NAIROBI Nov 21st
I enjoyed Pembroke. There is a real community feel about it and it has lots of elements of ‘Africanness’ that makes it quite different from its British counterparts. Common Entrance, whilst still the most important end goal, is not quite the overriding focus of attention it can be in the UK. This helps to promote a slightly more old-fashioned emphasis on activity. This helps to foster a spirit of independence which, together with the resilience needed by a child of 7 years old to take on boarding school life, means that the end product has much to offer. It seems slightly strange to have been wearing my prep school hat again but there is a market here, even if small, and it is one that Wellington has never really tapped. As Debs Boyd-Moss says, there is a larger prep school constituency in Kenya on IAPS than there is in Scotland.
I was Rob’s guest in a fourball at Gilgil Golf Club this morning. Our opponents were a magnificent example of old white Kenya, on the one hand, and a more businessy/globally aware example of the current breed on the other. Rick, the older, was politically incorrect, not averse to a quiet word whilst I was addressing the ball and hilariously and expletively critical of his own efforts when it was warranted, which was quite often. It will be interesting meeting the son of Chris Outram, the younger of the opposing pair, when he plays against Adam at rackets for Cheltenham.
The golf course is a nine-hole affair with asphalt ‘browns’ as opposed to greens. I sank a putt of fully 40 feet on the first hole, much to my astonishment and general mirth/expletive. Thereafter I found it impossible to judge the pace and felt as if I was putting through standing water. It was a highly entertaining experience, even so, and, with the obligatory caddies, not the slog it would have been on what was a very warm morning. Gilgil is over 2000m up so there was the added boost of 20 yards extra per shot.
Rob drove me back to Nairobi in the afternoon for my final stop at the Taylors. I have come to like Joss enormously and I hope I can do something to repay the debt of kindness I owe him. He is quite an influential bloke in Kenya, from what others have told me. He and Charlie’s generosity has been greatly appreciated and their advice about the way it is in Kenya has saved me from several otherwise embarrassing moments.
It feels strange to be flying south tomorrow and, as ever, I am full of butterflies about it. A mixture of apprehension, based both on my propensity to forget items and fears regarding incompetent baggage handlers, and excitement..It is a feeling I have all too rarely these days.