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Tag Archives: Graham & Anita
T Minus 65
I could have titled this post From Haverhill to Mwanza, but “Dwelling Places” it is.
One of my favourite words in the English Language is ‘dwell’ it has so much more to it than the word ‘live’ which is often used to replace it. Dwell has depth and solidity, a word of permanence.
The provision our new house to be and the imminent completion of sale on our current house has got me reminiscing about the places I have dwelt. From Haverhill in Suffolk to Lincoln to Nottingham to Milton Keynes to Mwanza.
T Minus 70
It’s a ritual. It started two years ago. At the time Anita was recovering from Her broken arm and undergoing physiotherapy on a Friday afternoon. I was able to finish work early for a few weeks and we always would pop to our local Costa (a UK coffee house franchise) for a drink after the session. It’s become a routine, not every Friday, but most Fridays. Usually for me it’s a Skinny Mocha, for Anita a Toffee Creamy Cooler. Today however (given the heat) it was a Strawberry & Lime Cooler for both of us. It’s a nice routine to have.
- T minus 87
Today is our 19th Wedding Anniversary and a time to reflect on the past as well as look to the future – I share here wedding pictures from that day almost two decades ago. These come from Anita’s Creative Memories scrapbooking album. Continue reading
T Minus 123
Today is a Bank Holiday in the UK and so with the weather looking good we headed of with Anita’s family to Gray’s Court a National Trust property near Henley on Thames. Some fabulous gardens built among the ruins of a castle and a fabulous bluebell wood. We had a great time.
T Minus 128
The danger in all this preparation we’ve been doing is that we miss out on the glorious Spring weather we’re currently having and the opportunities to visit some of our favourite places in England before we move away. Most weekends have been spent clearing, selling, painting and gardening. This week we have been taking things much more easy.
Today we have used our National Trust Membership before it runs out in May and have been to Hidcote Manor Gardens in Gloucestershire. We last went in Summer 2012 and thought we’d like to see what Spring has to offer.
Rather than share conventional photos on this blog I thought I’d share some I took using the Front Facing “Selfie” camera on the iPhone. I used this to take the plants from below as well as for more conventional “selfies”
T Minus 128
As part of an aim to blog earlier travels before leaving for Tanzania, the Czech Republic is now live with content.
Follow the link to see much more detail and more pictures. 😀
Denmark – 2004
Rome – 2005
T minus 147 When we pack our bags in the summer and fly out to Tanzania – it will not be the first visit to that continent for either Anita or I. In fact by one measure all the family have been to Africa before. Anita has had by far the longest stay, having lived and worked in Malawi during 1992 and 1993. I will leave her to share her story in more depth later on. Lanzarote As for the rest of us, depending on how you look at it, we all visited the continent of Africa in 2006, when we had a fabulous holiday in Lanzarote (part the Canary Islands). These islands – while part of Spain (and therefore politically European) are actually part of the African continental shelf. However, this is probably a little tenuous, since for all practical purposes we were visiting a European nation. Nonetheless the African climate, the camels (imported of course) and the wildlife was Africa ‘writ small’. Here is an excuse to include a few of the pics we took at the time. Look for the pictures of Manrique’s works – a famous Lanzarote artist.
Gambia Only eight weeks before my family package holiday to the Canaries, I had visited ‘Africa proper’ for the first time. This trip undertaken with colleagues from school was part of fostering a link between my School and Brikama Upper Basic School in The Gambia. It was the first such trip by staff, following on from earlier trips taken by Sixth Formers. It gave me my first taste of Africa and it was wonderful. We were staying in a moderate Hotel, but it had a pool – so we Westerners weren’t completely thrown in at the ‘deep end’ (every pun intended). From that base we visited the School in neighbouring Brikama, along with Serekunda and Banjul. It was a packed week with trips out into the countryside visiting places such as Makesutu (an Ecotourism centre), Lamin Lodge and Kachikally Crocodile Pool, as well as an Orphanage and Maternity Centre. We were ably led by a Gambian Tour Guide, known as Mucki, who gave us a real insight into the real Gambia away from the tourist trail. We even went on a day trip to Senegal including the crossing of the River Gambia. I loved the heat and the wildlife (no big game in the Gambia, but a great variety of tropical birds and reptiles). I would be woken each morning by the strange whooping sound of an African bird. Lizards would be crawling across the lawns, even the grass was different. Breakfast in the hotel was buffet style with plenty of fruit including tiny, tasty bananas (better than their bigger UK imported cousins). Then it was out for the day to wherever we were going. Evenings were spent in local Gambian restaurants – off the beaten track. The sun set quickly so it was always dark by 7 which seemed strange in the heat (it was always 30ºC ). We would wait on a street corner and pile into a ‘minibus’ – these were interesting affairs with dilapidated seats and no seat belts – 15 of us crammed in and driven off at high-speed to our restaurant for the night. There were many Dalasi to the Pound, and we probably over-tipped to begin with paying one lucky ‘mandolin’ player a months wages after our first meal. One of the Gambian specialties was Domoda (a beef dish served in a peanut / tomato sauce). In those pre-wifi days internet required a cabled connection but it seemed like every other shop was an Internet Café. The Gambia was a great place to visit. Unfortunately. the week was over too quickly, but it was a fabulous introduction to Africa and one I will never forget.
