Sunday, 9 May 2021

The Final Curtain

Right, now that's out the way...

I really haven't posted in a long time. 

What's been going on?

Well, still love my boxing bag. Feeling really guilty that I haven't called my personal trainer up recently, but just love being able to slip on the gloves and exercise when I feel like it. I'm way more awake in the evenings. It's just really nice. Someone asked online recently which subject you hated most in high school. Without a doubt, it was PE for me. Cross country in the freezing cold. It put myself and so many other women off sports for life. If it didn't involve a horse or a pool, I wasn't interested. Neither of those options is particularly cheap or something you can do at home, so to discover that there's a form of aerobic excercise that I really like is great. Just pop on the music and away we go. Even learned to do my own wraps.

Seems to be having a bit of an effect on my waistline. Not as much as it looks, I've needed new jeans for ages, but no chance until I get to the UK. Unfortunately, I have a nickel allergy and both my belts have metal buckles, so mostly I wander around with my hands in my pockets, keeping them up. I could get them taken in, but the moment I get back to the UK I'll stuff myself stupid, so doesn't seem much point only to have them taken out again. It's over a year now since I quit smoking and I definitely put on weight in the first few months after that, so it's nice to see that was just a phase and that my metabolism has evened out again. It's also interesting that, although I've slimmed down a small amount, I haven't really lost much weight. Not that I've ever really cared about my weight, but I must admit, I do like the new muscle. I've always had really strong legs up until I snapped my Achilles - now I have one strong leg - I just never really thought much about my arms. Turns out they're pretty easy to firm up. They don't bulge, but I'm starting to feel them and I like it. It's nice to know that, even over forty, your body can still kick it (or punch it in this case).

Another thing helping me to stay trim is Rwanda postal service. Faithfully delivering parcels months after they were sent. I received a Christmas parcel from my aunt. She sent it last November to make sure it arrived in time... oh, the optimism.

Chocolate that's been in the post way too long.

My handmade soap arrived! It's actually much darker than it looks in the picture. Black patchouli. Can't use it for another few weeks, though. Needs six weeks to dry out and harden, otherwise it just disintegrates in water. That was such a fun day, and I have enough soap now to last me the rest of my life.

Had some fun with bugs. Check this out:

Totally gorgeous and slightly scary, huge bug with a massive stinger. Can't work out what it was. Too big to be a dauber and can't find anything that colour with a stinger like that (1.4 cm). 

My garden has also turned into a hatchery for a hundred baby mantises. They're about the size of my little fingernail and they're cute as buttons... unless you're an ant. Then they're terrifying.

In cat news, Howl's tail has completely healed. I'm astonished by the biological ability to mend. I thought he'd lose the tail at one point, it was stripped down to the muscle. But it's all good now. Just busy growing his fur back. And everything is peaceful since we removed that aggressive tom from the area.

Yes, mum?

Agama Cat Rescue

COVID measures in Kigali have been cautious but starting to ease a little now, although no one's too sure when they'll get vaccinated. I think we're waiting on another shipment. Had a few nice meals with friends.

Coconut Waragi!
Tastes like sunscreen.

Created a montage whilst drunk-cooking at home, to prove to friends that I was able to blow out a match without burning the house down... It was a close call.

And had so much fun cooking kookie black spaghetti. Usually imported food here costs a fortune, but I found this for about £1.50 and I fell in love! 

Best food ever!

Received a knock on my door one afternoon to find a giant UPS parcel delivery. Sent by the wonderful Mr. Harris & Mr. Rob, who thought that I deserved some adult glasses to drink wine from. I think they're being optimistic that these will see out the year, but I'm taking it one carefully bubble-wrapped day at a time. Each one can hold a lake of plonk.

I've made a few other little home improvements, too. 

I went and got curtains! Actual, proper curtains. 

The reason for this is because I've opened up my guest apartment again. It's a little self-contained place with a mezzanine bed, an en suite and a kitchen behind the main house. even got a brand new sofa made to compliment the deco.

So, the issue was that, to get to the guest apartment, people have to go round the front of my house, right past the window where I sit at my desk pretty much all day every day, and I only had these flimsy net curtains to cover my shame.

As you can see, they don't even really close properly because they're on these old plastic rails and most of the curtain hooks fell out years ago. My bedroom wasn't much better - just a piece of green fabric hung across the window. So, I decided, what with being forty now and everything, I should probably woman up and buy some proper curtains. That's what you do, right: turn forty and buy curtains? That's normal? Like, some sort of adulting right of passage?

Wow, it was really hard work. I contacted so many people. Some came but didn't understand what I wanted, others understood but then never sent me a quote, and many just didn't turn up at all. But, eventually, I got there. It was a real learning curve. I thought you just measured the windows and bought that much fabric. I didn't realise you need twice as much fabric because they concertina it on poles. 

Originally, I thought I was getting two sets of curtains: day curtains (netting) and night curtains (normal curtains) as they call it here, but there is only one type of curtain that anybody can have: split curtains. This is where you have netting in the middle and normal curtains either side, both on the same pole. When the netting is all scrunched up at night, no one can see in, then you open it in the day. I really didn't get it at first, as I have never seen these in the UK, but they actually work really well and I'm extremely happy with them.

I was a little less pleased with the workmen who asked me which colour poles I'd like, then promptly brought the opposite. I also had to call them back after they hung dirty curtains and one of the poles came out of the wall, plus they rearranged my furniture without putting it back, left a blanket of dust behind and nails all over the floor - which I stood on! But, the curtains themselves, are amazing and I wish I'd done this years ago. It completely changed the feel of the house. It's quieter in here, and warmer - which isn't always a good thing in a tropical country - and darker in the mornings. The sun used to come right through my flimsy piece of fabric, but now I sleep later into the morning with the darker curtains. I like it a lot. And, most of all, I get privacy. Even the netting is thicker, so no one can see in, day or night. 

Treated myself to a fire pit for Beltane, but need to wait for the dry season before I can use it. Wanted one for ages, though.

Also made a new friend, Laura, who owns an organic farm out of town. There's a few families who are not from Rwanda but have been here for generations, and hers is one. I was on the hunt for free-range eggs. Most eggs used to be free-range here until deep-litter poultry farming took off, now they're quite hard to find. She delivers once a week to Kigali and I put in an order. when she turned up on the gate, she remembered me as I went to check out her piano a few years ago. I had completely forgotten, until she reminded me I fell in love with her pet parrots. She looked like she needed a drink, so I invited her out the following week and we sank a few at CasaKeza with Solv. Had a really good laugh. She's off to see family in Europe for a few weeks, but looking forward to visiting the farm when she returns. So good to be able to support healthy, happy chickens. 

Talking of breakfast, had brunch with the usual suspects (Solv, Jo and Chantal) the other day at NowNow. The full English in Rwanda - was very good.

American Breakfast

A new bike shop has opened at the top of the road, though won't be calling in any time soon. You know, there's a reason they call this The Land of a Thousand Hills, eight? Still, it's nice to know it's there, just in case I go through a spell of self-harm.

So, there's been quite a bit going on recently. All good. Decided to take a couple of weeks off to focus on writing a novel because why not?

And relax...