Thursday, 23 December 2010

Food for Thought

I had reason to give my small grandson lunch on the week-end ( he is now 2 and a half). So I devised a tasty plate with a no-fail cheese and ham omelette, decorated with cherry tomatoes and slices of cucumber, also grapes on the side. The dish was met with initial appreciation, but comments were as follows: "Oh, tomatoes (picks up and puts aside), cucumber (same), grapes (tried but spat out ) and FOOD!" Omelette consumed with gusto! On comparing notes with other grannies, it was agreed that toddlers are highly suspicious of anything with Skin - just a stage of development. But more startling is the fact that a study was done recently which found that a large number of 5 - 7 year-olds could not even recognise a raw vegetable and neither could they name them.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Privileged Gran and Car Seats

April, 2008 ...... catching up..

Well I did have some plans for today but scrapped them to help our daughter get her little one into the car and into town so that she could hand in her forms for her Maternity Benefit. This is how he arrived at my house last week - five days old! I do not approve of these ‘foetus-shaped’ car seats as I believe a baby should lie flat when tiny - but I am not allowed to say anything as a ‘paediatrician’ designed the seat. Well, today a week later, he got really uncomfortable and hot curled up in this thing and I worry terribly about his neck not having enough support. Anyway….., it is a hectic journey with lots of queuing so I was able to help by sitting in the car park with our baby while she dashed off, having calculated that he would be alright for half an hour as she had just fed him. What a delight to gaze at a sleeping, contented babe (now stretched out on my lap)! She just made it back before he started to miss her. That is because the queue was so long she couldn’t possibly join it half way through the day and also she had forgotten to get her forms signed by her employer. Now we are at my house - chaos with baby stuff strewn all over - and she has taken him for a walk in the pram. I have opted to lie on the couch and read my book for half an hour. Phew, this new baby stuff is exhausting. We have to try for the U.I.F. thing again tomorrow - leaving at the crack of dawn!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A Coincidence

I’ve just been reading (belatedly) “The Deceiver” by Frederick Forsyth. Excellent. Set in the Cold War years. Then I got an e-mail from my cousin in Canada, M, with whom I have been catching up since his mother died last year. We haven’t seen each in more than 30 years but seem to have a lot in common. He was a freelance cameraman before retiring at the end of 2007. We were talking about writing and he confessed that he had recently resurrected a diary he had kept when ABC TV sent him and a soundman to East Berlin, Prague and Budapest in December 1989 to film some of the conditions remaining after the withdrawal of the communists. He e-mailed me a copy and although all that is now a long time ago, he certainly experienced some hairy moments when they walked into the Romanian revolution which, from a writing point of view, I rather felt he downplayed the danger somewhat with typical British sang froid! All in all, he reminds me so much of my Dad, as M admits to various other practical hobbies like re-building old cars. I plan to stay in touch now: maybe he will even visit South Africa one day. He travels more now as ironically, he’s had to retire early from his filming career owing to the onset of Parkinson’s.

Book Nut! (Re Aicons at home). Yep. Agree, if mine broke - out would come the Plastic!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Aircon at Home

Those of you who spend your days in air-conditioned offices, please spare a thought for those of us roasting at home in unseasonably high temperatures. Having largely wasted three months expiring on the couch every afternoon, having done nothing much in the mornings, and in the light of global warming continuing, my husband finally consented to install 3 air conditioners in our house for me. My son found himself seconded as installation assistant, and apart from the fact that he jammed up my new vacuum cleaner’s filters with building dust in the cleaning up process (I only discovered this when it blew a large dead cockroach halfway across the room instead of sucking it up!), he did a pretty good job of helping his dad and in becoming a marginally more useful member of society. There are many advantages to our new ‘cool’ situation: my mood and productivity levels have improved enormously, we sleep better for cooling the bedroom down - can’t have it on all night though - hubbie complains of a ‘dry throat’ so I still get to spend nights in the TV room. But best of all – my daughter is visiting every afternoon with her grandson! I promise I will save electricity some other way. Actually, we were told that to run one of our units all day takes the same amount of electricity as boiling two kettles….I’ll make a flask!

Friday, 17 December 2010

A Chapter of Accidents

Oh dear, my facility for putting pics onto blog seems to have disappeared!
Last week my son was a front-seat passenger in an accident in which his friend (who had passed his test two weeks previously) decided to put foot when faced with an orange robot – as did the guy coming the other way who wanted to turn to the right. So they connected, the front of the bakkie going into the side of the turning car. No-one hurt but it was enough to teach a serious lesson. My husband thinks the bakkie is a write-off. My son has grazes from his seat belt and a bit of a sore neck. His friend is OK too. Over Easter, my youngest brother-in-law, one of our visitors tried to persuade my husband that he should get himself a quad bike. “Not likely”, said my husband, “those things are dangerous, if you fall off they invariably fall on top of you – all 280 kilos.” Guess what – my brother-in-law was out with his 15-year-old son on Sunday, each on their own bike and my brother-in-law misjudged a turn, the bike fell on top on him resulting in him losing consciousness and almost breaking his hip. His son was distraught as he couldn’t move the machine off his dad, who was rescued by passers-by. He spent a night in hospital and now has a chipped hip which is very painful. Let’s hope everyone learnt a lesson.

