Archive for August, 2008

Hot and Spicy!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2008 by David Palmer
The internet is sooooooo slow over here, but the weather and scenery make up for it. It has been very hot the last few days, so we have been moving around pretty slowly ourselves and trying to keep in the shade. Last night we went into Stone Town and actually had a meal that was superb and so was the service, just like being in Thailand or at home, but of course the bill reflected it! We had a curry in a curry house. Today went to a spice farm and sampled all the spices available, we got dressed up (looking rather silly) and had a thoroughly nice time. Tomorrow we shall meet Charlotte at the airport before she transfers up to the north.

Tortoises

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2008 by David Palmer
The weather is quite glorious here, it is not as humid as the Far East so you can cool down in the shade and the sky and sea are just a perfect blue, which makes a big difference to the awful weather we had back in England. Yesterday we had a boat ride over to Prison Island (though it was never used as a prison) to see the giant Tortoises, and they were big and very friendly, though you had to be careful feeding them as I am sure if your finger got into their mouth they would have no trouble in whipping it off! Sarah and Jamie snorkelled  off the reef next to island and saw lots of  fish etc. I stayed with Sue on board as Jamie had to borrow my gear. We had the island to ourselves until a boat load of Italians turned, you can spot Italians from a mile away, they do pose quite a lot and use a lot of arm gestures, oh, and they all smoke. However we manged to stay away from them as they are not very adventurous and prefer to stay as a group (so they can admire each other), we wandered into the forest to find more Tortoises and explore some caves, we also saw Dik Diks which are a small type of deer. We travel most places by taxi as it seems the easiest way to get about and they are plentiful and cheap. The food has been very good, though I must say the service is pretty rubbish, they don’t seem to care and are bone idle, preferring to sit and chat amongst themselves instead of doing their jobs. It is a bit of a surprise if anything happens within half an hour, the norm is around 2 hours to drink and be fed. Last night eating in Stone Town it was particularly bad, after 2 hours I had to complain and ask where the food was, then it miraculously turned up in 30 seconds. It was cold and obviously been sitting there waiting to be brought to the table, they just couldn’t be bothered to bring it. We are having a day around the hotel today, Sarah and Jamie have burnt themselves and don’t wish to exert themselves, so today we will relax.

Nightmare Journey but we got there!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2008 by David Palmer
Thursday came and we packed the car and set off for Heathrow at around 12.30 noon.The journey was fine until we got to around 12 miles from the airport and the traffic backed up and and then stopped at around 6 miles to go. We sate there for about an hour and a half, thankful that we had planty of time (flying at 8pm). Eventually we did get going, passing a 7 car pile up on the way. Arrived at our off airport parking to find out it was full, however they had upgraded us to business class and we had to drive to the carpark next to Terminal 4 where were were flying from. We parked and were soon at the check in desk and were whisked straight through. Nice flight to Nairobi. Two hour wait (or so we thought), boarded the flight to Zanzibar on time. Watched propellors start and then stop. Informed we had to leave the plane as there was a technical fault. Nairobi is NOT the airport you want to be in for anything that has to be organised, helpful but clueless is the phrase that springs to mind. They did feed us, but after visiting quite a lot of check-in desks and being given wrong instructions, we eeventually managed to get on a plane (6.5 hours late), flight was good, Kilimanjarno was great and we landed safely. Zanzibar airport is pretty basic, no baggage carousel, they throw your baggage at you!!! Transfer and check in at the hotel was quick. AND THEN, Jamnie found out that his new mobile phone, that he had put in his suitcase had been stolen (probably at Nairobi). A quick phone call to Charlotte, got the phone blocked and the following morning we informed the Rep. Today Jamie has to go to the Police Station to get the paperwork sorted for the insurance. However, Zanzibar is a ver beautiful island, the food has been great and yesterday we swam with Dolphins, fed Colobus monkeys and walked through the forest in the south. We have been into StoneTown several times, we actually watched a Rap Concert, Jamie liked it (I though it was rubbish!!, and I had the advantage I couldn’t understand the language, so couldn’t be intimdated by all that pointing they do). The locals are friendly and so laid back that I would call it lazy. Everything seems to take it’s time and they appear reluctant (mostly). We have eaten in some fabulous places, very romantic and atmospheric. Zanzibar is even more 3rd world that Sri Lanka and that takes some doing, but they manage it, and such a lovely place.

