Tag Archives: random

The in-between world of 3limes

Excuse me while I pat myself on my back. I have been writing 3limes, posting on average 2-3 times a week for two and a half years. This morning Princess asked me this question:” What if you don’t have a good week or nothing fun happens, what do you blog about?”

Good question. The rigour of finding something to say, that might not bore my readers to tears is a discipline I need. No matter what is going on, I need to find something to write, say, and comment on, photograph. I am generally an open book who finds it hard to hide behind words. There are things I cannot write, people I cannot mention, and a school of which I cannot write. There are marital dramas, painful episodes, loss, love, picking up and wondering how you got there, wonder at it all, fear, discomfort, anger. All these things can be hinted at but rarely spoken. And yet I persevere, keep writing, leaking little clues.

The other day I met a woman who knew within days of moving here that she would stay here for life. She instantly loved it and felt at home. I envied her, wishing that I too had that certainty about where I live. As a child I moved every four years, I never broke the spell until Montreal and for that reason despite my gypsy rearing, Montreal has always been home. And yet it is no longer. I fight the desire to return.

I live in an in-between world. I am a teacher but don’t live the life of an expat  teacher, having a family, a husband and being generally 10 years older than most, not having the freedoms they have. I am an expat but do not have the husband with the job that provides the expat perks, I am English but so very not English, more Canadian really, but then again, really not Canadian either. I am writer, but not published, a photographer who is too busy to organize the exhibition that is brewing in my mind. I am a mother of two girls who wishes for a third, a son preferably, yet I will not have any more children. I am a sister, a daughter and aunt but live 5000 miles from any family.

I live in Africa on borrowed land. This is not my place.  Whenever I complain to Handsome Husband that my soul is uneasy, I do not feel myself here, he asks the million dollar question: “so where?”

And all I can ask for is the sea, where I find the peace my wandering soul asks for.



Filed under personal

A special season. More Green than Red.

Some places have real seasons like Winter or Spring, or best of all, Autumn with its comforting crunch and startling blue skies set perfectly against a crimson leaf or two.

Here we get rain, or no rain. But the most thrilling and disturbing season of all is Grasshopper Season. It started today like the apocalypse with hoards of grasshoppers flying into my class room, or, when I shut the windows, sticking to the window panes. I had one fly up my skirt, one hit my face and one hop around my desk. I had one student who sadly discovered he has a Grasshopper Phobia and had to return home to sort out what he is to do for the next month. Yes month. For close to 40 days we will be swarmed with flying green creatures, the sports field will be hopping, literally and a cloud of birds will swoop through the skies, hungry for green flesh.

To some this is a pest issue, windshield wipers will get stuck, dead or petrified green bugs will lie on the floor. For others, this is a season of delicious treats for here in Uganda people love to eat the hoppers. Driving downtown cars can conveniently pass through a crowd of vendors ready to open their Tupperware bowls and serve you bags of green or brown crunch. Some people erect tents with lights to capture the critters, all the better to catch and fry.

While some are feeling the first nips of Jack Frost, hearing that Chestnut Song over and over on replay, or fighting through tinsel in the line ups for Mince Pies, I am getting attacked by Grasshoppers.

How did I end up here? Did I fly though a green whirlwind vortex?


Filed under Being brave, Uganda

Stop all the Clocks


I am reading about Silence and the lack of it in our world. I am reading about how much we need it but we might not be aware of this need. I am growing aware that the lack of silence and peace in my life is taking its toll on my creative abilities. My schedule is jam packed. There is school, there are friends, there is the organizing and to-ing and fro-ing of Trooper and Princess’ lives; there is the Pantomime and all the fun that entails. There are the far away friends that I like to email, skype or facebook, there is my photography that has been shoved to a rather tatty backseat, there is 3limes which I feel has been rather neglected of late. There is the reading, that which is prescribed by being an IB English teacher and that which I simply want to read. I am longing to snatch Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom” out of Handsome Husband’s hands, I am addicted to the wonderful literary journal Granta and have been for 18 years, but now I am 6 editions behind. There are films that I hear about but never see, there is the FT and Globe and Mail that I read religiously each Saturday morning. There are the blogs that I like to read but find I can barely get to. There are my favourite photographers that I like to follow on Flickr. There are websites to follow, texts to answer, emails to reply to, letters to write, photos to take, marking to do, essays to read, research to do, ideas to form, meals to cook, friends to make, friends to meet, photographs to take, photos to process, favorite shows to watch…

And yet there is no time for Silence. The moment to simply switch it all off and just pause and let those creative juices flow. Reflection. Peace. Quiet.

Who would ever have thought that we would need to carve out time just to be quiet.?

1 Comment

Filed under I have no idea where to put this

Come walk with me

So let’s start at the very beginning. This is very a small shop that I pass at the start of my walk. Notice the gorgeous early morning light, the men making their early morning deliveries.

Blue skies, billboards, traffic.

This is the Boda Boda stand. Every morning they see me walking and every morning they offer me a ride.  Boda drivers sit and wait for customers on corners just like this all over Kampala.

