Monday, May 26, 2008

In no particular order and for no particular reason

5 things Joaquim loves:
His best friend Milan
Munchy Mike (his tiger cub)
The colour pink

5 things Sebastian loves:
His best friend Noa
Cars (with a capital C, as in Disney-Pixar)

5 things Joaquim does not love:
Cutting his hair
Wearing shoes
Hurrying up

5 things Sebastian does not love:
The straps on his car seat
Wearing clothes
Potatoes (except chips)
Washing his hair

5 things I love:
Their smell
Their feet
Their hugs
Their brotherhood
Their dad

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Birthdays and bird days

It's been a while, hasn't it? I have been submerged in birthday cake making, birthday party throwing, and - for a change of scene - bird watching.

Following hot on the heels of Sebastian's wonky plane came Joaquim's rather better rocket (easier design) and then on the day of the great pirate party, well, see below. My boys were born 2 years minus a week apart, which is convenient when it comes to parties as I only have to do one a year. Thank god. No doubt there will come a time when they insist on having one each, but for the time being they are content enough to share, and I'm happy with that as I seriously doubt that I have the stamina to do this twice in a 10 day stretch.

So there were two birthday boys. One had a rather extravagant curly moustache, which didn't last long in the paddling pool.

The other spent most of the party stark naked, apart from a brief appearance in a dino costume, which was not really in theme, but that's hard for a two-year-old to understand. Perhaps it was a sea-monster.

There was also a treasure hunt, pass the parcel, a pin-the-tail type game, a bouncy castle/paddling pool combo, more party games and a rather fabulous pirate ship cake (if I say so myself). We nearly burned the new house down with the canons, which were these candle-style sparkler-ish fireworky things which are probably illegal in any developed country, but looked fantastic stuck in the side of the cake and also set fire the paper tablecloth in a rather dramatic battle-scene simulation.

The kids were kept busy and sugar-fuelled, the parents had plenty of cold beer and wine, the boys got lots of presents, and it seems that a great time was had by all. But by the end of the day it was all I could do to stay out of bed until the boys were in theirs.

So the next day, I jumped ship and headed off to the bush with Malcolm, a visiting ornithologist who I last saw 11 years ago in Uganda. We spent a week with binoculars at hand, assessing the Park's potential for bird-watching and starting a training course for some of our rangers and community guides, who - we hope - will at some future point become top-class bird guides. I love spending time in the bush, and this time the pleasure was compounded by re-discovering an old friend and by finding out that we do indeed have great bird life and that this might just be the saving grace in terms of tourism for the interior of the park, where we don't have enough big game to compete with such neighbouring giants as Tanzania, Kenya, SA, Botswana, Namibia and the like. But who needs rhinos when you have brown-breasted barbets, Zanzibar red bishops and Livingstone's fly-catcher? None of which are the fellow in the pic below, but isn't he beautiful?

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