Category Archives: Africa

Toy Story and Sunday stuff

Toy Story 3 – go and see it. Take tissues. Go and see it.

Finished Poisonwood Bible. Latest book club read and I can’t wait to go and discuss it. I haven’t been to book club for months. Mainly work commitment issues but also they hit a rich seam of “books from films”, the nadir being something from the Twilight series. OMG, what a load of old tosh. I know there are women of my age who think RPatz is the best thing since…oh I don’t know the last 12 year old grown women  lusted after, but really. Badly written and ridiculous. All too much.

Today had good chats with the boy. Have had some fear, it’s not good. Still don’t know if I’m the stupidest person known to mankind. We were both so badly parented. We both love our parents very much but they made (and , to some extent, continue to make) such enormous mistakes with both of us. Maybe that’s the glue that binds us together. The never being good enough. It’s probably quite toxic glue. But in a way we bring peace to each other. Our siblings were – and continue to be – loved more. It’s not over-dramatic. It’s not toddler petulance. It’s just the truth and we both live with it and have made our peace with it. It’s difficult. I know what it does to me. I’m not entirely sure what it does to him. It’s probably a very good thing that we don’t have children of our own.


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Filed under Africa, Books, Films, Life, Recovery


I know…I have neglected featherduster…I also have neglected my need for introspection and general self-indulgence.

I have been busy but honestly not too busy to blog. I’ve just lost the connection with being able to express myself which is sad because I’ve had so much interesting stuff going on.

I’ve been on holiday:

– Hong Kong/Vietnam – wow! Amazing holiday discovering amazing things and having a completely wonderful time.

– Marrakech – dry long weekend, beer at the airport as our flight home was delayed almost wiped me out (worrying effect of four days without booze, am I really such a lush?). Good fun exploring.

– Portugal – first trip back to hubby’s motherland since we were in the middle of marriage meltdown. Parts of it felt odd. But much sun and seafood saw off most problems!

I’ve seen films – loads of films. Mostly all good.

Read tons of books – I love my e-reader. Really enjoyed the Stieg Larsson trilogy. Much more than I thought I would. Tried to read something Twilight-ish. I just don’t get it which left me feeling rather old.

Watched Lost including getting up at 4.30 to catch the last episode. I was – on the whole – satisfied.

Had a dismal World Cup – England’s performance rather mirrored the success of my supporting record. However lots of Spanish people are happy and they’re generally a nation given to over-exuberance which is joyful when you come across them as I did last night. Waiting outside Tate Modern for my date and a group of Spanish students just sang for about half an hour. It really was fun (luckily they left before date turned up as he of the other Iberian persuasion and no love is lost).

Was mugged. At gun point. About 50 feet from my house. Not entirely pleasant. However, the police have been fantastic and I’ve met a whole new lot of neighbours which has been brilliant.

I have been tweeting and Facebooking but this is the thing: Twitter is for work, Facebook is for friends, Featherduster is for…well me largely, and – generally – I don’t like to mix my online presences.

Every single paragraph has started with “I” or a verb where I’ve just decided to omit the “I” because if I was proofreading this copy, I’d be attacking it with a red pen for starting all the paragraphs in the same way. Hmmm…am I just on the biggest ego trip known to the blogosphere? My busy-ness has been partly borne out of the usual problem of not being able to say “no” and partly self-induced. Friday nights are usually my home alone time (I am obviously officially old) but have veered towards an Ocado order and cooking enough for a small village (or enough food for a fortnight and then some in my case) whilst polishing off rather too much wine (see Marrakech…Houston we may have a problem). Why have I been avoiding myself or my blog? In blog terms, probably because I thought I ought to come back with something really interesting or important but didn’t feel I could muster anything sufficiently worthy. In terms of myself – just neglect.

Part of the reason I’ve been feeling proper feelings and stuck with my own thoughts recently is that I’ve had laryngitis for nearly six weeks. 40 days of virtually no voice. No speaking on the phone, ridiculous amounts of time off work, no meetings, no presentations, attempted conversations only to have to give up after a couple of minutes in pain and exasperation. Increasing frustration of everyone around me (but, I’m fairly convinced, nothing compared to my own frustration). Hospital next week – who knows?

