Our Little Place of Paradise in The Matobo Hills
Greetings From The Heart of Scouting!
The rains are late, very late. The Park has only recorded sixty millimetres of rain this season. The Mtsheleli river is dry, as are the natural pools that occur along its winding course as it heads down to the Mopani veld south of the hills. The water level in the Mtsheleli dam some seventeen kilometres down stream from the Park is dropping noticeably. The trees having put up a fine show of green, even flowering in expectation of a replenishment of life giving water sucked from deep under ground, are beginning to show stress. The grass cover is showing signs of stress, with the green in the leaves from the first few days of light rains now showing a bluish, suffocating colour. The water levels in the wells from which the Park derives its water for our Scouting activities are dropping, resulting in less and less water being pumped during the weekends.
Dec 2012 Chimanimani Expedition - Norm, Hale, Declan, Chris
front:- Kevin, Nicholas, Joshua, Seth
Work at the Park has continued unabated with the repainting programme of the 'Stable' block of rooms in full swing. It is a tiring task, repairing the damage in the walls with filler and painting the 'upside down' ceilings a real back breaker. I nearly fell off the make shift scaffold a few times in my effort to reach that little bit further. Serves me right for being too lazy to move the scaffold. Scaffold, a fancy name for the old tin topped kitchen table on two trestles which are rather loose in the joints and therefore a trifle rickety, wobbling all over the place. Adds spice to life, but then when I fall off my perch I guess I wont be too happy.
Chris keeps well out of the way when the tools and paint are put out and when I say, well out of the way, he really disappears, as he is intent on jazzing up the rock-garden. In keeping out of the way he now has three rockeries all hosting wild plants culled from various areas of the Park and well, yes beyond. His master pieces were recently admired by "The Trees Nature Study Group" a keen group of tree and plant experts who spent a Sunday in 'The Heart of Scouting' when identifying and naming a good number of our trees. Now we have to engrave name plates and affix them to the trees around Headquarters, the 'Skipper' Knapman Training Ground, the Saint George's Chapel and The Bowl. A much appreciated Good Turn they did for us Scouts and we thank them for their time and energy walking a few kilometres in undertaking this, to us Scouts, a most appreciated task.
The December Monthly Church Service was that little bit more special. Special, in that six Scouts, three from my Troop and three from the 8th plus Chris and myself were to set out for our annual six day expedition to the Chimanimani Mountains and other places of interest along our route early on Monday morning. The service, conducted by Mr Dale Dodds in the Saint George's Chapel was, therefore, the right time for asking God's blessings for our journey. It was a most successful expedition ending our last night on the banks of Lake Mutirikwi (only 10% full owing to the drought) at Norma Jeans campsite. Here we held our expedition dinner, topping that off by celebrating Chris' birthday with generous slices of birthday cake kindly made by Mrs Cavil. And again special, for after the service, all eighty of us regrouped in and as close to the lounge of the "Justine Ralphs Cottage" about two hundred metres away. The reason was that we held our very own official switching on of the Christmas tree lights and then to the accompaniment of the guitar duo, we sang a selection of Christmas carols. As with last year we chose a Mopani tree as our "Christmas tree'. This year the tree was heavily festooned with lights, even stung up on the walls and ceiling. The additional lights were a gift from Gordon Park Crew member Hylton Garriock, who lives in London. Hylton had sent the three stings of lights totaling six hundred lights in all, to us earlier in the year. Thank You Hylton, once again you gave joy to many people gathered for this years Christmas service at Gordon Park.
Christmas is just a few days away, so to you all a very merry and Blessed Christmas from us here in The Heart of Scouting. May next year bring peace around the world.
That is it for this week. It doesn't sound much, but a lot continues to happen in our little place of paradise in the Matobo Hills.
This past month...
The latest MATOBO CONSERVATION SOCIETY Newsletter Number 80 can be found at http://matobo.org/
and unfortunately mentions:-
"11 – RHINO NEWS FROM THE PARK
It was reported that a rhino had been lost in the Matopos game Park during the last week of September...."
"Thought for The Week"
A wise man learns from the mistakes of others; A fool learns from his own mistakes.
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Bulawayo, Saturday December 22 2012
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