We were laughing again about this amazing creature whilst on Samaria. Sylva, my hostess (of whom pictures whilst ringing a raptor will follow) is one of my favourite cousins, an animal lover and an excitable person at the best of times. We were about 12 when we went out one night, 10 or more of us on the back of a truck with a spotlight, to go looking at animals. There was great excitement when we saw an aardvark, a very elusive creature... in fact there was so much noise from the excited spectators that it bounced off a nearby rocky outcrop, confusing the poor creature who was running away from us and making him turn and come straight towards us... he ran through underneath the truck and as he came out the other side my excited cousin jumped on his back and rode him!Realising the potential danger, Daan, a friend who was then in his twenties and with us again now 40 years later, jumped after and ran to fetch the girl. However the aardvark won the day (night?). It ran straight into one of the many Njala Palm thickets in that area, leaving both Sylva and Daan hanging, pinned to the prickly branches like something from a Tom and Jerry cartoon. There was complete hysteria as we ran to extricate them, slightly bloody but none the worse for wear, all of us overwhelmed by the unexpectedness of the encounter and the strange tale of the girl who rode an aardvark.
I've been toying with posting a picture of a Njala palm, the only palm indigenous to this part of Africa, and you've now given me an excuse. As I say: Sylva will follow, with beautiful pictures of her with a small falcon...