Life Changing Moments or Moments Changing Life


It never ceases to amaze me how much more I achieve when pushed to my limits. How I cope so much better then I expect to, how inventive I become and how much I realise about myself.

Covid changed so much for so many and we have all come out the other side realising we have to learn a new way of living. I have always believed that we should treat this Earth we live on with care and mindfulness. It is a living breathing being as we are and we know if we neglect or mistreat ourselves then we get hurt and get sick, so why not the Earth as well?We have been going along creating damage and pollution everywhere we step on this planet; taking out the natural trees and plant life to build towns, using up all the water resources, killing the animals. The Earth is hurting and so it has started fighting back. The virus has forced people to sit back and take stock and learn how to slow down. We had to learn new ways of interaction and survival.

I live in a beautiful valley surrounded by wildlife and beautiful African bush. Its hot and uncomfortable and difficult, but the rewards are the stunning sunrises and sunsets and the constant interaction with the wild and the River.

We were trying to start a new venture with not much backing but really loving what we were doing, so it was back to basics. All my household was put into storage and the first couple of months ourselves and our two cats lived in a small tent under the huge riverine trees on the banks of the Zambezi River. No electricity, no running water, no cooking facilities and just the basics. We operated with solar lights and a small solar system we connected which gave us lights for part of the night and sort of ran a temperamental little freezer. We had an ablution building but the toilet was a wobbling white throne with no seat, the shower wasn’t connected to pipes and there were no windows or doors. No kitchen, we cooked out in the open under a huge Wild Mango tree. We had an old upright gas stove, a proper antiquated think with the toaster at the top and the oven under. It worked beautifully once I figured the wind directions, dropping mangoes or marauding monkeys.

The tent would not survive the Valley storms and we couldn’t find a house so moved the Houseboat which hadn’t been used in a year off the River & onto land. A carpenter came each day to build a set of steps from the ground all the way up to the deck. It took him 5 days and about ten bottles of an unknown drink which seemed to help his work and inventiveness and we ended up with steps which looked like they came from that rhyme about the crooked house. There were no handrails and they were quite steep but the cats & myself learnt to get up & down very nimbly, especially in the sudden downpours of rain which came with force and wind and buckets of water.

Living in the houseboat was, I think, one of the most beautiful places I have lived. There were no windows but canvas flaps which I kept up as much as possible & became very adept at closing at speed when the rain came. We were never hassled by bugs or mosquitoes and always had cooling breezes. I lay on our huge mattress at the one end of the boat & just had to angle my head slightly to be able to look over the edge at the powerfully flowing water and had panoramic views of the bush around and across the River to Zambia. We were in the tress with the birds and monkeys who used to watch us watching them, very confused that we were so high.

We stayed in the boat for five months and in that time completed a kitchen area under roof as well right on the banks of the river and protected by shade netting. Still often visited by the leguaans, monkeys and baboons but they couldn’t get to anything as we had installed a huge metal locker cupboard plus we now also had a small fridge. Our solar system increased to the point where our lights lasted all night and I could even use my sewing machine. We had wifi so music played constantly and we had solar fans plus lights. The ablutions were completed so I could no longer sit on my throne and watch the river flowing past and the shower worked so I didn’t carry a bucket any more. It was perfect and I realised it was all we actually needed. I missed a few of the more essential items in storage but we survived without them anyway.

It couldn’t last. Someone bought my house and took it off to fix it up and I believe it has changed completely now. We are back to living in a house. Back to windows which have to be closed as the electric lights attract bugs. Back to curtains which have to be drawn as we are worried about who is watching us. Back to fans and air conditioners which make so much noise I can no longer hear the sounds of the Bush.

