Thursday, 29 November 2007


It feels like my brain is overwhelmed with stuff to write about, but tiredness, wall-to-wall childcare and a slow internet connection is getting the better of me. Still, the fact I can blog under my mozzie net in the middle of Africa, when from Dorset we had to wander from house to house to get a decent connection - there's some irony there.

The tiredness. The cockerels. 4.30am they start, and it's not even remotely light, and won't be for another hour at least. (Perhaps global warming has interferred with their Circadian rhythms? Not that I'm in the mood for finding excuses for them. I spent hours having bloodthirsty, murderous fantasies about what I would do with the next cockerel to cross my path.) Anyway, it starts with one lusty, enthusiastic fella, and before you know it, the whole of Kampala's poultry join in the singsong. And they don't give up. They even drown out the imam when he starts at 5.30 - needless to say I thought some very un-PC things about him too - and carry on until 7 when they get a bit hoarse. Then it's time to get up. Emma clambered into my bed at 4.30 having also been woken by our feathered friends, at which point she started reciting random numbers like Rain Man. At 6 or so she launched into a detailed description of what kind of cake she'd like for her next birthday. (Pink and purple, ballerina and smarties on top, 4 candles.) You can imagine the atmosphere at the breakfast table.

Things are looking up for tomorrow. I've got hold of a babysitter to look after the kids every morning for a week, so I get a chance to do something else, like get a phone/ find a bank etc, and generally scrape the tip of a very large admin iceberg. The girls continue to amaze me with how well they're doing in their new home: they have settled in better than either of us so far, but it'll all come in time.

I might try and take some photos tomorrow too. Dinner time.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

You are most welcome to Uganda!

We're here!
We're OK!
And there was no delivery on the plane, although long haul flights with small kids is a bit like childbirth, only a different kind of agony.

First impressions. No idea where to start, though I can report that I am most definitely culture shocked. Here are some things I have taken for granted up til now:
1. Pavements. Not just interesting road decoration, but a useful safety feature.
2. Roads without potholes. Pavements and roads without potholes are essential for McLaren buggy operators.
3. Rules of the road.
4. People who obey the rules of the road most of the time.

As you can imagine, walking around has been rather hairaising. I thought for one brief, idealistic moment that we'd try and manage without a car, but ha, ha! I think I'll take that 4x4 after all sir, with air conditioning and extra security features.

On a happy note, it really is stunningly beautiful here, and Emma and Glory have taken to life here like crocs to Lake Victoria. "Hello Uganda!" said Emma, as the plane landed. They've met lots of other kids, and already abused their toys. Business as usual for them, and a huge relief for me.

Bed time now. More to follow.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The countdown begins

We're leaving on Sunday. This Sunday. No more rain and drizzle for me; just wall-to-wall sunshine and an avocado tree in the garden. So why am I waking up in the night panicking about the availability of nappy liners? It has suddenly dawned on me that this is not a game. Here are those worries in full:

1. How will Emma and Gloria cope with the night flight?
Answer: we will fill them with a tank full of milk and they will sleep.
2. How will I cope with a night flight, given my big belly and proclivity to not sleep well anyway?
Answer: you will not sleep at all, but get over it, there'll be a film to watch.
3. Will I give birth on the plane?
Answer: NO.
4. How will I have a baby in Uganda?
Answer: the same way you had the other two, only at home (probably.)
5. Will my kids get malaria?
Answer: Not if you stick to Kampala and hose them with DEET, just in case.
6. Will I get malaria?
7. Will any of us get an unpleasant tropical disease?
Answer: Maybe. Deal with the possibility.
8. Will there be broadband?
Answer: please, Lord, please.
9. What if Em and Glo hate it and want to come home?
10. How will I cope with the lack of conditioner?
Answer: go frizzy. The only way.

And there you have it. I think I can cope with all of the above apart from number 9.

Friday, 9 November 2007

The lady returns

Woo-wee! Welcome to my new home. For any newcomers, here is a quick summary of the last three years:
- lived in Switzerland.
- bore child: 1 female infant, Gloria Rosemarie (also known as Glorymouse), a sister to Emma Angela (also known as the Golden-Haired Snow Elf, or these days Emsie Bundle)
-kissed, cuddled and played with 2 girl children in picturesque mountain land.
-kissed and cuddled husband, Uganda Man (formerly known as Switzergent)
- pregnant again
- Sept 07 returned to UK for a brief reunion with family and friends, which takes us to today, exactly 17 days away from moving to Kampala, our African home for the next two years. It's been an exciting if rather stressful time: getting injections, going to the dentist, seeing the midwife, pleading with the accountant, sulking with the Halifax, shopping for (among other things) suitcases, head torches and insect repellant, waking up in a cold sweat wondering if the girls will get malaria or if they'll survive without CBeebies.

More later: it's dinner time..
PS This is us leaving Switzerland. We got everything we own in this car (minus 3 boxes) and wobbled our way across France. We arrived unscathed. Impressed? I am!