Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas and Boxing day fun

We've just enjoyed two fun-filled days and swapped one grandma for a wicked uncle. Christmas started here with a little boy arriving in our room:

Mancub: "Can I watch a DVD?"
Mama B: "Do you know what day it is?"
Mancub: "No..."
Mama B: "It's Christmas day! Do you think Father Christmas has been?"

And that was that! Happily Father Christmas had been (as evidenced by crumbs in the tray, drink and carrot gone - though Kitty was starting talking about setting camera traps for him next year, which might be entertaining...) and stockings were soon being opened on Mama and Daddy's bed.

After breakfast a few more presents were opened from under the tree, which much excitement. Hapily after a couple were opened they had to be played with and a pause allowed us to head for Church where we recruited two others for Christmas lunch, which was very good. Lunch consisted of (somewhat burnt, ooops) red snapper in filo parcels with assorted trimmings (Mama B had even hunted down some nasty parsnips to roast). And Christmas pudding, of course, which it's always good to introduce to Americans. More unwrapping happened at some point too, can't quite remember where... We then enjoyed a lazy afternoon playing with presents and digesting, plus a couple of (rather poor quality, but appreciated none the less!) skype sessions with family elsewhere.

The Mancub loves sticking bits on his jewled box!

Tasted lovely, of course...
 Boxing Day was a change over day - Wicked Uncle J actually arrived in TZ on Christmas night at about 11pm, but we left him to the airport lodge for the night. Meanwhile Grandma packed her bags and we left Boxing Day morning to collect from the lodge and head on to Maji Moto for the day, before dropping Grandma back at the airport on the way home again. Much fun was had by all - a good last/first day I think and the pictures should tell the story!

Kitty loved swinging on the palms...

Wicked Uncle J exercised against the current

Can you see who's jumping on the swing?



"again, again" Maybe wait for Daddy to pop up too...

But it was Kitty's solo swings that surprised us most!

Mama (eventually) took the leap of doom

Wicked Uncle seemed uncertain...

But took the plunge too!

Oh, and in case you were wondering the Christmas eve party was great fun - I think about 60 came and between them ate a comfortable 70 mince pies and drank 7L of mulled wine. Just as well some brought food with them too!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas preparations - Guest blog!

It's such a pleasure to be part of the run up to Christmas involving children. We've been to collect the tree from a roadside venue non too specific either in space or time but with the opportunity whilst waiting for a good coffee at the Snowcrest Hotel. The tree was a good metre taller than requested but proved a fine specimin when reduced by that amount with Mr. B's machete, the lower branches producing the basic constituents of Christmas wreaths. Tree decorating was an absorbing activity for everyone and  at bedtime we had a last look in the night darkness with only the tree lights glowing, a magical memory.

Kitty designed the holly!!! Mancub, the central star

Fluffies, cars and Kitty the angel in her nightie

The Fluffies in a dramatic presentation directed, produced and orchestrated by Kitty -A masterpiece- The Guardian

Mancub swam the width of the Safari lodge pool today in his swim vest, also underwater. Kitty is so confident in the water now it is a pleasure to take them both swimming. We're counting down the days till Christmas with the aid of 6 advent calenders, two traditional, two chocolate, one playpeople and one on the computer which is lovely. It's getting more exciting every day. It's party day tomorrow and we've made mince pies, gingerbread men and florentines. We've bought the ingredients for mulled wine and fingerfood.
Looking forward to roast rufus tailed weaver bird and stuffing, parsnips, roast potatoes and Christmas pud on the day. Will let you know!    Happy Christmas all ye out there. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Eyasi and Serengeti again!

So, I've quickly sorted some of the several hundred photos from our trip to Eyasi and Serengeti. As usual the story is best told by the photos themselves, I think:
The pool at Eyasis is still a firm favourite!

But climbing the rock for sundowners was appreciated too.

Mama and Grandma joined the Hazabe early the next morning

Yumm, Blue-naped Mousebird!

Mousebird and squirrel roasting nicely.

Not much meat on a squirrel

But it's very tasty!

More hunting...

Then fun times on the mudflats

And with the family of the new teachers - sprinklers are great!

Sundowners on the tower aren't bad either
Unfortunately the cloud was down as we drove up the escarpment road, and I didn't get any good shots from the forest where I had a new bird (getting to be a rare event in these parts now!) - a rather non-descript Brown Parisoma...

The migration was on the plains once we hit Serengeti though - always a highlight

Mama and Grandma got up very early for a baloon flight

You load in the basket horizontally...

BUt once upright it's great!

Spot the hippo!

And yes, you can have too much champagne for breakfast!

Seronera was rather quiet for wildlife though - too much rain

Serengeti is very pretty though, even if the beasts are elsewhere

We were at Dunia Camp (Moru Kopjes) for it's 2nd birthday

Much partying for all!

Here's the camp in the dry.

and lots of nice lions around Moru, all to ourselves (even one briefly hunting reedbuck, which was nice.

Gong rocks were good for a stop

Happily, we got Grandma her leopard too, even if it was a bit of a runt...

That's a wee big enough for an elephant!

Heuglin's Coursers are rather smart

Topi are always smart

And some of our fans need giraffe shots!

We even found some cheetah on our way out, not far from camp

Despite the sun in all the photos, it was incredibly wet and road conditions were, well, challenging! Happily, we didn't get stuck, but we did have lots of fun and did some good slipping and sliding. And drove through a few rivers...

Steel-blue Whydah are always rather nice!

And Usambiro Barbet is a good Serengeti endemic