Thursday, 31 May 2007

Mighty meets Mouse!

Dexter's impression of a Rottweiller! All mutter and no mangle LOL
Gemma just looks a bit puzzled!

Let's Rock & Roll!

As promised - the king! Elvis (posh name Castle Rock) strutting his stuff in a training session. Still young and 'playful', we have high hopes for his future in show jumping.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Last but definitely not least!

Named by the girl child for that famous Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris likes to take life in a relaxed and easy way.
A likeable young man, despite his propensity to kill pot plants and toilet rolls.
Like all teenagers, he NEEDS his sleep!

Another member of the family

Gemma the rescue Great Dane - more brains in there than you might think :)


OK so now I am really annoyed! I am fed up with this invasion of my privacy and this assumption that some ignorant pig person feels they have the right to send me this crap, UNASKED FOR, through my mail box! I am fed up with weird emails in Japanese (I think!), 'confirmations' of my orders of pills and potions, offers of fabulous 'special offers', notifications of mythical lottery winnings and, most of all, PORN!

This morning when I checked my email I had one asking me if I was happy in bed??? Of course I am you stupid, ignorant, twit! I have a fantastic kingsize bed with sealy posturpeadic mattress and all the trimmings that go with it, including a snoring husband/hot water bottle!

I also had one informing me that I had won an amazing prize in some lottery - a little odd considering I have never entered an on-line lottery in my life? Thank goodness I don't actually have a credit card number to give you, so I am not even tempted to be the complete moron you think I am! And, just out of curiosity, if my order for 'long life, wrinkle free, spot cream is ready, how exactly did I order it without said credit card?

Surely this rubbish is as much an invasion of privacy as any other and should be punishable under the law? Did I ask for this crap? NO - I DID NOT! Mostly it started after I did one of the stupidest things in my internet life - I joined a couple of survey companies! Do you think I can get them to un-subscribe me from all the lists they have given my email add to? Do you think I can stop them from harassing me day and night? Do you think I can sue them for giving my email add to some pervert who wants to know about my bedroom habits?

It seems not! It seems all I can do is delete them unread and stand here on my soapbox and RANT! And having ranted, move on - lol

Coffee anyone? Think I might just have a ham sandwich to go with that?

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Nothing happened.......

Nothing happened much today.
I planted some flowers,
and trimmed the hedge,
and thought of summer showers.

I chatted to my friends today.
I bathed the dog,
and brushed his coat,
and sat in the sun on the log.

I watched the birds fly high today.
I heard them sing,
and put out seeds,
and ignored my cell phone ring.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

A Mother/Daughter Moment :)

Meeting next to the fridge is a fairly normal place for me and the girl child - me hunting for the cheesecake and her looking for the nutrello! Are all teenagers perpetually hungry?
Yes, that door frame in the background REALLY is that cockeye!

Memories of Rhodesia - Final Part

(don't forget to read Part 1 & 2 first)

It took about three months to decide that I preferred being on the other side of the bar and that, at some point, I simply had to get some sleep! I remember waking up at six in the morning, dragging myself into the bar to do the stock check in preparation for a 10am opening, sleeping (if I was lucky) between 2-4pm and then being on my feet until closing time at 11pm. There was always a ‘private’ party to carry on with after closing time and more often than not, I would be lucky to crawl into bed around 4am. Even with the resilience of youth, it became an impossible lifestyle to keep up. So when a vacancy in the District Commissioner’s office became available, I jumped at the opportunity to improve my position.

Although many of my memories are of the more humourous side of living in a country that was being torn apart by an ever escalating conflict, joining a department of the Internal Affairs was to bring home to me the very real threat that we were living under.

My first ‘official position’ was the issuing of fuel coupons. Due to economic sanctions, Rhodesia had been under fuel rationing for several years and a very strict rationing system was in place. With the ‘make do’ attitude of the population at that time, it was seen as annoying but necessary and almost a national sport to try and diddle the system if you could! My job was to make sure that a fair and even distribution of resources was carried out. Being that Karoi was a very small town and that everyone knew everyone, it became a game to see how imaginative your claims for extra fuel could be and whether you could get one over the young and inexperienced person dealing with it. I toughened up a lot in those first few weeks!

