Barmy Army! Barmy Army!

Great day for the Barmy Army down under as ‘The Poms’ go up 1-0 in the Ashes! I’m so pleased that my getting up at 02.00 hrs to watch the last day’s play was not in vain. Luckily Graham Swann finished it off quickly for England and I was able to go back to sleep sweetly!!

Congratulations to KP – Man Of The Match! They said he’d come good down under!

On to Perth!

Oh! For the uninformed! It’s about cricket!


Wise Words And Country Ways Weather Lore

My sister Ruth’s latest book – titled as above – is about to be published and the Dorset Echo recently ran a piece about the book and Ruth. Here are some extracts. There’s a nice photo of her taken earlier this year during a much enjoyed Chobe 1 Day Safari together in Botswana.

“Ruth Binney, 67, from West Stafford, is releasing her seventh book, Wise Words And Country Ways Weather Lore. The work is an illustrated collection of old sayings relating to rural life and the great British climate, with descriptions of how they came about. It also explores proverbs and superstitions relating to the weather.

Ruth said: “I have always been fascinated by the weather and I suppose it really goes back to my dear old father who always had lots of sayings like ‘as the days lengthen the cold strengthens’ and ‘ring round the moon, snow soon’. “Definitely living in the country you are much more in touch with the weather and also I’m a gardener, which makes a big difference. I just love the mixture that these sayings give between old-fashioned knowledge and historicism about the weather, and how that combines with what we know today through science.”

Ruth does explode a few of the old mythologies about the countryside and sayings that are not true. She said: “There are obvious things like the business about cows lying down means it’s going to rain is actually a lot of rubbish. “Cows alternately stand up to eat and then lie down to chew. “As they are herd animals what one does most of the others do. “Another one that’s a lot of rubbish is lots of berries on holly means its going to be a cold winter. “It depends on what weather we have had not what we are going to get.”

However, she said a lot of the old sayings that have been passed down the generations still ring true today. Ruth said: “One very good one is if lady birds hibernate then it will be a cold winter – studies show that is really very true. “Another good one is ‘a bee was never caught in a shower’ as bees are very sensitive to the weather and if it’s going to rain. “Also that the scarlet pimpernel closes when it’s going to rain or the air becomes damp.”

Ruth, who moved to Dorset in 2002 and produced the first book two years later, enjoys her surroundings and draws on it for her writing. She said: “I get inspiration from the countryside and from my garden here and I also walk a lot, I find that’s inspiring and it’s weather-related.”

Great stuff!



Here’s some good news this Monday morning, from UK Zambians

A Zambian young actor, Olutunji Ebun-cole, has emerged as winner of the BEFFTA Young Achiever Award in the BEFFTA Special Awards Category. Olutunji (famously called Tunji) beat seven other contenders aged between 13 and 28, to win the prestigious Award. Tunji, whose mother is Zambian and his father Nigerian, is at 13 years of age an accomplished young actor. He has played main leading roles in film and television. He played the Lead role of ‘Joseph’ in the Short Film “New Boy” which was nominated for an Oscar Award at the 2009 ceremony. Tunji also acted as ‘Cola Kid’ in James Bond’s ‘Casino Royale’, directed by Martin Campbell. His other credits include working with David Swimmer (famously known as Ross in the American Sitcom “FRIENDS”) in the film called “Run Fat Boy Run”. He also played as background artist in the film ‘Sixty Six’ with Paul Weiland and as ‘Child in Street’ with David Corneberg in “Untitled”.

Tunji who has an amazing CV of his acting career at such a young age, has also starred in many short films on television in addition to appearing as a child actor, an extra, voice over, background artist, walk-on and has featured in many high profile adverts by Nickelodeon as well as on BBC, BBC2, Sky, ITV, JWT, CBBC, BBDO and AMV including adverts for Scaletrix, Clarks, Sainsbury’s, Persil and ‘CHINS’, among many others.

On receiving the news of Tunji’s Award, his Zambian mother Jayne Mwondela said ‘I am very proud of Tunji. He is such an amazing child. He loves what he does, and he does not let it get to his head. I thank God for giving me a child such as Tunji.”

The BEFFTA Awards honour and recognize black and ethnic talent in Entertainment, Film, Fashion, Television and Arts. While other nominees have to be selected through a public vote to win an Award in their respective categories, winners in the BEFFTA Special Awards Category such as Tunji are selected by a Special Panel of BEFFTA Members.

