Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Barney Take II


Wow.

I can’t remember exercising ever hurting quite so much!

Having not climbed much at all since the beginning of March, partly due to holidays and partly due to a seemingly never-ending stream of maladies, I was keen to get back in to it as soon as possible.

Dad and I had a great day out my last day in Ireland, climbing the Sugarloaf and walking from Bray to Greystones - according to a feature I found on my phone, >15k total.  However, since then, all I’ve really done is walking around (and to) markets in Kenya!  


The Sugarloaf in Ireland with Dad

On my arrival home in Aus, I went to the doctor about my persistent sinus issues and cough, and she said just to wait it out a couple of weeks as sometimes a cough can last six weeks - but not to get climbing for a few days to “let your lungs rest.”  Okay... well that was Thursday.  I rested until Monday, feeling pretty okay, and then climbed Tiberoowuccum with Manda and Lily - also fine, and I felt pretty fit.  Mind you, Tiberoowuccum is an ascent of less than 200m.

So of course, having already planned well in advance to climb Barney’s East Peak on Wednesday 11th April, I was determined to go ahead (John said: if you’re sick, don’t do it).  Bear in mind that Barney is over 1300m high with a starting elevation of around 200m. 


The view of the Western Peak from the Eastern Peak which we ascended 
 
The initial walk from the carpark to the slopes (about 4K) was okay but fast and hard work.  My new hiking boots, having held up well for Maroon, and not quite so well walking with Dad, started giving me heel pain, so we stopped briefly so that I could put bandaids on the hot spots.  Then, having climbed a couple of hundred metres further, both John and I needed to change into our Approach shoes for the scramble (Ben didn’t have any) and I found them much more comfortable on my sore heels.

At this point, my lungs were on fire and I was gasping for breath - between the coughing and the blocked sinuses, blocked ears and runny nose - none of which had I been experiencing when we started.  We climbed a bit further, and rested again, and I felt like I was going to die right there on the slopes.  My heart rate was up above 190, I felt sick, my legs felt like jelly and my lungs were heaving.  We then proceeded another 50-100metres up and stopped on the first ridge to re-evaluate.


Stopping to admire the view

John seemed keen to discourage me, saying he was unsure we were even 1/3 of the way up and there was SO far to go, and about 3 fake peaks to navigate before we reached the top, and if I thought this was bad, it was going to get far far worse... and Ben wanted to help me have the actual facts.  I wanted to know how far we had climbed already, and how far there was left to climb.  Having worked out we were at 780metres, and had come around 500 - and had to get to 1360m, I told myself with certainty that we were half way.  I really felt like turning around and going back, telling the others to keep going, but what I actually said was “I’m not a quitter” and “I’m fine” and things like that, although neither of the others thought I was fine and agreed afterwards that I had been in a LOT of pain!


Ben climbing a particularly hard part that I wouldn’t have wanted to descend

After that, I broke it down into 50-100m chunks.  “I’ve only got to do 100m” I would tell myself.  Or “once we’ve done this 50m stretch I will stop and rest” and it became so much more achievable.  Feeling the numbers tick by really helped.  Knowing from the map that we were at 950m, or 1050m, encouraged me.  We would guess our current elevation while I gasped and heaved and slowed my heart rate enough to navigate the next 50m.  We would revel in the view, awestruck at the immensity of the mountains and the beauty around us - while I caught my breath and the nausea subsided.  Every different plant became worth stopping to admire, every lizard another opportunity to stop and say “wow, that’s a fat one.”


Flora



This is actually vertical, you just can’t tell

I didn’t stop feeling like I couldn’t do it.  The little voice in my head kept saying “you can quit at any time” and “just stop. Just go back” but I didn’t actually say any of these things.  When we climbed up almost-impossible rocks and once when John had to give me a foot up as my legs are ridiculously short, I said “I wouldn’t want to go back down that way” as much trying to encourage myself that I had no choice but to continue!


Another break to breathe

The top came upon us suddenly.  I felt like I was prepared to keep ascending ad infinitum.  I felt like the the keep-on-moving-you-can-do-it just kept on going... and suddenly we were there.  Right at the top, and we could sit and have a well-earned cheese and pickle sandwich.  We rested for thirty minutes which felt much much shorter.  I unwrapped and rebound the dime sized blisters on my heels, adding strong tape from John to my supply of bandaids (this actually fixed them for the remainder of the hike).


