Off Again! This Time to Zimbabwe.

It seems that I am hardly back in Turkey again, that I am flying out on another mission. Tomorrow, Wednesday, David and I are off to Zimbabwe for ten days, to attend our niece Lauren's wedding. We will stay in Harare with Tim and Flo before driving up to Chitora, then on to Mutare for the wedding celebrations. We hope to visit Peterhouse as well while we are there. It should be a fun occasion!

On Sunday we said goodbye to David's ex PA, Nazlı, who is also getting married at this time. We were to have gone to her wedding, but it clashes with Lauren's. Nazlı is beginning an exciting new life in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, as her husband-to-be works there for the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). We wish both of them everything they would wish for themselves.

People work hard in Turkey. mainly because they don't have the benefits safety net that allows people to idle away their lives in the UK. Sevil, my manicurist, is profoundly deaf, but she still works a full-time job in my local hairdressing salon doing manicures and pedicures. She is an expert lip-reader and communicates easily with her customers. She is such a lovely person and is always smiling.

Me with the lovely Sevil.

No one is afraid of doing menial tasks in Turkey, with the result that rubbish is collected and the streets are swept every single day. Istanbul is much cleaner than London, or even Norwich! We also have people who come in the night to sift through the rubbish for recyclable goods! People here work because they have no alternative.


Jessica's trip to Ludham, and other things.

I am in England, at present. I came to help look after Jessica while Clare was away doing scientific research on a ship in the English Channel. Before Clare left, we went to see the Northern Ballet's production of Wuthering Heights at the Norwich Theatre Royal. It was a wonderful performance, one we thoroughly enjoyed.

This is the village sign. They designed a new one for the millenium,
but it was stolen - can you believe that?

I have had a very busy week, here. One of the highlights was going on Jessica's school trip to the village of Ludham. It is believed that the village was established by the Saxons in, what is now, the Norfolk Broadlands. In 1066, King Canute founded St Benet's Abbey and included Ludham as one of its manors. It also has an entry in the Doomsday Book in 1086. The village even had a dragon at one time (so the legend goes). There is an active group that have established a village archive where information can be found (see http://www.ludhamarchive.org.uk)

Members of the archive society made this patchwork map of the village.

We visited the Church of St Catherine (yes, she of the Catherine Wheel - Jessica drew a picture of the wheel that is in the church) and the children explored the church and heard about its history. The present church dates from the fourteenth century, but there was a previous church on this site that had been taken over by St. Benet's Abbey in 1220. We then went on to explore the churchyard and the village itself. The children were interested in everything and were busy drawing and making notes for their report-back at school.

Jessica and her friend, Laura, explored the pulpit.

Their teacher told them about the history of the church.

The children learned about bell-ringing.

Everyone had a lovely day. The children were a delight and, for once, the sun shone most of the time.

Thatched cottages in the village of Ludham.

Elizabeth Coughlan

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I couldn't resist this one!