Sunday, 8 December 2013


6th-8th Dec

Battledore Farmhouse. Ndola

Arrived safely at Battledore farm, 10 miles from Ndola on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC ). Greeted by our host, plus entourage, and immediately consumed three botts of Bolly, so things have got off to a pretty good start.

Initially met up with GD and travelled to LHR, T4, with plenty of time to spare. For some inexplicable reason the London Underground wasn't, for once, delayed. Our ploy was to install Gazza in a wheelchair, get him to wear a pair of very dark glasses ( he's not as blind as all that; just severe tunnel vision ) and play on the fact that today ( 6th ) is my birthday. This, we felt confident, would get us rapidly through the tedious security and passport control palaver. It might even secure an 'upgrade' ( some hope ). Nothing ventured nothing gained. It did indeed get us quickly through the ghastly security and pp control at the front of the queue. So far so good.

Stocked up with duty free we spent some time and a vast amount of money at the Champagne and Seafood Bar before not being given an upgrade on the Kenya Airways flight AR101 ( Boeing 777 ) to Nairobi. The only event of interest was when I, having offered to push GD's wheelchair down the ramp/airbridge to the aircraft, was confronted by a course of some length ( first down the ramp ), with a severe slope and many sharp corners, rather lost control. The brake jammed on one side and the chair ran away with me. We were lucky not to come out at Shuttlecock, but we arrived fast at the door ( peasant class ) in one piece with bottles and limbs intact.

Left: Wheelchair-bound GD at the Seafood Bar.

A fairly tedious 7 1/2 hour flight, delayed over an hour due to some idiot passenger failing to board, with rather grumpy and inattentive cabin crew ( it took much persistent effort to keep our wine glasses replenished ) and distinctly unimpressive in-flight food. On arrival at Nairobi at 0730hrs and loading GD onto the wheelchair ( unasked for but enforced; once you start it seems you can't stop ) amongst the confusion we dropped a bag containing duty-free whiskey. One litre bottle ( out of four ) of the Famous Grouse broken and spilled. Now reeking of whisky any further hope of preferential treatment was probably dashed.

Decent two hour flight from Nairobi to Ndola in a swish new Kenya Airways Embraer 190 including a decent breakfast with delightful Kenyan cabin crew ( so different from the previous long-haul cabin-dragons ).

Swiftly through passport control ( after paying $80 for a double entry visa ) we were met by aforementioned host, dressed in impeccable Colonial Style ( because he is an impeccable Colonial Gentleman ) and his dogs, we drove to his banana plantation at Battledore Farm, about 15 miles from the town.

As initially mentioned, great hospitality on arrival at a magnificent rambling farmhouse ( with the universal African corrugated iron roof ) plus various dogs and other guests/workers/relatives we were wined, dined and sent to bed from 24 hours without much sleep.

Left: GD and out host.

Only regret, so far, is that we lost 25% of our whisky  donation on the deck at Nairobi.

Due to incredibly generous hospitality any further 'blogs' are likely to be severely delayed. A tour of the banana plantation followed by a serious Sunday Lunch is imminent.  Will report further on recovery............              

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