The Gaborone Gabbler 2007

June update 2007
by Penny Mackenzie (Notes) on Wednesday, July 4, 2007
June I.e. The Middle of bloody Winter

So its been cold and I have seen my first ever snow. Yes I am this old and have never seen snow up close and personal..... Until now. In ,wait for it..... No not Gaborone but pretty close Jo burg! Who would have thunk it.

Bryan has had a birthday so we had a "dooo". Good lunch had by all. Bryan offered to cook a pokjie ( no I can't spell it) so we found a sort of recipe and chopped and spiced and marinated some lovely meat and then Bryan cooked it up. I asked if maybe it might be an idea to put some liquid in the pot and had my head bitten off. I received sarcastic comments of a wounded male variety for many hours ( intensely) and days (less intensely) following regarding my lack of trust in his ability to cook........ As it was he cooked a gastronomic delight.

The gents and some children played boules. The ladies got "kissed as prickets" and the children... Well, who knows what they did as we were all rather merry and being neglectful.

June 2007

Then, Julie had a birthday and Philip had to be fetched from Jo burg Airport necessitating us being in Jo burg on Julie's B' day so we did dinner with Julie and Rob and Lynn and Debbie Bate who I had not seen for an age and Patricia, who I also had not seen for an age and her husband George who I had not met before. It was a treat to catch up with old friends, see family and to meet some new friends! Once again great time had by all.

Hot on the heels of Jo burg ( not forgetting the snow) we went to Clarens with Sharon and Shaun Dutton for a bit of R & R. As many of you may know getting me from A to B without ,at best ,a nervous breakdown or ,at worst, me behaving like a demon to anyone within shouting distance is a feat.
Rule one get me drunk when you suggest leaving home for longer than an overnight stay.
Rule two give me lots of warning so I can work myself up to my best behavior.
Rule three play on my guilt so that I don't back out.

We had a lovely weekend. Except for the Archery. That was a total bugger. I have a bruise the size of Argentina on my inner arm near my elbow due entirely to my utter ineptitude at said activity as I managed to whack myself OFTEN with the string. I swear its almost as horrid as being struck by am arrow...... I am sure. The only reason I did the bloody archery in the first place is that I felt guilty ( it hounds me guilt does) that we ( Sharon Shaun and I) had dragged Bryan around on ,mostly, window shopping trips which, for Bryan, is close to pulling teeth. He did it with such good humour that I felt I ought at least do something that he would like. THAT IS THE LAST BLOODY TIME I DO THAT I CAN TELL YOU. From now on its lounge lizzardsville with ciggies and wine for me. Forget all that fresh healthy outdoorsy stuff.

We had Philip with us who was on half term but not Cameron as he is now in the UK preparing for his "mammoth debating" competition at Eaton. He is being Peru ( am I repeating myself) Whatever that means. I have no idea how he is doing as I don't have contact details for him and the bugger does not appear to be doing email. This either means that he and his team mates are working up a storm and are going to be champions of the world in heart and deed when they debate or they are playing so ( being in London must be so very trying) hard they can't stop to let a devoted mother know what's up. I am going with the 'working like demons' as I think my children are perfect and have never sworn or had a drink, or so much as held hands with a girls or ever done anything that is not totally upstanding and wonderful..... Do you think I am in for a fall?

Philip had his Matric dance in the first half of the term and brought home lovely pics of his evening out. Sigh. Takes you back to tragic school dances. Remember Hermione after the dance in The Goblet of fire in a funk of teenage angst tearfully telling Ron he had ruined everything. The girl had the hottest date there..........Anyway it seems that Philip had a great time. Cameron prefers the dances at the girls school as "They have to ask you!"

Once upon a time a long time ago I was asked to a dance at Ellis Robbins (some hostel doo or something) complete with embossed invitation. Yes Ellis Robbins sent out embossed invitations. I had to ask my father if I could go and he wanted to see the invitation so I gave it to him. More fool me. He took it, turned it over and wrote dreadful threatening things on it involving shotguns and wounds to anyone who did not behave appropriately towards me at the dance. Chance would have been a fine thing......I had to hand in the invitation at the door to some or other Divine Prefect and suffered great humiliation at the passing around of the invitation. Thanks Dad!
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Hello one and all

Once again I am stunned by the speed with which the month has gone by.

Last month, writing our news, was difficult as we could not say anything about the fact that we had traveled to Dubai for a look see and interview. Which was terribly exciting and scary for me with my absolute horror of leaving home and hearth. Then things were very fraught as I waited with bated breath for our lives to change and they did not. Bryan was fairly calm. I decided that the look see and interview was not going to amount to anything so threw away all the interesting info I had brought home with me. Went shopping for the kind of things you don’t shop for if you are planning a move and the next thing I know an offer came in for Bryan.

So now it’s all systems go. We are leaving Botswana. I am giddy with joy. I can’t pretend that I have loved the place, I have not. I have met people that I like and will keep in touch with. I have also met the worst people . I do not think that realizing how low people can and do stoop is necessary in life but sadly I have had a small taste of that here. The boys have had wonderful opportunities which would not have come their way if we had been in Zim nor quite possibly in South Africa and Bryan enjoyed his work. I was terribly home sick when we first came here which I am sure did not help.

The up shot though is that the timing is right to move. We will not disrupt Philip and Cameron’s life too much as Cameron will stay at St Andrews and Philip is due to start University next year so there is change in his life regardless. We need to grow and that is not (apparently) happening here in Botswana. We will be much further away from family and their invaluable support and that is always sad. Additionally I have just gotten used to the idea of having Sharon in the same town as me. This made me immeasurably happy and now I am moving away from that. But needs must and this is a GOOD THING for us to do.

