Manhattan seen across the Hudson river from New Jersey.New York panorama image

November 2012 in Tanzania through the eyes of an Englishman

Suffering feet: I seem to have been hell-bent on destroying them lately. The left one is currently somewhat bloated!

Suffering feet.

30/11/2012 - Disability.

I have been restricted in my ability to do things quite significantly over the last few months, since I keep managing to damage my feet.

The first of the recent incidents was maybe back in September, when I dropped the motor-scooter Kiki on my right foot. That led to me hobbling about on the building site with a tender foot - probably a cracked big toe, and in no time at all I sprained the ankle.

No sooner had that foot recovered than I turned my left ankle, also on the building site. It wasn't bad, but then I went into one of the shops at Nane Nane to get a tube when Potter had a side-wall puncture. Some of these shops have strange floor arrangements - in this case a step down as you go in through the door, followed about a metre later by a smaller step up. I bought my tube, paid at the counter, then turned to leave, stepping over the gratuitous step up without remembering it, and took the shock of the unexpected 120mm drop on the bad ankle - drrr. In some countries they might have got sued for not having a guard rail!

That compounded the first sprain, and quite possibly inflicted a second. The foot has been pretty uncomfortable for a couple of weeks now, and I've been living on regular doses of diclophenac, which is not a particularly good ingredient of a healthy diet.

Last night, oh joy, the foot was particularly objectionable - I may have had the added pleasure of a little gout in the big toe. I should lay off the beer for a while, but it's such a seductive anaesthetic.

There has been some progress. The gate house on the new plot is now roofed and cement rendered inside and out, and it has a door and window grills. The fundis are now digging the trenches for the foundation of a second house. When I eventually manage to extract a new debit card from HSBC in the US - the previous one expired at the end of October - the plot may get its gate. More in December.

Thorn bushes:Flowering and fruiting again now after the rain.

Thorn bushes.

22/11/2012 - Some Time Later.

I have no real excuse for my tardiness - slow progress and lack of news perhaps.

Anyway, the septic tank got completed, except for the concrete caps for the inspection holes. Then after that, the shell of the gatekeepers hut. I now have to put a roof on the latter, a job that I should start and hopefully get finished today, when the grills for its small windows are also due to be completed.

We had a European couple - Becky and Trebor (English and Dutch) - to stay with us at Adia's place. They did two nights on arrival, and then three nights after a weeks safari. Now they are in Zanzibar. They were a very agreeable pair, and I hope we will keep in touch.

Adia's place is going to be crammed during the next couple of weeks. There are graduations, exams, and courses at ESAMI and they are desperate for accommodation. The scheduling is such that some guests are just slotted in with us for a couple of days before a room becomes available on-campus. Usually then they don't want to leave here but in this case we'll have to give them the boot as there are others arriving who already booked their rooms. We could do with three more rooms at the moment, but then we would not have enough dining space.

Everything is very green here now since we had some rain. The thorn bushes are flowering and showing fruit again. There have been swarms of bees collecting nectar from the masses of small yellow flowers, and making a quite noticeable humming sound in the lane outside ur house. Soon I will be tempted once more to use their fruit for something. Maybe this time I will try jam - the sugar will perhaps compensate for their vicious acidity. But then of course you lose all the vitamin C.

Then: Dr No came out when I was 20.


10/11/2012 - Bond Then and Now.

I was a young adult - a newly married man with a baby daughter - working at a secretive government research establishment in 1962 when the first Bond film came out. At that time I had read all of the Bond books, except perhaps Casino Royale, and was much impressed by Sean Connery in the role. He seemed like the sort of man who really was a ladykiller, and could well have been capable of snuffing out a life with no more than a shrug and a passing snide remark.

As the years went by, he and I both turned to short grey hair, and I aspired to look like him. I was always highly chuffed when the occasional person said that I did.

Of course, the actor Connery did not want to be confined to a single role for the rest of his life any more than I did, and for many of the first 20 films was replaced by lesser Bonds, with Pierce Brosnan possibly the best substitute.

Then for the last three we have had Daniel Craig, who to my mind broke the image mould of the stereotypical Bond. A smaller looking man with fairer hair. At the same time though, he had a hint in the eyes of the hard, mean streak that I had seen in Connery: a 21st century hero now, without the originally inevitable cigarette.

Now: Skyfall in 2012 - quite possibly the best so far.


It seems that he is a serious contender for Connery's crown, if he can stand the stereotype!

Now I'm an old man, living with a young African wife in self-imposed exile, and looking back over those 50 years with a nostalgia that is somehow captured and distilled by the film Skyfall. I watched it last night here in Tanzania only a few weeks after it's release in the UK, and I think it is the best of the bunch of them that I have seen so far.