John in front of the Eastern Peak - Western behind and slightly to his left

And then... we started our descent.  I had thought the bad part was over!  I had thought we had done it!  Some how I had forgotten that what goes up must also come down, and as it had taken us four hours to go up... it was likely to take another four to descend!  My jelly-like legs objected to being forced downwards, and the dust and leaf covered rocks seemed extra slippery despite the good shoes.


Valley into Rum Jungle, with endless mountains in the distance 

At one point, hurrying to catch up with the others, I found both legs suddenly caught between two rocks that jumped out at me through the bush, and pitched forward to land on my chest, on a rock, winding me badly.  The others, ahead of me, had heard me fall, and shouted out “are you okay?” But, being winded, I was unable to say so!  Tears were streaming down my face from the shock, and gasping for breath I was raising my head from the ground when John came running back.

John was screaming “are you okay?! Oh my God, Kate, aaaahhhhhhh” etc in apparent panic at my contorted can’t-breathe face, and as I couldn’t initially breathe, I wondered momentarily whether I actually WAS hurt and maybe I was bleeding or or or - which didn’t help.  Once I caught my breath, I said “I think I’m okay, just winded” or something like that, and then coughed and hacked and gasped for a few minutes until I could walk again.  I think that was the most dramatic part of the day!


More views

We managed to add a little humour into the descent, with Ben deciding to go through a rotten stump instead of around it - which of course I photographed - and trying to take lightly the numerous times we strayed off track.  That was the hardest part, as if we went off track we usually had to climb back up to the fork... and every step we went up, I knew we had to come back down.





Ben hauls himself through a rotten tree stump

Once at the “bottom”, we had to walk the 4K back to the car.  We stopped for John to replace his hiking shoes, and for me to change my socks, hoping for some pain relief, and then we marched.  We marched, and we didn’t think about our fatigue, and we teased Ben about running back to the carpark (somehow we had to cure his endless energy) and we remarked on the flora, and the lack of fauna (John: I’ve never seen a snake on Barney) and the hot showers we would have when we got home.  We drank our last supplies of water, and we just kept on walking, uphill to the saddle, wondering why the world had to have uphills at such late points in the day, and then the final downhill, remembering each landmark and realising how much closer it put us to the finish.


Mount Lindesay in the background slightly touched by clouds

And then of course we had to drive three hours home in rush hour traffic.

Except, I didn’t, because Ben was driving, and hooray for Ben driving, because John was napping in the back and I was too tired to even move.  So, thanks, Ben!

And eventually, finally, after over fourteen hours, we pulled up at home.  And after a gloriously hot shower I found I wasn’t even that sore (although this morning - next day - I am decidedly stiff and sore).  

Was it worth it?  100%!  Would I do it again?  Yes!  But... not sick... and not without a lot of fitness training and climbing beforehand!  Definitely not a hike to do after a month off!


Thursday, April 5, 2018

I’m home

I’m home.  Little things remind me of Africa.  Little things like boiling the kettle to make my coffee of a morning.  Making homemade bread for dinner last night and slathering it with butter - or, having a little bread with my butter, you know how it is.  Because I can.  Because, who’s counting?  I don’t have one slab of butter to last months, I can eat it all today if I want to.  And my kettle takes mere moments to boil...


Selfie time at school - the kids loved this: this is Manu in purple, and I think Darren to his right, pointing

Little things remind me... little things like taking a shower.  Little things like spending All Of The Time on my phone watching YouTube and browsing, caring not how much internet I use.  


Kingsley builds a contraption

Little things like chopping up my vegetables to make dinner last night, using about three different knives, just to find one I particularly liked for each veggie.  I clearly didnt have only one tiny paring knife to use for everything. 


Bible story time (L-R) Sanchez, Seth, Manu, ?, Faustine

Things like waking up in the morning and spending half an hour just deciding whether to get up, spending the day browsing around and the evening watching something on TV.  That’s not a little thing.  The amount of free time I had yesterday I barely knew what to do with myself: no little children’s fingers entwined with mine, no shouting of “Teacher! Teacher Kate!” No school prep of an evening.  I have to say I think I miss it. 


Women carry water from the spring, to boil over wood or charcoal fires - there are no ovens

Little things like walking around town holding my wallet and iPhone in my hands as I shop.  Ha!