We are used to the desert….. Admittedly Dubai is a whole lot more desert. It is hotter but there is serious aircon there. Best of all no more winter!!!!!! YIPEEEEEEE.

So that is the life changing news. Wish us all luck. Oh and remember Dubai is the centre of the Universe so anyone traveling from anywhere to anywhere is now obliged to stop over for a couple of days and abuse our hospitality.

Great news for us with Cameron’s trip to the UK. Most of you have already had to endure my showing off but for those of you who have missed out here is what Cameron’s headmaster had to say…..

9 July 2007 Headmaster’s Letter 10 of 2007

Dear Andrean Family

I cannot remember feeling prouder of a group of boys.

As you are aware, Michael Andersen, Luyanda Mini, Siya Mnyanda and Langa Sigodi won the African Championship debating tournament earlier this year in Johannesburg. Together with Jarrett Whitehead and Cameron MacKenzie they were invited to Eton to a Model United Nations debating tournament. Yesterday afternoon Ms Clare McIntyre phoned from England with the news that St Andrew’s College had been placed 2nd out of a total of 43 delegations from the UK, Germany, Finland, Japan, Northern Ireland, and South Africa. Further, Michael Anderson was awarded the best delegate overall, St Andrew’s College was voted the best new delegation, Jarrett Whitehead and Siya Mnyanda were awarded Highly Commended and Cameron MacKenzie was awarded a Commendation. Congratulations to them all.

http://www.sacschool.com/sac/page.php?pid=115

Then just to make sure that he was not left out Philip called me to say that his term average was over 80%. Music to a mothers ears if you have a son preparing for his Matriculation Exams. …..

Work continues on at a pace with all sorts of things going on that are a bit nerve wracking and of course leaving puts the pressure on.

I have had the pleasure of the company of Winna, Craig and Gavin a week of so ago. All looking well and on fine form. I fear I talked up a storm. Winna is in Botswana being a movie star. Have not yet taken advantage of that small link to one who is famous. Will have to think up a ploy….. Any ideas?

Have read books and gone to movies and had dinner out and generally been about.

On that up beat note I am out of here.

Love to you all and as Dawn always says “ tell me your news”

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August  2007

Hello lovely people

Reflecting on the past month is proving to be taxing. I know that I should have more done. I am supposed to be a in a veritable flurry of panic and action. But being the “Queen of Procrastination” that I am I have floated more or less for the whole month. It’s quite nice. I recommend it except for the little niggling feeling that I have that ,maybe, I have missed out on a few things…… maybe even important things……..

Oh well, life is too short to ponder this for too long. Not that that would normally stop me but not today.

Our excursions this past month have included a trip to Joburg to see Rent. We went with Sharon and Shaun Dutton, Bryan’s sister Julie, and Andy and Aviva Dippenaar. I enjoyed the show and the company. Aviva had us in stitches with her bitingly funny satirical observations. And she is quite right. Rent is a show about a bunch of near do well lay abouts who happen to be a bit art farty. Still, apart from the 2nd sort of dying scene towards the end I loved it. Went out for dinner afterwards and were loud and boisterous at a delightful Thai restaurant that Andy found for us.

The next week end ( no less) we zipped back down to Joburg to fetch the “Great Growing Lads”, “ Loves of my Life”, and just all round wonderful “Cherubs” in the form of Philip and Cameron. Who managed to gang up on me within minutes of being reunited with their father. I am having to rethink my blinding adoration of them as clearly they have divided loyalties and I am afraid that the kind of devotion I am wasting on them cannot be shared. Oh I am going to be a wonderful mother in law…… But I digress. We picked up the progeny, had a lovely diner and breakfast with Julie and Julie and Patricia and Daisy respectively. We jumped in the car after breakfast, jumped out as we noticed a booze shop and bought drinks for a lunch that we were rushing out of Joburg to go to in Mokolodi ( half an hour from Gaborone). Lovely lunch. Everything in the meal had tequila in it. From the dip, to the roast, to the dessert. Bryan behaved badly and had the hostess writing on his bare bum. A guest asked Philip and Cameron if they were embarrassed. Cameron said no he was not embarrassed but he would be if he was Bryan. One of the very important guests at the lunch introduced himself to Philip saying “Hi I am ______ the MD of ________.” Philip was a bit taken aback by the need of someone to introduce himself at a social function by his job title and replied “ Um, Hi I am Philip the Son of Bryan”. Job done. I could go on about the fact that it was Son of Bryan not Son of Penny but I won’t.

The following weekend had Julie and Bryans Mum coming for a flying visit. Much needed and enjoyed. This was our opportunity to say bye to Cecily. We had a lovely at home weekend watching birds and sipping champagne. Julie and Cecily left with Cameron in tow as he was off for a ‘work week’ with Andy Dippenaar at this advertising agency ‘Pump”. Cameron came home having decided that the people at Pump were the coolest on the planet and if what they did was work he wanted some.

In the meantime I have been opening cupboards (with a view to sorting through them and selling or giving away what we will not be taking with us) and closing them again. It is all too much. I am getting emotional about my wax crayons for pity sake. Never mind my pets….. I have managed to sort through the books. Well mostly. And have shifted through some linen. Its not that I find it dull. It’s just that there are better things to be doing really. Like going our for a million farewell dinners. Every social occasion is the beginning of the end.

