I have seen the future

7 11 2013

Entertainment in Harare can be a bit lean – the West End we are not. So people get creative. Drinking is a popular pastime with the sports clubs and various bars, especially on a Friday night. Most middle-income families have satellite TV with all the usual channels that one could find in Europe or the UK. I have found the satellite TV with its endless repeats and bad films tedious so opt to get my entertainment from the internet and in the form of DVDs from Amazon UK. They take 10 days or less from the UK and if I’m lucky, which mostly I am, I don’t get charged duty provided I keep the orders small.

The internet is not bad in Harare. As I live just out-of-town I don’t have access to the genuine broadband from the newly laid fibre optic cables that have been going in for the last year or so.¬† I rely on WiMax which is generally OK though occasionally it just loses the connection. I could get the ISP techs to come out and redirect the aerial but that would mean killing the bees in the chimney onto which the WiMax aerial is attached, so I just put up with it.

I collected a number of DVDs from the post office yesterday and, last night, being thoroughly unmotivated, sat down to watch the latest Star Trek film. I should explain I am not a “Trekkie” but I have seen one of two a few years ago so thought it would be quite fun to see how things have changed. Well, I have seen the future according to Star Trek and it is good. Some 200 years in the future we will still have a role in flying complex spacecraft which still have engine throttles¬†√† la current airliners. The aforesaid spacecraft will have beam weapons that still miss and humans will still fly them through impossibly small gaps that a computer just could not manage despite being able to beam crew members up to distant locations. Pretty girls will still be wearing impossibly short skirts (a pity I won’t be around for that) and medical staff will be wearing starched white safari suits. The baddies will still be speaking with a plummy English accent and over-acting the part and the goodies will be led by an arrogant American who learns humility through self-sacrifice. Quite familiar and not at all bad. The future that is, I definitely won’t be buying another Star Trek DVD.

It seems the Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe is struggling to see or imagine what the economy might be doing next year. He has postponed presenting a budget this year and has said it will come out early in the New Year. My guess is that he simply hasn’t got a solution for the lack of money in the economy. Employment is still falling and I know of at least two people made redundant from companies that have closed in the last 6 months. My company had an excellent September and dismal October. It’s not often that the deposit summary that I print out for the bookkeeper only runs to one page. In fact, I think this is the first time it has ever happened. The future I am seeing here is not great.

It is not all doom and gloom of course. The Acacia karoo outside my bedroom (that I planted 9 or so years ago) has been in splendid bloom and alive with insects, all living for the present. I caught this wasp, plundering nectar. Its future is now and I bet it doesn’t give a hoot for tomorrow.

A wasp feasts on Acacia nectar

A wasp feasts on Acacia nectar

You know you are having a bad day when…

10 04 2012

Won't you help me - please?

You have just emerged from your pupa to find that your wings won’t open properly, your legs don’t work very well (I know THAT feeling!) and no-one can help!

There was not a lot I could do except take a photograph. It died soon after this and appeared to also have been parasitised by another very small wasp.

Solitary decisions

30 11 2008

Just before the rains start the solitary wasps go into a frenzy of nest building. Constructed of tubes of mud they paralyse prey, insert them into the nest and lay eggs on top before sealing them up. The larva feeds on the still alive prey and then emerges a few weeks later. Just about anywhere is suitable for a nest but they seem to prefer backs of curtains and tubular structures which require a bit less work. I generally tolerate them as part of living in Africa but my sense of humour does fail a bit when I discover a nest in the paper feed of my printer. This one (the larva in the photo gallery below) made the unfortunate decision to make a nest in the pipe I use to drain the emergency water tank. It nearly got away with it but someone must have nudged the tap so it leaked. I only discovered it because I needed to drain the tank to replace it with fresh water.

The blue headed lizard was also near the tank but I spotted it earlier this week. It lives in a tree by the back door along with a few others. It’s head is really that blue. Unfortunately it was at the limit of my little compact digital camera but you can get the idea.

The third photo I took yesterday whilst ferrying the lunch up Ngomukurira, a large granite dwala some 20 km to the NE of Harare for a friend’s son’s birthday outing. He and his friends had walked up with some adults so it was left to me to get the food to the top. I also gave Maria, his mother, and a guide a lift up. It really is spectacular and worth the apalling track which no doubt appeals to the 4×4 enthusiasts who frequent it. But it is one of the things I love about this country. Maria agreed with me and said that after the predictability of living in the UK she longed for the unpredictability and extremes of Africa.