After the latter, and it's apparent great commercial success, it seems quite likely that 007 in one reincarnation or another could be around long after I have fallen to my final villain.

A wet morning: There are supposed to be above average El NiƱo short rains this year.

A wet morning.

3/11/2012 - November.

The short rains were forecast to start in the middle of October this year, but were not forthcoming. However, they are here now. In the night of Nov 1 it rained for maybe 6 hours, starting very heavy and then tapering of toward morning. Last night there was more. So the customary transition of the roads from dust to mud has occurred, and travel off the tarmac roads is now somewhat dodgy. I went walking yesterday afternoon to look at the wet countryside, and almost lost one of my wellies in some particularly deep and sticky mud.

Friends from England were with us for a few days at the end of October. They did the 'standard' Adia's place safari - one day here then off to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro for three days, then the next day our 'African experience' day. They are now in Zanzibar, heading for a beach resort today, having done Stonetown. It's an expensive but wonderful holiday with Adia's place being the least expensive component.

The wall around our new development is now complete, so I must go and get our steel worker of choice to come and quote for a gate today. Without one, the wall is pretty useless. The combination of the wall and the water well have taken a considerable financial toll, and it could be a month or two before we get back to making much progress on the new houses. I am initially focusing on items with relatively low materials costs. The first of these will be a septic tank, to be followed by a soak pit. But these are likely to be held up by the rains, as they both involve digging quite deep pits in the ground which you can not work on if they fill up with water.

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currently covering 1942 - 1975.

1976 is yet to be started.

What is BEV?

Brits Eye View is the personal blog of a 70 year old Englishman - Steve Teale, started in January 2003. It's currently about life in Arusha (Tanzania), and previously in Bangalore, Manhattan, and the Bronx. It deals with life in general, building a house, food and drink, computer programming, opinion on current affairs, 20th century history, and so on. It may give you some insight into what life is like in 'the third world', or encourage you to visit Tanzania.

I started playing with it in January 2003, when I was living in Manhattan. At the time I felt I was going nowhere, and exposing the details of my life could be no worse than not. Almost immediately I changed partners, and quickly recognized that while I might be prepared to live in a goldfish bowl, other's weren't.

The same year I lost my job - recession, exhausted my NY State unemployment benefits, and got a job in India. Consequently a large proportion of BEV was written in Bangalore. India was OK, but I could not see what I was going to do there when I retired.

This uncertainty was resolved when I met my current partner Adia in 2006. She was a Tanzanian, studying law in India, so I came Tanzania in 2007. Here we have built a house, and made new friends. The rest, you can read on BEV.

At about the same time I had the ridiculous idea of extending BEV backwards to cover the years 1942 to 2002. So far I have got to 1975. For the years 2003 - 2012, choose a year/month from the tool bar, or go to the archive page. For 1942 - 1975, choose a year or go to the retrospective page.

Visiting Tanzania?

Adia's Place now has On-Line Booking. Please feel free to check it out. It may not be 100% yet, but if you get a confirmation email then it's a safe bet that we got your booking.

In the short term we will re-confirm.

If you have done all the usual tourist destinations, then make a leap and discover Africa! Come and visit Arusha, Tanzania.

You might be able to stay at - a great centre for safaris to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Kilimanjaro, and of course our own pet volcano, Mount Meru.

Please feel free to contact us. We can tell you about hotels, facilities, prices of basics, etc.

We now have very pleasant bed and breakfast rooms available at $20 per night. The Old Cottage and the South House are also available for longer term visitors.

Studying in Arusha?

Some of the major study centres in Arusha are at Njiro. There, you'll find the Arusha Institute of Accountancy, ESAMI, and TRAPCA.

If you are not happy with the accommodation there, you are only a 5 minute drive from - a secure haven of tranquillity with African food like your mother cooked for you. Price is competitive with the on-campus accommodation.

Just call Adia - 0762 442888 - and she'll come and get you and show you her place. You won't regret it!

This Month's Posts

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Top 20 BEV Pages.

Exchange Rates.

BEV Software Blog.

There are a several new articles on the Software page:

Moods of Meru.

Mt Meru

The clouds give a good impression of how high it is.

Random BEV Poem.


If you are a Linux user, you might want to try this piece of graphical design software I worked on last year. You can use it to design business cards, labels, logos for your web site, and things of that sort.

You can download it from the BEV COMPO page, where you'll also find the documentation.

About You.

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Contact BEV.

If you want to get in touch outside the built-in comment system, email Steve Teale.