Tunji was honoured together with other BEFFTA winners at a lavish red carpet BEFFTA Awards Ceremony to held on Saturday 30 October 2010 at the Westminster Central Hall in London.


3 Lovely Ladies On 107.7 FM!

Check Felicity Clarke, Sarah Martin and Catherine Kelly in the picture above, as they appeared on The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George Soulchild on Sunday 24th October – Independence Day in Zambia! The show is sponsored by Chanters Lodge, Livingstone, and goes out on Zambezi Radio 107.7 FM, every Sunday night at 20.30 hrs. The girls live in Liverpool together, and met when they were at Liverpool University. Felicity’s a software developer, Sarah runs a branch of a car hire company and Catherine’s a social worker. What a lot of fun they were too on Zambezi FM, Livingstone’s best loved local radio station – where ‘the waves flow’.

“Is it true Felicity”, Milli Jam our host wanted to know, “that when you arrived at Livingstone Airport you tried to withdraw 150 million Zambian kwacha from the ATM”!? (About US$33,000) “Yes! I got mixed up with the number of zeros”! She confessed. “Just as well I was there to help you”! I said, as we laughed. “Did you enjoy your white water rafting”? Milli Jam continued, and the girls said that they’d enjoyed it a lot. They’d fallen out of the boat a few times but had regarded this as part and parcel of the fun. “What other activities have you done”? The girls were asked, and they told listeners that they’d done an abseiling package involving the zip line, gorge swing and flying fox as well as the abseil. They’d also been on the sunset cruise and had swum in Devil’s Pool on Livingstone Island. They’d packed a lot into the two full days and a half they’d spent at Chanters Lodge as our Guests.

“What made you choose Chanters”? Milli Jam asked, and the girls said they’d booked at quite short notice and had been guided by the good reviews they’d read about the lodge on TripAdvisor. No great surprise, many of our Guests say the same. “Are you pleased with your choice?” Milimo (his ‘real’ name) continued. “Oh! Yes!” the girls enthused – “the staff have been great and we’ve had a lovely time”!

The music on the show was up to our normal high standard. Rihanna’s ‘What’s My Name’ from her new album has ‘hit’ written all over it. We coupled that with Bruno Mars and ‘Today My Life Begins’ – sweet stuff. George’s Zambian selections were from Kaufela and Judy and I’m sure, as usual, he’ll write his piece for the blog later in the week. The tracks were ‘Sky Is The Limit’ and ‘Supernatural Woman’ respectively. Milli Jam was back in time with Brandy’s cover of the Phil Collins hit ‘Another Day in Paradise’ coupled with Boyz II Men and ‘Waters Run Dry’ – nice! Ciara’s ‘Gimme That’ and Lady Gaga’s ‘Nothing On But The Radio’ went down well with the Chanters Girls back at the lodge, though they’d asked for Gaga’s ‘Alejandro’. Maybe next week!

“Where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing 10 years from now?” We asked the girls. “We can’t answer questions like that!” They giggled. “We live for today”! “You live in Liverpool, have you met Stevie Gerrard”? “We don’t know much about football” they said. “Oh! But wait!” said Felicity “I once got Jamie Carragher’s autograph for my brother”! Great stuff!

Milli Jam wanted to know if we’d had a good response from the vacancies we’d announced on last week’s show, and I was happy to report that we’d had an excellent response and had made two new appointments. Was there a prize this week? Yes there was, for the first person to text us he name of the city where these girls lived. ‘Liverpool’ came the answer from Lubeta – before I’d even read out the number to text! Awesome!


Paul & Angela Metcalfe

Meet Paul and Angela Metcalfe, guests on the most recent edition of The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient ft George Soulchild, our regular radio show that goes out on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s best loved local radio station, every Sunday night at 20.30 hrs. Paul and Angela (sorry for the blurry quality of the photo above!) hail from Wigan, Lancashire, UK, as Gerald Mweene was very quick to point out when we offered a prize on air for the first person to text us as to where this friendly couple came from. Mr Mweene won himself a dinner for two with drinks at Chanters Lodge as a result of his fast reactions!

It was interesting to hear about Paul and Angela’s lifestyle. After years in the oil industry, Paul is now in property management, wife Angela is a retired secondary school teacher – specialist subject? French. Paul and Angela met at University in Bangor, North Wales and have been married 28 years. “Was it love at first sight?” I wanted to know, and Paul admitted he’d proposed marriage to Angela within a week of their meeting. “Did you say yes?” I asked Angela. “No” she replied, making us laugh, “I told him to go away and stop being stupid!” “What changed?” I continued my interrogation. “He was very persistent” she admitted, with a wink! “Where did he take you for your silver wedding anniversary” I wanted to know. “Mauritius”. Can’t be bad!