And I as brave the traffic and the nasty blue and white Matatous ( taxis) I look wistfully about for a pavement, a sidewalk, a scrap of concrete to call my own.

A fruit stand is being set up, getting ready for the day.

Here is the Traffic Police Woman. Everyone is scared of her power and her uncanny ability to keep her uniform sparkling white despite all this red dust.

I’m not sure what time Sahid opens up for business. I have never seen him. I fear his beard trimming days might be over.

A patient and non-nonplussed Trooper waits as I lag behind snapping photos with my iphone. This is the spot that Handsome Husband calls The Soup. There is no logic to the movement of traffic in this spot; it is a war of metal and wheels.

Matoke. Sold any time. This is the busy market corner that seems to never sleep. No matter what time of day, Matoke is being sold.

Now were are getting to the worst bit of the walk. This is the last leg ( excuse the pun but I do worry about losing a leg on a daily basis) and the hairiest part of the walk. Not only do we have no sidewalk but we have a deep ditch; the thought of falling keeps me on my toes.  Cars here drive fast and I have no doubt whatsoever that they would knock me into the ditch without a second’s thought.

Fanta, jerry can, ditch…

Minutes away, the walk is almost over.

I never walk if it has rained over night; the red dust will be mud and my chances of slipping into a putrid ditch would double.  Despite the traffic, the speed, the ditch, and the smell I have grown to love my walk. Ear phones in and 25 minutes later I arrive at school.


Filed under Uganda

More from the How did you find me? files.

Street pedicure

This is a common feature of Kampala streets. Men carrying small boxes filled with clippers, scissors, nail polish and a pumice stone are often hailed down by young girls. A small stool is presented, the girl sits down and the man gets to work. It doesn’t take long and is very cheap. Consequently most ladies here have their tootsies painted.  How is this relevant here? I posted a photo of a street pedicure and here it is.

Girl stuck in swamp

Oh people, what are you doing? First it is chickens killing girls and now it is girls stuck in a swamp. The poor girls; whatever did they do to deserve such wishful fantasies? In this case I can only imagine-seeing as though you have ended up at 3limes- that the swamp in question is the place where the rare and elusive shoebill bird is found.  Here the girl would be sitting in a dugout canoe, holding onto the sides for dear life and possibly stuck in the papyrus bushes.  She might have a pair of binoculars slung over neck and she would be wondering what possessed her to come into this swamp to find a bird with a nose like a clog when she could just as easily find the bird at the Entebbe zoo.

Rolling fields of green

Ahhh. Here we are thinking of England again; perhaps Wiltshire or Dorset this time. Not sure how you found me, dear reader, but let me warn you that unless you leave Kampala there will be no rolling fields of green for you. Having said that, any person who types Rolling Fields of Green into  Google is much more my sort of person than you over there typing in Girl Stuck in Swamp. Just saying.

Trinidad and Tobago

You are going to make me wistful now, watch out. Yes you must be very confused. You see I was writing a Trinidad and Tobago blog from July 2008-July 2009. It was a happy time filled with beaches, carnival, soca music, good friends, a great dog and some rum. Since August 2009 3limes has been all about Uganda, so if you were hoping for a glimpse of the Caribbean you won’t find it here, unless you look up and click on the tab that says Trinidad. The posts are still there, as are the memories. But now that you are here why not stick around and find out about this little country called Uganda? I know it was the last thing on your mind when you went looking for T&T but maybe it’s you lucky day!

kids fun house kampala

Are you talking about my house?

“ugandan women”

I am questioning your motives somewhat here. Are you looking to discover the plight of Ugandan women? If so I have discussed that here. If you are looking for something a bit more saucy may I suggest you hop over to a different sort of website.

You have just learned of the death of mr

Now I am dying to know who “mr” is.  And if I just learnt about his death why are you over here checking up on me? Are you a concerned individual? A friend? Or just something else entirely?  Just to set your mind at ease the only Mr I just learnt the death of is Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and that came as no surprise so I am just fine.

Shoebox kitchen

Oh do you have one too? Very sweet and lots of cooking can happen in there, I must say. I am now in a Villa kitchen so we can’t really be friends anymore. Plus I really thought it was me who coined that phrase. There goes my original thought.


Filed under Kampala, Photography, Trinidad & Tobago

In my world we dodge motorbikes on the way to work and watch goats race on the weekend

It has been a bit of a wonky world these past few days. I revelled in the glory of a hot soak in the bath when I got back from Safari with Camp Hormone and then promptly hopped into the kitchen and set to preparing a meal for our first party in the Villa. It was in honour of the birthday of a dear friend, I am forever the Fairy Godmother of Birthdays as my Montreal friends used to say. It was a lovely evening, music, candles, cake and Chilli; good friends, chatting outdoors on the terrace. It was what the Villa is meant for.

The next day I hid my headache under a pretty red scarf and trooped off to the bizarre yet aptly named Royal Ascot Goat Races; a rather strange and lively affair where reluctant goats are pushed by mattresses on wheels around a circular enclosure.