I have also been trying to find homes for my pets. It’s like being a matchmaker or running a dating service. Yes my dogs are wonderful. Heel, sit, lie still on command , fib ,fib. All this promoting of canines whilst kicking husband and friends who snigger in the background and wonder where these paragons of doggy virtue reside as they have NEVER EVER been seen in Penny’s house. But they are wonderful really. And deserving of wonderful homes. I just don’t think anyone else will let them sleep on their beds and sit on their sofa. Which is fine. Sob sob. No little Vienna’s bum sticking out from under the covers in Dubai.

Sharon and I decided to have a joint birthday party. This is a good idea except that my birthday is at the beginning of September and Sharon’s is at the end. No problem we can meet in the between except that Sharon has a giddy social life that is arranged and stretched for a couple of month in advance. So birthday party arranged for this past weekend the 1st September and a jolly fine time we all had too. I now understand why Sharon has such a good time. It’s because, actually, planning a party ( or anything for that matter) means that you have that whole wonderful childish feeling of the “how many sleeps” count down. And planning a bit here and a bit there increases the anticipation of a lovely time. Of course even with Sharon’s meticulous and well thought out planning I still was running around like a blue arsed fly at the last minute. Rome, as we are told, was not built in a day.

I thought I was terribly organized when I decided ( after almost a year) to get down to arranging a delivery of gravel for our driveway which has looked a bit more like a chicken run than a driveway for a very long time. What better time than when we are having a Big Party? Guests car tyres would crutch crisply on the drive way and their sandals would not get full of Kalahari sand. It was such a good idea. Well let me tell you that what I call gravel and what is gravel in Botswana are two different things. Very Different Things. Maddeningly ,screamingly, having a fat fit different.

I called home, having arranged and paid for my lovely gravel, and tell the Young Growing Lads to expect a delivery of said product and instruct that once it arrives they are to tear themselves from their teenage stupors and spread it beautifully and evenly over the drive way.

I get a call from Philip to say “ Mum are you sure you want us to spread this over the driveway it looks a bit funny.” I ,being a suspicious mother and having in my mind my offspring trying to get out of an ounce of manual labor - okay a few hours of fairly hard labor, immediately say “honestly what is so difficult about spreading gravel bla, bla, bla”

“Well, Philip replies “I don’t think you will want this spread on the drive way. It looks like clumps of soil.”

“Cease all operations” I yelled in a panic and fell into a funk. Got home and sure enough disaster has struck. Botswana gravel can best be described as semi organic rubble. BUGGER BUGGER BUGGER. New problem is now a mountain in the driveway. What to do with it haunts me all night. Decide in desperation to move it to the large dust bowl that is our front garden under the trees and make a mental note that the dinner tables just cannot be arranged under them. That took some time.

I was left with an even grubbier driveway than I had started with.

We set up a long table for dinner to seat 24 under the stars with candles and pretty water jugs etc etc. It all looked lovely. There is something about a lonnnnnnng table that is just so festive. Everything was just grand. Except maybe the fact that the curry that Bryan cooked and the boys spiced ( on my instruction) proved hotter than your average new Delian would ever consider. Nuff said on that score. Shaun did his famous crab sticks. Sharon did salads and Eton Mess and boys did dips. I also did some salads.

It was Maria Pezzaro’s birthday too ,as it happened, and she brought along a cooler box full of shooters. Well you can imagine how well that had us all oiled. Champagne as you walk through the door. Shooters before dinner and midway through Maria and Bryan decided to offer body shots of Tequila. Well really you had to have one just to get rid of them - quickly. Bryan ,belly wobbling and strutting leeringly, offering body shots is not a pretty sight.

As one would expect from that type of consumption of alcohol some people got boisterous and HAD to dance. Glen pulled out his guitar and sang foul songs very loudly with assorted raucous men. And a few got terribly philosophical. Children hopped skipped and jumped their way through the night playing pool and monsters and being totally free of parental control. Teenagers look on indulgently. How does that happen?

I woke up without a hangover!!!! All other adults involved suffered heavily.

Oh and the boys got wonderful school reports.

August was good.
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So guys here is my/our September happenings.....

Beginning of September

I decide to come in to work the other day a bit early, on account of my believing that the world will fall apart if I am not working like a slave. Oh hold on, I have to set the scene for this one. My office block ( small block) faces the car park. The block facing us is on a slight slope so there is a retaining wall and enough space for a car to drive into, for a short distance, say 30 meters or so, then there is a dead end. I arrived at work on the aforementioned morning, to find a small herd of cattle, standing heads facing the dead end. All looking most dejected, well more so than a cow usually looks....if that is at all possible. I looked at the cows. Decided to ignore them for a bit and went into the office. About ten minute later I came outside to see if they were still there. They bloody were. Still standing, mooing occasionally, looking at the wall as if it needed to, and would, open for them. Clearly it did not once occur to them to TURN AROUND. Stupid animals. I approached. They looked at me accusingly and "bellow moo'd" in my face because,obviously, I was going to "open" the wall.

My not so cunning plan of rescue was to go to the last cow and click and snap at it until it had the gumption to turn around. Let me tell you it took longer than you would think to get it to do anything other than stretch it neck and moo at me. I thought that would give the other cows a "light bulb" moment. I was wrong. I now had one cow facing the right direction and NOT MOVING and all the others still staring at the wall. I went to the head of the group. Having ,by now, lost my patience. My gentle demeanor ( well stretch your imagination a bit , will you) having flown out the window meant that I ,none to gently, grabbed the first in line cow by the ear and pulled it around causing much unhappiness to all the crowded cows as I forced one of their number to turn around with no room to spare. By then I did not give a fig - stupid f-ing critters. All that shuffling, I think, made the ones at the back realize that one of them was facing the right direction and they finally got it all together and turned around and trotted off without so much as a thank you glance. Life in Gaborone International Commerce Park...... Commercial hub of Gaborone...........bla bla bla.... don't think that will happen in Dubai somehow. Sigh.

