Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Excitement in a small town

Every corner you turned in the last few days you'll have heard talk of The Big Plane on the Small Runway.

'It was an emergency landing, they were running out of fuel'
'They got diverted to the wrong airport'
'The pilot got the wrong airstrip, he was meant to land at Kilimanjaro but turned the wrong way'
'There was a broken down plane at Kilimanjaro, he had to land here'
'I spoke to so-and-so who was on the plane...'
'I heard the comms between the pilot and the tower and....'

etc etc etc. Everyone a different story, everyone the expert.

The long and the short of it is that I was driving past the little airport on my way home the other day and saw this. No double take necessary. BAM, there she was! She stood out like a steak at a vegan party.(Vegans have parties? I hear you ask....Hmmm)

(This pic courtesy of umm, I forget - off the internet. Thanks and hope you don't mind whoever you are!)

This little airport usually services very light very small aircraft for tourists going to the Ngorongoro Crater or the Serengeti or Zanzibar. Planes like this

As I drove up the hill to our house I could still see it....

I believe what happened was that there was indeed a broken down plane on the runway at Kili. The pilot (of the big plane) was told to circle in the holding area and when he was told that it was clear to land he went the wrong way, and landed here instead of Kili.... I guess a full investigation will take place as to what actually happened.

Aaaanyway, the CROWDS of people for the next few days was unbelievable! It is usually a very quiet little road, gently ambling past the mountain but for the two days that the plane was on the ground was like Glastonbury or something. Without the rain.

The 200 plus passengers were stuck on the aircraft for 3 hours or so since there was no stairs big enough to get the off! Eventually they used the emergency slide I believe. 

There was much speculation as to how the plane was actually going to take off since the runway is way to short for a plane of that size. Rumour was they were going to take off at 6 in the morning. So I went over to the neighbour's house at dawn to watch. Keen eh? I have a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

 See Mt Meru in the foreground and Kilimanjaro behind?


There's kili. See the plane bottom left? 

In the end she didn't take off until noon, so I missed it as I had to be in town (I HATE missing out on this sort of thing!) There were more than 1000 people watching apparently and lots of friends videoed it so I didn't feel toooo left out! 

Here's a couple of vids from youtube here and here

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Oh hi there. Hello?


Agh, that's okay, I didn't expect a response anyway.

Hey, guess what? I'm on holiday! For a whooole month. And also guess what? I'm now a qualified teacher! (Hence the holiday!). Did I tell you that I've been studying to become a teacher? I know I've been super quiet this year. I've missed this spot. My little brain spill place. Ugh, that sounds gruesome. You know what I mean though, right?

I've just had a look at my sidebar thingy on my blog and see an alarming pattern. I started blogging in 2008.
2008 -  97 posts
2009 - 80 posts
2010 - 52 posts
2011 - 45 posts
2012 - 16 posts
2013 - 5 posts.

Must do better. Because I like it here.

This time last year I wrote a summary of my 2012. I wrote about how we had to drive up to Nairobi for my little 3 month old boy to have an operation on his temple. It was a small op, very routine (for a little blood vessel that had popped out of his skin and bled and bled and bled and bled), but it ripped my insides out having to see him go under general anesthetic. I wrote about ummmm, I can't remember what else I said actually  - 2012 seems such a long way away!

Anyway, I had this post ready on my computer to send next time we had internet access (we were in Zanzibar). On New Year's eve, though, my computer got redistributed. A 'very naughty man', to quote my daughter, cut the gauze to the little house we were staying in and dragged my computer and camera out the window with a very long stick. I love how kids interpret the world. The next morning we were looking at his tracks in the sand, reenacting the scene, having fun being detectives. This is the shard of glass he used to cut the gauze. This is the stick he used to drag the computer. These are the marks in the door where he must have used a crowbar to try and prize the door open. Lara however, was telling everyone that a very very tall green monster had tried to bite through the door with his teeth!

My point of this is that the 2012 recap of the year went with the computer. I'm fine with that.

So now for 2013. Shew, I've already written quite a lot though, haven't I? Let me save this for another day.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Whatever Happened to my Giraffe Skin trousers?

