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Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Weatherwise in Zimbabwe, entering the New Year is always like turning a corner.

Before Christmas and New Year the weather is dreadful, (they have always called October Suicide Month in Bulawayo). Its stinking hot, the flies are horrendous after their first hatching. The mozzies are legendary and the frogs are noisily waiting for rain.
The countryside prior to Christmas is hot and mean but once it is January, it seems as if the whole country, or at least Matabeleland, changes into a little cool green paradise.

The clivia begin to peep from beneath their shiny rain washed waxy leaves. The Coleus are rich in their deep tapestry colours. The roses stretch and bloom towards the gentle rain aNd the grass on the verges grows at an inch a day.

On the way to Chimanimani the banks of the roadside around about Charter, only at a certain altitude mind you, Saint Josephs Lilies (or Easter Lilies) bloom in their wild thousands. Their magnificent white trumpets nodding sagely in the mist.

In the lower areas, the glorious flame lilies abound along the roadsides, their little tubers having rested quietly in the soil waiting for the rains. There is one on a verge in Suburbs, Bulawayo, where the caring gardener has slashed the verge vigorously, but carefully and lovingly leaving the Gloriosa Superba to blink and bloom happily in the sun.
Naturally Zimbabwe and Malta have tied for first place with the best climate on earth in this year's Quality of Life Index, published last week in International Living magazine !!

The paradise fly catchers call elegantly in the trees and the Heuglins' babies have been born safely in spite of the crows and gymnogenes. Their proud parents love the cool damp mornings as they forage around for delicacies for their hungry babys.
The Red Eyed Turtle Dove calls hauntingly and gently close by, his call is delicious and mellow and makes one long for home...
This year we heard for the first time in years a Red Chested Cuckoo ( Piet-my-vrou ). He has called continuously and to a point ,infuriatingly, for several weeks now.

HeeHoo called him on his Roberts bird caller and the little guy was so furious that there was someone in his territory that he called loudly and determinedly ALL NIGHT long, just to chase away the dastardly interloper.

I googled the little fellow and not being an Afrikaans speaker instead of typing in "Piet-my-vrou" I googled "Pik My Fro" and came up with an astonishing little gem

Instead of a bird I came across "How do I pick out the sides and the back side of my afro? .."
Ah yes, life in Bulawayo is beautiful, there may be potholes, power cuts, and plastic bags but the positives far outweigh the negatives.

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