Tag Archives: snow

Cold Winds Blow, over seas and time.

My blood has settled itself into a warm and comfortable position; these years of living in the tropics have soothed my cold and chilly scars from many frigid Canadian winters. In Winnipeg I lived through an interminable winter season that broke records for the number of days below -20, where cars had to be plugged in nightly so they would crank to life again the next morning. I survived the mornings in Montreal where the car had to be dug out of piles of snow before I could drive my little girls to school and I lived through that day when I burst into tears while stuck in the ice on a hill and had to listen to angry and impatient honking from drivers who preferred to berate me than get out and push. In short, winter was often a trauma and I pulled through. My best winter memories are those weekends spent in the country where the silence is only broken by a branch cracking and falling with a soft thud onto a bed of white driven snow. Where the beauty of an afternoon’s walk is followed by a scrabble game in front of a roaring fire while icy socks hang to dry.

But now I am freezing cold and it is no joke. For the past two days it has been 8.0 degrees Celsius when I got into my car and that is colder than London right now. Now normally I would shrug this off and know that it is nothing compared to a mid February night in Winnipeg but the difference is that our homes are all stone cold marble floors, glass floor to ceiling windows that know not the meaning of insulation and no central heating in sight. We are wrapped in blankets and layers of sweaters. The wind rushes cold sand through our bones and my blood, so lovingly warmed by the tropics, is in rebellion.

 

The weekend was a happy one, before the cold winds came. I shrugged off my hermit ways and actually went out for two nights in a row. Night one, a sort of pub crawl that finished in a karaoke bar with a lime green and peach colour palette, fake potted palms and a random furry fringe on the sofa cushions.  There was much laughing. Night two, a more restrained and adult affair saw us seated around a table in a Tex Mex restaurant making new friends.  The night ended outside in the garden of a bar, wrapped in fleece blankets with our faces turned to the heating lamps, like night time sunflowers. The cold was stepping in. And Saturday was spent celebrating Princess who turned 12. She was born under the bluest skies of a Montreal Winter’s day, -24 winds welcomed her into this world. When I took my little bundle home, wrapped up so tight I feared she couldn’t breathe, I never dreamed that 12 years later I would be serving her a mountain of Profiteroles, in lieu of cake, in Bahrain.

Now I am going to find another blanket. Remember this when I write about the summer heat. Remember.

 

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A New Year’s look at How You Found Me

New year, new month and time for a new look at the search engines. How in earth did you find me?

 

the inside of an art museum in London

Well it has been a long time, my friend, too long in fact. I am not fond of going too long without access to some fine oil on canvas, but I live in the desert so what can you do? If you are heading to London and want to look inside an art museum I suggest you go to the National Gallery for starters. You will see all the great classics and get an ace view of Trafalgar Square from the balcony. Then pop next door to the National Portrait Gallery for some real treats; look for photography, oil, sculptures and even neon portraits of people both famous and unknown. If you go to the Tate Modern (and I think you must) then try and take a taxi on the Thames for a change. You get a great view and it’s much nicer than the stuffy Tube.

escaping camp

Now this is a good one. Those of you who have been hanging around 3limes for some time know that I am a reluctant camper and yet did more than my fair share of camping in Uganda. If you are looking to escape camp I suggest you find a lovely hotel nearby. Failing that you can simulate an escape with my no fail easy camping tips:

Take a Duvet, not a sleeping bag.

Take a comfortable rolled mattress and not a thin rubber mat.

Take your own feather pillow

Employ your children to put up the tent while you sip wine

Take a cooler full of wine

And Champagne

Make tasty sun downer treats beforehand. Sushi works well.

Plan a meal that is easy and fun to make. No one wants to cook for hours when camping.

Take a head lamp so that you can use your hands in the dark and still see.

Always pee before you sleep and stop drinking two hours before bed so that you don’t need to creep behind the tent and risk scary night creatures in the middle of the night

Take a Pashmina

Go with an open mind

Only camp for one night and then head to your nearest luxury hotel for soft beds and a warm shower.

