The last few weeksWow. Finally. The new Times website is up and can be viewed at the normal address. My befuddled logic tells me that, yes, that does mean I no longer have an excuse for not writing in the diary (worse luck) so here goes.
12:40 am @ the times
Please bear in mind that I’m completely knackered, and slept on the world’s most uncomfortable sofa last night.
It took a fabulous three days to organise the Chillage party. Once I’d phoned Jon from the band, he advised me to hire Raolfo from Jazz Friends to do all the catering – which he did, in style – and Dieter from the Keyhole hardware store to do the lights – likewise – which left me with publicity. One quick round at the Times offices, followed by a cheeky article in the paper (sadly I failed to salvage a copy to scan in for you) ensured a queue out the door for most of the night. Wendy from the only other backpackers near Mbabane was shocked by the sudden arrival of six of my guests, whom I turfed out when we decided to clear the dorm out to make more room for revellers. As it happened, the only person to make use of this extra space was Khanya and, erm, an unidentified female companion.
After that, the place became a bit soulless, and although I was being kept more than busy kicking the boys at Africa Online back into shape (six weeks? But the sign outside says “59-minute websites”..) and suchlike, it still felt a bit tragic sitting around with nothing to do of an evening. I almost went down to the Why Not for a few beers on my own; luckily I realised just how crap that is before I got past the door.
The new house seemed to drift further and further away as the owner pushed the price up through the roof (he tried to claim his initial asking price was just for the house, not the land – how this works, I do not know, but it probably deserves a weak pun anyway) but eventually he conceded that we should move in before the lease on the old place expired (Mum? Dad? Are you listening?) and grudgingly handed over the keys. Well, actually that’s not true; he’d lost them. Luckily Dieter agreed to angle-grind the cage open. The new place is miles away from anywhere – a full twenty minutes from work – but the location couldn’t be much better. It’s a short stroll to the rockpools, and an even shorter (although steeper) wander to the top of Sibebe rock. The only downside, I suppose, is the lack of electricity and water, but I’m assured the former is forthcoming and the latter is readily sorted out. Andy is more than willing to throw bits of pipe around with me tomorrow morning. Dessy has been the real star of the show, however, after giving all her ID documents, a deposit and a thumbprint to the SEB to get the juice switched on.. let’s hear it for Dessy.
The move was quite exciting; Andy was loath to drive around with a big trailer (despite my offers) and we ended up with a large shoebox on castors. However, Lindiwe came through with a mate, four of his mates, and a flatbed, which took about 80% of the stuff in one hit. Quite amazing. Remind me to give her a raise. And remind me to put brake fluid in the Land Cruiser before driving it down Pine Valley.
Bob the dog – who is destined to be the mascot of the ultimate guide to Swaziland “bobthedog.com” – was completely freaked out by moving to PV; the lack of lights and people drove him to a panic attack every time anybody left without him. He even started sneaking into people’s cars as they tried to leave. He even got sat on once. However, today I took him for a walk up the garden and he cheered right up. The only thing he won’t like is the lack of avocado trees. Bob subsisted on avo’s throughout his life at the Chillage, and refused dog food in favour of them. I think it’s going to be a bit of a come-down in quality though as, I’m sure I don’t need to point out, I can’t exactly afford daily tins of Pedigree Chum.
In the meantime I’ve got a number of little things on the go. If anybody you know fancies a few months off helping out at the Chillage, send ‘em my way. We need help building some extra accommodation and frankly, I can’t work and run the place single handed.
BIG news coming up, by the way.