Saturday, 9 May 2015

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday...


A previous unfinished post I was working on over the recent holiday, hence the title. I'm currently in Accra. 'A Postcard From Ghana' in the works. Decided to finish-up this one first. Here goes...

A recent article made me think. Favourite feel-good moments? Was it really about the simple pleasures in life? Turned out it was. Apparently taken from a BUPA survey based on 2,000 replies.

Responses included; sleeping in a bed with fresh sheets, feeling the sun on your face, people saying ‘thank you’ or a random act of kindness by a stranger, a bargain at the sales, having a nice cup of tea (this was a British survey after all), dancing like no one is watching, freshly made bread, having time to yourself, and laughing so hard it hurts; these were among those simple pleasures.



















Got me thinking of simple pleasures in West Africa. I was discussing this with Senior Diva, who incidentally is letting this new hair thing go right to her head. Now sporting a ginger comb-over. Life and business in Sierra Leone presents a constant challenge, particularly over the past 12 months. What about those simple pleasures? The good bits? In no particular order, apart from the first one...

1. Electricity

2. Water coming out of the shower (Rigsby - take note)

3. Internet speed on fire, relative term

4. African sunrise every morning, realise how lucky I am

5. African sunset every evening, realise how lucky I am

6. The divas smiling faces, every morning without fail. Their laughs...

7. Running down Lumley Beach at dark O clock, just before first light. Seeing the Atlantic Ocean from somewhere in Freetown every single day






















8. The short drive to my run start point as Freetown begins a new day, listening to Kris MacCormack. Listen to Kris with the windows down stretching under the palm trees. It's dark, it's cool, then setting off along the waters edge - that's the exact moment...

9. The sound of ballistic rain on a tin roof in wet season and feeling secure, providing of course your house doesn't leak. However, the bad boys are more active in wet season. They once called on me in the middle of the night, late 2012. Took a new flat screen TV, a DVD player, my 'Little House on the Prairie' box set, and the air conditioning control unit. Left the TV remote behind. I was pretty upset, I was only half way through the box set... I did draw some comfort in the fact they couldn't change channels...

10. The unfailing and amazing happiness of Freetown residents, most of whom have little or nothing

11. This conversation I have most weeks at a certain Police checkpoint late on a Friday evening driving home;

"Good evening officer"
"Good evening Saah"
"How are you this evening?"
"I'm doing fine Saah, it's very cold" (about 23C every night)
"Officer, you and your colleagues are doing a great job, thank you"
"Thank you Saah, but we have no sugar for our tea"
"That's a pity, I wish you a good night. Keep warm"
"Goodnight Saah"
"Goodnight officer"

The officer in question has a chubby round face with a smile that could light up any room. He tries for 'something' every week (not necessarily sugar). I smile as I drive away thinking we'll do all this again next week. I'd miss it. I'd miss him

12. After nearly 4 years (come Sept), and for the first time, I have an apartment with a plumbed in washing machine. The distinctive double bing when a load finishes. Ahhh...now that's a real feel-good moment

13. Taking my once dirty sports kit out of the washing machine, holding to my face with both hands. Smelling it. Joyous! Hang on a minute, that sounds, er... a little... er, strange. Three and a half years of laundry being done on a washboard does this to one... I haven't taken to sniffing other peoples laundry yet, is that the next step? Johnny Admin?

14. Downloading a movie from iTunes in a week or less. When you finally reach that 4.5 GB, it's a real punch the air moment. Last evening was 'The Shawshank Redemption'. Always good to re watch a classic movie. The 5 day struggle is worthwhile, just to hear those classic words, 'get busy living, or get busy dying'. Not only the words, but the whole scene, the piano soundtrack; to be savoured even when you know what's coming next...

15. Laugh out loud moments in Freetown that sometimes lead to tears. Funniest place in the world... we laugh a lot...

16. Finally, and it could have been top. The day I leave to England. Time off. That 9 mile boat ride across the estuary to the airport. Boarding the plane. Traveling home to see family. Seeing 'O' for Organiser, 'H', & Cup Cake. CC is delighted to share her name with the recent birth of a Royal Princess.

There you have it. Tried to keep it to 5, then 10...



















'A Postcard From Ghana' is next up. The post is set in Takoradi, in the south of the country. Regular readers will be familiar with the cast of characters, and references, which frequent this blog. Rigsby, the Divas, the French, my mother-in-law (full moon the other night, she was pretty active), the Lebanese Chuckle Brothers, The Belgian, Belgium, Robert Mugabe, Taggart, Peter Pan, Our Man in Port Loko, Johnny Admin, Lifeline, past guest runners, and numerous others. I mention this because...

...well, and would you believe it, Robert Mugabe makes a return in the next post. Turns out he was a teacher in Takoradi, back in the day. He married Sally, a young Ghanaian teacher. They lost a 3 year old son here to Malaria. He couldn't attend the funeral, by this time he was in prison for 10 years. Sally remained loyal all the way through, she died in 1992. They were married 31 years. This came out at lunch the other day, what a story...  

Postscript: A favourite Mugabe joke to finish, from an earlier post last summer.

Barack Obama, David Cameron (congrats; couldn't have imagined inserting Ed Miliband into my joke) & Robert Mugabe are in a boat in the Atlantic, when suddenly the boat discovers a leak. They have only one life jacket. Obama says, "Let's do the democratic thing. Take a vote to see who gets the life jacket." They each write a name on a piece of paper and stuff it in a coffee can. Obama & Cameron get one vote each; Mugabe gets six.

Time to... get busy living...

Oh, and follow on Twitter, more photos, more stuff: @roadrunnertns