Monday, February 7, 2011

Blissful weekend in Kimwarer Valley

Before I post about what I did this weekend, I'd like to encourage you, my dear blogger friends, to visit a blog written from Egypt. Jackleen, an American living in Cairo, has an interesting blog at the best of times. Now, during the uprisings in Egypt, she is giving us the true conditions and happenings, blowing away all exaggerations and rumours. Do pop over there and follow this lovely lady's blog. You can read it here.

Another of my blogger friends, (whom I hope to meet one day, as she LOVES Africa, whoo-hoo!) is Gattina. She hosts a fun meme every Monday called "What did you do this weekend". If you haven't yet joined this meme or not read Gattina's funny and interesting blog posts,  you dont' know what you're missing. Please pop in and visit Gattina's blog, if you have a chance.

My weekend [excitement] began just before midnight on Friday. I woke up and as I padded into the bathroom, I spotted a tiny, dark-coloured worm on the tiled floor. Bending down, I touched it gently, thinking it was a shongololo (centerpede), which curls into a tight ball on contact. Not this "worm". This one immediately went into throes of thrashing about and slithering along the tiles. Mmm, I thought sleepily, just like a snake. I thought about dashing out to fetch my camera but as I was hesitating, it slithered into the bathroom wall and disappeared! Looking closely I saw a teeny hole in the corner of the bath wall. The snake, as indeed I know it was, albeit a baby one, had slithered back into a nest under the bath? Not sure. But it disappeared there and has not made its appearance again. It was about three inches long and as thick as a matchhead. Any snake fundi's out there have an idea of what this snake was.

Climbing back into bed, I nudged Grant awake. I told him I'd just seen a snake in the house. "Mmm, what colour?", he asked. When I said "Black", he said, "Oh, where did you see it?" Hereafter ensued a normal midnight discussion as all married people often have (or not, LOL!) about the little snakes in the house which by now had obviously joined his [many] siblings and mama in a nest under the bath. Ewgh.  Not that I'm too worried. If the snake reappears through that hole into the bathroom, he is still too small (he really was the smallest little snake I've ever seen) to be dangerous. If he's already grown in the past two days into a larger snake, he cannot, under any circumstances, fit through that hole. (See above picture - the hole, not too clear in the photo is also only the circumference of a match head)

Saturday dawned bright and clear as every halcyon day has been since we arrived almost two weeks ago. During the morning I popped into the bathroom to wash my hands and as I turned on the tap, a medium sized spider jumped out at me. I must admit, I bellowed, ran out the bathroom and slammed the door. Now, you, my readers need to know something about me. I am NOT afraid of creepy-crawlies and I don't kill them, if I can help it. Least of all spiders. But that doesn't make me less of a woman. I still squeal when one jumps out at me (which hasn't happened to me in decades, in fact since we lived in Zululand in the seventies and eighties in a climate very similar to this one and spiders would jump out at you if you walked down a dark passage) Anyway, back to the Kenyan spider and me standing outside the [closed] bathroom door. I opened the door and peered inside. The spider was gone! No matter where I checked in my small bathroom, the spider had disappeared. Aha, obviously it had skuttled into the hole - probably it had emerged from there anyway.  All our windows in the house have secure mosquito netting on the outside so apart from flying insects which come in through the door, nothing else can creep in through open windows as they can in our house in South Africa.

I baked one loaf of brown bread and two small loaves of white in an oven that I had never used before. But they turned out perfectly

OK. the rest of the day passed without excitement. Grant works until mid-afternoon,  so I'm alone on Saturdays. I baked bread in an oven that needed some fancy footwork, err, dial control to regulate to the correct temperature.  In fact, by 6pm, after I'd showered,  the whole camp was so quiet and when the monkeys had not appeared at all on the lawn, I re-opened all the external doors and returned to my desk to continue typing. A few minutes later I heard a muffled crash in the kitchen . I was alone in the house (and we live in safe environment, where no human would intrude) I immediately thought MONKEYS! I jumped up and ran to the kitchen shouting at the top of my voice. Just then three monkeys scampered out the back door, the last one having dropped a packet of sliced bread which he'd stolen from the counter. I hung my head out of the back door, where these three and a dozen others were sitting on the garage roof looking and me and making squeaking sounds, and gave them all a piece of my mind. Imagine, I told them, here I've just done a blog post on them and said that if they stay in their part of the bush, I'll stay in mine. And this is how they repay me? Huh?  Believe me, they didn't even bat a collective eyelid! (lol!)  I banged the kitchen door shut; closed top front door a little more gently  (I sit near the front entrance into the lounge, so I left that open) and came back to my computer.

So with the first half of my weekend, filled with excitement like snakes slithering across the bathroom floor, spiders scuttling into minute holes and monkeys meddling in my breadbin, how can I can complain of having a boring time in Africa?

