I delivered Brad his lunch today as he was filming and didn’t want to leave the lions and the buffalos who were sleeping within 30 metres of each other, as they often bizarrely do. I took Pricka with me so that he could get out for a bit, leaving everyone else in camp.
An hour later we arrived back in camp to see Humphry and Frannette marching down the road looking murderous – he with a seriously smart catapult and she with a spade - and some baboons walking nonchalantly down the road in front of them. It turns out that some members of a baboon troop had raided Fannette’s tent, decimating her birthday care package from her mother (filled with Woolies iced coffee, Argentinian chocolate biscuits and other such delicious things) and her birthday care package from Joyce. They had strewn everything all over the floor as well as smeared pooh on her pink duvet.
This had made She-Who-Is-Always-Happy a little unhappy, although she hid it well. She still had a smile on her face when attempting to look threatening at a large male baboon who was barely bothering to run away from them. It was only when Humphry zapped it in the bum with a marble fired from his catty that it moved. Later Frannette told us that at one stage she had been in her tent, mourning the loss of her goodies, when the marauding male had returned. She had quickly zipped it up, locking her inside, and him outside. By the time we arrived back they had been waging war for quite a while already. This is a worrying turn of events because we haven’t had a baboon problem before.
Pricka soon sorted out the problem though. As we pulled into camp and it became apparent that baboons were the source of the commotion, Prika leapt off the vehicle, grabbed a nearby log from the woodpile and took off after the baboons, yelling and yodeling and generally sounding like an insane banshee, terrifying the troop and all the children. Young baboons screamed and ran for their mothers, adults barked and scrambled for cover and there was pandemonium all round. Only about 20 minutes later Pricka sauntered back into camp, sweaty and satisfied that he had chased them far enough away.
I went directly into the camp and found Keita very wide-eyed on Karen’s hip. She earnestly informed me that “the naughty swenis had eaten Frannette’s food and that they were going to eat her”. She must have thought that her dream of a few days before was about to become a reality. Rio and William and Edward were quite uninterested and continued whatever game of pirates or soldiers they were engrossed in, practically without missing a beat.
At about 5pm a breeding herd of elephants wandered past. We stood and watched them and then I snuck into the shower with Rio and Keita. We watched them from there for a while until the kids got bored and we snuck out again, just in time it seems because a cow with a tiny calf wandered up and ate the grass under the shower while resting her head against the raised shower platform itself. It wouldn’t have been so fabulous to have still been in there with two restless kids.
That night I did get an “I love you as much as a great white whale” from Rio just before he fell asleep, which made my year.