Bad decision

This morning I wanted to add a new link to my blog. It only takes 5 minutes.

In case you’re wondering, it’s this one. 🙂

And with a few clicks of a widget, it was done. *Brushed hands with satisfaction.*

Then, with a new year just around the corner, I wondered if I should change the blog theme, give it a new look.

And I began browsing the WordPress themes, as I’ve done many times before.

I like the way you can preview any theme to see how the blog will look if applied, or revert to the original theme at the click of a button.

Only today, I couldn’t find the preview facility, and having clicked on a new theme, which I instantly did not like, the only way I could find to return to the current theme is by searching for it and reinstalling it.

All well and good. Except that all the customisations I once had were now gone. All the links vanished. Grrrr.

So instead of the 5 minute job, it has taken most of the afternoon to rebuild the site, and I can’t remember exactly how that was. I hope it’s still recognisable. 🙂

It’s doubtless me just being stupid. There MUST still be a preview button on themes, mustn’t there? Why couldn’t I find it? There was a little box that flashed up saying “I’ve changed my mind”, but it vanished when I went back to look for it.

Christmas day – the plan

They say the best laid plans have a tendency to fall apart, but I’m hoping that our simple agenda will hold together.

  1. Early morning feed and water the neighbour’s sheep, ducks, chookies and cats.
  2. Feed our goats and chooky.
  3. Feed our dogs and parrot.
  4. Open our presents over a nice cup of hot chocolate/coffee.
  5. Potatoes (lots) go on to roast, along with parsnips. Sprouts and carrots will be cooked later.
  6. Bread sauce made.
  7. Luxury filo pastry canapes (bought) to be heated.
  8. Luxury scallops in cream and Pernod sauce (bought) to be heated.
  9. Eat canapes.
  10. Eat scallops.
  11. Serve roasties, sprouts, parsnips, carrots, mustard and bread sauce.
  12. Have a little rest.
  13. Eat (bought) luxury chocolate mousse.
  14. Drink a few glasses of red wine and bubbly.
  15. Take the dogs for a long  walk.
  16. Feed neighbour’s cats. Lock up chookies.
  17. Lock up our chooky.
  18. Feed dogs.
  19. Settle down to an evening of tv and/or reading.
  20. Have a nibble of cheese and biscuits with lambs’ lettuce.

Nothing can go wrong, can it?

However you spend your Christmas, whether in sunshine or snow, alone or in company, noisily or quietly, with a traditional meal and all the trimmings or a simple plate, I hope it will be a special day and happy day for you.

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Carpe diem. Kenya, here we come.

Once you’ve lived in Africa, it stays in your heart and blood. It implants itself in your soul like a magnet that is forever pulling you back, and wherever you may be, there is always a part of you longing for the vast horizons, the unforgettable smell of the rains breaking, the smiles of the people, the beauty of the flora and landscape and the wealth of wildlife. This yearning is what the Italians call “il mal d’Africa” – the African sickness.

It’s something I’ve lived with for more than 40 years, since leaving Kenya in 1972.

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Mount Kilimanjaro – image courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk

A few months ago I received an unexpected windfall. Having briefly considered putting it away for a rainy day that may never come, I decided instead to seize the day and return to visit the magical country that is Kenya. TOH has never been there, and I so much want him to experience the warmth and friendliness of the Kenyan people, and the thrill of seeing Africa’s greatest mountains and wild animals in their natural habitat.

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As it is going to be the experience of a lifetime – I very much doubt we’ll ever be able to do anything similar again – it has to be perfect.

I have a friend of long-standing – I mean really long-standing, Vivien and I have known each other since we were 14 – who organises bespoke safaris in Kenya where she was brought up and has lived for most of her life. She is, above all, a perfectionist in everything she does. Nothing less than excellence is her motto. However, as all her safaris are customised according to clients’ wishes, there was no price list to consult and I expected my requested itinerary would be far more than we can afford. I cautiously enquired “on behalf of a friend.” Oh dear, how awkward we English are when discussing finance with friends!

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The price she has given me is less than half of an almost identical safari by other companies, and within our budget. We’ve spent the last month working together to finalise the itinerary and confirm availability of all the accommodation. Vivien has performed miracles in organising this, and it is now done!

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Vivien and hitch-hiker

Kenya is famed for the warmth of its hospitality, the luxury of its hotels and game lodges, and the quality of its cuisine. Our 17-day full-board itinerary includes stays in Amboseli, Mount Kenya Safari Club, Samburu, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara (of which 4 whole days in the unbelievably romantic Little Mara Bush Camp), and a visit to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and a local school for under-privileged children.

We are linking up with members of the 95th Bomb Group Memorials Foundation of the 8th Air Force. If you fancy a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in one of the world’s most beautiful countries, seeing nature at its grandest, full details including itinerary and sign-up forms are available here. The group is limited to a maximum of 20 people. Should you be interested in joining, and wish to discuss anything not mentioned on the site, you’re welcome to email me at doolally dot tap at gmail dot com.

I am nearly paralysed with excitement, because in August next year we will be on our way to Kenya for 17 days of pampering and wonderment, camera and notebook packed – I can feel a new book coming on!

PS  Did I mention that our itinerary will include standing on the Equator? 🙂

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Winter’s icy claws

There hasn’t been a great deal of time for blogging, or visiting blogs recently.

Christmas hurtles towards us at an alarming rate, and for once I’ve actually managed to do the presents in time. Living in very rural France, we don’t have access to the anything like the same selection found in even small towns in England, so it’s thanks to on-line shopping that I’ve found gifts that I hope their recipients will enjoy.

Apart from that, I’m in the planning stages of a project so exciting that I can hardly wait to announce it, and as soon as it is written in stone, I’ll do so. Just for the moment, it’s lips glued shut. 🙂

Autumn is my favourite season. I love the cooler nights and early mornings, the smell of wood smoke, the crunch of leaves, the absence of flies, and the colours – oh, those soft, warm colours. So this morning I whizzed out into the garden to capture the last few remaining leaves before they fall to their deaths. Last night there was a hard frost, which was still lingering, but vanishing quickly in the morning sunshine.

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And amid all the muted tones of brown and green, a blaze of glowing orange. She has bloomed for months, and although most of the stems and leaves are now a mushy mess, she is still defiant, with her back to the wall and her face to the sun. I do love this little flower.

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