Monday 12th - Sunday 18th
Well I did feel just a little smug that I could have a lay in on Monday morning, but at the same time I was now stuck at the campus all week so I had to find something to do. I decided to make some Christmas presents for the family of photo's and my blog s, so that kept me busy for most of the day. I then made a point of going swimming for an hour every day in the pool, and it was great to dive in at the end of a really hot day.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were about as interesting as Monday. I basically spent the week sorting things for Christmas presents, doing some elephant research and reading my book, followed by my daily 5pm swim before going to make dinner. All the others had left so I was there by myself now, and on Wednesday night I go t a bit of a fright when I went to the toilet block at around 11pm and on the way back the path was blocked by a huge baboon spider! There was not a lot I could do apart from squeel so I decided to go the long way round back to my hut and ended up getting a little lost on the way.
Thursday I was then greeted by a Snake near the kitchen, which I will admit did give me quite a fright but once the initial shock I was quite interested in identifying it. I looked it up and it looked like a sand snake so no worries there, I could just leave it to do its own thing. I also met the handymen on Thursday who had come to fix all the problems around the campus, and thankfully they came to make sure my door shut properly so now that mouse can't keep waking me up when it comes in the hut every night!
By the end of the week I was starting to get used to all the quirky goings on here and had settled into a bit of a routine, so it was nice on Friday morning when Ben turned up and took me into town with him for the morning. I went and printed off all my pictures and got some bits to make the Christmas presents, and then the two of us went to lunch at Hat and Creek. We sat for a while enjoying the sunshine, used the internet and then finally headed back to Mahlahla. Ben dropped me off so that he could go on the evening game drive and I came back here and spent the evening starting to put the Christmas presents together.
On Saturday morning Ben turned up and told me to pack a bag for the weekend, so I grabbed some clothes and the present stuff and my art book then headed off in the car to some secret place that I had no idea about. We drove for about 20 minutes until Ben turned off down a little dirt road and after a few minutes turned up at an adorable B&B called Blue Cottages. There were blue roofed rondewalls scattered around a beautiful garden, and we were greeted by a lovely couple who made us feel so at home. We were showed to what I presumed was going to be a room, but in fact was a lovely cottage in the corner of the garden with a beautiful deck and roses climbing up the trellis. The cottage itself was perfect, a little kitchen and living room bursting with warm African colours in the first room and through a little corridor there was a bedroom with the biggest bed I had ever seen, and then a little bathroom off to the side adorned with shells. If I could pick up my house and take it with me wherever I lived then this would be the one I would pick. It was absolutely delightful and I couldn't believe what a surprise this was. Ben had really outdone himself and I couldn't believe we were staying in this beautiful place all weekend. Once we were unpacked I made some lunch and then we went exploring and found the pool, which was huge, and so we went for a swim.
Eventually I got out the pool and dried off in the sun with my book, only to be introduced to next doors Jack Russels. They were so cute, and after a couple of hours of playing by the pool they followed us back to the cottage and sat outside with us while we sat on the deck and did some work. Ben wrote letters to people back home while I did some painting, then eventually it was about time for dinner. We braaied lamb and vegetables on the little braai pit outside the cottage, then sat around the outside table with a paraffin lamp and enjoyed the sound of the insects in the bush. The mosquitoes finally took over and I was forced to come inside. That prompted an early night and so Ben and I tucked ourselves up in bed and watched the King's Speech until I finally fell asleep in the mass of comfy pillows and duvets…didn't take long really!
Sunday morning I awoke in a mound of duvet covers and felt so comfy that I did not want to get up. However I finally got out of bed and went to make some breakfast for Ben and I. Once finished we made our way to the pool and sat there for most of the morning reading our books and playing with the dogs from next door. That afternoon we sat outside the cottage while Ben finished up his letters and I put together the Christmas present for Mum and Dad. It was such a lovely afternoon spent on the verandah. Then just before the sun went down we went back to the pool for one last swim. That evening I made some dinner and then we sat down and watched the end of The King's speech while enjoying the awesome pesto pasta I had made (I was so full afterwards!). I never thought that The King's speech was overly funny because most of the witty comments, dry sense of humour and the sarcasm was so typically British that I am used to that kind of thing, so when I just smiled or had a little chuckle about a line Ben was instead laughing hysterically and so I ended up laughing even more. Hmmm I guess it's what everyone else is like when I laugh at stuff when they are there… But anyway it was a lot more entertaining the second time round with Ben laughing the whole way through. It was a lovely way to spend the evening!