By 1977/78, the whole world seemed to be ‘trying to resolve the Rhodesia issue’. We were a defiant, loyal and rowdy bunch, convinced of our right to be an independent country and refusing to back down. I remember our contempt for the people who ‘took the chicken run’ and left the country, tired of the fighting and trying to keep their families together under the stress. I remember our utter conviction that we were right and that we would never give in. I remember going to the police firing range and learning to protect myself with a variety of weapons, an old sten gun sticks in my mind. Old and tired and really should have been retired, it had a propensity to jam on a regular basis and required tactful handling!

Despite the increasing hit and run attacks on outlying farms, I moved on to a smallholding just outside town with the offer of free accommodation in return for keeping an eye on the place when the owner was away. By this time any property outside the town limits was secured with eight foot fences, floodlights and, on some of the more remote farms, illegally fitted ‘booby traps’. These would range from landmines around the perimeter of the garden to claymores attached to the fence and anything in between. Gates were locked before dark and families stayed indoors until daylight. Farms were linked by a permanent radio contact, the idea being that if one farm was attacked; those living in close proximity could come to their aid.

I still clearly remember the night when the radio alarm went off. I remember sitting next to it listening to a farm under attack. I remember the chilling calmness of a woman’s voice describing the shooting of her husband as he went to lock the gates for the night. I remember her voice explaining how she and the children were in the house under fire and needing ‘immediate assistance’. I remember hearing gunshots in the background and I remember the gut wrenching helplessness I felt as tears rolled down my face. I remember anger - red, hot, fierce anger - and despair. I remember growing up.

It was not long after this that, at my parent’s insistence, I moved back home for a brief period. About two weeks later, Karoi town was mortared. Fortunately, their aim wasn’t particularly good and very little damage was done – one of the worst casualties being, I believe, the fountain in the Karoi Hotel’s front garden!


Loafing around at home in Salisbury soon lost its attractions. Once again I felt the need to be independent so when a job offer came up in Umtali, I was quick to accept. My parents, having given up the battle, just shook their heads in resignation and waved as I left.

I remember my first view of Umtali nestling at the bottom of the Christmas Pass. It was a pretty town, situated on the Mozambique/Rhodesia border. It was here that I was to get my first taste of the dreaded ‘when-we’ syndrome!

Up until the Portuguese had surrendered to military and political pressure to hand the country over, Beira (a coastal town within a few hours drive) had been the favourite playground of the Umtali residents. Since the border had been closed, they really seemed incapable of generating any other form of entertainment. Nearly every conversation would start with the words - ’When we used to go to Beria…….’ After the fun and energy of the people I had spent time with in Karoi, they seemed a rather dreary bunch.

I remember the infamous Bhadella’s, the wool shop that sold sardines! I also remember the start of the ‘sneaky bomb’ attacks, where the enemy would carry bombs into shops and leave them to go off on time fuses. Fortunately they were more often than not so badly constructed; they caused little damage to either property or persons. But I do remember when Bhadella’s roof blew off late one Sunday evening, scattering wool and sardines to the elements. It was the subject of much discussion and hilarity for several weeks. It also was the start of compulsory bag searches for everyone entering a public building.

It was during this time that political pressure was beginning to tell and that the idea of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia was born. It was doomed from the start to be an unworkable idea but I remember the endless discussions and the spark of hope that this could be the midway answer to the problem. It never had the backing of the international community but we had faith in our fearless leader, Ian Smith, who had led us thus far and were prepared to continue to support him. I remember it being a time of unease and uncertainty and a time of taking stock.

I remember being in Umtali during the last mortar attack on the town. Umtali had been mortared several times in the past with very little significant damage having been inflicted. In true Rhodesian style, it was treated rather casually and with a certain sense of humour. I remember watching the mortars lighting up the sky with a great deal of excitement, having never seen anything like it before! I don’t remember feeling any sense of fear but I do remember being shouted at to get inside and to stop being so bloody stupid!

I remember the conversations the following day discussing the damage and the anger that one had landed on the golf course at which a tournament was scheduled for the weekend and the amusement that one had landed in someone’s newly built swimming pool! It was like that, we were a tough lot and life went on. Humour was often our best defence.

