Welcome

Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.







Sunday, 15 December 2019

Photographs

Just about everyone who was on the Southern Africa motorhome tour
I recently completed took many many photographs.


The question which kept popping into my mind was

"What happens to all these photographs"






Despite asking several people, the answers were vague.
I suppose one factor is the quality of the photographs.
But then what if you have 300 fabulous photos.








I didn't take as many photos as I expected because of my faulty lens.

The other lens was not suitable for wildlife unless I was really close.









Even so on closer inspection on returning home I am surprised at how many good photos I have.

(I decided to use this opportunity to exhibit more of my photos.  I hope you like them)







What have I done with them?

I have posted only a few on Facebook;








several on this blog;













compiled a calendar for family and close friends.











What am I going to do with the rest?

I have no idea apart from possibly a photo book of the trip (Like the old fashioned photo albums)






What do you do with your photos?
Any suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Africa (Part 4) Scenery

"In for a penny in for a pound" as the saying goes.

Long distance to travel 
If I was going all the way to South Africa I might as well visit neighbouring countries if there was the opportunity.
There was. So I did.

Hence my journey through Botswana,. Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls only) and Namibia.

One of the first thing I noticed was how very large these countries were.

As a consequence of this the distances that needed to be covered were enormous; a lot of driving on all kinds of roads (see Africa (part 2) Roads).

A Sandy Road through a village



Due to the lack of rainfall and the hot sunny weather a monochrome brown cloaked everything including many towns and villages probably as a result of the incessant dust.

Stony Desert





It may have been exceptionally difficult to spot animals, even the big ones unless they were quite close but the scenery was stunning; even the scrubland dotted with the bare branches stabbing the sky, the sandy desert and stony vistas.





Here are a small selection of photos that I took, Which is your favourite?  Do let me know.
Sandy Desert



Much of Namibia is desert;
sandy and stony







Even the vegetation lacks colour












Some Green Places

And wide plains
Top of rocky mountains

A mountain range





A dry river canyon


                                                                                                                                                     

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Read of the Month (Dec 2019) Christmas Round Up

So you are looking for a gift and have no idea what to buy.

Generally the books proffered at this time of year are "fluffy";
light and inconsequential.

I decided to offer an alternative list of lesser known books and authors that will be provocative and intriguing.  Definitely thought provoking.
(Note. I have a direct connection with only 3 of these books.  The rest I suggest because they were good reads). For convenience I have loosely grouped them.

Political  Theme 
As an election is imminent here are some books which made me realize how lucky I am to be able to vote and how important it is to exercise that right:


23 things  They Don't Tell You About Capitalism
by
Ha-Joon Chang .
Clearly explains intricacies of Capitalism



The Veiled Kingdom
By
Carmen Bin Laden
The account of life of women in Saudi Arabia



The State of Africa
by
Martin Meredith
Account of political journey of African countries after independence




Dog Theme 
Thinking of getting a dog for Christmas; Be prepared with some reading

The Genius of Dogs
by
Brian Hare
A  scientific study of dogs.  Very Interesting to all "doggie" people both experienced dog owners and those thinking of getting a dog



My Friend Ruby
by
Anna Chelmicka  
An account of how a dog can change a life






Holiday Theme
Thinking of holidays.  Some books to ponder upon over the festive season

Cream Teas, Traffic Jams and Sunburn
by 
Brian Viner
Brits on holiday. Enjoyable and amusing read but informative.  Do you recognze yourself in any of the examples? I certainly did.



Wonderful Walks from Dog-friendly campsites throughout the UK
by
Anna Chelmicka
Dog Friendly campsites to visit and directions for walks from them.

Lonely Planet 
Botswana & Namibia
Places to see in these 2 African countries.

World War 11 Theme
A few of the many books about the second world war.


Secret Life of Bletchley Park
by
Sinclair McKay
Fascinating account of a place that remained unknown for decades despite over 8000 people working there at one time.

Operation Mincemeat 
by
Ben Macintyre
The amazing account of how Hitler was mis-informed by the allies. 

Quiet Heroes 
by
Rita Cosby
Story of 2 ordinary men in extraordinary times.



Wojtek the Bear

by
Ailereen Orr
The story of the bear that accompanied a Polish unit during WW2.
Uplifting but unfortunately it does not end happily.


Discerning Theme
Books that will probably make you appraise and re-evaluate


Thinking Fast and Slow
by 
Daniel Kahnemann
An analysis of thinking; why do some people cope better than others



The Silk Roads 
by
Peter Frankopan 
History of Globalization from BC to modern day.


