A long time ago Ann Patras was born in Burton Upon Trent, England. Actually that’s a lie. 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 think. 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 a lie too really, 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 garish-coloured 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.
The onset of those 31 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 all thought it was so crazy she must be making it up.
Maintaining the sunshine theme she now lives in Spain, with the same weird-sounding husband and writes books about all their crazy experiences.
So far she has penned Into Africa with 3 kids, 13 crates and a husband, which covers the first year of their crazy life in Zambia, as well as the sequel, More Into Africa with 3 kids, some dogs and a husband, covering the next three years. Being released on the 12th December is the final in the author’s Zambian Triology, Much More Into Africa with kids, dogs, horses and a husband, This guides the reader through the family’s final years living in Lusaka (and out and back in again) .
She reckons there are still plenty more books to come, about their lives in South Africa, and possibly even as far back as Canada, if she dare!
And of course, the madness didn’t stop just because they moved to Spain, oh dear me, no!