Shark holiday: Day 2

On Sunday it was a bit rainy and windy. We were scheduled to go for a shark cage dive but the weather was too bad. In some ways this was quite a good thing as it gave us a chance to go and buy some clothes!

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The Roundhouse in Gansbaai is a really nice place to stay. It really is round and our room was quite round as well! It also has viewing platforms all around as there are often whales in the bay. Although it’s not really whale season yet we still saw one whale from the Roundhouse and another when we were out on a boat. The whale we saw from the Roundhouse was a Southern Right Whale. We also had a really nice bathroom when we staying at the Roundhouse which is very good for me as I love having a bath, especially when it is rainy outside.

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There is also a really funny dog who lives at the Roundhouse. He is called Stavros and he is very small but he thinks he is big. He follows you when you go for a walk and he can walk in the road and avoid the cars or make them stop for him.

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As we didn’t have any clothes the people who had arranged the holiday for us, Dave and Elna, took us down to their shark shop and we got some fleeces and hats and t-shirts. Then they drove us 2 hours to Cape Town so we could get some clothes. It was very kind of them and also helped a lot as Gansbaai is very small and there were no underwear shops or anything.

It was also good as it meant I could get some ear drops. I got a cold a few days before we went and on the plane my ears hurt really badly and I couldn’t get them to pop and then when we got off the plane I couldn’t hear so I was glad we got ear drops.

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Then we went back to Gansbaai and we went to a restaurent which was really nice. We were the only customers as it is winter there – that is the best season for sharks but not for the weather. The restaurent owner drove us back to the Roundhouse when we had finished – that was often what we found – that people would do a lot for you to help you out and make things better for you.

End of day 2.

Back to Day 1
On to Day 3

Shark holiday: Day 1

Well we are back from our shark holiday and had the most fantastic time – even better than I had imagined. I thought I would write about each day, partly to help me not feel so sad it’s over! I think I shouldn’t feel sad as it was so excellent but at the moment I wish I was still in South Africa.

So we set off from home at about 1.30am on Saturday 19th May. It was very early. Ben drove and I slept. Thank you to Ben for everything – this holiday was really for me as I am mad about sharks and he did everything he could to make it perfect. Now he likes sharks quite a lot too.

We did purple parking which is where you park quite near the airport (Heathrow) and then go in a minibus to the airport. It was good and quite cheap.

In the airport they had told us to be there 3 hours before the flight (take off at about 6.30am I think) but there wasn’t anyone from the airline around to check in until 5am which was a bit annoying.

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We flew to Amsterdam and then from there to Cape Town so the whole flying time was about 12-13 hours. I had been a bit worried about this as I’m not all that keen on flying but actually it was fine. On the plane from Amsterdam it was a Boeing 777 so it was quite big which meant that the movement was more stable and comfortable and we had screens in the back of each seat with films, TV and games as well as flight tracking so you could see where you were and how high and things so that was quite good. Ben enjoyed Tetris.

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Then we got to Cape Town at about 10.30pm – there is only 1 hour difference as it is straight down the world to South Africa so that was good. Then we had the biggest disaster of the trip which was that our luggage didn’t arrive. They were very bad about it – no compensation and only an answerphone on the number they gave us. But we decided we mustn’t let it spoil our adventure and also clothes are pretty cheap in South Africa. And I had packed some crucial things in my hand luggage so we were ok. Also the people we booked with were very helpful, and stopped on the way to pick up some things.

Then we were driven to Gansbaai (pronounced Hans-buy) which took about 2 hours. It was very stormy and rainy and also dark so we slept a bit and couldn’t see much (photo from a return journey!).

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Our first place we stayed was the Roundhouse in Gansbaai and it was really nice.

End of day 1.

On to Day 2

Parents should be bothering

I have had a busy day today and I am feeling a bit tired.  However, there was something that made it feel much more worthwhile.  I did an assessment with a child today at one of the schools I support and afterwards I met the child’s mother.  It was actually really good because all she wanted was to understand what she could do to help her child.  She also asked very intelligent questions which does tend to make it more interesting – she was good at seeing to the heart of the issues, but the main thing was how interested and keen she was to help.

You may find it surprising that this doesn’t happen to me more often.  It does happen quite often but it’s really surprising how many parents don’t seem all that interested.  It would be really useful to understand why that is; maybe they are nervous of strange professional people, or maybe there’s something wrong with how we invite parents to come to talk about things or something.  I really like it when parents bother me because then I can do my job a lot better, and otherwise I have to try to bother them just a bit, which is not always quite so good.

