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The Travelling SandAnt

So this is THE BLOG in it's final, resting form. We have been pretty much "on the go" for a total of 420 days - but all good things must eventually come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed tuning-in as much as we have had fun in choosing what installments and photos to publish to the world. We promise not to subject you to the other 15,000 photos that we have managed to rack up along the way!

Strangely, we are now looking forward (at least a little bit!) to returning home, and learning what has changed in the UK in our absence over the past 14 months. It will be good to see if our friends and family remember us too!

So thanks for logging in, and you never know, but very soon we might even be knocking on your door!

Love & loaded rucksacks,
S & A xxx.

Diary Entries

Thursday, 05 July 2007

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

So now we have discovered that Johannesburg can rival Cape Town for good foodie restaurants. Dinner on Monday with Heidi and Anton was a lively affair with Espetadas (SA version of the Portugese-style dish incorporating large chunks of succulent beef, presented on a huge dangling skewer!) and good quantities of Pinotage to wash it all down.

On Tuesday Jenny chauffeured us to Gold Reef City where we visited the Apartheid Museum, a very moving exhibition of the political history of South Africa. It was set out very well, and is quite a haunting reminder of the country's very-recent, turbulent past.

Last night was the dining finale, with Chris and Lorna, Heidi, Anton and Jenny all running around and making time to join us at Piatto Mediterranean Kitchen, a lovely restaurant in the centre of Sandton. It was a good family catch-up, and we hope to be able to repeat this again (London? HK? JHB?) before too long.

Today is all about final packing and bidding farewell to all of Jenny's animals, who have kept us company (and provided warmth!) during these past few freezing days. Jenny is kindly ferrying us to the airport this afternoon - an easy departure - ahead of the onslaught of Heathrow queues and high security... What a welcome back to reality that will be!

Monday, 02 July 2007

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

For the past week, it has been lovely to catch up with Karen and Kate (and their respective tots, Bella and Lily). Both ladies have been extremely generous to us, and have loaned us their cars in order to explore more of the city ourselves (False Bay, V&A Waterfront, Chapman's Peak drive etc).

We have now moved down to a plush hostel near the Waterfront, in a bid to see what night life has to offer in the beautiful city of Cape Town. Sadly, we only have a few days left before we jet back to Johannesburg, but at least we get to see the Joburg-based cousins again one final time.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Location: V&A Waterfront, South Africa

Happy birthday to me!! :-D

We have spent the last couple of days around the beautiful (and still expanding) V&A waterfront, engaging in significant bouts of retail therapy. The weather in Cape Town has been variable, ranging from sunny skies and strong sun, to torrential downpours and general damp and greyness .

Yesterday was clear and bright, so Ess surprised me with a one hour high-speed boat trip in a jet boat (similar to the famous shark diving rubber duck - but without the concussion!). Skimming the water at speeds up to 100kph, we sometimes got airborne, which Ant absolutely loved, and the pilot took us past Clifton and Camps Bay, around the headland for some close-up views of the Twelve Apostles.

Later in the afternoon, we took Kate's car and drove up and down Chapman's Peak drive, with stunning viewpoints back into the bays. Today has been less idyllic on the weather front, so we remained indoors at the Waterfront, but treated ourselves to a platter of fresh oysters and a glass (or several) of champagne overlooking the harbour!

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Location: Cape Town cousins!, South Africa

It has been fantastic to be able to catch up with family in Cape Town and take a few days out to generally sort and shop. It was great to meet Karen's hubby Rob and brand-new daughter Bella, and we managed to find enough time to catch up with each other and also fit in a day of shopping at the enormous Canal walk retail centre at Century City.

Moving on to see Kate and 17-month-old Lily was a further foray into family hospitality, and Katie was a star by letting us drive her car for a few days while she has been at work. We have ticked off Boulders beach penguins, a drive along False bay (stopping for lunch at the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay), a trip around Chapman's peak and a visit to the V&A waterfront.

Essy has consistently been doing damage to the credit card wherever there are shops to be found (not hard in CPT!) but she now has some lovely "Proper Clothes" to wear, after a year of being constrained by travelling gear and what we can carry in a rucksack!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Location: Stellenbosch, South Africa

The rest of the truck trip comprised a couple of long drive days to get to Fish River canyon and then on to Orange river on the South African border. We had an afternoon to canoe 15km along the river which was hot, but an enjoyable break from truck life. Our penultimate day was a 14 hour drive from the Namibian border down through the Western Cape, ending in Stellenbosch.

