This has to be our biggest-ever issue!
Penny is currently living in Johannesburg and contacted me by e-mail just in time for this edition. Here's what she sent me: African Adventures.
When I departed England in December 1997 never did I believe that I would
experience so much. Now that I am based in South Africa for a while I have time
to reflect on the past 5 months that I have been travelling.
Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the
Congo (formally Zaire), South Africa and Swaziland. A lot of countries, a lot of
wonderful experiences and a lot of new friends.
Here are a few highlights of my trip:
1) Zanzibar is easily my favourite. The creamy soft sandy beaches shaded by coconut palms and cooled by the sea breeze were true paradise and a perfect place to relax between the busy truck trips which transported me across Africa. Stone Town was able to teleport me back to the middle ages when spice and slave traders walked the narrow alleyways which are now occupied by mopeds and stray cats. At night the port comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of the craft and food stalls. Squid tentacles are on offer along with meat kebabs and chapatis. On the next stall are beautifully carved sculptures of wood, gemstone jewellery and cloth batiks.
2) Gorilla trekking is an apt title when it comes to searching out our ancient ancestors. After three and a half hours of scrambling through mountainous jungle with strangling vegetation and persistent insects we stumbled, literally, into these fascinating creatures. The Silverback of the group, a large 'King Kong' male, charged us. The guide explained that there had been either poachers or Rwandan rebels in the area, hence the Silverback's nervousness and the six armed guards who escorted us!
3) Nairobi is hell on earth. A crowded city whose roads are potholed and whose sewers overflow into the streets with heavy rain. Young children stand on street corners begging for money or waiting for the opportunity to snatch a handbag so that they can replenish their supply of glue to sniff. More organised gangs raid businesses and hold up busy matatus (minibus taxis) like modern highwaymen. But for all its faults Nairobi, or Nairobbery as it is affectionately known, is actually a vibrant city with a lot to offer. New office blocks are rising like a phoenix from the ashes and conferences are held next to the Parliament buildings.
4) Kenya and Tanzania have a lot to offer in the way of wildlife and the Serengeti/Masai Mara wildebeest migration is probably the most well known. Seeing thousands upon thousands of animals grazing on the grassy plains is truly
amazing but it is often the rare encounters with more individual animals which one remembers. A leopard dozing in a huge sausage tree was a once in a lifetime experience, as was the visit by a small genet cat who boldly ventured into the campsite or the pair of cheetahs, bellies full after devouring an antelope which they had stalked and killed. White and black rhinos grazing at the edge of the saline Lake Nakuru which is bordered by the pink of a thousand flamingos and a family herd of elephants trumpeting through the campsite in the middle of the night.
5) One of the most memorable experiences will be the three days which I spent with a Masai family near the Kenya/Tanzania border in the shadow of the mighty snow capped Kilimonjaro. Although the buffalo hunt with the young warriors produced no buffalo, the views from the top of the ridge we had climbed were astounding. Sitting in their ceremonial cave near to a natural spring where large colourful butterflies circled I felt a million miles from the western civilisation which I know so well.
There is no way that I can truly convey all the experiences which I have been lucky enough to be part of but I hope this gives you a taste of the Africa which I have found. Now I have three months of work at South Africa Airways before continuing my adventures through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. I hope that everyone back in Britain is well and enjoying weekends away with SHOT. I can be contacted at: PO Box 6541, Birchleigh, Johannesburg 1621, South Africa or on firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to hearing from you all,
Darren, of course, is now back in Japan, but he hasn't been in touch with me as yet. Maybe receipt of this newsletter will spur him into action!
The last two weekends - the SHOT one to the Washburn Valley in early March and the joint birthday bash in Nenthead in early April - were both somewhat soggy, but most people, having traipsed all the way there, decided to make the most of the weekends and did respectable walks in spite of the weather. The Sunday we spent on Hadrian's Wall was the exception, with a sudden change from heavy rain to midsummer-ish sun.
The Lanzarote trip will be over by now - it was a week at the end of April, from what I remember. I haven't had any reports back so I don't know how it went - but I trust that a good time was had by all!
