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Jonathans blog


Much to my amazement, arrived without a hitch and exchanged my virtual tickets for real ones. Really nice to see Lesley and Tom after a month - both had loads of war stories.

Have now been in the Cape for nearly a week and the overiding impression is how much SA clearly wants this World Cup to be a success. It is impossible to go more than a hundred yards without seeing a policeman or having someone with an orange tie pop up and ask whether you need help with finding the stadium, the bus stop, the pub etc.

Went to the Portugal - Korea game. Haven't seen the English papers but I'm sure this is being referred to as the Ronaldo game. The stadium was absolutely stunning - good views from everywhere, wide aisles, plenty of leg room and not a hint of any trouble/aggression.

Had a good day rock-climbing with Tom on the Lions Peak - a rock spire on the side of Table Mountain - Did a long mountaineering route in damp conditions with it threatening to rain all day - all good character building stuff and could have been back in the Lakes had it not been for the fact we had to watch out for unique South African hazards such as blister bushes and puff adders.

This afternoon South Africa play their last qualifying game - off to watch it in the open air on a big screen. We expect lots of tears and shouting and if they win, and actually go through, you will probably hear the cheering in Buxton.

Untill the next time.

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 02:34 Archived in South Africa Tagged family_travel Comments (1)


Arrived in Capetown-All the Buxton Wakefields reunited... and no we wont be buying vezulla horns!

sunny 20 °C

Arrived in Cape Town after 11.5 hr choppy flight, which we are used to by now, flying over deserts and mountains we flew over the west side of Africa avoiding Libyia and think we turned west over Angola and straight down to Cape Town - I was for the first time held up at immigration in Cape Town with Tom and was the last to be released - They wanted to see my return ticket which I didnt have ..and the immigration officer wasnt buying the fact that Jonathan, who was waiting in arrivals had it- those of you who know me well know I can put up a fight, but sleep deprived, I gave up arguing after 5 mins... Car hired we set off for Somerset West a suburb just outside CapeTown..
Jonathan's Uncle Wally lives here and we met up with him last night for a meal, he lives in fort Knox -a double security gated complex we had to sign in -Security is very important to many locals both white and black. We are planning a trip to Roben island to see the prison and Nelsons cell this week.. really looking forward to it, Wally is joining us as despite living here for so long he has not yet been.
Wally has lived here since 1968, and had his own restaurant in central capetown during the apartheid times -"Wallys Sausage House" .. he was the first buisness to both employ and serve blacks and coloured South Africans with out a licence and told us last night that he was paid a visit by the goverment telling him he would be under arrest if he continued.. he ignored the authorities and we love him for that.... He is a very rebellious man.. even today.. and loves an argument... we had good fun last night, his wonderful wife Evelyn died a few years ago and obviously he will never get over it... wish she had been with us last night.

I have made a huge mistake in assuming it would be warm 24 hrs!! During the day its apparently good- 20 degrees but at night the temperatures plummett and match those in Buxton on a winters evening! ( you can imagine how moany I am about that) ... there is even Snow on the top of the Hottentots mountain range which surround Somerset West.
We are staying with Diane who is an artist and originally from Salford (the same as Wally) its a brilliant place called Penny Lane- there are 6 other rooms and self catering flats here .I can't begin to tell you how perfect it is it is to have hot water and soft towels and a squidgy soft bed!!
As we step out onto our large decked balcony we can look out to the mountains and look down on a small swimming pool.. (Jane and David, I am not sure at what point you will get to South Africa on your world tour, but I reccomend this place.. you can park the landrover here..)
We are here for 3 weeks as we are using this as a base, Jonathan has organised a Safari at Addo Elephant park which has the big 5... we are going to Port Elizabeth after the Camerroon vs Portugal which we do have tickets for, and staying at back packers places en route...

Today England play thier deciding match- Like Ghana, South Africa has world cup Fever ..(no surprises there!) we are going into Capetown with bobble hats this eveing to catch the match on a large screen and soak up the atmosphere- we dont have tickets for the English games... and no we wont buy any of those irritating vezulla horns- in fact I have bought ear plugs.
Some people have asked me to get programmes ... there is x 1 universal programme for all the matches.. if any of my friemds or family would like me to buy them one let me know!
I have asked Joanthan to write the next blog ... they will be less frequent than Ghana unless we win tonight!!
love from Jonathan Tom and Lesley.

