Monday, December 31, 2012

Crocs, No Socks

Talking about donations, here's another one.
900 pairs of shoes. Kiddies' Crocs, to be precise.
And here's Susanna. Having just collected boxes of them.
Enough to pack the inside of the car. And need the roof rack too.
The shoes have now been distributed all over the country.
A treat for bare feet!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


I don't think a single day goes by without a donor calling here.
They bring food, diapers/nappies, medicines, clothes, toys, cash.
Handling the donations in kind is almost a full time job.
We have to keep a container out back for temporary storage.
And Susanna is the undisputed Queen of the Container.
But we also get cheques from time to time.
Like this recent one from Pharmaceutical Product Development.
PPD's Jackline is on the far left and Daveline is on the far right.
Sandwiched between them are Clive, Mary, our Jaqui and me.
All trying to get our hands on the money!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Boxing Day Blessings

Clive & Mary invited us to Boxing Day lunch yesterday.
Ham and all the trimmings at Beckenham Palace. Delicious!
I didn't take a photo. Sorry. But here's one I made earlier.
Well, to be honest, that Susanna made earlier.
That's her hand on the knife.
So I better watch my step!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Spectator Or Spectacle?

But for some of the other visitors to the Safari Walk ...
Neesee & Harry were the main spectacle.
These school children, on a trip to Nairobi from rural Kenya,
crowded round the two girls as if they were celebrities.
Took them a while to get used to being the centre of attention.
Not like their Auntie Lauren, eh?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Close Encounters Of The Furred Kind

And the creature we got closest to on the Safari Walk?
This fun, furry fella. A sweet bushy-tailed squirrel.
Neesee, Harry & our boys chased this critter all over the place.
He seemed to enjoy it as much as them!

Spotty Spotted

They say leopards are some of the most elusive of the big cats.
But we did manage to spot this Old Spotty on the Safari Walk.
It had been lured out of its lair to collect its very large lunch.
A few seconds later, it slipped behind the shrubbery. Gulp!
How close could you be to one in the wild without seeing it?
Killer camouflage, eh?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Park Life

Took Neesee and Harry to Nairobi Safari Walk.
This is the point at which it overlooks the National Park.
Uncle Gerro (9) on the left. His niece Neesee (5) on the right.
And a real, live, wild giraffe in the middle.
Gerro & Neesee in Safari Walk.
Giraffe in National Park.
River in between!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Hobbit's Homecoming

We took a trip to quirky Kitengela Glass with Cherry & family.
Here's son in law Stephen outside one of their quirky cottages.
My family affectionately (?) refer to me as "the hobgoblin".
In a similar vein, Stephen is often called "the hobbit".
In this picture, it looks like the hobbit has finally found his home!

Smoky Centre

At the heart of Kitengela Glass is its fabulous furnace.
Where the glass is heated, blown, sculpted and finished.
And thick smoke swirls in the streaming sunlight.
I love standing & staring up at it!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Planet Of The ... Chimps

Don't be fooled by Neesee's coy look.
It's just an act, I'm happy to say. Yes, happy.
I much prefer my "cheeky chimp" grand-daughter.
And her even cheekier, chimpier little sister Harry!
We had 3 wonderful, wacky weeks with the 2 of them.
And their mum & dad too, of course.
It's too quiet without them!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rover's Return

We got a whole Sunday with some Scottish friends recently.
Angus was born & spent the first 16 years of his life in Kenya.
But, together with his wife Pam, this was only his 2nd trip back.
Angus' cousin though still lives here & runs a travel business.
So he'd helped set up a super-duper safari for the lucky couple.
But we were so happy they took the time to visit us too.
Angus seems to have stepped out of this second picture.
Guess he's the one cracking the joke that's making us giggle?
Happy days!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Island Hoppers

On the Safari Walk, you see the animals in large enclosures.
But on Crescent Island, you wander among them.
As you can see, Neesee couldn't wait to get started.
Followed by Gerro, hot on her heels.
No surprises there, for those of you who know him.
Leaving Susanna. To agree pick up time with boatsman.
Which maybe is a surprise for those of you know her?
Susanna and punctuality? Not a frequent combo, eh?

African Appearance

They made it. Hurrah!
Our daughter Cherry & her family got here a few days ago.
And we're LOVING every minute of having all 4 of them around.
Here's Neesee. Emerging from a play sculpture.
One inch at a time.
Until ... free at last!
Then sliding all the way to the bottom. To start all over again.
The simple things, eh?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Dads & Daughters

Just 3 and a half days to go. Until these 2 arrive.
And with them, the other 2 that this 2 have made.
Too cryptic? Sorry. What I'm trying to say is ...
On Wednesday morning, Cherry & her hubby Stephen arrive.
And included in their baggage will be Anise & Harriet.
Better known as Neesee and Harry. My grand-daughters.
Cherry spent 5 months here in 2005 with Susanna.
For Stephen & the 'little ladies', it is their very first visit.
You have no idea how excited I am!
Think they're a bit excited too?

Friday, October 05, 2012

Dad's Dessert

We have an American-style diner called Java House here.
It's just added this brand new dessert to its revised menu.
As it happens:
(1) my dad's name is Roy, and
(2) he LOVES custard.
So maybe Java House launched this pudding with him in mind?
Anyway, I've told my dad he needs to come back to sample it.
SOON! Are you listening, dad?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Curiosity (Nearly) Killed The ...

