Hello World, Dotty Old Bat calling.

I seem to have struck a chord with many of you and so the dotty old bat will rise to the challenge and share some of her early scribbles from her first few weeks here in beautiful Tanzania.

With love and dottiness.




I saw her today, breath-taking, stunningly beautiful, yet fleeting. Now she refuses to vacate my thoughts.

            I toss and turn, my sweat sticky and cloying. For the first time since I arrived I find the mosquito net claustrophobic. I fumble in the dark for my phone. 04:05am.

            “Oh God I will never get back to sleep.” I moan to the empty space beside me, longing for the comfort of a woman’s body. Not just any woman, but her…


I saw her again today. I was starting to believe I had imagined her. But no, I saw her today and now I know that my dreams have not done her justice.

            She teased me, I swear. My first glimpse had revealed strong and tantalisingly naked shoulders, but today she swathed herself in a loose chiffon like shawl that rippled in the breeze and hinted at her naked form.

            Today she offered only her regal face with its head of white hair framing majestic features. I swear she knows my dreams, knows the effect she has on me. I won’t sleep tonight.


            “Let me sleep.” I scream into the blackness of night. “This is crazy!”


 “Teacher Michael?” Emanuel tugs at my sleeve pointing at the word.

            I snap back to reality, shaking my head to clear the images … of her.

            “OK Ema, slowly. To-mo-…”

            Class continues and Ema’s grin when he cracks it and reads “tomorrow” banishes her from my thoughts momentarily. How could anyone abandon kids like Ema? There must be another way for the parents.

            I’m falling in love in Tanzania; a million miles from my home town in rural

Yorkshire, England. I’m falling in love with the country, the people, the orphans and … her.

            I sigh as Ema skips away leaving me to my moody thoughts.


I sleep all night.

            She and I have reached an impasse, I have made my decision and it seems to satisfy her. She appears more frequently in my daily life now, each time different but always the trademark chiffon swirling in the breeze. My dreams are sweet and satisfying. I think we are both happy with my decision.

            I will take her, she will be mine.


“Keep going, keep believing, you can do this. She’s nearly yours. Tomorrow, push forward and tomorrow night, she’s yours.” The words rattle in my head, nausea swirls in my stomach, tomorrow, really?


My lungs are fit to burst, my head will explode, my calves are taught with tension. The exhilaration is almost too much. Never has adrenalin pumped through my veins like this.

            I stand astride her panting. She is mine. I look up into the clear blue sky and scream at the top of my voice.

            “I love you Julia. I miss you but I have to move on now.” I wrench at the wedding ring on my finger, pulling it off.

I made it. And with every arduous step I shed another layer of my grief for the loss of my beautiful wife.

            Mount Kilimanjaro is mine. I took her.


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