Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Is Peppa Pig actually tanzanian?

According to the Mancub

"In the little rainy season Peppa and George have to wear their rainhats and George says YUK!"

Just picturing this child returning to a UK primary school and being labelled 'backward' beacause he doesn't know what Spring, Autumn, Summer and Winter are...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Today I finished the last session of the course on Basic Counselling Skills which I have been attending. One afternoon a week for 8 weeks. It's been fascinating, hard work, rewarding and a great chance to do something unrelated to husband and children (although it will certainly help with both!)

Mr B is away this week so tonight a friend and baby came over, also missing husband for the week. Nice time chatting and eating very yummy Merci chocolates which we received in 'payment' for the Mancub's old cot which we have given away. I think the baby is used to a quiet and calming bedtime routine, but did manage to get to sleep after a raucous meal, two children racing around naked and shouting "I'm a gingerbread man" after their bath and various other, definitely un-quiet, moments.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Blue Heron

As we've mentioned, the Blue Heron is definitely our favourite cafe in Arusha. Yesterday I was there twice - perhaps a little excessive. Having reluctantly left N&N's wonderful, beautiful and peaceful place we headed there for lunch as Kitty was very keen to see the visiting clown. In actual fact the clown left both kids fairly unmoved, but Kitty enjoyed the face-painting. After heading home to shower, bath, play and get kids to bed, I headed out for a 'ladies night out' back at the Blue Heron. Very nice. Good food, chilled live music, good company and not a child or husband in sight. Ahhh!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Bush birds and farming friends

We headed off yesterday evening to friends who have a farm about 30mins west of Arusha, for a night camping their garden (in their rather nice safari tent, mind, so not roughing it too much!) and a morning to enjoy the garden and farm around about. Many nice birds in their garden:
Spotted Morning Thrushes always wake us in the bush

This little guy was enjoying the nectar - always stunning!

Northern Pied Babbler are very common in their garden

These guys are seriously tiny!

Why do you think someone decided to call it Grey Woodpecker?

Bit more obvious why this is an African Grey Flycatcher

And this clearly must be a Beautiful Sunbird!
Highlight for the kids though, was exploring the farm and getting to ride on Posh Paws- first time for Kitty on a horsey thing since 18month old on a Shetland pony in, well, Shetland I think...

"I can get dung beetles to roll their dung right through my legs!"

Also rather cute in the evening was this little chappy:

Not quite sure who he is, but very cleary a baby at about 17cm!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rain, party and more pics of cousins

Yesterday afternoon it rained. Last night it rained. This morning it rained. Not light rain. No .We filled up a few 15 litre bottles from the roof run off in a couple of minutes.

At lunchtime we ventured out in the car, driving down a river our road, picking our way through rubbish washed out of the 3ft deep storm drains and onto the main roads and swerving through the mud on the Old Moshi road to get to our friend K's birthday. Definitely worth it! Lovely food, great company and wonderful entertainment in the form of the kids dancing in musical bumps.

While I was sorting through pics I found a few more of the Mountain cousins and the Mancub from their recent visit to add.

And one of the Mancub cuddling his 'best friend' (for that day at least).

Friday, 18 March 2011


We have, we'll be there on the dates as advertised. And I'll be able to give my talk. Somthing like this I expect! We'll be in touch to sort out visiting times...

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Almost booked...

So, having had furthe reassurances from the lawyers we decided to go for it and book travel back to UK for April. And we would have managed had the bank not stopped my card for me... It's now ready to go, but I can't get Ethiopian Airlines' website to get me back to my nearly completed booking now, so it will have to wait until their technical desk gets to work tomorrow... Meantime, we're confident we'll arrive in UK on Sat 9th April and are fairly confident that when we leave UK on 30th April, we'll be allowed back in to the country on 1st May! Will have to sort out lots of visits rather quickly now...