After much internal political wrangling and negotiation, elections were duly held and Zimbabwe-Rhodesia was born. Since both Joshua Nkoma’s ZAPU and Robert Mugabe’s ZANU parties refused to take part and Britain refused to acknowledge the validity of the elections without them, it was a completely wasted effort as a compromise. The country struggled on for one more year before external pressure forced a realization that we had no choice but to accept one or the other as the future of a country that we had all given so much for. It was a bitter blow! I remember the anger and the fear of the unknown, I remember the friends that just disappeared in the night, without even a goodbye. I remember a national mourning for family and friends who had given their lives for an ideal and I remember the bitter feelings of betrayal as we watched the Rhodesian flag come down the flagpole for the last time to be replaced by the Union Jack as an interim colonial government was put in place to supervise the forthcoming elections that would, finally and irrevocably, bring to an end a country that we had believed in so strongly and had been prepared to die for.

I remember crying.
and that's it folks - appreciate all your supportive remarks :)

3D Grafitti.....?

Milton Keynes has its 'Concrete Cows' - we have 'Zany Zebras'! This is part of some decorative sculpture done by local artists and placed along the roadside and roundabouts for the motorists delight. Quite an 'eye-catcher' don't you think?

Oops - sorry, didn't see you coming into the roundabout on my right, I was too busy animal spotting!

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Memories of Rhodesia - Part 2

(have you read Part 1?)


The memory foremost in my mind is of long days and boring computer printouts! My first job was in the ‘waste’ department of one of the local banks and, to this day, I am still not sure why the department was so called. As the most junior of juniors (I was the youngest employee in the bank), my job consisted of carrying enormous metal filing ‘drawers’ from the strong room to my desk, placed at the furthest point from the strong room as possible. Into which, part of my daily chores was to file, in alphabetical order, the hundreds of cheques used daily by our account holders. Having spent most of my morning doing this, I then had to pull them out again, tick them off the print out, check them against the statements and stuff the whole lot into envelopes ready for posting.

Dress codes in the banking world in 1974 were very strict. We were expected to wear a uniform (hideous!) and stockings every day. There was no room for individuality and any transgressions were strictly dealt with by the Head of Department, a fierce lady who, in retrospect, made my school teachers look pretty tame. Never-the-less, I embraced the concept of being a working girl with great enthusiasm and was soon offered a promotion to the much more up market Computer Department where I was initiated into the wonderful world of data capture with promises of full training.

The computer industry in 1974 was still in its infancy and in Rhodesia, a country at war with itself and suffering the effects of sanctions, the industry was even further behind. I remember being very proud that our bank was the only one besides the Reserve Bank that had the ‘latest’ interlink keyboard to disc system. You typed all the information into your station, which was automatically stored in the large ‘square box’ next door, this information then being downloaded once a day onto a disc (not dissimilar in appearance to a ‘discus’) which was removed and taken to the computer room and downloaded onto the mainframe. We also still had the old Burroughs paper tape machines and one ancient manual ‘punch machine’ that still used paper cards.


Life in Rhodesia in 1974 was pretty wild. The country had been in isolation since its declaration of UDI in 1965 and the resultant war was slowly escalating. For us it was a ‘terrorist’ war, for the militant ZANU and ZAPU forces it was a ‘guerrilla’ war. I don’t intend to go into the rights and wrongs of the matter here, suffice to say that being a teenager in Rhodesia at that time was no guarantee of living to a ripe old age.

Most of my boyfriends were doing their National Service, a compulsory two year stint in the army starting at the age of 18. Young boys very quickly became young men and young soldiers on R&R from their time defending the borders were a wild and impulsive lot. It was a time of drinking too much, partying all night and dragging oneself into work the next day. Not exactly the life I would want for my 17 year old daughter but the life that was ‘normal’ for the times we lived in.

I remember those times with nostalgia. We were a tightly knit group, pulling together in a common cause (which we were sure was a good cause) and there was a camaraderie that transcended all differences in background, education and personality. Sometimes one of the group would go away and not come back and this brought us even closer together and made us party just that little bit harder.


It must have been around my 18th birthday when I decided to leave home and take on a job as a barmaid in a small town called Karoi. My parents were pretty horrified but I was fed up with the banking world and thought being a barmaid would be fun. Looking back now, I realise that my parents were worried sick for my safety, Karoi was right in the middle an escalating war zone, a farming area not far south of the border between Zambia and Rhodesia.

It had a permanent military base where the men on call up arrived at the beginning of their ‘stint in the bush’ and left from after the compulsory six weeks. By this time, every able bodied man under the age of 40 was required to do his time defending his country. The normal was six weeks in and six weeks out – all the while trying to fall back into a normal life during his six weeks out, going back to his job and trying to hold his family together. There were several different options for military service, from joining the Reserve Police or Internal Affairs military wing to being a ‘troupie’ in the Regular Army.