On Sunday morning Grant took me out to the mine site where we did spot of birdwatching. Wonderful. We saw many birds not seen before AND I managed to get some good photos (I've been depairing of ever getting a clear photo of a bird - that morning I got several!) which I will share later on.

One of the Komatsu bulldozers (now part of Grant's earthmoving fleet) moves down from a top pit to the service area just below this road. I will do a post on the mine shortly.

On returning to the house, I made a batch of cheese scones which we enjoyed with tea for mid-morning breakfast. After this I settled down to work at my computer. I have a magazine deadline for Friday, 11 February and have been frantically going through my archives for old photos. (I'm supplying the photos for the article as well) More about my article in a later post. Mid-afternoon on Sunday, Grant had found a grid and bought charcoal locally so he prepared the normal Sunday BBQ (braai) ! (Our very first braai in East Africa!)

While typing this post on Sunday night, I could hear the deep Hu hu-hu hoo call of the Verreaux's Eagle-owl (Giant Eagle-owl)in our garden. We hear him every night and morning. What bliss.

And Praise God! Our Internet has been running smoothly for the past two days. Only on two occasions in this time did it log out. Amen!

For more of what others have done this weekend, click here.


  1. EEww, Jo, the baby black snake and the spider in your bathroom gave me the creeps. I'd yelp, too, if I saw either of those in my bathroom! The monkeys sound like little rascals. They do sound a bit too fearless of humans.

    I'm off to visit Jackleen's blog. Sounds like it'll be a good read.

    P.S. Your article deadline is my birthday--I'll be 63/1

  2. So glad you are enjoying settling into Kenya. I've always found I am never bored and never without a lack of things to keep my time occupied there ;-) By the way, the bread looks delicious.

    Oh, you asked me in an earlier comment on a blog post about the quilt I made, whether I got my sewing skills from my mom. I would have to say "yes" though she is naturally more gifted than I am in this area. I started sewing at a younger age than she but I have to say that it is only in later years that my skills have gotten better. I guess I'm like good wine. It gets better as it ages ;-)

  3. Hi Jo, Such an interesting life you have there... I'm not sure I'd like the monkeys, snakes or spiders.... Good Luck with them...Yipes!!!!

    Can't wait to see your bird pictures...

  4. What a delightful post, Jo. You have written so vividly that it felt as if I were right there with you. Really wonderful...thank you! I'm not at all keen on spiders - they are expected to remain in the garden, where I eye them with suspicion if they're large and hairy and watch with interest if they're small. Snakes in the bathroom? That would have freaked me out, but as you've so carefully explained & illustrated, there's apparently not anything to worry about unduly. You will need to be watchful when out in the garden, though! Thankfully the monkeys hadn't pinched your freshly baked loaves, which looked delicious. You're a STAR, Jo with baking bread and knocking up a batch of cheese scones so 'easily!' I'd better not let my husband read this post ;)

    Hope your magazine article is coming along nicely! Please do tell us more about it :)

  5. This is the second blog about spiders that I've read tonight. Thats enough. I don't like them or snakes especially in the house. I saw a documentary on Baboons in Capetown. How they come into homes and cars and steal food and wreck homes. Sounds like a real problem. At least our wallabies don't come in the house. Off to read Jackleen's blog.

  6. Liewe Jo - het 'n besige tydjie gehad en glad nie by die rekenaar uitgekom nie. Ek het nou al jou vorige 'posts' gelees - jy bly nou in 'n pragtige (en interessante) deel van ons kontinent!! Jou brode wat jy gebak het, lyk heerlik!

    Ek en Henk is nou oppad Potch toe - laat hoor weer Wo. van my.

    Baie liefde, Ida

  7. OMWord Girl! Get some cotton balls OR paper and shove it into the hole!! Yikessss!!!
    Sounds like you're having a Wonderful trip!
    Going to read her blog now!

  8. Now I am not jalous about your exititing life with mini snakes and maxi spiders and on top stealing monkeys ! Monkeys wouldn't disturb me they at least look cute, maybe are annoying but still they are funny. Can't say that from a spider ! I hate them I send Pookie to take care of the spider she loves to catch and eat them ! Snakes don't bother me either except when they look like a worm ! I like big pythons or something similar ! Can't you order an elephant for me and put it as a decoration in your garden ?

  9. Jo, you live such an interesting life, with your snakes, spiders, etc. I don't know if that is worse than rioters or not, but I love reading about your life there in SA. Thanks for the mention of my blog. Some of your readers have popped in. ;o)
    Love, Jackie

  10. Scary when you will see a snake.. Thanks for coming by.

  11. Hi Jo, You have the most interesting life! I enjoyed reading this post and can't help smiling as I picture you scolding the monkeys. I would NOT like to see a snake in my bathroom though! Your bread looks yummy...
    I'm off to visit Jackleen's blog...

  12. Wow - sounds like you are having a really fun time. Hope the internet keeps going - I so enjoy reading your news.
    (Caroline - just logged in as Coco and too tired to log out and in again!xx)

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