Tag Archives: daughters

Looking for news on the domestic front

 

I must be starting to feel better as I am typing again.

Perhaps I need to hear the sound of my voice tapping in my head….it has been a very quiet week.

I woke up remembering a promise I made and failed to keep: I declared that when the rains came I would stand up and defend the right to dance in the rain. I would take to the garden and twirl and splash and then we would all go bowling. For isn’t bowling the best of all rainy day games?

 

But I did neither. The rains came late at night and carried on through the dark hours and when the sun came up and rains stopped  the urge to bowl and dance was no more.

 

So now I will probably have to wait 7 months to keep  my promise.

 

On the domestic front, with little to report and digging for something good, Princess and Trooper have discovered The Gilmour Girls. Remember that? They are half way through season two and I am catching snippits while I walk through the living room enroute to the kitchen/bathroom/bed. It is making me believe I am back in Montreal and it is Sunday night. Was it Sunday night? I can’t believe back in those days we had to wait a whole week to watch the next episode. No flick of the remote to move forward a week. My girls watched 10 years of Friends in 5 months! It was like fast forwarding through Jennifer’s Hair, Matthew’s Weight and the Evolution of Jeans from too high waisted to low and hippy.

 

Today I am going to take a thick black sharpie and place a juicy tick next to an item on my list. Princess is going to the Orthodontist.

 

Love ticking.

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From one Kingdom to another: A tale of Princesses and looking for a wedding in the desert.

When they said over 2 billion people worldwide watched the Royal Wedding they were probably right. In any case 4 of those people were in Bahrain and the hunt to find a place to see the big event was a little stressful. Handsome Husband has a very inferior cable service at present, one that shows horror movies, Arabic music videos and a lot of sport. I feared they would not broadcast the Nuptials and even if they did I could not fathom watching then with an Arabic voice over. I am the only Brit in my family and like many I can remember clearly sitting cross-legged on my Granny’s floor watching Charles and Di tie their knot 30 years ago. I like a bot of pomp and ceremony and no one does it like the British.

We have been living under a proverbial rock here in Kampala with no TV, no newspapers nor magazines and my daughters hardly knew what the wedding was let alone who was getting married, why there was a fuss and who cared. When Trooper pointed to the lady in yellow, once we found a place to watch, and asked “so if she is the Queen does that mean she is William’s grandmother?”, I knew they needed an education.

My sister was attending a large garden party, had even painted her nails pillar box red for the occasion and meanwhile we were in danger of missing the whole thing so I decided to make some calls. Some of the hotels and fancy restaurants were offering a viewing with brunch but at a cost of nearly $100 for 4 we decided to look elsewhere. The British Embassy were diverting all calls to an emergency only number, and while I thought this was an emergency, they might not. Then I called The British Club. Yes they were having an event, a party even and no we could not go. Why ever not? Well we are not members and should we wish to enter we would need to come with a member who could “vouch for our behaviour.” I am not joking. And this after I told them that we were prospective members. Perhaps not now.

Then I called a club called The Dilman. Yes we were welcome to come in and watch, and it would only cost us a day visitors’ fee of $45 for the family. Steep but we were running out of options and the wedding was two hours off.  So we decided to go  and after getting hopelessly lost on the way there, hitting desert at one point and finally asking some police men at a road block, we found it.

You may think me a snob if I describe the clientele, so I won’t. Suffice to say that these were not Brits I had ever met in England. These were the ones who were chargrilled red from too many beers pool side, were overly thrilled to be out of Slough and into Bahrain, were stuffing their faces with fat cakes from the buffet table and let their kids drop food all over the floor. Have I painted a picture? Anyway we saw the wedding, it was sort of surreal to watch it in a large circa 1971 cafeteria on a tiny island in the Gulf with the residents of Eastenders, but watch it we did. And it was fabulous. Really it was. Perfick.

