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September 2011 in Tanzania through the eyes of an Englishman

Our Pomegranate Bush.

27/9/2011 - Thin Month.

Well, I have not been a good blogger this month. From today, that situation could go one way or the other. I posted COMPO on the web site this afternoon, and sent announcements to various forums and to freshmeat.net. It's eight in the evening now, and there have already been more hits on the COMPO page than I normally get on all the BEV pages in a day. However, only time will tell.

We got yet another tortoise today, some lads had found it wandering on the village main street, and fancied their chances of some beer money. I think he or she is a little bigger than Mo, our first tortoise, and probably older, so will have to be called Maxi, to complement Mini, our second one. And then I think that will have to be it! The lawn will only stand so many of them browsing.

The picture shows our pomegranate bush. It seems to be going berserk this year, with masses of blossom and lots of fruit already well set. It lives right next to our septic soak pit, so its roots have a fairly guaranteed supply of water and nutrients, and it may be able to support a heavy crop.

If it does, heaven knows what we'll do with the things. They're not exactly the easiest of fruit to eat. Pomegranate wine anybody?

The mango tree down by the dog kennels flowered this year for the first time, and Adia noticed yesterday that it has set some tiny fruits. How many of those will survive remains to be seen. These events have reminded me that I really must give the fig tree a severe pruning. Also someone told us the other day that they had olive trees growing well here, so I must get one of those.

COMPO Examples.

20/9/2011 - Getting There.

My software project has got to the point where it is mostly quite usable, though it will still crash on me occasionally. This is usually just because of stupid and obvious mistakes, or things left half finished. There don't seem to be any current show-stoppers. I have not made any real business cards for Adia yet, but I will probably have to do so in the next couple of days , since she has just about run out. I could use the software I used before, and print some more of the same, but that would go against the grain.

I had a bit of a battle with it over the last couple of days trying to get it to print in accurate register on the page. But I know how to do that now, which seems to be more than can be said for the competition!

The pictures were exported from the program using one of its menu options. They were all rushed together during testing, and have little artistic merit. But they do give some feel of the capabilities.

We had some further guests for a few days, but as of now, the future is pretty bleak. We only have one tentative booking for October. But that sort of situation can change overnight.

The two cats have got to the point where they will coexist in the same room without a lot of hissing and howling, but you could not yet describe them as friends. It will probably happen over time though.

We're still doing pretty well for electricity and water - thank you military base, though the supply situation elsewhere is dire. The weather is definitely on the swing - it was pretty hot today, and the Jacaranda blossom is appearing. It is to be hoped that there will be some rain in October.

Fish and chips Arusha style.

15/9/2011 - Still Head Down.

I have hardly left my desk in weeks. That's what the computer programming addiction can do to you.

We've had a fairly steady flow of guests. Not by any means a flood, but enough to keep Adia quite busy and swell the coffers. A couple of days ago there was a break, so we could get out in the evening. We went to Nick's Pub, where we have been absentees for some time, having decided that the standard of their food and service was falling off.

They seem to have got their act together again, and we had an enjoyable meal. They do mostly do just two things, chicken and chips, and fish and chips. But it's not fish and chips as you would understand it in British terms. For a start, it is Tilapia - freshwater lake fish, and for a second, it is not fried. It is actually cooked by wrapping it in in Aluminium foil with some shredded cabbage, carrots and seasonings, and then cooking the package over a charcoal grill.

It's good. We particularly like the cabbage, and that gets cleared up before the fish is seriously started. But the fish is excellent too. I eat the easy bits with a fork, and dip my chips in pili-pili, the local hot sauce. Adia gets stuck in with here fingers, and by the time she has finished there's not a scrap of the fish left. Just bones. The people who live by Lake Victoria are are experts at getting the last gram of protein of those fish.

There's not much else. The new cat is settling in. She wanders about the house now, and will come into my office occasionally to get petted. The situation between her and Cali is gradually becoming less tense.

The interloper.

8/9/2011 - Cat Fights.

We took the youngest dog Sigi to the vets a couple of days to get a shot for his perpetual scratching. On the way out, Adia noticed a paper sheet pinned up on the cages outside looking for a home for a cat. The mzungu previous owner had to go back to Europe at short notice, and had asked the vet to find a decent home for her, so she came back with us.

Our cat Cali is not at all pleased. She's now craving attention 24 hours a day, and there have been a couple of nasty encounters. But it seems to be settling down. Today they were in the same room for a short time eating chicken bits that we had brought home, without any violence - just a bit of hissing and howling, or growling or whatever you call that noise that upset cats make.

The new cat seems to be called "Two", by popular consent. It's a sound that's completely different from "Cali", and the previous owner neglected to pass on the name that Two was accustomed to. She's four years old, so probably quite set in her ways, and the transition won't be an easy one for her. Even when she's come to some sort of terms with Cali, there are the dogs to deal with still.

I'm still programming all hours god sends, but I'm getting to the point where I will soon have something quite decent to show for it. Then I reach one of the difficult bits - trying to find a few people who are willing to try it out. We'll see how it goes.

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Check out the BEV retrospective
currently covering 1942 - 1975.

1976 is yet to be started.

What is BEV?

Brits Eye View is the personal blog of a 69 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 - 2011, choose a year/month from the tool bar. For 1942 - 1975, choose a year.

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?

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.

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

If there's something particular you'd like to go back to, just click it here

Top 20 BEV Pages.

Exchange Rates.

BEV Software Blog.

I've just posted some short articles on Getting Started With jQuery Datatables.

I started to use this recently, and while the result is pleasing once you've got it working, I found the getting-started documentation disappointing.

Moods of Meru.

Mt Meru

Pristine.

Random BEV Poem.

60 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

50 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

30 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

US Billboard #1

 Kim Carnes: Bette Davis Eyes
Stars on 45: Medley - no link found, sadly

UK Chart number 1

 Specials: Ghost Town

20 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

US Billboard #1

 Mariah Carey: I Don't Wanna Cry
 Extreme: More Than Words
 Paula Abdul: Rush, Rush

UK Chart number 1

Jason Donovan: Any Dream Will Do
- no link found
 Bryan Adams: I Do It For You

10 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

Contact BEV.

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