Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A stop over in Kano, Nigeria.

February 15 1953 (Sunday) Land Mileage 2998
Mum and Dad were woken up at 04h00 with tea at the Railway Guest House in Kano!     Having discussed this with each other, they presumed some sort of mistake had been made and they had taken the tea to the wrong room; it seemed such an unearthly hour to wake anyone up!   We had previously ordered tea at 07h00 and it had duly arrived at that time.   We have often wondered since, if the person who was supposed to get the early wakeup call ever made it to his or her destination on time!     
We got up and washed and dressed in our own time, then met Mum and Dad just going into breakfast.  Afterwards I decided that this was a good opportunity to go to sit in the garden and do some work; I had brought some of my school books with me - talk about being conscientious!   The other three went for a walk and they managed to gain admission to the Kano Club as honorary members.  This was great, as it meant that we had the use of their swimming pool!   They came back and fetched me and we collected our swimsuits and stayed at the Club until lunchtime.  How we all enjoyed the cool water and the luxury of being able to swim once more!  

David diving from the high board
Afraid my style is not so good from the low board, but hey, David was quite a bit older than me!
It was very hot by mid-day and we made our way back to the hotel for lunch and a rest under the fans.   By this time, the management had managed to rearrange our rooms and we were all in the same building (see previous blog), so this was much more convenient all round.  Tea was ordered at 16h00 and sent up to the room, where we all met up again.   Dad then went off to have a good look over the Land Rover to see what might, or might not, need seeing to before we went on our way again.
In the early evening we went down for a drink before dinner.   Mum realised then how her feet had become used to wearing brogues over the last few weeks and her high heels were killing her.  She would have to learn all over again how to be a lady!   It was a very hot evening and night; despite the fans being on all the time, none of us slept very well, simply because we were too hot.   Only one week ago we were complaining we could not sleep because we were too cold; is one never satisfied?!
February 16 1953 (Monday)
Morning tea was delivered to the room at a respectable time today and then we all met up and went off for breakfast.    It was decided that we would go for a drive around Kano, have a look at the sights and do a bit of shopping.   We also left some films to be processed.    Mum tried to buy some shampoo, but didn't have any luck. I wonder what people in Kano use to wash their hair?   She did manage to buy a pair of sandals, so the high heels could go back into the case until she was ready to try wearing them once more.   David, Mum and I then went for a swim, while Dad took the vehicle off to the garage. 
Myself kneeling hiding my face! Mum and David at the pool
He joined us not long after and we all had another refreshing swim before going back to the hotel.  It was a really hot walk, but we had no choice, as the Land Rover was hopefully being checked over.    After lunch and a rest, Mum and Dad walked to the Nigerian customs office to make sure that all papers were in order and to see how work on the Land Rover was getting along.    David and I both went off to the Club for a swim and my folks decided to have a walk around Kano.   Unfortunately, everything was closed, so there was not much to do and they ended up back at the hotel again.   That evening, on going for yet another walk, it sounded as if there were hundreds of birds everywhere.   We had not heard them before, so made an enquiry as to what they were.   It turned out that the noise was coming from some burrowing insect; we never did find out what they were called.  I wonder now if it was not some type of cricket.
The Great Mosque in Kano.  The  mosque was built for Muhammad Rumfa in the 15th century. It was made of mud, and was of the soro, or tower, variety. It was moved to a new site by Muhammad Zaki in 1582, and rebuilt in the mid 19th century by Abdullahi dan Dabo. It was subsequently destroyed, but rebuilt in 1950, with British sponsorship and to a local Public Works Department design.
February 17 1953 (Tuesday)
Following the usual start to the day,  we collected our passports and went back to the customs offices to fill in various forms.   We were beginning to wonder how many forms we would have filled in by the time we reached our destination!  We then went and checked up again on the Land Rover, to see when it would be ready.   Finally we got back to the hotel hot, tired and more than ready for a swim, having left my father at the garage, talking about cars!   Dad came back and joined us for lunch having arranged to collect the vehicle at 15h00.  On looking in his briefcase, he found that £70 had been stolen while we were out.  I can assure you that in 1953 this was a great deal of money.  The police were notified, but they said the chances of recovering it were very small.  How right they were!    The vehicle was duly collected and paid for, as luckily we managed to cash traveller's cheques in Kano.   We then started to pack up again, feeling pretty depressed after the loss of the money.   It was rather a miserable ending to an otherwise much needed break.   We had a last evening walk around before going to bed, knowing that we would start back on the road the following morning.

To be continued :-) 

I have put this section of my life story on Kindle if you should be interested:-


  1. Another great instalment. It must have been nice to have a real bed and bath as well as a swim. How unfortunate to be robbed. Considering they have a hand cut off it caught.

    1. diane b I am not sure what the laws in Nigeria for theft, but I know the consequences in Singapore would have been drastic if caught. We did enjoy our stop overs in hotels, the main reason being to have a nice hot bath or shower. Diane

  2. A "peaceful" gallery of views from a Country that, nowadays, has grown into the most populous one in Africa and central of violence.
    Best wishes, Diane!

    1. Gio Ve, yes you are right things have changed so much over the years. I certainly would not be happy driving through some of these areas now!! Diane

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Rose for the visit. I have just done some research on the Mosque and it seems that it is still standing :) Diane

  4. Happy New year Diane!

    I am catching up with the latest posts....Such a pity someone stole the money!

    1. Happy New Year to you as well Awena. We were very upset at the time I have to say, it was a lot of money in 1953!! Keep well Diane


Verification free blog but all comments will be modified before publication.
Thanks for reading my post and I would love it if you leave me a comment. I will try to answer each and every one.