Tuesday, 19 June 2012

On coming home to very wet weather

I am finally managing to write a blog after a very long time due to Aaron's stirling effort at organising, driving and writing nightly on the road trip!  Then true to form I was felled by a most virulent African bug 3 days before flying home.  I managed to get a new one even for me and probably contracted a strange respiratory syncitial virus which gave me bronchiolitis (I had thought that only babies got this) and then came the usual pneumonia.  I can honestly say I have not felt that ill since having cancer all those years ago......  I nearly didn't fly home but managed thanks to a visit from Dr Howlett and 40mg of Dutch Temazepam kindly donated by Christine and Renee which made the journey all a bit of a distant blur!!

Jason wonderfully picked us up at the airport and he and his lovely wife Sarah had kindly stocked our fridge so I could immediately climb into bed where I stayed for the next 4 days. Josh then got the bug and had an impressive temperature of 39.8!!  So I hid from all and the first week back in the UK passed in a pyrexic haze.  The main horror was a stumble round Asda when we needed more supplies which was very shocking after the limited food supplies in Tanzania.

Why do we need 20 brands of cornflakes, baked beans, hundreds of biscuits and cakes and so many aisles stuffed full of foods you didn't even know you wanted!   I remember standing in the newly built part of our house looking at the huge kitchen/ living room to be which was probably the same floor size as the whole house where we had been living in Moshi for 6 months thinking so why exactly did we think we needed so much space??  I have also been looking about wondering how we will finish everything and secretly admitting to myself that I have loved  having a break from house responsibilities and material goods.

I excelled myself on the third night home as I was still feeling rubbish and thought a hot bath would be lovely as we were starved of baths in Tanzania.  I was in the process of putting the boys to bed and started running a steaming bath with luscious essential oils in our newly built and decorated posh bathroom.   Then I sat down with the boys at the computer to help them, then put them to bed and went back to the computer and suddenly the computer crashed and all the electricity went out.  My immediate thought was "how strange, we are no longer in Moshi" where the electrics went out all the time.  Then I suddenly remembered I had left the bath tap on full!!!  And earlier that day I had been admonishing Zac for leaving hot tap on....

I ran in to find water overflowing out of the bath and pouring onto the new floor, water water everywhere.  I screamed, swore and turned the bath off and ran downstairs to find water pouring through the new ceiling onto the banks of coats downstairs and running onto the floor.  I ran outside and called for Aaron who was talking to Phil about laying tiles outside for the terrace and he came in and calmly dealt with things pulling out the new ceiling lights so water trapped in the ceiling could pour through.  I asked Aaron what I could do to help and he told me to go away so I went upstairs and got in my now very overrun bath - seemed a shame to waste it and contemplated my idiocy - how I tried to ruin the only part of our house that was actually finished!  Zac came in to talk to me and I asked him to go and see Daddy as he was so cross with me.  Luckily the ceiling has survived although the clever light sensor hasn't and time will tell whether the lights work or not and amazingly the electric underfloor heating still works too.

We have missed escalators in Tanzania...
So once we had mostly recovered and were not too infectious we went up to London to visit the grandparents and it was glorious as children were still in schools (apart from ours) so no queues.  Noo-Noo had bought tickets for the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in Kensington Gardens so we rushed down and across London on Saturday to find when we handed the tickets in at the gate that we actually had tickets for the Sunday so came back the next day!  My chilled African ways came to the fore although Noo-Noo was most upset.  We did lots of great London things and took the boys to the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs, to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard, to the Wizard of Oz which was fantastically staged and caught up with friends and family.
They are changing the guard at Buckingham Palace
Christopher Robin went down with Alice

Noo-Noo and Eddas new house is in a brilliant position opposite Highgate woods which is fabulous for exploring and has an excellent playground.  The weather was freezing for the first few days and then baking hot.

Noo-Noo and Hannah wearing the aprons made by Tanzanian ladies

The boys then settled straight back into school and were embraced by all with their friends and teachers so happy to see them.  Aaron spoke to Wickhambreux School's excellent headmistress Mrs Campling who is extremely positive about the Alkebulan Ambulance Appeal and the idea of twinning Wickhambreux school with the school in the Mufindi Highlands.

I have had a lovely time meeting up with friends and family, going out to lunch interspersed with sorting the house out (although not as fast or efficiently as Aaron would like).  However I am proud to say that 5 years after moving into our house I have sorted the boxes out above the garages!  The boys had a wonderful Jubilee Celebration on Friday afternoon and it was wonderful for once to be a relaxed Mummy and for the first time ever I baked for the school.  Josh and I made red, white and blue fairly flat fairy cakes and I bought fabric pens for Aaron and the boys to use to decorate T-shirts for the party which I could go to as I was not at work!

Josh single handedly winning the tug of war...

I was going back to work on Monday and so as a last blast I flew down to Cornwall for the weekend as my friend Lisa has a 40th birthday party on Saturday and I really could NOT face the drive.  Aaron and the boys kindly drove me to the airport and we left at 6.20am much to Zac's disgust.  Last year we were in Cornwall for May half-term and spent half our time in the sun on the beach.  This year it is blowing a gale, lashing with rain and I am sat in 4 layers in Biz's house.  The great British weather has washed out the Jubilee and May half-term so I am glad we had so much sun in Africa.
Wind-swept and almost blown away on Trevellas beach with Biz
Anyone for a dip in the sea?

So I have been contemplating our adventures past and future.  I am honestly going to manage my time more productively and not get sucked back into endless work.  I want to come home and see my wonderful boys (husband included!) and enjoy our life together.  Our exciting aim is for the Alkebulan Ambulance Project to go from strength to strength and we have our first donation - thanks Helen Spencer - for the ambulance.  So watch the ambulance blog and we will keep you all posted.


We have now put a deposit down on the ambulance so active fund-raising will soon begin

This is our ambulance!!!!

So thank you to all who have kept up with our travels and kept in touch, it meant so much that we have so many good friends both old and new.  We are most blessed and I am determined to remember this always.

All these adventures are a bit tiring...

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