Saturday, December 30, 2006
We're already missing Africa. The first thing we did, after visiting our families, was to hit a camping store in Sydney and buy a new tent - a future replacement for the circus tent (so named because it has a big top and, according to Mrs B, a clown inhabits it).
Anyway, there may or may not be much blogging from now on. Australia means home, but it also means work - the day job, that is. We'll see how it goes.
In the meantime, we made a good new friend in Hannelie, from Perth, who's been posting on this blog, and has agreed to help me with my appalling Afrikaans spelling.
So, until the near future, happy New Year.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
As dedicated readers may recall, we've had a few little mechanical challenges with Tonka, the mighty Series III short wheelbase Land Rover. These have included: leaky fuel tank, broken gear lever (or is that stick?); and ongoing problems with banjo bolts (please don't ask) and the gear box, as a whole.
Being back in the land of Land Rover (the UK) has been nice, though. Amazingly, we picked up a copy of a land rover magazine (Land Rover Owner International) and were astonished (I believe Mrs B squealed) to see a picture of Tonka in it. The magazine's editor had been in the Kruger National Park on a junket and happened to see our distinctive (aka battered and dirty) baby parked up by the fence at Punda Maria camp. He snapped a pic for the pages of his mag dedicated to unusual sightings of land rovers around the world (no snide remarks, please - it is an excellent magazine).
Here are a couple of our pictures of Tonka, his improvised African gear lever (refer to earlier posts about shifting spanners and multi grips) and me attempting to repair the leaky fuel tank on a roadside in Mozambique.
Testing, testing... with thanks to Bec and all her legion of fans - and to those of your unsolicited commentators... here is a pic of one of the pirates. This is Broken-Hand, one of the ring leaders. Awww... isn't he cute? (little b@stard).
Here's a couple of very nice (if we do say so ourselves) pics of leopards. The one of the leopard in the tree with the poor little baby impala was taken by Mrs B, and is all the more impressive given that she (and I) were hammered at the time, having enjoyed a four-hour lunch with our friends from Capte Town, who were visiting Kruger and invited us to have a meal with them at the luxury private game lode - Tinga Narina - of which they are part owners. I will be giving lots of shameless plugs in the future to Tinga, as it's going to feature in Book 5.
We decided to break the Africa trip with a week in the UK to get some research done for book five. A good mate of mine is a police protection officer (don't call him a bodyguard or he might shoot you) and, as the lead character of book five happens to be an English protection officer, a trip to interview him (aka spend five nights on the booze) was always on the cards.
Of course, coming to England in December I knew it would be cold. I'm not that stupid, but why is it that I am always completely unprepared for just how miserable it will be over here in t'old country. Landing at Heathrow at five in the morning the captain told the flight "It's quite warm on the ground at Heathrow- 15 degrees centigrade". I strained to hear the faint chuckle, or note of sarcasm, but there was neither. He was serious - going on to add, however; "it may feel a bit cooler, though, thanks to the 40 knot wind - that's 43 miles per hour".
OMG (oh, my God), as the youth of today might say.
It was cold and it just got colder and colder. However, it was a profitable week and I got to meet a bunch of very nice people from Pan Macmillan UK, who will be publishing African Sky next week. Of course, I said nothing about cricket.
As I am in the British Airways lounge right now I will attempt to post some long over due pictures. Here goes.
(Please note, legion of fans, the above mention was not a shameless plug. I am very, very dissatisfied with British Airways right now. They have decided to allow all seats to be available for early reservation online - even the highly prized emergency exit row seats. This would be OK if we knew we could get online and try and book them in advance, but we were told in Joburg that the policy was to hold back exit row seats so that check-in staff could asses whether the passenger was fit and well enough to operate the exits in an emergency or - in my case - allocate them to exceptionally tall people. One thing my online bio does not mention is that I am abnormally tall - 6'6" or pretty close to 2 metres.
I hope I get deep vein thrombosis as a result of being cramped in my cattle class seat, and cause lots of headaches for the BA PR people. You deserve it).