Hello Friends - I hope that you're all well and happy. I'm OK, just a bit disorientated after a long journey and I haven't had the chance to catch up yet.
Here's what I've been up to the last two months:
When I left the Desert in January the rain season was in full swing and the further north I travelled the wetter it became.
The weather has been fantastic - I even heard one farmer complain, (not too loudly though), that it was a bit too much rain ...
Shortly after I arrived home I was visited by two lovely ladies from Holland - Eva on the left and Mana right. Mana is the daughter of an old friend and they stayed two nights before heading on to the Etosha Pans.
On a trip to Tsinsabis, 30km to the North of me I photographed these kids, (probably siblings), wading through a pool of water - they could have stayed dry by crossing over the bridge but it seemed more fun to go through the water.
Love Triangle - They stopped to pose for some pics - the little guy in front looked so serious, he never smiled once ... what an old, wise face he has hey?
Two women sell mushrooms along the side of the road.
This was the best Omahova season ever - because the atmospheric conditions must be just right for them to appear, the mushrooms are usually only available for about a week but, this year, I found people selling them for almost a month.
Four young guys selling their Omahova.
My buddy Stretch visited for a few days and we feasted on the mushrooms for two nights - by this time Stretch was literally 'fed-up' because he'd eaten them for five nights in a row ...
It was only after I arrived home that the realisation that Spirit was not there really sunk in - a few times I caught myself calling at the spot where he had made a nest in the long grass ... it's a good thing for venomous snakes that I encountered none of their kind during this time.
... I miss his youth and playfulness - the other two cats are old farts and no fun - I was stunned when I watched a confused little pointy-nosed mouse run around in front of them and neither batted an eyelid ...
... perhaps I feed them too much.
I had no building action-plan when I arrived home ... I had a vague idea what I wanted to do and when I started working all seemed confused, I was frustrated by the apparent lack of progress - it was only as I was about to leave that everything came together and, looking back, I'm satisfied (and slightly surprised) with what I achieved.
I installed a roof over the shower/toilet and cut it to size so that I can build the outer walls up further; did the plumbing, installed the throne and window panes, and had the walls plastered.
I also knocked down and rebuilt the inner walls for the adjoining main bedroom, had it plastered and installed a ceiling and lights - this whole section of the house is almost complete now.
When I started working I was full of fears and doubts but I managed to muddle through them and in the end learned two new skills: plumbing and how to install a hanging ceiling.
Stoffel seems to approve of her new expanded living space.
Here she is putting her brush into her mouth in order to bring it to me so that I can groom her ... she carries things in her mouth because she only has one arm, which she needs to move around with.
There's nothing in the world that Stoffel likes more than being brushed and, if I'd let her, she'd lie stretched-out on my lap for hours while I groom her.
During the whole time at home I hadn't seen the pair of Damara Dik-diks which had been regular visitors during the winter - I thought that the reason was that there was ample food available.
On the afternoon before I left for the desert I spotted them on the edge of the bush. I grabbed my camera but they bolted as I approached and I only managed this fuzzy shot of one of them jumping a low fence.
Later, after the sun had set and I'd put my camera away, I was packing the car and looked up to see them grazing peacefully in the twilight, not more than 20 meters from me ...
Well that's about it - It was an unsettled period for me, I had a lot of pain in my back and much of the time I was uptight and restless, as if I had a mental itch that couldn't be scratched ... hopefully the desert will enable me to regain some sort of balance ...
Lovely to see you again my friend.
Walk along with me to the next bend.
Tells us what you've seen in faraway forgotten lands.
Where empires have turned back to sand.