Well, it's been another relatively rubbish month, alas, but not without its perks. Sorry that there haven't been many photos this month but it's basically down to the theft of the digital camera (sob) and the expense of developing film down here. My last entry was just before Easter, so I suppose I'm expected to fill you in from there.
Saturday went off fairly quietly at first, if only because I slept in something rotten after a late night doing.. err.. not a lot back at the house all day on Friday. When I did get up, it was gone two and I was expected at the farm for a hike and an Easter barbeque by the river. Realising I'd missed the walk, I decided not to miss out on an afternoon's exertion and took the dogs up the mountain. Halfway up, T-Bone found a small pile of cow entrails and had to be dragged away bodily.. so that was the end of that. Sweating and smelly back at the house, I threw food at the dogs, put a few lights on, locked up and jumped in the car with a 12-pack and some clean clothes.. a dip in the river was going to have to suffice for a shower.
At the farm house I found Andy and Des just leaving, which was excellent timing. Apparently I'd missed the walk, but was right on schedule for the beers and meat session, so we climbed back in the car and trundled off down the road to the campsite. Electing not to ford the river in a town car, we left it parked in the middle of the road (a novel and curiously liberating experience) and stumped through the swamp. After a refreshing plunge in the icy water, the sun began to go down and a distinct chill rushed through the valley. I elected to put on some clothes and returned to the campfire where I found.. a jacket, a shirt and a pair of shoes.
After copious swearing and a couple more beers, I settled into my somewhat bizarre (and chilly) appearance, dressed for an evening party from the waist up and an afternoon by the pool from the navel down. An excellent meal, prepared by Marlin, was soon inside us and Andy whipped out his guitar to regale us with various blues numbers.. although favourite novelty song of the day, for some reason, was:
I've just cem doo frae the Isle of Skye
I'm nae sae big an I'm awful shy
And the girlies shout when I go by,
"MacDonald, where's yer troosers?"
Ahem. Anyway, eventually it was just too cold and we retired to the house to sleep. I woke up with a filthy cold, unsurprisingly enough, and went home to sniffle to myself under my four-season duvet. I spent the following week battling with the bank to open a business account, in order to cash a crossed cheque I'd received as payment for a job. At one point the clerk assured me that the account would be open later in the day, but he couldn't accept my cheque (or the mandatory cash deposit which is required even though the cheque is worth over ten times as much) until then. I begged, I pleaded. "I have no money and no petrol," I told him.
"I'm sorry.. I can't look after money for you," he said, somewhat mystifyingly for a bank clerk.
I sighed deeply and went home. Actually, I went to the video shop and met Dessy who took me home and we spent the weekend cursing banks (they are waiting for money transfers from the UK) and watching movies, which was great fun.
On Saturday morning was some minor excitement as I chased cows out of the maize fields (as per usual) with Andy. Crossing the fence on the way back, I suddenly broke the stile with my foot and one of my ribs with the framework of the stile as I fell. Not really, but for the pain I felt, even through a bunch of mango screwdrivers* I should have. Winded, I staggered about drunkenly (well, I was drunk) and had to borrow the walking stick to make it back to the house before collapsing into the welcoming arms of a sofa. Feelign very sorry for myself, I drove slowly home that night, discovering much to my disgust that pulling the handbrake requires using muscles down the right side of one's trunk.. bruised or not.
Oh, and coughing is a no-no, no matter how much time you spend on the dirt road.
On the way home I was flagged down by an armed roadblock in the middle of nowhere, who had to borrow the torch my Dad bought me to search the car. For heaven's sake!
This week is looking much more upbeat, though; I've arranged to replace my UK driving licence with a Swazi one and I'm taking the test on Friday - fingers crossed, kids! Additionally, enormous thanks to my kindly parents, whose dedicated saving over the years for my later life has bailed my finances out perfectly.
(argh, that hurt)
* yes that was a totally gratuitous dig at those of you unfortunate enough not to live in a country where proper fruit is cheap. Hey, I need the ego boost - it's not as if I can laugh at you in my present state, is it?
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