A selection of recent happenings.

26 Sep

I seem to have slipped into a bad (or good/restrained?) habit of posting just once every month, and therefore have a number of incidents to recount.

(1) The time I rescued a sea turtle: I like that as a title. It makes me appear to be some sort bizarre mixture between Dr Doolittle and Florence Nightingale. (Advance apologies to my family, who have already had this story recounted to them at length via email. One has to make the most of these positive PR opportunities). I was walking along Lumley beach by myself at about 5pm (I do this often – it’s about 7km all the way down so a pleasant hour and a half stroll) when I saw something in the distance ahead of me that looked like a couple of men playing with a giant flying saucer. As I got closer I became increasingly convinced that what I was looking at was not, in fact, a UFO, but instead was a sea turtle. It was about 70cm across the shell, and very much alive. I managed to glean from the fishermen that it had got stuck in their nets, and done considerable damage. They were being horrible to it (turning it upside down, kicking it etc), and planning to eat it, but through extensive shouting/bargaining I managed to bribe them to release it back into the sea. It looked a little stunned, but did swim off. They’re very odd creatures, and I kept having flashbacks of the turtles in the brilliant animated film ‘Finding Nemo’. For the next hour or so I walked around in a haze of self-congratulation, until one of my more cynical friends pointed out that my intervention probably made no difference because one of the following probably happened: (a) they were going to release it anyway, (b) it did not survive the ordeal and died slowly and painfully at sea, or (c) the fishermen just went out and caught it again. Said ‘friend’ implied that I had probably just been scammed out of $10. Note to self: find less cynical/realistic friends, and surround self instead with turtle-loving optimists.

(2) The time it got cold in Freetown: Any of you who read this blog with any sort of regularity will know that complaining about the weather is one of my favourite pastimes. Life in Freetown segued seamlessly this year from being too hot to being too wet, with nary an appropriately weathered moment in the middle. I complained about this. A lot. Well, on Sunday it did not rain, and is was not too hot. It was, in fact, too cold. I had ventured to the beach for the first time since June and was forced to sit in a shivery and inadequately clad heap, rather than indulging in a little swim and then poncing around in my new rather-fetching kaftan. It was horrible. I shall never complain about Freetown’s customary weather ever again. (Well…). My food also took over two hours to come, which improved my mood not a lot. I’ve never been good at being either cold or hungry, so I suspect I may have to spend a large portion of my remaining time here making up to various friends for spending the whole day being a miserable sod.

(3) The time I lost my sole: This story may contain a sense of urgency missing in the two above because this time is, well, today. I ventured to Congo Market for the first time yesterday. I actually hadn’t heard about it last week, which, given my (self-professed) status as Freetown’s Premier Shopping Expert was really rather surprising. It is basically an amorphous collection of the stalls that are usually spread across the city in one place at one time. It’s manic. I was jogged and heckled more than I have ever been in Sierra Leone, but I also found more TREASURE than on any other single expedition. I’m going through a silk phase (it’s just so cool, and it feels so nice!) and I bought eight silk tops, two skirts (one silk), a pair of silk trousers and two pairs of shoes (one suede Russell and Bromley flats and one pair Italian leather heels). Today I wore the last of these to work. I don’t wear heels often, and am therefore not very good at navigating the hazards of doing so, but I rather enjoyed the unfamiliar teeter-y sensation as I left the house. As I got off my motorbike (NB I was not driving) outside the Bank, however, I slightly kicked a flagstone and basically knocked the entire sole of my shoe. I ummed and aahed about going home to change vs. soldiering on, but eventually decided on the latter (the traffic at that time of day is dire). By the time I got to my desk I was basically forced to kick up my sole in front of me on each step to avoid tripping over it, which entirely spoiled the unaccustomed ‘heel wiggle’ that I’d been so enjoying. Serves me right. I have been desk-bound all day, making increasingly bizarre excuses as to why I cannot go to see the Governor/go to lunch/fill up my water bottle. Back to the trusty flats tomorrow I think…

(4) I am moving house this evening. I took a load of stuff home with me when I went on leave in July, and therefore fondly imagined that 2 suitcases would be easily sufficient to transport my possessions to my new residence. Not so; the volume of my clothing is really quite staggering. Perhaps I’d better not make too many more trips to Congo Market…

One Response to “A selection of recent happenings.”

  1. Pris at 7:33 pm #

    Hi Katie, I’ve been missing your blog so much – and have just had a glorious catch-up. Did you go to the beauty parlour – and do you still have a face left? How’s the new job going. More info needed. Xxx Pris.

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