Monday the 17th September

We had our farewell party. We decided to incorporate it into a house sale. I figured that once all our friends were pissed they would happily ,and, more importantly, easily part with their hard earned cash and buy everything we were selling. Of course for this to work I would have to remain sober. Like that was going to happen. I decided that I would cross that swaying bridge when I came to it. Bryan prepared a very funny list of goods to be sold by us, which I have attached for your amusement, just so you can get the drift of his fine sales techniques.

We sent off our sale notice, inviting friends to a "Farewell and Asset Stripping Party". I, being organized, knew who I had invited and who was coming. Bryan had no idea who was coming from the people he had invited. Consequently we were expecting anything from 25 ( my confirmed number) to the Biblical 5000.... How does one cater for that number without Jesus and his loaves and fish. Especially as we were doing chicken. I took a breath and figured 40. Bryan said I was being optimistic. Well..... we had dead on 40 adults and about 8 children. Pretty good for a shot in the dark. I suddenly realized that with all the will in the world I was not going to be able to cook enough chickens for 40 people with one (sold) Webber. Bryan was duly dispatched off to "find" more. Which he did. I made a gazillion salads. Did a cheese board and provided simple, great ,big, delicious strawberries and cream ,with ice cream for the extremely sweet toothed and children. Had enough food. Had enough wine had enough of everything to have a grand party. Which we did. The only problem was that as certain guests got merrier they were trying to sell or buy everything I own regardless of whether they were for sale or not and without thought to maybe who should get the monies of said sales. We got down to negotiations on family photos ( which I was told, would be ransomed back to me when I was sober and sorry ) and , among very many other things, family members....... I was priceless ( ho hum) and Bryan was going for P 600 a night with one careful owner.........

Several of our guests were due at the Yacht club the next day for some sailing type event and I hear, from an impeccable source, that all those who were at our house the previous night all looked more than a little under the weather and clearly did not perform as they should have.

Sharon and I got a second wind in the early hours, and eventually (when Sharon started talking of it being so late we might as well watch the sun rise) Bryan herded us to bed. Us being Sharon ,myself and Marnie. Who we would not let go home on account of him being, not only "kissed as a pricket", but a diabetic who had been drinking port for two hours and would be going home to an empty house. I figured that if he was to go into a coma I would rather he did it at our house were someone would find him and call an ambulance. Sharon and I were awake by 7 the next morning and up by 8 REARING to go. I kid you not. Bryan was very unhappy about our vigor but we eventually managed to drag him , with much stomping and huffing, out of bed in time to have a greasy breakfast at Primi, whilst Marnie ,the snoring buffalo, slept uninterrupted and judging by the sheer volume of his snores, coma free. My maid , who had wisely called in reinforcements, cleared up the mess. Gosh we had a jolly fine time. And managed to sell almost all of the big stuff. My one regret is that I have told people that they can take stuff now. That leaves me without my very comfy lounge suite as of this week...... BUT we need things to go. It really brings home to us the fact that we are going - big time. EEK.

Crashed and burned at 6 in the evening. Watched Rocky Balboa. I have to say, and you can shoot me down in flames if you want, that it was absolutely okay. I even enjoyed it. Not that I am a discerning film watcher but I really thought I was going to cringe and I so did not.

Baggy is in her new home and leaning to sleep outside. The new owners are learning to live with a talking dog. No one believes us until they experience it.

I am desperately trying to limit my intake of the various vices I partake in. I simply cannot smoke less if I am eating and drinking less. The one takes over the other. I clearly have some sort of oral fixation. Get your minds out of the gutters. This past month has has been a round of dinners to say goodbye. I have eventually ,in desperation , turned down initiations to dine out. I have the will power of a protozoa. I wish I was one of those waify, floaty, boney, things that goes out to stunning restaurants ( or lets be bloody honest -the Wimpy) and "forgets" to eat as they are having such fun chatting, tearing up paper napkins, and pushing food around their plates and exclaiming ,after 3 grains of rice, that they are so full they can't possibly eat one more rice grain. I could eat a Kingdom and wonder if seconds were inappropriate. These beings manage to get drunk on a glass of wine. Well, actually, I can do that but it does not stop me drinking considerably more. Why can't I be that person? I want to be. I really do want to not like food and wine and cigarettes. I can't be doing with the being a fashion aficionado bit , but dreamy, wispy, ethereal people aren't all fashion clothes hangers are they? Why can't I be them? Answer me that!

Friday 20 th September
A few nights ago, having turned down a dinner out, I went home with two DVD's tucked under my arm and watch 'Libertine' ( with yummy Johnny Depp) and a chick flick " Friends with Money" (again). Yes, Bryan was away. All in a lovely haze of contentment because I had a surprise call from Dawn Parkinson. After all that self indulgence I toddled off to bed to have confronting me, on the bed I planned to sleep in, a mountain of clothes that I had ( foolishly) pulled out of suitcases and cupboards in the morning to go through and sell or chuck or keep. Forgot that was what I was to be doing in the evening....I now have eight great big bin liners of 2nd hand clothes to sell. You know the stuff. Thin Clothes. Clothes I bought thinking that I would wear if..... Like the "if" ever happens. Pretty but totally uncomfortable bra's left over from a time when I actually believed that it mattered if the ambulance driver might care what was on underneath my clothes. Whimsical scarf's. Silly belts. Ridiculous shoes. Brown clothes , black clothes. Bad clothes.