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Filed under Africa, Books, Films, Football fever, Getting away from it all, Health, TV World

ABC meme

I am aware that I have been stupidly silent which is even more daft because I’ve actually been up to a lot of STUFF (I suspect STUFF may have been taking up most of my time too). So thought I’d do a meme which I have pinched from musingsfromthesofa to get me back in the swing of this blogging malarkey.

A – An advantage you have – living in the best city in the world and being in a fortunate enough position to enjoy it.

B – Blue or brown eyes –  Green which I particularly like (although attendant freckles and paler than a pint of milk skin is not quite so much fun).

C – Chore you hate – ironing. The problem is I am obsessed with non-creased clothes, sheets, table linen (yes even tea towels – I am tragic) so I have to do it but I hate virtually everything about it.

D – Dad’s name – depends which one (not Dad, name because he has an ‘official’ name and a ‘real’ name, he keeps saying he’s going to change it by deed poll but I’m fairly convinced he’ll never get round to it). David, by the way.

E – Essential start of your day – tea. Cannot function without it.

F – Favourite colour – purple, although I have now realised that wearing it is usually a mistake.

G – Greatest thing you’ve ever done that made you feel really good – going to Tanzania to volunteer and jumping out of a plane whilst I was there.

H – Habit you have – sighing. Apparently it is a natural response for relieving tension but I understand from those around me that it is highly annoying!

I – Issue you hate that the world tries to make you pursue – I’m with Becky on this one. Celebrity. Can’t bloody stand it and so not interested in people who have not done anything to achieve their fame and so not understanding young people who just want to be famous when they grow up…what do you want to be famous for? Blank stare.

J – Job title – Head of Healthcare which makes me sound far more important than I actually am.

K – Kohls or Target – This is where this being a US meme leaves me flummoxed. I understand they are stores…? Possibly? In which case, John Lewis.

L – Living arrangements – little house in south west London. About to undergo some renovation – wish me luck with builders and other tradesfolk who frankly terrify me.

M – Music you like – from Jolene by Dolly to Jolene by the Sisters of Mercy and most genres in between. Current faves are Snow Patrol and Lily Allen. Although a couple of weeks ago I saw an awesome Moby gig. And a show tune will always get me going.

N – Nicknames – Bog – ask Lizzie, she invented it.

O – Overnight hospital stay – a few, all shorties thank goodness.

P – Pet Peeve – where do I start (I think I may just be an angry person?). Peeve indicates a little irritant though so probably crap spelling and grammar.

Q – Quote that you like most – “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon. I am completely aware that a ton of other people say this too. Hey ho, I’m a conformist.

R – Right or left handed – so right handed that my left hand often wonders on its purpose.

S – Siblings – one lovely little sister.

T – Time you wake up – unnecessarily early. I am a bad sleeper (yes, I know we all know that). I get up at 6.30 – usually about 10 minutes after I’ve just gone back to snooze.

U – Underwear – BIG pants, I go for smooth lines and I know they are probably horrible to look at (but there’s noone around to look at them), but they look good under things (or rather don’t look at all which is the whole point).

V – Vegetable you dislike – sprouts, doesn’t everyone?

W – What makes you run late – double, triple checking where the bobbins my keys are.

X – X-rays you’ve had – neck, back, ribs, fingers, wrist, ankles, feet, toes, lungs, bowels…plus ultrasounds on various parts…and cameras on the inside…I’m fairly well checked out in the internal pictures department.

Y – Yummy food you make – unfortunately I seem to find my of the food I make yummy (hence the current waistline issues). My roast chicken is pretty bloody good though.

Z – Zoo animal – since the whole Africa thing, I cannot even imagine an animal in a zoo. A real proper lion in a real proper landscape…I know not everyone can see it but it would be so wonderful if everyone could.

She's so beautiful

She's so beautiful

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Filed under Africa, Blogtastic, Health, Life, London

Nearly ready

Well I am fake baked (look like an extra from Les Mis), getting the toe nails made pretty tomorrow and have various items strewn across the spare bed (always a bit last minute me on the basis that noone didn’t go on holiday because they hadn’t packed).

Am I looking forward to my holiday?

