Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guest blogger: Eva

what i did on my summer holiday









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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The many happiness of the Chinese shop.

The Chinese shops that have popped up over the last two years in Pemba have greatly improved my quality of life, selling, as they do, a fantastic range of cheap, useful and useless items. Most of all, they provide moments of unexpected levity. At Christmas, I bought the traditional pair of underpants for Paulo's stocking. This one came with blurb that promised, amongst other things, that these pants "give a man a direction". Today's offering, in a small green bottle: 'Sod milk'.

All other lettering in Chinese, so I remain unenlightened.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest blogger: Sebastian

Hello Sebastian, what would you like to tell us about?

S: This is a picture I drew at school yesterday. It's a hedgehog.

Very nice! Why did you draw a hedgehog?

S: We read a story. Biff threw a ball, Floppy chased it. He found the hedgehog and pricked his nose.

And Floppy is...?

S: A dog, of course!

Of course. What do you like best about this picture?

S: His big nose. Hedgehogs have little teeth, like this. That's why I drew them. And teacher gave me twelve stars.

Well done, I love it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Guest blogger: Joaquim

Hi, it's me again. I've been doing lots of cool stuff and I want to tell you about it. First of all, I am a karate champion. I won two gold and a silver medal at the Pemba karate championships and they look soooo cool.

I took the medals to school the next day to show my friends, and now I've put them in my treasure box. The gold medals were for the juniors championship, I did a really good demonstration - I've been practising at home - and then I had to fight this mean little kid. He kicked me in the neck - which is against the rules - and made me cry, but I got up again and kept fighting and then won. We shook hands after the fight so it was OK. Sebastian, Eva, Mum and Pai were there to watch, and we had grilled chicken and chips to celebrate afterwards.

S: I love chicken and chips.

Then there was a cowboy party. Sebastian and I looked cool and dangerous. There was a horse, but I didn't get on, it was really big. Sebastian did though.

S: I wasn't scared.

Then there was another karate thing, a graduation this time, and our teacher was really tough on us and made us work really hard in the sun for hours. But I got my next belt.

S: I got a bit bored and took lots of photos, but we had more chicken and chips afterwards. I love chicken and chips.

And then, there was a fund-raiser at school, International Day. Everyone had to go dressed in a national costume. Sebastian chose French, Eva and Mum went Chinese, Pai wore a silly straw hat, and I was an English Country Gentleman and I won a prize: PIZZA AND A SOFT DRINK! Awesome! Mum also won a prize with her cupcakes, for the prettiest cake. I thought they were pretty delicious.

S: I liked my moustache.

Hmmm, that's about it. We're going on holiday in 10 days, which is soooo exciting. Sebastian and I are crossing the days off on the calendar. Pai and Mum seem to be quite excited too. Eva is too little to know.

S: It's MY turn to cross it off today.

Byeeeeeee! Joaquim xxx

PS: This is Pai looking silly.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Big week-end, vol. 2

So, while you lot were glued to the RW on TV, or perhaps amongst the cheering crowds of well-wishers (really? wow), we were preparing a party in Chuiba for some friends who were leaving Pemba for Guadeloupe via Paris. Turned into a rather big event, notable for one young lady almost severing her toe on a broken glass (although fortunately she was drunk enough not to feel the full impact), another young man splitting his head on the bottom of the pool (ibid), the bar almost completely running out of booze, apart from a few beers, and dancing until 6 in the morning. Even me. I don't think I've done that since I started having babies. Paulo and I were manning the bar, which is I think why I made it through, as the hours of 10-2 are a blurr of tequila slammers, double everythings, and red bull (that's what I was serving, not drinking, although I confess to a few tequilas). Bet it was better than Will and Kate's shindig.


