Economic Activity…?

It has been some time since my last blog. Kelly has settled in in the meantime, somewhat to Ozzie’s disgruntlement. Notwithstanding this, Ozzie is doing fine now, with no further tummy troubles. We are also doing fine. The weather continues mercifully cool and damp, although this has brought unexpected problems with damp – most of our clothes and shoes went mouldy, and we nearly lost a lot of old photos and wooden things which we had packed away in the snake pit downstairs. Fine for snakes, but not for ladders, it seems (well, wooden ones at least…).

We’ve had two bookings for the guesthouse now, mysteriously both within 24 hours of eachother and both from Canadians (maybe they had a “Manaus” day on the Canadian internet, or something). Somewhat ironically our first guest – now been and gone, in a serious of disasters that Fawlty Towers would have been proud of – was Mary, from Dublin (well from Canada, but really from Dublin). To cut a veeery long story short we picked Mary up from the airport here at midnight and delivered her to her waiting cruiseliner at Manaus docks at 01:00. Still, she was happy enough and duly paid for her keep, so we were happy, too. And she was very nice. Thanks Mary. The next guests are due in March and I have no doubt we will discover they are from Omagh or some such.

Naice has lost her English language student after she (the student) split up with her boyfriend and decided to move to Rio. On the other hand, after a suggestion from friend Charlie, we placed an ad offering lessons in how to use a GPS, and have been – well, not quite flooded with, but certainly trickled with – responses. The first course was given last Friday and Saturday, and was a success to the degree that they both understood my Portuguese and paid up. I thought it was great fun, and can’t believe people are willing to pay me to enjoy myself pontificating about Garmin products and geocaching up and down the river Taruma in the Shamrock. We’re fully booked for the next two courses, which takes us up to 15th February. With a bit of luck we’ll have enough money now to pay the vet bills for Kelly and Ozzie.

The river level is comfortably high (there, look, no figures), and I’m off fishing to the Lago da Piranha with Charlie this Saturday. Since it’s 150km away up the Solimoes with the entrance reportedly a closely guarded secret, it looks like being an excellent jolly. Forunately or unfortunately, we’ll have to sleep in our respective boats – fine for Charlie, as his is sort of aircraft carrier-sized, and he has his own cabin, whereas my sleeping accommodation will be either on a blow-up bed which I reckon can just about squeeze into the area behind the second bench seat, or in a hammock which it may be possible to sling between the farthest forward portside strut and the farthest aft starboard side strut (or vice versa, I suppose). Well, if nothing else, at least I will have learned various salty technical terms, like “strut” and “mosquito”. Naice, probably very wisely, has declined to go, in favour of taking Ozzie across the river to stay with Mum and Dad. Kelly will be looked after through intermittent appearances by Dona Fatima, our woman-who-does (occasionally). Yes, that’s her name.

Our gardener, Claudionor, has had a bad time with a leg infection he got in someone’s garden (where else), aggravated, he insists, by eating pork. This latter fact provoked heated debate with the Cavadini family at a recent outing, and the argument as to whether this is total, um, hogwash, or not has not yet been settled. Anyway, he’s a really nice guy, Claudionor, so we’re hoping his leg will mend soon. Especially since in the meantime the triffids and Kelly are having a field day in the garden.

Well that’s all the news for the moment. I shall end here so as not to risk the further wrath of those whose preference is for pictures over prose. More pics later – honest. In fact, if I remember, I’ll take the camera on Saturday and photograph the fishing trip.

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