Worrying Times


There are probably millions of blogs out there similar to this at these times. We are all so worried. Living in these times is like all of the sci-fi, drama virus infection movies we have ever watched.
Where I live where all news and coverage of the virus in the country is blocked or hidden, we rely on rumours and word of mouth opinion. Rumours and stories are rife. I have been reassured that this virus has been in Zimbabwe for many years anyway and nothing has been done about it. I have been told that our immune systems are so strong in this country because we have been exposed to such a variety of diseases, viruses, and infections due to our lack of municipal infrastructure, the general lack of interest by the population to make an effort to clean up and with no medicines and medical facilities or money available, the coronavirus is just added to the list and won’t affect us.
Slowly countries around us are shutting down. Borders are closing; South Africa is going into lockdown today I think, deploying the army around the country to enforce this. Flights from most major international airports are cancelled. A funny thing though, a day or two ago I noticed a news article lauding the Zimbabwe Government on the purchase of its one and only operational viscount aeroplane. All our others are broken down in other countries.
Watching News from around the world I keep wondering if I am in a surreal science fiction movie. I had this feeling as I watched the planes hitting the Twin Towers on September 11 as well.
The false news and propaganda have me pushing down my feelings of panic and just getting on with working and doing what I have to do. There is no way we are going to be able to fight this in this border town but staying healthy and positive would be a good start.
I live in the border town of Chirundu, working in an oasis 2km from the dirty border Chirundu border post. An area described on Trip Advisor as the armpit of the country. We have no municipal trash collection services in the whole country but especially not in Chirundu. It is a very small town that has grown up around the servicing of the long queues of trucks that get stopped at the border for days at a time waiting for clearance into Zambia. The drivers of these trucks travelling from South Africa or Mozambique ports need places to sleep, food to eat and the other comforts of the night – lots of alcohol and of course prostitutes. For up to 35km along the degraded and dilapidated road you have a queue of trucks throwing the litter out of the window, washing and doing their ablutions on the side of the road and eating as much junk food as they can. We ride through a sea of plastic bags, take away containers, chip packets, broken glass, and plastic bottles and containers, used condoms, etc, etc. Wildlife is around us but is slowly being driven further away, we frequently see elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodiles on the road, signs of lion, leopard and other night-time explorers and I beg them silently in my head toot go foraging too close to the town or they will be hurt or poached. Elephants are deliberately ridden into by the big trucks as then they will have to be shot by National Parks and then there will be free meat. We see the elephant droppings full of plastic, paper money, pot scourers and other things they have scavenged from the trash dumped all around. Baboons are everywhere breaking and destroying vehicles and buildings to get to the food. The smaller vervet monkeys are also around but are not as brave as the baboons venturing among the populace and rather stay around the camps and houses.
For myself, I feel I am strong enough to withstand this infection. With this around me, I know I am going to get it, if not have it already but I am strong and healthy. I cry a lot these days because I wish I could be with my family at this time but I must stay away as I know I would carry it to them. My little grandbabies in the centre of the countries are protected on their little farm, I worry about the little one with asthma and hope she gets through this, I worry about my pregnant daughter in law – will it work out ok.
I mainly worry about my aging parents far far away on the other border of Zimbabwe next to Mozambique. I have this horrible doomed feeling inside me – my dad is badly asthmatic, has heart problems plus is diabetic, my mum is diabetic, has osteoporosis arthritis, just had an op which went septic and she is still mending.
I can’t be there to help them I can’t be there to protect them and it makes me so very very sad.

What happened


On Sunday I worked with my partner running a bar at a function held at the Airport. We started packing up the bar by 5pm when it started raining, loading all our cold boxes, trestle tables and stock onto our 7tonne truck. I left the airport at about 6:15pm driving in my Rav4J in front of the truck. I was going very slowly as I was concerned about the truck on the muddy dirt road. It was very dark and raining heavily and on reaching the strip tar road I had to wait for traffic, visibility was very bad. On the strip road itself I hadn’t gone very far when I came up behind a pickup loaded down with wood parked in the middle of the road with no lights on. I was going very slowly after that making sure the truck was always safe behind me.

Once reaching the full tar road I came to a point where there was a curve then the road went uphill slightly. At the top of the rise there were a lot of headlights shining and I realised there was an accident and slowed down on approaching.

There was a white SUV type vehicle slightly off the road on my left with its front passenger side in the bushes. Directly in the left hand path of the road a Honda Fit was parked across, its front facing the right side of the road but the right side of the road was mostly open, the boot of the vehicle was standing open. I saw a young European man standing in the middle of the road with blood running down his face so I stopped and ran to him to see what I could do.

He didn’t seem badly hurt, the blood on his face seemed to be coming from a gash on his forehead but he seemed to move ok and there was no other injury noticeable. He was dazed and very shaken and all he said was please can you help me please can you call my brother Michael Bailey at the airport. I realised he must have been one of the son’s of someone who I work with at the school, but I didn’t recognise him as I dont know him very well.

I went back to my car to get my phone. I had parked in such a way that my lights and hazard lights were lighting up the area around the Fit and beyond. I called my partner and told him quickly to get the boy’s brother to come.  I told the driver of my truck behind me that I was going to wait for the brother to come then we would go. The road was very busy and I was worried as being on the curve, my truck was also now becoming a hazard.

I noticed on the far side of the Fit a lot of people milling around, about ten to fifteen and I noticed parked along the left verge beyond the Fit there were four other vehicles with people inside them and standing next to them, their lights were all on and I remember 3 small cars similar to the Fit and a minibus, all loaded with boxes and bags on roofs. People were taking belongings and bags out of the Fit and were moving to these other taxis. There was a man who seemed to be in charge of everyone, helping them get their stuff and talking, he had a white bag slung across his chest. I remembered listening to them talk about ZRP so I presumed he had phoned them. He was taking stuff from the open back of the Fit and passing it to people.

The young man sat down on the ground by the front wheel of the Fit and I was worried he was in shock so I tried to keep talking to him reassuring him his brother was on the way. I asked him if he had all his belongings like wallets & phones out of his car and he said he had someone elses phone on him. I was very worried about the bang on his head and shock setting in but he was very quiet and restrained.

