I’m back from a week in Ethiopia. Some frustrations in the capital, and a day stuck in a small, hot airport thanks to the national airline, but some very relaxing enjoyable times, too, especially when we escaped the capital, and especially when we stayed for a day (would have been two except for the airport saga) beside a lake, beneath the trees – well, beneath the baboons and colobus monkeys in the trees, at least.

Actually, the baboons were doing their best to prevent relaxation, being more interested in G than I (or he) would have liked. After one encounter, we – or more accurately, the staff – made sure they kept their distance. Poor G was terrified of them! Add to that a bad encounter with a scary dog two days previously which had unnerved all five of us and you’ll understand why G is now very reluctant to be put down somewhere until he’s had a good look round!

Anyway, we had an hour’s horseriding (G and me together, E and R each looking poised on their own white horses) to take our minds off the baboons. We all enjoyed looking at the donkeys and cows and a waterfall that will disappear once the rains come as the five-or-so metre deep bowl it falls into will fill up entirely!

The night before, we’d seen the more impressive side of the local flora and fauna – strange pumice rock-shapes to clamber over and round, and hornbills, pelicans and two hippos who put on a lovely show for us just as we decided it was time to leave!

And in our remaining few hours, we had a lovely time at the beach and an outdoor-educational time walking along a log.  That was when we’d just arrived, and the reason it felt like outdoor ed was that the children were looking around them in bewilderment and fear and saying, “Can we go back inside?” I gave up trying to tempt them to explore all the way to the beach (a good 100m, maybe!) and concentrated on a nearby log, instead. “Come and hold my hand, Mummy,” said five-year-old E, who had initially shyed away because there were ants on it and still didn’t want to touch the thing. After half an hour’s patient encouragement, the three of them were walking, climbing, balancing and jumping and having a great old time. We spend too much time indoors here and only venture out in the car…

Well, maybe that will change – we are moving house: across the river, where rents are cheaper, shops are nearer and the garden already has a treehouse.  J  I am very excited about it!

So, to the title of this post… I have returned refreshed and feeling more energetic than I remember being for two years or more. Yesterday, mains electricity was off between 8am and 4pm (and the generator didn’t work for the first two hours or so – once it did it was just fans in the house, no ACs) and you would’ve thought that would dampen my spirits, but the slight breeze in the garden made it bearable and the pool trip was just wooonnnderful. And instead, I just marvelled at the fact that we had electricity all day today – I had assumed yesterday’s experience was par for the course, so I am feeling fortunate! Naturally, we still went to the pool…