My next dirty weekend is 15th-17th May and is to Fountains Abbey, near Ripon in North Yorkshire. We're staying in Whitefields basecamp, a very comfortable bunkhouse on the edge of the deer park, and will be doing 1 days' voluntary work for the National Trust. Accommodation free, food £10 to cover the whole weekend from Friday supper through to Sunday lunch. The 14 available places have already been filled, but let me know if you'd like to come along, and I'll contact you if anyone drops out. I'm intending doing another similar weekend in mid/late September, possibly to Hardwick Hall, just off M1 J29. Let me know if you're interested, and I'll keep you posted.
Chris T. Has organised a week-long trip to the Loire Valley in France at the end of this month. Can't remember who's going on that one, but make sure you bring us back plenty of wine for the midsummer weekend!
Tim's midsummer weekend is 19th-21st June; it's at the Barclays Bank outdoor centre, next to the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub in Langdale (southern Lake District). Contact Gustav - not Tim - if you're interested, but I can't guarantee that there will be any places left. The usual story: £5 deposit books you a place. A point to bear in mind is that there is limited parking (I believe that most of the available parking is in an NT car park, which you have to pay for), so it's advisable to fit as many people into a car as possible.
Jayne has suggested a day trip to Blackpool on the weekend of 11th/12th July - anyone welcome. Plans are a bit woolly at the moment but get in touch with Jayne if you're interested and with a bit of luck things should start falling into place.
There's another long-distance walk being planned for the end of August: Big Mike, Neil, Mark. H. And Andy C. are doing the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Rather them than me...
Back on the subject of theme parks, Sandra has offered to organise a trip to Alton Towers one Saturday in early/mid September (the 5th/6th or 12th/13th) - the little monsters will have gone back to school by then so we're hopeful that it won't be too busy. Get in touch with her if you're interested, and let her know what your preferences are with regard to the date.
Mike Ashton has now booked the New Year trip for 27th December to 3rd January. We'll be staying at The Stopover, Grantown on Spey, near Aviemore. The original plan was to go back to Nethy Bridge, but they wouldn't let us go self-catering. The Stopover, in contrast, gives us complete freedom and is cheaper too; accommodation for the seven nights will come to around £60 per person. I don't yet have the details on number of beds etc. but no doubt Mike will be able to fill you in if you contact him.
Rather than trying to take a postal vote, I decided to take a vote on T-shirt preferences on the Nenthead/Hadrian's Wall weekend. A lot of people were the worse for drink at the time, but they did have the opportunity to modify their choices the following morning (when they were only the worse for hangovers). This means that I can now disclose the winning design (see attachments - 2 x the same thing in different file formats) and the format that was selected:
- small logo on left chest
- no lettering on back of garments.
I hope this isn't too contentious!
Demand was quite high - I got provisional orders for over 20 garments on the weekend - so that means that the prices are kept quite low. Here are your options (prices are inclusive, but you'll have to pay additional carriage if you want your order sent to you rather than having me pass it on when I see you):
Child's T-shirt(smallest is age 3-4) £4.50
V-neck T-shirt £6.00
Long sleeved T-shirt £7.00
Sweatshirt (raglan sleeves) £9.50
Zip neck sweatshirt £12.50
Hooded sweatshirt £13.00
Hooded sweat with full length zip £14.50
Polo shirt - 65/35 polycotton mix £9.00
Polo shirt - 100% cotton £10.00
Colour choices are as follows:
White, navy, sunflower, black, bottle green, red, burgundy, light blue, royal blue, natural, heather grey, crimson, emerald, orange, kelly green, nautilus blue, turquoise.
Can't remember (Mark H. has the catalogue at present) but it's probably a similar range.
V-neck & long sleeved T-shirts
White, navy, black, heather grey.
White, navy, sunflower, black, bottle green, red, burgundy, light blue, royal blue, heather grey, emerald, kelly green, nautilus blue, solid grey.
Zip neck sweatshirt
Again I can't remember - sorry! Ask Mark H.
navy, black, bottle green, burgundy, heather grey, sage, bright gold, sesame, lead, chocolate, solid grey
Zip hooded sweatshirt
navy, black, bottle green, burgundy, heather grey, crimson, solid grey.
