Thursday, 21 September 2017

Into the Dark

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I have deliberately made this the not-quite-correct title of a new British television series which I thought I would like (in case I mistakenly describe the main characters) .  We watched ten minutes of the first episode and decided NO.  It is a detective thriller set in the North of the UK but the characters are so contrived to be politically correct - it is painful to watch.  There is the requisite obese lady police constable, the rather ugly two main characters  (sorry, but we are used to the beautiful when we watch American shows), the black boss detective in charge, the Indian forensics guy and - of course, the mixed marriage central couple - usually a white man with a black woman.  I feel as if we are being systematically brain-washed into believing this is the way of the world.  I still think that people are usually physically attracted to those who are the most like themselves.  I make no apology if you think I am being racist: I happen to think nature knows best.  I accept that in the end the world's population will all be a 'khaki colour" and maybe that is ultimately a good thing?  Would it stop all wars if we all belonged to the same gene pool?  Meanwhile, I am glad to have a wide choice of what to watch on TV.  At the moment, we have opted for a series called "Versailles" about Louis XIV and the building of Versailles. After 11 episodes, I am finally tiring of the exquisite costumes and sets and the court gossip and intrigues and am suitably horrified at the life style of the nobles and the poverty of the masses (the only tax payers). An American show I am fascinated by is "Animal Kingdom" starring a shockingly plastic-surgery-altered Ellen Barkin. The family dynamics and plot are so far pretty intriguing. How wicked can a mother be? Luckily, my husband and I both enjoy this show - despite the obligatory homosexual son.  What a world.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Daughter of the Short Memory

For my mother's sewing machine
Anyone recognise this?  Yes, it's the instruction book from a 1959, state of the art, sewing machine. My mother always had the latest appliances and she was always sewing and knitting  (Passap knitting machine). Thus when she finally got a new one, I got to bring (with some strengthening of my right arm) this extremely sturdy old thing back to South Africa. It did everything, had all the amazing attachments like the 'roll hemmer' and a vast array of embroidery stitches. When my daughter got married and needed a machine, I lent her this one, having preserved its instruction book, which fitted tidily inside the lid in a niche designed for it. A couple of years later, she gave the machine back, having preferred a cheap, light Chinese job, but minus the instruction book.  She claimed adamantly that she had never had it !!  At this point, I was not only very annoyed, as said book had been guarded  by me for 30 years, but I needed to lend the machine to an old lady, a prolific sewer, whose own one had packed up.  I had to give it to her without the book.  Amazingly, her ancient husband did a Google exercise, found the manual and printed it all out.  In the course of time they returned the machine, but the printed pages were rather blurry, nothing like as useful as the original. A year after that, having moved house, my daughter produced the precious book, airily declaring that she had 'found it among my things' and hotly denying that she had ever said she didn't have it (???)  I was open-mouthed and speechless.
On reflection, I remembered lending them various things which they claim not to have had:  viz a large gazebo-like tent, a high riser  (car child seat) amongst others. The silver lining is that the machine now resides with one of my sisters-in-law, whose lovely Bernina was stolen from the back of their pick-up truck. Soon she will be in possession of the original book: she's older than me, so I know she will appreciate it.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Husband Blameless as Usual

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It is not often my husband is careless with his phone, but in this instance he couldn't find it, even when I called it up, it went straight to Voicemail.  Failing to locate it in all the usual places, he retraced his steps as far as the bathroom  - and there it was, staring up at him at the bottom of the bucket of shower water that we have been keeping daily for flushing the toilet for the last few months because of our severe drought conditions and municipal water restrictions. It's always in the same place.  This did not stop my husband railing at me (and the bucket) for being in such a stupid place. The phone had presumably fallen out of his pocket on standing up and slipped soundlessly into the adjacent water. Hastily snatching it from it's half-an-hour submersion, he grabbed my hairdryer and gave it a 5-minute blow-dry.  Thereafter, his Apple worked perfectly.
Much to our surprise. It hadn't been sold to us as waterproof.  NB. the bucket remains in its original place. Our drought continues.....

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Small Son Asks - Is She The One?

