GILGIL Nov 20th
After a useful morning on the internet at Starehe, I was driven over to the Taylors in the afternoon. It took about 2 hours to travel the 15 or so miles to Karen. It was unbelievable. One broken down lorry and two fairly minor sets of roadworks caused successive unavoidable tailbacks. There are some signs of construction of new roads, including an M25 type affair but I suspect it will need a bit more than that to sort it out. Nairobi simply has not been able to maintain the level of infrastructure that is needed to cope with the huge increase in car ownership that has occurred over the last decade.
I had a couple of hours at the Taylors and met Charlotte ( ‘Charlie’ ), Joss’s wife. She turns out to be a very good friend of Debs Boyd-Moss, Robin’s wife and the headmistress of Pembroke House, my next stop. Rob picked me up towards the end of the afternoon. He spends the week on a sisal farm two hours south-east of Nairobi and drives up to Gilgil, virtually past the Taylor’s door, every Friday. The drive is not something he enjoys and he has just bought a light aircraft which will cut down the journey time considerably. We worked out that the last time we met was at the county ground at Northampton in about 1984.
There was a gathering of lots of Pembroke people at Gilgil Club. It is an exeat weekend with a parents morning followed by Sports Day on the Saturday, after which the children will go home with their parents until Sunday evening. The parents all come up on the Friday night and either stay at the club or with friends in the vicinity. Gilgil Club is a legacy of the colonial period, all drinks on chit, lots of well-sunned locals and everyone, seemingly, knowing everyone else. I chatted to a few and enjoyed the company of a couple of them, in particular. Debs had publicized the fact that I was around in their weekly newsletter and there are several parents who are considering Britain for their post 13 education.
I am so grateful to Rob and Debs for having me to stay for two days. It is the way that the ex-pats do it here but, even so, they regard their homes as hotels and it is continues to remind me of my many deficiencies in that area.