The scenery is much more green, with citrus plantations and rolling hills instead of the flat landscape that we have become accustomed to in Namibia. For the first time in weeks, we have met some cold, grey, rainy weather in Stellenbosch, which is maybe preparing us for our return to the UK. The absence of indoor heating makes it somewhat chillier than we are currently used to!

Visits to Maratie, Fairview and Uitkyk wineries around the town of Stellenbosch provided a welcome return to civilisation, with lots of delicious cheese, olive oil and red, white and rose wines to be tasted!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Location: Dunes at Soussusvlei, Namibia

After the adrenaline of quad-biking and sand-boarding down the Swakopmund dunes, (see Speed demon photos!) we headed further south to Soussusvlei. The earth has turned redder and the grass has a bright yellow hue. Only camel thorn acacia trees which have roots reaching down 80m can survive and even these are few and far between. When we reached the Soussusvlei pan, even trees were fairly sparse, with 200m high dunes signalling the start of a 32,000 sq km area of Western Namibia. The world's highest and oldest dunes are to be found here and the walk up Dune 45 at sunrise provided a magnificent viewpoint of the desert and it's hills.

We were entertained by a desert guide who taught us about life in the Namib desert, showing us a shovel-snouted lizard that he caught with bare hands, and unearthing a spider's trap door by blowing into the sand. Another strange sight was of a fog-basking beetle called a Toktokkie, which raises its bottom in the air, capturing moisture from the dawn fog, which then slides as droplets down the carapace into its mouth.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Location: Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park, Namibia

Heading 100km south from Etosha, we visited the Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park, a farm that has been dedicated to raising captured and orphaned cheetahs since 1994, when farmers caught a pregnant cheetah that had decimated a herd of local cattle. In order to save the cubs, the farmer started the reserve and now buys cheetahs from local farmers (R2500) to prevent further killings.

Our first stop was the farm house where we got to meet 3 cubs up close. Ant was in his element, walking with the cubs and patting them before watching them devour donkey livers and kidneys on the front lawn.

Next we jumped into an open bakkie and zoomed off to the wild cheetah enclosure. The cheetahs can either smell the meat in the accompanying barrels, or associate food with the truck, because soon we had 8 kitties prowling around our truck. When the meat is thrown for them, they race to snatch it first, and speed away to a safe distance to eat. Feeding them in this way gave us a chance to experience their speed and agility. Some of them are better at securing meat than their rivals, and there is always one left who needed guidance to find the thrown meat! They weren't too grateful either, growling ferociously at the handlers and their sticks. Final stop was to the "kittens", an enclosure of fluffy-headed 14 month old youngsters, who growled at the over-eager German paparazzi who tried to get their lenses through the mesh fence!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Location: Okaukuejo water hole, Namibia

The morning game drive was very quiet and we saw little to excite us! We stopped at a few water holes and saw kudu, springbok and a lot of zebras but no big Five. Then by a large chalky waterhole surrounded by gemsbok, we saw a solitary bull elephant appear in the distance. We persuaded our truck mates to wait (they aren't too good at that sometimes, as it interrupts their chatting!) but this time we were rewarded with an elephant mud bath! He literally painted himself white by spraying chalky water onto his body with his trunk, or kicking up clouds of spray with a lashing leg. A thousand photos bear witness to a fun and frivolous 10 minute spectacle!

Moving onto Okaukuejo, the second rest camp, we encountered the main draw of its central waterhole which is floodlit at night time. We enjoyed the sight of several elephant drinking, plus a large gemsbok waded out to the centre of the waterhole for a drink and yet more elephants sauntered to the water's edge and then had a trumpetting and grumpy stand-off.

At sunset, we watched zebras arrive through the dusty orange haze and cast their reflections on the still water. A gangly giraffe came to drink, lowering itself awkwardly on the uneven ground. Later after dinner, we watched a group of 7 elephants with playful youngsters, gifraffe, spotted hyenas and, best of all, four black rhino. First 2 males came to drink and then out of the darkness emerged a mother and baby, much to the annoyance of the first male. The rhinos, like the ellies, seem to be grumpy and skittish too! As the mother tried to keep away from Mr Grump, she brought her baby on a circuit of the waterhole and right up to the bench where we were seated.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Location: Namutoni Rest Camp, Etosha NP, Namibia

Namibia in the wintertime is still seriously hot!! Because temps plummet in the nighttime however, whenever we do find a swimming pool, it is still often icy cold! The plunge is sometimes worthwhile to cool you down ahead of a game drive in the afternoon...

