Friday, February 29, 2008

Busy busy busy

Crazy busy at work, both me and Paulo. Promise to return when I have more time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cats and dogs

Rain. In vast quantities. Which puts me in mind of a little rhyme I've always thought funny.

The rain it raineth on the just,
And also on the unjust fella.
But mainly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just's umbrella.

To which I might add:

The rain it raineth in my door,
It wets the walls and floods the floor,
It furs my clothes and makes them smell,
But, hey, at least it fills the well.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Pancake Day

Pancakes are probably Joaquim’s all-time favourite food. His record is six at breakfast. So imagine his delight when I informed him at the week-end that Tuesday was Pancake Day. We usually eat them on Sundays for breakfast, and consumption goes thus: first 2 for Joaquim, then 1 for dad, 1 for Joaquim, 1 for mum, 1 for Joaquim etc. (they come out one at a time). Sebastian hasn’t yet quite realised how great they are.

Yesterday morning Joaquim asked me if we were going to make pancakes. “At dinner,” I said, “because we have no flour” (I have not replenished our stocks since the great fairy-cake binge that was Christmas). Paulo picked the boys up from nursery at lunchtime. He called me: “You’d better get some flour for pancakes. The first thing Jaoquim said to me was “Are we going to make pancakes?” I told him it was your department.” I go out, buy flour and milk. We have eggs.

That evening when I get home from work, Joaquim asks me “Did you bring lots of flour for pancakes?”
“Let’s make them!”
We wash our hands. (Thank you “Big cook, Little cook” for making this an obligatory pre-cooking act.)
We crack eggs and mix them with flour. Joaquim adds a pinch of salt.
I pour milk and Joaquim mixes. Joaquim pours milk and I mix. A little effort with the whisk and most of the lumps disappear. It’s looking good. We’re ready.

The electricity goes off. This is not uncommon. It’s also pouring with rain (please remember my kitchen is outdoors, although covered.) Also not uncommon for this time of year.

I no longer own a handy head torch, and our solar lighting system has been relocated, perhaps somewhat prematurely, to the new house. It is pitch black. I convince Joaquim to go indoors, where dad is lighting candles and the boys’ very handy night-lights (thank you super-maman), to wait. I clamp my mobile between my teeth and use its paltry torch to illuminate the frying pan and begin to fry pancakes. As is traditional, the first one is a bit dodgy, but Joaquim wolfs it down. The second goes down too. Dad is allowed the next. My jaw starts to ache. Fortunately, Joaquim has had dinner and is not very hungry. After the third he’s had enough. Dad wants another, but as I start it an exhausted Sebastian comes and wraps himself around my legs, crying. I flip the pancake, serve it up, call it a day and dash, with Sebastian, 5 metres through the downpour to the house. Joaquim has a bath, falls asleep in the bath, is carried to bed. The electricity comes back on! Dad has had his dinner and is sleepily watching TV. He doesn’t understand why I get cross when he asks me to go and check whether water is coming into the new house. Sebastian insists on being carried on my back until he falls asleep (he’s used to being carried in a sarong and loves it). I have my dinner. No pancakes for me. I am beyond caring.

However, all is not lost. We have plenty of left-over batter for breakfast today, hooray! (I know, I know, that’s not the point, it’s Lent, but we’re not a very religious lot). I have the first. Joaquim has four.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Really exciting post

I really feel like I should be writing some great posts about dramatic floods, political unrest or some such typical African story. However, both these events are happening a long way from here, and there is really very little to report from Pemba. Let’s see: Sebastian has started going to nursery with Joaquim and seems to enjoy it greatly. His latest words include no, pasta (that was yesterday), juice, and ‘bong” (any kind of bump or bounce). Joaquim is fine, and is learning to swim without armbands – at his instigation – at the hotel pool. He’s very proud of being able to swim a width unassisted, and so am I! (No, I can already swim widths, and indeed lengths, unassisted, I am proud of him.) It’s a bit of a doggy paddle, but it’s a good start. Paulo is busy with a number of projects, including the very start of our beach development: Chuiba Palms Beach Villas. Watch this space. Speaking of building: no, we’re not in yet, you don’t need to know more than that do you? And as for me, I’m throwing myself at my new job – Tourism Officer for the whole park and not just community-based tourism officer – with some late-come New Year’s enthusiasm.

Edge-of-your-seat stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. I’ll try to make something up for next time, it’s got to be better than this. Toodle-pip.

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