Zak the Incredible!

25 03 2013

Hey, I am Zak and new around here but as I am so cute I have a blog all to myself! Check it out, it is really upbeat, witty and clever and loaded with great photos of me!

Am I cute or what!

Am I cute or what!

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Out to play

12 10 2012

I haven’t been lazy in posting to this blog – I have been out to play! Three weeks away in the real world in Europe where the cops are not on the take, the public transport is on time and the trash is picked up – mostly. Getting off the Eurostar at Gare du Nord in Paris the cigarette butts on the railway tracks were very obvious despite the announcements that it was “absolument inderdit” (definitely prohibited) to smoke in the station or on the platforms. Very French to thumb your nose at the authority a bit – like the girl with her dog on the scooter outside the Moulin Rouge where the dancers wore more makeup than clothes. It was a LOT of makeup and yes, not a lot of clothes.

It was good to get back to Annecy where I’d flown in 2004 though this time I did not have my paraglider with me so went off to the flying festival at St Hilaire to check out the trade show, flying displays and of course the masquerade though it was difficult to get close to the latter due to the crowds. Around 80,000 people attend of the 4 days that it runs – mostly day trippers from Grenoble. An amazing atmosphere.

Back in Paris it was time for the Eiffel Tower where there were no queues as it was well out of tourist season and I even saw a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog being walked there. The parisiennes really do have good taste!

Then over to London for some brief shopping (why walk when it can all be done on the internet and delivered?) and a day at the Natural History Museum. The Brits do some things very well and this is one of them. A day did not even begin to cover what was on display. And there were free talks by scientists on their area of speciality in the evening.

I have a brother in Shropshire so went up there for a week and met up with cousins and went on a day trip to nearby Chester in England (part of it is in Wales). An example of how tourism can be done well. Take a few lessons Zimbabwe!

Now I am back in the heat and the dust and the uncollected rubbish in Zimbabwe. The South African truck drivers on whom we are dependent for just about everything are on strike so it’s time to do some serious shopping. Kharma is delighted that I am back. It’s home.





Rhodesian Ridgebacks – the breed description

20 10 2011

The Wikipedia page on Rhodesian Ridgebacks is quite clear – “Ridgebacks are strong-willed, intelligent, and many seem to have a penchant for mischief, though loving.” This is not part of the official breed standard as listed by the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Great Britain. Maybe it should be. Kharma, my 3 and a bit year old RR seems well familiar with the concept.

“Kharma come here. I need to clean your eyes.”

Dutifully comes to me and sits with her head behind me so I cannot easily get to her.

“No, Kharma. Sit. Here!” I indicate a position in front of my knees.

She turns around, sits in front of me then lies down and rolls over.

“Kharma. SIT PROPERLY!”

She stands and walks off.





Hiatus

20 08 2010

I have been uninspired since Jenni’s death. It’s not that I haven’t been writing, on the contrary, I filled 21 pages of my diary with my memories of her, but it’s private stuff that I won’t be posting here. I just can’t seem to find much to write about.

We actually managed to get a group of pilots together for the long weekend this month and head up to Nyanga. It was to be my first flying since the neck op in March and I was not at all sure that my right arm would cope as it is so much weaker than before. The Sunday we all went off to the Honde site (east facing) which is spectacular enough, overlooking the Honde Valley into Mozambique. I was too nervous to fly at midday but by the afternoon when I’d plucked up courage the wind had dropped to nearly nothing and it wasn’t worth the effort. Still, it was nice to chill with flying buddies in the evening and drink a beer and talk the usual pilot talk.

It was westerly on Monday and we waited around at World’s View. Pete and Manu offered to get me off the hill and after more than a bit of dithering on my part I got a clean, easy launch and headed out to find a thermal. The previous inexperienced pilot had missed all available thermals and sunk out to the “turkey patch” without ever getting above take off. I headed away from the takeoff and soon picked up a nice thermal that took me nearly 1000m above take off and the flight was on. It was quite emotional for me; Jenni should have been with me and a good friend, Trevor Ambrose had died suddenly early on Sunday morning in Harare. But I settled into the flight and enjoyed the smooth relatively strong climbs and landed 1.5hrs later at the National Parks grid into the park. A very slow flight but enjoyable..

Last week I had to go to Jo’burg for a follow up consultation with the surgeon who did my neck op. Setting the alarm at 04h15 I got to the airport by 05h30 only to find I was the first in the queue. I still managed to be last onto the plane which was fully booked.

I’d plenty of time to do my own thing so after sorting out a bit of business I looked up Cheryl whom I’d contacted about getting another Rhodesian Ridgeback dog. She’s a breeder in Edenvale and invited me around the next day to see a bitch she was thinking of rehoming due to some breeding difficulties with her – she was also being bullied by the other dogs. I knew I was being assessed but had taken the precaution of directing her to Jenni’s album on my Facebook page. We got on well and she introduced me to Kharma, a young, very gentle bitch who is a quite different build from Jenni but a similar temperament. It took a while but Cheryl eventually agreed that I could have Kharma (I’d pay for her to fly up to Harare – a road trip would be too risky).

I saw the doctor that afternoon and he pronounced himself satisfied with the result. I didn’t point out that the right arm was still not up to the functionality it had before the op.

On Tuesday I went past the Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services to see if I could get an import licence for Kharma. I’d been alerted that there was a ban on all animal and animal products into Zimbabwe from South Africa but an internet search revealed it was all about protecting local industry rather than preventing Rift Valley Fever getting in. There was a poster up on the wall informing all that there was a total ban on the import of animals and animal products from South Africa. But I asked anyway. No, there was no ban, it had been lifted. Yes! I was too elated to bother pointing the poster out.

I should have picked the permit up today but did not go that way. So it will have to be Monday. There is no rush, Kharma only flies up in 2 weeks – I think Cheryl is getting a bit┬ápossessive! That’s a good sign.