… a single day of sunshine gets a slot on the national evening news.


…the kitchen cupboards are full of powdered this and powdered that:

  • Coffee powder
  • Gravy powder
  • Curry powder
  • Mashed potato powder
  • Soup powder
  • Egg powder
  • Mustard powder
  • Custard powder
I wasn’t aware of this national obsession until I lived elsewhere. The only one we have in Togo is milk powder.


Three years ago, according to the UN, Togo was the least happy place in the world. But it is the biggest improver in the 2018 World Happiness rankings report, rising 18 places.

Yet here on the ground, people are not noticeably happier or unhappier, and my neighbours and friends spend a lot of their time laughing their heads of.

Black-Crowned-Crane-flying-700x3501.jpgJust arrived home after a three day safari at the Pendjari game park in the north of Benin. Lions, elephants, hippos, crocs yes, but the highlight for me was seeing a flock of 97 black crowned cranes – a threatened species – soaring overhead.

Any Brits want to join me for a disturbing read?


Retour chez Papa Maman.jpg

Just got back from Tanguieta (Benin) where I was staying with my good friends Carl and Ursula,  and researching the best way of writing contour tones in Nateni with Esaïe, one of the Bible translators. After 25 years work, the New Testament is now complete and will be dedicated later this year. Spot the African grey parrot in the background.20180125_162214.jpg

African pied wagtail.jpg

Just me and an African pied wagtail at the pool this afternoon.

… the security guard at Gatwick Airport greets you with “Hello, my darling!”

Down here in Cornwall, you’re more likely to be addressed as “my lover” or “my hansum”. And all this in a culture with a reputation for being reserved.