Always a bittersweet time of year: my annual check-up and Louise’s birthday. Here we are on her 18th about to go clubbing. She styled my outfit, Kate Moss Topshop dress…an embarrassing mum moment.
The good news first. I always know when all’s well when I get the registrar rather than the consultant to give me the results. This year it was another smooth NHS performance, timings like clockwork. And the consultation so relaxed she forgot to look at my leg as we were too busy talking about diving. Next year – 10 years on – time for my sign off and the ‘big party’ in the words of my surgeon. I have already received the appointment letter for the CT scan in November 2023 as final belt & braces.
I first visited Lamu when I was eight years old. My mother was excavating the Pate and Manda ruins with Neville Chittick, the director of the British Institute in East Africa and the love of her life. They camped on Manda Toto, a small island of Lamu whose significance will be clear later. ‘Mama Sheila’ was the doyenne of Lamu society – beloved by all. Chronicler of the old oral tradition, culture and friend and patron of many. She bought a house there in about 1970 which she owned until the 1980s. I spent many happy holidays there, and our honeymoon. Continue reading →
Juliet with Patrick, the Farm Africa Project Manager, showing us a recently mulched field
After Zimbabwe, we travel to Kenya. Here I am to visit some Farm Africa projects and to host a donor cultivation event, whose purpose is to introduce private equity, corporate investors and potential new partners to our work in East Africa, but specifically in Kenya where we have regional headquarters. With a team of 200 staff operating across Eastern Africa, Farm Africa is a unique NGO with over 35 years of experience working with small scale farmers in agriculture, market engagement and natural resource management. We work collaboratively with communities and business to build resilient and sustainable livelihoods so that people and the planet can thrive together. I only recently joined the Board so am anxious to leverage my contacts and see the work that we do in person. Continue reading →
This must be my 9th visit to Mana and I never tire of it. Growing up in Tanganyika (yes, that’s what it was called when I was little!), one of my happiest memories is going to Mikumi game park with my Dad, and camping in ancient tents on rickety old canvas beds, with a long drop, canvas basin and no shower! Dad and I would drive around the park, getting up at the crack of dawn and he would make a fire and cook eggs, bacon and fried bread. Heaven. Continue reading →
Still exhausted from Covid and lying on the sofa watching Wimbledon, I haul myself off to meet Ross in Champery after his long walk. Heathrow is busy and security has long queues and we are late taking off as there not enough staff to load the plane. This is only the beginning of broken Britain – the worst is yet to come I fear. I go to Switzerland to try and forget about the state we are in….and to admire the Swiss attention to detail as below! Continue reading →
A long-booked holiday with our Swiss family & friends (Diego, Christine, Tim, Annie & Janet) became a parental honeymoon following the marriage of our beloved Tommy to his gorgeous Anna. Can’t start this blog without reference to the great day – and of course some pics. The humanist ceremony took place in a woodland glade at High Billinghurst farm in Surrey; the sun shone and the cotton wool clouds scudded across the sky in a light breeze.
In a year where there has been little travel and many health issues I am challenged where best to post and how to write this blog! For most of us it has been a year of great uncertainties and lows, with a few highs. On the whole we don’t share our lows as we maintain our oh-so-very-British stiff upper lip. So here goes – my year in review. Continue reading →
The first time I was in Grenada was shortly after the US invasion, when the lush island was littered with burned-out tanks, bullet-ridden and shelled-out buildings, and people were wary of strangers. Now the murdered premier Maurice Bishop has achieved hero status with the airport named after him, though the reason for his execution was his link with Castro. I have been back several times in between and seen the island in its various stages of development – from only a couple of beach front hotels to some spanking new developments…and more to come. Continue reading →