garage'

During the L, L, R, R, L, which was in dense forest along a track that was basically two parallel lines of bare earth amidst the vegetation, we did debate one potential Y juntion but decided it wasn't really a track...

To give them credit, we did get there first time.

(It was vaguely reminiscent of the directions we had in Tarangire National Park, which involved turning left at the sand river, just past the Baobab tree with the broken branch.)

Anyway, despite our musings along the way, the journey did turn out to be extremely worthwhile. It was a beautiful (or "funny posh" according to Kitty) house in an amazing location, with a friendly family, pool with a bar onside, BBQ laid on for dinner and Hornbils and Owls in the garden.... As Kitty commented when we were leaving and our hosts politely said "do come again":  "yes we will and we'll stay in the guest house next time!" We returned in the dark, dodging cats and dogs and inebrietated locals (and uninebriated locals) and taking over an hour to wend our way home.

Today we had a worrying start to the day when the Mancub had a revolting nappy and suddenly flagged at church, coming over all cold and clammy, miserable and tired and falling asleep in my arms after a bit of wailing. We came home early and put him to bed. He was no better or worse after a nap so we headed out for our late lunch engagement with a friends who have also arrived recently and have just moved into their own house. I'm not sure if it was the paracetamol or the turkey dinner that did it, but he perked up and had a lovely time after a while, running barefoot through the freshly dug vegetable beds and shoving his cars under the nose of the long-suffering totoise "toitoi see car!" He was still rather clammy at bedtime but remaining cheerful, so here's hoping and praying for a short-lived thing.

Oh, and we tried out the oven this morning with one batch of chocolate raisin jumbles successfully baked, enough for a box for us and a box to take as an offering this afternoon. Now we're really settled in!

I failed to get any decent photos of the weekend's activities, but here are a few from last week, before the move. The Mancub is definitely into books these days, even when they don't have tractors in, but tame Elands you can feed are good too.



  1. How are your children and how are your sheep?

  2. All the children have mumps! All the flocks are asleep...

    p.s. for those non-Amahl-initiates, the kids are actually fine.....

  3. I see Emma is studying carefully the bit on being nice to your parents (don't remember the stuff on tractors, though).

    Freezing here in Aberdeenshire today. Barbaric climate. The sparrows have resorted to eating peanuts and even the sheep look cold.