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We have been quite relieved that lately small son has settled down into a career that he enjoys - building houses with his brother-in-law. It's risky business but a great learning curve. At the same time, he is going out with a girl he knew at high school and has met up with ten years later. It seems they had both had their eye on each other for some time.  It's almost a year now and suddenly small son has been asking our advice. What to say? I am most reluctant to offer advice in this area.  If I am honest, my own 40-year marriage started out on the rebound and my husband is actually the polar opposite in every way to the man I thought I was in love with before. Typically of love in one's mid-twenties, a break-up is devastating at the time and one is extremely surprised and delighted to discover that true love can still happen after that. In fact, I had absolutely no doubt and not a moment's hesitation about getting married: we both just knew. But is it always so easy? These days, if you are pushing thirty and the clock is ticking it's likely that the couple have lived together for some time and have become perhaps a little comfortable. Does that mean the magic has diminished? Practical considerations seem to be that one is getting too old to risk looking for something different.  Where do you find the perfect someone? I prefer to stay out of this one.  I heard my husband advising, rather lamely, on the phone,  "Don't worry, you will just know".  In today's world, divorce seems to be easily on the cards and maybe the attitude of the young is that it is probably the right thing to do. It's a different generation.  Meanwhile we wait and see,

Monday, 26 June 2017

Remember Elephants love Fruit

Through the windscreen of our car
One thing we did manage to do last month was spend a night at the Addo Elephant Park on our way to the coast from the Karoo.  I have been deservedly nervous of elephants in recent years owing to the bad behaviour of tourists who hassle the animals in the famous Kruger Park.  As it happens, the elephants at Addo are plentiful but still docile as the tourists there show some respect.  We were lucky enough to come across this group at a water hole late in the afternoon: there were quite a few babies of various ages. This little guy made a mock charge towards us, but proved to be trying to scare off a couple of small birds. We watched for a while along with a few other cars, well spaced apart, when I saw the matriarch lift her head, look towards our car and then she left the group and strolled over, looking inquisitive. She was about twice the height of our car.  I suddenly realised my husband had his window open and was chewing on a succulent piece of dried mango. I hissed at him to close his window, which he did, and thankfully she turned away,
Believe me - this mamma was bigger than she looks!
but not before the driver of the car nearest to us saw her in his mirror, got a fright and almost reversed into her (although she might not have noticed if he did).  I once read that if an elephant gets the idea that there is a tasty treat inside a car, it will shake the vehicle like a tree. Not so good for the car or its inhabitants. So take a tip: remember elephants have a very keen sense of smell. Happily, nothing bad happened to anyone this time.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Allergy to Latex in Plasters

Me - sorry but looking for sympathy

It's been a long, emotional month, also with a long bout of bronchitis/ashma which has been debilitating. I am feeling good-ish for the first time today - thanks to my husband's concoction of black coffee and brandy which is acting as a temporary pick-me-up.  I haven't loaded the photos yet of the last three weeks, but thought I would share this one of my recent trip to the Dermatologist.  The trouble with 'things' on your back and around your bra-line is that you can't see them and they are therefore worrying. Despite telling the doctor that I am very allergic to waterproof/stretchy plasters, he had to use something and tried the ordinary old-fashioned ones. This is the very itchy result after two days - the actual moles removed healed nicely.  I guess one's skin gets more sensitive as you get older, and I seem to have inherited my dad's problem. Apart from that I learnt another hard lesson - when I got the bill - when you want any kind of procedure from any doctor - GET QUOTES FIRST. Failing to do this resulted in a bill at least 5 times what I had expected and emptied our Medical savings for the year. I was deeply shocked. I don't know how things work in America, but for purposes of comparison, our monthly medical insurance (a very basic plan) costs about 23% of our budget.  How does your system compare?

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Different Strokes for Different Folks

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Two funerals, two families - in one week.  We are still a little bamboozled by this. My brother-in-law, aged 74,  passed away last night - his funeral will be in a small town, big church (courtesy of 1820 Dutch settlers to the Cape), maybe 200 people.  My auntie in England, aged 96, will have exactly 12 people at her funeral. She died a week before him, but has to wait in the refrigerator until 6th June, because she lived in England, where there is a large population of which a large number is apparently awaiting burial, no matter which part of the country you live in. I can't help keep remembering how she hated to be cold.
The return of my British passport has been delayed by a computer glitch at British Airways last week-end, so we will have departed for the Karoo funeral before my passport can be delivered.  Luckily, this is Africa.  I went to the friendly DHL agent in our town this afternoon:  he assures me that I can have delivery delayed until we return from our 'holiday'.  He will put it in his office safe.  Six months ago, we planned a 4-night stay in a friend's time-share: our annual holiday. My husband has all along said I could go to England for my Aunt's funeral and reiterates that offer, even now.  But I am too scared to travel to the Uk since the Manchester bombing last week. England is now raised to 'critical' from 'severe' level of possible imminent chance of another terrorist attack.  What is it with this Isis? Our youth are so vulnerable. What a world. What does the future hold?