Tag Archives: questions

Another bit of fun? Why not…

Procrastination is always one of my favourite things to do and guess what I found? Another pleasant waste of time.  Play along if you wish.

Favourite time of day

I don’t get to enjoy my favorite time of day very often because I have to wake up too early and teach the teens but I love after midnight when the house is quiet and I can pad around and write, read, talk on the phone. I love the night, the dark. Unfortunately I am in bed long before midnight these days. So on a school day I would have to say that I love climbing under crisp, freshly washed sheets to read a book and enjoy the sensation of a day well lived.

Where and when did you meet the love of your life?

Dahab, Egypt 1992. We are still married and he is still handsome. See here for the full and rather romantic story.

What three words would your friends from outside the blogging world use to describe you?

Honest, loyal, funny and Fairy Godmother of birthdays.

What country would you like to visit and why?

Argentina. The people are beautiful, the music is beautiful and I have always wanted to learn to Tango.

What’s your favourite dish to cook?

Lasagna and brownies. They are my specialty, and my friends have come to expect and depend on them.

Salt or sugar?

Sugar, in the form of chocolate. Preferably Toblerone. I have a long and complicated relationship with Toblerone. The only thing that might get in the way of our relationship is Crème Brule. Which is cream and sugar with more sugar on top.

What are your favourite make up and beauty items?

Not long ago I  unpacked my bathroom and having spent a good long year in a Shoebox with no shelves to display my “spa” I am now shocked to see how many products I actually have. I might have a problem here that I had hidden in boxes and bags! So my favorite things are hard to choose but here is my effort:  OPI nails ( I like We’ll Always have Paris),  Bare Minerals powder foundation, Estee Launder moisturizer, Shu Uemura eye liners and Diptych perfume. Oh and I am recently addicted to Morocco Hair Oil.

What are your favourite flowers?

Orchids. I just adore how they look and how stubborn they are to grow and love.

What are your worst vices?

Can I publish that here? There are parents and teachers and students reading! Okay, I’ll find one or two. The odd cigarette, but only after dark with red wine ( I have my rules), Impatience, Handbags, hating exercise.

At what time of your life were you happiest and why?

Hardest question of them all. I believe that life is like a pearl necklace and we collect perfect moments as pearls as we move through time. I have had extraordinary moments of joy which may arise in a pretty dark period. I was very happy when I was 22 and traveling, having my babies, beach days in Trinidad, vacations just the four of us, my 40th birthday party in Montreal, surrounded by my sisterhood, this past summer in London, driving in the passenger seat of a 1973 VW orange Beetle through the Manitoba prairies, laughing in the Trini Sin room with good friends. When I am with the people I love in beautiful surroundings I am happy.


Filed under personal

Questions asked and answered.

A reader of 3limes recently wrote to say she was planning a move to Kampala and would I kindly answer some questions. I thought I might share them with you too, since whether or not you are moving to Uganda you might like to know if I have a washing machine or how I deal with the question of Malaria and bottled water. So here we are:

1. We do not have a washing machine but everyone else has one! It drives me crazy. I want to get one but will wait ‘till we move this summer to a bigger place where the machine could fit inside. ( Shoe boxes do not have inside spots for washing machines so it would need to be outside and that is not secure.)  They are readily available however.

2. I do not take anti malaria pills and neither does anyone I know. However once we leave Kampala and go the the country we normally do take them. Everyone uses mosquito nets and incidents of Malaria do exist in Kampala but are quite rare. Testing kits are available and any time someone has a fever they just get a quick prick to determine if they have malaria. Preventative medication is at all pharmacies for when you need to stock up before safari trips.  Trooper recently woke up with a fever and we did a home rapid test. When it came back positive we whizzed her to the hospital and within four hours she was medicated and ready to go. She didn’t get the malaria here in Kampala but on an over night stay at a farm about 30km outside of town.

3.We only drink bottled water but we do boil tap water for pasta. Everything else is bottled and again is easy to get everywhere. Most people have water dispensers in their homes.

4.Does everyone treat us differently because we are white? Mostly. Everyone calls us Mzungu and everyone thinks we are rich. Honestly, it makes me crazy. Mostly I ignore it but on occasion I have pointed out that I am a teacher and therefore not rich. However, being white equals rich here and for the uneducated people there is no getting round it. I think you get a hard skin and we all try to get used to it. There is no getting away from the fact that we are the OTHER and we live in a totally different world. Remember, though that there is a growing middle class here and some people do live like us with TV and internet and trips abroad.

5.Photographing people is a tricky one. I always ask and if they ask for money I refuse to pay. Something changes in the photos when it has become a financial transaction. Often the problem is not about money but about trust; they don’t understand what we want to do with the photos and don’t appreciate being photographed like animals in a zoo. The last time I photographed in the market I made a point of taking prints to hand out the next weekend. They were most grateful and will now trust me in the future.

