Saturday, 12 July 2008

PC in Britain

Police Constable? - No
Personal Computer, then? - Nope

Political Correctness, that's what it is. The mindset that lets white Christian people decide that we should not have Christmas decorations in the towns because it may offend non-Christians (who make up 4% of the population. I believe) - these same non-Christians who join us Christians in the festivities!

And now for the latest.

A mother of a severely epileptic child has to take him to school every day. If she were using her own car, there would not be a problem. But she doesn't. She uses a taxi provided by the authorities - so she has to undergo a Police check to make sure she has no criminal record of child abuse. She only accompanies her own child, no other children are in the taxi. So now, until the checks have been carried out, she is not allowed to accompany her son to school.

The child needs constant supervision. She and her husband are the only people trained to administer drugs should the need arise.

Is it just me, or is this situation really - REALLY - crazy?

I agree that children need to be protected and a mechanism has to be in place. But checking out the parents? Come on, that is a bit stupid.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Time to call - Heads or Hearts?

It is now more than a quarter year since I was last in Kenya. And I am getting withdrawal symptoms ... cold turkey.

So, having planned out what I must do with regards business and the River Cottage Kenya project, I am now looking at my personal plans, aspirations and whatever else I should be looking at in my circumstance.

I suppose the question is 'where, when I make the final plunge, should I be based?'

I only know three little bits of Kenya, all poles apart - location, ethnicity - different in every way!Firstly, the Nairobi area. When in Kenya, I work in the Business district, where we have an office, and I stay with a colleague and friend in the eastern suburbs. I have an important client in the Lang'ata area, who I would like to visit from time to time.

Then there is Malindi, or a village close thereto. I rent a house there and my girlfriend and children are installed. One of the schools/orphanages that we support is situated here.

Lastly, but not leastly (if there is such a word), Kisii. My business is located here. I have some very good friends, and, of course, the other orphanage.

In the best case scenario, I will have to make a decision as to where to set up "home".

So, toss a coin! Heads or Hearts?


  • The centre of everything business.
  • The centre of opportunity in Kenya. [?]
  • The altitude keeps me breathless for days. Still, I would acclimatise if I stayed long enough.
  • Getting into town from the eastern suburbs is a nightmare, but how about from the Lang'ata, Ngong, Karen area?
  • Close to the airport, so I can get home easily (the UK one, that is).


  • My business is here, but Vincent is perfectly able to run it without me. Still, it would be nice to have an active part in it.
  • The larger orphanage is there. But I don't need to be there to work for it.
  • The altitude keeps me breathless for days, but I would acclimatise if I stayed long enough.
  • Housing is cheaper than on the Coast or Nairobi.
  • Kisii does not rely on tourism.
  • River Cottage Kenya is to be based in Kisii.


  • No altitude problems here, but the heat ... I can't bear it. As for working in it!
  • My girlfriend and children live here. But would she be willing to move? Yes, if it meant a better life and prospects, especially for the children.
  • We support a school/orphanage in the village, but I don't have to be there to support it.

So I have pretty well ruled out Coast, unless of course better half digs in her heels. Here we have an ethnic problem. Although she was born and raised near Malindi, she is, in fact a Luuya, from near Lake Victoria (for those who are not familiar with tribal homelands). Apparently, the Luuya and Kisii historically were not the best of friends and she is a little reticent about living in Kisii.

The Nairobi/Narok/Bomet/Sotik/Kisii roads are being repaired and the journey will eventually be acceptable, even by matatu.

I am talking myself into setting up base in Kisii, aren't I? So, for those of you who don't know the town or the area, what is it like?

Firstly, it is off the tourist map. It is a largely agricultural area and the economy of the area is strong in its own right. The land is fertile, not too hot, (average daytime temp is 26°C) and humid. The town itself is typically African, bustling, chaotic and big enough to boast two supermarkets.

It is cosmopolitan. I have met Kisii, Luo, Kikuyu, Maasai, Luuya, an Afrikaner and probably many others. They seem to be able to live together for the common good.

It is in the mountains, there are a lot of trees, it is very green, although the earth is a rich red.

Yep! My heart says Kisii! My head though, still whispers Nairobi.

But I think my heart will win.

I've been what?!!?

The other day, my favourite blogger, Lost White Kenyan Chick, AKA Mzungu Chick (no relation) was tagged with a UU by another famous blogger, Bell of 'Diary of a Housewife'.

What is a UU? Well, to quote Mzungu Chick, this is how it goes:-

The UU must list the three things their husband (or wife) (or significant other!) (could be a pet, in lieu of all of the above.) (no pet? got a plant?) (if you have none of the above, you should go get one.) knows about them. The rules of this UU are that at the end of the post, the player then tags a randomly chosen number of people and posts their blog names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged. The comment must end with the word 'pthththth'.


Now, I have a problem. The nearest I have to a significant other is my girlfriend. She lives in Malindi - and I live in the UK, about 4,500 miles apart, and we communicate by SMS or email only, and not regularly at that.

