Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Welcome Home Daddy Cake

The Welcome Home Daddy Cake is chocolate this time and is currently baking in the oven. Power, please stay on! The Mancub helped me make it. Guess which is his favourite part of the process?

And his quote of the day:   "Mama, one day can we watch REAL volcanoes interrupting??"

Monday, 28 November 2011


Thought we'd take advantage of Mr B's absence today and have toad-in-the-hole for dinner. (for those non-Brits among our readers, the 'toad' is actually sausage and the 'hole' is the batter they sit in..!) (and for those who don't know, Mr B is a vegetarian).

I've never cooked this before and, to the best of my knowledge, the kids have never eaten it before. But it turned out great and was a big hit!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

All I want for Christmas...

She's very happy with her gap. And generally cheerful and on the mend - not nearly so much coughing and the chance to sleep in till nearly 7 for 3 mornings in a row has helped too.

I'm feeling much better too. Friday was bad. Yesterday was much better. Mr B is due back on Wednesday, not a moment too soon. Kitty asked this morning "will Daddy be back for Christmas?" The last time he was away for a few weeks the Mancub pointed down a road in town while we were on our way to school and asked "Does Daddy live down there?"

Friday, 25 November 2011

Pneumonia again

Kitty's been diagnosed with microplasma pneumonia or 'walking pneumonia' again. Second time in 6 months. Back on antibiotics and another tablet to help clear her airways quickly, although we may pass on that one as she felt awful and then was sick 40 minutes after taking the first dose... There's apparently a possibility of mild asthma as well - it seems the dodgy chest noises are hard to tell apart.

So, here I am with one child who wants to lie on the sofa and watch DVDs as her most energetic form of exercise, and one child who is bouncing off the walls in his need to run, jump, shout and generally burn off energy and high spirits. And I've hit my one week slump. I seem to do fine while Mr B is away for about a week, and then suddenly I'm exhausted, emotionally at least, and I go into survival mode - surviving the children till bedtime and then burying myself in escapist novels/DVDs till I collapse into bed myself. All my plans for catching up on the 'to do' list go out the window.

Today was hard. I wanted to hide under the bedclothes all day. I chose not to send Kitty to school, partly as she was exhausted from coughing in the night, partly as I would have had to collect her early anyway to get to our doctor's appointment, and also in no small measure because I turned off my alarm at 6.25 and promptly fell back asleep till the kids woke at 7. The Mancub's reverted to wetting the bed most nights and twice some nights (like last night) despite his reluctant encasement in nappies again, so most nights have gone back to being interrupted. So, with a tired grumpy Kitty and a tired grumpy Mama and a bouncing, cheeky, and yet still needy Mancub, it was a long day. And today my closest friends were all rightly busy with their own agendas and I wouldn't really want Kitty coughing all over their kids anyway.

And yet, I write all this and I know full well that to my sister-in-law this is small potatoes. This would be a good night and day! Not that she won't be sympathetic. She will and is. And for most mothers of new babies, this is nothing too. Ah well. Moan over. Here's praying for a better night and more energy tomorrow (for me at any rate, I wouldn't complain if the Mancub had a bit less) and some inspiration for exciting but not too tiring (and preferably independent) activities to fill our day.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Internet again at last!

Apologies for the long radio silence. No internet since the weekend. All fine here but Mr B is away for a fortnight and I can't shrink photos to post from this computer (or I haven't worked out how yet!) so text only for the moment.

BUT, you can see photos of the Mancub on a school trip to the snake park and taking part in Sports Day if you look at his school website http://www.thelearningspacetz.org/ !

Still no news of a permit, but the kids and I had an exciting time last weekend getting well and truly stuck in the mud on the way out to visit Mr B for his birthday last weekend. Unfortunately we stuck fast in a place with no mobile reception, but Mr B and co found us and pulled us out an hour later, just as I was about to try to create beds for the night in the car! Photos of Mr B in his new birthday shirt (made from a kanga (printed cotton cloth) covered in safari animals) and his new birthday bath robe (made from a maasai blanket) to follow... if he brings them back safely from the bush!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

New dress for Jemima

Remember Teddy and Jemima? Or "teddy and mima" as they used to be known? They have been with Kitty almost since she was born and have travelled widely with us.

