Honeymoon Experience!

Meet Monica and George Thompson (above), she from Chingola, Zambia and he originally from Leeds and now from South London, UK. The couple were married in Zambia in September and whilst on their honeymoon staying at Chanters, were our charming and entertaining Guests on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild. The Experience is our weekly Sunday night radio show on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station, on which we play latest international and Zambian music, chat to our Guests and give away a prize of a dinner for two at the lodge – if a lucky listener can text us quickly telling us who’s the artist on our ‘oldie of the week’. Mutinta won the prize on this show telling us that ‘Lonely’ was recorded by Akon! We also give pertinent social media updates and international  chart news on the show.

George and Monica told listeners that they had met about two years ago on a dating site on the internet and had corresponded regularly throughout the intervening period. George had promised Monica that when he came to Zambia, if everything was well between them, they would get married and so it had come to pass! Monica is a nurse at the Nchanga School of Nursing on the Copperbelt though she revealed that she had recently resigned her appointment after 18 years of service. George is semi-retired though he still follows his passion of restoring classic British motor cycles of which he now has as many as fourteen in his personal possession. He revealed that his sons buy him old motor bikes for about 15,000 pounds which sell for as much as 35,000 pounds when restored. Before retirement George had been in the armed forces and then involved with heavy plant shifting for Britain’s sea defences.

The music on the show was nice with latest tracks from Storm Queen, Taylor Swift, Draf-X, Slap D, Miley Cyrus and Chris Brown. My regular ‘pick of the week’ was Future’s ‘Real and True’ featuring Miley Cyrus and Mr Hudson. We closed with Britney Spears’ ‘Perfume’.

We wondered whether George had paid ‘lobola’ to be able to marry Monica and she confirmed that he had – ‘under protest’ – but the amount was not revealed! We also asked whether he had been served the traditional food by Monica’s family that he could expect to eat once they were wed, together with the traditional washing of his hands and feet, and it was confirmed. We laughed when George declared that he could only eat nsima, Zambia’s staple food, when it was ‘treated’ with salt and tomato sauce! Heresy to those Zambians present in the studio! George told listeners he had two sons by previous relationships and Monica two boys and a girl. While they had been in Livingstone they had visited the crocodile park and had taken a game drive in the Mosi-o-Tunya NP as well as going to see the Falls. Monica had been excited to see a giraffe for the first time!

George revealed that his son takes him to watch Arsenal when he’s in London, but as he originated from the north of England he also cares about Leeds United and Manchester United results. He was queried by Milli Jam for such disloyalty to Arsenal! He told listeners that his favourite music is 60’s and that he had recently enjoyed a Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park, London. Monica said she had no interest in football and when it came to music her taste was gospel music with ‘praise and worship’.

This lovely couple revealed that in ten years’ time George hoped to still be married to Monica, riding motor bikes and eating nsima, Monica that after some years working in UK that they would be happily settled together back in Zambia. We wished them the best of luck!


American Girls Rock The Experience!

Meet Kristen Sawyer and Amber Lind (above left to right) – American girls and our Guests on the most recent edition of The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George ‘Kaufela’. The Experience is our weekly radio show going out live every Sunday night for an hour at 20.30 hrs CAT, on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Both girls are from Pennsylvania though Kristen now lives in Boston, Mass. – they met at school ‘way back’ they told listeners, and although they now live in different places they meet up most years for vacations. Kristen is a physiotherapist and Amber an IT specialist.

The girls had been staying at Chanters Lodge at the end of a two week safari that started in Johannesburg and ended in Livingstone, camping all they way. They were mighty relieved to find big comfortable beds and an en suite bathroom waiting for them at Chanters at the end of their trip! They told of roaring lions outside their tents at night in Botswana, together with honey badgers and other animals running around the camp. ‘Scary?’ We wondered. “Only slightly!” Replied Kirsten! Altogether we gathered they had had a wonderful trip, being their first to Africa. It had included a one hour flight over the Okavango Delta, cheaper we noted than a fifteen minute flight over Victoria Falls. After arriving in Livingstone they had swum in Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island just a meter away from the edge of the Falls and had even dangled over the edge. They loved it! They had also enjoyed a visit to Zimbabwe to see the Falls from that side and had dined on salad with crocodile meat while they were there!

The music on the show was great. We opened with tracks from Example and Coldplay – both latest, while George dropped new releases from Zone-Fam and T-Boy in his Zambian spot. Milli Jam chose tracks from French Montana featuring Nicki Minaj, as well as Bruno Mars’ beautiful ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’. Our oldie of the week was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ‘Running Down A Dream’ but the prize we give on each show to the first person to text us the name of the performing artist went unwon! My pick of the week was Ellie Goulding’s gorgeous ‘How Long Will I Love You’.