Polo shirt - polycotton
White, navy, sunflower, black, bottle green, red, burgundy, royal blue, heather grey, sky blue, emerald.
Polo shirt - 100% cotton
White, yellow, black, bottle green, red, burgundy, ash, crimson, sky blue, dark navy, orange, lake blue, Persian blue.
If you have Internet access then you'll be able to look the colours up on the SHOT website (this is why Mark has the catalogue at the moment). For those of you who don't have this privilege, here are my descriptions of the less obvious colours:
The colours and final logo can be found on the general info page
Sunflower: dark yellow
Ash: mottle pale grey
Heather grey: slightly darker mottled grey
Crimson: dark red
Bright gold: similar to sunflower but slightly darker
Kelly green: bright green
Nautilus blue: deep turquoise blue
Solid grey: dark grey
Yellow: light yellow
Sky blue: paler than light blue
Lake blue: between royal blue and navy
Persian blue: between light and royal blue
Salmon: pale pinky-peach.
Sizes: most garments are available in S / M / L / XL / XXL. Your guess is as good as mine as to what these sizes mean, but I'll order everything in "large" unless you specify otherwise.
Overleaf is a list of provisional orders that were placed on the Nenthead weekend. Please confirm them, or complete them if there's any ambiguity, or let me know of any alterations, or give me your order if you haven't already done so. I need to finalise all orders - preferably with payment (to me) - by the end of May, so that I can place the order and get the garments back in time to bring them on the midsummer weekend.
One more item: I'm afraid it's subs time again! A couple of new members have already paid me in advance for 1998/9, but nobody else has yet. How about adding your £3 subs (or £5 joint subs) onto the cheque for your T-shirt/sweatshirt order?
See you soon,
I need to know:
- What garment(s)
- How many
... and please enclose payment (cheques payable to me).
N.B. I must have all orders by 31st May!
Orders placed / preferences expressed on the Nenthead weekend:
Caroline: Navy or burgundy sweatshirt; possible crimson T-shirt Neil: White, heather grey or nautilus blue T-shirt Rachael H.: V-neck or long sleeved T-shirt, preferably in light blue (not available I'm afraid) Katherine: Crimson T-shirt; royal blue sweatshirt Pete: T-shirt and sweatshirt (colours not specified) Mark H.: T-shirt and sweatshirt (colours not specified) Big Mike: Burgundy hooded sweatshirt Chris H.: Sweatshirt and polo shirt (no colours selected) Lisa: Royal blue T-shirt and burgundy zip hooded sweatshirt Chris T.: Burgundy T-shirt (pref. V-neck - but not available in burgundy) Cat: Orange T-shirt (pref. V-neck - but not available in orange) Tom: Natural or heather grey T-shirt; possible sage hooded sweatshirt and/or heather grey zip hooded sweatshirt Sandra: Heather grey T-shirt Andy B: Bottle green zip hooded sweatshirt; black polo shirt Gus: Light blue sweatshirt Dave: Heather grey T-shirt Lynne: Crimson zip hooded sweatshirt; natural T-shirt or burgundy polo shirt Name ____________________________________ Qty Size Colour(s) T-shirt @ £5.50 ____ ____ _________________________________ Child's T-shirt (smallest is age 3-4) @ £4.50 ____ ____ _________________________________ V-neck T-shirt @ £6.00 ____ ____ _________________________________ Long sleeved T-shirt @ £7.00 ____ ____ _________________________________ Sweatshirt (raglan sleeves) @ £9.50 ____ ____ _________________________________ Zip neck sweatshirt @ £12.50 ____ ____ _________________________________ Hooded sweatshirt @ £13.00 ____ ____ _________________________________ Hooded sweat with full length zip @ £14.50 ____ ____ _________________________________ Polo shirt - 65/35 polycotton mix @ £9.00 ____ ____ _________________________________ Polo shirt - 100% cotton @ £10.00 ____ ____ _________________________________ TOTAL COST: ________