Last night I left Lilongwe in a hire car and drove down to Cape Maclear – I stopped on the way to take pictures and heard the beautiful bird songs so I was really looking forward to getting there. When I arrived, I found the campsite in the middle of a village. The camp was pleasant and Peter the owner and Cheezy the manager were very friendly. There were the usual assortment of tourists, travellers and aid-workers-on-break which I enjoy. I had about half an hour to paint so did the painting below while being hustled by a drunken local to buy some curios.
This is not a masterpiece but as I always tell myself, the important thing is to be there painting. The quality of the result is incidental. I slept like a log in spite of the Friday night party in next door compound. This has been a very tiring week. The village was very noisy and busy. And there were no birds. Just people talking about the fish eagles. So I wanted to leave as soon as I could.
This morning I drove to Liwonde and caught the boat to Mvuu lodge where I am camping for tonight. It is quite tiring driving on the roads here. There always people walking or cycling in the road and every now and then there is a huge donga in the road that would rip out your diff if you hit it at speed. I have had a great afteroon in the camp painting and listeing to the emerald spotted wood doves. They have such a plaintive call. It resonates with my sleepy melancholia.
This is a painting I did of the view across the Shire River as I waited for the boat to arrive:
The two weeks in Lilongwe drained my last “interaction-reserves” and all I want to do is sit by myself. As people arrived for the boat I just sat and painted. And people left me alone. This afternoon everyone left for a game-drive and the camp was almost deserted, which was just great.
This is a view looking upstream from the education centre the camp. There is a small launch area to the right of the picture and the camp workers were chatting and clonking around in boats (what did ratty say “messing around in boats” – the wind in the willows). It was all so peaceful and mellow.
The tree in the middle distance is a fever tree. It turned out a bit messy because I fell asleep as I was painting – it was so relaxing. When I get back to my studio in Cape Town I want to paint more of these scenes.
I took a recording of the doves using my voice recorder and will figure out how to put it on the page if it comes out OK.