It is worth it, really.

And by the way…I am yet to try it but I hear that Desert Camping in Bahrain is quite the thing. Apparently they have large canvas tents, air-conditioning, servant’s quarters and 42 “ Plasma TVs! Now what kind of camping is that, I ask?

sheet metal gates for industrial facility

Really? You typed that in and found 3limes? I must be doing something wrong.

i have 2 girls for my birthday

People I do not make this stuff up. Now I have two girls too, but certainly not for my birthday. If that is the sort of birthday present you are after, you have come to the wrong place Sir! ( And Happy Birthday and good luck to you.)

wooden name letters decorated in snow

 

Lovely image! Not sure I really understand how you arrived here in the blog of sunny climes, however. You see it has been 5 years since I last saw snow. That is a long time, according to my daughters way too long. They fear they may have forgotten how to ski. I must admit, I had a pang for snow the other night, the soft white fluffy variety that one could ski on and admire shimmering like crystal under a lone lamp post. Not the brown, thick variety that gets stuck in the car tires. That is called Snow Poo and is great fun to kick off with a solid snow boot. Anyway, I can imagine your twinkling home, nestled in the heavy snow laden forest; the wooden family name touched ever so slightly with a dusty cover of snow, telling your friends and neighbours they have arrived. Happy Winter to you from the Sandy Desert Isle.

where can i buy chloroform in kampala Uganda

Again, what have I done to call you forth to my humble blog? Why do you think I would know such a thing? I am going to presume that you are putting an injured goat out of its misery, a sad, limping goat who has been hit by a renegade Boda Boda driver. No more.

white powder on prunes

Welcome! It is lovely to have you visit, albeit briefly as I am sure that you have long disappeared after your fruitless search for the white power on prunes. It does so happen that I have an idea of what you are searching for. A long long time ago, back when I was a wee child living in Hong Long, ( era: 1974-1979) I used to eat these sour yet sweet, chewy, dusty prunes, topped with some white power, presumably sugar. I can still remember the taste and have been searching for them ever since. I have no idea what they are called but I can still taste the sweet and sour chewy delight when I remember them.

Another sensual memory from those early Hong Kong days is the tiny green plant, like ground cover or  grass, that would close quickly but gently when touched with a small finger. I was charmed by them as a child and file them with the sweet and sour prunes in my memory cupboard of childhood thoughts. I did find them again in Trinidad. We had them in our garden and I was thrilled to sit on the ground and play with those tiny plants that grew shy and closed with my touch. Of course Handsome thought I was quite mad when he turned around and found me on my knees touching the grass.

 

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This time a year ago…

This time a year ago I was walking through the snowy streets of London filled with the expectation of a new life unfolding before me. I had just signed on the dotted line and accepted this post and this life here in Kampala.  It was an exciting and crazy leap but one that I still had months to digest. After a week in London I returned home to Trinidad for the final 6 months of our stay. When it came time to leave Trinidad it was absolutely heart wrenching, both because we were leaving a place and people we had grown to love and because we were jumping into the unknown. And now here we are, we have made the leap, we are surviving and those snowy walks through London, trying to imagine Africa, are but a memory. It is funny when, what once we couldn’t even imagine is now something we live everyday.

I had no idea what it would be, I just held my breath and jumped.

People have ideas about Africa. Some think it will be full of men in skins ready to dance or spin around a village, many can’t even imagine what an African city is like. I was one of those people. It defies the imagination, there is no way to know what an assault it will be, how the poverty will hit you, a little less everyday, but still hit with a pungent punch all the same. The things that were so strange at first slowly start to become normal and in this week, when I am looking back to those days at the job fair, I am trying to remember what the picture in my mind was. Did I even have a picture in my head or was I just hooked on the idea of adventure? Trying something different? Exploring another corner of this world I had never seen?