Paul and Angela have one son and one daughter but no grandchildren as yet. They travel a lot – up to 6 times a year – and in Paul’s oil days lived in Gabon, Algeria and Norway amongst other places. They’ve done a lot since they arrived in Livingstone, including high tea on Livingstone Island that very afternoon, a 15 minute helicopter flight over the Falls, a 3 day safari to Chobe, the lion encounter and the rhino walk. Despite living in Wigan, home of the famous rugby league team as well as Wigan Athletic in the Barclays Premier League, Paul and Angela confessed to having no interest in sport beyond snow skiing, in which they regularly indulge.

The music on the show was good, as usual, and featured two tracks from the latest Phil Collins album – ‘Going Back’ the title track and ‘Jimmy Mack’. Rihanna’s ‘Who’s That Chick’ and Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ (hilarious) made up a set, and so too did Milli Jam’s choice of ‘OMG’ by Serani ft Usher & Patira and ‘Check It Out’ by Will.I.Am ft Nicki Minaj. George’s local selections were from Danny and Dalisoul.

“How did you come to choose Chanters Lodge” Milli Jam asked Paul. “From TripAdvisor and guide books” replied Paul. “Talking of the internet” Milli Jam directed the question at me “have you gone over the 1000 followers on Twitter”. “With a little help from my friends” I replied, “yes I have.”


Lion Country

We were delighted on Sunday night’s ‘Chanters Lodge Experience’ (our regular weekly radio show aired from 20.30 hrs for an hour on Zambezi 107.7 fm Livingstone’s great local radio station), to host the film crew staying at Chanters. The team are winding up filming the lion encounter based at Thorn Tree Lodge for the forthcoming second series of Lion Country, a documentary to be broadcast on ITV in UK from January 2011 every Friday at 20.00 hrs for 12 weeks.

“We’re in competition with Eastenders at that time” commented Phil Broadhurst – the cameraman who took that great shot of the studio above. Personally I don’t think they need to worry – they had an audience of 4 million for the first series and the second series sounds wonderful! The rest of the crew in attendance were Sebastian Dunn, the sound man, and Alison Quirk, the producer. Also in the photo are Milli Jam and George Soulchild who expertly co-host the show, and myself.

“Are you scared of lions?” We wanted to know. Generally they said they were not, but they mentioned that when they were filming in Zimbabwe they were surrounded at night by 80 of the beasts making a tremendous noise. Sebastian, the sound man, gave us a great impression of a lion’s roar which we made him repeat! “Have you done the night encounter?” we asked the crew. “Not yet, it’s the last thing we have to shoot before we go home” Alison informed the listeners.

The crew gave us the background to their professional careers revealing that both Phil and Seb have been highly involved with all sorts of programmes featuring wildlife in the past. Alison is the producer and the organizer. We’ve had great business at Chanters from various members of this crew during 2010, and it was lovely to hear them praise the lodge, the food and the staff and to tell listeners that Chanters really felt like their second home.

The music for the show was a good mix as usual. Bruno Mars ‘Just The Way You Are’ kept up our record of playing the current number one in UK – we played it back to back with Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl In The World’ the first single from her new album, high in the US Charts. On the local scene George featured ‘Temperature’ by Uniq (“I suppose it means his girl friend raises his temperature” I speculated. “Affirmative” the guys replied). We played the ever popular Petersen’s “Dance With You” as well. (I was delighted to be given a copy of the new JK album by George, though Milli Jam reported massive disappointment amongst the Livingstone public that JK had been miming during his recent album launch at Steprite).

Milli Jam featured Soul IV Real’ ‘Candy Love’ back to back with Aaliyah’s ‘Rock The Boat’ and we played two tracks from the new Phil Collins album ‘Going Back’ – the title track and ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’. Great new version of an old favourite. We played ‘Going Back’ for Cara, the Lion Manager out at lion encounter who’s a great Collins fan.

As usual we gave away a dinner for 2 at Chanters Lodge with drinks – this week for the first person to text us the name of the animal the guys had come to here to film. There was a quick response and everyone got it right! We greeted Guests, mentioning that we were very multi-national this week at Chanters with Guests from Japan, Italy, UK, Egypt, USA, Norway, South Africa and Zambia. We wished two of the Chanters Girls not feeling well a speedy recovery, and greeted the rest of the staff by name too.

