The Lion, The Witch and The Glasses


Bin Bag Party - fancy dress overland style!

As my fellow travellers will testify, I appear to have a “special ability” for breaking, losing or temporarily mislaying my belongings – in fact, anyone’s belongings! – on an impressively regular basis. I don’t discriminate – items of significant value and minor paraphernalia are treated as equals. This talent has been in the making for a number of years, but on our return from the Delta I definitely surpassed many of my previous transgressions.

I lost my glasses – the one thing that I dreaded happening at home, let alone in Botswana. The incident occurred in highly dignified circumstances: in the ladies toilet, under the influence of Malawi’s finest brew, Powers Number 1 (“fine dry spirit”), and dressed up as a witch in a black bin bag.

Whilst preparing for the Bin Bag Party, I had put my contact lenses in and then, as if by magic invested in me by my outfit, my glasses disappeared. Despite several attempts at casting a special retrieval spell using my witch's hat, they never turned up - even after Powers had worn off and panic had set in.

Knowing that my feeble eyes aren’t up to wearing contact lenses in hot climates, I resigned myself to a fortnight of half-blindness with characteristic stoicism. That’s a lie. I whinged to anyone who would listen. Daytime was fine – thanks to my prescription sunglasses – but the mornings and evenings were a bind. Sitting around a camp fire when you can’t see the person opposite, game drives in half light and night sky-gazing all rapidly lost their appeal. No real harm was done, apart from a few mishaps such as walking into a tree (under the watch of my chaperone – thanks Daniella!) and becoming a source of amusement for everyone as I fumbled my way through mealtimes. It was such a relief to finally get a new pair of glasses at the end of the tour in South Africa and recommence daytime sightseeing!

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