Archive for Sep, 2008

Busy, busy, busy!

Posted in Uncategorized on Sep 20, 2008 by David Palmer
It is quite awhile since I had time to to sit down and add to the blogg. I did meet the married couple and son at Heathrow and transport them to Gatwick, via the Copthorne Hotel for hot cholcolates and exchange of baggage. Sarah went with me to look after Lucas. Aftewr saying goodbye at the airport we set off home and arrived in the early afternoon. A good journey (for once).
As has Sue worked every day for the last 2 weeks, looking after Lucas has been my privilege. I took him to school to see the children and he turned out to be a big hit with everyone (I also took some photos of the wedding). We have visited the library for story time, and played in the park everyday on the new £350 000 equipment recently installed. He loves it, and it is a godsend to all the mum’s with toddlers who use it as well. He is getting very adventurous and can climb, swing, slide and leap with expertise and some over confidence at times. The weather during the first week was cold and wet, but this week it has been warm and sunny. I put a tent up in the back garden and we play in it most days. Every morning, after breakfast (Weetabix) he gets his bucket and picks up the fallen apples and puts them on the compost heap, we then pick the runner beans and put them in the refridgerator, after that we pick the ripe tomatoes (it took several days before he could recognise the red ones!!!!) and put them in the bowl and leave them on the windowsill.  Next, is a trip in the buggy into town (shops, library or market). Lots of chats with people, mums and old people who want to talk about children and things (I am getting good at it). On the way back we visit the park for about 1 hour or more. We then have lunch and then a nap. I usually have to wake him up!. In the afternoon we play in the boat (a big cardboard box), with monkey and the two big ducks. We then collect pine cones off the driveway and go and sit on the bridge over the river and throw them in (I suppose next week I will be lonely throwing them on my own!).  Sarah arrives from school at around 3.40pm and takes him back to the park. Sue then comes home and wonders where Lucas is. At 5.10pm, Jamie arrives from work and usually takes Lucas back to the park for yet another play.
In the evenings (after Lucas has gone to bed) I have been woking on the 900+ photos we have of the wedding and holiday. I have managed to make a movie of them and am looking forwards to showing Charlotte and Suraj.
Charlotte and Suraj have phoned us quite a lot of times, hoping to speak to Lucas, but everytime except once, he has been out at the park or in bed asleep. They arrive back on Monday evening (I shall fetch them). They both have work on Tuesday so will have to travel back to Newark.

We are back!

Posted in Uncategorized on Sep 6, 2008 by David Palmer
After the highlight of Charlotte’s and Suraj’s fantastic wedding, everything else must be a bit of a DAMP SQUIB. But, we did manage to pack in a fuill days shopping in Stone Town the following day. Sue didn’t accompany Sarah, Jamie and I as she has what we think was a rather nasty mozzy bite on her ankle that got infected and refused to stop weeping with puss. Not nice to look at and a bit painful to walk on. She  read her book next to the hotel pool while we spent some dollars. We got Charlotte a nice painting that she had admired when she came over for the day, and we also bought a painting from an artist in the Old Fort for ourselves. We had lunch in the Fort. That night Sue felt better and we went back into Stone Town for the evening meal at an Indian Restruant we had discovered, it was very good.
The following day we lazed around the hotel, paid the bill and said goodbye to everybody (Jo was quite upset we were leaving and did shed a tear). Check in at Zanzibar airport was horrendous, the hottest day of the year and we quequed for an hour in the sun to get our boarding cards and pay the obligatory $30 tax each. The flight left on time and was quite pleasant. We had a 6 hour wait in Nairobi and worried about what they were doing to our luggage. We played cards and the time passed fairly quickly. The Flight to Heathrow took 8 hours and  we slept fitfully most of the way. We landed at 6.10am. Our luggage did NOT arrive on the carousel. However we were not alone. After checking with the authorities, more baggage appeared, but not ours. Afte 1.5 hours, three of our suitcases appeared, but not Jamie’s. Another trip to the luggage desk, informed us that we would have to fiull in a form along with half a dozen other people, so that they could find it. While I was doing this, Sue went to check the carousel for one last time, and there it magically appeared!!!!! NO COMMENT.
We had no trouble extricating the car from the carpark, or journeying back to Harborough. The house was fine and that first cup of real, proper coffee was magic. Tomorrrow, Sarah and I have to drive back to Heathrow at around 7.00am to pick up Charlotte and Suraj and take them to Gatwick so that they can fly back out to the Maldives for a 2 week honeymoon. We shall take Lucas back to Harborough with us.