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 02:57 Archived in South Africa Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Stop over in Amsterdam-


overcast 19 °C

We saw England draw with the USA back at Big Millies under a thatch cose to the sea surrounded by other Brits and locals ... after Gerrards opening Goal .. the lads were chanting EASY ...EASY .. they soon shut up much to the GHANAIN, DUTCH, DANISH ,AND OTHER NATIONALS WATCHING delight when our goalie let in a soft goal., ... no celebrations for us ..just Tom screaming.... "I could have saved that ..!! "

As we left Ghana they played their first world cup match .. we watched it with a lot of other Ghanaians... the atmosphere was electric and boy do they know how to celebrate they won 1-0. and all present told us they would win..... our match companions went crazy with joy with Princes goal.... Tom naturally joined in the fun running up and down with the Ghanaian flag festooned around his shoulders we got wafted through the checkpoints and customs as Tom clung to the flag until he flopped into his aircraft seat....
So the next day we are in Amsterdam and watched Holland win.. It feels so laid back and calm.... the contrasting celebratory behavior is quite remarkable..its not as if the dutch are inhibited- the bar we stopped at is sandwiched between hash cafes and the red light area but the celebration is far more conservative,, a gentle clap ..!!
That said, I personally think that we are in the best city in the world- it houses every nationality I could imagine, and its all feels so harmonious .. we are staying in a budget hotel opposite the main station in Amsterdam and looking at the bank balance decided to get bikes to avoid tram and canal charges with the pound so weak against the Euro.. we have been following the canals and seen Anne Franks house and taken in the Van Gough Museum... Starry night is in a private collection in New York (shame) .. but we saw his self portrait and Tom got up close and personal with the sunflowers .. I did a few sketches .. there are noticeably hardly any cars in the city, but there are endless racks of Bikes .. and I mean endless... its a great way to get around ..I would love a dutch Bike ..just what I've been looking for in the UK ..reminds me of an old fashioned nurses bike .. they all have them here .. not a bleeding mountain bike in sight ..great..
So tomorrow we travel to South Africa for the 2nd part of our adventure ..THE WORLD CUP- we have tickets for Holland vs Cameroon, and Portugal vs South Korea... If England come top in their group and Ghana 2nd in theirs they will meet in the next round.. We will be at the opposite end of the country, but I will try and persuade my darling Hubby THAT WE HAVE TO SEE THAT MATCH !!!

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 15:32 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Last blog from Ghana...

we've done all that we came to do and more ..its unforgettable

sunny 32 °C

This is likely to be the last blog entry from Ghana as we are moving to Accra on Sunday and will be in South Africa on Wednesday .. unsure how feverish it is in world cup terms in the UK but Africa has gone football crazy...! We have a respite from the Rain..(god Im sounding so British why are we so obsessed with the weather?)

I 'm a sitting at trestle table next to the sea with a thatched roof above and the sides exposed to the sea breeze..its an idyllic scene that Thomas Cook would put on a brochure.. Palm trees blue skies and local fishermen bringing in the catch of the day .. mainly small lobsters and snappers and other slippery indeterminate fish that end up on our plates .. the brightly coloured boats are as old as 100 yrs, are mothered on the shoreline by the fishermens wives who sit in their shade ..dependant on the suns position .. see photo ..

- we have just polished off a large plate of paw paw and mango and watermelon... on a wall adjacent to us are perched a line of small Ghanaian children who belong to the fishing community ..watching our every move .. it all feels uncomfortable we are aware that these kids may not have had breakfast and they will later be playing football with Tom on the beach ... next to me are 6 more trestle tables .with a various assortment of other Europeans and Americans at each one..you get my drift ...... Tom hates this ritual in the mornings ... Its hard.... I have mixed feelings ... we are bringing cash into the community and at Big Millie's the staff are all Ghanaians and local ... this is the first time we have seen this volume of travellers , last night the ban on music was lifted as they have been observing a religious custom not to play drums loudly for the past month hence the weekend pull to this area.. last night the drummers descended into big Millie's and provided the most wonderfull display of African drumming I have ever seen live... what made it special was that all the beach kids sneaked in and got up and danced ... boy do they have rhythm!

