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Burglar alarm bungles

Another night of high jinx with our intruder alarm, yawn. This time I could see it coming, as one of our two Alsatians absolutely refused to come inside to sleep in her basket at the foot of the stairs last night. She kept on running towards me as I called her name in increasingly irate tones and then at the last second swerved off towards the night watch man and into the darkness. We played this little game for a while (about 15 minutes) until I locked the door and gave up, careful to keep the other Alsatian and further two more dogs whom we own by proxy (having inherited them with the house) contained inside. This fiasco is a fairly normal part of our evening routine, but last night I was on my own and am obviously lacking the firm commanding tone of my husband who normally gets the dogs to come in.

After padlocking the metal security gates at the top of the stairs and setting the alarm I fell asleep wondering why on earth I had bothered to stay up late in order to watch a ‘style star confidential’ featuring Angelina Jolie on E!. Jess, the dog outside, did her level best to keep up incessant bout of woofing but I tried to ignore it. At 1am a particularly excited bout of barking outside woke the dogs in the house and they started to shout and scuffle around downstairs. As quick as a flash I roused myself from my slumber and attempted to propel myself out of bed, through the mosquito net and over to the intruder alarm control panel on the bedroom door to try and disarm the thing. Just too late. The dogs inside obviously banged against an access door downstairs (as I had anticipated they would) and the siren started sounding. ‘Damn it, that dog has to come in’ I thought, then unlocked the gate and went downstairs in my nightie to have another long performance with the askari trying to coax Jess in, whilst another escapes out between my legs and needs to be dragged back in etc. Failed again. Meanwhile my mobile phone is ringing upstairs, then the land line. It’s Ben calling from Kigale, ‘I’ve just received a call on my mobile to say that our alarm has gone off and backup is on its way’. My reply, I’m afraid, was a string of expletives interspersed with the words ‘dogs’. Later, as I was back in bed and just shutting my eyes, the tooled up, back up security men are calling up to my window to see if everything is all right. I explain the scenario whilst peeping out from behind a curtain, go back to bed, then minutes later have our own night watchman call up to tell me that he has found a lead to put the dog on, so that she will stop barking so much. ‘OK, great, thanks a lot.’

I wouldn’t mind, only it takes some time to get used to the lack of dignity of conducting conversations whilst half asleep and half dressed. It is such a joy to have people in your house to clean and baby sit and cook and garden but on the down side every time I sit on the loo I’m wondering if a non family member is about to stumble in (because of the children keys have been removed from the doors). This morning I was pouring out cornflakes and feeding the baby in a towel with wet hair whilst Gladys and Florence attempted to help me and busied themselves around the house. They were probably thinking what a lazy sloth I was, still not dressed at 8am on a Saturday. Yesterday, as I snoozed in my bed (bedroom door open) in between school run shifts at 7am and 8.30am and the children were being dressed and having teeth cleaned around me, their opinion of me must have plummeted to an all time low. I expect Florence is up at around 5am every day, in order to get to our house by 7.15. Sunday is our day of no guilt, where Gladys and Florence are off and we can slouch around in dressing gowns until midday, but I still have to run the gauntlet of being caught by the gardener who might have a question or two. This said, I do thoroughly love my incredibly decadent existence thanks to all the help around us and liken my lifestyle to that of someone like Victoria Beckham (who also has three children and finds time for manicures, pedicures and unimpeded shopping trips), but perhaps on a slightly smaller scale i.e. within the confines of Nairobi.

Meanwhile, Gladys went home last week, upcountry to try and help find a neighbour’s twelve year old daughter who has gone missing. The police have been informed and family and friends have been searching for her for the last three weeks. Sadly it is fairly common for young girls to get abducted, often by middle aged men and many girls’ boarding schools are surrounded by high walls and razor wire to try and prevent this from happening.

(23/3/07) I would like to confirm that glady's friend's daughter was found and seems had been abducted for 6 weeks... the story is a bit hazy, but she is now safe and sound

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