A Perfect Wedding

Posted in Uncategorized on Sep 4, 2008 by David Palmer
Two days ago Charlotte, Suraj and Lucas travelled down to see us, it took over an hour by mini-bus as the roads are not great here It was lovely to see them and of course it was Charlotte’s birthday and she had some cards and presents to open. The staff at our hotel were eager to see them as much as we were, so they had to do the round of introductions to everyone before we could show them Hotel grounds and our rooms. Afterwards we went into Stone Town to show them the sights. We haunted the gift shops and art galleries before having lunch at David Livingstone’s house. It is called his house, but it was originally the British Consulate and his body was brought there and stored (after he had died) before being shipped back to England. It  is now a very pretty bar, where you overlook the sea. They us at 4.30pm for another slow journey up to Nungwi in the north of the island.

The following day was Charlotte’s and Suraj’s wedding. After breakfast Sue and Sarah got a mini-bus up to Nungwi. Sarah was very excited, she didn’t go with us for the evening meal into Stone  Town the previous night as she wanted to wash her hair and get everything ready. Jamie and I didn’t go with them as we were not allowed to enter the Hotel (Gema del Est) until after 4pm. Sue and Sarah were to help Charlotte get ready, they were having a Spa and massage and Charlotte’s hair was being done. Suraj and Lucas travelled down to us on the return taxi to spend time with us (he wasn’t allowed to see Charlotte). When they arrived we walked along the beach to a nice bar and had lunch. We had to race the incoming tide back, or else things might have been very different to those planned (though Sue and I weren’t at all sure what had been planned). After showering and changing into our glad rags we got the taxi at 2.30pm to travel north. It rained on the way! It stopped when we arrived and the sun came out!

We travelled by golf cart to where Suraj and Charlotte had their rooms. The hotel is a 5 star plus  affair in  a beautiful location next to a beautiful white beach. It is the largest and grandest hotel on the island and won a prestigious international award this year for service and facilities. IT WAS AMAZING. Jamie, Lucas and I were taken to where the girls were staying and Suraj had to go to his own rooms. I know I have two very pretty daughters, but they were absolutely stunning. Several weeks ago, I had made a video of Sue’s and my own wedding, from the photographs that were taken. It reminded me how gobsmackingly beautiful Sue had been on that day, and now I was was seeing the same again but in triplicate. Neither Suraj and I had seen the girl’s dresses before, but they were perfect. I didn’t even have the customary heart attack when it was whispered that they were all designer affairs. Worth every penny and I don’t want to know how much.

Jamie. Suraj, Lucas and Sue were whisked away. I took some photos of Charlotte and Sarah before we too were transported to the starting point. What happened next was truly amazing. It was the proudest moment of my life as a father, to give my eldest daughter away in such a fashion. What I say next cannot do justice to the sights, sounds and emotions that greeted Charlotte, Sarah and I on the walk to the altar.We walked down steps strewn with red petals, accompannied by 2 Massai Chieftans, we halted awhile at the bottom, while it appeared as if everyone in the world was taking photos and applauding and we given a glass of champagne each. We both knew our throats were very dry. We were then invited to carry on with our walk by another Massai  warrior who scattered even more petals across a walk way of plaited palm leaves, laid across the white sand (to prevent Charlotte’s train, dragging in the sand, I think). We travelled via a windy pathway through several flowered arches to flash of cameras and the clapping of what appeared to be every guest in the hotel who were lining our way. Eventually we reached our destination and I reluctantly handed Charlotte over to Suraj (he looked relieved). He was surrounded by 12 Massai warriors and oh yes (nearly forgot), a band of Massai drummers banging the life out of their instruments in rhythm.

