Friday, 17 June 2011

Seriously, Can You Believe it? being tucked up in bed on a Friday night, with my laptop for company at 8:30pm... does that make me sad or what? I had a busy day (realising that all the bites I have are in fact flea bites from my beloved pets) I decided to maniacally clean and wash the house. I started by sweeping, then washing the floors. I decided to drag the sofas out of the lounge o to the porch area (ask Kimberley they weigh a ton)... I then beat the living daylights out of the arms and backs of the sofas, (Kimberley also has video footage of this but was threatened with death if she showed them to anyone as I look like a crazy woman). 

Henry would have helped but he had decided that today he would transplant some seedlings for some passion fruit seeds we had saved from eating the fruit, I misheard him when i though he had said that we had 8 seedlings, infact he had said 78!!!!!! Wow I hope they all survive as we can sell some of them... (sorry I digressed)

Mopping the floor
To wash the ft the moment I of cotton tract suit shorts by the waist band over the bristles of the broom and used this as my mop, adjusting as I went as they kept falling off. Did a good job though. I left the sofas to recover from their beating and doused with dudu powder (flea powder) whilst I washed the big woollen blanket that had been lying on the sofa. It took all my strength to lift the wet woollen blanket, to wring and then to get it onto the washing line without breaking the line. The trick is to upturn the huge wash basin after rinsing and bundle the blanket into a ball and balance on top of the upturned basin for the water to seep out, makes finally lifting it lighter without the water. 

 From there I decided to douse Kim in flea powder, she kindly lay down and allowed me to apply the powder whilst massaging her to make sure the powder was well into all the fur, unfortunately Paka had seen this and was no where to be seen when it came to her turn. I did however grab Pakas bedding and threw that in the wash too. Now all bedroom doors are closed so no sneaking in and sleeping on the nice soft blankets by Paka, the sofa cushions will be lifted when not sitting on and spare blankets will be stored well out of Pakas way. Not saying this is all the cat's fault as I have many times left the lounge and returned to find Kim lounging full stretch on the sofa... she soon gets moved as she takes all the room.

 I dragged the sofas back into the lovely clean room and admired my hard work, they looked positively new...and smelled nice too. Paka has taken off and is no where to be seen, probably the smell of powder was too much to bear. Kim is oblivious as she thoroughly enjoyed the massage and would have wanted me to continue for hours, I am hoping that the biting will now stop... but who knows. The thing I find funny is that Henry spends time with the animals and sits watching movies on my laptop on the sofa, why doesn't he get bitten, its the same with mosis's... I can't be that tasty, not at this age would have thought it was a bit tough now.

Anyway after all that action, I showered and headed into town to meet up with George as it was his birthday today so I had a beer with him at my friend Veronica's (some of you may remember she has a nyama choma restaurant and bar in town which has dancing in the evening) Unfortunately Veronica was not there today but we had a nice Guinness each and roast potatoes with Kachubari (finely chopped tomatoes and onions with chilli peppars and a bit of salt) I like it but without the chilli peppars and I am pleased to say they now serve the chilli peppars at the side of the plate so you dont need to take them if you dont want to. George was working later tonight tutoring the boys so we only had one beer and then he headed off, I was pleased to get home as I was exhausted.

I have checked my emails and facebook and am now nicely relaxed ready for a busy day at SCANN tomorrow with the clinic etc and apparently we have visitors coming too so it will be all hands on deck for sprucing, (as if I need to do more sprucing). I also need to go to town to pick a sample of golden beads for necklaces for the fund raising costumes (dont ask), go to the internet place to scan immigration documents for the Salvation Army to contest Immigration on the expiry date of my visa (they are trying to say it expires 26 June 2011 when I have receipts showing I paid for visa until June 2012...) corruption rules!!!!!! I am also waiting for Crown to finish decorating SCANN, they are painting all the buildings inside and out, I have been asked when they have finished to decorate the classrooms as we have been given lots of small pots of paints, they want them to look more like classrooms.... so I am presuming, alphabet, letters, tables, etc etc etc with pictures also. I have asked my friend Cheryl if her daughter can come along and help me as she is artistically inclined and I can only copy. Just waiting for the paint to dry and the Ok to start work, should be great fun.

I am looking forward to my friend Ailsa (who came down for the fundraising at Salsa) to arrive on Friday, she will be staying for a while so that she can organise things with Mama Sweetie (as we are looking to start construction of the proposed ablutions block) and see will catch up with old friends, it should be fun. Hoping she will join me for beginners salsa on the Wednesdays, the more the merrier.