Banana seller at the market - 4 bananas for 20KSH (0.20USD)

I already feel so many worlds apart from Ireland, and from Kenya.  All that said, I did feel like I was truly coming home, this time.  


Angeal, Faith, Bravine and Celin discuss with Teaxher Sarah.

I treated myself to some new stationery yesterday.  There’s something about having a new notepad and a new pen - despite the 547ish pens I already have.  But then I look around just Officeworks, or I look around Woollies, and I wonder why do we need so much stuff?!  So much consumerism!  The wanting!  I mean, I have several pairs of shoes, but I was walking along yesterday thinking “oo those are nice” and I had to stop myself.  Really?  Really?  After Africa?


Kisumu food market, beans are a staple.  Beans of all sorts.

I was thinking as I walked through Westfield, if only I could show this to them.  I’m not sure why, because what would be the point - but also maybe to share it.  Maybe to take some of this and put it there, to share all the extra, All The Things that we don’t need.  All the things that are Extra and people Waste, and they don’t think of the people who Don’t Have.  


African shops (I think in Chavakali or M’dete, I’m not 100% sure) 


Shops painted the green of Safaricom... because without the ad, there would be no paint.

Let me put something to you.  What if you didn’t buy that one extra thing.  What if you didn’t buy that one coffee in the shopping centre, and instead drank it at home.  What if you said no to that piece of clothing when you already have a full wardrobe.  Would you?  Think about it... and if you do... think about what you could do with that money.  That $5.  That could change someone’s life.


Monday, April 2, 2018

The Boat Ride

What is strange to me is that none of the teachers realised that if a child fell into the water, it would drown unless rescued by one of us.  Or worse still, a drama that constantly ran through my head and made me prickle with fear, if the boat capsized, how many of the twenty eight preschoolers would three of us wuzungu be able to save?  






None of the teachers were able to swim - but they were all wearing adult life jackets, and being adults, they would all be fine - probably - unless they panicked.  But of the twenty eight children, just one was wearing an appropriately sized and fitted child life jacket - the other twenty seven were wearing ludicrously oversized adult jackets with broken zips and hastily tied straps - and let’s face it, even if the zips had worked, the small children would have slipped right out of the jacket when immersed - or maybe a larger one would have flipped over with its head under water - either way, not a success story.






We were only on the lake for about ten minutes - if that.  But I felt distinctly uneasy and watched the children like a hawk.  At the other end of the boat, J was doing the same.  Having given all his valuables to a teacher, he was poised ready to dive.  All of the children were actually very calm and well behaved, so unless the boat leaking became worse, or a hippo (they were around!) came up under the boat, I suppose we were okay.  





The three year old in the child life jacket screamed the entire time.  He was intensely upset at having to wear a jacket different from all of the others. 






And when the boat finally docked and we lifted the children one by one onto the rocks, I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.  J apparently had the exact same thoughts as myself, as he shared with me afterwards.






Was the 1000KSH we paid for the ride worth the risk?  I’m not sure I think it was.


Posting from Doha

This time, in Nairobi Airport, there is no internet, which is a pity as I have two hours to kill.  I managed not to die during my Nairobi adventure and in fact, it was relatively painless especially by African standards.  I got my bag very quickly after landing from Kisumu, after which I walked outside and stood by a security guard while I waited for my driver, Ken.  He arrived within about 5 - 10 minutes, with a sign bearing my name.  


It was quite a walk to the carpark, and I did express to Ken that my mother cannot walk very far!  He and Enock, the B&B owner, assured me that they would take care of her.  The drive took 15-20 minutes, initially through streets which looked barely African, with big shops and modern signs.  But soon the streets became dirty, trash loaded on what passed for a sidewalk, rickety market stalls on street corners and matatu’s and boda boda s weaving their way recklessly through the traffic.  The final street to our destination was unpaved and uneven, although Ken told me it was “not finished yet.”


The apartment was in a big gated compound, with guards at the black metal gate, and razor wire topped walls all around.  I was expecting a hotel, as that’s what I thought mum had booked, so it was a little strange walking into an apartment building, although everything seemed quite modern.


Enock met me at the lift and took me upstairs.  I’ve no idea what floor his apartment is on.  It is quite a modern four bedroom apartment with a small living and kitchen area as you walk in.  My bedroom was on the left, with a large ensuite toilet & shower.  A wet room, essentially, but not as minuscule as J&S’s!  The bedroom door had a lock on it, which was nice as it was a little odd being in a strange apartment with a strange man I didn’t know, although he told me there were two other guests, I didn’t see them.