It was against this background that I arrived in Karoi and ventured forth on one of the most exciting times of my life. It was a time of irresponsible good fun shadowed by moments of deep sadness and, occasionally, fear and anger.

I remember so many colourful characters from those days. There was the farmer who used to come to the pub after work on his tractor, get motherlessly drunk and then wend his way home at closing time, more often than not driving into a tree or ditch and being found by a passing motorist and rescued, if lucky, or spending the night under the stars if not. I remember him turning the wrong way onto the main road on one occasion and ending up driving through the hedge and into the fountain of the supposedly much classier Karoi Hotel down the road, to be found there the next morning by the very irate hotel manager, an elderly gentleman of British military background commonly known as the Colonel.

The Colonel was a fierce man who spent a great deal of his time repelling the invasion of his hotel by the less upstanding members of the community. He was known to place bans on people for months at a time even, it was rumoured, years! Having once fallen foul of him it was unlikely that you would ever be welcomed into his castle again. Obviously he was fair game to the younger members of the community who expended a great deal of time and energy in finding ways to annoy him, usually with great success.

I also remember a particular troupie whose party piece, after considerable alcohol had been consumed, was to hang upside down from the rafters and ‘down’ flaming glasses of brandy. Not too serious if he was at the beginning of his six week stint but often quite deadly if he was on his way home, still wearing his ‘6 week growth’ and requiring the judicious sluicing down from the melting ice buckets to put the flames out.

Having no car of my own, on my day off I would often borrow a neighbouring farmer’s horse and ride the two or three kilometres into town to relax at the police camp mess, tying the horse to the radio aerial conveniently placed on the lawn outside. Having spent a riotous and fairly drunken afternoon with the off duty policemen and other military personnel there, I would slowly meander back to my ‘accommodation provided’ room and sleep it off until a knock on the door heralded the start of yet another party.

More to come - watch this space for Part 3!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Welcome to My World!

Ndola's International Airport from which FOUR flights a day head off to Johannesburg and THREE to the country's capital city, Lusaka. Relax - not nearly as scary as it looks!
Brandy with that coffee?

Memories of Rhodesia - Part 1


I had just turned eleven when we crossed the over the Limpopo River to start our new life in Rhodesia. The year was 1969, it was just before Christmas and, for me at least, it was a great adventure.

We travelled in convoy, my father, brother, sister and two basset hounds in the car in front with my mother and me in her newly acquired bright red Triumph Spitfire bringing up the rear, I felt special to have my mum all to myself, lighting her cigarettes and pouring her cups of coffee from the big shiny new flask at my feet.

I don’t remember much of the actual border crossing. It was raining and I remember being told that the swollen river flowing angrily under the bridge was known as the ‘great, grey, greasy, Limpopo River’ and that, as far as my mother was concerned, it was the last frontier of civilisation as she knew it!

Originally a strip road, by 1969 the main Beit Bridge to Salisbury road had been improved by the filling in of the area between the strips and the addition of a new surface. The history of the underlying strips could still be read in places where the new tar had cracked away from the harder surface underneath. I remember looking at the thin ribbon of road stretching into the distance and wondering what happened when a car came from the other direction. I also remember being quite astonished when the inevitable happened and we had to pull over to the left, leaving only one set of wheels on the tar and the other on the dirt shoulder of the road to make room for the two cars to pass each other.

Crossing a flooded low level bridge was quite exciting for an eleven year old, especially in a Spitfire with very low clearance! As we crept slowly across the bridge, I remember leaning out the window and watching the water level rising slowly higher and higher until it started to seep in under the door, never doubting for one moment my mother’s ability to get us to the other side or thinking of the possibility of the car being swept off the bridge into the fast flowing river. In retrospect, I can only admire my mother’s calm and determined ‘attack’ of that bridge. At no time did she imply anything but a cool control of the situation and a confidence that we would make it to the other side. She must have been quaking inside – once committed, there was no turning back!

I remember rain! Lots and lots of rain and with it, lots of mud. We had arrived at the beginning of the rainy season and it seemed to rain continuously for the next three months.


