Tag Archives: sea

Scenes from a Bahrain Sunday

I have clambered out from beneath a mountain of report writing, exam marking and planning. And now “hello fresh air!” I have a whole week off to breathe.

The winds have been wild; sandstorms blew sand from furthest Arabia into every corner, crevice, nook and cranny. We are sweeping sand and dust away and with it the cold wintery air. I heard from a wise man that the winds signal change and that a new season is around the corner.

I got a bit down, doldrum like. Bahrain was feeling small, dusty, dry and too quiet. I was dreaming of my perfect Sunday; a walk in a frosty park over leaves that used to crunch and past skeleton trees mourning their leaves; of a warm coffee shop with muffled chatter and a book shop with tables piled high, the smell of invited hope and paper. I was dreaming of a friend and a hot pot of tea. A week of time stretches before me and it winks at me with space and possibility. I am strange, alone in my house rather than at my desk, with peace and quiet rather than a classroom that twitters with teens. It tastes bitter sweet to have this time; like a dipped toe in a another’s life. I wish to spend it with friends who pop round for coffees and catch up but they are an ocean away.

So as always, to shake off the cobwebs I went out to find the pretty. Yes the grass is always greener, isn’t it? I know that the walk in the London park would be too cold, the friends would be busy, the books too expensive, the gallery closed. Princess told me, with all her wisdom, that we need to be happy with what we have. Thanks to The Prophet’s Birthday we all had a bonus Sunday off so we headed off to see something different.

Here then are my weekend moments.









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Filed under Bahrain, Finding the Pretty, When the rose tint fades

10 things I love

Just because, why not? It is healthy to focus on the positive and the lovely, especially during times of change, upheaval and boxes.

And before we begin I should quickly say that the list below, comes of course after the following:

Handsome, Trooper, Princess, Marks and Spencer’s, Sushi, my iphone and London taxis.

1. Getting lost in a sensual, evocative film and wishing it could never end. I love the movies so much it is quite an obsession, so much so that I have always told new parents that in my mind it is the only notable sacrifice to having children. Babies will impinge on that bi-weekly movie habit. When I was a teenager I remember taping Bunuel’s Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie onto a VHS tape and storing it safely in a box so I could always have it near. Thereafter I started my Truffaut habit and it just moved on from there. In another life I would be studying film.

2.My Mulberry.

It is extremely beautiful and makes me wondrously happy everyday. I shouldn’t have, because it was simply too extravagant for words, but I am so glad I did. My handbag fetish is now appeased and quietened for sometime, this is because I was hunting and finally found perfection.

3 .The sea.

Looking at it, smelling it, walking beside it, swimming in it. It is the place I am happiest.

4 .Shoe shopping. Shoes make me very jolly, and you don’t need to worry about fitting into them. Luckily for my bank balance there is no shoe shopping in Kampala. Scary for my bank balance is that Bahrain has many a yummy shoe shop. But my dreamiest shoe shop is in Montreal; it is called Scarpa and is in Westmount.  I am day dreaming about it now, even that makes me happy.

5. A hike in the woods. I am not a fan of exercise but a good walk outdoors somewhere very pretty and wild makes me very happy.

6. Teaching Shakespeare or an obscure but wonderful poem and the class just gets it, Bingo. Makes me happy every time.

7. Taking a near perfect photograph. It doesn’t happen very often but it does give the best sense of achievement.  Looking at a great photograph taken by someone else gives me the same thrill.

8. The National Gallery, London.

How lucky was I to have compulsory scheduled Art History lectures in the National Gallery? And I still love walking through those hallowed halls. You could say it is as close as possible to a church, for me.

9. The post meal conversation. Picture the scene. Great friends sitting together, the meal is over, the wine glasses still full. The cigarettes are lit and the candles low yet flickering. The night is deep and slow and there is no reason the get up early the next day. The moment is still and perfect. Memories are being made.

10. Princess and Trooper are happily busy with friends, or horses or any such fun. The house is ours, quiet and alone and rare.

Thanks to Belgian Waffle for the excellent idea.

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Filed under I miss shopping., personal

To paradise and back.

The drive back from the airport was strange, surreal. The loud markets with meat hanging from hooks, the bars blaring the match of the day, the smog, dust and horns bursting from cars trapped in a jam and the crowds thronging our car hoping to sell air time and newspapers contrasted so sharply with the silent beach paradise where I had woken that morning. I felt strangely calm in this confusion. I had woken by the ocean where the bluest sky kissed the lapis sea, where the sand was baking hot. Now I was back in the land of bodas and sidewalk roasted meat. I was coming back to earth, slowly but surely but I was carrying the sea inside of me. We all were.

It was hard to believe that for 9 days I had been on the edge of the world.