Anyway time I left you, its a short and sweet one tonight as eyes are tired, not sure I will get much reading done, probably just as well that I get an early night after all that exertion. My love to you all, June is a busy event month for my family, so happy birthdays and anniversaries all round, I am hoping all the cards get there OK.

Ah the local dogs have started their evening howling session, catching up on their news of the day, usually lasts about 5 mins then stops so will love you and leave you on that howling note. Enjoy the weekend whatever you all decide to do, hoping the weather is improving there. Susannah

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Purring at the End of the Day


Hi Family and Friends,

Hope life is treating you all well and that you are looking after yourselves.

Busy, Busy, Busy………. Well the week was varied consisting of making sure I was in the right place before the rains started in the afternoon, I must admit I didn’t always get it quite right, but that just helped on the personal hygiene front with an extra shower!!

I went to SCANN on Wednesday having agreed that I would go in and help with some of the sewing of the costumes, it was not an easy job stitching white satin……..  I managed two pairs of trousers which I hoped would help towards the finished items. (these are the muslim long tunics and baggy trousers, I am sure they have a proper name but I don’t know it!  From SCANN I walked into town with one of the evening tutors who was spending time at the centre called George, he is relatively new and wanted inside information!!!!

It was such a hot day and the clouds building indicated that there was heavy rain on the way  I left George in town and went to the internet to read my emails as I had been having continued trouble at home, I think they must have moved my satellite….. How rude!!!!  Anyway one of the emails was from a lady that I have been waiting for her to confirm if she wants to stay at the house and when, she told me that she wanted to come on the 17th for three weeks, I sent her an email back saying that I had waited so long for her to confirm that in the middle I had taken two bookings and if she wanted to come she could only stay for two weeks, , with which I gave her the details of Guava Guest House in town run by Danielle.  

The story continues that she wishes to stay at the house with her Kenyan boyfriend who works some way out, I suggested that maybe Guava would be better for her. I suggested that due to the distance from town maybe her boyfriend should get in touch to visit the house and see the distance she passed my number on to him.

Yesterday I arranged for a piki piki to pick me up from the house as I was taking a big bag of small boys clothes to help the new boys we have had at SCANN as they seem to be a little thread bear on the clothes front. It was also Clinic day.  I am used to walking to SCANN and I must admit that I could easily used to riding on a piki piki it is so much quicker.  I sorted out the clothes on my arrival and will check out the lockers tomorrow as it was impossible to do with all the boys at the centre.  I attended to my duties in the clinic most of the boys were suffering from sore throats and coughs with the cold weather one boy had an old knee injury which is playing up due to the cold nights so we gave him painkillers and wait for the warmer weather.   I cut out some more of the costumes for the sewing lady helped with ideas for decorating the school house and chatted to some of the boys.  I received a call from Wesley  (the ladies boyfriend) asking if it was ok to view the house,  the timing worked out well as I was ready to leave for the afternoon.  I told him I would let him know when I had reached town.

Lighting the jiko

 I got a piki piki to collect me as I remembered that I had to buy two jikos (cooking stoves) for Jayne my virgin airline friend who I was meeting on Tuesday in Nairobi.  I went to where the ‘tin men’ sit all day hammering away at the various items for kitchen use, I can sometimes hear them from SCANN and today as I stood looking through the various items I became mesmerised by the tink tink tink sound of them hammering, it is a lovely sound of industry at its best, none of the supermarket rubbish!! I negotiated the price as he tied the two jikos together and placed them into my large IKEA bag which comes in so handy it is untrue.  I loaded the bag and myself on the back of the piki piki and we headed into town, I decided my first stop would be Guava for a bottle of beer it had been a long day.   From Guava I arranged to meet Wesley outside Barclays bank as I needed to take some money out from the cash dispenser (was rather worried as hadn’t used it in such a long time couldn’t remember my pin number) .  After the second try I got it right and breathed a sigh of relief as my cash was dwindling down to nothing.  I stepped out from the bank lobby and was greeted by a man smiling and waving his hand at me, I took this to be Wesley with a friend in tow.  Now by this time I was on foot and lugging the two jikos was not light weight………. After polite friendly introductions I asked if it would be possible for one of the strong giants to help carry the bag as it was so heavy, Wesley’s friend happily obliged.

We headed towards the matatu stage which was on the other side of the town at which point the heavens opened and Wesley opted for a taxi ride, as both the guys were in shirts with no jacket or sweater, I was in no position to object and had an inward smile as it would have been a fight at that time with the rain falling trying to get a matatu with three of us together.  Having had no notice of Wesleys visit I had not prepared the room but it made no difference he loved the place and said as he had a motorbike the distance was no problem  I am just waiting for Belinda to confirm and pay a deposit they only want B&B which suits me to the ground.  