The first house we stayed in was a newly built rented one. I remember the starkness of it and the sodden, muddy front yard with little green spikes of newly planted grass bravely doing battle with the thick, sticky, red mud. Mostly I remember the mud – it was everywhere, it followed everyone around the house, its redness staining everything it touched. I remember my mother’s despair. She was a very house proud woman and we had always lived in a meticulously clean and tidy environment. That mud slowly and insidiously took over her life and ate away at her composure. It took shape on the floor, on the walls and on the furniture. And when the rain finally stopped and the mud turned to dust which settled in every nook and cranny, the war took on a different and more subtle tone.

I remember friendly neighbours, open gates and offers of ice cold drinks for the rabble of children that hurtled up and down the neighbourhood on their bicycles, stopping here and there for a pit stop when the hot sun became too much. I remember the rather strange lady that lived next door with the German Sheppard called ‘Otto’ and a swimming pool. How we used to laugh when she stood in her garden calling the dog – “Otto, Otto!” in a singsong voice that, for some reason best known to children, seemed immensely funny at the time.

I remember our favourite neighbours on the corner who had a donkey in their garden and an endless supply of biscuits and cooldrink in their house! Mr ‘Neighbour-on- the–Corner’ also had an endless supply of Chinese puzzles that kept us busy for hours and an endless supply of patience that kept us coming back.


I hated school! No matter how hard I try I can only remember unpleasant times and a great burning desire to leave. I went to an all girls school where I was an indifferent student and a solitary teenager who found it difficult to fit in with the silly, spiteful ‘girls brigade’ of giggling, fashion obsessed robots.

When I informed my mother that I had decided to leave school halfway through my Form IV year, she took it in her stride and told me that I could only leave if I found a job as I was not going to sit around the house all day doing nothing. Maybe she thought I would be daunted enough to back down but so determined was I to leave school that within the week I had found a job and so ended a period of time in my life that I look back on now with no more pleasure than I felt then.

So, at age sixteen, I stepped out into the real world and my life took on a new shape and form.
Watch this space for the next thrilling instalment! LOL

Arrogance.....a human condition?

Have you ever wondered why the more educated and intelligent a person appears to become, the more arrogant and narrow minded they become too? It seems strange - you would think that more education would make a person more capable of open minded thought and an understanding of how little they really know in the great scheme of life? But, generally, it doesn't seem to work that way. Doesn't it just REALLY ANNOY you to hear them with 'witty put downs' on the tip of their tongues, attempting to cleverly make a fool of someone who they perceive as of lesser 'intelligence' than themselves? Or worse still, invalidating someone's opinion because they are so sure that they have all the answers.

I think it is just plain RUDE and IGNORANT myself!

And now it's time to jump down off the soapbox and enjoy a coffee :)

Anyone else for coffee?

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Cat on a log.....just right for my blog!

Introducing Mistress Purdee Tat's baby pictures - LOL
(and yes, she was just as naughty as she looks!)

A day in the life of my Blog....

Well I spent today discovering all the things I could do on my Blog! What fun - I never realised it was that easy or that interesting. I have tweaked here and prodded there and I am quite pleased with the result - except that I have just noticed that my blog archive has changed into a foreign language! Oh well, back to the old drawing board :(

Be back later - just off to sort it out!

Help yourself to coffee while I'm gone!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A Rabies Update!

Seems this poor woman is now on life support. Still no definite diagnosis but all the symptoms appear to be pointing to the last stages of rabies infection. Her two children have been flown to Johannesburg to see her - how terrible for this to be their possible last memory of their mother.

I weep for them.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

View from the top of my road before the rains!

All the wires hanging about overhead are the MAINS electricity supply! Nothing like living dangerously - and you wonder why the squirrels go on strike so often. :)

Now that really IS cute :)

Monday, 21 May 2007

Be afraid, be very afraid!

Today an acquaintance's wife was rushed to hospital in South Africa with suspected RABIES! This made me rush off to my vet friend to discover more details about a truly terrifying disease that is rampant in Zambia and about which I discovered, I had insufficient knowledge. I've lived in Africa for most of my life and have been aware of rabies in animals but NEVER before had first hand knowledge of someone who may well be infected with the most horrible and untreatable ailment I have heard of!

The law in Zambia states that ALL dogs must be vaccinated against rabies annually. It doesn't enforce the vaccinating of other domestic animals like cats and horses, but most of us, being aware that ANY warm blooded animal can catch rabies and, hopefully being responsible owners, would vaccinate all our pets as a matter of course.

