Dhow at Sunset

At the end of the day, watching  the sun descend  into the ocean in all its glory is deeply satisfying. No matter where I am, I  try to catch those last rays.

In Zanzibar, the silhouette of a dhow sailing out on the evening breeze in the approaching darkness, pairs the imagery of sunset and dhow in a perfect match.


Forodhani, Zanzibar



The man sat on his haunches deep in the shadow of the stairwell. The lights in the block of flats had been turned off, and darkness and silence prevailed all around. He had been here for some time, but the Zanzibar night was dark and still and he remained undetected. Occasionally a dog could be heard barking in the distance to be answered by another close by. The town slept. Only the scrawny dogs and rats scurried about in their search for sustenance among the stinking, smouldering rubbish heaps that struggled to burn.

Kassim waited for his moment. All doors were now firmly closed for the night. Except for the dogs and rats, he was alone. He remained squatting for another half-hour, immobile, watching and listening. He knew that the building across the street had an askari who was possibly still awake. On previous evenings when Kassim had checked on him, the watchman had been peacefully snoring under a tree. If anyone were to attempt to steal the vehicles he was supposed to be guarding, they might well get away with it.

Judging the time to be right, Kassim silently ran barefoot across the street. He found the man fast asleep, as expected, and headed round towards the balcony side of the flats. There was little cover, just a dusty grass verge and some straggly trees. Most of the streetlights were long since broken and there was no moonlight. He knew where he was going, even in the dark; he had done his research well. For days he had watched the white woman with the orange hair coming and going. She was staying with the other mzungu, in a first-floor flat — luckily for him. The ground floor would have been preferable, but this, he felt confident, would not present too many problems.

A drainpipe running down the wall beside the balconies made for easy climbing. In a couple of minutes he had pulled himself up making barely a sound. He squatted behind the small balcony wall to hide himself from the street and quieten his breathing. No lights were on inside and all was quiet. He tried the door. It was locked. The louvred windows were partially open, backed by a thin mosquito screen. Grasping the glass he pulled one of the louvres up and the other panes followed suit. Kassim drew the knife from his waistband and tried to prise a piece of glass from its metal frame.


An excerpt from a novel ‘The Tanzanite’ 


Dancing in the Seabreeze


Dancing in the Seabreeze          Western Australia

What I like about mobiles is that when hung outside they are rarely stationary. They dance in the breeze, their form changes and light bounces off or through their surfaces.

It all started in 2007 when I spent a year on the island of Zanzibar. Weekends were often spent at one of the beautiful white beaches, swimming, relaxing and beachcombing. One day I sat with my daughter looking at our spoils and saw she had picked up some broken coral entwined in fishing line and tied it to a piece of driftwood. That was the beginning.

My passion of beachcombing, which I do almost every day, has led me to developing a very ‘small’ but fun business, Driftwood Elements. I sell on local markets, as I did this morning despite the thundery skies, and I also have an Etsy site. The site is a little bit bare at the moment as the markets have been successful 🙂




In The Gathering Dusk


In Zanzibar, dawn and dusk are often the best parts of the day. One of my favourite places to be at dusk is Forodhani gardens on the waterfront in Stone town. They lie in front of the House of Wonders and the Old Fort.

It’s always been a place where the  local boys cool off after a hot day. They gather and show their prowess at leaping off the seawall with cartwheels, somersaults or running leaps into the, sometimes, not so deep water.

At sunset a food market begins and people gather to wander and select from the large array of local Zanzibar foods. Once the food market was simply a small gathering of shabby stalls set up on makeshift tables or served from the basket on the back of a bicycle. We’d cycle down there and get a bowl of ‘mixi’ for a few shillings then sit on a small wall or in the dusty grass. Now, since the Aga Khan paid to restore them to what must have been there formal splendour in the days of the Sultans, they are more elaborate and the food stalls have table cloths and the grass is no longer a place to walk or sit on. It’s still very lovely though.