Life at Grubby’s Grotto

The rain is lashing down and the daffodils are being buffeted by the wind – so it must be the Easter bank holiday! Yesterday, of course was the last day of the Spring Term and April Fools’ Day – a double whammy for teachers! I still can’t get away from measuring out my life , not as T.S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock did, ‘with coffee spoons’, but by the school calendar, especially with my wife giving regular updates on  how many days there are until the end of term. Teachers are always on holiday aren’t they?   

Talking of April fools, I felt as if I had fallen victim yesterday. In preparation for a month under canvas  at Grubby’s Grotto I’ve  invested in so much kit from the Nomad Travel Company, I feel like a share holder. I’ve been shopping, on-line, for everything from a light weight sleeping bag, to a Nite ize headband so I can strap a torch to my head (pretty essential for stumbling my way towards the toilet block, during the night, after a few Zambian lagers!). Having charged all of this to my credit card, last week, I was informed, yesterday, that as a subscriber to the Wanderlust magazine I can  now get 15% discount with Nomad until the end of May – rather annoying to say the least!

So what will life be like at the Grotto Campsite? I can’t wait to meet ‘Grubby’, he sounds quite a character, like he’s wandered out of one of  Alexander McCall Smith’s, Ladies’ Detective Agency books!

So to does the address:

Grubby’s Grotto, 2 Mambo Way (corner of Obote Avenue), Livingstone.

It is situated at the north end of Livingstone , a 15 minute walk  into town or a 10,000 kw taxi ride . (There are approximately 7000 Zambian Kwacha to a pound – so that will make shopping interesting ! )

Apparently the site is in the grounds of Grubby’s old colonial home. I’ll be sharing a tent with another unfortunate volunteer.  I hope he’s packed ear plugs – I can snore for England, so my wife tells me! There is, what is referred to as, a basic but clean shower/toilet block (no guarantee of hot water though!), a small pool to relax around and  a shady verandah with an honesty bar. There is also a small laundry area and limited facilities for charging electrical equipment.

We’ll be sharing the campsite with long distance lorry drivers and Grubby’s Rhodesian ridgeback, Cuzzie

A typical day in the life of the Book Bus crew member will go something like this:

  • 06.30 Time to get up, stretch your legs and make your way to the wash block . Those on breakfast duty boil the kettle and arrange the food.  
  • 07.00: Breakfast followed by washing up!
  • 07.30: Prep time for the day’s lessons
  • 08.30: Climb on board the bus and head for school (usually a 30 minute drive)
  • 09.00: 4 x 1 hour reading and associated activity sessions , each with a different group.

  • 13.30: Return to Grubby’s Grotto
  • 14.00: A late lunch , prepared by crew members
  • 14.30: Washing up and then tidy the bus
  • 15.00: Free time to walk into town, take in  local attractions, do some shopping, visit a coffee shop or use the internet
  • 18.00: Those on dinner duty get cooking
  • 19.30: Dinner by candlelight under the African skies

  • 20.00: Washing up – by candle or torchlight!
  • 20.30: Time to socialize over a beer or get an early night
  • because it all begins again bright and  early tomorrow!

Today’s Top Tip for volunteers: Timetables are one thing but patience, remaining flexible,  smiling and going with the flow are vital if you are going to make the most of your time in Zambia. It’s an amazing country but always remember T.I.A. (This IS Africa!!)

3 Responses

  1. You must be sooooooooo! excited. Can’t wait to keep up to date via your blog!

  2. So countdown time! Sounds like a great adventure is about to start….you will be buffeted by the elements, the different routines & the culture shock but like the daffodils, you’ll shine through!

  3. Just returned from Grubby’s Grotto. What a fantastic experiance with The Book Bus Crew!

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