And, in all of this I found my lost bathing suits which had disappeared. ......... In all, a successful rummage sorting. The only problem with all this is that I got to bed after 1am. By four in the afternoon I was falling asleep at my desk.

Monday 24th September
Disaster Struck over the weekend. Baggy , who has been living in her new home, ran out their gate without being noticed and went and got herself lost. She went missing on Friday night. Her new and now distraught owners drove around for hours trying to find her. They called me in the morning, I then did the same thing and drove about trying to find the dammed dog. Called the vets called the SPCA. SMS's everyone I know. Still no dog. We went out on Sat night and I was feeling pretty miserable. Alternating between feeling dreadful for the dog (and imagining her all scared and alone or worse bleeding to death on the side of a busy road because in Botswana no one ever stops for a run over dog. Or cow or donkey ..... it happens a lot.....) and feeling bad for the new owners and hating the "God damned dog" for causing my friends' pain and suffering... it was all too much and I developed a headache and was so miserable that I excused myself from the dinner table and fell into an exhausted sad sleep on their sofa. I would wake up during the course of the evening and hear great bellows of fun coming form the dining room and from the stereo very strange Music which I just know is very good and all, but, I guess I am a bit of a philistine when it comes to music. I get the "old stuff" and the "our years stuff" and the "modern pop stuff" but this proper grown up "deep" music just about slays me. I know it is good, but you can't really sing along to it and its not background music, so I am stumped. Anyway lay in my misery listening to all this. I felt more and more dreadful and thought "gosh I did not realize the full extent of my affection for poor old Baggy". Actually felt like a bit of a saint. Anyway, I was joined in the course of the evening by the host having a mini asthma attach and realized ( in a blinding flash) that most of my misery had nothing to do with my weeping bleeding heart but by the fact that I was in the middle of a horrid hay fever attack. So the two "allergy nerds" sat in the dim lounge feeling sorry for ourselves whilst the revelers reveled on. But back to the hound. Sunday dawned and still no sign of Baggy. THEN I got a call from a friend saying " I have just opened my gate and your dog has walked in !!!!!!" I jumped in the car and tore across town and yes it was Baggy. Very happy to see me but tired and thirsty. How amazing is that. In all of Gaborone she goes to a friend.

She is now back at her new home. Friendships still intact.

I have realized that we spoiled our dogs more than was fair to them. I realize that my three dogs were more devoted to each other than most dogs are. I have dog sat before and it was just so easy really, not traumatic for the dogs being sat and not traumatic for our dogs. Baggy has found it difficult to settle in her new home. Vienna is spending her first night away tonight and is already distraught and nervous and she is getting total attention so that she feels wanted bla bla bla. I dread going home tonight and having Floff without Vienna. She was very down on Sunday without him. When and how did I get to be so bloody pathetic over pets? When did I become the owner of sad and pathetic pets? I still have to find homes for my fish. Have a friend that says she would like them. Ho hum. Lovely lady but all her pets get killed. That statement may be a slight exaggeration.... She has ducks and her dogs eat them she has cats and canary's and hamsters and fish. The dogs have been known to kill each other. Cars have done a couple in. Some dogs got to eat the cats and the cats kill the canary's and the hamsters and the fish just die. It all so dramatic that I can't possibly give her my fish. Some of them were born in my pond . Can't give them away to someone who's track record with living thing is short and tragic. She manages to get killed almost everything she owns ,including plants, and here is the greatest irony. She has a plant and sort of pet shop. GO BLOODY FIGURE. Anyway she can't have my fish. Any ideas?

28th September 07
Bryan has just called to say he has his ticket for Dubai. He leaves on Sunday.I am going into shock. Now it is all real. I am panicked and scared and excited all at once. Have butterflies in my tummy.

Whilst having lunch with Sharon and her mum in law Deidre today was told by a passing St Andrews Mother that Cameron has once again gotten academic honors and Philip and once again gotten academic colors and once again I find out from someone else in passing....... Cameron has also been chosen to represent the Eastern Province Junior Debate team. Have I mentioned lately what bloody marvels my sons are?

On that note September ends and our new life starts.
So guys here is my/our September happenings.....

Beginning of September

I decide to come in to work the other day a bit early, on account of my believing that the world will fall apart if I am not working like a slave. Oh hold on, I have to set the scene for this one. My office block ( small block) faces the car park. The block facing us is on a slight slope so there is a retaining wall and enough space for a car to drive into, for a short distance, say 30 meters or so, then there is a dead end. I arrived at work on the aforementioned morning, to find a small herd of cattle, standing heads facing the dead end. All looking most dejected, well more so than a cow usually looks....if that is at all possible. I looked at the cows. Decided to ignore them for a bit and went into the office. About ten minute later I came outside to see if they were still there. They bloody were. Still standing, mooing occasionally, looking at the wall as if it needed to, and would, open for them. Clearly it did not once occur to them to TURN AROUND. Stupid animals. I approached. They looked at me accusingly and "bellow moo'd" in my face because,obviously, I was going to "open" the wall.