Having the attended the very different Tobago Goat Races where men run at the speed of light holding onto a goat for dear life, I was interested to see how this would compare. In Kampala each goat has a number; people bet money on the goats, the more the people drink, the more money they bet. The goats are really just an excuse to get tarted up in a hat and frock (even some of the gents) and drink free booze under a tent. I am not a huge fan of these types of affairs. I am not one for the over consumption of alcohol, (falling down is not attractive) and after a few hours of small talk in high heels I am bored and fed up. I would far prefer to sit on a balcony with good friends drinking wine. Call me boring. It’s okay. The great thing about Tobago is that everyone sat on benches and ate doubles, there were no tents, no pink champagne; imagine! It really was about the goats!

But I am glad that I attended THE event on Kampala’s social calendar, if only from an anthropologist’s view point. It was fun, brilliantly organized and a fantastic chance for people to rub shoulders, laugh, fall over and generally have fun together. This is a small town and it was easy to bump into a lot of familiar faces over the course of the afternoon. The serious crème de la crème arrived and left by shiny helicopter and the serious revellers stayed overnight taking advantage of the location at a lovely resort. We had left Trooper and Princess in the safe and preferable company of their friends but we still had to collect them when the fun was over.

Since then it has been back to school and my morning walks, dodging matatous (taxi minibus) and boda bodas (motorcycles) has resumed.

( The blue and white vehicle on the left is a Matatou. They rule the roads.)

The other morning I had the wind knocked out of my sails by one super fast matatou that refused to stop. I quickly realized I was going to lose that game of ‘chicken’ and moved out of the way. But a man did walk straight into me, stepping on my newly pedicured big toe.  This morning we had to step over a headless chicken moments after Trooper had slipped and fallen as we were squeezing past a line of cars. It is a hairy but worthwhile experience.

I am ready for October. September has been endless and I am over it. Sorry September but you are dragging.

Next week Princess will pack her tent and head off to the wild and wonderful world of outdoor ed. She is eagerly anticipating 3 days and 2 nights in a tent with her bestest friends, canoeing on a lake and midnight candy feasts.


Filed under Kampala

How did you find me? Now I know.

Sometimes I do wonder how people find 3limes. Other than those who come to visit because they know me and want to know what jokes I am telling today, I mean. There is a handy little thing here at WordPress that tells you which search terms people type in to find your blog.

And here are the top search terms being used this week: I am sure most people did not mean to wind up here, but there you are, you never know what you are going to get when you and Mr. Google get together.


Yes I saw one once from a distance . Most people just hop over to Entebbe zoo where you can catch sight of one without the need of a pair of binoculars or a giant telephoto lens. In the zoo there is no danger of falling out of a slightly wonky dug out canoe, not will you have to strain your neck to see something grey and fuzzy in the distance some 3 hours into the swamp ride. That fuzzy grey thing will also not fly away causing an anti climatic sigh.

Audrey Hepburn.

Well Princess didn’t exactly meet her, but we are all pretending she did. Despite the fact that she was made of wax and has been dead since 1993.

Pics of nightlife in Kampala.

I don’t have any of those so I imagine that particular searcher was rather sad to arrive at 3limes. Sorry to disappoint. When I am out in Kampala after dark I tend not to take photos of people flirting with prostitutes or knocking back shots of tequila or eating Indian food. Maybe I should.


I searched this one in Google translator.  Guess what? It means Shoebill so please, Mr. Russian Shoebill enthusiast, see above.

Back to School images

Why would you want to see this? A bunch of sad looking kids, who have been pulled from perfectly comfortable beds to partake in that ritual called school. Instead I give you this:

Thanks to: http://stuffnoonetoldme.blogspot.com/

Garden through the window.

How lovely. How did you wind up here?  I finally do have a view of a garden through a window although that phrase seems to conjure up a far more bucolic, perhaps rolling hills on Devon sort of image. Better luck next time. The garden through my window is exotic, wild, and in the distance features the tender sight of barbed wire, a fixture of all Kampala gardens.

Eulogy gran

My beloved grandmother died last year at the age of 90 and since she was a true matriarch, there is now a hole in the centre of our family.  I was in the last week of school in Trinidad and was unable to go to the funeral but I did write a Eulogy and I published it here. I am not sure if my words were an inspiration or help to anyone else but in some ways I hope they were.

Photos of chicken killing

This is sad, very sad. Who are the depraved people who, with grave disappointment come over to visit the sweet ( and vegetarian) world of 3limes? I realize that I did once put up a photo of some very unfortunate chickens  in a market and named the photo “Waiting to die,” but is that reason enough that Kill Chicken and its other close as cousins search terms should lead that many people over here?  Who are you? Are you just one person with one particular obsession or is there a whole troop of you out there, a cult perhaps of chicken killing enthusiasts.

Kill chicken

Please see above. If you are looking for how to kill a chicken, you have come to the wrong place.

Chicken kill girls

Now this one scares me. Plus I have seen a lot of chickens on the road here and they are stupid. They couldn’t kill a girl. Please, it this is your fetish, go and get some help. 3limes is not the place for you.

Snoopy teachers

I am a teacher and I love snoopy. You found me, well done.

But does that make me a “snoopy teacher”?

More ‘how did you find me’ next time.


Filed under observations, pen and paper, Uganda