I chatted to Enock awhile about my family as he seemed very interested in the missions etc.  He has a very soft slightly slimy voice - hard to describe, and I’m probably being harsh!  Poor guy!  Anyway, I excused myself early, after about an hour and got a shower and an early night, killing an unfriendly looking mosquito on the way.  The mosquito net set up was like a four poster bed: so it was a much better arrangement than the sheet-like drape at J&S’s that tends to get tangled up with you every time you roll over at night.


Enock offered me food last night and again this morning, but I declined both times.  I was unsure - although he didn’t mention it - whether he would charge me, and I was almost out of KSH - but also I brought butter and honey sandwiches from Mudete which made for two nice meals - although slightly same-ish.


On the subject of KSH, having found myself a small ebony statue in Kisumu and having spent about 200KSH on it, I was somewhat amused to see similar sized models in Kisumu Airport for 3500KSH each!


It was hard to say goodbye to J&S yesterday - it already feels a long time ago - so we cut the goodbyes as short as possible and they dropped me off in the carpark.  I hate hate hate goodbyes, I know if I linger I’m going to get emotional and just GAHHH!  Anyway, it was ever so nice to see them and to spend the all-too-short ten days with them.


Going off on a tangent, another odd thing about Nairobi is the security checkpoint you must go through before entering the airport domain.  First, the passengers (ie me) get out of the car and walk through a security building.  There is the normal scanner machine and doorway for the human beans to walk through.  The ridiculous part of it, however, was that the doorway beeped for most people going through, who hadn’t emptied their pockets, or whatever, and nobody seemed to care.  Nobody was stopped, or sent back, or re scanned.  And the cars, with drivers and all the luggage, were given a cursory glance by the guards on the road, and then loops around to pick us up.  One wonders - what is the point?


...


I am now in Doha and about to post this.  I have almost four hours until my flight and am choosing not to proceed closer to my gate as the security checkpoint wants to confiscate my water and I object.  So instead, I am sitting beside the checkpoint using the free internet until I am thirsty enough to drink my water!


My next post will probably not be until Brisbane - but you never know!  I have so many thoughts and memories that I need to put down - for instance the small boys in Kakamega - maybe 8-12 years old - begging while drinking from plastic bottles of hooch.  Just tragic, and you desperately want to give to them but can’t, knowing they would only spend it on alcohol.  So what do you do, if you want to do something??








Sunday, April 1, 2018

My time in Kenya has come to an end, and it feels like I only just arrived.  How have ten days flown so quickly?  It was been all go since day one, with very little time to sit and rest, and I don’t know how Jon and Sarah do it all the time - I am exhausted!  


Having written a blog post during church last week, I suppose it is only fitting that I should write another this week - although right now it is before church, and I am just writing in my notes because I have used up most of Jon’s data already (hehe) and plan to post when I get to Nairobi airport (free wifi). 


I only spent three days in Sarah’s school: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.  Wednesday was a market day in Kisumu, so Jon and I took the day out for that, and Friday was a big school trip - so although we had all of the children for the day, it wasn’t really school-school. 


The children are just wonderful.  Having only started to learn English in January, they already understand quite a lot and can speak a little.  They are very unspoilt, and they genuinely appreciate every little thing you do for them.  Bravine, one of the sponsored children, who comes from a very poor family, was just overjoyed when I bought him new clothes and shoes - the shoes which I bought in the market for 3USD.  He kept coming up to me throughout the day saying “Teacher, see my shoes!”  


You can imagine little Western boys and girls clamouring over having the wrong colour cup, or refusing to wear clothes they don’t like, or shoes too small, or girls’ bags for boys, etc.  Here, they are so grateful just to have something.  So grateful to have a pink mug full of thin sandy porridge for their morning snack.  And at lunch, when they receive a plate of rice and beans, or rice and green vegetables, the loud shouts of “Lunch! Lunch! Lunch!” and hands clapping above their heads needs to be seen to be believed.  


Little Kingsley, aged three, has a zipless pink backpack clearly reserved for some Western girl child, Darren has a warm pink scarf tied around his neck.  They don’t notice these Gender Boxes that we give to colours and things - and why should they?  All they see is that they are fortunate to even have a bag, or a scarf.  