My not so cunning plan of rescue was to go to the last cow and click and snap at it until it had the gumption to turn around. Let me tell you it took longer than you would think to get it to do anything other than stretch it neck and moo at me. I thought that would give the other cows a "light bulb" moment. I was wrong. I now had one cow facing the right direction and NOT MOVING and all the others still staring at the wall. I went to the head of the group. Having ,by now, lost my patience. My gentle demeanor ( well stretch your imagination a bit , will you) having flown out the window meant that I ,none to gently, grabbed the first in line cow by the ear and pulled it around causing much unhappiness to all the crowded cows as I forced one of their number to turn around with no room to spare. By then I did not give a fig - stupid f-ing critters. All that shuffling, I think, made the ones at the back realize that one of them was facing the right direction and they finally got it all together and turned around and trotted off without so much as a thank you glance. Life in Gaborone International Commerce Park...... Commercial hub of Gaborone...........bla bla bla.... don't think that will happen in Dubai somehow. Sigh.

Monday the 17th September

We had our farewell party. We decided to incorporate it into a house sale. I figured that once all our friends were pissed they would happily ,and, more importantly, easily part with their hard earned cash and buy everything we were selling. Of course for this to work I would have to remain sober. Like that was going to happen. I decided that I would cross that swaying bridge when I came to it. Bryan prepared a very funny list of goods to be sold by us, which I have attached for your amusement, just so you can get the drift of his fine sales techniques.

We sent off our sale notice, inviting friends to a "Farewell and Asset Stripping Party". I, being organized, knew who I had invited and who was coming. Bryan had no idea who was coming from the people he had invited. Consequently we were expecting anything from 25 ( my confirmed number) to the Biblical 5000.... How does one cater for that number without Jesus and his loaves and fish. Especially as we were doing chicken. I took a breath and figured 40. Bryan said I was being optimistic. Well..... we had dead on 40 adults and about 8 children. Pretty good for a shot in the dark. I suddenly realized that with all the will in the world I was not going to be able to cook enough chickens for 40 people with one (sold) Webber. Bryan was duly dispatched off to "find" more. Which he did. I made a gazillion salads. Did a cheese board and provided simple, great ,big, delicious strawberries and cream ,with ice cream for the extremely sweet toothed and children. Had enough food. Had enough wine had enough of everything to have a grand party. Which we did. The only problem was that as certain guests got merrier they were trying to sell or buy everything I own regardless of whether they were for sale or not and without thought to maybe who should get the monies of said sales. We got down to negotiations on family photos ( which I was told, would be ransomed back to me when I was sober and sorry ) and , among very many other things, family members....... I was priceless ( ho hum) and Bryan was going for P 600 a night with one careful owner.........

Several of our guests were due at the Yacht club the next day for some sailing type event and I hear, from an impeccable source, that all those who were at our house the previous night all looked more than a little under the weather and clearly did not perform as they should have.

Sharon and I got a second wind in the early hours, and eventually (when Sharon started talking of it being so late we might as well watch the sun rise) Bryan herded us to bed. Us being Sharon ,myself and Marnie. Who we would not let go home on account of him being, not only "kissed as a pricket", but a diabetic who had been drinking port for two hours and would be going home to an empty house. I figured that if he was to go into a coma I would rather he did it at our house were someone would find him and call an ambulance. Sharon and I were awake by 7 the next morning and up by 8 REARING to go. I kid you not. Bryan was very unhappy about our vigor but we eventually managed to drag him , with much stomping and huffing, out of bed in time to have a greasy breakfast at Primi, whilst Marnie ,the snoring buffalo, slept uninterrupted and judging by the sheer volume of his snores, coma free. My maid , who had wisely called in reinforcements, cleared up the mess. Gosh we had a jolly fine time. And managed to sell almost all of the big stuff. My one regret is that I have told people that they can take stuff now. That leaves me without my very comfy lounge suite as of this week...... BUT we need things to go. It really brings home to us the fact that we are going - big time. EEK.

Crashed and burned at 6 in the evening. Watched Rocky Balboa. I have to say, and you can shoot me down in flames if you want, that it was absolutely okay. I even enjoyed it. Not that I am a discerning film watcher but I really thought I was going to cringe and I so did not.

Baggy is in her new home and leaning to sleep outside. The new owners are learning to live with a talking dog. No one believes us until they experience it.

I am desperately trying to limit my intake of the various vices I partake in. I simply cannot smoke less if I am eating and drinking less. The one takes over the other. I clearly have some sort of oral fixation. Get your minds out of the gutters. This past month has has been a round of dinners to say goodbye. I have eventually ,in desperation , turned down initiations to dine out. I have the will power of a protozoa. I wish I was one of those waify, floaty, boney, things that goes out to stunning restaurants ( or lets be bloody honest -the Wimpy) and "forgets" to eat as they are having such fun chatting, tearing up paper napkins, and pushing food around their plates and exclaiming ,after 3 grains of rice, that they are so full they can't possibly eat one more rice grain. I could eat a Kingdom and wonder if seconds were inappropriate. These beings manage to get drunk on a glass of wine. Well, actually, I can do that but it does not stop me drinking considerably more. Why can't I be that person? I want to be. I really do want to not like food and wine and cigarettes. I can't be doing with the being a fashion aficionado bit , but dreamy, wispy, ethereal people aren't all fashion clothes hangers are they? Why can't I be them? Answer me that!