While crouched down next to him I noticed that the Fit’s park lights were on but the main lights were off and the engine was still running. I called to the men talking on the other side of the Fit that I thought we should turn the engine off as I was worried about fuel spillage. The man with the white bag came and switched off the vehicle, I had assumed from his actions and behaviour that he was the driver.

While the vehicle was being turned off I moved to the back of the Fit and noticed a pile of clothes in the back which seemed to be moving, there were pieces of wood on the road and there seemed to be material hanging out of the back of the boot. I wondered what was under the moving material but I didn’t look closely and as none of the other people at the vehicle seemed to be paying much attention to it, I presumed it was a goat or something they were transporting. No-one had really been around the back of the vehicle except the man with the white bag and he had also been taking various people around to the passenger side of the white SUV and they were looking at something but I never checked what. At various times, the man with the bag and two other of the men around the vehicles said to me that I should take the boy to the hospital but I replied that his brother was coming and he would deal with it.

The brother arrived and the young boy broke down and was crying and crying.

I was very worried about the amount of traffic backing up behind my truck and being on a curve like we were it was a dangerous area even though we had hazards flashing. The rain had subsided but there was still a light drizzle. I signaled to the driver we were going and climbed back in my car and started pulling away. As I came along side the young men around the boy I said to them they must try and keep him warm as I was worried about shock and the one man reassured me that it was ok they would look after him. I drove around the Fit and paused on the far side to make sure my truck got around ok and while waiting I noticed that all the taxis and minibus which had been parked on the verge were now gone. There was still a lot of traffic on the road though.

I was involved in this over the weekend and it has really shaken me, this is part of the statement I had to submit to the police. The taxi situation in this country is the most awful and totally out of control. There is no control of them by the police and the drivers very often have no licences and the taxis are in the most un-roadworthy condition. I fight every day coming to work and going home as I have to be constantly alert for which side of the road these lunatics decide to drive on, decide to overtake on, decide to stop on. They have no manners, no worry about other road users and definitely no concern for their passengers – the amount of accidents they have caused where the passengers have been hurt or killed and the driver gets out of the vehicle and runs away.

The pile of clothing in the back of the car was a body, the young boy was unlicensed and had been drinking. It was a dark and rainy night and almost positively this Fit had no rear lights showing. There was a man leaning over the back of the car lifting his luggage and wood into the Fit, the impact severed his body in half.

The sad thing is that nothing has been done about the fact the vehicle was stopped in the middle of the road with no lights in such bad conditions, the focus is totally on the young boy being unlicensed, probably not sober and white.


Lodge Dinner


Money can only make your surroundings pleasant. It cannot create inner pleasantness.

In my job as Catering Manager in a large private boarding school I also have to cater for the Headmaster whose wife cannot cook.

Every couple of weeks he has a dinner for about twelve people from around the Community and he expects a first class three course meal with all the trimmings.

The school is 90 years old with 90 year old equipment and a staff of cooks who have learnt from each other and their fathers or relatives as time has gone. I cannot change the school menu too far from the norm as they only know what they have learnt over the years, so the menu hasn’t really changed over the years. In the time that I have been here they have been so grateful for all I teach them and any training or knowledge I share with them. Coming from a hospitality training to school catering is certainly a big step and was quite confusing in the beginning. I had all these menu changes which were soon shelved due to lack of knowledge; all these exciting salads and vegetable recipes to incorporate until I realised that I was feeding children who definitely weren’t interested in veg & salads. Everything had to be bland, non salted, non sugared and of course cooked in large quantities.

So with the above explanation you can understand that the cooks have no idea how to cater to dinner parties, so I plan and cook them myself. Its a lot of work on top of the rest of my job but I have become very clever and learnt to plan a menu (which has to be sent to him and his wife for approval) which can be prepared in advance, is basic and simple with the most flamboyant of names and presentation and which can be served by the Madam without too much explanation.

This dinner was :- Creamy Asparagus Soup with blue cheese crostini, Lamb & Bacon Casserole with sweet potato mash, sesame carrots, green beans & roasted beetroot & feta salad and for dessert was Creme Brulee.

My dinner plans never follow the menu I normally send to them a month before the dinner, I have never figured out if they notice this. Its hard to plan and organise a meal living far away from any decent shopping centre so its only really two or three days before the dinner that the menu comes together with what I have been able to find, and of course the progression of my cooking.

For this dinner the Creamy Asparagus Soup required fresh asparagus of which I only found 5 sticks – add in brined asparagus. I could only find one bunch of leeks – add in spring onions. The cream had, of course, gone off, and created a curdled look which made me panic at first but then after I had blended the whole lot for a good time and boiled and boiled it, it all seemed to come together.

The Blue Cheese Crostini – the french loaves I ordered from the town bakery turned out to be kitka loaves, and of course no blue cheese to be found. I found brie & camembert and melted it onto the halved slices of bread – my opinion was that it looked as horrid as it smelt but that must be the gourmet slant.

