Got another kitten!

One of the hazards of living in Baku is there are always loads of adorable kittens, practically everywhere you look. I have been tempted but Richard has stood firm that 1 cat and a dog is enough. But by agreeing to another sailing holiday next year he relented and we got one.

This is Cosmo, he is a long haired fluff ball, who is we think about 8 weeks old and into everything and has no fear. The dog is OK with him and they play nicely most of the time. Though Liquorice doesn’t like it when he is trying to sleep and Cosmo keeps bitting his ears or tail. But then who would!

Electra on the other hand is not a happy kitty. Quite a bit of hissing and glaring but it is getting less and we are making sure she has lots of fuss an extra nice food so she knows the kitten isn’t a threat.

Cosmo has currently found my knitting and is getting himself happily tangled up in some spare wool!

Sew busy

I haven’t been able to write my blog in a little while as I have been sew busy – pun intended! Katrine has a sewing machine and thought it would be a great idea to make her own costume for Halloween. Then Gregor wanted a homemade on as well.

Well, needless to say, I ended up doing a lot of work on both which took a lot longer than I expected. Well, I expected it to take a long time as I am not a sewer, but it still took longer. So all last week was taken up with getting the costumes finished and good to go.

Last year we decorated the front drive but the combined reasons that I was too busy and the weather was foul meant we didn’t this year. Just a lonely pumpkin sitting on the door step! The weather on Halloween was truly dreadful, bucketing it down and blowing a gale, so both costumes were only worn for an hour max before being abandoned for thick coats, hats, gloves and scarves.

Regardless I am still very proud of myself (and Katrine – to be fair she did a lot, including the zip, there just wasn’t enough time for her to do it in time).


Katrine’s is dressed up as a Evil Queen using Simplicity 1551, which is a long dress with a train (perfect for wet weather!) with split sleeves. Supposed to be easy and great for beginners, well I suppose we did mange but we found it tricky, especially the shopping round the bodice. Katrine was in far too much of a hurry to pose for photos so this is the best that I got.

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Gregor went as Death, thank you Tammy for getting him the scythe it really made the difference. This was also a Simplicity pattern 1582. We had to make it a lot smaller than the XS as Gregor is only nine, and again it trailed on the floor, which would be fine for dry weather but ended up soggy and cold. But it has washed up well and there is plenty of room for growth so it will do another year.

International day 2015

I have said before, International day is my favourite school event. Always a great chance to get photos and see what a wonderful community we have here at TISA. This year there are 52 different nationalities from all continents, except Antartica. TISA Times, the school magazine, has this pie-chart showing where all the pupils come from.

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The day starts with a whole school assembly, there are about 700 pupils aged between 3-18. Last year the assembly was in the old gym, which was crowded, hot and it was very hard to see the stage. This year we were in the new gym, TISA5, which was a huge improvement. Plenty of space for everyone.

The assembly started with the Azerbaijani national anthem followed by the parade of flags. Students were picked from both Middle and Primary sections (where there are enough numbers) and every nation at the school has a flag. Then onto the performances, all the primary classes performed, fortunately the upper classes were grouped together otherwise it would have over run by even longer!

There was a second assembly in the afternoon, this is usually held outside on the field but Friday as the day the weather turned from summer to autumn, so it was back to TISA5. The Caspian Choir sang at this and there were performances from the Middle and High School students.

There was also the celebration of food for lunch, which is Katrine’s favourite part of the day. I didn’t go this year to take photos but I had good feedback from Katrine and Gregor. Katrine couldn’t pick a favourite food – though she said the Chinese table was extra yummy, Gregor’s favourite was the scones from the British table!

The students also take part in workshops though out the day, Katrine went to:

  • India – henna designs on her hand
  • South Africa – drumming
  • Scotland – highland dancing
  • Turkey – marble painting
  • Holland – learnt about rivers and dams.

Gregor went to:

  • Chilli – Zumba
  • New Zealand – played a traditional game
  • Trinidad and Tobago – Limbo Dance
  • Lebanon – wrote their names in Arabic and a dance.

Well that is summer over!

One thing that is very different about the weather here is how abrupt the season changes are. Back in the UK it moves very gradually between the seasons, with several false starts. Here it is almost overnight.

This time last week it was 29 degrees, clear blue skies – the same as it had been for the last few weeks. This week there was hints that the weather was turning, there as a big storm Sunday night but Monday after a chilly start still 28 degrees.

And then today. 13 degrees! Rain and wind!

And that is pretty much the forecast from now on. Cloudy and showery with temperatures from 13-19 degrees. Bit of a shock to the system today, we also had a scurry around this morning trying to find trousers! They were tucked up at the top of the wardrobe. This weekend’s task will be to put away all the summer clothes.

2 Shakespeare performances in 1 week!

I don’t know how long it has been since I have seen any Shakespeare and now I have just been twice in the last week! First was to see the Globe to Globe production of Hamlet – this is a two year world tour from the Globe theatre company taking Hamlet to every country in the world!