Friday 20 th September
A few nights ago, having turned down a dinner out, I went home with two DVD's tucked under my arm and watch 'Libertine' ( with yummy Johnny Depp) and a chick flick " Friends with Money" (again). Yes, Bryan was away. All in a lovely haze of contentment because I had a surprise call from Dawn Parkinson. After all that self indulgence I toddled off to bed to have confronting me, on the bed I planned to sleep in, a mountain of clothes that I had ( foolishly) pulled out of suitcases and cupboards in the morning to go through and sell or chuck or keep. Forgot that was what I was to be doing in the evening....I now have eight great big bin liners of 2nd hand clothes to sell. You know the stuff. Thin Clothes. Clothes I bought thinking that I would wear if..... Like the "if" ever happens. Pretty but totally uncomfortable bra's left over from a time when I actually believed that it mattered if the ambulance driver might care what was on underneath my clothes. Whimsical scarf's. Silly belts. Ridiculous shoes. Brown clothes , black clothes. Bad clothes.

And, in all of this I found my lost bathing suits which had disappeared. ......... In all, a successful rummage sorting. The only problem with all this is that I got to bed after 1am. By four in the afternoon I was falling asleep at my desk.

Monday 24th September
Disaster Struck over the weekend. Baggy , who has been living in her new home, ran out their gate without being noticed and went and got herself lost. She went missing on Friday night. Her new and now distraught owners drove around for hours trying to find her. They called me in the morning, I then did the same thing and drove about trying to find the dammed dog. Called the vets called the SPCA. SMS's everyone I know. Still no dog. We went out on Sat night and I was feeling pretty miserable. Alternating between feeling dreadful for the dog (and imagining her all scared and alone or worse bleeding to death on the side of a busy road because in Botswana no one ever stops for a run over dog. Or cow or donkey ..... it happens a lot.....) and feeling bad for the new owners and hating the "God damned dog" for causing my friends' pain and suffering... it was all too much and I developed a headache and was so miserable that I excused myself from the dinner table and fell into an exhausted sad sleep on their sofa. I would wake up during the course of the evening and hear great bellows of fun coming form the dining room and from the stereo very strange Music which I just know is very good and all, but, I guess I am a bit of a philistine when it comes to music. I get the "old stuff" and the "our years stuff" and the "modern pop stuff" but this proper grown up "deep" music just about slays me. I know it is good, but you can't really sing along to it and its not background music, so I am stumped. Anyway lay in my misery listening to all this. I felt more and more dreadful and thought "gosh I did not realize the full extent of my affection for poor old Baggy". Actually felt like a bit of a saint. Anyway, I was joined in the course of the evening by the host having a mini asthma attach and realized ( in a blinding flash) that most of my misery had nothing to do with my weeping bleeding heart but by the fact that I was in the middle of a horrid hay fever attack. So the two "allergy nerds" sat in the dim lounge feeling sorry for ourselves whilst the revelers reveled on. But back to the hound. Sunday dawned and still no sign of Baggy. THEN I got a call from a friend saying " I have just opened my gate and your dog has walked in !!!!!!" I jumped in the car and tore across town and yes it was Baggy. Very happy to see me but tired and thirsty. How amazing is that. In all of Gaborone she goes to a friend.

She is now back at her new home. Friendships still intact.

I have realized that we spoiled our dogs more than was fair to them. I realize that my three dogs were more devoted to each other than most dogs are. I have dog sat before and it was just so easy really, not traumatic for the dogs being sat and not traumatic for our dogs. Baggy has found it difficult to settle in her new home. Vienna is spending her first night away tonight and is already distraught and nervous and she is getting total attention so that she feels wanted bla bla bla. I dread going home tonight and having Floff without Vienna. She was very down on Sunday without him. When and how did I get to be so bloody pathetic over pets? When did I become the owner of sad and pathetic pets? I still have to find homes for my fish. Have a friend that says she would like them. Ho hum. Lovely lady but all her pets get killed. That statement may be a slight exaggeration.... She has ducks and her dogs eat them she has cats and canary's and hamsters and fish. The dogs have been known to kill each other. Cars have done a couple in. Some dogs got to eat the cats and the cats kill the canary's and the hamsters and the fish just die. It all so dramatic that I can't possibly give her my fish. Some of them were born in my pond . Can't give them away to someone who's track record with living thing is short and tragic. She manages to get killed almost everything she owns ,including plants, and here is the greatest irony. She has a plant and sort of pet shop. GO BLOODY FIGURE. Anyway she can't have my fish. Any ideas?

28th September 07
Bryan has just called to say he has his ticket for Dubai. He leaves on Sunday.I am going into shock. Now it is all real. I am panicked and scared and excited all at once. Have butterflies in my tummy.

Whilst having lunch with Sharon and her mum in law Deidre today was told by a passing St Andrews Mother that Cameron has once again gotten academic honors and Philip and once again gotten academic colors and once again I find out from someone else in passing....... Cameron has also been chosen to represent the Eastern Province Junior Debate team. Have I mentioned lately what bloody marvels my sons are?

On that note September ends and our new life starts.
So guys here is my/our September happenings.....
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Well Chaps and Chapesses

27th October

I am ALMOST out of Gaborone. The packers have been and gone and I am living in an empty house. I have a bed and a TV. What else does one need?

I know that I am getting the gitters as I have thrown up on a couple of occasions for no good reason what so ever. Other than that I am actually feeling rather together. Mind you that is how I think I am. You might find that friends have a different perspective on that.

Julie, Bryan's Sister, came to stay at the beginning of October. It was lovely. We were utterly decadent. Had some really good quality time together. Which for us means descending into a blissful state of trashy novels, wine, food and DVD watching in a truly girly fashion. Sorry Julie the cat is out of the proverbial bag.....

