Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kenya Adventure - Day 19

What has happened - so far I seem to be waking up at a ridiculous time each morning, 3 a.m., 4 a.m. 4:15 a.m. and reach over to my laptop to start the blog post from yesterday. Today, I did not surface until 7:15 a.m. it has to be being back in Nanyuki, the fresh air, the ‘home’ .

As we said goodbye to Glen and Micelle there was a little bit of envy in my heart, time for us to leave and they were staying :) Thank you Glen and Michelle, for opening up your home to us, for making us feel so welcome and part of the family, as if we still belonged, Alan and I had a ball, so perfect :)

Poor Pete, he is on a mission for me today, can we find out old home, is it still there, has it been demolished by white ants - we had a problems with them 30 years ago, our house was wood and stone and I am wondering how much wood they can eat in about 11,000 days hahahahaha.

There used to be a large tree at where Simab Lane met the main road and the totos (children) (not ours) used to have a rope hanging from it, when they saw a car coming they would grab hold of their rope and swing across the road in front of the car. It wasn’t every time but when it happened it was a hairy experience for me. Kids - they don’t change do they??? Simba Lane used to be called ‘Lunatic Lane’ - no not because I lived there hahahaha - we have seen photos of folks who lived down the road in the 20’s with their big sun hats and long dresses, they eyes were all glassy and they had strange expressions on their faces. I am not sure if it was madness of smoking some home grown plant that made them look the way they did or maybe Nanyuki just drove them crackers.

Turning down Simba Lane, WHAT - tarmac, this is new, however half way down the road it was back to what I remember - murrum, much better, far more fun when it rains lol

Nearly there, we were on a corner, opposite us was Tatum-Waters (a old British Army guy who was at the River Kwai - in fact he went back to help with the filming of the film on an advisory level too). We are here - Tatum Waters (must be the daughter or grand-daughter now) still have their property. The road to our house is still there but no access and we can’t see through the bush and round the corner of the driveway. The answer to my question not to be revealed this time, is it still there or demolished by termites?’

This was the front of my house, from my bedroom window to the right of the main entrance I used to say good-morning to my beautiful lady - Mt. Kenya when I woke up if she was showing herself in her finest glory and not covered by cloud.

Couldn’t resist adding this one - sorry kids, hope you will forgive me. Natasha aged 3 and Nicole 18+ months

Dallas our Jack Russell saying goodbye to Natasha as she headed off to school.

A very sad picture, taken just before we left, our furniture gone, our crockery gone, probably the last meal our daughters had in this home before we completed the decision to leave Kenya, mainly for the children’s safety and also so we could give them the education they deserved in order to prepare them for their lives ahead. I am thinking, it would only have been a few days after this photo was taken Kenya became history for us, a chapter in our lives closed, a new chapter of unknowns, a question to carry for ever - did we do the right thing???

The next place we are looking for is the church were Nicole was Christened - can’t find it, maybe torn down, maybe moved location, maybe we just can’t remember quite where it is. I can’t offer you a then and now photo, just a then one :)

Garry Sutherland (Godfather, Mum (Godmother), Rev. ?, me, Pat Howsen (Godmother) holding Nicole and Alan in the background.

Next stop the Sportsman’s Arms - at the time owned by the Din family. I have no idea who owns it now - boy has it changed, guess that is from all the shillings coming in from the growing community and business generated by military guests!!!! - no then pics just the now.

This is what I remember - not changed much

but now there is a front gate, locked at all times, a ticket given for parking on entry.

These buildings are all new and there are more but I will not bore you with them - I am sure you get an idea of the expansion taking place

Now for Settlers Stores. The Indian family who were here when I was here were so good to me. My arrival in Nanuyuki was very odd. We moved up to Nanyuki to be near Alan’s dad who was ill at the time and needed help with the business. I was about 7 months pregnant with Nicole and had no driving licence!!!!!! We had a cute wee house, two bedrooms, next to Sandy Fields - a real old colonial. We had followed the removal truck up from Nairobi - just to make sure it did not take a detour en-route!!!!!. Alan had enough time to put beds together, plug in the old Kalvinator fridge and assemble some other bits and bobs before leaving Nanyuki and me for a job in Kisumu, about 200 miles away. I did not see Alan again until a couple of days before Nicole was born and even that was a surprise as telephone communication was pretty much non existent, no Internet, no communication (we did have telephones but more often than not the lines had been destroyed, copper was valuable even then). I was so thankful at this time of some very good people who without them I am not sure I could have coped. The lady from Settlers was one of these good people, along with Gary and Jackie who were working on a farm up the mountain and Pat Howsen, who used to get in her car and come to help me out at the drop of a hat. Special people - never forgotten, forever thankful.

When I used to go into Settlers to get the shopping the lady used to give me several steel containers with her wonderful curry in and invite me into her living area for tea :) :) :) I hear now they still make the curries, but packaged for take-away. Maybe I was the guinea pig lol - but even so, fun to think I probably had her first take-away meals. The shop looks a little different now, more run down and it certainly didn’t have Fuji Film written on it. Settlers Store was the last shop on Nanyuki High Street, there are other dukas (shops) to the right but now I see more have sprung up to the left too.