When I stood back and watched the ceremony with Charlotte and Suraj taking their vows, I had a chance take photos and see just how many people were there. Sue and I signed as witnesses and then after the KISS at which everyone went aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrh! The couple had to return along the plaited walkway this time with the warriors dancing and chanting alongside to the even louder banging of the drums. At the end of the walk way, the couple I suppose were treated to a Massai wedding? with lots of jumping and dancing, singing and at times what appeared to be threats. Very loud and colourful. words can;’t describe the scene (I did video it). After more formal photgraphs with absolutely everyone and in every compbination, the family were transported back to the rooms. The sight that met is when we returned was fabulous, everything was covered in red flowers and petals, and Jambo was written in flowers on every flat surface including the beds. Surpsingly the toilet pan was also treated to this decoration! There was more champagne available and food and fruit laid out on a table. How they managed to do all this in such a short time is unbelievable.

Very shortly afterwards, we travelled back to the beach for a meal (with wedding cake) that was just superb and so romantic. There was candles and shooting stars and white sand and the lapping of waves and by now, because of so much champagne, malibu and coke, seven very merry revellers. Lucas dropped off to sleep and missed the enterainment of an African band who played a mean Santana set. We lost Suraj and Jamie who manged to find a Hubbly Bubbly pot and were relaxing on cushions, until it was time to go,

We left around 1 am to travel back and must have arrived around 2.30am. I am afraid I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to forget a single moment, so I got out of bed at 6,30am to write this,  it was such a perfect day. Thank you Charlotte, Suraj and Lucas.

First Day!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on Sep 1, 2008 by David Palmer
I had breakfast this morning with the family and as usual went to get changed to visit the gymn. On the way to the gymn I stopped off by the beach to have a look at the scenery before getting all tired and sweaty, when Jomo (one of the pool attendants) came over for a chat. After angling to talk about my watch and asking if he could have it, the conversation moved onto what did I do. It was then that I realised that it was the 1st of September, and I am now officially retired and out of a job! Looking at the blue sky, blue sea, Dhows with their white sails bobbing about and some evil crows cawing away, I reckon I certainly made a wise decision to plan for early retirement 18 years ago.

On Saturday we met Charlotte, Suraj and Lucas at the airport, the flight was only 10 mins late, but their journey had been a good one, though they all looked tired (even though Lucas slept most of the way). We had a bout 20 minutes with them before they boarded the mini-bus for the hours journey to Ngwi in the north. It was lovely to see them and relieved that they had made it in one piece. Afterwards we went into Stone Town, visited every museum they had and then had lunch in the Old Fort.

We have been on numerous walks around the Hotel and in Stone town, and until last night (Chinese) have eaten in a different place each time. One memorable eating place was where we had a Zanzibarian 3 piece band play for us (for a tip) and we sat sitting down on cushions, this is not easy when you are retired and the knees complain. Yesterday at lunch, I was sat down just about to scoff my Kingfish fingers and salad when a crow sitting in a branch above (waiting for leftovers) pooped onto my head!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I ( don’t know what diet he was on, but it is yellowish green and stains). We have a lot of crows around, ALL of them EVIL! When I took my shorts off the balcony this morning, there was some more crow poo! I shall be ordering crow pie in every restruant I visit from now on!

Charlotte is coming down to Stone Town tomorrow (it is her birthday) which will be nice as the staff here are keen to see her. She is very pleased with her Hotel and says that it is absolutely beautiful. We see it on Wednesday when we travel up for the wedding.