Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Tip Tap Splish Splash

I'm writing this, listening to rain tapping against my tin roof. It's possibly the first rain we've had in almost three months and it's only a brief shower. Still a couple more weeks to go before the wet season finally arrives. I'll miss being able to dry my clothes so quickly, but I'm ready for the rains. Everything's parched and thirsty.

Otherwise, life has returned to normal. The run of ugh culminated in being called to a meeting at the tax department to sign a letter, although three people on the telephone couldn't explain to me what the letter was about.

Turned up with my accountant to find everyone we were supposed to meet was in a meeting.

Waited half an hour, gave up. Went back to my accountant's office and promptly transferred power of attorney. Whatever it was has been dealt with. 

Got the money back from the pet food store. They finally put it in the correct bank account.

I've since spent most of it on food. Rwanda is one of the few countries where giving up smoking actually costs you money. A pack of twenty is £1. Since stopping, I've eaten far more than that in edibles. You get really muncy when you quit and food is definitely more expensive than cigarettes.

It's now been ten days. Would have been sixteen if I hadn't had a binge night out (okay, two).

Also splashed out on a very cool new printer. I'm done with HP products forever. The ink costs a fortune and half the time the printer doesn't recognise the cartridge. Epson's got this fascinating ink well system, where you empty bottles of ink into it. The guy at the store had to show me how to do it, but the quality is grand. The printer cost a lot, but topping up all the ink is only about a tenner. HP was £23 per cartridge! Much cheaper in the long run.

The mosquito net saga didn't end so well. The lady wasn't able to make the nets fit my bed frames, so I gave her a net I knew would fit and asked her to sew three of the four flaps shut to reduce opportunities for blood-munchers to get in.

Well, she tried...

Called it quits after giving some training on recruitment and a copy of an employment contract which I usually charge for. She's just out of uni, first time running a business, lot of rent to pay, hard time finding people to hire. It's the first time I've paid someone to give them training, but, oh well.

Managed to pick the thread out, but there were holes in the canopy, so I've covered it with my old net. It's better than nothing. Went back on eBay looking for another square net but the supplier's gone and those I could find refuse to deliver to a PO box, which is all I've got.

Thankfully, the one in the guest room does fit, so my cousin and her partner will have somewhere to sleep. Although, I do need to get the house fumigated before then. Slight roach issue. I keep cleaning and spraying, but they keep coming back. Fumigation tends to buy a couple of months. I've even found an albino roach.

Still, rather roaches than those bloody bedbugs at the old house. That was some sort of horror movie.

A bit like my outhouse.

In my back yard I have a guard hut, which I don't have a guard for. Behind that is a shower that doesn't work and a pit latrine.

The only time I ever venture out there is if I have a guest and I need to pee in the middle of the night, as my main bathroom is shared with the guest room.

The system's worked well in the past, but I went out there yesterday to clean the latrine, only to discover the spiders have grown really, really big.

I mustered all my courage, did the usual trick of rag-on-a-broom-handle, but the bastards jumped at me! I don't remember them jumping before. They're more legs than body, but I don't want to be jumped on by a leggy spider, so I retreated.

Later, I tried throwing a bucket of water in there, but it hit the toilet seat and eight giant legs appeared, followed by another sodding spider.

That was it for the day.

But I do need to get back out there and reclaim my pit latrine before my guests arrive.

If you don't hear from me again - send help.

It's actually reignited a thought I had a while back. I'm wondering if there's any way to connect the toilet up to the mains, get the shower working, then knock down the dividing wall with the guard hut, turning it into an en suite, spiderless, apartment. 

A few of my friends have self-contained rooms they Airbnb and do quite nicely out of. I used to take in couchsurfers, but they don't pay. I'm going to speak to my landlord about it. I doubt he'd fork out the cash, but he'd probably let me front it and make the money back before sharing the rest with him. 

The only reason I don't rent out my spare room is because I don't live well with others. If they had their own place outside and could come and go as they pleased, I'd be okay with that. Plus, it would solve the spider issue. 

Saw this incredible sight the other day. Was walking through the back alleys of the old town when I heard a strange sound. Couldn't work out what it was until I looked up to see an entire tree full of nesting birds. They looked very similar to grey herons. There were more in a tree down the road. Really incredible spectacle - and noise.

Life is good at the moment. I've got some work as an editor with a publishing house. Just finished ten children's books which will hopefully be in schools soon, and now working on a translated novel. Long hours, but quite therapeutic. 

Haven't got the piano frame yet, but have created the world's first piano hammers to be made from recycled flipflops, thanks to our friends at Ocean Sole in Kenya.

It'll be a couple of months before we can test them properly, but very excited, and they look pretty cool.

Finally, raising a caipirinha to the Rwandan Union of the Deaf. I came here in 2007 to help with the publication of the first Dictionary of Rwandan Sign Language, which was completed in 2009. Now they're about to launch the second edition. Wonderful news, and glad to see the fight for sign language recognition is still going strong.

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