Born Free: Kenya, Lions and a Lodge.

I wish I could say that my visit to Elsa’s Kopje was as a result of research and a longing to dip into an incredible african tale that captured the imaginations of my parents era through books and movies about George and Joy Adamson and the lions that lived with them in Meru National Park in Kenya. But during a working holiday to Kenya recently, good friends made sure that, at least for a long weekend, I was able to get a taste of at least one of the areas that Kenya is famous for. Embarrassingly it was only as I wandered around the incredible lodge looking at the black and white photographs of George Adamson and a few of the felines that hung around with him, that everything clicked into place. I did a bit of googling to make sure, and the internet provided the context that set the scene for a spectacular few days of Safari drives, luxury dining and relaxation.

Instead of trying to wax lyrical about the place I will post pictures that will hopefully tell the story adequately. I will just say that it is a magical setting that I desperately want to take my family back to.

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Also.. if you are like me and would like to find out more about the Born Free story.. this website should help.

On Being a Sidekick

Being a parent sucks.

Your “me time” packs it’s belongings into a spotted handkerchief, attaches it to the end of a suitable stick and heads for the sunset without a backward glance. Hangovers are not really an option anymore, weekends are dominated by Barney and jumping castles and you can try and dress like a scruffy teenager but there is no denying adulthood when a person a third of your height is accompanying you everywhere. And there is more..but let’s fast forward to the part when you realise that it’s not all that bad:

The thing is, when you have shed a tear over the grave of all the cool stuff you have had to let go of, suddenly you start to realise how incredible that little human sidekick that you have created is. You are reintroduced to what it is like to have an imagination without boundaries. Every bug that crosses your path holds potential for wonder and amazement. Every mundane task stands a good chance of being considered for analysis and explanation. The issue of favourite colours, superheros, flavours, days of the week and people is readdressed regularly. You are really forced to start looking around and appreciating where you are and what you are doing there. And its awesome! And I mean that like non parental teenagers mean it, with exclamation mark and all.

Charlie is our incredible little 4 year old sidekick. Max (who is almost 2 months old) was recently introduced to the team, but he is still in the development stages of becoming a sidekick where interests are limited to a handful of basic needs including milk and sleep. Not to worry.. we know that there are great things to come, and his older sister is itching to show him the way. In the meantime Charlie will deliver plenty of moments of wonder into our lives. The other day she wandered into our bedroom at 5:30 am, flung open the curtain to a multicoloured sunrise and with great excitement announced, “Dad, dad! Wake up! It’s today!” There was nothing special happening that day, unless you saw it through Charlies eyes. It just needed to be “today” to be worth getting excited about. Sometimes I suspect that it is not Charlie who is the sidekick at all.

So, feeling like “today” needed to be grasped with two hands and for something different and fun, I popped down to the beach with Charlie before school. I wanted to take some photos that captured some of that beautiful character. It was a storybook sunrise in Salt Rock. And all that’s needed for a good shoot is a great subject, a great location and someone to press the button. 

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