Thursday, March 08, 2012

I'm really back

My penpals are back.
I even met the Russian penpal when he came over to London- which in his words is 'the Greatest City in the World'. He came with a friend, Katarina, and I took them out for a Halloween party and they had a great time. I particularly liked that he'd brought me Russian chocolate as a gift. Now we are friends on Facebook so we don't have to send painful emails (painful for him because of language barrier)

The German lady was just a little busy with her garden- which she is really into in a big way.

Ahh... so much happening. Where do I start?  I'll order my thoughts so that there is a logical progression in next few posts.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm back!

The novelty of facebook has worn off. Ok, not enough people are posting on my wall and I feel ignored again.

And both my penpals have dumped me.

I don't really miss the Russian guy. He told me that he was learning English and he needed to practice by corresponding with English speaking penpals. His emails were painful to read.  You could tell he'd spent ages composing the two-line emails with the help of a Russian/English dictionary.  You don't really appreciate fluency in a language that you take for granted until you hit a language barrier. An articulate person is reduced to the banal. For example, if asked the question, "How was your weekend?" 

instead of responding,

"It was great. I organised a Eurovision Party, and invited a great mix of people who really hit it off with each other and enjoyed themselves!


"Oh it was great!" 

(with a mental thumbs up). Which you can put it in brackets like I just did -  if you know the 'word' in the language for thumbs up.  It fails to fully convey The. Essence. of what the party was like. I remember how frustrated my Swedish journalist friend used to feel whenever she tried and failed to express herself in English. Or couldn't remember how to say a word in English. She'd say, 'Words are my craft. I feel so helpless not knowing what words to use'

My other penpal, a German lady who lives in Washington, USA, was interesting but I think I lost her when I emailed about how I felt after my father passed away last month. Too much emotion I guess.

I need an outlet so I am back to you, my silent audience. Hello again!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Facebook meets my needs

I haven't been blogging.
The thing is, although I love sharing, I also love receiving feedback - I like to know people's reactions to what I post or write
And I think I've found this on Facebook.
And so I bid adieu to this blog. If you are on old friend, who is passing through to see if there are any updates, thank you
If you just stumbled across this blog, sorry I ran out of things to say here

God bless you

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rugby at Wembley

In my first year at University,  I made friends with Paul, the captain of the University Rugby Team, the Impis. He was a 5th year medical student, and it was pretty cool to be seen with him and the rugby team - hunks-all of them. Whenever they were going for a game, they would come first in their coach to Box (my student hall) to pick me up. Paul said I was good for the morale of the team. Owing to my exceedingly loud and piercing voice, I am a natural cheer leader. I was also very good at rounding up some of the girls from Box to come for the games. We didn't know the rules, but our enthusiastic shouts of 'Go Impis" always got a good reaction from the boys. I even had a (very) brief fling with one of them. Paul soon put an end to that by giving the guy a Serious Talk along the lines of "Stop messing with my little sister". The guy gave me a "It's not you, it's me' speech, which broke my heart.

My broken heart didn't stop my love for rugby though. Or rather should I say.... rugby players. They are sooo HOT! Those big chests and shoulders, tapered waists, big arms and legs. SOLID! Real Men! Recently during Rugby World Cup, I was going on to Yati about how much I loved and supported the England Rugby team. She commented wryly "It's not the England team you support, really, its Jonny Wilkinson"

I don't really follow national rugby, but Rugby World Cup, Six Nations, Rugby Sevens, I am THERE, glued to the TV set, yelling on my own, in my living room. I was quite pleased that my neighbour Jon is keen on his rugby. He even has a Season ticket for local rugby club, The Saracens. Last weekend, we went to the new Wembley stadium to watch a Saracens versus Harlequins game. The atmosphere was great. Before the game, there was entertainment including 'Right Said Fred' who wrote the song for the Saracens called 'Stand Up'. There were cheerleaders gyrating in front of him- British cheerleaders have a long way to go compared to their American counterparts who are wayyyy superior. I mean do they not watch films like Bring it On?

More entertainment came in the way of a big brass band, acrobats and then a tight rope walker

Saracens Won! Absolutely 'slaughtered' the Harlequins! You know, I just might become a Sarries fan - I like their strip - black with red, and little Fez hats and the whole north African thing going on there.... yeah... I think I'll officially declare myself a Sarries fan!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Simple Economics

In the March 2010 issue of Internal Auditing magazine, there’s an article about South Africa’s competition watchdog investigating domestic airline operators for alleged price fixing to exploit travellers during the football World Cup.

I couldn’t help the involuntary snort. Here in the UK, it is generally accepted that airlines, trains and tour companies push prices up to EXPLOIT travellers during peak periods.

It’s simple economics. If demand is high and resources limited– prices will go up!