Big week-end, vol. 1

What with the long week-end and our DSTV subscription having run out, I have only just had time to peruse some images of the RW. Skipping the actual event and just skimming the highlights has the enormous advantage of missing out all the boring bits and savouring the very best of the worst. I like to think of myself as a republican, but who can resist a gawp at the clothes? Well worth it, as it turns out. Kate looked - of course - lovely: elegant, demure, happy, but so SKINNY. Yikes. But thumbs up for the dress - quite beautiful and totally appropriate. (Poor Diana, the 80s were not good for wedding dresses). William made me realise that at least - for a man - being in the military gives you an excuse to wear something funky to your wedding. As for the rest; Eugenie and Beatrice, good grief, girls, I'm sorry but my first thought was "the ugly sisters". Ok, so it may not be their fault that they're not stunners, but do they have to compound it with their choice of outfits? Especially Beatrice's garish multi-coloured, be-ribonned monstrosity. Could no-one have said something? Then there was Tara P-T who looked like she was in fancy dress, alongside Miriamme whatsername, the Dep PM's wife. DREADFUL. Queen looked OK, I guess, though much as she always does, but kudos to Princess Anne who looked pretty cool. As for Chelsy, could she really not do better than that? Those are just the ones that caught my attention. Oh, and then there was the fiancee of the crown prince of Monaco (a former Olympic swimmer, as it turns out, her, not him), who was wearing such a fabulously understated and elegant outfit that she totally blew all those prissy English ladies in their knee-length patterned dresses, 20 denier tights, boxy jackets and boring hats, out of the water. (See what I did there...?)

Thank goodness the Americans went and shot OBL, as it gives us something else to read about. Kind of intrigued about the burial at sea. Was it a kind of insult? A practical way to dispose of the body without there being the possibility of some kind of shrine or pilgrimmage spot being created? A deliberate attempt to generate conspiracy theories? There's already a T-shirt (as posted by my friend Pepe) which shows a stick-man Osama flailing among the fishes and reads "Bin Laden nao sabe nadar, yo" ("Bin Laden can't swim, yo"), which is kind of weird. Get yer memorabilia here:

Friday, April 01, 2011

Warning: contains graphic reptile photos

Well I may not have had my camera to hand when I fed a hapless grasshopper to a hungry chameleon, but I certainly had it when we found said chameleon's big brother/sister (or perhaps other half?) in the garden.

What a beautiful beastie! (Although I suspect my mother may not agree...)

Sebastian was extremely impressed, and gamely handled it - gently - before we released it into a cashew tree.

Now I think that's a pretty big chameleon, and I know that Northern Mozambique is home to the world's second-largest chameleon (the largest, and also smallest I think, are found on Madagascar), but I don't know enough to judge whether this is an example of it. Any ideas, naturalist friends? (Should that be naturist? Which one means nudist? I always get confused, but hey, my nudist friends are also welcome to air their opinions!)

Chameleons really are exceptionally cool. Fused toes, funky walk, eyes that look in different directions, and of course the ability to change colour at will. This one obliged by going from greenish - as you can see in the photos - to grey/brown when we placed it on the trunk of the cashew tree. I once had to kill a chameleon as part of some field research (humanely, I hasten to add). It went completely black - one the saddest things I ever saw or had to do. But let's hope this one has a long and happy life.


Monday, March 28, 2011

In sickness and in health

We - and a fair few of our friends - have been struck by a virulent stomach bug, taking out Joaquim and then Eva. Of course, it happened just as Paulo was leaving for a work trip to Zimbabwe. The little ones are now apparently recovering, but it has not been much of a laugh.

Last night Eva woke up every two hours or so, and what small periods of sleep I managed in between were punctuated by Utama noisily dispatching a bush baby (seems she's got a taste for the local wildlife), and Sebastian crawling into bed with me at some murky point in the early hours. As such, I was fast asleep at 7am when Rafina turned up for work and she had to shout from the locked gate for about 5 minutes to be let in. It was a bit of a scramble to get Sebastian to school (Joaquim pleaded for another day at home), and I only made it through the morning by taking my coffee with me. Let's hope tonight is a bit better.

Here are the two invalids on a happier day - notice a family resemblance?

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