An old friend recently had his 50th and all his mates got together to write something up, put together some pictures etc together that was made into a book. This was my contribution.

When I was a little girl I had a friend called Jake.

Sometimes we’d go shooting guineafowl, or just head off behind the pan, lean up against a warm red termite mound and do some good old target practice. He likes his guns does our Jake. I marveled at his homemade gun rack in his little wooden-upstairs house, all the guns standing to tired attention like soldiers. The whitewashed walls of his little cowboy house, set on the banks of the hungry Luangwa, with pictures of injuns and piebald horses. Strips of leather here and there. I was amazed at his handwriting, how small and neat.  He gave
me a pair of cowboy boots. I wore them through.  And that pink little knife I'd wear around my neck. Remember my pink knife?

One day Jake came to the ruins and said to me ‘lets go for a bike ride to the island’. So we set off, Jake with his pump action shotgun in a homemade leather sheath strapped to the side of his bike, me on my Suzuki 185 that I’d painted black with an 80’s shocking pink stripe (cringe). So we set off across the dambo and into the ebony trees on the other side, under the winterthorns that catch the light in that magical way.

And in a little clearing we saw a fresh giraffe carcass. All noble and dignified and… well… dead. So we stopped, propped our bikes up on their stands and studied this creature, all teenager-esque gangly legs and loose skin. Jake pulled out his knife and started skinning it. As you do. 
‘I wonder what giraffe tastes like’ he said
‘Pretty good’ I said, gnawing on a bit of rubbery nyama.

So we skinned the giraffe’s legs and they made a most excellent pair of trousers. They fit perfectly. I pasted them onto my legs, and strutted around the clearing proudly, I know the fashion houses of Paris and Milan would have been jealous of those trousers. They were a little sticky and pretty heavy but for a brief moment I was Queen of
the Catwalk.

And we hopped back on our bikes with my new trousers slung over the handlebars and when we got back to the ruins we hung them up in the old sausage tree to dry.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Decapitating Barbie

They’re funny ol things, our children. In some respects my first born, Lara, is just like me – that stubborn gene has pushed its way through the generations refusing to get watered down with time. It sometimes feels like walking smack-straight into a glass door coming into contact with her willfulness. And her stubbornness against mine is like the clash of the Titans (I’m not convinced that’s the right metaphor but it sounds good).
We have lots of other things in common; we’re both pretty quirky (sometimes downright odd), when we are focused on something no amount of enticing conversation or shouting will break our concentration and (I’m told) we’re both super-melodramatic.

Where we differ however is the girliness, the pinkness if you will. When I was a little girl I was desperate to be a boy. Desperate. My best friend was a boy called Johnny and we’d have weeing competitions up against the fence – him with his willy and me with my makeshift one – a dishwashing liquid bottle full of water. I had serious penis envy. I made up a song that I sang through most of my childhood:
‘I wish I was a boy but I’m not one really,
I wear boys’ clothes but I’m not one really,
I act like a boy but I’m not one really…’ and so on ad infinatum

My daughter however is a princess. A full-blown, pink (dark pink, please) long haired, fluttery eyed princess. She wears the same dark pink ‘one heart thing’ ballerina dress every. Single. Day. If for some reason that one is out of circulation (like ummm being washed?) then she has a 'many heart thing' on standby. Another ballerina type dress but this one pale pink with many hearts making up a big heart in the middle. It's second best because it's not dark pink and because it doesn't have built in chuppies (pants). But in a fix it will do.

It was her fourth birthday last week. She wanted a ballerina/princess cake. Oh how I laughed. Themed birthday cakes are not in my repertoire of skills. Nor is baking, frankly. Then a friend said it was really easy, just make a cake, decorate it pink and stick a Barbie on the top. She even lent me a suitable baking dish thingy. So we gave it a go, my daughter and I. It wasn’t much to look at if you compare it to some and it tasted pretty odd. As I say baking is not my forte (I have other talents) and the butter for the icing was pretty cheesy but I was mightily impressed with the outcome. We had to decapitate Barbie (actually cut her off at the waist – is there a word for that?) which I must admit was possibly more satisfying than it should have been. And taking her torso out the cake later, all covered in red-pink icing was really quite deliciously gruesome.