So Raphael takes off in my car. And leaves me with his van.
I go back under my acacia tree. To hide from the overhead sun.
And then I get a most unexpected visitor. A curious zebra.

He leaves his herd, grazing along the other side of the road.
Strolls across the highway, narrowly avoiding the traffic.
For an idea of the risk, please see the picture above.
And all of this, to take a closer look at me.
Never had this experience in Scotland!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Car Doctor Calling

The AA man was called Raphael.
And he fairly lived up to his name, which means "God heals".
As it only took him a few minutes to cure my poor sick car.
Although he wouldn't let me drive off in it straight away.
As he wanted to take it for a test drive first.
So for a little while, Raphael disappeared with my car.
And I was left alone in the lay-by with his.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Where Would We Be Without ... ?

That's my 21 year old car. Last Saturday. Going nowhere fast.
I was travelling from New Life Nairobi to New Life Nakuru.
Got as far as Naivasha. When the poor old girl overheated.
Forced to pull off the road. But thankfully, found this lay-by.
The sun was directly overhead. So I hid under an acacia tree.
Took this photo. And waited for ...
the AA Kenya van. And the AA Kenya man.
That's him, standing on two cans, to reach the radiator.
Thank God for the AA!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chapati Champ

Twice a week all the men at New Life meet over lunch.
Office staff, drivers and groundsmen. All round one table.
We pray together. Study the Bible together. And ... eat together.
This is my plate of beans, lentils and cabbage from earlier today.
What you can't see is my favourite piece of the lunchtime puzzle.
The thick, warm & ever so slightly greasy chapati!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Little Boy Blue

That's Susanna's finger.
Getting a big grip. From a little boy.
I love all the shades of blue in this picture.
Not sure who took it (wasn't me). But I love it!
Thought you might too?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sunny Side Up

Solar water heating panels are going up on our roof just now.
Thanks to a wonderful UK donor.
Talk about a gift that will keep on giving.
Our calculations project that our power bills will be cut in half.
This year. Next year. And every year thereafter.
We are so thankful that the panels are going UP.
And the bills are coming DOWN.

That's Justice For You

On Tuesday evenings I attend a small home Bible study group.
I really like it. And I really like the people in it.
One of those people (all good friends of mine now) is Justice.
Justice is a Principal Judge here in Kenya. Better watch myself!
That's him above. Looking very pleased with himself.
And the reason for that?
We were celebrating - with some style - his 60th birthday.
Another 6 years and it will be me!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Emmy's Escapades

We love our volunteers here at New Life.
Some cross the street to help us.
And some cross the seven seas.
Among the latter, Emmy is one of the chief.
That's her above. Cuddling one of our cake-ified kids!
Emmy's made lots of trips over the past 8 years.
And has just finished another 2 months' stint here.
During which time she visited all our homes.
Did some ground-breaking work with our older kids.
And helped us develop our volunteers programme.
Guess she's gone home for a well-deserved rest?
Until next year!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Anyone For Cricket?

Or should I say "grasshopper"?
But can never say that without thinking of David Carradine.
And the 1970s TV series, "Kung Fu".
Those were the days!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our Soulful Son

Final shot (for now) of our newly-turned 11 year old son.
Looking his soulful best. So proud to be his "baba"!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Predator & Prey

Later the same day, this 'crazy' cake was concocted.
You can just about see the birthday boy lurking behind it?
Like some sweet-toothed predator poised to pounce!
And a few seconds later, we catch him.
Teeth bared. Ready to strike.
Please spare a thought for the poor unsuspecting victim though.
Seen here in extreme close up. Blissfully unaware.
Just moments before the 'kill'.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Our Boy's Bi-rrrrrrr-thday

Yes, we really do get some cooler months here.
Especially in Nairobi where we are a mile above sea level.
And Levi's birthday falls right in the middle of them.
So this is what his 'birthday suit' looks like here!
In the UK, Gerro used to get the winter birthday.
And Levi used to get the summer one. All reversed now.
Didn't stop Levi ordering an ice-cold milkshake though!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Graduation Grins

And I thought Levi had a big smile!
But this whopper belongs to CJ, Clive & Mary's youngest son.
And the reason for his Mombasa-to-Uganda grin?
His graduation from West Nairobi School.
CJ wasn't the only one smiling that day, of course.
His proud parents seem almost as happy as him, don't they?
And we were there too - and grinning also.
Well done, CJ. Good job!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Beasts, Birds & Boats

Oh, a (not so) little something I forgot to mention.
To get to the island, you first have to get through the hippos.
And when you are this close to these big beasties,
your boat suddenly feels very small and vulnerable.
And when the pilot tells you not to make any sudden moves,
and one of your sons is Gerro (who can't sit still),
then your boat feels particularly small and vulnerable!
Worth all the anxiety though.
Because the hippos are not the lake's only residents.
They share their home with these big, beautiful white pelicans.
And you can get so close to them, you can almost touch them.
Before they take off. In spectacular fashion!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Skull & Crossbones

Stepping off the boat onto Crescent Island, this is what I saw.
A skull. Bobbing under the gangplank. Boys' faces were a sight!
Later on, walking round the island, we came across these.
Guess every skull must have its crossbones?
But can you picture the boys' faces at this point?!
However, they soon got over their initial shock.
And kept a few for room ornaments.
You've been warned!