Feeling the fear

My last blog entry was not very long or interesting. However, in it I flagged a trek I did in Zimbabwe, New Year 1996/97. What is interesting (to me) is that when I had my astrological chart for 1996 drawn up, Gail told me that I would end the year on a physical high.

I was in Zimbabwe to do research for Honours. I stayed with family in Harare until Christmas and then at my brother’s farm.

After Christmas my brother and sister-in-law took me to Aberfoyle in the Honde Valley to spend New Year with a group of friends. The valley is beautiful, there are tea and coffee estates, mountains, cataracts and some pretty scary treks. The plan was to walk up to a waterfall on New Year’s Eve day. I have to say I was not keen. I’m scared of heights, snakes and rickety bridges and ladders. Nevertheless, I said, “Yes!” After all, what did I have to lose?

 

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A recent photo of Aberfoyle in the Honde Valley (thanks Fen)

Mozambique is a stone’s throw away. The countryside was (and probably still is) wild and woolly.

The first part of the path was not difficult but quite soon it became rugged, broken and uneven. The first crossing seemed to be reasonably easy … although, as you can see, I was a tad apprehensive (that’s me hanging back, arms akimbo, thinking about giving it a go). The bridge was wobbly but not as wobbly as some of the others that we crossed.

bridge

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Made it!

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This crossing was a question of balance and hanging on for dear life.

Then there were ladders that had to be climbed to get to the next level …

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There were cataracts to be crossed, wet and slippery and so damn exciting!

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The destination was an amazing cataract but I have to admit that by this stage my courage had deserted me so I waited on the other side while braver friends crossed over the final bridge and stood under the waterfall. I was, if I remember, shaking from the exertion and the adrenaline.

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Not forgetting that as we went up, so we had to come down again …

Later that evening we celebrated New Year and I danced until I fell down on the floor, totally exhausted. Someone took this photo of me and I’m grateful because how often do you get such a candid shot of yourself? And for those who thought I was dead and/or drunk – I wasn’t!

exhausted

And then most of us jumped into the pool and had a swim.

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Aberfoyle 1996/97

It took me days to come down from the high and I made a vow to myself that I would in future say “Yes” if these frightening adventures were offered. Life is too short (or too long?) to be sitting home and turning into a couch potato.

Unfortunately I have no way of crediting the photographers. My camera decided to stop working and never worked again, ever. I do thank you all for your photos and for my sister-in-law and my friend, Fenella, for passing on the photos to me. Twice. I lost the first lot and only found them again recently.

 

 

 

Feeling the fear

After the horrendous tragedy in Manchester, United Kingdom, I find it difficult to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) for my weekly blog. The enormity of the crime brings me to tears and anything I write seems inconsequential.

I read that we are wired to focus on dangerous and fearful things. It is something about being human, about our survival instinct. According to research conducted by psychologists Marc Trussler and Stuart Soroka, at McGill University in Canada, “… it isn’t just schadenfreude, but that we’ve evolved to react quickly to potential threats. Bad news could be a signal that we need to change what we’re doing to avoid danger.”

Nevertheless, the Manchester atrocity is the stuff of nightmares and my heart goes out to all those affected. My admiration goes to the Mancunians who have stepped up to the mark to assist and strengthen the resolve of the people to rise above this act of terrorism. This is the Place is the stirring poem by Tony Walsh (aka Longfella) that he read at the vigil for the victims.