Tag Archives: Africa

More On Crocodile Paddling

24 Jan

This is how it worked:  

English: Theodore Roosevelt assisting in captu...

English: Theodore Roosevelt assisting in capturing a crocodile on Lake Victoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • First, tell your wife she knows nothing and never listens and it was Lake Victoria in UGANDA not Imaginary River in Burundi and if she’s going to repeat stories, get the facts FIRST instead of having to write second and third corrections
  • Drink a lot with new buddies
  • Go out at night
  • Take a torch
  • Paddle ankle deep
  • Shine torch on water
  • See light bounce off crocodile eyes
  • Run 

Apparently, the biggest problem is the crocodiles you can’t see, because they are underwater, ready to pounce.

But that’s okay; the Hub had a branch with which to clock any attacking crocodiles.  

Good grief.  The wonder isn’t that he wasn’t attacked by a crocodile; the wonder is that he manages to get his socks on in the morning without falling over.


Had Fun; I’m Glad It’s Over

13 Aug

Apologies: the photos are quite dark because my camera isn’t good enough for the space we were in.  I have not included any pictures of the children because some parents will not allow their photographs to be included on a public forum, and I’m not sure which children that affects.  If you look at our church website in a couple of days, you will see more and better pictures, not taken by me.

Church Holiday Club: if that phrase conjures visions of earnest adults indoctrinating children with religion (as it does for the Hub), then you obviously grew up in the Fifties.  It’s not like that here in Stockport: let’s just say that Tottenham is not the only place to have had a riot this week.

There has been singing, stories, dancing, crafts, drama, architecture, puppetry, games, joke-telling and jungle japes.  Sometimes we let the children join in.

The week started with a roll of corrugated cardboard, masking tape, and the instruction to ‘build a hut’.  Thirty children were split into three groups and our ten looked like they needed a tunnel, so that’s what they got: a foyer, a tunnel and a grand exit.  They decorated it with paper leaves on the first morning.  The intention was to cover the hut with leaves by the end of the week, but we were too busy enjoying ourselves to finish it.

Welcome to our humble abode

The baby group had the best builders

The real estate market finally started to pick up

After group time we joined the others in the pews for a singalong, with actions.  Then it was time for a little drama: The Watt Family (a family of five in the script, pared down to just Grandma and Wendy, due to a dearth of actors) took a trip to Africa; parachuted into the jungle because of engine failure; got lost; were rescued by a friendly chief; and celebrated their safe arrival with a nice cup of English tea.

I played Wendy. Wendy was a naughty girl who didn’t listen and wound up tied to a tree as lion fodder.  I’m sure you’ll be glad to know she was rescued, though the Hub was a little disappointed to hear it.

You can tie me to a tree but you'll never take away my freedom...

At one point, Wendy carried a suitcase that was stolen by a thief (David, the vicar).  Wendy and the thief tussled for dramatic effect; Wendy, in her excitement, forgot to let go and was dragged up the aisle by the twice-her-size-and-much-stronger enemy, landing flat on her backside.  Wendy fell over, yet I have the bruises; funny, that.

Tilly had a great week, but got a little plastered

The next hour was taken up with crafts, games and snack time, then it was back to the pews for more singing and jokes and a puppet show, before we all went back to our huts for going-home time.  Apart from when I’m blogging, I have never known two hours disappear like that: we packed each morning with fun activities and lots of laughter, and our reward was happy children and aching backs.

The children had a lesson in DIY

We know they enjoyed the week but I’m not sure if they got the message of love that we hoped they would: when asked what was the best thing about their time with us, one child said to me, ‘I liked the bit where David pushed you over.’

All Jedi have to start somewhere

Today’s post title is my Six Word Saturday entry.  Click on the link to join in the fun.

My niece and nephew arrive for a visit today, and I’m still pretending to do this week’s missed housework, but I promise to catch up on visits and comments soon.  Honest.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains

12 Aug

This was taken by the Hub: it is a beach in Burundi, on Lake Tanganyika.  He was on a business trip with a colleague.  He says you can see The Democratic Republic of Congo from this beach.  In the background you can see what Wikipedia calls ‘the mountainous walls of the Great Rift Valley.’ 

