Wednesday, 27 June 2007

And it didn't get any better today!

OK, so I figured things had to get better today - hah!

To be honest the day did start with promise, the girl child got out of bed on only the 2nd banging on the door and we did manage to get on the road to the stables before 8:30. The jumping lesson went well with Elvis making a supreme effort to concentrate and behave. The hubby phoned to say my car was repaired and ready to run and it was smiles all round.

Then I collected my car and discovered that now the central locking wasn't working - no problem, I can live without it for a few days! By the time I got the car home there was a mighty rattling and clunking coming from 'somewhere'! So it was back to the workshop, where they tightened everything they should have tightened the first time!

Then I got the phone call to say that the horse truck we are HIRING to move our horses had been double booked and so now would we mind loading our horses at 3am, in the dark and travel them 400kms on some of the most dangerous roads so that the other party wouldn't be inconvenienced! I shall not print my reply - it really is just too rude! I mean, really, do I CARE about the sensitivities of the 'other party'? I don't think so! So we have compromised on a 5:30am start, which means I shall have to be up and on the road to the stables at 4:30am!

And now I am sitting here typing this when I should be packing and sorting but I am just so fed up I don't know where to start! I think I may just go and soak in the bath!

Monday, 25 June 2007

Just another day in the life.....

Ever get that feeling that your life is just falling apart around you? This last week has been particularly challenging, what with the horse show coming up this weekend and our holiday starting the following week. So much to do and so much to go wrong!

It all started last November when I mistakenly left my horse trailer in the hubby's company workshop for 'repairs and maintenance' - to be ready in time for the start of the show season. Now in fact! It didn't need a lot doing to it - new tyres, the rims and hubs cleaning up and a few new studs fitting, a new piece of glass for the front window and a chain welded across the one back stall due to theft of the original! And here I am, the show is upon me and my trailer is still not ready. To top that off my car, which went in for a service, has developed several other interesting defects whilst in their care. It is now suffering from a burnt out alternator which is going to either cost US$2000 (YES, I did type that right!) from the dealer or $350 from the 'copy cat' little shop but will not be available until the day after I am supposed to be at the show, some 400km away!

Meanwhile the girl child has contracted an extremely painful ear infection and there is a desperate shortage of diesel in the country.

In the midst of all this chaos I am also trying to get organised for our annual trip to the UK, flying out the day after we get back from the show! There are re-entry visas to organise and travel insurance as well as packing, dog and cat food sufficient for a month and a multitude of small but irritating details to deal with.

I really must be mad and if I'm not now, I certainly will be by the end of next week!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

The World's Biggest Dog!

This is Hercules, officially the biggest dog in the world, the Guinness Book of Records has him down as weighing a massive 282 pounds with a 38 inch collar size! Believe it or not, he is a standard bred English Mastiff and his owner claims that he was never fed any special food, just normal doggy chow. Imagine meeting that when you knock at someone's door? All I can say is............... WOW!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Sins of the Mother.....

Do we girls get more like our mothers as we get older? Not that I mind very much, my mum was a fabulous lady and I would be proud to be anything like her - really! But I often wonder how many of our mother's 'not-so-nice' traits we take on board without even realising it? How many times do we hear our mother's voice as the very same words she used to us as children come tripping out? And what about those of us who didn't have a very good relationship with our mothers and vowed to NEVER be like them? Do those traits come out anyway and do we treat our children in the same way that we found horrible when we were growing up, without realising it?

Now my mum and I had a wonderful relationship which persisted into my adult life unchanged. I like to THINK my daughter and I have the same bond. She was a wonderful woman who protected her offspring with a fierceness that daunted even the most determined teacher at school. She could always be relied upon to rush to my rescue, leaving all in her path vanquished! I thought she was amazing. As my children have grown I have found myself doing exactly the same thing with the same results.

On the other hand I have a friend who never got on with her mother. They fought all the time, often resulting in her running away from home and arriving on our doorstep, a trait that persists to this day even though she has been married for 21 years and has four children of her own. Her mother used to do the same thing to them when conflict in the home became overwhelming. She was a very controlling woman with her children, so is my friend. Often she was extremely irrational, she had a phenomenal memory for 'slights' and never forgave the perpetrator! I see the same trait in my friend which is very sad as she fights hard to NOT be the same as her own mother! I see her husband and children pulling away from her in the same way that she pulled away from her mother.