The crew thanked the lodge for our hospitality and thanked too all the people at lion encounter who had made their trip so memorable. “When do you leave?” Asked Milli Jam. “On Wednesday” replied Phil, as Milimo and George laughed. “What’s funny?” asked Phil. “Richard only brings Guests leaving on Monday” they replied, as we closed a really fun show.


Preston St., Brighton

I was delighted to come across “10 Things To Do In Brighton” on the ‘Travel With A Mate’ website, having just returned from a great 10 days in the city. (Actually they don’t seem to be able to decide whether they’re a town or a city, there are various street signs that say one or the other!). Preston Street, pictured above, is just around the corner from the George IV Guest House our base, and a short walk from Russell Square where my son Ed has his flat. Preston Street is indeed packed with restaurants and while we were there we had a great Greek meal in one, and of course a Chinese in another. Here’s what ‘Travel With A Mate’ has to say:

“There are hundreds of amazing restaurants in Brighton. Often tucked down little side streets and hidden in the Lanes. There’s also a famous road packed with tasty places to eat, Preston Street. If you’re on the sea front and you see “China Gardens” a huge chinese restaurant, then you’ve reached the bottom of Preston Street. Walk up it and breath in the gorgeous smells from all the cuisine on offer. Everything from Chinese to Morrocan, Indian to Mexican. While it’s true this road has seen better days (with a number of establishments closing down) It’s still the place to go if you can’t decide what you want to eat. Just follow your nose.”

Of the other activities recommended in the piece, we certainly enjoyed walks along the seafront, the shops, the pier and the pavillion. We were lucky with the weather and were wonderfully looked after by Ed his business partners and friends. For sure we’ll be back in Brighton sometime in the not too distant future!


Blue Vinny, Dorset

We had some truly memorable meals at some great restaurants in England while we were there recently on annual leave. Top of the pile (probably) was The Blue Vinny near Dorchester, Dorset, pictured above. The restaurant was packed on a Thursday night. We overheard one Client saying to a waiter ‘You’re busy for a Thursday…’ ‘Yes’ replied the waiter, ‘we’ve really started to get busy on Thursdays’. Another Client chipped in ‘No bl**dy wonder! No-one can get a booking on a Friday or Saturday!’ Says it all really. Here’s what they write in the blurb on their website.

“Alex and Nicky Ford took over this traditional village pub in Puddletown, near Dorchester in June 2008. Keeping the very best of the old, they set about combining its warm, friendly country ambience with a cool, airy modern interior – part of a style that is reflected in their approach to the food and hospitality. Something for which this bar and restaurant is rapidly gaining a first-class reputation.

The food is home cooked, and where possible the ingredients are seasonal and sourced locally from the family farm, friends or trusted specialist suppliers. The wines have been chosen to complement the menu, and there is always a range of excellent guest ales on tap.

Together with Head Chef John Shrigley and his team, they’ve created a menu that reflects their personal tastes, with a truly international approach – a style that owes as much to the hot islands of the Mediterranean as it does to the classic and everyday dishes of Britain and mainland Europe.

Having only recently returned to their home county of Dorset, Alex and Nicky are passionate about producing the very best food at accessible prices, as well as extending a warm and friendly welcome to locals and visitors alike.”

Couldn’t agree more. I had cod in a delicately light batter served on a rocket salad with lime mayonnaise. My partner had belly pork on mashed potato and my sister had duck. Desserts were a wonderful blueberry cheesecake and a genuine Dorset apple cake. The bill? 75 pounds with drinks and wine – very reasonable for the delicious food and excellent service. Incidentally, for the uninitiated, Dorset Blue Vinny is a type of blue cheese….


Going Back

No! That’s not me! That’s Phil Collins, he has a great new album out in UK with that title! Lots of Tamla Motown on it, which he says influenced him greatly when he was young. We watched a super live TV show of Phil on UK TV last weekend and of course, I’ve bought the album.

As it happens we’re going back too. Back to Zambia after a wonderful holiday in UK spent in Brighton and Dorchester. Actually (as the often say in England) and basically (another favourite) we’ve been extremely lucky with the weather.

Having said that (which they say here all the time) we look forward to 35C temperatures and hot sunshine back in Livingstone, from where I’ll be posting next week!

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