Driving between the three main rest camps in Etosha gave us a good overview of Namibia's most famous park. We saw lots of giraffe, including babies, plus our first sightings of Gemsbok (oryx) and also lots of Springbok. Despite the absence of large game on our first night, we were visited by black-backed jackals patrolling the campsite, and kept awake by close-by animal noises through the night; probably lions on a kill and baboons.

Saturday, 09 June 2007

Location: Caprivi strip, Namibia

Back on the truck, we spent the next few days crossing borders between Zim-Botswana-Namibia and back again, and in Rundu we also had views overlooking Angola lying just 50m across the river.

The narrow 200km long piece of land that we were traversing is called the Caprivi strip. It officially belongs to Namibia, but Angola and Botswana run parallel on either side. Getting to the Okavango Delta therefore requires multiple border post crossings. Ant is now an expert begger/negotiator as he has to implore border guards to stamp his passport in corners of used pages, as with 120 stamps, he is running out of space!

However, formalities aside, the scenery around the rivers and lakes is beautiful and we were treated to several stunning sunsets amongst the reeds, hippos and elephants. One of the highlights was balancing in the centre of a tiny Mokoro canoe, as a guide stood on the back punting us through the reeds to observe sunsets and avoiding the wildlife!

Monday, 04 June 2007

Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

We had four days of relaxation around "The Smoke That Thunders", which are as impressive as Ant remembers from the early eighties. In fact the water levels are the highest that they have been in about 15 years. But apart from a few overlanding trucks, still no tourists!

We visited the Five star Vic Falls hotel with manicured lawns leading down to an amazing view of the Batoka Gorge and the bridge that links Zambia to Zimbabwe, with the falls smoke rising to the left. The hotel is immaculate and we enjoyed an afternoon tea served on a 3-tier silver platter, presenting cucumber and lettuce sandwiches, smoked salmon roulades, fresh scones and cream and a layer of patisseries. A security guard was kept busy with his catapult trying to ward off a family of baboons that were sitting in the eaves near to some open bedroom windows!

We walked the falls on both the Zambian and Zimbabwe sides, getting absolutely soaked in the rain forest and noticed that both tourist centres still had 1980s displays (not updated) and no signs of any maps or information to hand. Essy decided to be an adrenaline junkie, so we climbed down the structure of the arching bridge and walked along the curved span attached only by a caribina rope, and we also took to the skies in a microlight to view the falls from overhead - as spectacular as the helicopter ride that we did over Iguaçu last September.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Location: Sikumi Lodge, Zimbabwe

Again, the Hwange wildlife pictures speak for themselves, but Sikumi highlights include meating a pair of lions on a long road at dawn. The female walked ahead but the male kept hiding in the bush and charging us; some excellent cam-corder footage for Essy to capture. We also saw the remains of a kill where another male had brought down two buffalo in the same night and spent the next 2 days consuming every morsel of both carcasses.

Spotted hyena, sable, steenbok, roan antelope and even a lone wild cat were all new-comers for us to tick off on the list, and Ant loved the visit to the local Wild (painted) Dog reserve.

Hwange appears to be a well kept reserve with lots of game thriving on the land, but it is a crying shame that no tourists are coming to enjoy the spectacle. Only on one night did we have any other customers at the 40 person lodge, and when we went into Hwange NP itself at dusk, we were told we had been only the second vehicle that day.

Again, hitching a lift to Vic Falls turned out to be an arduous affair; a two hour wait before Ant managed to flag down a minibus and no signs of any public transport on this main thoroughfare. The lodges/hotel infrastructure remains in place from colonial times, but without the public transport services, it makes it incredibly difficult to get tourists to the right places, unless you have your own car. One can only hope that one day, Zimbabwe will improve to ensure that its resources are made available to outsiders. What they have to offer is world-class, but the politics and lack of marketing, are stopping folk from coming to see what they have to offer. It really is a crying shame.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Location: Getting to Hwange, Zimbabwe

We felt pretty well rested after our short sleep and although it was a sky-blue, sunny day, the wind had a definite nip about it. By 10am we were pounding the streets again with rucksacks firmly on our backs. We established (with difficulty) that no regular bus company now runs between Bulawayo (the second city) and Vic Falls (the prime tourist attraction in Zim) for "economic viability" reasons. i.e. lack of tourists. So as suspected, we were back to chicken bus tactics!