The main course was easy – but the old anthracite stove which normally doesnt get hot enough to boil anything suddenly had a spurt while I was out of the kitchen and I came back to find millions of burnt bits. I also realised that I wouldn’t have enough lamb so my casserole became loaded with carrots and potatoes. The sweet potato mash was good but as I had used the carrots in the lamb I had to replace them with something orange to balance my menu – roasted butternut, then I realised my beetroot & feta salad was not enough as the only packet of  beetroot I could find had shrunk while roasting. So the beans changed to minted peas and the beetroot & feta salad became beetroot, green beans, onion slices & feta – a very nice salad I must say.

The Creme Brulee – oh those Creme Brulee! My cream was off, remember, so the first batch never set. I got fresh cream (we get fresh milk from the dairy down the road daily but I thought buying box cream would make it all taste better) and started again. We don’t have a blow torch or anything so I had to grill the sugar topping under the small salamander we have. It took ages and I was nearly late delivering the dinner to his Lodge. Wouldn’t have made a difference though as I never see anyone when I am offloading my car, I think they watch me from a window then only come into the kitchen as I am leaving for any last minute instruction.

As I said, I always plan a menu to be able to make in advance. I had made the soup, the lamb and the Creme Brulee the day before then finished things on the day of the dinner. That was something else I learnt, my cooking comes bottom of the list to the guys preparing lunch or dinner for the children so any of the equipment I need I have to make sure they don’t need. When there are sports function teas, plus lunch and supper for 300 to prepare the oven is much fought over.

I always get nervous over the dinners, but this dinner I lost my nervousness and developed a feeling in my gut that it was going to be one of my worst. I always cook from my heart and this time my heart just wasn’t interested. I felt disappointed, and worried all night.

The next morning was the first time ever that the Headmaster came into the Kitchens to say thank you for a lovely meal. He gushed over the deliciousness and said how happy all the guests had been.

We in the Kitchens always judge the meal by what gets returned in the dishes form the Lodge – they were clean, except for some stinky cheese crostinis.


A new start


I have been away from my site for so long!! I moved countries then moved jobs and towns and all sorts of changes, including losing my passwords to my account. Old Age. So here I am starting again.

My life is very different to my Mozambique days and I really miss it. From the excitement and challenges of living in a very third world country where every day was different and interesting and vibrant, I now live in another third world country which is even more challenging but not so interesting and exciting.

In Zimbabwe we have the challenges of every day survival;  a currency which hardly exists on paper and the bit that does exist on paper is not even recognised anywhere else in the world. It is fought over and hoarded to such an extent that you hardly ever see it and yet it is essential to survival as most of the vending of every day goods has moved out of the shops and onto the streets. We have items in the shops, imported at great cost from outside the country, so we pay those extra costs. The man on the street cannot afford this so he shops on the street. Our methods of payments are varied and confusing. If you have USdollars cash you are definitely king and your note can be traded for other currencies with quite a hefty premium. The invisible monopoly money used in the Country is called Bond notes, if you use these to pay anywhere you are normally charged interest so something costing $1 you would pay $1.50. Then you get Ecocash, textacash, Mycash etc etc, various payment methods you can do through your phone, again you get charged interest so that item which was $1 could now be $2. Then you have RTGS or bank transfers, your $1 item now comes to you at $5. The banks are making a killing as they charge between $2 to $10 service charges on transactions, then if you buy that item from the street vendor who has his own swipe machine you pay him $5 extra for swiping plus you pay the bank service charges so the $1 item could now be $8.

We live like this, and we seem to accept it. Everyone complains but no-one protests, we just pay and move on waiting for a change to happen. That was another difference I still cant get used to, Mozambique is loud, vociferous and in your face but fair and happy and smiling. Zimbabwe is angry and surly and everyone is out to get everyone else. No happy bantering between the races here, the divide between black and white is a huge chasm which can become a raging fire at the flick of a switch.

So my new start has been a learning of new methods, new environments, new weather – I have ended up living in a place the total opposite of warm and sunny Mozambique. Times have moved on and I am learning to move on with them, the changes which need to be made must be made now, if I wait then the changes will be changed. My list of what is important has changed and I now try and be more mindful, I plan and think instead of just jumping in. Boring?