I suppose another problem might be that they have to work so then they can’t come and talk to me at school.  I don’t think that’s true for all parents though.  The thing is it makes a lot of difference to their child if they do come as then they know what they can do at home.  I suppose some people get that from my reports but I suspect that’s not true for all that many. 

This is a good thing to do

If you click on this button every day then people who wouldn’t be able to have a mammogram get one free.  I’m hoping I’ve been clever enough for you to be able to click right here and do it so you don’t even have to go to another website. 

http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=2

Here’s a challenge for you – find some more of these (I think there’s a hungersite and one for free books) and I will put them on too.  Then I can click them every day. 

Really just do what you like doing

I have been thinking about how sometimes it can seem like there seem to be expectations that you should do lots of things.  We have quite a lot of friends who are away seeing people or doing things really most weekends or maybe every weekend.  I think this is ok if that is what you like.  I don’t really. 

What I like doing is having a bath and reading a book and seeing Ben and walking in the woods and thinking and doing music.  I also like swimming.  So I think people might think I am very boring.  I don’t care because I like it and that, I think, is all that matters.

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Ever seen a baby pigeon?

This is an interesting thing I have found out today.  I have never seen a baby pigeon.  This is because pigeons grow very quickly and stay in their nest whilst they are growing.  So they look like adult pigeons even when they are in their nest.

 Homing pigeons are pretty clever as they can spot land marks from high up and find their way even across the atlantic.

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Apparently, it used to be believed that a pigeon could suck poison out of wounds with it’s back end and were used to try to treat adder bites.  I do not expect this was effective.

Last summer we sailed across the channel to Guernsey and on the way a pigeon landed on our friend’s hand.  This was quite surprising and distracted Ben from being sick.  It was a very tired pigeon and sat in our boat until we got to Guernsey.  We think it was having trouble with the wind because it couldn’t really fly against it very easily.

However, I still do not really like pigeons.

“Have a say in how your life is run”

…this is a direct quote from the BBC 6 o’clock news, describing the elections coming up next week.  What??  I think I will run my own life thanks, rather than just giving politicians an idea of how I’d like it run for me.

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I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as this government has spent a lot of time making up laws trying to control how we spend our free time and even how we choose to raise our children.  I’m not big into hunting myself, but why should some politicians decide what people should do when they’re not at work?

On a tastier note, I had a delicious curry for my tea, out of jar made by Pataks.   Much, much nicer than that Badsha mess.  And a lot cheaper.

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Not just Bad-sha

Today Ben and I had a very bad experience.  I fancied a curry for my tea so we went to Badsha in Tenterden to get one.  First they gave my curry to someone else so I had to wait longer for it.  But mistakes happen so I just waited for mine.  Then I took it with me back to the jumps.

It was horrible.  It was a cashew curry (they call it badami) and it had no flavour at all.  It didn’t claim to be particularly mild, and I’m pretty keen on any kind of curry but it just didn’t have any taste whatsoever.  And it had cost £7.75. 

So we decided it would be reasonable to take it back. 

Not only were we offered no kind of compensation at all, we were treated with aggression and disrespect.  The waiter we spoke to shouted at us (in front of a whole restaurent of customers – many of whom looked pretty surprised!), saying that if there was nothing wrong with the food (being tasteless and having only 2 half cashews in doesn’t seem to count) they didn’t have to do anything and you couldn’t just take things back.  After all you can’t do that in Tesco.  Well actually you can do that in Tesco but they’re different in Badsha Indian.

It wasn’t so much the nasty food that we had paid a rather high price for that was particularly bothering, but the way in which our complaint was handled.  He could have politely said that he was sorry but there was nothing he could do; instead he was rude and very aggressive.

We will not be getting food from Badsha’s again – which is a shame for them too as we would have been likely to get a take away most Saturdays over the summer.

Hippo halistosis

I think hippos are an interesting animal. 

 They are actually one of the most dangerous animals in the world so definitely worth knowing about.  What you have to watch out for is getting between them and water as when they are startled they run back to water and might trample you on the way.  They are quite grumpy too so if you poke them with a paddle them may chomp you.  They won’t eat you though as they are vegetarians.

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They share a major weapon with lions: lions and hippos have very bad breath so if they want to stun you they breathe on you and then you are easier to defeat. 

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