Hmmm…walked out of work today feeling remarkably light at the prospect of not having to work for a whole week and a day. And, on the whole, I really like my job so I think I am just ready for a break.

Am looking forward to a change of scenery, being looked after/pampered (massage booked for Monday afternoon).

Am looking forward to going to a new place, meeting new people and the steel band at Shirley Heights on Sunday.

Have a whole pile of books (although suspect not enough) and they’re a rather eclectic collection as they’re borrowed, bought and freebies:

Emotionally Weird – Kate Atkinson

The Welsh Girl – Peter Ho Davies

The Chimney Sweeper’s  Boy – Barbara Vine

The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing

The Almost Moon – Alice Sebold

I’ll put links in if I think they’re good (or – more likely – if I remember).

Not necessarily looking forward to the mental leap of holidaying on my own and being ‘single’. Nor the fact that I really do have to think about what the bobbins I’m doing with my life/relationship thing.

On the whole though I am so ready for a break. So let’s say “hurrah” and watch this space for a sensible person to emerge.

As a total aside, just watched the Kili climb for Red Nose Day. So fab. If you can’t do something funny for money just give some money and help. It is my favourite charity event (although memories of my car’s red nose being mangled in a particularly gory car accident 20 years ago live on. Luckily the car was the major casualty although I still can’t look over my left shoulder!)

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Filed under Africa, Books, Getting away from it all

Wild in the (aeroplane) aisles

Yes I have done it. Despite resisting and insisting that I couldn’t not go on holiday without The Beloved (or whatever his title might be at the moment), I have booked a week away in the sun. It’s not exactly what I had in mind when I booked my holiday at work (a fortnight, exotic, new and interesting things) but it is a break, it will be warm and (hopefully) relaxing and it’s not too scary. I had hoped to see my little sis but that’s not looking hugely likely.

On top of that I have decided to go to a friend’s 30th which is altogether politically more complicated. The friend is the wife of a friend of The Beloved. He went to their wedding, I didn’t. He tried to keep me away from her and then, when we met, we got on like a house on fire. She invited both of us to her 30th in Glasgow. He doesn’t want to go so I have decided “fuck it” (excuse my language but having a moment of liberation this evening) and asked her if it would be alright if I came because he was having a mental block about getting on a plane and being sociable. She said “yes” so tonight I have booked my flight and my hotel room. Hurrah! Feeling somewhat liberated. I have to remember I am the brave person who has been on holiday completely on my own (not fun as I may have mentioned), decided to throw caution to the wind and go to Africa to teach. Oh yes, I am that woman today!!

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Filed under Africa, Getting away from it all

3RANT – 1st February

1. This really annoys me. It might sound pathetic in the grand scheme of things but it really annoys me when people treat language as unimportant. It’s just laziness. Apostrophes (and grammar in general) are remarkably easy to master if you just put the effort in. For goodness sake I managed to teach the basic premise of an apostrophe to my lovely African ladies and I am no teacher and they were hardly (with all due respect) the creme de la creme of students (excuse me whilst I come over all Miss Brodie).

2. The general craziness of Terminal 3 last night. It took 25 minutes to get through the tunnel at Heathrow and past the car park barriers (even then we crawled up the ramps, clutch control was required big time). I have  no idea if there should be a third runway at Heathrow (on the plus side it would stop them building it elsewhere and let’s face it, it probably has to be built; on the down side, the planes will fall out of the sky one day because there isn’t enough oil), but what I do know is that as a national airport is a disgrace and I feel slightly ashamed that it’s many people’s first impression of our country. (My parents are home safe and sound after two months though so this is a good thing).

3. Giving up smoking is bloody difficult. It’s not the nicotine, it’s the habit and when things go awry (as they have done big time this week), my (un)natural reaction is to have a fag. Grrr…this is annoying.

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Filed under 3RANT, Africa, Life, London, news

3BT – 18th September

1. Great sounding words, like shagalabagala. Now I wish I had known that word when I was in Tanzania – it would have been used on a fair few occasions.

2. Having plumbing protection – this means I am not scouring the Yellow Pages to find someone to fix my toilet (although of course the fact my toilet is broken is not at all a beautiful thing).

3. Spending a random week day with The Beloved.

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Filed under 3BT, Africa, Life, Matters domestic