Unlike MC, I don't have an 8-year-old to interrogate and the dog looked at me as if I was mad (no change there, then!).

So, I asked my mother. It took a while to explain what a UU was, but then, she is 86 years old, and doesn't really understand, or want to understand computers, let alone blogging.

Anyway, Mum thought for a couple of moments and then rattled off a list of things. This is a precis:

  1. I love Kenya
  2. I want to help any waif or stray that crosses my path
  3. I am too soft for my own good.

The list could have gone on for another page, but basically, Mum thinks that my life revolves around Kenya ...

Hmmm! Can't argue with that.

Well, that wasn't too painful. I am sure that Mum could have found other, less favourable things to say about me - she has known me for 58 years.

As for tagging other bloggers, looking at my list of blogs that I read, and looking at Mzungu Chick's 'FAB LINKS' I see that I don't have any links that MC hasn't already UU'd.

So ... pthththth to nobody in particular.

I reserve the right to tag someone in the future if I find a blog that deserves it.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

More lies from the UK Govt.

Our esteemed leader, Gordon Brown, who reckons that he is rather like Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights (a drinking, violent, womanising killer? - oh well, Gordon, whatever trips your trigger) wanted to change the rates for vehicle excise licences. When he proposed it, he stated that most people would be better off.

Fine, so far.

But now, the Treasury has admitted that 9 million people will be worse off, mainly poorer people with older cars.

As it stands, it will not affect me, as these changes will only be enforced for vehicles first registered after 2001 and I cannot see myself ever driving such a new one (my present vehicle was first registered in 1996).

What annoys me is the blatant lie - it seems that the Govt. thinks that it can say whatever it likes and we will believe them.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Expanding? Already?

The cyber café is open. We are getting clients in - not enough of them, but it is a start, and I am confident that the numbers will build up.

But, as Vincent is known in the town as the local IT guru as well as the director of the children's home and the manager of the new cyber café, many clients are asking if he can obtain bits and pieces that are either not available in Kenya, or are very expensive.

So, we are now looking at the possibility of diversifying our services and are looking for a supplier of the bits and bobs that we are being asked for.

Other than the major computer manufacturers, very few companies are represented in East Africa. So, that's the way we are looking to go, as long as we can find a supplier willing to deal with Kenya, of course.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

So, why DO we pay more for diesel?

Well, it is easy really. Not too long ago, the government encouraged people to buy the more expensive diesel cars, citing the fact that they are more fuel efficient and greener.

When diesel cars became really popular, the government slapped more tax on it so that a litre of diesel is now £1.33 (and climbing), whereas petrol is £1.20. Clever government!

Now, it is estimated that you have to do at least 40,000 miles a year to make owning a diesel car worthwhile.

But it doesn't end there. The government offered free parking spaces to people who bought an electric car to commute to London. What happened? Commuters bought electric cars, and now the government has scrapped the scheme because it is costing them too much - and they have run out of parking spaces!

Our government may not be corrupt (although nothing would surprise me), but they are totally unscrupulous - and inept.

Recession looming for UK firms

The "Experts"* have announced that the UK is heading for a recession! WOW! Like you need a degree to work that one out.

With petrol and diesel (why do we pay more for diesel than petrol in the UK?) prices rising by about 1p a day, food prices are going up in proportion.

Our fuel is heavily taxed - by percentage. So if the price at the refinery goes up, the taxes at the pump go up and the government rubs its collective hands as it trots off to the bank to deposit the increase. But a government spokesman tried to tell us that the government was actually losing money with the fuel price rise - I bet he didn't pass his maths GCSE.

People don't have the money to spend, so high street shops, especially the independent ones are closing.

Walk down any high street in any town, and you will see empty shops. It is depressing.

The bottom has fallen out of the housing market and mortgages are very difficult to get since the debacle in the USA.

And what does our esteemed Prime Minister suggest? Don't waste food. Don't throw food away! According to the government, we are throwing away £460 worth of food per household per year!

Why? Because all food is date-stamped and people (some people) will no eat anything that is past its use-by date. It has been stated by many people, the food manufacturers for example, that these dates are artificial, to protect themselves, just in case someone is poisoned by their products.

The UK Government has run out of ideas. Gordon Brown is trying to stay afloat in a tsunami. I wish him luck.

Well no, actually I don't. In my personal opinion, the sooner he resigns or is forced out by his allies, the better.

I am not saying that all the ills of the UK are a direct result of his management, but at least we in Britain would regain some of that 'feel-good' factor if he went.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of the impending election in Glasgow. This is considered a Labour safe seat, but they are having difficulty getting anyone to represent them.

Looking at their performance at recent elections, they will lose, probably to the SNP.

But Gordon clings on to power like a demented despot, the only difference is that he doesn't have a Fifth Brigade to bully people into voting for him.

And we have to wait two years before we can force him out - the Prime Minister we didn't elect.

* Definition of Expert: Ex=has-been; spurt=drip under pressure