Luxury is never over rated. I have just spent 9 days on a beach at the tip of Lamu island in the Indian Island and the entire time I was caressed in the lap of luxury.

Lamu is a small island off the coast of Kenya, with one car and plentiful donkeys. Most people chose to stay at the delightful Shela beach where the famous Peponi Hotel is located but we stayed further afar on a beach over 20 kms from Lamu town. Few people ever visit this corner of Lamu where the beach is deserted and we only needed to share our sunset walk with ghost crabs. If the beach was too hot we lay on swinging beds and read in the shade while the children leapt in and out of the pool. Our evening meal was caught by fishermen and brought to our kitchen, our chef made us a cake each day and served it with afternoon tea and the only dilemma I toyed with was whether to have two slices or three.

One sunset we climbed the dunes behind the house where cushions were laid on a mat and we sipped drinks over looking a 180 degree view of the Indian Ocean. After the children arrived, having climbed the sandy hills on donkeys,  Samburo warriors arrived to dance for us as the sun slowly slipped away. Our last night we ate under the stars while lobster caught that day was grilled on a fire by our fabulous chef. Once dinner was over we lay on cushions beside the fire and star gazed until, sleepy from the heat of the day we walked barefoot back to the house.

I am a lucky girl and my inner princess was satisfied greatly by the 9 days I spent on Lamu. Best of all I was with my London family and my children frolicked with cousins all day long. My sister, who is more princess than I, lay beside me for hours each day, laughing and gasping over our perfectly good fortune.

I feel restored by these days spent by the sea. I have washed away the dust of Kampala, for a time and have nurtured my family, my soul and my mind.

It was magical. I long to return.

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Filed under Travel

Balandra come again


Woke up the other morning and had a battle between 3 bananas and a bunch of ants. Of course I ranted and stomped and slammed cupboards and got very cross about the ants and the bananas left out until they seeped rotten banana juice. Am I the only person who can spot an ant invasion about to happen?


Just because the very handsome man I live with doesn’t eat bananas is no reason to fail to notice the leaky fruit. I could tell I was beginning to lose it. I needed to escape.


There is nothing like a weekend away to stop the stress, slow down the stomping and generally ease us into the last two weeks of school.




Balandra. The name trips off the tongue. Musical. like a warm song. It is a beautiful place. A home, simple, easy and beautiful with a private beach .The last time we were there I got a lesson in Trini Beach Liming so this time we were all prepared. 




Despite Trinidad being a small island it takes ages to go anywhere because the traffic is painful. We drove only 82 km but it was a long trip.

After sitting in Typical Trini traffic for 4 hours we arrived in the dark and longed for the sea. We would not see it until 11 am the next day after the torrential rains had slowed. The weather here is passionate. In one minute hotter than comfortable and in the next, rain so loud and hard it could wash away sins. 


We spent 2 days with no television, computer, internet, phone, radio or shops. It was a true escape. We also spent a good part of that 2 days staring at the horizon, something that is a tonic for any soul. 4 girls who normally squabble and find it near impossible to agree on an activity spent 2 days running naked on a beach or exploring the fruit trees on the land. It was a back to basics weekend and a reminder of how rarely we sit back and pause.




Before heading back to Port of Spain we made a short detour to visit the Toco lighthouse. This the point of Trinidad where the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet. There is a crease as the two giants seas swell and rekindle. Standing on the cliff, windblown and exhilarated, it felt like we were on the edge of the world.  Normally confined by four walls and a cup full of chaos, it was a rare and special feeling.





We stopped to buy some homemade ice cream made from Soursop ( a type of honey apple) and it was divine. A warm and smiling face watched us enjoy the ice cream she had made herself. 


We drove home. Full of senses.



Time. Time to run my fingers through the fine rocks hunting for shells and smooth flint. Time to linger over a meal, a drink, a photograph, a conversation, a page of a book.


Eyes. Eyes that watched a storm coming in, carefully calculating the time left before we had to run. Eyes that were watching the beautiful bodies of 4 girls. Eyes that studied for the first time how a coconut becomes a palm.


Touch. Touch of the rain, warm on skin. Touch of soft blond curls running through my fingers. Touch of rough sand, soft stone. Touch of a wave pushing me over onto the beach.


Smell. Smell of the sea, the rain, the wind bringing to my bed the freshness of petals, the dark scent of mud. Smell of red wine, lingering all night, sharing space with burning coals and a beach fire.


Taste.  The taste of salt on skin. The taste of a cold apple, so green, in the shade. Taste of a meal eaten under the stars.


Hear. Laughter of girls playing in the mud, running through the waves, laughing in the rain. Sound of rain on tin roof, sound of waves crashing on rock. Sound of silence.




Filed under Family Stuff, Trinidad & Tobago