Tag Archives: Summer

This was my summer: England in the sun



And then there was England. Last summer I spent a whole month in London and set myself the task of posting one photo a day. This summer I was there for close to two weeks and I was not as attached to my camera.

London is home, a different home from Montreal, but still home. My memories of London go way back to childhood summers with grandparents to weekend escapes from boarding school to University days.  I have more family in London then anywhere else in the world and I know it like the back of my hand. But London has changed, we have both moved on and when I go back it is like visiting an old friend; we look each other up and down and comment on how we have grown up.

London for me is family, walks in the park, fabulous food, restaurants with starched white table cloths and handsome waiters, the Tube, red buses that I can no longer hop off, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Marks and Spensers, Boots and occasional trips to the gorgeous country side.

And Monmouth Coffee, the best coffee shop in the world.

It has not been a good summer for London, between endless rain and those shocking riots; but I had sunshine where I could.

In fact I have not had a drop a rain all summer, I have been nicknamed the sunshine girl as I bring the sun with me in my suitcase. And now that I am in Bahrain I imagine I will be longing for the rain before too long.


Filed under Great Big Shiny West

Summer Memories: California edition

Yes I am a teacher and we get long holidays. Summer is our prize.

In case you think I have been galavanting round the world from one hotel to the next let me set your mind at ease. I am most fortunate in having dear and generous family and friends with homes ( and ample space) in gorgeous corners of the world. I only stayed in one hotel for one night all summer and that was by choice ( thank you Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City). The rest of the time we were nestled with the comfort of friends and in the case of California, family. My father lives in the mountains in Northern California and it had been four years since my last visit. ( That was a little visit sandwiched between Montreal and Trinidad. I see a pattern here.)

California is God’s country. Everything a person could desire or need in life is in California. Avocados, Wine, Peaches, Corn, Fish, Apricots, Raisons, Almonds, Majestic Trees, Waves, Ocean, Sunshine and the Best Highways in the World.

Sadly ( for us) my father and his wife are moving next year.

North Carolina: you have a lot to live up to.

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Filed under Great Big Shiny West, Photography

Summer memories: Canada

It had been two years since we had been home yet it didn’t feel like it. Within moments I felt the warmth of home and spent the following weeks wanting never to leave.

Fresh farmer’s markets, silky cold lakes, dangled feet off the dock, sushi and lipstick shopping with girlfriends, talking late into the night, white wine and dinners in the country, tubing on the lake, too fast, too quick, and Trooper and Princess reunited with their best friends since before they can remember. Dock kisses and roots, stronger than words or tears, rooftop dinners and kitchen coffees. Godchildren, godparents, picnics and BBQs, winding roads and graffiti splattered walls. Construction everywhere and the shock of too many red lights after the anarchy of Africa. The shock of the new and the comfort of the old.  Ancient Quebec city, sunshine pouring around us, above us, within us, family, blood and love.

Until next year Canada.


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Filed under Great Big Shiny West, Photography

Lazy days of summer

I am back. I am not sure if I haven’t lost my faithful readers of 3limes during my summer hiatus, it was the longest break in the the 3 years I have been writing. 3 years that has seen me through Trinidad, the Uganda years and now here we are in Bahrain. 3 years, 3 moves, 3limes.

But before we say hello to Bahrain I think we need a look back at the Summer of 2011.



London Montreal San Francisco Montreal London

8 flights

15 beds

Oh Canada

Canadian lakes

canoes and docks

fishing and champagne


forest walks

Montreal dining

sushi and cappucino

I love America

Toe dipping in the Pacific

girls surfing

wine tasting

California driving

family reunions

God Save London

London days


cousin love

country walks

pub lunches and old friends

Art, red buses and pavement pounding

From the Pacific to the Thames, icy Quebec lakes to the warm Bahrain sea, this summer has crossed time and memory. I have slipped through the shadow of years, made a tiny chink in the wall of time, visited the past before diving into the future.

And nearly 2 months without writing, reflecting and giving pause for thought. I have missed blogging but needed that in between space, the freedom to live unconnected with no screen and no keys to tap my days.




Filed under Great Big Shiny West, La belle ville, Photography, Travel

My patchwork summer

When I look back on my month in London it feels sort of like a giant patch work quilt; each quilt being a person from a chapter in my past. I had the great fortune, with thanks on the whole to facebook, of reuniting with some very special friends that I had not seen in a long while. I zigzagged London and the Home Counties on trains, tube and bus to see people, share fabulous meals, laughter and memories.

On one square of the quilt we have a friend who was my bestest friend in the whole world when I was 5 and living in Hong Kong. I wish I lived in the next village to her so I could sit at her kitchen table and talk about life, children and the chaos of having too many animals. On another, a teacher, in fact the best teacher I ever had who I had not seen since I was 13. It was a pretty awesome experience to meet up and have lunch with her. She has the same smile and energy she has always had and when we met and hugged on the street under her umbrella in the rain she said she would always have recognized me on the street, likewise me to her.  Another square holds my best male friend from University. We met in the Law faculty ( yes, I was very nearly a lawyer) at the age of 19 and shared many a meal together over those 4 years, both in my family home and in some fancy spots in London. We hadn’t seen each other for 10 years and like true friends it felt like yesterday. A pretty colourful square is filled with university friends; we spent a whole weekend together enjoying their tiny children and trying to remember names of songs we liked back in 1988. We were all convinced that we hadn’t changed a bit, and it certainly felt like we hadn’t despite the little naked children running around the garden.

