It’s Monday 25th January 2010 and friends, fun and laughter

I will have to let you into a secret. I usually write Its Monday on Saturday so that I can relax on Sunday, my day off, knowing it is in the bag. But this week we were busy on Saturday! What a day. A surprise party and amazingly everyone had kept it from us since September. We thought nothing was happening so we have arranged a get together next weekend. Yes another party. Blimey – how many does a girl need!

the Robin Pope Safaris teamRobin Pope Safaris staff

On Friday evening we were told to go to the Cuz Bar after work. This is a spot on the river bank where staff regularly gather for a sundowner. And there waiting for us were a number of ex staff from our past. The delight and excitement was amazing. All evening we were on a high. Inevitably the tequila came out (which I banned from the camps years ago after bad behaviour!). And inevitably the hilarious stories of the past started to flow. What laughter. Then at 1115 I looked at my watch and said – “time for bed”. Remember these are no longer young employees but 40+ year old men! I told everyone to clear the table and go to bed. And amazingly everyone stood up and obeyed.

storks spiralingDenham's bustard in the South Luangwa

The next day we all piled into gameviewers and went off for a drive. In each vehicle there were six or more of the top guides of the last 20 years. You can imagine! More laughter than viewing but we did see a couple of great sightings….a large group of white storks mixed with a few abdim’s spiraling. Always a lovely sight. And a very very rare sighting of a Denham’s bustard. I asked Fil Hide, the Luangwa keeper of birding records, to send me details of previous sightings. There has only been a few over the last 40 years. Note – she has published a small book on Luangwa sightings, so if you are Luangwa twitcher – for a copy.

Quoting her book….

“DENHAM’S BUSTARD Neotis denhami
Very rare. Plains and light woodland. A set of records from Chikaya Plain May -Aug, one from Nsefu Jun, both South Park, and one from Mwaleshi in North Park Jun.
RECORDS:
1 May, 1 Jun, 2 Aug 1972, Chikaya Plain, V.J. Wilson;
Jun 1996, Nsefu, Stephen Banda;
25 Jun 2002, one bird near Mwaleshi crossing point in Phragmites reeds, R. Tether.

And then we spotted a couple of streakers! No more comments!

South Luangwa

Back for a short rest and at midday the party began – at the lovely Luangwa Safari House. It ended 14 hours later! It was full of laughter, love, renewing of connections and lots of fun. I am sure the photos give you an idea.

Luangwa Safari House, South Luangwa, Robin Pope Safarisparty at Luangwa Safari House

The following morning as people slowly emerged for the 0830 bush breakfast I assessed their state….there were the full range of hangovers. And not everyone made it! But we had a lovely time boating, drinking bloody marys and eating a hearty cooked breakfast. Perfect for the “following day cure”. Sadly people started leaving and the last left this morning. It is all over and here I am telling you. I wanted it to go on and on!

lunch at Luangwa Safari House, South LuangwaBush breakfast in the South Luangwa

There was an excel spreadsheet with all the names and contacts building up as it was sent around the RPS family. It ended up with around 200 apparently and was called the “RPS Disposable Asset List” which makes me chuckle. Everyone was to send photos to Simon Cuz and Rob McConaghy, both ex guides, and a book was compiled. It was to be presented to us this weekend. 1300 photos and 520 MB of the last 25 years. Hand made leather bound cover but the wrong dimensions were sent. Big Oops! You can imagine! However, we can now have a record of this weekend included which is great. I cannot wait to see it.

Rob in the South LuangwaRobin Pope Safaris guides

So, although tired and with a huge “to do” list I sit here happy, content and feeling very loved. Thank you to all the RPS staff who sent photos and of course to those who flew from as far away as the UK to get here this weekend.

We love you all!
Until next week……

splashing at the Luangwa Safari House

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