Tribute and Tribulation


Tribute and tribulation, two words so very similar in spelling and pronunciation but vastly different in meaning. The exact difference was brought home to me this past week when I experienced both in the space of twelve hours.
We paid tribute to a man who came into Mozambique at a time when the country was just emerging from a long and horrific civil war which had torn the country apart and brought it to the knees of poverty and deprivation. He came into the country from Zimbabwe, first on regular trips, trading foods and items from Zimbabwe, for prawns and seafood from the coast. The roads were practically nonexistent with the risk of mines or attacks from either of the warring parties along the way. He would tell stories for hours describing the trips and adventures and close shaves he, his family and his friends had in those early days.
The stories of setting up business in Mozambique at a time when legal administrative procedures were nonexistent and everything was done with bribery and corruption as par for the process were amazing. In Beira, at the time, there was no piped water or sanitation facilities, very rarely any electricity and no shops, fuel or basic living commodities. As he and his family were coming through to Beira so often and friends were starting to join them it was decided that a restaurant and camp ground should be built. This was started on a small-scale but its popularity became such that it expanded and grew into a sprawling, thatched roof venue renown for good food and the best view in Beira. That was twenty years ago, this man and his family certainly saw and experienced a lot of change in the slowly awakening country. When he passed away two weeks ago the restaurant was closed for the day in order to hold a memorial service for him. The Service was a tribute to his memory read out and spoken about by various longstanding members of the Beira community. Each of the members of the restaurant staff, some of whom had been with him from the beginning, took a handful of ashes from the box held by his son and threw them into the sea. A fitting tribute as he had loved the ocean.
Then came the tribulation. Half an hour after we locked up and went home we received a call to say the restaurant was on fire. His Restaurant. What an awful shock, what desolation, what bone crushing sadness. You can never prepare yourself for something like this and the ache inside my chest was so extreme at times I thought I would be ill.
Why did this happen? What was the reason? How did it happen? How are we going to survive?
A week later not many of the questions have been answered but I have theories. He loved the restaurant, it was his, maybe he wanted to take it with him. Maybe someone still living decided he should take it with him.
Whatever the reason, the tribulation of suddenly realising you have nothing left out of what was something huge pushed us to a level we did not realise we could reach. Out of adversity comes strength, strength you often do not realise you have. The Old Man built the restaurant through a lot of trial and tribulation on his part, maybe now it was our turn to rebuild and suffer a similar stress and tribulation in order to learn to appreciate what he went through.
In our tribute to him we had to experience the tribulation he had endured as he knew he had left that legacy of strength in his family and he knew they would get through and achieve what he had achieved and love it the same as he had.

My Three wishes at 12:12pm on 12-12-2012


My three wishes on 12-12-2012 at 12:12pm

For the Earth
I wish that all human kind realizes the damage they are doing and creating by their lifestyle and greed. I wish for an end to pollution, damage and desecration to all forests and lands and we all learn together to save what we have left.

For the Community
I wish for an understanding and communication. I wish for education and peace and love. We should all learn to work together for our futures and the futures of our children and their children

For Myself
I wish for a life with more security, more happiness, a home, abundant love, friendliness, success in all my undertakings. Safety and care for all my family and all whom I love. I wish for this Company we have started to succeed and be all that we hope for.



My life is a huge bunch of changes at the moment and I feel discombobulated.

Change A
We have decided to sell the restaurant and the house and leave Mozambique to go back to Zimbabwe. It is only a three hour drive from Beira, Mozambique to Mutare, the Zimbabwe border town, but we don’t plan on stopping in Mutare. No, when I choose to do things I make sure I do it on a large and grand scale. We are moving all the way across Zimbabwe right up to the snout of the “pigs head”, Victoria Falls. In my craziness I have opted to pack up the house in Beira, my flat in Mutare, my son’s flat in Mutare as he is joining the venture and transport six cats and two dogs and about six or so various people on a journey which, hopefully, will take two days of slow and careful driving. I am dreading it and whereas, normally, I can picture stages in my journeys and imagine how things will work out, this time my mind is a total blank.
This change was decided two months ago as we have a friend who owns a restaurant in The Falls who has gone through a huge amount of bad changes himself suddenly and was ready to give up his dream and life’s work due to all of his problems. My other half has been constantly moaning about his lot in life here and wanting to change things, so I suggested why don’t we join up forces with the Falls contingent. The offer was leapt upon!!! I was quite amazed at the response as from listening to both parties moaning for a couple of months this thought had been in my head for a while and to my way of thinking it was a natural conclusion. Why hadn’t they thought of it? Within a weekend we had planned it all. Both my sons also needed to change their lives so were giving up what they are doing and coming into the business with us. We were going to sell the house and the restaurant here and invest in various things that side starting a company in the process and everything was go, go, go and we were all very excited with plans and dreams.
This is Mozambique, don’t make plans or deadlines and expect them to be kept. Due to seriously dumb administration it turned out that both the house and the restaurant weren’t actually owned by my other half. We couldn’t find out who owned it at all. No deeds had been drawn up, no papers signed, no transfers. I was amazed. Never in my existence had I ever heard of someone owning a piece of land for twenty years but not owning it!! Paying taxes and rents and dues etc but having absolutely no paperwork showing ownership!! Unheard of and unbelievable and so, so stupid in any country in Africa, never mind one that is not your birth country. Land here can be taken away from you on a whim and if any of the power hungry politicos heard about this gross mess, we would certainly be out on our ear. Luckily – we found a very good lawyer and with much “under the table financing”, slowly things have progressed and maybe, maybe, another two weeks.
I am not even thinking about it. I have stopped packing and am living out of the boxes I had already packed. I refuse to jinx the whole operation again by hoping and planning so I have stopped and moved over to a path where I sort of wander along daily trying to keep myself busy.
Christmas is coming and every year I craft and decorate and love celebrating Christmas. This year my craft stuff is mostly packed with some in Mutare and as I am so determined not to think anything negative or plan anything, I have kept a few crafts out and am crocheting and sewing things for little nephews and nieces. Cannot say if they will actually get them as I probably will pack them and forget where but anything to keep my mind busy.