Then there is a boarding school friend. We shared a dorm back when we were 14, now we were eating lunch while her toddler doodled, her baby slept and her teenage son played computer games. She had been at my wedding, I at her first wedding, many years had passed and we were still special friends. Another square holds yet another school friend (and fellow blogger) and her 4 year old daughter. It was a funny relief knowing that thanks to 3limes we could dispense with all the catching up, so to speak. We spent an afternoon at the Tate Modern and an evening drinking wine. She is an impressive and brilliant writer and business woman and it was great to listen and giggle together.

I realized, again,  how many of my friends have had children later than me when I met another University friend and her 5 year old son. This girl was the first person I met when I was a fresh faced fresher out on my first night in University. Now I live in Uganda and she is a clever scientist and mother living in London. A special square holds a precious piece of Montreal. Since I couldn’t make it there this summer and wonderful friend and godmother to Clea who I call my “big sister” flew to London for two weeks. It was simply amazing particularly seeing how quickly she and my mother became friends.

Another square from my more recent past in Trinidad holds a special colleague and friend from school there. We had an unexpected but lovely few hours in central London chatting about our favourite students, the past, the future and beyond. I never imagined a piece of Trinidad would come to London this summer, nor two pieces of Uganda, one whom I met for lunch and a few stolen minutes of quick shopping and another in my mother’s living room. In the last square my whole world collided when one old childhood friend met one Indiana from Kampala in the middle of my mother’s house. A loud ringing seemed to pass through my ears as time crashed into a small moment on a sofa.

My patchwork quilt proved that time is elastic and real friends stay true. It was something exceptional that I imagine my gypsy life needed. If I don’t know where in the world I really belong, I do know that there are people out there that tie my past together.


Filed under Family Stuff

Photo # 7. Wild Sculpture

A wonderful melange of the old and new. This series of sculptures is in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Art.


Filed under Great Big Shiny West, Photography

Photo # 6. A very London moment

Blond, cafe, cell phone, London. So Europe.

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Remember when we used to go into a box to make a phone call? Photo #5

The paint is peeling and they are a rare sight these days but it is good to see the old school phone boxes. I doubt they are used that often but what would London be without red phone boxes and buses?


Filed under Great Big Shiny West, Photography

The Great Shiny West Photo Challenge

Summer holidays approach, finally and I need a new creative challenge. Once I am let loose from this zoo they call school I will be hopping on a plane and my eyes will pop when I see the Great Shiny West. It has been nearly a year since I did the following things:

  1. Ate ice cream
  2. Drank a Starbucks coffee
  3. Walked on a pavement
  4. Rode a bus or a train or a Tube
  5. Ate pine nuts
  6. Walked into a large clothes/shoes/book shop
  7. Bought a magazine
  8. Watched TV ( that is not streamed on the internet)
  9. Not fret about power cuts
  10. Used a washing machine
  11. Used a dish washer
  12. Ate a strawberry
  13. Walked on a groomed, manicured lawn in a park.
  14. Saw dogs on leashes
  15. Talked to an old friend, face to face.
  16. Didn’t wake up, go to the toilet and check for the presence of a cockroach.
  17. Use a real telephone, attached to the wall.
  18. Look out of a window to see old, tall buildings made of bricks.
  19. Cook without worrying that a fallen crumb will lead to an army of ants
  20. Ate in a restaurant with a crisp white table cloth and a handsome blond waiter serving me a grilled vegetable soufflé.

I imagine the first few days will be overwhelming and I am going to hide my ATM card in the freezer to avert disaster. I have decided that instead of writing lots of WOWs and throwing tons of exclamation marks everywhere (!!!!) and perhaps even shouting on about consumerism and materialistic shallow Londoners who have no idea how Africans live I am going to sacrifice the written word all together. Instead I am going to document my reaction through images.

I will post one image a day for 20 days.  Maybe more, maybe less. Promise.

I will call it the Great Shiny West Photo Challenge.  Each photo has to speak to what I am thinking and feeling about being back.

Too bad I won’t have my new camera until the end of the month…oh dear…first world problems.


Filed under Great Big Shiny West, I miss shopping.

Jolly England before the Skies of Africa

Oh jolly England. Only not so jolly all the time. Yes the weather was a rare spectacular breed of sunny and yes I went to a spa, and watched cousins love and laugh but London was too crowded, too expensive and simply too much. As I prepare to leave for Uganda tomorrow I reflect on this crazy summer of living out of suitcases and hopping from house to house and I know that I need to fix the summer habit of being a part time  nomad. Tomorrow I will leave the crazy materialistic first world behind and embark on a new undiscovered adventure. 3limes will be there all the way, once we find the internet and dust off our culture shock. 


London was Pimms outside in the sun, black swans and large tourists squeezed onto red buses. London was special sister time and fabulous food. London was loud with pockets of tranquility amidst the sparkling white of a tennis club ( where I played no tennis at all, just drank the Pimms.) England was also a crazy journey to scatter my Granny’s ashes and plant a rose bush on private land without being caught, Peter Pan dancing in the air and a walk on a very English beach. There were also amazing reunions with old friends.


Here below are some photographic snippits of the past 10 days. Enjoy as the next photos will be a most different breed of exotic.


I will see you in Africa.


















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