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Showing posts from January, 2010

Saint Lucia Imagined

So, this is my first foray into painting with watercolours. I am still an absolute novice when it comes to painting, but I am, I think, getting slightly better. I have a tendency to use too much pencil when sketching out the basic image with the result being a 'muddy' patch - see the bottom left-hand corner.

That aside, the picture is based primarily on a scene that I imagined, but, when I came to sketching it, I had trouble with getting the sea in perspective. Luckily, a friend was in possession of a picture amongst her snaps that I was able to use to get the right colours and perspective.
Voila! Saint Lucia as imagined by me.

I Serve: Journey to a Partnership

It was on the bus ride back from Kabale, heading north towards Mbarara, that Grigorios made a point of saying that Jeff wanted a chat about a small project. Jeff's idea was record the journey that the 2009 traveling party took to Uganda, through his photographs and my words, as a gift for our Principal, Liz, who was retiring that summer.
Work started in earnest in May with Jeff working hard on creating a template for a book and editing some of his pictures to ensure that they were at their most vibrant when printed - in one particular picture he managed to completely remove a mac-wearing individual.
I chiseled away at my tablet, okay, I typed on my MacBook, and before long the words completed and dropped into place.
I am incredibly proud of the results. Jeff's great design skills really made the most of the book-making software and, as a consequence, there is a real sense of professionalism evident in the finished product.
The book is available for general sale via www.blurb.…

Forgive us Father...

Forgive us Father,
For we have sinned.

Today we woke up and saw
Snow.
A sleek layer of pure white, ice cold
Cotton wool…

And we moaned.
And we cussed the heavens.
And we threw up our hands with vexation.

We waited whilst watching the breakfast news
Only to learn of whether
The 131 or the District Line were running.

Meanwhile, all along, you knew of people
Who had spent the night beneath dusty stars
Nursing wounds. Nursing chaos
On an evening spent praying out of doors
Because their tin shacks
Are
No
More.

Shame on us.

If you want to help with relief effort please visit: www.yele.org.

The Uganda Diaries: By Way of Epilogue

So, it is now January 2010. Looking back at my diary of the time I spent in Uganda I can see how abruptly it ends. In my diary my journey finishes high in the sky over Libya. In spite of how strange this may be, I feel that it is in some ways fitting.

It is fitting that the plane never touches down again in London as I feel it was written – maktub – that the moment I got on the underground in Wimbledon, a sizeable amount of my heart would remain in Africa and, more specifically, Kabale for the rest of my life.
A plane touching down so easily can represent the end of a journey, but, as I was writing that last entry, I knew that this was in no way an ending. To revert to cliché, it was just the beginning.
In the months since coming back, a multitude of things have happened. Our party leader, and then principal, Liz, has retired and we have someone new leading us, Raj. Furthermore, I ceased just to be another mzungu heading over to Africa to see what goes on. My relationship with Kigezi Hi…

Paul Collingwood: Underrated.

I am, deep down, a cricket romanticist. I love, above all else, tense Test match cricket. The thrill of not knowing from one moment to the next whether a slender edge is going to found by a bowler directing the ball to the slips; whether, with split-second decision-making, the batsman decides to leave the ball entirely or play a powerful hook to the boundary.

Recently, having revisited the end of the Cardiff Ashes test from 2009, I couldn’t help but notice that I had completely allowed Paul Collingwood, and his contribution to that match, pass me by.

In that instance, England’s second innings, his stand of 74 laid solid foundation from which the remainder of the tail, most famously Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson, were able to survive until time simply ran out for Australia. Collingwood was able to last for a remarkable 344 minutes facing 245 balls – only Simon Katich lasted longer at the crease.

It is not this innings alone that has endeared Collingwood to me though. More recently, Eng…