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Pole to Pole

Day 110: Shiwa

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleHalfway through the night, as recurring twinges of cramp keep me padding off to the bathroom, I experience a quite irrational fear of being in the same room as a piece of tree bark handled by Dr Baela. I see it lying on the table with my notebooks and maps, and though I know I'm being ridiculous I cannot help blaming it for this sudden reversal of fortunes. After all, Mercury isn't in retrograde until the end of the month so I can't blame that.

By the morning I feel stronger and better able to look the bark in the eye. Breakfast of toast and home-made marmalade at a huge table of mukwa wood designed by Lorna Harvey's father - Sir Stewart Gore-Brown, the man who created Shiwa.

Sir Stewart came out to Africa early in the century as a member of the Boundary Commission, quite literally to draw the map of Africa, or at least that part of the continent bordering on the Belgian Congo and Rhodesia, and stayed on to construct Shiwa house, between 1928 and 1932, in an eclectic European style with towers and pitched roofs and a formal English garden. In an article about the house, written in 1964, Horizon magazine summed up his achievement. 'Shiwa gradually became the showpiece of Northern Rhodesia, where a courteous squire, possessed of a taste for diplomacy, ruled his estate with benevolence and a hand of iron.'
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 110
  • Country/sea: Zambia
  • Place: Shiwa
  • Book page no: 249

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