To George’s excitement the girls told listeners that they were both single, although Kristen had a boyfriend waiting for her back in Boston. They both loved snow skiing and in their anxiety to leave for Africa had recently been on a skiing weekend to try to curb their excitement. The girls are American Football fans and Kristen a keen supporter of the Red Socks. Amber said she loved country music and ‘like Richard’ was a fan of Darius Rucker. They had chosen to stay at Chanters as they had wanted a downtown location, the price suited them and the lodge had great reviews on TripAdvisor. They had not been disappointed.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Amber wanted to be still living in Pennsylvania near her family, hoped to have children and still to be travelling. Kristen wanted to be living in north east USA, working as a physiotherapist and married with children.

Great girls! Great show!


Old Croc Rocks!

From Alicia our last edition’s ‘youngest ever’ Guest on ‘The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Kaufela’, this week we switched to ‘oldest ever’ in the shape of Jo Mcgregor Brooks (above) who clocked in at a young 85 years old, though during the show he laid claim to 57 – later admitting that this was the number of years he’d been in Zambia! The Experience is our weekly radio show airing at 20.30 hrs CAT for an hour every Sunday night on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station, and is a lively mixture of latest international as well as Zambian music and chat with our ‘Guest of the Week’. The show is popular locally, partly due to the fact that each week we give away dinner for two with drinks at the lodge, to the first person to text us telling us who’s singing our ‘oldie of the week’. Jane won on this show knowing that Will Smith sang ‘Switch’ way back. Her prize was enhanced by Jo who kindly donated a trip for two to the Livingstone Crocodile Park as well!

Jo told listeners that at age 14 he had enrolled in the British Army and had served for some 11 years. In 1956 he took up an appointment with the then colonial government of Northern Rhodesia – later Zambia – as a game ranger and had, altogether, spent some 50 years in the bush. “Did he miss it?” We wondered. “Not really”, he replied, saying he felt he had ‘served his time’ and anyway roundly blamed the job on his poor hearing, explaining that he had, over the years, fired about 1000 rounds from a 458 without wearing ear muffs. His job involved shooting troublesome or injured game in the Zambia National Parks. He told listeners that from time to time he still goes out to shoot when and where there is need. He and his son Ian had opened the Livingstone Crocodile Park in 1996 and Jo said he got great support from Zambian visitors though there were not enough tourists. There were some 70 crocs in the park with snakes and other reptiles too. “Well worth a visit if you come to Livingstone!” We said.

The music on the show was ‘latest’. We opened with Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ back to back with Naughty Boy’s ‘La La La’, numbers one and two in that night’s UK charts. George dropped the highly controversial ‘Bufi’ by Petersen and Pilato, a commentary on the current political situation in Zambia. He coupled that with Tasila Mwale’s lovely ‘Ready For Love’. Milli Jam featured Beyonce’s ‘Standing On The Sun’ back to back with ‘Soundbwoy’ from the entertaining Stylo G. Our pick of the week was Emile Sande’s ‘Easier To Cry’ and we closed with Fergie, Q-Tip and Goonrock’s ‘A Little Party Never Killed Nobody’. “Do you party?” We asked Jo. “What?” he replied “Do you party?” We insisted. “You mean Limpo’s?” Jo replied and we laughed at his reference to one of Livingstone’s hot nightspots, but we never did get a definitive reply!

Jo told listeners that he was a Scot, born in Bowness-on-Solway near Stirling. He has 3 children and 6 grand chidren aged 13-30 but no great grand children ‘that he knew of’! He is a widower. He had been closely involved with the construction of the Kariba Dam helping to rescue animals relocated because of the work, and protecting villagers from displaced, angry, marauding game. At one time he and his family had a huge crocodile farm in Sinazongwe housing some 7000 crocodiles, raised and killed for skins and meat. They had also owned and managed a garage in Choma for years, selling fuel and servicing vehicles. Jo likes country and western music – Dolly Parton and Kenny Rodgers and supports Manchester United because he ‘likes winners’.

Asked when he would retire he replied ‘never! When you retire you die!’ We wondered to what he attributed his long life and he replied ‘I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs and every day I take one table spoon of crocodile fat which boosts my immune system’! “Get in!” We said, as George and Milli Jam asked when they were going to be shown around the crocodile park! It was a good show with a great guest!