And home again!

Well what a contrast!  Two days ago we were driving across an endless plain of scorched earth, Maasai with red robes and extreme amounts of goats, and the occasional giraffe and today I have just returned from a long walk with the dogs through the village which is crusted with snow and resembles the more sentimental type of Christmas card.

Everything is so different.  I have got used to sleeping in a tent with thin canvas walls, and my home now feels like a cave:  all thick stone walls and heavy oak doors.  The night noises of the bush were a sonata of plinks, whirrs and sometimes a growl (yikes!)  The night noises here are silence, the occasional fox and the very occasional car.  In the Tanzanian bush my primal senses were on constant alert.  I wasn’t scared of the hyenas, lions, hippos and buffalo that strolled through the camp, but I was extremely aware of them.  Every instinct which has saved my ancestors for long enough to reproduce since the Stone Age and before was up and shouting every time something with heavy footfall and body odour issues ambled past the tent.  I slept like a log last night in our stone cottage, and my primal senses slept with me.

We saw glories:  the massing wildebeest and zebra plodding through the unbelievable distances of the Serengeti; sun rising above the Ngorogoro Crater (and thanks to my husband’s firm belief in early rising we were the first car into the crater and had the Forgotten World to ourselves for an hour or so); a languid leopardess stretched out along a branch while her spotted cubs played up and down the trunk below her; a nest of bat eared foxes gazing at us with faces straight out of Star Wars (Yoda).  We were warm some of the time, bitten by a wide range of flies most of the time and entranced all of the time.

And yet, and yet …  when we got home (extremely relieved that Heathrow had remembered how to land planes in snow) we got such a welcome from the animals.  The dogs threw themselves at us and wound round our legs with pure joy.  The hens squeezed out an egg in celebration, the first since October.  Slip went lame now he knows I’m back to sponge his fevered brow, bring him treats and massage his neck.  Slip is a complete flower about injuries and I don’t think he is that bad, but it’s strangely bonding to look after a horse who is feeling slightly under par.  And Indie has grown into a proper little gentleman.  It may wear off, but since our return he hasn’t bounced the cat, pulled Darcy’s ears or rushed off with a small but important item to leave in the garden.

Africa was great, but there’s no place like home.

12 thoughts on “And home again!

  1. Welcome home, it must been such a contrast in terms of temperature and views and animas! Your experiences of watching the sunrise sound amazing! I agree with you there is no where quite like home.
    Sarah x

  2. Welcome home Aly. It is good to have you back and blogging interesting stories of your African vacation, your animals and your neighbors. I’m sure that the animals are delighted to have you home again. Do you suppose that the Black Moth has disappeared in the meantime? Or is he “a proper little gentleman” to entice you to remain at home and never leave again? A novel! Not only will we have THE BOOK – now we shall also have THE NOVEL to which we can look forward! That is exciting. I wish you well and much enjoyment in the writing of it!

    • Thanks Marilynn, yes it’s time I get stuck into the Novel. The Black Moth remains strangely absent, and there is this good little Indie here instead. The only time the Black Moth has run up his flags since we got home is when he chased the geese. Otherwise he is a model citizen, long may it last! Aly x

  3. Oh Aly so glad you made it back all in one piece ! My friend Milly and I were anxiously awaiting your return, so we could read all about your adventure. Despite the fly bites, it sounds like it was indeed a very exciting trip worth having been on ! Mil and I both agree that one drawback of going away often … is leaving behind the hounds and horses. Sound like all the animals are glad you home.. Hopefully Slip will be back firm on all fours soon ,unless he is skirting away from spooky things .
    Be Well
    Martha

    • Oh sorry it was early, perhaps I should proof read when I post before tea . I had meant to say “Sounds” like all the animals are glad “you are ” home.
      Yes well then , that is corrected !

    • Hi Martha, yes all in one piece (except the small pieces that the mozzies got!) I’m still getting used to sleeping at night, and going for walks without constantly checking the undergrowth! Slip is still lame, but sitting up in bed in his bedjacket asking for things (in an equine sort of way). I think he’s feeling better. Aly x

  4. It sounds like you had a wonderful holiday! But, there really is no place like home. I hope it warms up for you and that the snowdrops start to peek through soon.

    • Hi Nadine, the first snowdrops are just showing (huzzah!) but I’m still missing the heat just so much. And lack of mud. Aly x

  5. A contrast indeed. Glad you are safely home, and understand completely what you mean about missing the warmth. If our weather doesn’t improve this year emigration is the only option left!

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