Thursday, 27 August 2009

Tanzania part 2

It took a gruelling 5 hours to get to the Ngronogoro crater, mainly on dirt roads that were heavily covered with what felt like huge amounts of rocks and stones.

On the way we saw several Maasai villages, and having stopped to take pictures of one about half a mile away the children came running up the hill immediately they saw us, hoping for pens, sweets or money. Our guide said not to give them anything as it would encourage them for other clients he would bring there. It was heart rending though as it would have cost nothing and we'd bought sweets and pens especially.

On arriving at our safari Lodge we were rewarded with this amazing view. All the rooms faced the crater so we not only had this view from the balocony bar , but we woke up to it on the misty mornings too and were able to watch it appear as the mist dispersed.

The boys (my DH and my BIL) were champing at the bit to get down into the crater for the first game drive on the following day after our arrival but they had to wait for us girls to sample the local culture first, much to my extreme delight.

We were treated to the ceremonial dances of both the women and the men at a nearby village.

Even the little ones practice doing just what Mum does

At the time of writing my journal I had no way of printing any pics that I took so on this occasion I decided to use local PC's of the Massai, for the purpose.

This is a pic of our host who was keen to show us the beautiful beadwork his wife made to sell on these tourist visits. Needless to say I couldn't resist and shall treasure the boxes and bowls I bought, having met the maker. My DH also succumbed and bought our host's ceremonial club, well it's a 'man thing'.

Next post I really will get into the animal part of the holiday.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Freedom exhibition

I'm interrupting my holiday posts as I've recently received the details for the Charles Henry Foyle Trust Award exhibition.

It's to be held at the Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch near Birmingham.

From 12th September to 25th October

If anyone is in the area on the 25th September at 2.30pm for the Private View it would be great to see you, just let me know if you might be there and I'll save a glass of wine for you :-)

Monday, 24 August 2009

Tanzania part 1

As I mentioned on the previous post, our Tanzanian adventure was a mixture of cultural shock and magical life changing experiences.

My DH really wanted to do this for obvious reasons, being a wild life photographer, and saved for 18 months to do it. I, on the other hand was a snivelling wreck of fear that I would either be eaten by a man/woman eating lion, contract a fatal disease or get stuck in a country that was in the middle of a military coup.

By the time we came to board the plane at Heathrow my anxieties had hit an all time high. I hadn't flown on a long haul flight since I was 21 and wasn't looking forward to an 8 hour flight.

Needles to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

The arrival at Nairobi was somewhat of a shock though, I hadn't expected the departure 'lounge' for the connecting flight to Kilamanjaro to resemble a cross between a depressed school classroom and a Bedouin tent.

My initiation into travelling outside Europe had begun, and I wanted to record my feelings every step of the way.

We flew to Kilimanjaro in a plane that resembled something I'd flown to Jersey in when I was 15, only I'm sure the take off didn't threaten to split it in half with all that noise and vibration.

Needless to say we arrived safely, but to a reception of masked airport attendants and immediately had to fill out medical forms with regard to the Swine flu pendemic. We also discovered the my DH's bag had been lost somewhere in the flight transfers, not a good strart. It did catch up with him 4 days into our holiday, thank goodness.

Finally we made it to our tour vehicle and were on our way to the first hotel. This was our first taste of Africa.

A snatched shot on the outskirts of Arusha

We were both overwhelmed by the real life sights and sounds of Africa as opposed to what we'd seen on TV, for a while the journey, of about an hour, felt quite surreal.

But this was the sight that I had conquered my fears to see, a Massai village, later in the holiday we had the privilege of visiting a village and I was spellbound.

We finally arrived at our swish, luxuriant hotel, which was situated at the end of a dirt road, where people were living their daily lives and children were having their morning break in school.

I found the contrast of going though the lodge gates into luxuriant watered gardens very hard to come to grips with, when people on the other side of the gate had to collect their daily water in large drums on their bicycles or on their heads. Also the rainy season had been extremely dry this year and many of the crops had failed. I'm still trying to process this.

The following morning we left for the Ngrongoro crater and the start of the game drives, which will be in the next post.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Back at last

Well it's certainly been a longer blog break than I intended but the last 2 1/2 months have been more manic than I would have thought possible.

Everyone's been amazingly productive while I've been away, I watch 27 blogs and between you you've clocked up 886 posts, I think I'd better make do with catching up with everyone's current activities or I'll be online forever.

The CHF award piece went in 3 weeks early as I was going to be on holiday for the final hand in date. The exhibition will open on the 12th September so I can show you what I made then, but here's a small taster.

The next drama, (and yes the final couple of days in the finishing of this piece were a bit of a drama, as usual) was my poor DH getting bitten by a dog in the face, at work, he needed 20 stitches in the Maxillo Facial unit of our local hospital.

It left him severely traumatised as the attack was completely unprovoked and the dog gave no warning. Luckily he's a quick healer and the doctor did a grand job with her stitching, he even asked her if she was any good at embroidery, apparently not.

At least the accident happened a week before we were going on holiday so he had time to have the stitches out... just.

We had 9 remarkable days in Tanzania incorporating game drives, a visit to a Massai village and a balloon ride over the Serengeti, amongst other things. Needless to say it was a life changing, magical experience that I will definitely be using for future projects, so watch this space.

And lastly 'The wedding'

As some of you will know our son got married to his beautiful fiancé on Saturday and what a wonderful day it was too.
They had a lovely church service at St. Cadoc's Church in Pendoylan South Wales.

An here's their first kiss as man and wife.

I now have to get used to a second Mrs. Young in the family :-)

They had the reception up the road at The Vale Hotel, which was total 'Hotel Babylon' if anyone watches the series. It was in a beautiful setting with the luxury of a superb swimming pool and spa on site, which of course we had to make use of :-)

I took a few pics, but not as many as I would have liked as I was so caught up in the day and wanted to enjoy every single moment.

Father and son time before the wedding.

DD1 wonder what she's thinking

Maybe she's wondering what her son's going to with that tie next.

Proud Mum and Dad

The suit and GD Bethany in the dress that she made with me earlier in the year. It was a bit windy on the terrace.

Dan and Sue had practiced long and hard on a wonderful first dance routine, which was a total surprise and a real tear jerker, I think it was the highlight of the wedding for me.

Thank you both so much for such a wonderful, memorable day and for making us both so very proud.

The house is now full of the flowers that we received at the wedding which is a lovely reminder.

It's great to be back, I've really missed chatting with everyone and seeing what 's going on.