Authentic Happiness
by
Martin Seligman 
A study of depression; its causes and treatments.





A Little Light Read
Quick reads to pass the time.

Ladies No. 1 Dectecitive Agency
by
Alexander McCall Smith
A series of  detective stories set in Botswana

A Gift that keeps on Giving
An antidote to all the seemingly depressing news


Positive News
A quarterly journal that reports on ordinary people doing extraordinarily wonderful things









Sunday, 24 November 2019

Read of the Month (Nov 2019)

Travelling and reading are suppose to broaden a persons understanding and experience.
Read of the Month Sept 2019

As the date of my departure drew closer I decided I needed to increase my knowledge of Africa.

My first port of call were the travel books such as;
  • Lonely Planet, 
  • DK Eyewitness, 
  • Rough Guide. etc
These were very interesting as they gave a lot of information about the physical geography of  places (where and what to see etc) A good place to start but not very much about the "essence" of a place or country.  

In my experience wandering around and talking to local people is essential to  gleaning the "essence" of places.  Having a dog with you greatly facilitates this.

I wanted to know more about not only the continent but also about the many different countries of Africa.  There are in fact some 44 countries. (New to me!)

I was especailly interested in Botswana and Namibia as I would be travelling through them and knew almost nothing about them.
My only knowledge of  Botswana was from the novels by 

Alexander McCall Smith "
Ladies No 1 Detective Agency"

(Not Read of the Month but a good read nonetheless)



Then I found a book somewhere (senior moment; don't remember where) that was
  • recent; published (2005)
  • comprehensive (20 pages of index)
  • evidenced based (18 pages of chapter notes; 27 pages of bibliography)
which I found hugely informative and influential. 


The State of Africa 
by
Martin Meredith
History of 50 years of independence


The eagle eyed among you will notice this is its second appearance as "Read of the Month".

I flagged it up as the October 2019 Read having just read the first couple of chapters.

I have now finished it.
It is not an easy or uplifting read.
It really needs a health and safety warning;
contains descriptions of gross human violence and destroys any concept of goodness overpowering evil.

No one comes out well.
All succumb to greed and self interest including we in the West, the UN and the various charities. It is hypocritical to think that we know best and would do things differently.

The book also illustrates the fragility of democracy.
How easily it can be circumvented. 
No one can afford to be complacent

And in today' s current climate in the UK it is a timely reminder that ordinary people do have the power to change things if they have the will and voting is an important way to exercise that power.

So please everyone who gets as far as this please

  • register to vote
  • vote.
If you do not know who to vote for DO NOT stay at home.  
Go and vote but spoil the ballot paper. (One way this can be done is to tick all the boxes)
Why should you do this?

Every returning officer announces the number of votes each candidate gets. 
At the very end they announce the number of spoiled ballot papers.
Imagine what would happen if there were thousands of spoiled ballot papers in each constituency rather than the hundred or so at present. 

 





















Thursday, 21 November 2019

Africa (Part 3) Animals




Quite justifiably Africa is renown for its wildlife.
This is the quintessential view of Africa;
wide open spaces populated with a diversity of wildlife.
( The view was awesome. The photo does not do it justice as the profusion of wildlife is not evident unless it is greatly enlarged)


Throughout my trip through all four countries of Southern Africa, everywhere I encountered wildlife, unique to the continent from


 elephants to lizards
     






I did not take as many photos as I wanted for 2 reasons:

  • the zoom lens I bought especially for the trip proved to be faulty.  This so disheartened me I found it difficult to sustain any enthusiasm for taking photos.
  • driving; scanning for wildlife; taking photos all proved a bit too much.  I had to be careful because I found myself doing none of these very efficiently.  Definitely not ideal with regard to driving, especially considering the state of the roads. (see previous blog post)
So rather than take lots of photos I decided to just enjoy the experience of quietly watching all the different animals.  
I was fortunate to see so much.

Looking through my photos I am surprised at how many I did take.
Herds of Water Buffalo are huge

Some of them are not bad.

 What do you think?

Cheetahs resting in heat

Cheetah yawning 
Deer sheltering from the sun under a tree

Elephants enjoying themselves at a waterhole

Giraffe stretching for tasty leaves at top of the tree

The usual habitat of hippopotamus 

Hyenas are generally nocturnal. 

Lions are difficult to spot because they blend in so well 

A lion and lioness resting after their meal

A lion cub feeding at night from a recent kill.

An ostrich. (They are BIG birds)


A Zebra checking me out
At some waterholes there were huge herds of Zebras


Which one do you like best?
Every time I look at them I change my mind.