6.How have my children adapted to living in Africa? It was a tough start but they are more than happy and settled now. Both my girls ( 12 and 10) love school, have many friends and have taken up horse riding. They swim at the club a lot and, I believe, probably live a better life in some respects than back home in Canada. They had a hard time with all the poverty at first but kids are so resilient and they got used to it very quickly. They have both become quite tough! All the kids we know here are so happy and enjoy all the freedoms of life here, being outside, lots of sports all year round, often big houses with gardens. They only big disadvantage in a kids life is that it isn’t really possible, apart from a few neighborhoods, to take a bike out and ride around. They can’t just go for a walk either, although most kids don’t do that any where until they are older.

Any other questions? Burning queries? Ask away…I don’t mind one bit.

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Filed under Family Stuff, Kampala

Questions of the utmost importance

A couple of things I have to deal with on a daily basis:

Shall I bring the wet washing in off the line?

Life without a washing machine and dryer can be trying at times. I can just feel a washing machine somewhere in my future but in this climate a dryer seems like an unnecessary extravagance. So I will continue to stand, one hand on hip, one on the damp towel, head up weighing the options of a dry or rainy night. Last night, when I was awoken by an almighty crack of thunder, I knew I had lost. I think I will never have soft, fluffy and sweet smelling towels again.

What do they do with all the large horns when they kill the cows?

They pile them up and leave them beside the road. This is the part of our morning  drive when we all take a collective deep breath and hold our noses until we have passed. The pile of horns is huge and resembles a bizarre grouping of sharp yet headless cows. The horns are huge and the putrid stench coming off them is like nothing I have ever smelt on the way to work before. Strangely, there is a random sprouting of sunflowers that has popped up beside the horn patch.

Why do I have to go to at least 4 stores before I complete my grocery list?

Ahhh. A tough one this, and a conundrum I was familiar with living in Trinidad. For some reason each store has its very own likes and dislikes and this is reflected in its purchasing policy. There is no supermarket chain and all stores are privately owned and operated.  So, although one store never stocks low fat milk, another always does, but that is not the right store for cheese. One store has the best olives and meat but they haven’t got the right pasta, another has the best fruit and vegetables but never has apple juice. The list goes on and on. Shopping involves extraordinary levels of patience and petrol.

Why is my fridge outside  my kitchen and my sink outside  my bathroom?

This particular Uganda habit arises from a lack of space. Rather than simply  build enough space to fit in said fridge or said sink, it is assumed that the hall way will suit just fine.

Why do eggs taste a bit fishy?

Because they feed the chickens fish.

Why is traffic so terrible?

There are only 4 traffic lights in Kampala and not enough roads. Paved roads are the exception rather than the rule and a crater sized pot hole can cause a pile up for miles. This is also the answer to the question below.

Why does every car squeak, spew black smoke and look like it is about to fall apart?

See above.

Why do the women seem to be doing all the digging and carrying and the men seem to be doing a lot of talking, gesticulating, reading of news papers and walking empty handed?

I have no idea other than to thank my stars that I am not born a poor African woman and that I come from a land of enlightened feminism. But who am I to judge?

Does no one work on a Monday morning?

The ever present disco across the road continues to pump the music ‘till 2 am on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Who goes to a disco on a Sunday night? I have no idea but I do wish they wouldn’t. I should add that it is not a simple case of music and dancing, rather it is an occasion to listen to the DJ shouting at the top of his voice, singing along to Celine Dion and generally making a nuisance of himself. He brings out the most violent of tendencies within me.


Filed under observations, Uganda

To Kindle or not Kindle, what shall it be?

Margaret Wente, an esteemed and valued institution in Canadian Journalism writes the following in The Globe and Mail.


It took 38 years for 150 million people to get a TV. For the cellphone, it took 14 years. For the iPod, it took seven years, and for Facebook, five. “

She is writing about the Kindle and how it has a merry place in the future. In her opinion those with an attachment to ink on paper will be soon be considered as archaic as those who still prefer vinyl to the iPod. Having written and pondered the question of my book collection I was fascinated to read her opinion. Imagine having access to 1500 books with the touch of a finger? Imagine replacing shelves and shelves of dusty books with one slim white device? Imagine carrying tons of books, newspapers and magazines on a plane and they all have a combined weight of 10.2 oz? Imagine in 45 seconds having any book on your wish list downloaded straight from Amazon for $9.99?  The Kindle can connect to 250,000 books and blogs! That means no getting up from your desk and walking to a book store, and no waiting for the Amazon post man to arrive.


Ahhh. Sounds so good. Right? And they have even made it ergonomic and easy on the eye. Is this the future? Will my 40 boxes of books, crossing the Atlantic numerous times make me look like a dinosaur?  Can I really part with my lovely books, their smell, their smooth covers, the memories, the shelves filled with words? And what of the bookstores I so love to roam? I can lose myself in a London bookstore for hours, fingering the covers, leafing through the pages, picking up a paperback and flicking it over to read the back.


I am inclined to say NO to the Kindle. But I may be wrong. I am not a technophobe; I love my computer as much as the next addict person, but this might be my last holdout, the last great standoff.
What do you think? Could you exchange walls of books, face clean empty space, lose the soft gentle books filled with ink on paper and move towards the Kindle? Could you let it light your fire?


Filed under Lying in bed with books