Six Degrees South

At six degrees south of the equator,

the surprise of dusk is dramatic and sudden.

One moment you are enjoying the last rays of sunshine,

the next, darkness falls like a warm blanket.

Zanzibar, the Rufigi River in Selous Game Reserve, and the Uluguru Mountains in mainland Tanzania.


via Photo Challenge: Surprise

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’

Repurpose Re-create

In 2007 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.

From those rudimentary mobiles, over the years I have refined the art and learned how to craft and design for beauty and endurance. Some still hang around my own home while others have been gifted to family and friends.

In this journey to where I am now, the beach has always featured as a place of inspiration, meditation and rejuvenation as well as a source for materials.

My beachcombed treasures might be fragments of seaglass, shells or coral and to these I add beads and pearls. I source beads sustainably from my travels or I upcycle old pieces of jewellery.

The driftwood, that lines the beach after a winter storm, I greedily collect allowing my dog to play only with those pieces that do not pass muster.

I love to sit, designing and creating.

I love the feel of the smooth glass, naturally tumbled by the ocean.

I love finding a new, unique piece of driftwood, holding it and turning it to appreciate its striations and form.

I love discovering some dazzling beads in an old unwanted necklace amidst the discarded jewellery in a charity shop.

I love the satisfaction of seeing each finished unique mobile.

I love the thought that someone else will receive a little bit of the energy of the ocean and the beautiful discoveries of my beachcombing.

I love and take pride in knowing that this sculpture will give delight wherever it may hang.

I love feeling virtuous in knowing that the majority of the materials have been upcycled into this new life.

And finally I love that each and every day I can walk along the beach and be delighted, be invigorated, be dazzled and energised, and when I get home I can combine these elements and create something new.

And now I also share my treasures with anyone who would like to own one!

via Photo Challenge: Repurpose


I’m not sure what era this was from, but the telephone number only has three digits so it must have been in the early days of phones. I imagine the delivery ‘boy’ cycling around the small market town in North Yorkshire with a basket full of fruit and vegetables, perhaps measured on the scales in W Scales fruiterer shop.

I remember having a similar fixed-wheel bike in the mid eighties when I lived in Zanzibar. I cycled for many miles on that bike both around town and out in the shamba (countryside), where the roads were so bad it was often quicker to go to places on your bike rather than motorised transport.


In Beck Isle Museum in Pickering, North Yorkshire.