One Armed Man/Crocs/Great Book/Namibian Writers/ BritishCouncil/Octopi/Ramblings


Hello chaps!

And welcome to another unpredictable Paxton Blog!

As usual I plan to veer here and there.

But before I begin doing that, I must say that my “lightning in the living room” story hasn’t really rippled the Windhoek pond.

I thought everybody would be interested. Some people were. Thanks to both of you.

But most gave my drama less than a minute’s attention.

I was treated to a rather disinterested nod when I told my tale  to a White Zimbabwean lady who supervises one of our local shops.

Instead of gasps of wonder she just said, ” Yes, it happened to me.”

Then she gave me one of those “You are new to Africa” looks.

I was crushed.

I guess if you have been kicked off your farm by Mugabe’s racist hoodlums and are in exile and all your farm workers have been beaten senseless, a lightning bolt isn’t such a big deal. Particularly if you have already had one.

Old news.

What the heck do I need to attract her attention? A volcano in the TV room?

I’m going to hit her with Ronnie’s octopus tomorrow. We’ll see how it works.

Enough blather.

Hey Ho Let’s Go!


In February 1994, a young game ranger from the Kruger National Park decided to go for a swim in a creek. A crocodile decided to join him. Then it decided to eat him.

Christiaan Bakkes (the ranger) slogged it on the nose and, while the two of them were arguing about dinner menus, another crocodile turned up and bit his left arm off.

This hasn’t slowed him down noticeably.


I first bumped into Chris while I was busily getting lost in a northern desert near Kaokoland. I’d been lost for some considerable time and was getting tired of it.

I’d not reached the “drink your own urine and eat your boots” stage but the prospect of subsisting on solar heated beer and luke warm beans for the next few days, then running out of petrol, and then entering the urine drinking/boot stage was not an appealing one.


The sight of Chris was most welcome. He currently works for Wilderness Safaris, an upmarket Namibian safari outfit, and, after we had left my infernally confusing desert behind and were enjoying a cold beer in an old German colonial fort we made a mutual discovery. We were both writers.

I immediately gave him a copy of my book, Homunculus.  He in turn offered me a copy of one of his. It was, unfortunately, in Afrikaans,  but he said that an English language edition was in the pipeline.

It has been my sad experience that publisher’s pipelines are longer than those built to transport natural gas from Siberia to Western Europe and I expected to read no more from him. For at least twenty years.  If I was lucky.

I was wrong.

I found a copy of  “In Bushveld and Desert: A Game Ranger’s Life” in the Tyfelfontein lodge’s rather jumbled souvenir shop, bought it and it’s great!

Full of front line African conservation stuff.


“A master narrator – unpretentious, engaging and enriching.”

That was the back cover review excerpt from Die Burger, Capetown. I’m assuming that’s an Afrikaans newspaper.

Radio Klara, Brussels, described it as follows – “His stories are remarkable. They portray life in the wilderness with soberness* and simplicity, but also with irony.”

Funny world we live in. A Namibian book being reviewed on a Belgian radio station.

How did Radio Klara get its hands on a copy?

Come to think of it why is Homunculus selling so well in India? And why doesn’t anybody pay me royalties?


The British Council’s input to this Blog on octopi has spurred some stimulating debate and has prompted frankly amazing video footage. This Blog is very appreciative. And extends its thanks to Ronnie Micallef, the BC boss.

Not sure about the suckers joke, though, Ronnie.

But, overall, first class.

Your next question and challenge, Ronnie:  What do we do with a Giant Squid?   Hire a Sperm whale to save time?

Mr. Hollier is also to be applauded for his contributions.

And Charles and Kimberley, as always.

Charlie, add the folowing to your Namibiana lexicon.

“Ma bru.” A term of affection.



The British Council is currently promoting  Namibian writers. If you are a Namibian writer give the British Council a call.



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3 Responses to “One Armed Man/Crocs/Great Book/Namibian Writers/ BritishCouncil/Octopi/Ramblings”

  1. One Armed Man/Great Book/Ramblings « Hugh Paxton's Blog | Drakz News Station Says:

    […] the original: One Armed Man/Great Book/Ramblings « Hugh Paxton's Blog Share and […]

  2. Steve Says:

    Actually, the octopus video was from me!

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