We needed to get out to Etumbane Bus terminal, some 5km outside of Bulawayo, but at least this was quieter than the hectic Renkini main terminal. A taxi was therefore needed! This wasn't too difficult as many people shouted out to us when they saw us lugging bags and on foot. However, once we had accepted an offer we wondered at the wisdom. Doors opened only from the inside and as usual, there is no key. A bit of engine tinkering and hotwiring got us started and we were off. About 3km from our destination, the car conked out - no more fuel!! Ant negotiated a reduction of fare to 80,000 from the inital 200,000 and the driver flagged down a combi-van to take us the rest of the way for 40,000! The hassle-factor saved us money after all!

When we got to Etumbane, it is indeed a far-cry from the bustling Renkini station. A deserted tarmac carpark except for 1 minibus and trailer. Next were the usual tough negotiations (fuel cost, blah, blah, blah) but the best we could do was ZD 200,000 each to Hwange, despite establishing that it was only halfway to Vic Falls, and the Byo-Vic Falls price was ZD 250,000! The bus has no timetable (except you may leave when it is 120% full) so we sat for nearly 2 hours, ignoring banana / orange/ bread / coke sellers plying their wares, before we set out. Less than 5km later, we had been stopped by our third police road block. Ho hum, This Is Africa (T.I.A.)

As passenger numbers continued to rise (I thought we were full!) along with the temperature, we eventually made it to our sign post at 249km from Byo after about 4 hours. The sign pointed as expected to Sikumi tree Lodge. After 45 minutes of trudging uphill along a sandy road, we reached a sign saying "Sikumi, 4km". This wasn't particularly good news! However somebody was looking after us, as next thing we saw was a 4x4 vehicle who offered us a lift to the door! We later found out that there are no longer any park or private reserve fences, so we could well have stumbled into a herd of elephant or roaming lions. Probably best we didn't know this at the time!

Now settled into our tree house lodge, and being chaperoned by friendly and attentive staff, we are ready for more game viewing around the Sikumi forest. Again we have a local waterhole by our dining room, and saw elephant, black rhino, impala, baboons and bushbuck before the power failed so we had dinner in the dark.


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Recent Messages

From Jenny
Hi S & Ant
Belated birthday greetings for Ant, sorry its not the right day but I'm sure you had a great time. In a few days time you will be back to good old blighty!! We all look forward to having you back in the same country, please bring the sunshine back with you!!!
See you soon
Love Jen, Mike and the BOA gang x x
Response: Thanks for remembering!! We are still in denial about returning home, but today we started a trial-cram of stuff into rucksacks to see whether everything fits inside! Will try again tomorrow!! ;-D
From Kay
Hiya Guys, still following your adventures. Amelia still loves looking at the pictures and i love following your travels. School is getting pretty hectic- reports and the like- i suppose Sarah found one ways of escaping them again.
Hope to see you soon and get together for a very late night...well if S turns up on time! Love and Hugs to you both from all the Theobald clan
Response: Hi Kay!
We will defo be coming to see you soon; will give you a call after recovering from our flight next weekend to see how we fit into your busy Real World schedule!! Have now trained her better on timeliness but will still give her an ETA of 2 hours earlier than necessary! :-D
From Sas
2nd Zim leg looked awesome - would love to do Hwnage and Vic Falls - my mum swears by their G&Ts. But don't think i'll be doing anything life threatening in VicF - i hear there's lovely view from the stoep...SA seems miles away already, so lovely to spend some time with u! (liver just about recovered...)
Response: Hey Sassy! Time flying along but now back in Stellenbosch, so liver taking another hit!!
From Andy
Hey guys. Just had a look through all your photos. Looks like awesome times. You guys have been going all out. Make sure you go quad biking in Swakopmund Namibia Ant. Great fun !!!!! Those black tip sharks looked freaky, i dived with the great whites but that was in a cage, buggar snorkling around those ones. Also the delta in botswana is cool, rowing in in the dugouts. Segengetti and crater looked alot greener than when we were there in october. Take care guys. If youre in nz look us up. I could have escaped though. On my way to canada to take rich american hunters out hunting in the yukon.
Take care Andrew
Response: Hey Andy! good to hear from you!! Did Quadding yesterday - what a blast riding the dunes!! Only stalled and got stuck up a hill the one time! Your American plans sound awesome - send some pics!
From Jenny & Mike
Glad to hear that you are still alive and kicking after all your adventures - must have been very scary being mugged, but at least you didn't get hurt and didn't lose your passports which would of caused alot of hassle. Love all the pics, especially the sharks!!! Happy birthday wishes to S for Sunday from all the BOA gang, hope you celebrate in style!! Make the most of the time left, we look forward to welcoming you back safe and sound. Cup final day today Ant at the new Wembley pity Arsenal are playing!! Lots of love to you both from us all Jenny & Mike x x x x
Response: Hi folks! Thanks for your message. All is good with us and about to meet our final truck to take us to Namibia and SA. Watched the footie from our luxury lodge but looking forward to new season on our return! Take care SandA xx.
From Jack
hi. sorry to hear about your unfortunate event in South Africa. Looking forward to seeing you in july. i have done my sats this week. all went well (i hope!!!!)
Response: Hi Jack. Look fwd to hearing the results! Only a few weeks to go now. Love S and Ant xx
From Jackie Gardner
Hi S
Good to see your doing well hope the head is ok! photos are amazing love looking at them.
rebby doing well in school and Jane is 18 on May 23rd!!
Take care
Love Jackie xxxx
From Ceri T
hi both, thought about time i sent you a quick message although having read and seen what you are doing day to day I am sure I have nothing that will come close. Other than to say that you pictures have saved lots of money in taking Amelia to the zoo. Only problem is that she now wants a Lion as a pet. Can you see what you can do. On a more serious note missing you both and cant wait to see you when you get back. Love as always C K & A
Response: If only we had known earlier when in Zim, we might have put a cub in the backpack for her! We'll try our luck again in Kruger NP!!
From Torsten & Birgit
Hi Sarah and Ant!
We haven't looked through your whole site. But we will do it soon. Just wanna leave a message. It was great meeting you. Have a great journey! Keep in touch.