The show was preformed in the Azerbaijan State National Drama Theatre, which is an impressive building and a grand auditorium. The show is a quick moving adaptation with the cast providing all the music and set changes (which were minimum) and several actors playing several parts. It shows the skill of the director and actors that this wasn’t confusing and it was always clear who they were playing.

I went with a group of friends and we were seated right up in the Gods (auditorium 2)  the view was slightly obscured by a random safety pole but there was no problem hearing anything. There was a bit of fun when the lady next to us had a toy gun on the floor next to her feet, it wasn’t immediately obvious that it was a toy which caused a few raised eye-brows.

The second Shakespeare was Midsummer’s Nights Dream by TISA high school, I took Katrine to this as her first experience of Shakespeare. It used rock songs though out the play, preformed by some of the actors as well as additional musicians, which tied into the plot really well. It felt a bit gimmicky at first but it was used to great effect and  made the flow of the story work very well. It also helped identify the  fairy characters and the humans and they danced to the music differently, which helped the understanding of this very complicated plot. Katrine got the main bits, I was impressed with her following the story. It was a very enjoyable night and didn’t feel like a school production. They are taking the show on an European tour in November!

Dog needed a hair cut

There are a few different places to get a dog’s hair trimmed here, but I have known people unhappy with all of them. So I decided it was a good idea to buy some clippers and learn how to do it myself.

Here he is in all his shaggy glory:


First it was bath time, not his favourite time but he puts up with it with good grace. And then runs around like a wild things for about ten minutes when we let him go. At least he is now all clean:


Then on to the clippers. It was amazing how much fur came off such a small dog. I went for a short trim this time so hopefully he won”t need another full trim until spring, just tidy up if needed. Ta Da

Now he is supposed to be a Yorkshire terrier but just look at those legs? Do they look very Yorkie like to anyone? We have fun trying to guess what other bread might be mixed in there, maybe some whippet? That would explain the slipping out when we open the front door and bolting it down the street! Great game, especially if some children can be persuaded to join in a chase him.

So what do yo think – what types of dogs are in there?

Look what I found…

It is the simple things in life that can make the expat life great or at times rubbish. Fortunately this was one of the great times.

Look what I found:

Chocolate digestive biscuits! They are smaller than McVities and have a denser texture but they taste very similar and work just as well in a cuppa.

Caspian Choir

This time last year I was persuaded to join the Caspian Choir, I hadn’t been in a choir since school aged (complete with red cassock and white surplice). It is a great bunch of expat ladies who meet once or twice a week to sing. We work towards performances throughout the year – at some of the balls, as well as the school concerts and out own recital at the end of the summer term. I missed the recital this year so really hope I can do the next one.

On Friday we were asked to perform by the Baku Rotary Club, who host regular cinema nights. This weeks showing was a French film The Chorus. We sang two songs, Keep You in Peace, By Sarah Morgan based on a traditional Irish blessing and  the second was Girdim yarın bağçasına, a traditional Azerbaijani love song. It is quite a challenge singing the Azerbaijani song as the words and sounds aren’t familiar and the harmonies are very different from those I am used to. (Here is a youtube video of the song with traditional Azerbaijani instruments – we were accompanied by a piano)

It was a really pleasant evening, temperature was perfect and wonderful group of friends to spend it with.

We were all given a rose as a thank you to take home. IMG_1054

Gregor’s school field trip

Gregor’s year are doing the “How we organise ourselves” unit of inquiry – Public spaces play a role in the social and economic lives of our communities. They are looking at how public spaces are used but lot of different types of people and at the end of the topic they will design their own park.

This week they headed out on a field trip to tow parks in Baku, Zabitler Park and Yeni Yasamal Park. Gregor took a camera so I was looking forward to seeing some photos of the parks and what they got up to. This is what came back:

There were a lot more photos of cars, these are just a highlight. However they are all the photos that were taken at the park. Just three, two of which were of cats (one real one statue).

Oh well, it obviously kept him entertained on the bus journey.

New supermarket

I haven’t written very much about food shopping in Baku, which is odd as it takes up a lot of my time. There aren’t any big supermarkets here, just small to medium sized ones. And there isn’t one supermarket that you can go to and get everything you need. I go to a combination of shops now and, after a year (!) getting much better and knowing which one to go to when.

So I go the Meyevli, a greengrocers based near Sederek fruit and veg market. Then I go to Grand Mart if I am looking for meat and tinned tomatoes, I go to Bizim for store cupboard essentials – pasta, tinned beans and chick peas, cleaning products that sort of thing – and Bizarre store if I am passing, or I failed to find what I wanted from the other shops (or because I like their plain flour). All of them have milk, bread and cheese though not necessarily the brands that I want and have a small fruit and veg section as well, so useful for topping up. Grand Mart is dry so no good if you want a bottle of wine. There is also Gastronomy, which has a lot of imported products and prices to match, but is great if you just want a taste from home you can’t find else where.

Last week a new Bizim store opened, so today I went to check it out.

It isn’t as big as the old Bizim but it is a very clean, modern supermarket and closer to Stonepay so will definitely be added to the rota.

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