Change B
The Change!!! Why the hell is it happening now? I had a hysterectomy nearly twenty years ago and have had a very hormonally crazy life since then, but I thought I had missed The Change, The dreaded mad Menopause. Now, going into the hellishly, hottest months in Beira, when I am trying to plan and coordinate a huge move and start of a new life and have to have all my wits about me as the males in my life sincerely aren’t the brightest lightbulbs, my body has let me down. I am breaking out in horrific sweats, my joints ache, I can’t sleep and lie awake panicking about the future and I have turned into a forgetful, snapping witch.
Over the past couple of weeks I have watched in astonishment as my middle area suddenly ballooned and I developed a roll!! For no reason that I could see. I wasn’t eating any different or behaving any different and yet my jeans wouldn’t do up. If anything I was eating less as it is too hot in this place to eat. I upped my running, yoga and other exercise and kept as busy as possible. Then my body seemed to pack up, my joints started to ache and pain, sometimes continuously. I thought I was overdoing the exercise so I cut right back and only did yoga.
The pain has continued though and some days I cannot rest at all as my ankles are so sore. Nights are a nightmare, I wake up in a bath of sweat and realise I have pain in some joint, either my ankles or my back or my shoulders and then I cannot get back to sleep again as I start worrying about things. Really pointless, stupid worrying about totally mundane ideas that suddenly develop into huge mental problems which keep me awake trying to solve and sort. I read somewhere that not sleeping enough can make you fat so as I lay not sleeping I worry about that as well, and of course don’t sleep.
Days have become a an exhausting cycle of battling to get up in the morning and then struggling through the day with aches and pains popping up everywhere and sweating, always sweating. Its actually so hot in Beira that I often cannot figure out if I am sweating normally or from a hot flush. I have lost all my energy and mojo and to do anything is an exhausting trial, even to think about doing something exhausts me.
For months now I have been scratching. I thought I had an allergy, then excema, maybe the stress, the heat, I have spent hours on the internet trying to see why I am scratching. I have had to rub tonnes of cream on to prevent myself scratching my skin raw and bleeding. What really worries me though is my mind has been taken over by aliens, my memory is now a sieve and I have lost what little intelligence I had. When I first noticed this happening I was seriously worried that I was developing Parkinsons or Alzheimers or some such age disease.
This morning I woke up and just lay in bed wondering how I could get up and try to do a bit of yoga, or even just get through the day. Friday is my grocery shopping day but the thought of trying to go round hot smelly crazy town just drained me. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t even seem to open my eyes! I just lay there for maybe an hour just trying to be, you know the feeling, just be, at one with the bed and the cool air conditioned air. Then as I felt another hot sweaty flush starting to roll over my body, I suddenly thought to myself “Duh, you stupid woman, its the menopause”. It was like a flash in my brain.
I googled all my symptoms, I googled menopause, I googled menopause blogs, I googled treatments, natural and medical I googled everything remotely related. It all matched up! The knowledge doesn’t help me much as living where I do there are no doctors to speak to, I am going to have to wait until I get to civilisation to get it all confirmed and sorted. I am not sure when that will be so I have searched the town for some of the more natural products I saw on google. Not much luck there either surprisingly as I had thought with the number of Chinese and Indians we have here that surely I would find some natural remedies. You can buy any drug you want here over the counter and without a prescription so this was quite disappointing. It’s a males town.
I am going to have to learn to live with the discomfort and keep as positive as I can and take it slow and easy. One step at a time. What an awful phase to go through though and I hope it ends soon. Any advice would be appreciated.

Don’t just realise your intuition, act on it too.


