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Blog 30 - On Safari

I can’t believe I am writing blog 30 in the second series. Will the scarves last out until my next half century of blogs....or will we be out of lockdown and I will have lost the urge to write? Maybe I will not have to escape by magic carpet and actually board a real plane again.... but today I have decided we will take the carpet and be off to Nairobi. So my choice of scarf is a zebra print, silk, long, rolled edges, no designer name, good quality.

I have mixed feelings about my memories. Yes, a safari to see the wild animals is truly magical and I had wanted to visit Kenya as my father had spent many months in East Africa and I had many souvenirs of his time there, mainly carvings. I visited twice, once with my daughters with safaris in South Arica and Kenya and another time with my husband en route from the Far East with interesting stopovers en route for Madrid. On this latter trip, my less favourable memory is a long wait in Nairobi airport for our connection with an obscure African airline to take us to Madrid. My husband developed a high temperature; our plane was stranded on the airfield with mechanical difficulties. We learned that the airline had only two planes...we were looking at 50% of it defunct and he was sweating profusely. Our one thought was to get to Europe, hopefully to London to the Hospital of Tropical Diseases. As luck would have it, the first plane we could catch was going to Madrid, via London, so we decided to see how the journey went. We probably took the wrong decision and went on to Madrid. Poor Godfrey did not leave his bed for a week with a high fever. I was delighted to see my sister again as we had lived in different parts of the world for a long time and I enjoyed sightseeing in Madrid. Alas, she had to get rid of his bedding, if not the mattress after the visit. Was it malaria? We will never know. By the time we left Madrid for London, he was over the fever, we forgot about the Hospital of Tropical Diseases, visited our parents and eventually went back to Hong Kong. One would never do that now knowing about pandemics. Anyway, today we are on the magic carpet, we will hover for a bit on the way back over Longleat in Wiltshire and I will wave to the zebras.

My memory of safaris was prompted by an interesting email I received from a reader of the blog. Don’t know how she found it. She has beautiful animal scarves too and wondered when I might feature a double of one of hers. She worked for the prestigious company of Rowland Ward in London’s Grosvenor Street which also sold silk scarves, and wondered if my husband had ever bought one there. She was not to know he had an office in that very street, but I don’t think he was a customer. Way far back, this company had been the leader in the world’s taxidermy and publisher of natural history books including the records of Big Game from the mid nineteenth century. How different from today when we shoot photos and films of wild life rather than killing animals. Over fifty years ago, this reader had the opportunity to run the company’s showroom in the posh New Stanley Hotel in Nairobi but turned it down to marry a Devon farmer. She shared a lovely story with me how she had been wearing her Rowland Ward zebra scarf tied round her head, riding her mare to round up the cows for milking, turned off the electric fencing, and was shot at by a youth with an air pistol from behind a bank on neighbouring land, thinking he was aiming at a rabbit. He missed her but pinged the electric fence! As the adverts say....he should have gone to Specsavers! I don’t think they have striped rabbits in Devon! I like to think that my blogs trigger memories in readers and I particularly enjoyed that one.

For now, Baby No Name delivered by that stork last week is doing well and I look forward to seeing these zebras at Longleat with him when I can visit freely. Another safari, albeit in Wiltshire, to create a new memory.

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 30.

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