Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dahhrlings, you simply MUST come and visit us!

Having received a couple of comments on the book, I realise that some folk living in the 'First World' think that we Zimbos live a totally backward life, with no refinement whatsoever. While this may be true for most of us, most of the time, (yes, we all wear loincloths in the warmer months - but only from humanely-killed animals) I thought it might be prudent of me to show you just how culturally refined we can be. When we put our minds to it....

So what would constitute the essentials of good taste? Classy décor? Classical music? Mountain-top golf resorts? Fine dining?

Well - believe it or not, we have it all.

Let's start off with tasteful décor. Here is a photo from a wedding we hosted at La Rochelle in August. This is a photo taken inside the tent, and I must hasten to add that I personally did not 'do' the décor for the wedding. But this is how we Zimbos like to tart things up for special occasions...

So classical music? Have we got that in Zimbabwe?

Yes we do.

When I was small, I played the triangle in an orchestra. Well, maybe not an orchestra - more a school music group, anyways. And my daughter is following suit - in fact she may well have overtaken me! This week's prize goes to the first person to correctly identify the instrument she plays...


And how many musicians playing music with her on that particular evening? Well - there were more than 4 or 5 folk playing music together. In fact - they didn't quite all fit on the stage...

So what about mountain-top golf resorts? Yep - we got that covered - this is a photo of Troutbeck Inn, up in the Nyanga mountains - with the golf course in the background.

So on to fine dining - and what could be more quintessentially refined than 'English cream teas'? Here I would direct your attention to a tiny little Coffee Shoppe up in the Vumba mountains. Tony's.

The list of teas and coffees alone is maybe 120 items long....

And the homemade lemonade, coffee and cake is not too shabby either!

So, Dahlings, DO come and visit us sometime soon. But brush your hair first, you plebs!

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Free beauty treatment for all lady Blog readers!

Today - a real mix of photos - basically stuff that didn't form part of a story over the last 2 months or so, but all of which are interesting by themselves. Plus today I am trying something new - giving away a free beauty treatment to all Lady readers of 'the most interesting blog - in the whorld!'

First off - the warmer weather is returning to the Imbeza Valley - and the first indication every year that winter (all 3 weeks of it) is truly over is when the 'yesterday-today-and-tomorrow' bushes start flowering. They grow flowers so quickly, and in such profusion, that you can see the difference from day to day. In the foreground - our petunias - just about to end.

Then last month, we had a group of bikers travelling through Zimbabwe from South Africa. They were led by Bertus - and spent most of their time, in fact all of their time, in the pub. Good bunch of blokes - and nice to have some polished chrome in the La Rochelle car park.

Those who have read my book will know that I make reference to the proliferation of satellite televisions - even in the remotest of remote areas. I talk of dishes poking through the thatch of huts - and in case you thought I was stretching things - here is a somewhat rustic cabin at the entrance to Nyanga town - with a dish, and his own jury-rigged electricity supply.

Priorities, people, priorities. The tv system cost more than the house?

Lastly - my give-away.

This is really exciting!!!

In Zimbabwe, we do not have hairdressers and beauty salons as those of you who live overseas would know them. Rather we have Hairsaloons. A hairsaloon is an interesting concept, and one which I have never seen in my travels to England or South Africa. Basically it is a long wooden counter at which copious amounts of beer are consumed every night.

Hence the word 'saloon'.

The objective of the patrons is to drink as much beer as quickly as possible until they reach a stage where they can only be described as 'totally cut' or 'totally chopped' (i.e very drunk) hence the word 'hair'.

Once they reach this stage of inebriation - they are then called 'barbers' - which is short for 'barbarians'. And at this point - the most amazing phenomenon occurs...

At this point, every single woman who walk into the Hairsaloon becomes instantly beautiful in the eyes of all beholders. It is quite incredible!

Beautiful and desirable beyond belief.

So - to my regular lady readers - if you wish to have the free beauty treatment promised at the start of this blog, simply walk into the Hairsaloon at Fairbridge Shopping Centre  in Mutare, Zimbabwe, on any night after 10pm. You will, I promise, be the most beautiful creature on earth.


Have a great day.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ideas to reduce school fees. Brilliant!

So - time to get you to the top of Inyangani! And apologies for disappearing again - duty called and much time taken up with books and things. (As my forward on Facebook will attest)

The last blog was with a pile of bones at the top - but what was it really like up there - after a 2 hour scramble to the top? Well - rolling plains on the one side and mountainy bits on the other - but everything all around us was below us.  Here are some of the mountainy bits!

And - almost unbelievably, because this is Africa, indeed Zimbabwe... unbelievably - you can actually see the curve of the earth from the top of Mount Inyangani!

So - did we make it to the top? Well of course we did. My cousin Alice and I arrived half an hour after everyone else, simply because we were admiring the view on the way up, but we did all get there. Remarkably! The top of the mountain is 8,504 feet high (2,592m) - and that is probably a piddly little hill to some, but high enough for us! Here is our intrepid group at the beacon on the top. The highest point in Zimbabwe!

Take a very close look at this photo - and tell me what you can see? I will tell you that there are 4 of them including ours - and a toilet block. just to the right of centre!

Now - this is exactly the same view, and the photo taken without moving an inch... except this time with full zoom on the camera lens. Yup - the car park, and our car, were visible from almost the top of the mountain - but hopefully this gives an idea of just how high we were!

The children, of course, were far more daring than I, and balanced on the very lip of the vertical precipice, with their toes hanging in space, and nothing but fresh air for thousands of feet below them! I bet they wouldn't allow kids in America or England to do this - but our school fees in Zimbabwe are very high, and we take every opportunity to try and reduce costs...

In this case - it failed, and we all safely made our way down the mountain... on foot.

Next I plan on taking them on a tour of the artillery range during a live-firing session!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Climbing Inyangani - and death at the top!

The last blog left me starting out on the pathway up Mount Inyangani - the highest point in Zimbabwe. If you didn't read that blog, then close this and just read through quickly, so that you are in the flow....

So the first photo is of the mountain stream which flows down the side of Inyangani. The water was crystal clear, ice-cold, and so, so sweet - especially on the way down. My journey up the mountain took about 2 hours, and the descent about 90 minutes, so it was very welcome indeed when the path ran next to the stream.

The young ones went ahead, and my cousin and I followed at a far more leisurely pace - stopping every twenty metres or so... to admire the view. It wasn't as if we needed to stop, but if you don't take the time to appreciate the scenery, what is the point of climbing any mountain? The road to the car-park is visible below us, and this photo was taken by the children as they bounded out of sight ahead of us!

The views once you almost reach the top are pretty cool. Here is my daughter pointing out that you can actually see the east coast of America from the top of Inyangani! This was at the top of the steep ascent - from there it was a fairly gentle climb to the beacon at the peak.

Gentle climb indeed! Here is one of the arrows which show the way - and they were necessary in places, as the grass and rocks became a bit jumbled. Leading the pack is a friend of my daughter's who was staying with us at the time. I am still halfway back down the mountain at this stage!

And what did my daughter find at the top? Well - incredibly, the skeleton of a previous climber - left on a barren rock as a stark warning to any idiot foolhardy enough to climb the mountain...

(My daughter is the one in a cap)

We managed to take a small sample of the bone home, and we sent it for DNA analysis. The results were somewhat confusing, because we had two 'hits' - and two results. I leave it up to you to decide....

According to the DNA lab, either the bones belonged to

a) A Caucasian female aged 32 years, brown hair, green eyes, 37-34-38, mother of three, pierced ears, who did a lot of typing in her lifetime, or..

b) a sheep

You be the judge!

Have a great day!!