Sorry, I seem to have an illness on my pc. Can't post comments to anyone at the moment. So putting them here

Went to read your post re toilets etc., David. Hilarious! Brilliantly written.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

New-Fangled Gadgets

I was in an airport washroom recently, trying to find out how to turn on the faucets as there didn’t seem to be any device, when I dropped my powder compact into the basin. Immediately, a malicious niagara falls coursed upon it for a number of micro-seconds and then abruptly ceased. Just enough time to turn my newly-purchased cosmetic into a muddy puddle. I’ve got used to the long one-size-fits-all granite surface which serves in some public places as a communal sink but this facility had the good old-fashioned, spacious, white ones, so I was caught unprepared. What will they think of next? Luckily, for the employment prospects of the young, there seems to be no end to human ingenuity.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A Week of Procreation

April 2nd..... 2008 Catching up...

No blogging for a few days! Am now getting withdrawal symptoms – lots to catch up on. First things first: we are now the proud grandparents of a tiny, doll-like baby boy, who arrived on schedule after a 12-hour labour, (with a little help from an induction because his mommy’s blood pressure was climbing) on the evening of March 26th! But hey, labour wards aren’t what they used to be since the advent of the epidural. I was too scared of them in my day – and so were a lot of others, going by the screams and curses that issued from the rather packed ward at the Jo’burg Gen. 25 years ago. Now everything is so high-tech in a private hospital that the wards are silent! I could hear nothing even though I was standing right outside the door! Anyway, I am hoping to post a ‘real’ photo of our little angel – as soon as I can find one that is in focus, as the proud daddy, not having held a tiny baby before felt it incumbent on himself to jiggle the newborn up and down most of the time. (No-one else allowed to hold him just after the birth – we were privileged to be allowed in). On quite another level, I am equally proud of a seed I have managed to grow. I harvested several hundred little black seeds from my agapanthus a couple of weeks ago and have been zealously keeping them warm and wet and in the dark until – success! Exactly one has germinated and now has four tiny leaves. How about that!

Monday, 13 December 2010


23rd March, 2008... catch up blog

I am horribly busy this week, cleaning up after the latest blasts from the South-Easter (wind) and also our builders, because we have visitors over Easter and possibly into the middle of next week when my first grandson is due to arrive! I am really cross with my husband for settling on this inconvenient date for family to come and fish, much though I love them all. It’s just that I have been so excited about this coming baby and don’t want to miss any second of the ‘birth’ process. I told my husband in no uncertain terms that there will be big trouble if I am not the first person to lay hands on that baby after the medical people and its mother and father. If I have not even arrived at the hospital before the other granny, because my husband is out on the open sea, there will be hell to pay! We shall be out of town, you see, at our holiday house. My husband thinks that I am both nuts and entirely unreasonable as we shall only be an hour away (more if he is on the sea!) He just doesn’t understand about the capriciousness of babies! This one could easily pop out after a couple of minor pains if my mother-in-law’s birthing history is anything to go by. There’s just no telling. I can hardly wait…

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Washed Lottery Ticket, Part II

This story wasn’t quite finished when I told it before. You see while the ticket did lie in the machine all night on ‘Soak’, it was not actually swirled around but was still in one piece when I took it out. The reason that I feel honour bound to report this is that on the SAME DAY ! I watched a bit of a comedy family sitcom on BBC Prime, and lo and behold the wife was desperately trying to iron out soggy pieces of a washed lottery ticket with a rolling pin! How much of a coincidence is that? I thought it was now my destiny to have a last go at trying to make out some of the numbers as I squinted up at the ticket in the bright sunlight I thought I could make out three winning numbers from the indentations on the ticket. The bar code though seemed to be completely washed out so I didn’t hold out much hope, but took the ticket to our local Spar where the young lady with youthfully sharp eyes managed to decipher the 35 numbers one of which appears directly above each line of the bar code. I couldn’t see them at all myself. After a few attempts and false starts, the machine suddenly accepted the ticket. My husband won R7 on the Lotto Plus. and A lot of fuss for very little money, you might say, but you never know - I might have helped someone win a few million one day. Of course, you do need an unusually helpful staff member at the till.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Magic Dog

I had my misgivings when my brother said that he and his family had finally acquired the dog they had wanted for months from the Blue Cross Society near where they live, south of Birmingham. The dog, named Rocky, had been to and fro between a couple of would-be new homes for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as a Rottweiler/Alsation cross, he had tried out with the police force but been returned by them for being too much of a softie, then he had gone to a home with cats. Rocky doesn’t like a cat, although he loves almost anything else on four or two legs or even six or eight. He has been in residence now for about three months and by all accounts including that of my son and his new wife who visited last week-end, the whole of this highly-strung family has benefited enormously from Rocky’s phlegmatic, optimistic and loving nature. He loves everyone equally and each one of them is putty in his paws. My brother, whose blood pressure has been a matter of concern to me for a long time, now willingly walks the two miles up the hill to the newspaper shop and back ‘because the dog needs exercise’. He would NEVER walk anywhere before. My brother is also a computer freak who is accustomed to spend most nights of his life sitting at his PC screen in his study, particularly as he thinks most television programmes are rubbish. This does not suit Rocky, however, who likes all his pack around him when he watches TV, eating his bone-chew. Possessed of a primal herding instinct, Rocky thus presents himself at the door of the study, bone in mouth, head cocked, with a look of enquiry on his face. He then trots off to the lounge - if my brother does not follow, Rocky returns to the study and stands in the door again - now with a hurt look on his face. My brother has no defence against this and meekly follows the dog to the lounge for the duration. Well, well, well! Who would have thought it?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Throwing the Bones

