Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A day of sadness, pride and. . . surprise.

Despite my prolonged absence, this Blog has now passed 25,000 hits! Thanks to all for your continued support.

Time has marched on during my silent period, and the school term mentioned as starting in my last blog.... has now come to an end already! We collected the children from school, and we attended a tea to say 'farewell' to the Headmaster, Dr John Bradshaw, who left the school at the end of last term.

Those of you who have read my book will recall me commenting on John; I have the highest regard for him because, in my opinion, every decision he made was with the interests of the girls under his care at heart - surely the sole requisite of a Headmaster? He made a point of knowing each child in the school (over 400 children) in detail - their achievements, failures, strengths and weaknesses, and all this in spite of the fact that he is totally blind.

John, his wife Sue, and his guide dog Sabre have been very much part of Peterhouse, and my children have benefited enormously from having had him as their headmaster. I am extremely sorry to see him go, and wish him all the very best.

On the final day of term, a farewell tea was held for him to enable parents and students alike to wish him well. Fittingly the tea was held on the lawn outside the Chapel - the physical, spiritual and cultural core of school life.

For me the most poignant image of the day was seeing John say good-bye to his Head Girl of 2014. Those of you who have followed the Blog regularly will remember my posting of 11/11/13 titled "Bats, bangs and Peter's house" (you can access all past blogs at the top right of this page) in which I mentioned the appointment of Heidi as Head Girl for 2014.

This is Heidi saying 'Farewell' to Dr Bradshaw

So that was a really sad day, and I wish John, Sue and Sabre all the very best in the future.

And the 'pride' mentioned in the Blog title?

Well at the Final Assembly, my eldest daughter was awarded an Honours Tie. This is the highest award presented by the school, and is only given out extremely rarely. Both my daughter and the Head Girl were awarded Honours Ties, and this was a source of great pride for me.

It obviously had an impact on my daughter too, because she came home from school, went into her room and started tidying up - collecting all the unwanted debris and generally sorting things out. Having had to pack up and then unpack her bedroom in order to move house (she alone accounted for no less than 5 packing crates of 'ornaments'), my wife and I are convinced that she has some genetic material inherited from a squirrel somewhere along the line, because she has so many 'treasures' stashed away. Hence this clean-out was unprecedented and welcome! And very surprising.

After half an hour of tidying, sorting and putting aside those items which she no longer felt she needed, she emerged from her bedroom and went to throw all the unwanted items away...

So a day of sadness at saying 'good-bye' to John and Sue, pride in the award, and complete surprise at the clean-out.

Small though it may have been.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gamekeeper turned Poacher!

The Blog returns after a 2-month hiatus!

Once again a long silence - 2 months plus, in fact, but connectivity, moving house, Retrenchment Boards and auctions have somewhat intruded. Then in the course of the move, my camera underwent an alternative ownership program, and I lost all the pics not yet transferred; I am now using my daughters camera. And to top everything off, my computer got sick and though still not fully recovered, is at least usable.

So this is a catch-up blog, just to let you all know we are still alive!

Back then, to January

At the end of January we held our auction sale at which the entire contents of La Rochelle went under the hammer. Well, not quite entire - there were two burned lampshades that even the inimitable Mr Holland was unable to palm off on unsuspecting buyers. But everything else went during the course of the day.

Including the Hotel cat - Shupa!

Here then, is a pic of some of the beds lined up in the car-park awaiting buyers....

 The day after the sale the girls came home from school to find the house and hotel completely empty, and two rather bemused-looking parents waiting for them. There were a few tears as the reality of leaving their home of the past 14 years (Courtney had been born while we were at La Rochelle) sunk in, and then we packed the car and went to Nyanga for the week-end, because we no longer had any furniture - all our household goods had gone into storage..

Earlier in January - about the 6th, I think, the children had gone back to boarding school, and because Cara had to start at 07.00 on the Monday morning, we had traveled to Marondera the day before, and spent the night at Malwatte - a very basic accommodation option close to the school.

The amazing thing about our stay there was the fact that I used to set out for a day's shooting from that very building as a kid of about 15 years old. It had been a house occupied by the Maberleys whose son Will and I used to take a couple of rifles and disappear for the whole day in the bush. The old house has now been converted to Guest Accommodation.

Here are the three girls at dawn on the veranda of that building - ready for school...

Cara, our eldest, has her own study this year as a senior pupil, and she took no time at all in settling into her school accommodation.....

By Zim standards, she is extremely well looked after in terms of her bedsit/study, and even has her own bathroom with shower, basin and toilet. Lucky kid!

Having settled the girls back into school after our Nyanga trip, we made our way to Harare where we moved into a cottage in the garden of some friends and past guests at La Rochelle - the Jongelings. They offered us the cottage in their garden for then next two months at a very reasonable rate (compared to the rest of Harare!), so from being their Hosts to their Guests was a quick transition - and thus the Gamekeepers became the Poachers.

The cottage was quite small - here are some photos of our Lounge, our Dining Room, our Study/Office, the children's bedrooms, and our bedroom...

Ok - so it was only one photo... but it does indeed show all of the above! Our new home was quite small, but definitely cosy, and very much appreciated!

We have now moved into our permanent Harare home - more pictures to follow. Suffice to say we are safe, settled, and hopefully I will post on a more regular basis. And maybe one day soon I will find a job?

Have a great day!