My question - can you tell someone that you can see them walking the same unhappy path that their mother walked before them? Can you tell them to pull themselves together and to see the damage they are doing to themselves and their family? How do you say these things when they don't want to believe it and they will most likely never speak to you again? I care deeply about my friend, I don't want to hurt her feelings but I can't bear to watch her rip her family apart in the same way her mother did to her.

How brave should I be?

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Downtown Kitwe

Life is slow in the city! This is Kitwe city centre on a lazy Monday afternoon. Kitwe, although not the Regional Capital, is the biggest city in the Copperbelt region of Zambia. Originally built in the bad old colonial days with the money from the rich copper mining industry, very little has changed except for the slow deterioration of the streets and buildings over the years. A can of paint and a paintbrush seem as much a foreign concept to the city fathers as does the cleaning out of the storm water drains before the rainy season starts! The roads are a minefield of potholes and badly done patches and the shops are, for the most, a messy mixture of security bars and unwashed windows. So sad really, it must have been a pretty little city in its heyday!

Just a heartfelt Thank You to Blogger Admin!

If you have been wondering why I haven't updated my blog this past week - it's been down to a very annoying technical problem that I have been so distracted by that I eventually threw my hands up in despair and sent a report to Blogger Help. For some reason my 'Add a Page Element' facility just disappeared off my layout page, leaving me bereft and depressed!

So, THANK YOU, Blogger for so promptly taking pity on me and sorting it out within 24 hours! I am impressed! After all there must be thousands of little people like me using this site. It is so nice to know that there IS someone out there who reads all the reports and jumps into action to aid a damsel in distress!

Blogger ROCKS! :)

Friday, 8 June 2007

A day to remember

Today was Graduation Day for the girl child. The culmination of years of early mornings, alarm clocks, hard slog and endless nagging from the girl child's mother to get her off to school on time. It hasn't been easy and it often hasn't been pleasant and NO-ONE is more relieved than I to finally shake off the dust of school days! If I look back to her earliest days of school, starting with nursery school, I can never remember a day when she leapt out of bed with enthusiasm and went willingly off to school. She, like her mother, is just simply NOT a morning person! It used to drive her two big brothers wild, they would be up and dressed and ready to rock and roll and I would still be trying to persuade her to get dressed, put her shoes on and MOVE.

Over the years I tried many different techniques from threats to bribery - mostly to little avail. I remember throwing her and her clothes in the car and threatening to drop her off at school in her pajamas if she wasn't dressed by the time we got there. As she got older I tried waking her up earlier, I tried setting all the clocks in the house ahead 15 minutes, I tried buying loud and obnoxious alarm clocks (we had a particularly good one that used to shout in Korean and get louder and louder until switched off!) and I tried promises of sweeties and fun outings after school. I have been doing this now for FOURTEEN long and weary years - you can see why I am jumping for joy and singing hallelujah! :)

So today as I sat and watched this lovely young person put one phase of her life behind her and take her first steps into a new and exciting future, I felt relieved but proud, very proud! Who knows what the future may hold - she is undecided on her next step in her further education so we are just taking some time out to enjoy lazy mother and daughter mornings as she curls up on my bed and discusses the options!

For the moment, we are content! :)

(photos to follow!)

Thursday, 7 June 2007

A little bit of Zambia......

The market place in Kitwe, a small town about 60kms away from Ndola and our nearest neighbour. A patient person can find just about ANYTHING in here if they have the time and the will to succeed! This is just a very small fraction of the open air market which stretches for about a kilometre along the road, around the corner and then goes back into infinity. It sort of reminds me of Harry Potter's description of Diagnon Alley - I wouldn't be too surprised to find something magical hiding in there, just not sure it would the kind of magical I'd want to find!

One of the things you will find in this market are bales of clothes kindly donated by the citizens of western countries to the poor and underprivileged of third world Africa. It is amazing what you can buy for the equivalent of a couple of dollars - silk shirts, designer dresses and, believe it or not, riding boots and jodphurs! Most of this stuff has NEVER been worn! Or if it has, it may have been only once or twice. I personally bought a silk blouse with it's shop label still attached! It cost me the equivalent of US$2.50 - a lot less than it's original owner paid I'm sure!