After they left I had a mad session of dismantling beds and washing floors, mainly because I only have one double bed and that’s mine……. Whilst I am loathed to let someone else use my bed , due to the short notice I wont be able to get another one made in time and the additional cost will take away any of the benefits of having people stay.  Henry and I spent about two hours lugging bits of beds around and fixing them back together,  now I sleep on a single bed in my large room which even Kim (the dog) found to be unsettling, maybe she thought I was on the move again.  I seriously don’t think my queen sized bed made of solid wood was made to be moved around,  maybe I should just change rooms but I would miss my ensuite!

Henry and I decided that we deserved to watch a movie  on my laptop after all the hard work so I planned to start cooking early as it was a bean and vegetable casserole.  Little did I know that on a jiko it would take 3 hours for the beans to cook…… add to that the additional vegetables and rice to go with it, bearing in mind I started at 3.45pm we didn’t get to eat until gone 9.  We washed up feeling very full with the lovely meal but so tired that I went to bed to read,  I don’t think I got to the end of one page.  Sleeping in a single bed and sharing it with the dead weight of Paka will take some getting used to.

Today, after a rather disturbed nights sleep, at one point I woke up with a start and shouted out for Henry to help (luckily he had not heard), not sure what the dream was about but it wasn’t good was the feeling I got.  Kim woke up at 4.30 am needing to wee so wanted to be let out and before that at 4am my neighbour was chopping wood for his wood burning stove to heat the hot water for a shower……… I was NOT pleased and let him know this when I opened my window and shouted at him.  I have had conversations in the past with him asking that if he must shower at that time, due to his work commitments, then why could he not cut the wood during the afternoon for that evening (made sense to me) .  Now this guy looks older than the hills and always talks to me in what he regards the Queens English, and lets me know he understands that my bedroom is on the other side of the path separating our two properties where he has his ‘wood burner’ and that is why he no longer chops wood at night. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Next time I will take his photo, hopefully not while he is standing in his yard showering under the stars!

I got up today (Sunday) at 7am and wished that I was able to stay in bed longer but I seem to be so busy with things here that it seems like such a waste.  I sat on the step as usual with my coffee, giving Kim an early morning brush, (she loves it). I set down the empty coffee cup and started plucking at the weeds in the pebble drive.  Since the rains the weeds have gone crazy, I am sure that if I sat long enough I could watch them appear, I go out in the morning and by the evening there are loads, even after I have just weeded.  I ended up out there for 3 hours, hand plucking the weeds, luckily it had rained last night quite heavily and the weeds just pulled easily from the ground.  I have only managed to complete about half of the front drive way but gave up due to the sun getting too hot.  From there I swept the house, no idea where all the dust comes from, I sweep daily.  Henry disappeared for the day to Church and as usual I asked that he include me in his prayers, well someone has too!   The mains water came early today and I managed to get the storage tank filled with no problems.  I then got to work washing my bedding, blankets and quilts ready for the imminent visitors, with the amount of rain we are having it would take a while to get anything dry, at least I now have lines set up in my garage for drying when the day turns wet, the garage is at least getting used for something!!  

After my hyper work session I had a shower myself in the ‘family’ shower to make sure it still worked,  it did and quite nicely too.  I then flopped on my (small) bed and had half an hour feet up reading my book.  Guilt soon hit me as I needed to go to town to get milk and some meat for Kim as she was without.  I got dressed, put clean bedding on my bed and headed off, just in time for the clouds to darken and the wind to build.

I started walking down towards the highway, stopped on the way to talk to the man at the hotel and order some bones for Kim which I would collect on the way home, at this point it started spitting so I hailed a passing Piki Piki and headed into town ahead of the rain, but only just.  As a treat to myself and to save me getting home and having to light the jiko I had a late lunch in Guava CafĂ©, it was a delight, smooth mashed potatoes, steak with onion sauce and a soda.  I left there and picked up some shopping headed in the rain to the matatu and alighted at the hotel on the way to mine to pick up the meat for Kim.  I then had to walk home all of 30 mins in the rain (I did remember to take my rain jacket, but not sure it is supposed to stop you getting wet).  On the way I was passed by 4 empty matatus going in the opposite direction  and guess what, none going my way.  It was a long walk with a bag of meat and shopping but it was OK, I didn’t mind the rain.  I got in just as the rain had soaked into the material of my skirt making it hard for me to walk as it was clinging so tightly to my legs.  I put away the shopping and thanked my stars that I had the foresight to get the washing in the garage before I left!  I flicked on the kettle for a hot cup of coffee only to find that the stema (electric) was out,  it was Sunday afterall, a normal day for power outages. 