The Hub also tells me that they came back to this beach at night and they could see, by the light of their torches, crocodile eyes.  Many crocodile eyes.

They didn’t stay on that beach for long.



Jungle Jolly

7 Aug

It’s that time of year: the local kids come to watch Auntie Tilly dress up in funny clothes and act out execrable but well-intentioned scripts.  Yes, Church Holiday Club is upon us once more.

It was more 'Pirates of Penance' than 'Penzance'

It seemed like a good idea last year when I volunteered; and I did enjoy it, which is why I volunteered again.  But I forgot how scared I felt beforehand.  I’m sitting here with caterpillar offspring where my stomach should be, and not liking it.

It also means, of course, beloved readers, that I won’t be around as much this week.  I know, I know, it was selfish of me to schedule the decorating week so close to the holiday club week, but what could I do?  I am much in demand, as I told the vicar when I cornered him about pleeeeease letting me in again.

They had to accept my help when they realised that the theme was jungle and I’m the only one who’s lived in Africa, so I have all the great props.  I didn’t let on that in Africa we have bush, not jungle.  It’s a common misconception and the kids won’t know the difference so don’t you say anything.

I have scheduled some short posts for you.  I will get to your blogs and comments but I may be a day or two late.  Don’t desert me.

Now, where did I put that spear?  I’ll need it for the lion.*

*Spot the deliberate mistake.



I’m having a giggle to myself this morning.  Adding my tags, I used ‘jungle’ and thought I should include ‘bush’, because people confuse the two.  One of this post’s themes is mistakes.  A lot of people are going to be seriously annoyed when they Google President Bushisms and find themselves reading this.

Never misunderestimate the power of a good tag.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

20 Mar
First Street, Harare, Zimbabwe

Image via Wikipedia

A while back I told you about the time the Hub took me on a business trip to Zimbabwe, when the car broke down and had to be towed back to South Africa.  The Hub was reminiscing today about some of his other trips, selling articulated trailers in sub-Saharan Africa.  He also told me about this incident which happened to his then-boss, John, an ex-Rhodesian, and I thought you might enjoy it.

In the early Nineties there was a foot-and-mouth scare in Zimbabwe.  Road blocks had been set up to ensure animals were not being transported.  John was driving a car, not a bakkie (pick-up truck).  He stopped at a road block.  You have to imagine the strong accents of both protagonists.

Policeman: Do you have any animals in the vehicle?

John [mistakenly believing he was a funny guy]: There’s a horse in the boot.

P: Please get out of the car and open the boot.

J: I was joking!

P: Please get out of the car and open the boot.

John got out of the car and opened the boot.  It was empty.

P: Hau!  The horse has gone!

J: No, I’m telling you: I was joking; there never was a horse.

P: Why did you let the horse go?

J: No, there wasn’t a horse; I was joking.

P: You know you’re not allowed to transport animals; now you have to find the horse.

J: I was joking.  Look, I tell you what: I’ll reverse my car up the road; I’ll drive back to the road block; and we’ll start again.

John did just that.  He reversed the car, then drove back to the same road block with the same policeman in attendance.

P: Do you have any animals in the vehicle?

J: No.

P: Okay.  You can go.


On the particular trip to Zimbabwe that I mentioned, the Hub took me and some of his customers to the Bamboo Inn in Harare.  At that time it was voted eighth-best Chinese restaurant in the world.  I believe it: I had never eaten Chinese food before (seriously), and everything was so delicious that my mouth fills with saliva whenever I think of it, even twenty years on.  But best of all were the spring rolls: no fat, no gunk, just fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients in a delicate case that I could have had for the whole of my meal if the Hub’s greedy guests hadn’t gotten there first.

The waitress was old but efficient, whipping away my plate almost before I was able to pick up my dropped chopsticks from the floor.  She asked me if I’d like black or groin tea?  Too shy to ask what groin tea was, I opted for the black.  It was years before I realised she was offering me green tea.

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