What a roller coaster of a ride the last six months have been.
We parked up our Leyland Daf truck based camper at the Trans-Kalahari Inn, near Windhoek Airport back in March, and headed back to Blighty (UK to non-Brexiters) for the best part of six months. With our home rented out to the Canadian Mafia, it was always going to be tough going, constantly moving from one “squat” to another, living out of our luggage bags.
But of course our family and friends came up trumps, providing a welcome smile as they opened their spare rooms to us.
The whole trip to Europe was really emotional, we sadly attended two funerals. Firstly our good friend Richie, who lost his battle with cancer quite soon after we flew back, his very well attended funeral service was in the stunning setting of the catacombs in Canterbury Cathedral. A fantastic send-off for a very popular and well liked gentleman, Richie will be sorely missed.
A few months after we got back to the UK, my eldest sister Heather also lost her battle with cancer. I consider myself extremely lucky to have spent lots of quality time with her before she very quickly deteriorated, and she got her wish of dying at home with Mike her husband and her two boys, Stu and Pete with her as she passed away. Heather really was a true fighter, and kept going by setting herself goals such as still being around to attend Stu’s book launch of “Don’t be a Dick Pete”. Though I do wonder what she thought of the book as its a fantastically funny but very near the knuckle story of Stu’s relationship with his younger brother Pete, but of course it was also about his parents, and wider family (I had to sign a disclaimer when we were in Uganda last year).
Her next milestone was being around for the birth of her second grandchild, Stan was amazingly born on her birthday………. What a present!!! Unfortunately she wasn’t to spend enough time with her grandchildren. I will always miss my big (little) sister, but I will always remember her.
Enough of that sad stuff!!!!
We had some great times while back, including a week in Somerset with Jac’s family celebrating her brothers 60th birthday.
Next we spent 3 weeks in Southern Devon, in a beautiful thatched cottage that was very kindly lent to us by two of our good friends. This place is stunning and we had the most amazing weather.
The walking in this area is second to none, and we enjoyed very long walks on the Coastal path here, it is truly relaxing. But surprisingly we saw an incredible number of poisonous Adders here, we saw 5 of these beauties in 6 days, mostly on the dry stone walling, but also on the path, lazing in the sun. We’ve never seen so many snakes in such a short space of time, and that includes Africa.
After Devon we met up with a couple that we met in Malawi a year ago, Lloyd and Emily were cycling from Nairobi to Capetown (nutters…..), and we ended up spending a few days with them at Chitimba Camp. This time we met them at their home in Brixton, London, and of course the day involved CYCLING!!!!! We cycled from their place to a wildlife photography exhibition, in a museum in West London. We had a fantastic day with this lovely couple, that ended with us having a barbecue (braii to non-europeans) up on the roof of their apartments.
After leaving the UK in March 2015, Jac and I had been together constantly without a break, so what does a bloke do to correct this? He buggers off for a week on his motorbike with a mate of course.
What could possibly go wrong?………… Well for a start I didn’t take into account that James thought that a Yamaha MT10SP (a brand new all singing supa-dupa naked sports bike) could actually fly. James put this theory to the test about 4 days into our Euro trip in the Pyrenees mountains, when on one particular hairpin bend he decided that straight on WAS an option. It wasn’t!!!!! James left the road at high speed, took out a wire fence and landed on a barn roof about 20 metres below the road. I didn’t see the accident and ended up coming back to find him, by which time the small mountain road was full of emergency service vehicles. Unbelievably Jamesie Boy had climbed up out of the valley below and after a trip to the local hospital was released with not much more that a few bumps and bruises!!! A lucky boy, alas his brand new Yamaha was no more, and James flew home, and left me to ride home from Southern France to England on my own.
Maybe being with Jac isn’t so bad after all!!
Next it was Jac’s turn for some girly time, and she had a great time in Suffolk with her friends Jocie and Kate, though I got a feeling it was a few days of Gin and Tonics really.
We had a great week in the Lake District in a cottage on the side of Coniston Lake, the view from our abode was truly stunning, and once again the weather was very kind to us, with only one day out of the week being wet.
Of course we did lots of walking, including the Old Man of Coniston, and Grizedale Forest amongst others.
Ok so my bike trip with James was a bit of a disaster (but could have been a lot worse), so what do you do? Go on another bike trip of course!! This time Jac and I set off and travelled through France for just over a week, before meeting James and Sam (his girlfiend on his old Kawasaki, as his new Yamaha was smashed to bits) in the far South of France. We then spent a really great week with them in France, Andorra and Spain, ending up in the stunning Picos Mountains for a few days in northern Spain.
Sadly James and Sam had to catch the over night ferry back from Spain to UK, and we slowly made our way back via the coast road, stopping at some beautiful places.
Back in the UK, we spent another 3 weeks in Devon, enjoying some more stunning walks, until…………………
…….Disaster struck, we were walking on the coastal path when I got attacked by a 10 foot long Python, as I was grappling with this huge serpent, a fire breathing dragon swooped down from the sky and tore it from my grasp, unfortunately as the dragon turned in mid air his tail drew across the path, and I tripped over the spiny, scaly tail and before I knew it, I lay in a tangled heap at the bottom of the bank with a badly damaged tendon. Jac’s version of events are very different, she says I just tripped and twisted my ankle……. but what do women know?
The next two weeks were spent on bloody crutches!! I hate Dragons!
Our last few weeks were spent with family and friends in our home county of Kent, and included a lovely day out at Chartwell, the family home of Winston Churchill with our friends Ray and Aileen who arrived in their stunning Triumph TR5 car. Pulling up in that car is like walking a puppy, it certainly attracts the opposite sex.
Once again we would really like to thank everyone that has let us stay in their homes, while we were back in England, and for making us so welcome.
But for now we are back in Namibia, our truck started first time, and all appears to be working ok.
We are currently camped in the very convenient campsite at Urban Camp, which is pretty much in the centre of the city and have restocked our fridge and cupboards as best we can, and tomorrow we head north to the Caprivi Strip and into Zambia.
Thanks for reading and I promise I won’t leave it for six months before the next blog post