Friday, 23 January 2009

Save the Elephants

I have a particular fascination with elephants, perhaps because of their size. I love how graceful they seem, despite their size. We saw many herds of elephants at Samburu during our last safari in Kenya. (I've just found out that safari is Swahili meaning long journey, how appropriate! ). They seem to just glide across the vast African plane. I also find that it is one animal I have scrapped the most.
Imagine my delight to find this series on BBC last week, The Secret Life of Elephants. It was on BBC1, the final and third programme is on 28th January at 9pm. If you love elephants as much as me, you can find more details on

Now, let me tell you about a standoff we had with an elephant. This elephant above wasn't from Samburu but we spotted him in Masai Mara. He (we assumed it was a bull elephant as he was alone ) was on a path, walking towards us. Usually the animals would walk away but he continued walking towards us. He was less than 50 metres away.

He started looking aggressive and appeared intent on staying on the path. We stopped to see if he would walk off, he stopped to see what we were doing and decided to proceed on the same path. We were getting scared at this point and our driver decided to put the car in reverse, we reversed for a bit, bearing in mind that the path is small and windy, we couldn't go very fast in reverse. He kept coming so our driver drove off the path, into the bushes. Fortunately, the elephant continued on the path and walked off.

If you have experienced aggressive drivers coming the opposite way from you, down a narrow road, you would know the feeling. Except in this case, of course the elephant had the right of way! During the 2nd programme of The Secret Life of Elephants, Saba had to get into a car to frighten off a group of elephants from her own team who was putting on a tracking device onto an elephant. We could see immediately see how much courage it took to do such a thing and was grateful that during our own encounter, the elephant was just standing his ground.

Friday, 9 January 2009

First layouts for 2009

After the Christmas break from scrapping, I was itching to get back to it. My boys went back to school on Monday and I have been busy since.
The Kenya layout was inspired by the thumbnail on Flikr. I captured the thumbnail on Flikr as a screen shot (by pressing ctrl-Printscreen). An unsual, subdued colour combination for me but I think which suited the safari photos best. The photo of my little boy with his binocolurs look as though he is having a closer look at those tiny photos.
Treehouse was a happy coincident. I was sorting through my paper scrap box and pulled out the four patterned papers ( at the top of the layout ) in one handful, the BG scarlet letters, BG Blush, WRM Whiteout and BG Periphery. I thought how they the all go so well together and went to work on this layout immediately. I didn't even cut any of them up.
Detour has been in my pile of page kits to do. It wasn't working out until I replace the background cardstock ( from Bazzill Kraft ) with K&Co Wild Saffron.

Lastly, Day Out was inspired by a layout by Maggie Holmes in CK.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Kenyan Safari

We've just got back from a week long safari in Kenya. We took in 4 national parks, Samburu, Aberdare, Nakuru and Mara in that week and boy, was that tiring. I didn't realise how long it would take to travel between each park because they looked quite close on the map ( a very small map! ). Unfortunately the roads are not very good, I got neck ache from being bounced about during the 4-5 hours drives each time.

The pain of travels were soon forgotten when we arrived at each of our lodges. Each one is a calm oasis in the wilderness. Our rooms provided a cooling welcome and have very picturesque settings. Also fortunate is the fact that they are located on higher ground where top temperature was only 26 C.

We took nearly 1000 photos. A and I filled up my 2 x 4Gb CF cards that we had to buy another one from the gift shop. You can see a selection in my Flikr gallery but here are a few of my favourites.

I am pleased to report that we saw the Big 5, the Elephants ( plentiful in Samburu ), the Leopard ( once at Samburu ), the Rhinos ( Black Rhinos at Treetops and Masai Mara ), the Lion ( mainly at Masai Mara ) and the Buffaloes. We learned from our knowledgeable ( and very fast driver ) guide, Rashid, the difference between a leopard and a cheetah, the feeding habits of the big cats, the name of all sorts of antelopes, that White Rhinos are not indigenous to Nakuru, that Black Rhinos are very shy etc.