When I married Epi, it was only natural that we should visit her homeland and stay on my Mother-in-Law’s farm. We’ve been there twice – subsequent intended visits were sadly curtailed by her tragic death in a road accident. Zimbabwe has some magnificent scenery and wonderful people – I have always felt welcomed by both my extended family and often by other members of the Shona people as well. While care is always advised in any country you visit, I found myself quickly recognised as the visiting Mukwasha (Son-in-Law) in the local area as my Amai was well known as a local farmer. This meant that, apart from some good-humoured banter when I was guarding the pick-up outside one of the stores, I could behave very much as I would in London. I often drove the pick-up as part of my work during our visits – it took some of the burden of Amai’s shoulders and did useful work for the farm that the labourers couldn’t do. On the occasion when I took this photo, Amai was sourcing medicines for the workers on her farm and I had the opportunity to visit Chegutu bus station opposite the pharmacy. Many long distance buses called here on their way to Harare and local people gathered around each arrival to offer bananas, mangoes and water for sale to the passengers who still had a long trip ahead of them…

…Happy memories – I could tell so many stories but it would take many posts. I hope we can visit again soon 🙂

The second photograph that I posted on Facebook for this challenge is connected to my transport interests. Back when I was flying as a hobby, the club I belonged to used to organise fly-out’s once or twice a year. Usually these went to one of the local French airfields and an overnight stay in a hotel was included. In 1991 we went to Abbeville. Arriving in late-afternoon, there was a coach to take us from the aerodrome to the hotel in the centre of town. The evening was spent enjoying dinner and then retiring to the hotel bar where flying tales of varying levels of accuracy were exchanged over a few drinks.

Departure was scheduled for early afternoon next day and the following morning most (all?) of my fellow pilots were having a lie-in. But I’ve always been an early riser so I was out on the streets at 06:30 and strolling through town enjoying the sights including the Collegiate Church of Saint Vulfran – a magnificent gothic-fronted building with an incongruously small nave behind. I initially thought that it was a victim of the one of the wars but it turns out that it was never completed!

Continuing through the town I found signs for the railway station so off I went in that direction. The station building is a masterpiece in itself – I must post a photo sometime. I found a local train parked in one of the platforms and a shunter next to a shed. I wandered up onto the footbridge to photo the station and was pleased to find a train approaching from the south…

…presumably from Amiens. Where it was going I have no idea though its next stop could well have been Le Touquet – another popular fly-out destination. Planes and trains – a great way to spend a weekend away 🙂

It hardly seems like a month ago since we last looked at desktops courtesy of Clare’s challenge. Mine changed back on Jan 28th.

A couple of years back I made a ‘skin’ for trailers in Euro Truck Simulator. This allowed me to have owned trailers painted in our company colours. For those new to my involvement in Truck Simulation, my European company is Martin Transport et Logistique based in Montpellier, France. At the time, I made them in a hands on manner. They worked fine for a year or so and then an update broke them – mods in games often stop working after updates to the main game code. I made a number of attempts to get them working again but couldn’t and, quite often, found myself diverted from that task by wishing to get on with driving – especially when there was an event on that required helping the in-game community.

SCS Software – makers of Euro Truck Simulator 2, and its companion game American Truck Simulator, claim to have the best community ever. It’s fair to say that we often help each other out either with encouragement in events or helping new players with advice (even on things way outside of the games we play!). There is a newer method of adding skins into the game called Mods Studio (created by another member of the playing community) and I had hoped that this would resolve my issue. But I couldn’t get it to work on the pc I use for doing artwork and photography. I mentioned this in passing to one of my fellow drivers and he offered to help. Actually, he said they’d take a look – meaning he was going to get his Good Lady to take a look as she has got Mods Studio working on her pc. All I had to do was send my original artwork. A day or so later and.. Voila!..

…That’s an example of the Best Community Ever at work. This is one of my general haulage fleet, ‘Lady Galadriel’, parked up in my yard at Limoges with one of my company’s curtainside trailers. Come the dawn it will be time to head out on a new day’s work. With the trailer’s now back to displaying the company identity, I’m going to have to review the liveries of all my trucks… But, there’s lots of hauling to be done too 🙂