T Minus 163
Today’s journey to work was interesting. The familiar journey was shrouded in thick impenetrable fog – like much of the Southern England. This was probably the thickest fog I’ve travelled through for a few years. Luckily I was prepared (a tweet from the met office at 6:15am helped) and left earlier than usual. Even so it was tight timing!
Travelling across Buckinghamshire along country roads it was often hard to see more than a few metres ahead. Amazingly some drivers didn’t have their lights on which was a surprise but I think this has something to do with having automatic lights. One of the problems with automatic lights is that they respond to light levels – which means they don’t switch on in daylight even if fog is really thick. I’ve been caught out myself before now. To use the fog lights you obviously need to have the main beams on too. In my car I do this by switching the beams from automatic to manual.
I doubt there’s much fog in Mwanza – though living by a lake you never know. However, as I travelled this morning I thought about the metaphorical foggy road ahead for us in the next few years. Continue reading
T minus 182
For those who have followed this blog for the past week, you may know we have deliberated long and hard about whether to let or sell our house while out of the country. After a long of discussion and prayer, visits by three Estate Agents and three letting agents (actually one did both), a lot of ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ we have come to a decision.
We have decided to sell!
Anita shared with me a story the other day. There are three times in her life when she had a very strong feeling about something that would on the surface seem somewhat ridiculous, but later….:
- Once at the age of 7 she was coming home from school and heard a sort of voice in her head saying “One day you’ll be working with people in Africa!” …. then some 14 years later, she went to Malawi with Emmanuel International, for 2 years teaching children preventative health (1992-3).
- A second occasion in early 1994, she was walking down the stairs in my house having only recently met me, when she had a very strong thought in her head that “One day you will live in this house!“, she thought that was a bit mad as she’d only just met me, but the following year… we got married and she moved into my house!
- The last occasion is one she had never shared with anyone until now: As a child she accompanied her parents with friends who were emigrating to Australia, whilst at the airport waving them off, she had a very strong feeling that when she grew up, she would also emigrate with her family somewhere …. and now 30+ years later, we will be selling up and moving to Tanzania this summer, wow!!!
Whether and when we return to the UK may be something which will be revealed in time but for now we are going with the flow. As Christians we believe God is in this and that He will be with us in all that we do. For some of you that may seem barmy – but there it is.
We are really grateful for all the support and help of both family and friends over the past few weeks.
It’s been a whirlwind but we are both remarkably calm about this and both in agreement.
T minus 186
One of the attractions locally is living close to Caldecotte Lake where I have had many a good run or walk over the years.
On an entirely different scale will be Lake Victoria – the second largest lake in the world. Mwanza sits on the lake’s southern shores, just 2 degrees south of the equator in the North West of Tanzania. The lake and the altitude (at over 1000m on a par with the top of Snowdon) means it’s slightly cooler than the plains below at a relatively cool 28-30 degrees C. Unfortunately the presence of diseases such as Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) mean there’s no swimming but there are some spectacular sunsets apparently. For now I shall have to settle for the sunsets over Caldecotte.
190 Days to departure. (T minus 190)
What a fortnight!
Wow seems to be the most used word, as I have let the world know of my new job.
Two weeks ago I hadn’t yet applied for the Head of ICT at Isamilo International School. Within 4 days I’d had a Skype interview and a job offer. Now we’re off to Mwanza in Tanzania this August. There’s a lot to do as we disentangle ourselves from the UK. This blog will chart our progress and life in Mwanza from August. It’s going to be an adventure. Wow!