Torsten & Birgit
Response: Hey Torsten!! Hope that the trip home wasn't too much of a shock for you guys! Assume you managed to track down the cricket match eventually and results have all made sense?! Let us know when you have played your first match in Germany!! Bis bald, Ant and S x
From Kay T
Hiya Guys- Hope you are both well. Thank you for the post card...Amelia announced and demonstrated its arrival witha shout of " Long Neck".
We too have been travelling...just arrived back from Canada. Not so lucky as you with the weather - very cold and sunny. Not a chance of laying in the sun and getting a tan...
Amelia is doing well... very confident, dominant and sure of herself( not sure who she takes after!!!)
Can't wait to see you and share your stories and pictures...a long drinking night it shall be!

Love and Kisses
K C A
Response: Good to hear Zim postal service is up to scratch! Canada may well be next on the travel list for us too! This week, we spent Monday morning on the beach in Durban!! 2 weeks of beach hopping forecast now before heading to Kruger NP! luv A and S xx
From Jen and Mike
Hi S&A Hope you are both well and enjoying yourselves. You are obvoiusly in the back of beyond as we haven't heard anything from you for a while. Jack is 11 on 23rd March so I took him to buy some gardening stuff for his present yesterday. All the gang are well and enjoying life, but not as much as you as we all have to go to that thing called 'work'!!!! Take care Lots of love from the BOA gang. x x x x x
From Jo Payne
Hi S and Ant,

As ever photos looking fantastic and write up very good! Just wanted to wish you guys a happy wedding anniversary. Hope you managed to stop somewhere appropriate and raise a glass to yourselves. Weather in England is scorching and Alan and I spent our first weekend out wakeboarding this year. Also went for dinner on Saturday night to Simpsons and brought back happy memories of a Fordie Sunday lunch there a few years back. Anyway take care and see you soon,

Jo xxx
Response: Hi Jo! Good to hear from you and thanks for remembering the anniversary! We went walking with lion cubs that day, of which more later on the blog! Enjoying first world service now that we have reached SA. Keep tuned in when you have the time! Luv A and S xx
From jackie Gardner
HI S Glad to see you are looking so well it lookes like your having an wounderful time. we are all fine moving to the new office in April.
Take care
Jackie xxx
From Caro
Hey
Awesome website! Was very cool to meet you both on the Kilimanjaro trip - keep enjoying Africa.

Will look forward to seeing more entries as you journey further south.