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Sports day

Sports day at school this morning - the Mancub joined in too, with Mama, the Mancub and Kitty all in the same red team. From what I understand there was lots of treasure gathering, a bit of bashing with rolled up newspapers (sady no pictures there though) and assorted races. All I know is the pictures, and as Mama B is currently secluded in the living room with six other mothers all enjoying a meeting of the eratic anarchist book club (and a few bottles of wine) that's all you'll get by way of explanation too...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Long weekend

So Kitty's half-term break occurred and we all had lots of fun - felt like more than just a couple of days too, which is always good. We had a slightly delayed start on Saturday morning, when I remembered I'd not managed to get my flat tyre repaired and during which time Kitty managed to lose her second tooth:

But once that was done we picked up on other (A, who I used to work with in Aberdeen and who has accompanied us on a couple of other trips), then met the other family just coming for the day en route. For anyone else wanting to find their way to Maji Moto (hot water), it's easy enough for the first bit - drive to Boma Ng'ombe, 10 mins East of the international airport and head south on a track just a few m east of the road to Sanya Juu. There's only one track that really leaves the town in that direction, so if you get a km or two you're probably on the right road! Once you hit the railway after about 11km pick up someone who'll give you directions for the last 5kms. And Maji Moto is certainly worth visiting - seems like some enchanted glade, with the fig trees and palm trees shouding the crystal clear spring water - you'd never know the dry bush all around was an environmental disaster zone!
Mama demonstrates fearless monkey antics and makes impressive splashes...

When we got there a group of Austrian tourists were already in place, but we still got a nice spot and enjoyed a peaceful swim before a group of familiar faces from Arusha turned up with 15 children in tow! The rest of the day was quite noisy, with lots of very happy children (and adults) enjoying picnics, swiming, climbing and swinging - much fun had by all.
Daddy takes the plunge...

Eventually though the day trippers left and we put our tent up with just the four of us. Marshmallows (or Marsh-Melons if you ask the Mancub) were toasted, children put to bed and the fireflies came out, a genet ran along the branch in front of us, and a greater galago (bush baby) put in an appearance behind. All very nice. We even experimented with the extra slow shutterspeeds avaialble on the new camera...
Mama encounters stange animal and carrot at 15secs...
Fireflies make stange trails too

Sunday morning was beautifully peaceful with lots more swimming, a little exploring for the Mancub and I (with one or two nice birds to report - Pygmy kingfishers were fun around the tent, the dry bush had Rufous Chatterer and a very obliging Slender-tailed Nightjar,
Pygmy Kingfisher
Brown-breasted Barbet in nest
Slender-tailed nightjar are hard to spot suring the day!

whilst all the northern migrants were on their way (swallows and sand martins gathering on the only power line for miles around!) and African silverbill was always nice to see - widespread but often rather scarce.

We struck camp, had lunch and one last swim before heading off on the next stage of the adventure, meeting other friends at Simba Farm, a working farm of about 3500acres on the western slopes of Kili where we'd booked into the guesthouse for a night. The guesthouse is actually the original farmhouse, built in 1924 - rather more rustic than a lot of accommodation in Tanzania, but the beds were big (huge!) and comfortable, and it was a novelty to be cold in the evening again!

After exploring the garden for a bit, the rain up on the mountain managed to hold off long enough for us to head out for sundowners in the open vehicle they have at the farm, where three girls had a fun time on the back seat and we enjoyed spectacular views of the rain on the plains below as the sun set.

Kids fed and in bed, we enjoyed a lovely meal of farm produce before hitting the sack. And Monday we had a lovely walk to the river in the forest just behind the farmhouse - more Colobus were waiting for us, whilst Mountain and Cabanis's Greenbul offered more subtle highlights.

Coming back to the farm via the market garden where the crop pests soon found the most yummy strawberries,
a quick jump on a tractor for one happy boy,
and lots of animals to play with too.
All good fun. And then time to enjoy the gardens and toys before a late lunch and eventually time to go home.
Butterfly sp. Trust me, I'm an ornithologist...
Check the ponsettia too!

Just like Portugal, but you can count them!
Only somewhat spoiled by Mama being violently ill most of the way home and heading straight to bed on arrival, and myself only just managing to keep going until about 1min after getting kids to bed before I too succombed! Happily it seemed a rather short-lived thing, just leaving us both a bit shaky today.

As a final note, today I spent the morning hunting for internet access, then being summoned to the lawyers to be given THE LETTER! There was indeed a letter, but not saying exactly what I'd thought it would say - guaranteeing only our safe departure from Tanzania, and not (specifically) our return. The lawyers are confident, however, that that won't be necessary and we'll just be able to come in on Tourist visas when we turn up again, no problem. I'm still not 100% convinced (just as an aside, to any of our more recent visitors, were there computerised records made of your arrival and departure at KIA?), but think we might just have to take it on faith...