One of the hardest things for me was seeing their shoes.  Their feet are crammed into frayed footwear two sizes too small, shoes tied with fragments of a lace, or just string - or in many cases just flapping open with no lace at all.  But then when you consider their wages...  


One of the teachers, before coming to teach at Fountain of Life, was earning 400USD a YEAR.  And that was to support, as a single mother, two small children and her own mother.  No wonder little Manu (4) is so skeletal and frail.  Now the mother is earning 100USD a month teaching at Fountain of Life, which to us seems insignificant but for her must be massive.  To put into perspective what size Manu is, I bought him new shoes which were a size 9 (a size too big for him).  Seth, who is also four, and average size, I had to buy a size 11.  Manu’s arms are like twigs, his skin stretched on his face like an old man.  He is now getting plenty of food, especially at school, but at that age it is hard to undo the damage done by years of starvation. 


One of the downsides to teaching in a pre-primary class is that they all cough... constantly... and they usually direct their coughs into my face.  Or whoever’s face they happen to be looking at at the time.  This means that I am now down with another cold, having just got over the Irish one!  Hurrah for me!  It doesn’t help that they have absolutely no concept of hygiene.  They wash their hands at break before their sandy porridge, and they wash their hands before lunch.  And in between times, they use two hole-in-the-ground squat toilets (with no light, no toilet paper, literally just a slit in the ground - not even a bench) and then they run back into class and spend the remainder of the day sucking their fingers.  


Imagine, if you will (or skip the entire paragraph, if you have a delicate stomach), 29 small children between the ages of 3-5.  Imagine their clothes:  the girls wearing both underwear and baggy shorts beneath their skirts or dresses - sometimes even tights as well, the boys wearing underwear and two pairs of baggy shorts that come down to their ankles in most cases.  Imagine their going to this slit in the ground completely unsupervised - aiming as best they can while attempting to keep their many layers of clothing out of the way - not to mention their tattered shoes.  And then, having finished whatever they needed to do, traipsing back into the classroom.  Traipsing back onto the sand-covered concrete floor.  I had to tie up a number of broken - and sodden - shoe laces - during my time at school, and the smell of urine from the damp shoes was overwhelming.  So this, and the unwashed hands, and the general red dust and dirt over everything, is an interesting environment. 


The children are so excited to learn.  They are so enthusiastic, so keen to try new things. 


...more to come but I am tired...now in my B&B in Nairobi!


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Well, here I am.  I have left Ireland after two weeks that seemed to fly by, and now I am in Kenya.  All so very different from Australia!  


Ireland was incredibly cold but also so good to spend time with family.  The first week of grey and brown and dull was hard to deal with especially as I was sick for the entire week!  Then on Sunday it snowed - about 6 - 8 inches and transformed into a winter wonderland.  We had an epic snowball fight after church, and it helped that I was beginning to feel better.


Dad was in Africa for the first week I was in Ireland, and in between a sore neck, flu symptoms from my yellow fever vaccine, followed by a cold which morphed into laryngitis, I still managed to go shopping with Mum, go out for drinks and live Irish music in Blessington and have chicken wings with PC.  Saturday was St Patrick’s Day, which we celebrated by watching Ireland thrash England in the final Six Nations game, coming out with both the Six Nations trophy and a Grand Slam!  Pretty cool afternoon.


I was planning on hiking that weekend, but  my energy levels were low, so Dad and I went for a drive on Saturday and spent the rest of the weekend eating.  Okay, fine, we spent most of the fortnight eating.  Aislinn was a great snuggle companion during my days in bed recovering! 


Week two, I felt a lot better.  Dad, Joe and I braved the Wicklow Gap on Monday in the snow - the road was clear - and got lots of photos (and Joe got drone footage) of the snow and a massive herd of around 50 deer near Turlough Hill.  Poor things, there can’t have been much to eat.


Wednesday was the last shopping day with Mum, getting final supplies for Africa and having fish and chips at Harry Ramsden’s for lunch.  Very nice indeed.  And of course a vanilla slice to bring home for afternoon tea.  On the subject of food, I ate a LOT of Irish sausages and bacon during my time at home!


