Archive for January, 2008

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 06-01-2008

…and all through the house, not a creature was moving; not even…

“Hey, what’s that noise?”
“Don’t know – it’s coming from our bedroom”
“Look! Over there! A mouse!”

I shut all the doors fast and grabs a plastic bowl. Mousy is hiding in a small gap at the back of our bed, but as we have a water bed, it’s impossible to move it to look. Instead, I shine the torch into the gap and wiggle it around noisily. Sure enough, the mouse flies out the other end at great speed and is climbing up the curtains, almost to head height. I try to catch it, then it jumps off and zooms into a plastic bag with material in it. I seize my chance and grab the neck of the bag and throw it out of the window. The mouse leaves the bag and runs off, in time for us to go out to a friend’s house for the Christmas Eve festivities.

This is by no means the first mouse we’ve had in our house – if you put ‘mouse’ into the ‘search’ box above, you’ll find at least two other occasions. However, in the past 3 weeks, we’ve had no fewer than seven sightings, and I’ve caught the wee blighter about three. The most recent time was Friday night (actually early Saturday morning), when we woke to find it on the window sill in our room. I confess that enough’s enough and I have now invested in some rat poison (apologies to lovers of little furry beasts, but the health risks from such an infestation are by no means insignificant).


Most Africans would stamp on a mouse as soon as look at it. One time, a huge one scuttled into the airport arrivals lounge in Cotonou and dozens of folk were stamping wildly in it’s general direction. The poor thing didn’t make it out alive, but someone obligingly picked up it’s frail rodent corpse and disposed of it. I couldn’t splat a mouse myself, I’m afraid (hence the poison). However, when I caught my second or third mouse of the month, I took it out to the guard outside and said “I’ve caught a mouse, what d’you think I should do with it?” hoping he’d say, “I’ll exterminate him for you.” Instead, we had the one African bloke in about 10,000 who fears such things: “I don’t like killing mice – just take him down the road and let him go.” Just our luck to get the only wimpy African guy I know! I’d let mice out down the road before and the mouse had returned, but in the absence of any viable alternative I did it again and (you’ve guessed it) he returned!

Do you have any good mouse stories? Leave a comment if so (or even if not!)

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 05-01-2008

I was delighted to find some of these for sale in a supermarket down the road a few days before Christmas:


They are lychees, which are not grown in Benin, but imported (like apples or baked beans). I first got hooked on lychees when living in Réunion Island – there you can eat ’em straight off the tree. Yum! Don’t think the ones you have for dessert in a chinese restaurant have anything to do with the succulent, flavoursome real thing, which has three parts to it: (i) a rough, hard, but increadibly thin outer shell (NB don’t try eating this bit – just peel it off), (ii) the white, juicy flesh and (iii) a smooth, brown torpedo-shaped stone (also discard!)

As lychee season is December in most places, I always associate them with Christmas, and used to buy a pound or so at Tescos each year. However, this is the first time I’ve found them in Benin. Yippee!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 03-01-2008

Yes, it’s 2008 already – wow, tempus fugit, eh?

Sorry for the HUGE delay in posting to the blog – Christmas festivities and all that. Also, our broadband has been down for the past couple of weeks and the dial up is painfully slow! Not to worry! Here are the kids opening their pressies on Christmas morning:


For Christmas dinner, we were invited to an American lady’s house and had turkey, ham, broccoli and macaroni cheese! Here we are (but I was taking the photo, so am absent!)


We took along Christmas pud and custard and also some crackers to pull (as Americans don’t have them). After the meal, we sung carols with Rob playing his keyboard. It was a fun day!

Other news…

* We’ve had mice in our house repeatedly for the past couple of weeks, so it’s been fun trying to catch them!
* The kids are at a sleepover at friends’ tonight (yes, all three of them!)
* Rob’s enjoying his first iPod, which he got for Christmas.
* Lois got a small digital camera for Christmas, which is handy.
* She also got (and has already finished) Peter Kay’s book The sound of laughter. “There was plenty of that whilst she was reading it”, says Rob.
* Very few power cuts this Christmas, and usually short ones (like 5 mins long!)

That’s all for now, more soon I promise!