Storm of the century!…Well, kind of…What a night!…Thank goodness for rain…

Mongooses were wondering when I’d cut up paloney for them. Upon seeing them at the door, I complied promptly. There ended up being about 40 of them by the time I was ready to toss it to them on the grass. Could they be any cuter?

With the dew point over 70 most of yesterday, it seemed likely to rain at some point. We made it through dinner but dined indoors at the dining room table, thinking it could start raining any minute. By the time we finished eating, the rain had begun. We immediately locked the veranda door.

While Tom did the dishes, as usual, I set up my laptop and the JBL speaker on the bed, wondering what we’d watch with the WiFi out the minute the winds kicked in. Without WiFi, we had nothing to watch except the 900 movies Gerhard had downloaded on the external hard drive he and Rita gave me last year on my birthday. What a great gift!

Big Daddies in the garden eating lucerne and pellets.

We’d seen many of the movies over the years, and without WiFi to look up the storyline, we’d choose movies based entirely on the title and the pictures on the front of the movie. It was hard to tell. But we decided to wing it and found two movies that managed to entertain us mildly. They weren’t great, but they were ok.

Each time we watch one of those 900 movies, we delete it from the hard drive. Otherwise, we’d have to remember which ones we’d already seen. Mostly the movies were from 2015 to 2017. When we’ve often streamed TV shows and movies, we’ve watched more TV series than movies. We prefer a series with numerous episodes to allow for binge-watching.

This is a blue waxbill, a tiny bird that loves to eat the seeds on the bushbaby stand.

As a result, we haven’t seen many movies over the years we’ve been traveling. We only watch something if we are home from evenings out by 8:00 or 9:00 pm, 2000 hrs. to 2100 hrs; Tom doesn’t care to watch anything later than that since I tend to fall asleep if I watch something after 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs.

The WiFi never came back on until this morning. The company serving our house and others in Marloth Park could not make the outdoor repairs when the storm raged for hours. A few times, the power went out, but we were still able to watch the movies when my computer was fully charged, and we had the inverter providing energy to our devices when plugged in at the outlet on my side of the bed.

It isn’t easy to describe the intensity of the night’s rain, lightning, thunder, and wind. On several occasions, we felt the lightning hit something in our garden outside the bedroom window. It may sound crazy, but we both smelled smoke. Tom went outside to check to make sure everything was ok. After all, we, like many residents in Marloth Park, are in houses with thatched roofs that can easily catch fire.

It’s a rarity for Big Daddies to jump over the little fence.

By no means were we panicky. As soon as we saw everything was fine, we went back to watching the movie. The storm continued until about midnight. Often, I wondered where the animals were hunkered down. Surely, they’ve all experienced such storms in the past and knew how to keep themselves safe and out of harm’s way.

With the sun back out this morning, it was hot and humid with the dew point at 72, considered “tropical,” which is very uncomfortable. But, the bush looks green with the dust washed off the leaves on the trees, and soon, from the rain, the bush will begin to green with fresh new vegetation for the wildlife. Lots more rain is needed to provide the lush green nourishment they so much need to thrive.

This is Aggie, our resident agama. He changes colors almost daily. Today, he showed us these orange spots on his body. I wish we could find things to feed him.

Of course, along with the rain comes the hatching of mosquitos. In a few weeks, we’ll begin to feel their wrath. I am already wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts to reduce my use of DEET and prevent getting too many bites. I have had three new bites in the past 24 hours, all under my clothes. I may have to use DEET before dressing for the day.

Norman, Nina, and Noah have spent the entire morning with us, hovering in and near the garden. It’s always such a joy to be with them. Also, bushbuck, Bad Leg, has been resting in the garden against the little fence. Every so often, I bring him some pellets, cold cabbage, and carrots since he’s not able to forage for himself with his injury. The birdbath has fresh, clean water so all of the animals can drink.

This is a millipede with zillions of legs. With red on her underside, I don’t believe this one is venomous.

Lollie lives outside the little fence, but she finds waterholes from which she drinks and takes mud baths almost daily. We watch her leave for a few hours, later to return a muddy mess which eases our minds that she has access to water. If and when a time comes when waterholes may dry up, if we don’t get sufficient rain, we’ll put out a shallow pan of water for her each day.

My headache is still gone, but the facial tenderness continues. I am icing it a few times each day, hoping it will resolve soon. I am still walking, regardless of the weather. Today, I will do 7500 steps toward my goal of 10,000 by the weekend.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 25, 2021:

Zebras were grazing on the grass at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Zambia. For more photos, please click here.

A stormy, stormy night…Date night that is…

The puffs of clouds surrounding us this morning were a delight to behold.

When a couple is together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (I never liked that expression, 24/7) we find it’s important to designate certain periods of time as “date nights.”

Sure, it’s pretending. But then, isn’t romantic in itself a pretense of sorts, making special times out of “normal” times?  Some may believe this is not important in a strong loving relationship.  For some, it may not be important, or so they think.

Sadly, power lines always seem to obstruct the view in the remote areas we’ve visited.

But, spend an evening freshly showered, wearing an attractive outfit (need not be fancy), preparing a carefully planned and executed quiet dinner, finishing off the evening with a movie befitting the taste of both parties and a romantic evening can be had. 

