LIZARDS, LIONS & BURROWING BUGS (UNDER YOUR SKIN!)
For those who thought moving to Spain was a challenge, how about moving to Zambia in 1980 with 3 small kids with no idea of what to expect! Imagine moving to the middle of Africa without the benefit of internet research? Ann Patras reveals all (well nearly all) about their escapades, which are to be found in her Africa Series books.
A long time ago Ann Patras was born in Burton upon Trent. Actually that’s not exactly correct. Ann Johnson was born, but she married a weirdo named Ziggy and became Ann Patras in the mid 1970’s. She was quite normal until she married him, or that’s what she’d have you believe. At one point she actually went to live in Canada to get away from him but he dragged her back by the hair (well, maybe a slight exaggeration) to England to marry her. Then, after the rather rapid arrival of three kids he hauled her off, kicking and screaming, to Africa! Well that’s not really correct either, as she was quite keen to take on that adventure.
Apart from strange sounding men and three wild children she also loves dogs and horses. (Absolutely nothing should be read into the fact that all of the dogs have been named with an alcoholic theme). She wears vibrant nail polish, sings along to loud music when she’s driving and likes to live in sunny places which might account for why, what started out as a two-year contract in Zambia, resulted in her living in Africa for 31 years, before moving to sunny Spain in 2011.
The beginning of those 31 African years came with some surprises. She didn’t know anything about the place they were moving to (1980 was light years before the internet), if she had known she might not have agreed to go. Within days of arrival in Zambia she was horrified to find they didn’t have English-type pubs, toilet rolls were an endangered species, ants were the size of small cats and there was a fly whose larvae ate you from the inside out if you didn’t iron all your laundry. Yes, even socks!
Because of all these oddities, as well as various strange, scary and hilarious things which happened to the family, she wrote scores of letters home to relatives and friends who thought it was all so crazy she couldn’t possibly be making it up.
Those who come along to hear more about this loopy woman and how she came to write two books and is working on the third. All questions are invited but, of course, there’s no guarantee there will be answers for everything, but it’s worth a shot.