In early February when booking a trip to visit my sister in Scotland for the Easter weekend, I found that all the train fares were astronomical!! This was a whole TWO MONTHS before I was due to travel. And all the train companies were charging the same exorbitant prices –price fixing?

Why shouldn’t domestic airlines in South Africa make a buck out of a situation that is to their advantage? It is what we expect. Which is why as soon as England qualified to play in the World Cup there was a stampede by fans to buy tickets before the fares went up.

But just because something is generally accepted, it doesn’t mean that it is a good thing. I am all for Fair trade and protecting consumers. If a company can convince me that the prices that they set are fair, then I have no problem paying for them. After all it’s a business and they need to survive. I do respect businesses that see opportunities and make the most of them, but cannot reconcile this with deliberate exploitation just for greed.
Perhaps our UK Competition Commission should take a leaf out of South Africa’s book and start looking into the train companies

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Wheat and Alcohol Free

I'm not a current affairs type of person, so won't talk about all those topics I mentioned in my previous post. I think I was trying to be cleverer than I really am - but really I am quite a shallow person. So I'll concentrate on a topic where I have some expertise.... me

I may have mentioned that as part of my New Years Resolutions I would be giving up alcohol and wheat products.
Giving up alcohol is not a challenge as I am not much of a drinker. Thanks to the credit crunch I was already in the habit of ordering sparkling water or a lime and tonic (L&T) whenever I went out. I’m not cutting alcohol out completely – just restricting my intake to very expensive wine – as a guideline a bottle must cost at least £50 – so chances of me ever drinking again are quite slim. I completely forgot about the bottle of Baileys that my sister bought me for Christmas. It sits there taunting me every time I open the door to my fridge- it goes so well in coffee- great for an after meal drink – must r e s i s t

Going wheat free on the other hand is another matter. I’m drawing a lot of inspiration from my own culture in Uganda where wheat does not feature much in the diet. It wouldn’t - wheat does not grow well in our climate. The wheat products you would find are processed foods made from imported wheat flour like cakes, biscuits. The Indians brought us ‘chapatis’ (flat bread) which has become a national staple. But in a normal Bunyoro village, people will eat wheat on average once every 2 months.

Wheat-free in Uganda no problem but in London – major challenge!

The ingredients for a wheat-free diet are expensive. My grocery bill has doubled. Wheat products abound in the market place and are cheap. I’m talking pasta, pizza, couscous, bread, pastries, and desserts. I miss Panini!

My core diet now is rice, potatoes and maize meal which can be a bit boring so I experiment with different recipes to vary it and make it exciting. I made sushi the other day. I also bought some wheat-free flour (a blend of rice, tapioca and potato flour) which wasn’t a good flour substitute as my scones came out rock hard and chapattis brittle.

Snacking foods are almost non- existent. Most chocolate and (potato) crisps contain wheat. I had taken to eating carrots but my body has decided it doesn’t want that anymore – and chick peas too. The only crisps I can eat are Doritos made from corn flour and Sensations Sweet chilli crisps. Nuts too – but they have a high calorie count and are not filling.

Eating out is a real pain. In restaurants I feel terrible having to go through menus with the waiting staff to establish which dishes are wheat free. The other week in Chinatown the waiter kept dashing back and forth to the kitchen to consult with the chef. What was so comical is that instead of taking the menu with him, (thus doing it all at once) he kept on going back each time to ask about each dish. Friends have to think twice before inviting you over for dinner. I know because I used to be one of those friends. I’ve never invited my friend Stuart to dinner because he has a nut allergy. And when I invited Claudine I was on tenterhooks for fear that she would have a horrible allergic reaction to my food – she is allergic to dairy, fruit, and nuts – pretty much everything. My coping strategy is to eat before I go out, or bring my own food – then I pick at salad or soup – it’s the only way.

But it’s so worth it. So far, since the year begain I’ve lost 10 lbs – with minimal exercise. The clothes feel looser. I’m now starting Phase 2 which is to introduce exercise – Salsa and Pilates. Hopefully by Easter I’ll have achieved my goal of dropping a dress size.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Writers Block

I have so many things buzzing through my head but for some reason I can't write anything substantial about them
Things like: -

  • Tiger Woods debacle - and an African's take on it - no big deal in our polygamous society
  • The latest weapon in the fight against teen pregnancy in UK - a 'morning after pill' that works after 5 days
  • The Iraq Enquiry - and Tony Blair's performance at it - smooth, as slippery as an eel - which leads me on to my views on politicians in general - particularly my MP who is NOT getting my vote in May
  • The Californian transvestite who is pregnant! And just how weird that looks
  • The 'Tory's and their social engineering agenda - with the proposed marriage tax breaks
  • The SNOW storms we had in the UK - I've lived here 11 years and have never seen it this bad!

All these things BUZZING!