Now Trooper and Princess know all about Princesses and Princes and Balcony kisses and golden carriages. They had visited Westminster Abbey just this past summer and Buckingham Palace and they recognized both. They were most impressed by the tiny bridesmaid and the amazing choir. But they both came to the conclusion that they wouldn’t like to be a princess, one bit. Too many cameras, too many chances for things to go very wrong, too much stress.

But they have started to think about weddings.

My Princess is absolutely going for the horse drawn carriage.

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The tale of my birthday cake

Funny story. Regular readers of 3limes might be familiar with the quintessential Uganda Cake story. It was a sober warning to many not to trust a cake that comes from the hands of a Ugandan Patisserie, no, far better to bake your own. Well as I mentioned just yesterday my sweet girls had made me a chocolate cheese cake, showed it to me at breakfast time and then we  spent most of the day in anticipation of the wonderful after school treat that was to come.

Princess carefully sliced three portions, placed them on plates and solemnly carried them to the dining room table. They looked at each other with shifty eyes, one of them shrugged; I think I heard a “shhh”.

Then we took a bite and the truth was out, the cat was out of the bag, the jig was up, the spell was broken.

“This tastes like onion.” I said, trying not to sound too surprised.

“The texture is lovely, the chocolate so smooth and yummy but after the first hit of cocoa on the tongue something is wrong.” I said, trying to sound intrigued.

Turns out there was quite a story behind the cake.

In order to make the cheese cake they had to ask Sarah our amazing beyond words house keeper to buy cream cheese for them while they were at school. Princess handed over her pocket money and off Sarah went, to four different shops (this is Kampala) on four different bodas and finally found some. Only the cream cheese she found was cream cheese with onions and chives. Sarah, not being familiar with chocolate cheesecake, let alone the hummingbird cafe Chocolate cheesecake, had no idea what cream cheese even was.

The girls immediately saw the problem but were too embarrassed to tell Sarah that she had erred in her choice of cream cheese, since she has gone to so much trouble. So they made it anyway. Two thirds regular cream cheese (that we already had in the fridge) and one third onion and chives.

And let me tell you: chocolate might go well with chilli, orange, or even rosemary, so I hear, but it does not marry well with the sharp sour taste of onion.

We need to wait until Sarah takes her day off on Saturday before we can toss it in the bin.

Handsome Husband laughed. “Looks like you got Ugandan Birthday Cake too!’

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You Rule

Good morning and welcome to the Birthday Post. Every year I write on my birthday. I started this blog when I was 39 and went through all the agonies, fear and ultimate satisfaction of turning 40 on these pages. Today I am 42 and that looks a lot older when you see it up there on the screen than it really feels.

Despite Handsome Husband being so far away I am still being made to feel special on this birthday by the lovely Trooper and Princess who laid a trail of mini happy birthday cards leading from my bed room to a balloon adorned dining room this morning. There I was presented with a gorgeous present that I had picked out myself and presented to them for wrapping; it is a butter soft brown leather clutch bag with African beading design, and handmade cards. I was also shown the Chocolate Cheese cake that we are going to eat later. It was made by them while I was out last night and they are thrilled to bits with their inventiveness and prowess about the kitchen.

So I am a lucky girl, and birthdays are meant to be celebrated no matter the number. I am the Fairy Godmother of Birthdays, according to my friends, they cannot go by unnoticed.

In other news we celebrated Athletics this week at school and it was a most excellent display of school spirit and athletic ability. Lots of running, leaping, throwing and jumping. I managed to get out of the Teacher’s Race, not having enjoyed the mirth that followed my slow sprint around the track last year. I found some PE dept volunteers who were more than happy to give us a fair chance of winning. This photo sums up the day. I like both the message and the medium.

Yes: You Rule and it is so much better said with a Sharpie on a bare leg.

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When a girl has a birthday…

The Festival of Turning 11 has passed with success and some pomp. There were presents, flowers, pink icing, happy girls, movies, giggles by the pool and  the happy flurry of girls taking over the house. In a nutshell here are the scenes from this past weekend:

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11 years later.

