Saturday, 11 August 2018


I'm home! 

No cats to greet me at the gate, but within moments Howl and Sophie came to find me and many cuddles were had. In my absence, Akantu (Little Thing - top right) had doubled in size. For ages we thought he was some sort of dwarf cat, but turns out he's just a late starter. Unfortunately, first day back and had to take him to the vet because he had a nasty open wound. He's been perfect about it, though. Had to treat with iodine twice a day, and even though he knew it would really sting, he still sat still for me. It's pretty much healed now.

Next up was Sen (AKA Harold). She's the one with asthma. She managed to pop a giant hernia a week after I left. My housemate took her to the vet and she underwent surgery. Got back to find her very fit and healthy - with a large chunk of fur missing where she'd been shaved. Relieved she's okay, though.

Took in some housemates to help cover rent over the past few months, but decided to stop now and move back into the main house. It was interesting, and they were all nice people, but I miss the space and privacy. 

Shed apartment I was living in.
Reclaimed old room.

Spent the first couple of days moving everything out of the shed apartment back into the house. Then called Claudine, my cleaner, and Emmanuel, my gardener, as the place had fallen into a little disrepair.

Had a fun night out with Chris and Harris the other week. Popped to the German Butchery for their hog roast. Befriended a German guy there, bumped into friends Claudia and Antonio, and convinced them all to come with us to Metallica, which is now called Pacha Club.

At the German Butchery, the decorations are made from weiss beer cans.

Harris took some more great photos of Viva Band and we danced the night away until the very early hours. They truly are the best live band in the whole of Kigali. This time the saxophonist changed his saxophone for a clarinet and delivered Camila Cabello's Havana (ooh na na).

Finally crawled home via the bottle shop at the end of Claudia & Antonio's road, where we sat outside supping a last beer and scoffing samosas.

One nice thing about having housemates is that they leave a whole heap of stuff behind when they go - mostly food. Had a bag of cashew nuts, a bit of chocolate and a bowl of pineapple jelly.

Headed over to the workshop to see how the piano was getting on. Désiré and his team have managed to put in all the tuning pins, so the next day they lifted it onto the back of a truck and brought it to my house, where I'm going to work on stringing it up.

L-R: Paulin, Samuel and Désiré

There's a few things I need to do before I start, but it's been fun playing with real string to figure out the string direction.

It's been all go, and then it stopped. Was dancing with Chris and Harris when I put my foot down and - ouch! Seriously pulled my tendon. 

Been up on ice, in wraps, lying in bed watching Star Trek for the past three days.

Luckily Maia's back for a visit and was staying with me Thursday night, so took care of me, and Harris dropped by with a huge tub of very delicious ice-cream. Feeling extremely spoilt, but totally gutted. Harris, Chris and Maia are all leaving in a week and I wanted to party until that point. Now looks like I'll have to chair dance from the sidelines.

One of the upsides to living here is that just about anything is available over the counter. Been on a diet of tramadol, whisky and codine. Hit a particular low yesterday, the pain was just getting to me, so I went over to submerge myself in Harris's bathtub. Sat in the hottest water I could stand - which apparently, I shouldn't have done. Ice for a tendon, not heat. But it felt good. Then fell asleep for an hour. Was not in a happy place, and when Harris arrived he noticed the hot water had caused my ankle to swell up. One of the benefits of being friends with a doctor is you get spacial treatment. He had some strong anti-inflammatory medication. After handing me some tablets, he explained it would start working much quicker with an injection. 'Sure,' I said, rolling up my jeans to expose my ankle. 'Err... no,' he replied. 

It doesn't matter how close you are to your friends, getting jabbed in the butt is never a happy occasion. Still - it worked. Feeling so much better this morning and can just about walk again.


Sunday, 29 July 2018

Homeward Bound

Random photo of a fairly cool ice-lolly. The weather during my stay in the UK has been incredible. Temperatures over 30c some days - even hotter than Kigali.

All of this came to an end yesterday as dad and Marilyn drove me to Heathrow. The clouds tumbled in and wet stuff came from the sky.

I think a lot of Brits breathed a sigh of relief. With our pasty skin and propensity for moaning, we're not built for long, hot summers. Actually, we're not really built for cold winters, too much rain or windy days, either. It's absolutely incredibly just how much British people can talk about the weather. There's about a half-hour segment on the news every night - first the local weather, then the national. It's considered a light entertainment break between Brexit debates - *yawn*

I spent my last night in a hotel near the airport. Lovely room, but spooky hallway. It had a little carpet divider halfway along, like on a ship, and it created the impression of a mirror, as though the other end of the corridor was just a reflection of my end of the corridor - only I wasn't in it. Weeeeiiiird.

I took my mind off things in the restaurant with a selection tray of desserts. 

The next day it was back onto Ethiopian Airlines and home to Kigali. It was a more pleasant trip this time as I only had a three-hour, instead of a seven-hour, layover in Addis. Just long enough to befriend a lovely Canadian-Congolese lady called Evelyn, who had originally gone to Canada as a refugee many years ago and now runs a wedding planning business. She was returning to Bukavu for her own sister's wedding.

Watched Cat on a Hot tin Roof (love Vivien Leigh), The Greatest Showman (again), and Murder on the Orient Express (Branagh makes a very passable Poirot), then flicked to the ending of Walk the Line and that dance at the party in The Sound of Music. Pleasant way to pass the time. Again, a noticeable difference between the international and national flights. The latter having no entertainment, no air conditioning, and insisting on keeping the lights on full even though it was gone midnight.

Touched down without incident, despite bad weather keeping us on the tarmac for an hour at Addis. Lot of clapping when we landed. All's well that ends well.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Moments with Mother

Had a lovely last day in the UK.  

It's been a great week. We discovered Fat Toni's Pizza, which makes pizzas bigger than your head...

Had a last pootle to Bourton-on-the-Water with dad to pick up some Cotswold perfume for mum. Stopped off for tea in a tea shop with lots of tea pots.

Then we met up with mum, Merrick, Aunty Patsy, my cousin Mary and her daughter Felicity on Thursday. Mary and Felicity were on their way from Market Harborough, near where mum lives, to  Swansea Gower, where Patsy lives, so we met halfway in Gloucester to celebrate mum and Patsy's birthdays.

Setting Up the Table with Marilyn

Gorgeous-smelling Rose for Mum
Patsy and Oaky Arrive

We gathered at the Brewhouse on Gloucester docks. They're a brewpub, serving their own beers. One of which is named after Simon Pegg, a famous resident of Gloucestershire. A favourable tipple. 

I hadn't seen my 1st cousin once removed (Felicity) since she was a baby. She's grown into a wonderfully bendy young lady.


We bonded over a shared interest in origami. She made the swan and I made the flower.