Monday 10th - Sunday 16th
This week wad officially the last week of rifles, and I could not be happier! No more sitting in the heat of the day for hours on end. Lovely! So this week started off with a short game drive in the morning. We didn't see much but it was nice to get out for a bit. Then we came back for breakfast and proceeded to the airstrip for a bit of rifle training. Today we were practicing a simulated lion charge. So two people holding ropes for the sleigh ran past the shooter who was pretending to be on a walk. The practice went well and I actually really enjoy having to go onto one knee to shoot, it feels a lot more stable, plus having an actual target to shoot at makes it a lot more realistic and more enjoyable.
After the shooting practice we went for a sleep out down at the same place as before, but luckily I wasn't doing two patrols again! We got there, set up camp and started a fire to warm dinner, then we al picked times out of a hat for our patrols before settling down to a bit of astronomy. The sky is so gorgeous in the Southern hemisphere and the stars are so bright that it is almost blinding. So I really enjoyed watching them for a bit before catching a quick nap before doing my patrol with Ben. We were on the 10pm to 11pm shift which was not so bad. The chairs at either end were particularly good and I sat there reading a page of my book before doing a quick scan of the area and then getting back to another page of my book. The time flew past and before I knew it the time was up and I went back to bed. It was a fairly quiet night on patrols because I didn't even wake up until 5am when it was time to go, though I felt so stiff from sleeping on the ground that I felt like a geriatric! Blimey my back hurt! Definitely getting me a camp bed next time I am in town, my back aint what it used to be!
Tuesday morning we had the morning off to catch up on some sleep, in a rather more comfortable bed I might add! We then went out to do some more rifle training on the airstrip for a couple of hours. Today we were doing our simulated lion charge for the last time before the real thing. Eventually it all seemed to just happen without having to think about what I needed to do next, It's like your muscles know what you have to do. Then for the rest of the day we just studied, again.
Wednesday we went to the rifle range to do our final exercise, and I passed! The first girl in the group to finish the Advanced Rifle Handling course! The first time I did pass it, but I didn't think my shot placement was as good as it could be so I had another go and got it bang in the middle, so I went back to camp a very happy person for finally finishing my rifle course.
Then in the afternoon some of us went on an optional game drive, and Heli did a practice assessment. Then because we had all been so well behaved Sebastiaan responded to a cheetah call and we headed off to Jackalberry clearing to see them. It was a lovely sighting and they were the cheetah theat we saw in the first week we were here! However, we were only allowed to stay there for about 5 minutes before the other lodge 4x4 came to the sighting and we had to leave. It was nice to see some proper animals, because it seems like we haven't seen anything for ages! That evening I came home to some rather lovely post that had been dropped off by Mark, I received some lovely postcards from India and it made me feel not so secluded from all my friends and that they were still keeping in touch with me even though I am thousands of miles away from home.
For a change from the usual week, our revision day was on Thursday this week and so we spent the day revising astronomy and bird call list B and C. I must admit the birds were difficult, there are so many calls that are similar or birds that are really similar so every now and then I keep messing up on what they look like, it's a little frustrating, but fingers crossed it eventually goes in my brain the right way round.
So Friday morning we sat the Astronomy and bird test which took forever! I tell you ID'ing 60 birds and then 40 bird calls takes a fair while, so eventually we were able to get away for the afternoon into town nad officially start the week off! We had lunch as usual and then I came back and spent the lovely sunny afternoon reading my 'Elephant Whisperer' book. Then in the evening the few of us left at the farmhouse (Ben, Candace, Dan, Heli and myself) had a nice time in front of the fire and listening to music. It was a good night, but as usual my tiredness got the better of meI ended up going to bed before I fell asleep in front of the fire!
Saturday was relaxing and not much was going on, Candace and I stayed at the pool reading books and listening to music while the boys did their own thing, and Heli left for Kruger. We managed to get some studying done, I started writing up all my mammal information ready for the assessment drives, so it was an afternoon well spent. I made roast dinner for the four of us that evening and it was lovely to have a nice homely meal together. We all then watched Flight of the Concordes until I went off to bed.
Sunday was a very lazy day, and seeing as we were still waiting on Ben's poor car, nothing much happened so it was more just studying and reading. We were also running low on food at this point so Candace and I made up a very odd concoction for a dinner which was pasta and tomato sauce with some cut up steak. It wasn't the best, but at least the guys liked it, and we finished off the evening watching a movie. We watched Tangled, the new Disney movie, and it was brilliant! Even the guys loved it! I now definitely want my own pet chameleon!