Apologies for the three week break in transmission, but I have been very busy
a) taking one of my daughters to South Africa for medical examination,
b) trying (unsuccessfully) to give away all my worldly belongings to my staff, and
c) attending a rather special birthday party
And it is with the latter that we deal today.
This was hosted in Johannesburg, and so we travelled down with one of my daughters who needed to see medical specialists in Johannesburg. Quite aside from the professionalism, we were blessed to meet some truly remarkable people, and hopefully she is on the road to recovery.
So - the birthday. As I said above - this was hosted in Johannesburg at the house of Les - my wife's sister. We travelled down by car, and had just two occasions of any interest on the journey - the one being the longest 'nose-pick' I have ever had the misfortune to witness - in this instance performed by an Immigration Officer of the South African Border Staff (a lady one at that!), and the second being the effect of floods on the fields near Birchenough Bridge. The flooding occurred on our return journey, and the previous night we had taken taken two and a half hours to travel 80km from Beitbridge to the Lion and Elephant Hotel - so heavy was the rain. In fact, for much of that trip I would have been able, in my youth, to run faster than the car, so slow we were forced to travel by the torrential downpours that night. Here then the flooded fields the next morning (and fortunately I didn't have my camera at the ready for the nose-pick thing, which lasted well over a minute - much to my daughter's horror!)
The heavy rains and flooding of the fields were a disaster for the farmers, but some of the local kids who chanced on me taking the photos were not overly concerned about the loss of this year's crop in the background, and insisted that I capture them too. Indeed - the sight of a camera will often be greeted with demands for the photographer to 'take my card' (as photographs are called in Zim). So - here are some nameless children who go to school in the Birchenough Bridge area of Zimbabwe... just because!
To celebrate Granny's birthday, we had a family dinner, and the table, meal, wine and company were all of the very highest order...
In the morning we had tea and cake, and what a fine cake we had! This was confectionary of distinction, quite befitting of an eightieth birthday celebration , and filled with fruit, nuts, peels, carrots, honey, yoghurt and goodness knows what else....
One of the biggest hits in the 'birthday gift' department was..... a hat. It had been hand-made for Granny by Preacher (whom those of you familiar with my book will recall from the goblin stories!) and Granny was delighted with it. A personal gift is always so special....
Then there were the party games we played. However, because it was an 80th birthday, instead of hide and seek and blind man's bluff, we played a rather interesting game called 'a kiss for a hat'
The game was simple, and based on Granny's birthday hat. What happened was that one of the family would put the hat on, and another family member could claim it - by giving a kiss to the one wearing it. Obviously because of the huge diversity in ages, some members of the family didn't want to receive kisses from others, and some of the facial expressions were priceless. Here is my niece, Ali, attempting to claim the hat by planting a kiss firmly on the face of 'B' - one of the more sensible members of the family. And, 'B' was, to put it mildly, not so sure that he wanted a kiss from Ali.....
What a fine birthday we had!
Have a great day!!