She looks rather terrified, doesn’t she? But I suppose I would too if my hair was that flammable and had candles in such close proximity….

....and after. 

I hope I haven't set a precedent (the cake baking that is, not the barbie severing)... 

The long abandoned picture window. Now our view is not only blocked by thorn trees but also a great big trampoline! Lucky lucky Lara got a trampoline for her birthday from my parents-in-law. Gertu, Julie and I were all gung-ho about setting it up. 'We can do this! We're girls but just you watch, we don't need any help from any men!' Until we got to the brute force bit and I sheepishly had to wait for Mark to come back from work to finish it off.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Some kind of a catch up

Oh hi there!

I'm still here.

Even if you're not...

I imagine you've got a bit bored at staring at the same old page and have shuffled off to more interesting pastures. I don't blame you really.

My computer got stolen in January and I could say that's why I've been so absent here, but we both know that's not true, hey?

I couldn't possibly sum up all that's been going on in one post. Oh that sounds like I've been jet-setting and galavanting. No, no, I've just been here in this increasingly restless little town. Mothering and studying. Studying and mothering.

This small princess never-ever takes this dress off. (I don't know why I can't get this the right way up).

We have to peel it off her at night to wash and it's dry by the next morning. It's the first thing she says in the morning 'I want to wear Hannah's One Heart dress' Yes, you see it's not even hers. Poor old Hannah has long since given up ever seeing it again , and has gone off to South Africa to find herself a new one. I used to try and fight it but now I just let it be.

Much like the drama students that I'm teaching at the moment (or should I say learning to teach). The drama room's floor is all springy and soft and I used to try and make them all sit at their desks but now, a week from the end of term I don't give a @:>~, sit on the damn floor, I'll join you.

And this, this pretty much sums up our boy.

Also featured in our household is Larry the cat who spends most of his time sitting on my motorbike seat. He uses it as a scratching post - another thing I've given up fighting. Oh dear...does this say something??

In other news.....I went to the hairdresser the other day and said 'Do what you want'. And this is what she did:

Scuze the terribly posed pictures! 

Altho maybe you don't know what I looked like before so can't see the difference. Blond, no fringe. Actually I went blue in December, and magenta a bit before that. Did I show you those pictures? Do you think I'm having an early mid-life crisis? Naaa, I've always been a bit like this. Maybe I'll dig up some old pics and have a 'many faces of Miranda hair'...that sounds all wrong but you know what I mean...

Anyway, then I found these pictures of my mom, circa late 60's. Rather uncanny, no? 

So my dear, I must be off. I hope you amble back here at some point but if not, I completely understand.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mother's day lions

Lara: Happy muvvers day mummy
Me: Thanks Lara!
Lara: Did you get a lion?
Me: I did!
Lara: Can I see it?

Monday, January 28, 2013

The big Re-tox

Doing a detox in January is SO 90s. I even managed to rope a couple of people into joining me. We started on Monday and by Wednesday we were all SO over it!

On Wednesday evening I wrote on the fridge with those magnetic letters

'Detox be damned'

and I woke up on Thursday morning to

'Retox cmaaaaaan!'

So on Thursday we ate meat and chocolate and drank copious amounts of beer and wine. Just to make up for lost time.

Have you noticed I've started talking like a teenager? I'm doing a teacher training course this year and the past two weeks I've been following around secondary school students in their classes. Those poor kids, man. Can you remember it? School is sooooo boring. From one lesson to the next, hard chairs, watching the clock until the next lesson. It's good to remember this. There must be another solution, surely? I sat in some Maths classes and all of it went COMpletely over my head! I must have studied Algebra but I remember NOTHING - was completely outdone by a bunch of 13 year olds!

Aaanyway, so this teacher training course will either mean you'll see even less of me than you have been these days or much more as I should be writing assignemts etc. Procrastination is a strength of mine.

On that note. Better dash.