A great word, Ad-ven-ture. We’re ‘adding’ something that promises to be exciting and something extra. And adventure takes us out of the norm, thrills the senses, and should refresh us. When I say the word, adventure, it takes me back to my youth, and the hours I spent reading my favourite Famous Five adventure stories by the incredible author, Enid Blyton. I had no idea then, that as I escaped to another world, this would instill in me my love of writing, and also, adventure. Now, having an adventure doesn’t have to be the all-out adrenaline rush and pushing the limits. I’m talking about doing different things that can be as simple as taking a walk and enjoying an extraordinary vista or going on a journey. Whatever ‘floats your boat’! My husband and I haven’t yet travelled overseas since the COVID era although we have booked a flight to South Africa to go and visit with my mum and sisters, early next year. Now that will be an adventure! The photo that I’m sharing with you today is taken during my last trip to South Africa in 2018. That was an adventure! Not only did I catch up with my mum and two sisters, but we took time out to visit the Zonderwater Prisoner of War (POW) camp—www.zonderwater.com—where my father was held captive during WW2. Situated just outside Pretoria, it was specially opened for us by the museum curator, as it was a weekday. I am forever grateful to him as it was a truly emotional journey. There are boards with names of the many soldiers who died in that camp that held 63,000 POWs at one time, an astonishing number to control logistically. The museum itself is an amazing collection of artifacts and one well worth the visit just for WW2 memorabilia. Finding a photo of my father in amongst all of that was an overwhelming experience that I will never forget. I truly treasure the time I had with my mum and sisters and a place where my father spent nearly six years. He was one of the lucky ones to survive and return home to Italy, a free man.
The excerpt below from Ciao! We’re in Africa; it is on a lighter note. Mum, Dad, and their friend, Abramo, were out in the bush with a rifle, not looking to hunt anything in particular … just as you did in the late ‘50s in Africa!
And then to the side, sunning itself on a narrow stone, is the largest lizard-like creature that I’ve ever seen. It has a brownish-black patterned, scaly skin that lightens to a golden colour towards its belly. Its head rises as we appear. It regards us regally as we noisily stumble to a stop. A black, forked tongue flicks out and then back in. Apart from that silently repeated movement, all else seems eerily quiet. Suddenly, it seems we’re in a stand-off in a movie scene.
My whisper breaks the stillness. “That … that is a lizard, isn’t it? Non e’ un coccodrillo?”
The reptile is an alarming two-metres or more in length. There’s silence at my query and then Eugenio lets out a snigger. “A crocodile?! It’s a lizard, Iucci!”
As the sun’s rays bounce off the stony, sand-coloured rock face and into the semi-enclosed space, the scene takes on a shimmery, unreal quality. Eugenio breaks the spell by pulling the rifle off his shoulder. In one swing, he aims at the peaceful monster.
"No!" My voice bursts out. I startle myself, as much as Eugenio and Abramo. "He's just sunning himself and doing you no harm. You can't shoot him!"
Eugenio gives a half-snort, countering, "I'll just shoot over its head to check my rifle aim."
I quickly grab onto Bambi’s collar and hold her tight. By this time, Eugenio’s cocked the gun, and an explosion fills the air. The rocky enclosure magnifies the sound with a powerful resounding echo. Bambi’s frenzied barking adds to the bombardment of noises and the lizard reacts with alarm. Rearing forward, he miscalculates his step and somersaults clumsily into the pool of water. Splashing ensues as the reptile emerges at the other end and with a swishing tail, lumbers out of sight. It’s such a comical display that we all burst out laughing.