Hot on Julies heels came my mum who pottered about and helped out here and there with the move. We then piled into the car and traveled down to Grahams town together to see my "Young Men" and all our family in Grahamstown. We did the drive in two days as I am a wimp. I have also never driven that distance. Have traveled it but not done the actual driving. I was fine until Kimberly and then really had enough of driving for the day, but, we still had several hours driving to a small town( favored by my parents) called Hanover for the night. Stayed in a charming old house. B & B. But let me just remind you , in case you do not already know. I AM A BAD TRAVELER. I become quite revolting. Bryan and the boys are used to it. And by the way, I do try really hard not to turn into a monster as soon as I leave home but, it is honestly very DIFFICULT. So, having driven for miles and mile outside of my comfort zone we arrive in said quaint town and all I want to do is bury myself till morning. My Mum (I am sorry Mum) ever the gregarious sort is starting up happy conversations with our hosts when all I want to do is snarl at the world. Anyway her friendliness did get us a viewing of the oldest and biggest grape vine I have ever seen in my life. I think that the only older vine in SA is somewhere in Cape Town.

Then back on the road to Grahams town and the boys. The weather ,as only the Cape can do to you, was erratic. Cold one minute and hot the next. Went to Philip's last house dinner. Sat at the top table and heard horror stories about what boys do at boarding school. No wonder the parents are only invited to the House Supper in their sons final year. Actually it was a lovely evening with the matric parents being guests of honor at a grand night out. After the dinner Cameron took me to the Pipe Band room and played for me. He did not get to play in the retreat as his lung capacity is not up to scratch yet. Lovely to hear him play AT LAST! The previous day I attended the parent teachers thingy and was told what lovely young men I have. The following day we (my mum and I) went to the prize giving which again was just so great. All that pomp and ceremony and oh so uplifting. Cameron got the class prize and the French prize.

We stayed with my sort of Aunt - Wendy. That was lovely as got a chance to catch up in between school things. Also had the change to see all my cousins and my uncle and aunt and my gran. All jolly lekker. It is never long enough. I also managed to pop down to Port Alfred to see Jenny Allen ( now Laws) who is ,as always, looking ten years younger than she is. COW. Still great to catch up for a couple of hours.

At end of Balloon week ( what St Andrews Calls their year end do) it was half term with Cameron going to Kenton with friends. And me not allowing him to go until I had chewed his friends father up one side and down the other for assurances that my son was not going to be behaving like a wild young turk in his care....... Ho hum..... Philip had to study for his matric. Mum and I climbed back into the car and drove back to Gaborone. Again in a two day trip but with us stopping in Kimberly this time. More like half way.

Stayed in a lodge in Kimberly for the night. Was a bit miffed to find out that our room was near the reception which was near the restaurant where they had set up a big screen for the GAME. You know the one - RUGBY WORLD CUP FINAL .Could not change the room as there was a wedding on. The restaurant was rather good. Mum and I were in the upstairs area of a great big thatched Lapa having a sumptuous meal. I had visions of having to keep my mum company for the game which I really did not want to do. Anyway all the punters (a full restaurant and bar of them) very quietly and in a very civil manner arranged themselves to watch the game. They were all Afrikaans. There was not a rugby shirt in sight. They clapped when anyone did well. I was a bit embarrassed to be of the English speaking variety. They were engrossed totally but it was like watching cricket. Terribly polite with waiters quietly serving drinks. My mum felt comfortable with the company so I could go to bed and leave her. I did not get disturbed once! I expected drunken behavior and very loud celebrations. Not a peep! And best of all I did not have to watch the ruddy game.

The drive home was much better then the drive down. Driving as far as we did on the first day was just a few hours too many. Do not know how Bryan does it in one day. Enjoyed the driving. Did not get sleepy at all. I usually fall asleep after a few hours in a car.

Back in Gaborone I started packing and selling in earnest. My mum left on the wed morning, as the packers arrived, and the next thing I knew I was surrounded by cardboard boxes and sitting on cushions. One of the packers managed to lock himself in the bathroom and nothing we could do would get the door to open. Eventually he had to unhinge the door. By this stage I was feeling a bit unhinged myself and decided that being there was not a good idea and left for the office. On my way out I found a baby Kalahari Robin looking very sorry for itself in the passage so I detoured to Mokolodi Game Park and deposited said bird with the lady who runs the sanctuary. Really I do not have time at the moment to hand rear birds that need worms squeezed out for breakfast lunch and supper. Such a sweet little thing though.

1 November
Which brings be back to this point. I am now finishing up at work. Still feel like I have loads to do. I am now focused and ready to leave emotionally and physically if not with my office commitments.

I just want a home to go to!

I am staying with Sharon and Shaun for a few days and if I have to stay longer will spread myself about a bit so that I can remain friends with everyone and not wear out my welcome. Although it has to be said that the PVR and DSTV at the Dutton's is a very big temptation... and of course the company is great.

Philip is in the middle of writing his matric. He has also had provisional acceptance into Rhodes and Cape Town. he wants to go to Cape Town and I want him to go to Rhodes as at least in Grahamstown I know (sort of) where is and what he is likely to be up to. However he has other ideas and is ready to test out his wings a bit more (bastard) and has no problem with shattering my nerves ( insensitive swine) and is not being even a little affected by my not so subtle emotional black mail ( tosser). Bryan is no help what so ever (bastard) helping Philip fill in applications to the dreaded Cape Town ( insensitive swine) and is not even remotely affected by my not so subtle emotional black main. "DEAR ABBY, What am I doing wrong?" I will have to work harder on Cameron for next year......... My witch factor does not seem to work so well anymore......

Love to you all. Will send an email address once I get to the big "D"
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