Firstly I discovered that the incubation period for rabies is 10 days, during which the animal shows no symptoms at all but is still highly infective! During this 10 day period you or a member of your family can be infected by something as simple as your dog licking you in a place where you might have even the tiniest open wound. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BITE YOU! Bear in mind that at this stage the animal is showing no signs of being ill in any way whatsoever! The rabies virus is ONLY passed through saliva. It lodges itself in the soft tissue around the wound and from here spreads into the nervous system and from there to the brain. By the time it gets into the nervous system, it is too late for the 'after bite' antidote to work, the disease will progress to its natural conclusion - DEATH - and there is no treatment available that can stop this!

Most humans would only rush off to the doctor for treatment if they had actually been bitten by an animal either showing signs of the disease or by one that had not had its annual vaccinations. As can be seen from the above, this may well be too late!

Does it not make sense then to VACCINATE your animals against this dread disease if only in the interest of protecting your family? Sadly it seems that some people work on the principle that it 'can't happen to me' and don't bother. Although it is a legal requirement here in Zambia and is available at a ridiculously low price (almost free in fact!), there are STILL some idiots who don't do it! Not because they can't afford it and not because they don't know about the existence of rabies but just because they can't be bothered and unless their dog actually bites someone, the law is unlikely to catch them!

It would seem that this is what has happened to this woman - by the time her dog was showing signs of possible rabies and proceeded to bite her, it is most likely that a good 15 days had passed from initial infection to bite. Although she went to the doctor and was given the 'after bite' treatment, it looks like it was already too late. From her symptoms, it seems most likely that she has developed the first stages of full blown rabies and can probably be expected to die a truly horrific death anywhere in the next three to seven days. There are no blood tests or brain scans that can show signs of rabies - the only way to absolutely diagnose the disease is after death when the brain has to be dissected and lesions are found! There is NO other way!

And all this could have been avoided by the initial vaccination of her dog - a 1ml injection at a cost of maybe 25c. Knowing how rampant rabies is in this country, how could ANYONE neglect to properly vaccinate their animals? How could anyone be so incredibly STUPID!!!

No coffee for me tonight - I think I need a stiff brandy!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

My kingdom for a horse!

Today was a 'horsey' day. Big horses, fat horses, little horses and naughty horses. We own three horses. I use the term loosely here because in actuality, the girl child 'owns' three horses, her father and I just foot the bills! She has been riding since before she was born - really! When I discovered I was pregnant with her I was so annoyed since I'd just started getting back into my own riding that I refused to stop until it became obvious to everyone (myself included) that, at seven and a half months it was almost impossible to get OFF the horse. Getting on was a piece of cake, getting off required the services of two grooms and a husband and a great deal of patience from the horse, an elderly retired police horse who seemed to understand these things and would stand stock still while I descended in a heap, hanging round his neck with attending helpers balancing the front bit so I didn't fall on my face (gravity being generally towards the front by that stage!).

We've all heard the theories that playing Mozart to your unborn child gives you a good chance of having a future musical genius, so I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised when her first word was 'WORSE' and not the usual mummum or dada. As soon as she could stand she demanded her rights to ride and would sit on my horse in front of me while the groom led us down to the stables. At age three she had her first official riding lesson and by four did her first lead rein class in a proper show. And it was all downhill for her dad's cheque account from there!

Over the years she's had some very special ponies and horses - starting from a dinky little part shetland painted pony of 10 hands to the current favourite, another painted horses standing over 16 hands with a jump to match. Officially named Castle Rock, he rocks to the name of Elvis with a real rock star swagger. We also have a semi retired chestnut thoroughbred mare called Amanita who does stunning dressage but is a bit of a lunatic in the jumping arena and her last pony before she grew too tall, a super little Arab gelding that I bred myself and that is as much a part of the family as my children. His name is Al Lahab and there is still a special bond between the two of them. He was the one who taught her all the 'tricks' of riding (literally, he knew them all!) and made her into the tactful and thoughtful rider she is today.

As you can tell, I have a deep love for horses. It's very satisfying to see the girl child achieving in her riding what I was never talented enough to do myself. If I sound proud it's because I am!

Anyone for coffee?

Saturday, 19 May 2007

And now for something completely different......