Here they are over 2 years ago, investigating the Australian flora.

Well, all that love and travelling is hard on the clothes and Jemima's dress has been looking rather threadbare of late (not to mention short to the point of immodesty) ...

....and since Kitty and I have just had matching dress (her) and skirt (me) made from a local kanga (printed cotton) and there was a little to spare...I bravely took up needle and thread and got to work... Now, few of you will ever have seen me with needle and thread in hand (apart from a shocking knicker-mending session one skiing holiday following two months rotting all my clothes to holes in the jungles of Indonesia) and, indeed, it is something I only usually do when needs must and something needs urgent mending. Even then, funtionality definitely wins over aesthetics, or even straightforward neatness.

So, proudly presenting, for one time only, the rare spectacle of a hand-sewn article...

Ah - what a handsome couple!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Fireworks and Christmas cards

Hi all, thought I'd post to say that we're still here, despite certain persons' efforts to browbeat us into abandoning ship!

Last friday we celebrated Fireworks night at Braeburn School, Arusha, for our 3rd time. Yes, we've now been here over 2 years! Lovely time with lots of stalls to spend ones tokens on as well as a big bonfire and lovely firework display, and lots of socialising of course!

Face painting was rather underwhelming this time but Kitty didn't seem to mind
and eating suspended donuts no handed was fun, if challenging! The Mancub also had a go later, but by that time I'd lost Mr B to some other dads and beers and couldn't manage the camera, one beer, one soda and various prizes all at once!

Other exciting activities have included getting started on Christmas cards 
On Sunday afternoon we escaped Arusha, with it's water issues, immigration hassles, broken oven and all, and headed to the bush for some civilisation! I'll leave Mr B to post some wildlife shots. Here's the Mancub, refusing to relinquish his 'sunday sweeties' even in his sleep. Great parenting huh - letting the child sleep with sugar clamped firmly to his teeth....

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A glimmer of hope?

So, another stressful morning after recieving yet another call from immigration, wanting me down there immediately. This time I delayed a bitand persuaded a friend to accompany me, which might have helped a bit - I was out again within an hour or two, having had to rewrite the same statement from yesterday (but this time with a confusing range of dates from yesterday and today, plus without being asked to sign all the bits about my rights and the rest!) and answer exactly the same questions again. But I did come out again and had a nice lunch with friend before heading home. And an hour ago I got a call from the lawyer's contact in Dar who's been dealing with things, reporting that the National Security team I'd met last Monday had just called him, saying they'd completed their report asking immigration (in Dar) to issue my permit without further delay. I was told to start celebrating - but I think I'll still wait until I actually have the permit in hand! My contact will be meeting the immigration officer in Dar who's dealing with things again tomorrow in any case, and assures me that if he doesn't now come away with the permit tomorrow, it will be early next week. They think the last week of threats and harrassment have been Arusha's last attempt to try and get me to leave the country and that by holding my nerve we've won. But we'll see - until our friend here in Arusha is gone he's still got enough power to be a major irritant. And we'll not have the party until the permit is in my hands!

Anyway, in other news the Mancub has suddenly developed a neat (ish) colouring-in concept. Here he is getting excited about his school colouring in book this evening (doing the bits he wasn't around for at scool last week).

And here's his neatest job yet:

I think black and white zebra will be very boring after that one... Amazing, when last week he was turning out his regulation jobs, such as the one here.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Mr B got hauled off to the local immigration office again today while I was out. Rather stressful few hours before he was allowed back home again. Our lawyers got involved and in the end the officials' superiors elsewhere told them to jolly well back off. So, another episode. Any closer to final resolution? Who knows. Mr B hopes that it might be a reminder to the powers that be to get on and finalise things.

Meanwhile, this is the effect our children have on grandfather...

 Teddy and Jemima decided to keep an eye on him, or maybe they can read upside down?

This one below is not grandfather, although there is a certain resemblence... I hadn't realised there were tree hyraxes in Arusha but here is one I spotted while lunching with friends at Shanga Riverhouse.