Archive for February, 2011

Having a Seychelles moment

Carnival is coming to Seychelles and we have to sort out our British delegation, which is very exciting because it’s a group from the Notting Hill festival. Although, I’ve been twice to Notting Hill, I’ve always been far too busy finding people, losing people, going to the toilet or being jammed under the armpit of another to be able to see any piggin floats. And now I might get the opportunity – in Seychelles. Is that ironic? Ever since Alanis Morisette was criticised for her song not being ironic at all, I’m always nervous to be too glibly ironic, if indeed I am being at all ironic in the first place. Anyway, I digress.

Part of this whole shebang is organising somewhere for the group to stay and so it was I found myself accompanying the big boss and a big boss colleague to Sainte Anne resort. Hitting the waves as the boat sped along making the 15 minute transfer between Mahe and the island, with the sun diamond yellow and the Indian Ocean topaz blue and the surrounding islands emerald green, I had a Seychelles moment and thought F*** me this beats the tube any day. Amen.

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Miso soup that wasn’t

We had one bowl and it sat on the cooker for three days before being chucked. It’s safe to conclude that following a proper recipe is recommended.

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Farewells come round again

Another spate of people leaving, ‘A’ who we ran with (albeit some way behind), our chickpea people who hopefully we’ve finally redeemed ourselves with after having enjoyed more than the odd dinner at theirs and only managing to reciprocate once they told us they were leaving the country, and our mucker ‘L’ who’s been a great supporter (and hope will continue to be!) of Social Seychelles and helped arrange our recent guided snorkel.

I guess it’s the nature of living and working abroad and on such a small island when you’re aware of the comings and goings of everyone  (apart from Brad and Ange and their millions of kids that is, I can only think I was too busy celebrating having three cans of chickpeas in the cupboard at the time).

I don’t know if we’ll stay in touch, I hope so, but they’ll always be a part of our memories of life in Seychelles and I hope that they remember, forever, that we purposely humiliated ourselves for their entertainment .

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The great chickpea chase

Chickpeas. I’m pretty certain if you asked anyone who lives here what a surefire ingredient to cook would be if you had people coming over for dinner, it would be the humble yet ever so versatile chickpea. Always in the shops, dried or canned, they’re pretty much everywhere – except for when we’re cooking a meal for friends who were leaving Seychelles. A rifle through our cupboards revealed our chickpeas were smothered in tomato sauce (not required by our yummy recipe) and so the other one dawdled down to our local shop AT 5.45 PM – we’d told our guests to arrive anytime from 6.30pm. In the meantime, I discovered that the tofu I was going to use for my  veggie dish was softer than the goal scored by Zimbabwe against Seychelles in the African Nations qualifiers last year and hating to waste food, decided that that was my moment to experiment with making my own version of miso soup.

30 minutes and seven shops later, the other one returned having finally found the sacred chickpeas and I was busy wondering if tofu, stock and soy sauce can be legitimately passed off as miso soup? It was then we realised that we didn’t have enough cous cous either, boiling up the paltry amount we did have, hoping the sprig of fresh coriander acted as suitable enough distraction. Prepared we weren’t. It helped that our guests arrived a little late, it would actually have been earlier if we’d caught them going past our place the first time. Not that we did it on purpose, I promise.



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I opened an email from my mum last night. It told me that in the area where I lived in London and where we still have our house and friends, a young lad of 24 was murdered in, they think, a botched mugging. He came from the station that I used everyday, not late at around 9.30pm, went in our local paper shop and turned left for 200m where I turn right 200m and became a random victim of a random and pointless act. Stabbed once in the heart. Residents, drivers and pedestrians tried to help but it was too late. A tragedy, and not to detract from the family’s unbearable pain, sadly not confined to a corner of south east London. Hearing that people had tried to help though, mattered somehow. For every sliver of  senseless inhumanity, the care and concern and good of humanity fights back and we need to believe that it does. If  we start to fear our streets, we make it harder to be there for anyone.I don’t know if Samuel knew he wasn’t alone, I hope he knew. I hope they find who did it. And I hope that I don’t have cause to feel moved to write a post like this for sometime to come as words are never really enough.





