Sunday, May 24, 2009

8 May (Fri)

Keita now wakes up every morning saying “the naughty swenis stole Frannetty’s food”.

Went out filming with Brad while Jason was in Maun. Loved being back in the bush and taking photos. Was an interesting day, with much going on, not least when we found Ra Noka, the dominant male lion, just at first light and Brad flung me out of the vehicle literally at the feet of this lion to get low angle photographs. After having done it once you tend to get blasé and I spent a good portion of the day crouched at the front wheel of the cruiser, a few metres away from the lions, getting fabulous photographs. I lost my nerve once when Ra Noka, after polishing off the baby impala, started walking to the lionesses. The way we were parked his only option was to follow a path that cut directly in front of the vehicle, or to follow the path that ran along side the vehicle, between us and a bush. As I was at the front tyre of the vehicle, crouched on the ground, he literally would have had to squeeze past me (a sum total of about 50cm between me and the bush – is 50cm even enough to fit a male lion?) or walk directly in front of me, within 1 metre. Both were too close for my liking and I lost my nerve and stood up just as he was approaching the corner of the vehicle where I was crouched, so I never saw what route he would have taken. This gave him a huge fright but I figured it was better than having him literally bump me out the way to get past. Close is fine, but that close is madness.

We spent the day watching the thin and desperate lionesses follow the buffalo herd. They managed to kill a young impala and then a baby buffalo in fairly quick succession, but both times were relieved of the kill by the grossly full male lion who had only recently returned from shagging two aged lionesses nearby.

I returned to camp at lunchtime, feeling guilty about staying out all day. I really need to get over this, specifically because Rio is so busy playing with his friends that he really isn’t aware if I am around or not.

That evening, the buffalos, the lions, and Brad were all close by so we decided to do a sunset game drive, with Champagne, and meet up with them. We had meant to drink champagne the day before to celebrate the baboons raiding the tent (the only thing to do in the circumstances – beats moping about it) but none of us had been up to it. We headed out and pandemonium ensued on the vehicle. I thought Rio and Keita were difficult to contain and keep quiet while game driving but William makes them seem like angels. We had to park far from everything, which was fine with me – I don’t need to see a lion killing another buffalo, and neither do the kids. Who knows what this would do to Rio’s budding theory of life and death.

The kids ran wild and the parents got increasingly stressed. Jason (Brad’s assistant) looked positively alarmed at the noise and the chaos that was unfolding on the vehicle. He is not a parent. 

The evening gradually got better because we drank the champagne and all the mayhem on the vehicle didn’t seem to matter anymore. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andy,
    I have just read a whole stack of your posts and have experienced such a wide range of emotions. I have such admiration for you and this brave, poineering life you are living. I have noticed a few mentions of you being depressed and feeling unsure of yourself and what you are doing re your kids etc. Don't worry too much. You are living such a spontaneous life at that moment that you can barely plan what will happen from day to day. Emotions - good or bad- are experienced when our ideas of what will happen in certain circumstances, are not met. Your life at the moment is a surprise every day and it stands to reason that this would cause your emotions to be all over the place. The fact that you question yourself so much shows what a GREAT mother you are and how much you care. Your kids are lucky to have you!!
    Death is a scary things for kids and the questions and fears that Rio has are very normal. Rhiannon (3.5) has been obsessed about death since a friend of ours dog was run over and we have told her about the dog we had who dies before she was born. We also said he was a star in the sky and that he would look after our friends dog. Since then she has been worried about us dying - especially me - I guess she picked up a lot more of the worry and talk of stats for me dying over the last 3 years when I had my brain ops, than we realised. Kids are little sponges aren't they. The whole death thing is a scary concept for them, but I guess all you can do is comfort and reassure and cuddle. I wish we could sit and chat on a regular basis, let me know when you have spare bandwidth for a skype chat. I hope you are all well now and the kids are fully recovered from that terrifying sick ordeal!!!
    Love and hugs