So I have two things to update you on this week so far:
1. I went for a good-ish walk on Sunday, which (best of all) had a good pub at the end of it:)
2. I have a hotel in Arusha and it is booked and paid for!
So Sunday first of all. It was a really lovely day. It has been so dry here for so long, and the sun shone like it was a day in July, so it was just perfect to go and break the new boots in. Except I didn’t. There is a pub close to here which is fantastic. If anyone reading this knows the area at all, then the Bell at Aldworth will be known to them. It’s great. Amongst some of the things I like are:
1. It has a great (one of the best) garden. Perfect in fact.
2. It serves just local beer (Old Tyler from the West Berkshire Brewery is the local favourite) and cider (the cider (Uptons) comes from an Orchard about 1 mile from here)
3. It has really unpretentious food (you can have basically a ham roll, a cheese roll, a crab roll or a beef roll, and that is about it, and they are lovely)
4. They have no computer, no electric till even, no jukebox, no music, no nothing in fact, other than a great place to drink and socialise.
5. It has apparently been in the same family for 250 years!
6. They don’t serve lager. At all:)
There is a review of the pub here from one of my bibles over the years, the Good Pub Guide:
So anyway, the pub is about 8 miles by car from the house, but if you cut across country and walk over the downs I reckon that it is about 5 or so miles as the crow flies. The pub is at about 600ft above sea level, and I have the Ridgeway (which sort of borders South East Oxfordshire and West Berkshire) between it and me (and it is higher than the pub), so there is a reasonable but gentle climb for me too. I wanted to wear my new boots, but chickened out at the last minute, as due to my aforementioned crap feet and the fact that I haven’t walked for so long, I didn’t want to spoil it with blisters:). So I put my old trusty 20 year old boots on and off I march. Trouble is, the ground is so hard, and my boots are maybe older and harder than the last time I wore them, so after about a mile my feet are hurting! Sod’s law they call that!
Anyway, I walk like a trooper (always easier when there is the scent of a good pint at the end of it) and get there in the end, sore feet and all, in about an hour and ten minutes. Pretty good going I think for a rusty old (easy tiger!) fella. Safely esconsed at a seat in front of the pub, I enjoy the sunshine and three delectable pints of Old Tyler and a cheese and onion roll. There are lots of other people just stood and sat outside the pub too, as they do at this place. Lots of dogs too, all well-behaved. It’s a great people (and dog) watching spot. Life doesn’t get much better than when you are doing the simple things like this.
So onto Monday.
Back to work. Boo.
I love my job, and I’ll tell you about it some day. I love the company and what it stands for, and I love the industry. Really really like and admire the people that I have the privilege of working with. I’m lucky. It all gets me up in the mornings, even on a Monday when it is still dark when the alarm goes off. Even when I have had a good weekend and been to see Toy Story 3D and had a good walk and drunk some Old Tyler and the sun shone.
On my way to work I realise that have an email from Henry. It is about my hotel. Seems I have one! It is confirmed!! I pay over $250 as a deposit, get a receipt straight away, and it is done. Super efficient. The money has to go to some bank in Cyprus or somewhere like that, which raises an eyebrow for me, but all is apparently hunky dory, as I ask all sorts of questions to satisfy myself.
So I will be staying on the 22nd and 23rd February in the Outpost in Arusha. And then also on the night of the 2nd March. Here it is:
Wow. I don’t care what it is like really, it will be an incredibly memorable place in my life, albeit briefly. It will the first place I have stayed in in Africa, and then the place I stay in when I return from my trek to the peak of the highest free standing mountain in the world. I love writing those words, they make me smile.
It is getting closer and closer and closer.