The old shops - yep the view down the road looks the same, just different owners

This is all new

Only one final thing to take, can’t miss the tourist photo at the Equator sign. Now for this one I have a then and now to share :)

My Mum under the Equator sign back in 1979 or early 1980, taken from the Northern Hemisphere

and Alan today, November 22nd, 2013 - same side of the road but taken from the Southern Hemisphere. Only difference, more tourist junk - see the buckets underneath the sign, filled with water with a matchstick inside to show the way the water swirls - got to laugh hahahahahaha

Time to say kwaheri (goodbye) to Nanyuki and head off to the Abedares for three nights at Rhino Park. The Abedares is home to the renowned Treetops which is OK and The Ark, my favourite of the two overnight lodges where viewing of the animals visiting the waterhole and salt licks is possible throughout the night.

So here you have The Ark, taken from an well cut area through the bush, part of the trip to the Ark is obviously the first view from here to get he photo. I have stayed at The Ark three times, the first two with my folks and the final time for the second night of Alan and my honeymoon :)

Time now to move away from the tourist area. Where we are staying is a small house with it’s own watering pool, a very private world, a very privileged experience.

Continuing up the murrum road another beautiful bird - oh how I love photographing birds, so much beauty is a small bundle.

Cinnamon Breasted Bee-Eater

Now this next photo is special, the Forest Hog have been pretty scarce for a long time and are just starting to come back. The one thing about the wildlife in the Abedare’s is that it is far less in harmony with mini busses and other vehicles like you see in the Mara and other big parks, far less familiar with human smells and sounds. You really need to be quick with the camera to avoid a bum shot, very quiet and as still as you can be.

I just love the photo of a Forest Hog - he looks so spaced out lol

The Buffalo are also back and we are seeing them everywhere. I can’t say buffalo do much for me, just cows with horns. I did have to ask why they were one of the big five, along with lion, leopard, elephant, and rhino (really only the black rhino who is far more ferocious than the white) (those four made sense but not the buff). It is all to do with danger, not rareness - OK, it makes sense now, I have always know that a buffalo is an animal that demands great respect, they will stand their ground and if they choose, have no fear in letting you know who is boss.


Here’s laughing at you mate :)

A little further along and more Forest Hogs, I think we saw 20 today - more than has been recorded by folks who have stayed at Rhino Park generally see in their whole visit. We have been so incredibly lucky for this whole safari.

Mum and her toto (child) heading off up the road.

Now a safari is not a safari without a tea/coffee stop, a chance to get out and stretch the legs, to smell the land to absorb all the sounds which you don’t get in a vehicle.

Heading home and another Forest Hog - I have nicknamed this one ‘Bob’ after Bob Marley - he is my Rastafarian pig :) - what a character.  No I have not added blue to his coat, with the light the camera picks up the blue sheen which you only get glimpses of in real life.

Home now at Rhino Park Retreat, sitting on the verandah and not 10 metres from us, with only some rocks in-between us and the lawn with the water hole, the buffalo have come to rest :) How special is that, at one with nature :)

10:00 p.m. and time for bed, the buffalo are not going anywhere, quite at home, settled down for the night too. As they say here ‘la-la salama’ - ‘goodnight” xx

P.S. the buffallo were still there when we woke up the following morning :)


  1. Aweee!!! So much fun to read your story. Did you ever write a book?? Love photos.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Amazing !!! Such a pity you didn't get to see if the house was still there :-(
    The picture of the Hog is just soooo funny - made me laugh out loud this morning :-D What a character.
    I always wondered that about the 'Big 5'... thanks for educating me this morning :-D

    IKE xxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. Oh what a day of such swinging emotions you must have had ......The excitement and joy of waking up in Nanyuki, the trip down memory lane searching for old haunts, the excitement of finding, the recollection of associated memories, the turmoil of viewing progress whether good or not so good and then to sleep with buffalo your nearest neighbours. A very special day.

    Perhaps it is for the better that you were not able to see your home .....let the memories of the love and joy you shared as a young family remain intact in your mind. Did you do the right thing leaving Kenya all those years ago? .....well that question cannot be answered but, you both made a very brave, carefully considered decision 30 years ago and, as you look at your wonderful daughters, living such full and loving lives today, well perhaps the evidence of two very special young ladies confirms that your hard choices were not in vain.

    Forest Hog .....I've never even heard of this creature before but what a treat to learn of them with your wonderful photography. They look such incredible creatures .....and obviously very interested in the peculiar species called 'man' with faces covered by something big and black with long hard 'trunks'.

    Picture of the day for me though has to be that buffalo 'laughing' at you ......I was not aware of buffalo having such intelligence that they can put man back into place. Oh, and to think that they allowed you to share their watering hole for the night ......what a privilege for you.

    Love you so much treasure xxx ♥ ♥ ♥


Thank you for taking the time to comment, it means a great deal to me. Hoping you have happy crafting days ahead. Hugs Mimi