I feel that as we leave Ghana we have done all that we wanted to do Tom has had the most fantastic exposure to a developing world.. we were talking last night to an ageing but well travelled Aussie surfer.. he reminded me that Ghana is the best African country for beginners... I guess he means that its friendly , the crime is low , and you can feel safe.. and I agree ...we have had a ball.. During the African drumming session last night I lost Tom .. I wasn't too panicked (as I have been in IKEA WITH A SIMILAR SENARIO!) I found him holding court on the balcony beach bar to a group of Rastas smoking ganga and 2 Danish travellers (Tom was not smoking I feel I should add!) -he was discussing the whys and wherefores of the poverty and corruption in Ghana.... we do witness the corruption and regular intervals..
We have spent time out in Elmina which until the mid 1800's was a slave port and the castle acted as the holding bay...(more later) I decided to go for the easy option and avoid tro tro instead we hired a driver to take us on the 4 hour round trip ... en route we passed through 9 check points at each one the police stopped us or waved us through and at 4 would not let us pass with out a bribe.. the police seem to pick on the poorest in the community to hassle.. and the irony is that as you pass the check points there are huge signs saying it is an offence to bribe a police officer .. It is a way of life that is accepted.. I could get all holy and say doesn't happen in my country .. then think of the duck pond and MPs expenses.......well may be its not so overt.

The slave castle was, as I suspected difficult and truly upsetting... many African Americans visit Elmina in search of their ancestors the last high profile one being Michelle Obama..

We arrived early and the guide took us around the castle as we entered the women's dungeon that remained untouched, the smell of death was palpable .. in this enclosed space with a few bricks removed for ventilation sat 400 women slaves with no toilet facilities, and nowhere to wash ... the guide was graphic and had a downer on us being British.. although the Portuguese were up their in the cruelty stakes the Brits weren't far behind.. The Colonial masters of the day abused the women after washing them down.. I could go on but wont .. its all too upsetting and when we reached the point where the slaves were dropped life coffee beans into the ships that pulled along side the castle at high tide, the guide reminded us this was the point that families split up and mothers would watch their son's plopped into assorted boats bound for America, West Indies or Portugal...Tom once again took it in his stride..(or so I though) but I later found a story in his diary written from the perspective of a 12 year old slave.

We have met a british couple roughly the same age as me who have dropped everything and are travelling the world in thier landrover for 6 yrs they are 9 months in .. yesterday Tom thought it was Christmas as he climbed thier landover and could touch the trees ...
which a monkey had been in the previous day ...
We will miss all about Ghana its wonderfull colourful people .. the kids on the beach... the smells and tastes that are unique .. I suspect that Tom will be here next, aged 18 with a pack on his back.. and we will encourage him ..

xxx Lesley and Tom xxx

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 05:01 Archived in Ghana Comments (0)

taking a shower in the monsoon

warm rain and rastas

rain 31 °C

I have posted some videos of the monsoon ... having lots of fab comments thanks to all for keeping in touch..unsure if the videos are coming through can someone let me know?? The rains are really plunging down... more so than Buxton... but for shorter spells .... Tom has just had a wonderfull shower in the rain..today..
I have had my hair cornweaved and rastaerfied... so now look like an official middle aged hippy trying to recapture something.. it took 3.5 hs! - the process was tortuoeus ... involving candles and boiling water .. but it is cooler.. not in the hey man sense... but as opposed to hot...

We have met so many interesting travellers A british couple JANE AND David are spening 6 years travelling the world..I am guessing they are a similar age to me ... driven down from Birminham in an all singing all dancing landrover .. they have many tales to tell and have been on the road for 8 months.. I took JANE TO A LOCAL HOSPITAL WHERE THE LAST 2 SETS OF SCALES HAVE BEEN GIVEN OUT THIS MORNING. IT is basically a community health clinic run by Nurses and midwives and they treat malaria patients alongside women delivering... I guess its the local version of the cottage hospital in Buxton.. without the malaria...

Off to the slave castles tomorrow.... then a slow pack as we head off and next week we will be in South Africa for the world cup .... waving our Ghana flag !!

Love to all --
Lesley and Tom

Posted by WAKEFIELDS 06:21 Archived in Ghana Comments (5)

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