I was attacked this week. Not badly, I wasn’t hurt much and never had anything taken away from me but I feel violated, exposed, used and invaded – and so, so angry.
I walk just about every morning. I am a morning person and love that time of the day when the whole world is waking up and because there are not many people about, I feel as though I am a discoverer, an explorer. Wherever I have lived or wherever I have visited, I go on early morning walks. I never go the same way two times running and vary each and every journey with an unexpected twist or turn as to my whim. In more remote or unsafe areas, I never wear jewellery, never carry cameras etc and I always carry a stick of some sorts. The stick is mainly to ward off the dogs which often chase me!!
No matter how early you get up in Beira, there are always fishermen out on the ocean trying to earn their living; their wives and often their children as well, waiting for them on the beach, curled up together, asleep under their kapulana cloths if it is still too early and dark and chilly. The fishermen follow the tides. They lay out their nets and leave them for a turn of the tide, then row out in their small canoes, often made from a hollowed out tree trunk and retrieve their, hopefully, laden nets after the tide has turned.
Their wives and families wait on the beach and then clean the nets of the sellable catch, chucking the unwanted jellyfish and other inedible ocean occupants onto the sand. If these can survive until the tide reaches them again then I always hope they make it to live another day, but often I come upon piles of dead and dying jellyfish mixed with crabs which were too small and were left on their backs so could not burrow back into the protecting sand. This angers me as it seem such a waste of life and some days I spend hours trying to return some of their catch back to the sea.
The buckets of small fish and shrimp the wives take to the roadside markets to sell, it is the staple diet in Mozambique. If the tides are low and the sun is right they spread part of their catch out in a patchwork quilt on the beach and leave it to dry before gathering and selling in the markets. From our house we can smell the days when the catch has been good or when the sun is right for drying – the strong smell of ocean fish drying carries inland on the breezes.
Once the sun has risen and the canoes have not yet come in, the women dig for clams along the tide line. Long lines of upturned sand disturbing the glassy smoothness of the tide washed beach. Clams can only be dug in the mornings and must be kept as fresh as possible and they are also sold on the roadsides and in the markets, but only in the mornings. If they are still for sale in the afternoon you know they are no longer edible. Most of the clam sellers boil and eat them themselves by lunch time, which creates another market and roadside business for the ever enterprising peoples of this town.
I get on very well with the fishermen and the women and we greet each other happily as I look over their catches or check what is in their baskets. I have been walking the beach here for four years now and have never felt threatened or had a problem. Every morning is such an exciting experience for me I glory in the happiness.
Occasionally though, I have started taking my camera with me. When I know the tide is going to be out and the beach more interesting, the sunrises and sunsets are so stunning, the scuttling crabs pose so comically, the wave ripples and swirls so beautiful that I just have to try and capture the moment. I take it once in a while and try never to pull it out of my pocket when I am on my own, I normally use it when the beaches have awakened with people.
On Tuesday I took my camera and got some lovely pictures of the crabs and the dawn of the day. I had a lovely walk. My whole day held a feeling of happiness and joy because of my happy experiences of the morning.
On Wednesday I, very stupidly, took my camera again and followed the exact same route as for Tuesday. As soon as I walked onto the beach I felt a bad feeling inside me. I did not feel happy or excited, I felt… wrong.
The beach stretched welcoming and calling. The tide was at its turn and the waves were small gentle ripples in the bronze grey light of the dawn. Beira’s beaches are divided into portions by eroded and wave washed stone and concrete retaining walls called groins. The stretch of beach I was on was deserted but I noticed one other person two groins up from me digging on the beach. As I noticed him I felt the unsettling urge to move back to the road rush through me again. Looking back down the beach in the other direction I noticed about five groins away the fishermen launching canoes and getting ready for their day. The sun was not yet risen so everything was bathed in its pre-dawn bronze gold. It would be ok, I would take my shoes off and walk fast down to where the fishermen were.
Against the unaccustomed displeasure at my surroundings swirling through my body I walked down to the water line and started towards the fishermen. I remember feeling very disjointed and overly aware of everything around me. About half way to where I was heading I turned to see where the other beach walker was and noticed he was walking in the same direction as me and seemed to have gained ground.
At the same time as noticing him I saw the sunrise!! It was beautiful, stunning and orange. The beach was bathed in a rippling blanket of fire. Without thinking I took my camera out and happily clicked away. My intuition practically hit me over the head, but I paid no attention, put my camera back in my pocket and carried on walking. Fast.
I glanced back again and now saw this man running parallel with me, between me and the road. When he saw me looking at him he turned and ran straight for me.
My instinct really took over then and everything slowed down like a disjointed, jerky movie reel. I knew he was coming for me, I knew what he wanted, I knew what he was going to do but I felt absolutely powerless and fear froze me. He came right up to me, right into me space and spoke in Portuguese. I didn’t understand him and realised I had to act as if I wasn’t on my own. I side stepped away from him and pretended to wave and call to someone behind him up on the road. I tried to put space between us as if I had somewhere to go and someone to go to, just glancing at him, smiling and then calling to my imaginery friend. At first he believed me and looking up to the road moved away but just when I thought maybe I would get away he realised what I was doing and came at me again, this time throwing punches and grabbing at my shirt and my breasts. I started screaming!!
I screamed out of fear as I suddenly realised I was in a situation I had no control over. I realised I could get seriously hurt and I realised I had been very stupid not to act on my intuition.
I screamed with all my might, I shouted and then started hitting back. My walking stick is heavy and solid and I beat him as hard as I could on the head and shoulders. I screamed and shouted, beating and pushing and even kicking. Suddenly I realised I wasn’t scared anymore, I was angry. I saw in his eyes that I was hurting him but he was determined to get my camera. My small $30 happy snappy camera!! Somewhere inside me I realised that he was very confused by this unexpected anger and retaliation. He had not expected confrontation, he had expected an easy target. He had not expected the stick, the screaming and then he noticed that my shouts had now brought spectators. This was not what he had wanted. He started moving away, tried to start running, but now I wouldn’t let him go. I was so angry at him for messing up my beautiful morning experience that I was determined to make him suffer. I threw my shoes at him, threw my stick at his head, I chased after him, my adrenalin pushing me. But he made it away.
It took me a long, long time to calm down. I was shaking so much I could no longer stand so just sat down in the sand. My heart was beating very fast and the adrenalin was pumping through me. I sat there calming my breathing, staring out to sea, my whole body was shaking, watching the morning wake up but not noticing.
Slowly I came back to reality and noticed my stick and shoes had been placed beside me on the wet sand. I noticed people walking back and forth around me, but no-one seemed to be paying any attention to me. I could no longer see my attacker but I still felt threatened and very sad. My lovely morning ritual was spoilt, ruined. I would never feel safe doing this again.
Slowly I picked up my stick and shoes and walked back to the road where I sat on the pavement to dust the beach sand off my feet and put my shoes on. I had a half hour walk to get home but I did not feel like doing it. I felt so low and sad and disillusioned. I sat and watched the world go by me, glancing at each person feeling one of them may have been my attacker. Slowly I got up and made my way home but as I walked my disillusionment and fear turned to anger. I arrived home seething with anger. Anger at the man for spoiling my day, anger for missing out on a beautiful morning ritual, anger because I knew it would never be the same again and mostly anger at myself.
I was so angry at myself for not trusting and following my intuition. It was my fault this had happened, I only had myself to blame. The angels, the universe, buddha, the ocean, the earth, everything, had all tried to warn me. That is what intuition is all about, and I had not paid any attention!!