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I got the job!!

And I’d have been thoroughly peed off if I hadn’t! Experience compared to job role was highly weighted in my favour but then if climbing that career ladder had been my primary purpose in life I’d never have left London… so for the first time in over two years I’m in a proper full time 8-4 job, paid locally, in a role equivalent to the level of when I joined the Civil Service as a graduate too many years ago to tell BUT covering communications for Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and the Comoros Islands. Now how the piggin hell would I have ever got that gig in the UK? Never.

if only...

Sometimes you’ve got to the take the leap even if you don’t know what’s down there to catch you. Cheesy homily for the day : )

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Setting a high bar for leaving drinks

It really was very sweet of my job share partner who was leaving to bring in on her last day, two bottles of champagne, wine, nibbles and also a massive chocolate cake ( a work contribution).

Problem is how am I ever going to get away with a bottle of four cousins (some south african plonk) and some fish samosas when I leave, dammit?

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Guided snorkel in Baie Ternay

My being up to date with this here blog doesn’t work when it seems I forget what it is exactly I’ve been doing! So this actually happened a couple of weeks ago but it would be remiss not to mention because it involved a beautiful Seychelles’ island, supporting the work of local charities, mates and Social Seychelles, which pretty much sums up my existence here!

The event was organised by Social Seychelles in conjunction with Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) and the Underwater Centre at Berjaya Beau Vallon. Fifteen keen and eager people signed up to enjoy a guided snorkel with SOSF led by ‘A’ marine biologist, taking us to the gorgeous waters of Baie Ternay.

The week had been heavy with rain but on the day of our snorkel, the sun was shining and the skies were clear. The other one and I rocked up early to help ‘A’ and also ‘L’ another Social Seycheller and divemaster who was helping as part of the Underwater Centre crew. We all signed our waiver forms, got kitted up, faffed about with what to take on the boat and what not and eventually at the appointed hour with everyone present, waded in to the waters to the boat. Tagging along were also a few of the guys and gals training to be dive masters and very sensibly they all sat at the back of the boat while we got wet.

Just 15 minutes later and we were at Baie Ternay, round the corner from Anse Major. Everyone jumped in and then so did me and the other one. I was fully expecting to be the nerdy, dweeby kid at the back but not be that bad, but I bloody was. I ended up with two of the guys in training keeping an eye on me. I managed not to have my mask on properly and then tired myself out trying to put it back on again (the waves were rolling in a bit), was swallowing water and just getting myself in a right pickle. Meanwhile ‘A’ was off with all the others and still I was faffing. I’m just no good at having the snorkel on and then coming up to hear a description of the fish and then going back in again. How I ever learned to dive god only knows. Anyways, with my diving buddy, we swam about and I saw loads of fish, trumpet fish, clown fish and lots of other fish things before deciding it was time to head to the boat. I caught up with ‘A” and she pointed out a massive puffer fish that was well cool. I then came over all wuss again realising that we were quite far from the boat and then getting cramp in one of my feet and having ‘A’ waggle my foot up and down. Where’s the big wooden pole with the hook at the end when you need it eh?

I set my sights on the boat and swam like a demon, which to everyone else was probably at a snail speed but I reached there without drowning, a good thing. No matter how hard I try, the sad fact is that I’m much better on land. Well, as long as it doesn’t involve extreme sports or driving or equipment of any kind.

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Ooohhhhh interview

So here’s the thing. No-one else applied for the job but I had to have an interview anyway and do a French test too, translating a news article (dictionary allowed though hurrah!). I did it properly and didn’t check on the internet once being a very good girl, which explains why I ended up with the rather odd translation that the Mauritian Government gave HRH Princess Anne a tray of money* (not like she needs it is it?).remember him? answers on a postcard...

The interview went fine but I segued into waffle, a bad habit of mine. Must not do it. Must I? Maybe if I speak like a robot I can cure myself of the habit. In fact, I can probably speak robot French very well. Je dois parler francais a robot.Oui, je dois. Avez vous un stylo? Merci. Continuez tout droit.Une biere? Merci. Au revoir.

Think it might catch on?

* actually a silver tray or something

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