 

Princess is 11 today. There will be a festival of sorts, cupcakes at school, dinner with friends, a Saturday night party, more cake. She deserves it; after all she is my sunshine girl.

Princess is so much more than her name. Camper extraordinaire, friend to all, t-shirt designer, Sartorialist obsessed, champion shower singer; her room is a blaze of pink and softness, her wardrobe a cornucopia of colour, hair bands and scents. She will curl up and read beside me for hours or stand in the kitchen chopping onions and stirring warmed chocolate, preparing a feast of some sort.

She cried for the first year and a half of her life. While the rest of the world settled into the comfort of knowing the new millennium would not strip us of water, power or the internet, in short the world would not stop, ( do you remember that crazy worry? the stockpiling of water and tins of chick peas? What was that?) Princess was crying, screaming even most days, cross with something that none of us could figure out. As soon as she could speak and express her discomfort when things were not specific enough for her, she stopped crying and started smiling and talking. She has not stopped since.

The first three weeks here in Kampala, back in August 2009 when we leapt over two continents to move here she was not happy. In fact she was terrified, devastated and turned inside out with misery. She wanted to leave and she wanted to go NOW. It was the first time since those early years that we had seen her so miserable and we worried that she might not overcome the discomfort of being here; the cockroaches in the “palace” the abject poverty, the dirt, the chaos. Princess likes everything “just so” and Kampala at first was anything but.

Now she often thanks us for her life, exclaiming that she is so happy, she loves the adventure of her life, the opportunity to see and feel and do so much more than her friends in the first world. I love her grateful manner and her positivity that shines through each day.

I am thinking of 11 years ago. Sharp blue skies, bone chilling wind, a late January Montreal day. As I held my little blanket wrapped parcel of love and looked out of the window of the Queen Vic, across the sheer white fields of McGill I could never have fathomed how life would change so much. Here I am 11 years later, marking the passage of time with a curly girl in my arms and I am amazed.

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Where have I been? On Mars?

( Photo:Trooper walks to school)

Yes I know I have been quiet. Things at Camp Hormone however have been busy and that has been stealing my attention and time away from all the fun over here at 3limes.

So what else has been going on? I know one of you is interested because I got a concerned email.

Trooper has turned into a sports fiend. Once a week she wakes up at an ungodly hour, before it is even light, and heads out to jump into a cold cold pool to do laps. From where did this girl appear? Handsome Husband has gallantly taken it upon himself to do early morning swim drives. As he so nostalgically put it:  “If I was in Canada I might have to be up and driving to Hockey! At least I am not standing in a cold rink holding bad Tim’s coffee.”  Well put, I thought. Then in the afternoons she can be found chasing a ball around a soccer pitch. I, being the unsupportive mother who has little faith in her football abilities rudely posed the following questions:

“Did you foot actually touch the ball?”

“And did your foot actually move the ball?”

It appears she is rather good. So she has obviously not inherited my attitude towards school field hockey: A great excuse to stand around and gossip.

Saturday she spent the entire day pool side representing her school at a meet. Each morning she walks to school.

I look at her, shake my head in wonder and think envious thoughts about her new found love of exercise.

Princess is quickly growing out of her name. There is nothing Princess about her at the moment, save her bright pink bedroom wall. Having returned from her class camping trip she has decided that she is a bona fide camper and wants to start a camping club at school. Apparently two nights in a tent was not sufficient. She has told me, in her sweetest voice that she thinks she could easily manage two weeks.

Again, there has been more head shaking and bemused looks of wonder. Where do these children come from?

I, on the other hand, have been staying well away from tents, cold pools and soccer fields. I am still walking the dangerous path to school every day and I have seen enough on those walks to fill a blog post. One will be forthcoming. Instead I have been spending my time either buried in essays or streaming the first few episodes of season 7 of House, Grey’s and Entourage.  Over here we need our fill of American Culture, just to remind us that we are all on the same planet. Sometimes I feel as if I were on Mars.

With campers and exercise bandits.

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