Thursday, Dad and I went hiking.  We had been going to climb one of the Wicklow mountains but I was a bit put off by the volume of snow still remaining on the slopes.  We decided to go over the Sally Gap to Bray, and on the way we saw the Sugarloaf and decided we needed to climb it.  My still partially sick lungs struggled but we made it!  After that, we rested at the top with a creme egg - out of the crazily strong and Baltic wind - and then went to Bray and walked to Greystones.  Several kilometres, but I’ve no idea how many.  Once in Greystones, we got some really nice homemade icecream and then caught the Dart back to Bray.  


Friday announced my departure to Kenya, which was traumatic as usual.  Sitting down for the Last Breakfast of eggs, sausages and bacon, I had taken about three mouthfuls when I was told that there was a goat emergency - and rushed off to the barn.  Two tiny goat babies had arrived, and were very cold and weak.  Unfortunately despite everything we did, the weaker of the two passed away.  


I returned to the house... realising that my previously clean outfit was filthy from the barn!  I had to put it on a quick wash and then pack it wet.  Finishing off my re-heated breakfast, I completely forgot that I had had my first Malarone tablet in my pocket ready to take with breakfast... which was now in the washing machine... and wasn’t even remembered until hours later on the flight to Doha!  Hopefully it’s not the difference in whether or not I get malaria...!


I am writing this post in church during my second day in Kenya.  I am wearing ear plugs and can still loudly hear the preaching.  Church apparently started at 0700 - it is now 1130 - but we didn’t arrive until 0900.  I listened to my sister speak, which was really good, and wore earplugs diligently for the African singing before Sarah and I took the little children out to Sunday school.


Here, at church, they have the speakers turned up full volume so that not only is it incredibly loud but also distorted - and also the preachers shout and scream into the microphones and the music reverberates through you.  Sunday school was in a little shed behind the church, made of homemade clay bricks and a tin roof held on by concern-inducing planks of wood.  I didn’t die though.


The African children all seem to be dressed warmly, although in curiously mismatched second hand European clothes and shoes.  For instance, the little boy sitting directly in front of me was wearing sturdy blue shoes from Clark’s, and the little girl next to him a falling-apart and laceless pair of sparkly things which were thoroughly impractical for Africa.  The dresses the little girls wear have broken zippers and missing ribbons etc, but they all seem clean and well kept despite the lack of facilities to wash. 


I would presume that the majority of people here rely on Western donations of clothes - which they then purchase at a pittance in the markets.


Although we drove through slums in Kisumu on the way home from the airport, the area S&J live in may be poor but is not slummy.  Most of the people live in homemade red clay brick buildings with tin roofs, and have tiny fields surrounding with maize growing interspersed with beans.  One bean plant, one maize plant, and so on.  There are also fields of tea, and piles of clay bricks with kilns to cook them in.  The roads all the way from the city are of red clay and stone, but not paved.  It is all very green, because it is the rainy season. 


This is a very long post, but I have a lot of time in church.  They have had several praise and preaching sessions alternating, and I find it very hard to make out what they are saying - due to the volume and distortion - as the Africans themselves mostly speak very good English.


Sarah is sitting beside me cradling a chubby African baby who is asleep in her arms.  It is dressed in pink tights, a faded green skirt, a white vest and a blueish green rashie.  Interesting!


I do have lots of photographs, but they will need to be added when I get to Australia as internet here is limited.







Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ireland

I’ve worked it out.  Why I live in Australia, I mean.  It’s warm, and I can wear T-shirts and shorts, and bare feet, and go to the beach and climb things and not freeze.  Here, the cold bites me and I shiver and my bones are cold.  Here, it’s grey and dull and it’s raining again.  

I really do love Ireland.  It will always be “home” but I have to say that my last visit - in August - was more pleasant temperature wise!  I’ve survived 24 hours so far and I’m not sure how I used to survive it year round.  So very cold...

And maybe Lily would freeze.

It is so good to be back with Family.  I’m including everyone in that, of course!  It is very strange not to have Dad and J&S here - very odd indeed.  Excited to see Dad on Friday and then on the next Friday I head to Kenya for 10 days to visit J&S!

Little Aislinn (4) has been ever so friendly and sweet this time - last time she apparently adored me but showed this by avoiding me all the time!  I want to get the little girls Easter eggs, but as Aislinn is allergic to dairy and thence can’t have chocolate, I asked her what her favourite food was.  The response “I really love broccoli soup” was unexpected!

This afternoon, Ireland plays Scotland in the 6 Nations and I am very excited to see my first rugby match in years!  Hurrah! 

That’s about it so far... I think I should go turn the heater up 😂