For the budget-minded, the cost is no more than any other evening at home. For the extravagant, the experience is as rich and fulfilling as a lavish night on the town with the end result being the same;  feeling loved, cherished, and fulfilled.

Last night was “date night” appropriately a Saturday night that even us retired folks still perceive as the time for extra fun (along with Friday nights). 

Beginning at 5:00 pm, our evening began when the bells from the church out our window began ringing prompting me to once again attempt to take a video, once again to do a poor job but I’m working on it. Taking still photos has been tough enough for me, as my family so well knows.

The church across the road with the bells only ringing on Saturday nights.

The delight we felt during the six minutes as the bells joyfully clanged began the tone of the evening. It was uphill from there. Since neither of us felt like eating all day (a phenomenon that occurs when one eats low carb-loss of appetite), by 6:00 pm, we were ready for dinner.

Planned as taco salad night (minus the bowl), I had chopped and diced all the accompaniments well in advance and had only to cook the grass-fed ground beef seasoning it accordingly. 

By 6:00 pm, an hour earlier than usual, we were dining at the kitchen table digging into our massive salads filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables from the garden especially those plump red tomatoes gifted to us by Santina on Friday.

More puffs of clouds.  As the morning wore on, the puffs dissipated as the sun struggled to appear.  The thick heaviness of humidity remained with the cool temperature making it tolerable.

Some may say watching TV shows or movies is not romantic. For us, it is.  Tom tends to chatter on incessantly during the show, something I’ve found charming. The laughter and conversation continue as we watch. 

Our show of choice last night during dinner, one that invites comments and observations, was “America’s Got Talent,” a mindless TV series that easily incites laughter and smiles.  Without commercials, the episode ended about the time we’d finished dinner.  I tackled putting away the leftovers (repeat tonight!) while Tom as always, washed the dishes.

It almost looks as if its smoke, rather than clouds.

By 7:15, part two of our evening began, spending time on the veranda overlooking the mountains, listening to the birds, and swatting off a few flying insects.  Once again, I put on the Africa pants to avoid being stung as a couple of flies buzzed around my head. Each time I wear the pants I’m surprised by how well they keep the bugs from biting.  I’ve yet to be stung once while wearing them, even without my arms or feet protected. 

As we often do, we moved my laptop to the coffee table in the living room, positioning ourselves in the uncomfortable 100-year-old sofa, and proceeded to watch a few more episodes of our favorite downloaded shows from Graboid:  season 3, episode 5 of The Killing, and season 1, episode 2 of The White Queen (excellent shows worth watching).

After the first show, we rousted up the big dishwashing bowl for the shells for the pistachios and peanuts, more out of fun than hunger. By 9:00 pm our shows ended, leaving only a few minutes of battery time on my laptop.  

From experience, we knew that by charging it for 45 minutes we’d regain enough of charge to watch a movie in bed. We busied ourselves in the kitchen as it recharged, Tom, checking email, and Facebook, while I read my latest book.

By 9:45 we meandered to our room, setting up a wooden tray to support the laptop on the bed (it’s a dangerous fire hazard to place a laptop directly on top of the bed) and crawled under the comfy covers to watch the movie, Linda Lovelace, (bringing back lots of memories of the ’70s) that we found disappointing. But for us, with Tom’s chatter, I was thoroughly entertained.

Once again, this bell tower is a focal point in our photos.  Most villages in Italy have such a tower, visible as one travels through the winding mountain roads.

By 12:30 am with the mosquito netted window wide open as a cool breeze wafting our way, we drifted off within minutes of each other with smiles on our faces.  Indeed, it was a delightful evening.

An hour later, deep in sleep, we both were alarmed by as an outrageous bolt of thunder and lightening permeating the area as the rain pelted the tile roofs.

It was no less than two hours, there was a relentless storm that hovered in this mountainous valley as loud and as bright as any fast-moving storm we’d experienced in Minnesota.  The difference here was the time it hovered as if it was caught in this valley with no way in which to escape. 

Although neither of us is fearful of the storms, we were entranced by its intensity, eventually forced to close the window as the wind whipped in its direction, pouring torrents of water into the bedroom at the moment it took for me to jump out of bed to hurriedly shut it. 

Tom had fallen back to sleep. I lay awake comforted by the fact that this 300-year-old house has most certainly survived centuries of such storms and was nonetheless still intact. Reading my book, an enticing Irish novel, until almost 4:00 am, I finally drifted off tucking my phone under my pillow.

As always, 6:55 am forced my bleary eyes open, only seconds before the 7 clangs of the clock tower next door to us. It’s funny how it never awakens us during the night. Not wanting to awaken Tom, I lingered in bed until he awoke at 7:56 am, moments later to hear the 8 clangs, as we both offered a groggy, “Hi, sweetie.” As always, upon arising together we made the bed, a habit we started years ago when arising at the same time.

Tom called out to me as I was getting ready to shower, beaconing me to the patio to look out at the mountains. These are the photos we took this morning, thrilled to see the clouds so low, lingering in puffs throughout the valley.  What a sight!

Date night turned into “date morning” as we were entranced by the view as if it was a parting gift from Boveglio for the 2½ months were lived in its midst (no pun intended).  Thank you, Boveglio.