orange & gold

That’s Not What I wanted


I have been writing since I was about eight or nine. Short little stories to read to my younger siblings about the animals or trees and life on the farm around us. As I grew older, my writing became romantic with poems and love letters to my heart’s desire and passionate stories about my knight on his white charger.  

In the days of pen and paper I used to communicate with penpals from around the world. I used to write long and newsy, and often made up, letters about my life in the tiny farm where I grew up.  We were in a remote area of the African bush and it was rare to have visitors or see anyone.  we used to go on a holiday to the seaside every year where we spent the first few days in silent, awestruck and often fearful wonder at the different world around us.  My penpals opened up such a realm of exotic places and lives, their letters always sounded so exciting and full of fun.  I couldn’t compete with that in my tiny farmhouse where we had no electricity, constantly had visitations from snakes, scorpions and other creepy crawlies, had wild animals wondering into the yard and around us, rescued baby elephants, impalas and anything else wild from bush fires or poachers so I used to make up a lot of my news.  Now I look back and think “stupid, stupid, stupid, that was such an exciting, adventurous life, why didn’t I savour it more!”

As life and marriage and babies moved on, my writing became personal, rambling journal entries talking mainly to myself, about myself, short empassioned stories about what a terrible life I led.  When I read over them now I think what a silly person I must have been with all my dreams and sulks and moans.  I also used to collect quotations, sayings and poems which I wrote out in my journals.  I have a lot of journals now tucked away in a box and I wonder what I should do with them because some of the entries should definitely not be allowed out in public!

Now in the computerised, technological age we have reached, my writing has grown and I write stories and download stories and copy quotations and poems from magazines or download them from the internet.  I spend hours delving into other peoples lives through their blogs and sites. Unfortunately the internet has also opened up for me the world of how I should be writing, what I should be doing according to all the online professionals. What a good thing I never tried to print anything I wrote, I would have been rejected and hurt!  The way I wrote and what I thought were good stories were perhaps not.  They were immaturely written and lacked proper grammar and style and even the content was boring.  So maybe I wasn’t a writer and  all my years had been wasted.  There was no way I could compete with what I could see on the internet, I was no good.

I started joining writing workshops and taking courses and worrying and feeling embarrassed about my style and lack of knowledge.  I have read copious amounts of instruction and printed and memorised numerous help pages from bloggers and writers online who helpfully shared their ideas with me.  I have changed a lot of my stories to try and copy the way others have done theirs.  Maybe now I should try and get it published, it looks and sounds just like the article “” just published on his site so why not go for it?

Wait, stop!  Who wrote this?  It looks just like “” why are they writing under another name now?  This is their style and their format and yet the article has a different author name.  Why should we publish this, its obviously someone trying to copy “”?  Its a blasphemy, a joke, ban this author, denounce them to the world.  Never allow them to publish anything as they have stolen the work from “”