If you're brave enough you can try on your proposed purchase behind carefully held blankets while amused local ladies comment on your underwear and pale skin to each other and cackle with laughter. For this privilege you need a good sense of humour and the hide of a buffalo! Much easier to just take the stuff home untried and give away the stuff that didn't fit after all! Quite frankly, it needed a good wash before wearing anyway. :)

Other items you might find if you really do have a sharp eye and have had a house robbery recently, are your TV, DVD player and so on. It isn't worth making too much fuss in these cases - there are FAR more of them than you and by the time you might return with a policeman, it's most likely been sold to someone else anyway!

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Always raining cats and dogs in my house!

I just had to show a cute picture of dangerous Dexter to prove that he's really a gentle little soul who wouldn't hurt a fly - so here he is snuggled up on my arm - lol

And then I found this really, really cute baby picture of Mistress Purdee Tat taken just after she arrived and I couldn't resist - she has grown into her ears now! She's also bigger than Dexter now too but still treats him with the respect he demands :)

Monday, 4 June 2007

A final rabies update....... :(

For those that expressed an interest in our rabies victim, she passed away early this morning without having come out of her coma.

A terrible tragedy that should never have happened - my heart goes out to her husband and children at this awful time.

Thanks to those of you who cared.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

The Rose

As the sun's first rays call in the dawn

Softly bringing in a summer's day

See the dew on a rose in the early morn

On velvet petals a random ray

Light fingers softly touching

Saturday, 2 June 2007

A surprise visitor :)


No it hasn't been snowing in Zambia - just a photo of the snowman my oldest son and his mates made when it snowed all over the UK last year.

I just couldn't resist!

Ain't he cute!

Friday, 1 June 2007

A new place to natter in :)

OK guys, it is done! I have started a new blog for all you horse lovers out there :)

You can find it at OR
just click on the link in my bloggit.

It is suitably called 'Over the Stable Door' - look forward to seeing you there :)

Zambian school follows the American dream

It is the end of an era - the final exams are over and teenagers all over Ndola are gearing up for their Graduation and, more importantly, the 'After Grad Party' next weekend!

This year the powers that be at the school (i.e. our fearless Headmistress, the dreaded Mrs Gibbs!) have decided to follow the American teenage dream - THE PROM! Since we aren't 'American' in any thing else we do here in our school, this has come as a bit of a surprise to students and parents alike and has caused a veritable frenzy of dress buying/making, hair curling/straightening, beauty salon appointments and ANGST! Lots of ANGST!

Mother's are pulling their hair out trying to provide that 'perfect' dress that says all their teenage daughter wants to say about herself, stylishly and, most importantly, differently (but the same) from everyone else! It must fit perfectly, show NO bulges, be exactly the right length and they MUST be able to actually walk in it!

Father's are pulling out cheque books, asking stupid questions like "it costs HOW much?" and "are you sure you can't just wear that lovely new skirt you bought at Christmas?" and hiding at work to avoid the inevitable fall-out such silly questions bring!

This is a whole new concept to us backward hicks! In the past, the kids just got together and had fun - usually in a favourite pair of jeans at a specially hired night club with bouncers on the door to keep the riff-raff out! As parents, our sole duty was merely to provide the funds, transport and a place for a dozen giggling girls to get 'ready' for the occasion - almost as important as the event itself!

So why has American culture invaded our school? I believe we are even to have a Prom Queen and King, just another way to tell some poor kid that they were right to believe they were un-popular despite all those confidence building 'pep talks' we gave them all through the years. One last slap down to add to the rest of their memories of their school years? I blame it on all those silly reality TV shows and teen movies that show all those silly, spoilt rich kids with their perfectly white teeth and perfectly super blonde tresses in their perfect world at their perfect prom being perfectly bitchy and nasty - something to aspire to?

BUT - I am happy to be able to say, we have found the dress! We have the perfect shoes to match and are on 'Prom count down' with enthusiasm and fingers crossed that no-one else finds a dress too similar to the girl child's, or the same ear rings perhaps, that will require another round of shopping and more teenage ANGST!

Anyone joining me for a coffee with my prozac?