Take care
Caro
Response: Glad you got home safely! Legs didn't really seize up at all, but decided to take time out in Zanzibar as a precaution. Awesome beaches!!
From Peta
Congratulations on making it up and down safely. Now break out the beers
Response: Hi Peta! Have been resting up in Zanzibar and thought of you in G.C. - Now, THIS is the life!!
From Derek Leung
Hi to S and Ant, Great meeting you guys this last week on Kili. I won't spoil the ending for all your loyal readers! Looking forward to going through every single one of your entries! - Derek.
Response: Hey Derek! Hope the long flight back to NYC was okay and going back to work is not too traumatic! Keep logging on when you get the chance!
From Amelia
To Sarah and Ant.
Thenk-you for my t-shirt to remind me of your travels. It fits me and i have worn it to nursery. Everyone was impressed when i tell them of your adventures. Hope to see you soon - i am now a big girl and a little monkey. Mummy says i'm going to turn out just like daddy. Mummy and daddy keep me informed of you latest travels. can i please have more photos of the animals you see...so i can learn more animal noises to annoy mummy!!
Love and Kisses Amelia....and her mummy xxxx
Response: Hello Amelia, We are glad you like your penguin shirt! We have just updated photos to show you all our animal friends. Hope mummy enjoys all the noises late at night! Lots of love Ant and S xxx
From Pete & Jan
Hi, Look forward to seeing your 1st lot of African photos.
150 mm of snow forecast, arriving tomorrow.
Emily has taken her first few steps.Don't think wooden saddles will catch on here !
P. & J.
Response: Photo upload is a prob on steam-driven pcs! Hoping to catch some snow ourselves as we climb Kilimanjaro, starting this weekend!
From Michelle & Jed
Happy New Year guys! It's great reading your continuing adventures (even though we are not there now!!!). Love the beer shots! Thinking of you having fun through Africa, & look forward to your next update. We are off to New Zealand (who you beat in a 1 day cricket match the other day!!) on Monday to 'SETTLE' (scary word huh!!!). Love Michelle & Jed X No more Tortuga goss unfortunately!!!
Response: Hello New Zealanders! Hope that you manage to settle quickly into your new life, and do keep the updates coming! Intrigued how the repatriation will turn out, or if you decide to hotfoot it back to the other side of the world!
From Tony & Lesley (M&D)
The 2 days went too quickly - at least Arsenal won for you. Thanks for the book which arrived today. We await more news & pics in great anticipation. Take care!!!
Love & kisses to you both.
From Rachel Steve, Soph &
Happy Christmas!

Thinking of you both..
From Sarah-Jane & Nige
Hi Ant & S
Have been keeping up to date with your adventures - all sounds amazing! Just a note to wish you a very Happy Christmas & New Year. Loads of love SJ & Nigexxx
Response: Howdy Bris´l people! Great to know that you are keeping track, and have yourselves a wonderful Chrimbo! luv etc S&Axx
From Jo, Alex & Emily
Hi Ant and S!

Just wanted to wish you the most wonderful, exciting, adventurous Christmas!

All good here. House is pretty much done now, but we still haven't set the study up, so not able to use the computer much (or scan in photos!)

Just wanted to let you know we're thinking of you and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Love,
Jo, Alex & Em
x
Response: WONDERFUL to hear from you guys and to know you haven´t fallen off the planet! We´re dying to find out about your new home - we may well be living in a tent on Christmas day, so are sure you will be more comfy! Will be toasting friends and family from afar on xmas day. Send family photo when office up and working! luv A and S xxx
From Jackie Gardner
Hi s and a
What an amazing time you are having wish I was there with you. I loved the school any jobs going ! Hope you both have a Happy Christmas and a happy New year take care miss you S.
Love
Jackie and Rebby xx
Response: Hi Jackie! We heard about the London tornado - hope it missed your house!! Have fun with the xmas shopping and the end of term! Love to all the family. S x
From Pete & Jan
Dear Ant and S
A friend sent me more photo's of the road of death [is it called Stremnaya road ?] I'm getting vertigo just looking at them.Have passed them on to Gill - she can see in more detail the hardships that you are enduring!!
Happy Christmas wherever you are. Pete and Jan.
Response: Hey-yo! Yes, that is the road we cycled!! Mum has been chuffed to see the grizzly details! Now busy just keeping out of the Santiago pro- vs. anti-Pinochet riots!