My apologies to Monty Python - I have ALWAYS wanted to use that line in print! It conjures up such interesting ideas and thoughts and brings to mind a parrot, a deceased parrot nailed to its perch! Sorry, I just can't help it - I was a huge Monty Python fan in their day and still appreciate and enjoy that ridiculous type of humour. It often gets me into trouble with the younger generation who, sadly, never had the opportunity to enjoy it and so look at me pityingly when I make an off the wall remark in response to a given situation. The girl child has taken to whispered asides to her friends of "Don't mind my mum, she thinks she's funny!" OUCH!

Today I discovered that I had made an astonishing breakthrough in educating the youth of today to the wonders of the 70's and its great musical talent! As I, once again, played taxi driver to a carload of giggling 17 year old girls, the girl child pushed a CD into the player and announced to her mates that this was really cool music. Knock me down with a feather duster - it was last years 'hated with a vengeance and complain loudly and at great length' Cat Stevens CD I bought for myself as a 'perk me up' gift! She and I then proceeded to astonish her friends as we sang 'I'm being followed by a moon shadow' in perfect harmony (well I like to think so!) on route to the chicken take away place. In fact they were so astonished, they all forgot to talk for a whole 5 minutes! Parents of teenage girls take note - Cat Stevens is a sure fire way to quell even the loudest teenager. This little gem of information may well save your sanity one day and then you'll all be rushing to my blog to post your thanks - lol

Do you ever have those 'moments' of absolute clarity where you're quite convinced that you have solved the mystery of the Universe? Or at least how to use the DVD player or found out how to put the TV back onto the movie channel after some silly fool has put it on the music channels and then buggered off? I had one of those EUREKA moments today! It was awesome as I finally felt in charge of at least one item of modern technology - the new fancy microwave that I have only been using to defrost things in this past six months. Sadly it was a necessary replacement for my much loved old faithful when a power surge blew all its innards and the Mr Fixit man insisted, very firmly, that it was beyond repair and not worth bothering with anyway. It was a sad day indeed as I unpacked the new one and discovered that, even with the manual written by a mad Japanese person, I had not a clue how to make it 'do' things! Today, I discovered how to set the timer! A little thing I hear you mumble - yes indeed, but a giant breakthrough in my ever continuing quest for supremacy in my kitchen. Hah! Take that Microwave - I have attacked the unknown and conquered! :)

And so with my newly acquired knowledge on heating a mug of water in the microwave,

Coffee anyone?

Thursday, 17 May 2007

The TRUE meaning of life!

Yesterday I found myself discussing the meaning of life with a friend. Sitting here now, I can't think of a better subject for tonight's ponderings over a great cup of coffee!

So what is the meaning of life? How do we see ourselves in the greater scheme of things? Is it our desire to rise to the top of the corporate ladder or the amount of money that we can earn that gives meaning to our life? Is it family and friends that give us meaning and our sole reason for living? Is it the grand gestures or the small details? I think it is life itself and our ability to grab it with both hands, live it to the full and to appreciate and enjoy every precious moment!

Alternatively, the TRUE meaning of life could just be an onion! :)

Coffee anyone?

Monday, 14 May 2007

A day in the life.......

Now I must admit to feeling rather guilty about my poor blog. I've been dreadfully neglectful this past month! Time seems to fly by regardless, so here I am again - apologising to my readers for my lack of attention. Sorry :)

Life has become more complicated lately with the girl child's 'O' level exams upon us and a timetable designed by some mad person in Cambridge! I spend all my days running up and down between the house and the school with little respite. It had better be worth it - all As or nothing is my motto! LOL We did the art exam last month (see picture of one final piece inserted!). I am very proud of her work - sadly they don't get them returned to deepest, darkest Africa so a photo is all I get to keep. Oh well only three more weeks to go and we are FREE - halleluya!

I am planning our annual trip to civilisation! This is the highlight of the year and takes up a considerable amount of internet surfing time. The girl child has demanded a respite from Milton Keynes and is off to Rome with a few mates for a week. Hubby and I are thinking of a trip to Scotland to do a spot of Nessie spotting! All still in the planning stages but should be fun I think.

Winter is sneaking up on us at last! Positively chilly this morning, even the dogs didn't want to get up. The garden is looking lovely in its 'in-between' stage. After the rain and before the cold. I've been inspired to plant some petunias - the ginger cat immediately 'unplanted' them for me! So I planted them again :) And I am thinking 'water feature' again this year! Maybe! There are lots of birds in the garden making use of the bird bath - lovely to sit on the verandah and watch them twittering about.

So life is good!

Coffee anyone?