I sat at the laptop as it had a bit of battery left and I am still here, in between, Henry has returned from church,  (glad that I reminded him to take his rain jacket). The stema has come back on, I have managed a cup of hot coffee,  Kim has been fed and paka is sat hanging on to my lap as I am typing….digging her claws into my belly….. purring away.  A lovely end to a very tiring day…….  

My credit just died on internet so had to top up from my phone, just my luck.

Love to you all.


Thursday, 2 June 2011

It's raining... all my tanks are full

My Water Tank

Hi Everyone,
well it appears to be that time again.  Yesterday was a holiday Madaraka Day (think that is the spelling) such a weird day to have as a holiday mid week, made me think it was Sunday all day.  I had planned on a morning walking in the Menengai Crater with a new teacher from SCANN who does not know Nakuru well.  I made a picnic and everything unfortunately they was delayed at a SCANN meeting which started at 9am and by the time they were free it was 2pm and it was far too hot to head to the crater, so we sat at Bota Sola (a bar and eaterie at the bottom of the hill) chatting and comparing notes on life.  I ended up heading home, weeding and washing before the heavens opened, I had dinner then decided as the day was wasted to put my energies into painting one of the spare rooms.  

The room had a problem since I last painted it when I moved in, it rejected the paint on one wall, which meant it bubbled and oozed so last year I scraped off all the paint in that area and left it.  I was surprised to find the wall was dry, everyone had told me there was water coming through the wall, NO IT WAS DRY!  I left the room as it was when I went back to the Uk as I knew Nicks boys would be using that room and pointless to paint it before hand.

I went out last week and bought some paint a roller tray, roller and a couple of paint brushes. I coated the area that I had scraped the paint off to balance the colour (took two coats) but was worth it.  I have been waiting for the chance and energy to get it painted but been putting off ..... last night was the night. With no ladder in sight I used a small full height table and chair to get around the room, must admit worked far better than the ladder I used last time.  I completed the rooom at 11.30pm I fell exhausted into bed, but not before washing the roller and brushes.  Looking at it today, it is so clean but unfortunately, will need another coat, glad to see that there is enough paint left in the can to let me do this, paints here when they mix for colour never come out the same colour, even though they tell me they will, it is computerised don't you!

Needless to say I didn't get to Salsa last night, besides it was pouring with rain and a holiday so transport was a big problem, Danielle couldnt make it either so we agreed to meet up next week.

I have been busy trying to get plans drawn up for the toilet block for Mama Sweeties, it is a bit of a nightmare as she keeps changing the plans, it will get done eventually.  I had a lovely time there on Sunday, I took with me some drawing paper and pencil case, I got the children sat at the table in shifts drawing and colouring, they loved it, not sure they get to do much of this. I promised that if they kept them safe I would go back with tape to put them on the walls.

Scann is being painted at the moment, CROWN paints have kindly offered to do the job and supply the paints, inside and outside.  I have been asked to decorate the school rooms to make them look more like classrooms when they are finished.  I have roped into the team Cheryls daughter as she is arty farty and whilst I can copy and paint, imagination is a little limited.  Will let you know how it goes when it happens, may even do photos.

I sent Henry off to see his parents as yesterday was an official holiday, he went Tuesday evening and returns Friday evening.  He was so happy, he had a hen from a neighbour to take to his father.  The house is lovely when I am here alone althought I am pleased when Henry is here, it is not the same, I can walk around in my pj's instead of having to dress before I leave my room.......... the freedom.   This morning I fed the chickens, one is sitting on eggs, so I think Henry is planning on increasing our stock, at present 3 hens and a cockerel.  I lifted the bag of maize Henry left me (he usually takes care of them as they are his) I was not aware that the bag had a big hole in the bottom and the maize shot out all over the floor before I realised what had happened, ideal start to the day! 

One of my chickens
I am heading off to SCANN now to say hi to the home boys, the new ones are just getting used to me, takes them a while, (I am strange after all I think we all agree on that one). I spent the morning tracing some animal and bird pictures for them to colour in, they love it and it helps them become more fluent with the use of pencils.

Jayne (my Virgin Airlines friend) has told me she is visiting Nairobi soon for a one night stopover and I am very welcome to join her at the hotel for the night, for a soak in the bath, wine and girlie gossip............... I love her !  Keeps me sane, she also sometimes brings chocolate!!!!!

Anyway must go or won't get to SCANN and back before the afternoon rains, dont fancy getting soaked today too tired, not a good combination.

Love and hugs to you all,