Forgotten Walk

Posted in Uncategorized on August 11, 2008 by David Palmer
Sue chastised me last night for not including a family walk we went on that was organised by Harborough council. So here are the details: After being a little late for the bus and having to run one mile in about 4 mins (really!) I joined Sue and Sarah at the Market Place along with a lot of wrinkly people and a few young uns’ (like us). We  travelled to Fineshade Woods, between Corby and Peterborough on a 53 seater bus that was packed and needed the aircon switching on, which they did 10 mins before we got there. We were given a choice of walking 6 miles or 3 miles. We chose the 6 mile. The leaders went wrong at the beginning and we ended up back at the lodge prematurely, so had to start again. During the first part of the walk it drizzled, but then the sun came out and it got quite warm. Sarah got on well with the leader and spent her time at the front, Sue and I trailed 30 metres behind, smiling at the flora and fauna and putting the world to rights. We saw 1 deer, 1 red kite, 1 rabbit and a million trees. We actually arrived back before the 3 mile walkers. We had a late lunch in the Lodge Cafeteria (very nice) and as we had a 1.5 hours to kill before getting back on the bus, we went into the woods and collected cobnuts. We broke them open with stones and they tasted delicious, we even brought some back. The return journey was a lot more pleasant as the aircon was on. We thanked the organisers and made a mental note to go on the next one they organise. What a nice day!

What a horrible summer

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 by David Palmer
The fact that I have sat down to write this means that it is yet again pouring with rain outside! Today I was going to cut the hedge, mow the lawn and clean the pool, I managed to cut the hedge between showers, but it is scattered over the driveway as it is now too wet to collect and take to the dump. In past year, we have been lucky enough to be away on holiday for all of the summer. Watching on BBC World the awful weather this country has from far away hasn’t prepared me for actually suffering it (I remember my childhood being filled with lovely warm sunny days). There is no point in ranting on about what we wanted to do these last few weeks and couldn’t because of the cold, rain (drizzle) or wind, so I shall get on with chronicling what we did get up to.
The other week I went via Newark to Nan’s. Charlotte loaded the car with a pile of Lucas’s bedding and pram that he is too old for now. As Charlotte said; It is too good to car boot and it might come in handy for the next one and besides you have a big loft to store it all in. Are you having another one? I asked. We no plans, was the reply. It is all now in the loft, just in case somebody decides to plan. Lucas has Chicken Pox, he is all spotty but otherwise he seems quite healthy. At Nan’s I weeded the garden and cut back some bushes before taking her back to Mkt. Harborough. I put her batmobile in the back of the car so she could get about.
Nan stayed for a couple of weeks and though the weather was rubbish she did zip down into town most days and had her hair styled on one occasion. I managed to do a few more miles along the Jurassic Way (see photos) with Roger. We walk, then stop for lunch, Sue comes and picks us up afterwards. It very enjoyable, mostly because the weather is usually OK on those days, and the Jusssic Way isn’t really very challenging.
Sarah has been meeting friends in town, shopping with Sue and working on various projects for her schoolwork. She is a member of the local Cinema Club Committee and has meetings each Wednesday (quite grown up).
Sue has been busy cleaning and picking vegetables and fruit from the garden (made a lovely rhubarb crumble the other day).
Most days I get a call from friends to come and fix something wrong with their computers. I used to hate this and would often put it off as I was too busy. But, now I have the time, I have found I really quite enjoy connecting people to the internet, fixing WiFi problems, recovering deleted photos from computers and SD cards and of course making better, computers that are really very sick and virus ridden. Last week I popped into school to see what was going on. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Outside was a skip full of computers, inside was an awful lot of new computers and other computer paraphernalia. Cost an absolute fortune, I wonder where the money has come from? Wasn’t there when I left. I ascertained the computers were being sent to landfill and I dug out a couple of Pentium 4’s that were less than 2 years old (I am typing this on one of them now). I have quite enjoyed connecting it into my present system and have spent many a rainy evening, tiddling about with bits of kit.
Jamie has been enjoying work. He did finish the pelmets he was making for us, eventually. We have seen a lot of Harriet, she appears to be good for him and keeps him on a tight rein. At the moment she is on holiday in Croatia (2 weeks) so Jamie is now back to his erratic ways. Yesterday he announced he had bought some new car seats, off ebay, and was going to fetch them ……. from Brighton! He left at 10.00am and got back at 8.00pm (we had invited friends around for a glass of wine). He said he was a bit tired, but set about putting them in. They do look quite good (Cobra), and he appears to have made a good job of it. Now, where do we put his old seats. This entry is a bit like ‘There’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza’, because they they also are going into the loft, because we have a lot of space there and he doesn’t need them now, but they may come in handy if he sells the car. Are you selling your car? I ask. No plans he says.