In two weeks, on Valentine’s Day, in fact, we will celebrate our 6 month anniversary here. I use the word celebrate intentionally, it has been hard but there is a lot to celebrate; what started out as a hand shake in the ballroom of a London hotel has ended up being a life.

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Back to school with a dose of Nostalgia

I am going back to school tomorrow and am trying to muster up the strength and enthusiasm for the surge of puberty that is going to walk through my door in the morning. I will have to be very grown up and give homework and mark it and teach things. I will have to wake up very very early and eat a proper breakfast and put on make up and a skirt or a dress. The three weeks are over and it is back to reality time.

There was a time when I was a stay at home Mom. I worked, but only part time, so we committed financial suicide and decided I would stay home with Trooper and Princess until they were both in school full time. I look back on those days fondly although I know I was depressed and bored out of my mind for much of it. I do recall a lot of baking and walks to the park and early morning grocery shops and lots of recipe books. There were crafts which resulted in shiny and sticky things all over the dining room table and floor, and lots of coffee in paper cups was drunk with The Sisterhood, mostly all of us on the floor surrounded by small toys. Even when they were bigger there was fun to be had, often to and from school when car-pooling. I have such strong memories of the snow and fitting them both into snow suits.

I know that once I get into the flow of work I love it, but pulling myself out of holiday mode can be tough, especially when I am feeling nostalgic for those old days. Knowing that Montreal is deep in snow, I can’t help thinking about those cosy afternoons in the kitchen listening to the radio and cooking while the girls did homework or drew with crayons. Remember crayons?

Sometimes they say to me “Can’t you stop working and stay home and make cookies like you used to?”

Food for thought…but back to school.

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London Calling. Day 3.

Just in case the powers that be think that I may be missing the Canadian Arctic, the biggest snow storm in 18 years has descended on London.

Schools are closed, trains, buses, flights and even the tube are suspended or delayed. However it is very pretty.

londonsnow

 

londonsnow2

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snow

Montreal is supposed to get its first snow storm tonight. At about 2 am everything will suddenly appear to stop as a thick silence falls upon the city.

In the morning if you are lucky and open the door before the monster snow clearing truck passes you’ll be greeted by a white carpet strewn street, branches tipped with the weight of snow, cars shrouded in white, a low white sky. All will be quiet and quite beautiful.   Once the monster truck passes and disturbs the peace the scene will be transformed into one of messy black and white chaos. Cars will have 5 feet of snow pressed against their sides making it near impossible to dig out, the once pristine road will now be rough and brown, all soft feathered snow pushed angrily to the side.  People will open doors and crossly stomp towards their cars, shovels brandished at their sides. Children will stiffly walk down stairs so tightly squeezed into boots, gloves and hats that they look like petrified mummies.

I hate the cold. I hate winter. I love snow. 

I spent 13 years scraping, digging and shoveling my self out of the snow. There is nothing quite as long or disheartening as a cold winter city.  A Montreal winter lasts 5 months.  Once a year, maybe twice if we were lucky we got a chance to go away for a few days to the country where the snow was white and soft and very very clean. Best of all the place was absolutely silent. There is no silence in the world like a place blanketed in thick snow. Trees dip mournfully to the ground bearing the weight of weeks of snow and since no monster trucks ever pass by, the snow piles up window ledge high. 

On those weekends we fall in love with winter all over again. We lie on our backs laughing and tossing snow into the air and we ski or toboggan or skate. Normally the children don’t come inside unless they are very hungry. They even play in the dark.  We warm up by the fire place and sip tea until the tea turns to wine. We eat huge meals and play toasty scrabble. We stuff hot water bottles into the foot of our beds and listen to the silence as we fall asleep.

These are the winter memories I pull together but I know that unless we move to the Canadian country side that bucolic version of winter will ring false. It is waking up an hour early to shovel and braving the steep city hills slippery with snow that would prove my reality. I would rarely go outside and sit in my house grumpy and anxious for the hell of winter to pass.

Time to go to the beach.

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