I have just had the most embarrassing experience. Whilst at the till at our local supermarket, rummaging in my bag for the plastic shopping bags I had actually remembered to bring with me for a change (they don't give them free any more), I found a clump of them wrapped up together or so I thought but when I tipped them out - two night’s ago’s old chicken bones spewed out in a greasy heap all over the conveyor belt! The look on the face of the cashier had to be seen to be believed. I was too busy gathering up the mess and hiding my face in shame to look at the expression of the shopper behind me. Now if I had only wanted to know my fate that morning and ‘thrown the bones’ African-style before I left home - this bad thing could have been avoided.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

True Love

We had our 30th Anniversary last week and it passed fairly uneventfully except for a bunch of flowers so massive I had to go out and buy a new vase for them. People often ask how come one manages to maintain the love in a long relationship and I am often at a loss to really explain, other than to recommend that you take your time getting to know yourself before you choose a partner, but this may serve as an illustration. My husband came home after a really dreadful day at work yesterday and to cheer himself up, he decided to get going on giving our entertainment room a much-needed coat of paint. So I helped as far as I could, clearing stuff off the walls and out of the way etc. and we passed a companionable two hours before the sun finally set. I quickly made supper and had been looking forward to my oven chips, which I cook first in the microwave and then brown under the grill. The flat tin I put them on hasn’t been looking too healthy for a while, the teflon stuff has been coming off a bit - a consequence of putting chips on it under the grill at a very high temperature. I usually put a bit of tinfoil on top but was in a hurry and didn’t. Predictably, the rest of the teflon came off in little black bits stuck all over the chips. I was so cross with myself and the tin and almost my husband although he had nothing to do with it. Then while I sat moodily staring at my plate of steak and veg, he got up, went to the offending sight and spent 10 minutes picking every single black bit off about 25 chips and gave them to me, after which he settled down uncomplaining and ate his own food, gallantly refusing my offer to share.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Double Entendre

Small son came to show me the ‘status’ message he had googled for himself for his Facebook page, which he thought quite cool. Your ‘status’ is apparently something which describes your state of mind for the day. He had chosen that old chestnut (which he didn’t know had been slightly altered): “You spend nine months waiting to get out and the rest of your life trying to get back in.” I didn’t tell him that there were three words omitted viz “of the womb” and left him with his innocent thought. I suppose it depends on your age and whose e-mail list you are on as to what would have sprung to mind. He was talking about leaving home after his last nine months of High School. NB. After a brief four months in London, jobless, and sponging off his big brother, small son did realise the wisdom of acquiring a qualification of some sort. Having thus scuttled back home and into his beloved room, he embarked on a 3-year Diploma – “International Import & Export”. Next year will be his third and he shows no signs yet of wanting to leave the nest. I shall be quite prepared to give him a shove when next year ends, as the mommy birds do. And there will be no "double entendre" about it!

Thursday, 2 December 2010


..... 6th March, 2008

This topic is again on the charts because Oprah had a forum of the ‘other women’ on her show the other day. My best friends and I were discussing aspects of the topic at a coffee shop while we rested from the exertions of filling our shopping trolleys. Agreeing that Oprah’s guests seemed mostly to come from social circles of the rather exotically wealthy who live in a different world anyway, we nonetheless came to a conclusion based on the experiences of ordinary people we had known. If you are in a long, stable relationship and you have children and a life together and you made a mistake – one night stand after a few drinks for example – just keep it to yourself. Carry the burden of guilt on your own. It is the most selfish thing in the world to confess it to your partner so that you feel better and the other’s trust is destroyed. (Of course, these days, you need to get an AIDS test as well.)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Bad Karma

My son has been instructed to employ I.T. technicians who live and work in India. He has had to interview them over the phone and is in charge of the work they produce. His company is based in London and as is the current trend, they have been tempted to outsource work to India because it is cheaper. Much cheaper. My son tells me that to employ such a person in London would cost £800 per day. The Indian rate is the equivalent of £100. The only snag is he is finding that they only produce one eighth of the work of which a fair amount is later discovered not actually to have been done at all. The explanation for this seems to be that it is considered to induce bad karma if you tell your boss you have not actually done part of the work allotted to you. You must try not to upset anyone: if you do you will not be reincarnated to a higher caste one day. My feeling is that there must be a fairly large number of employees everywhere who, while not belonging to this particular school of thought, have much the same attitude. Avoid unpleasantness for as long as you can, even if you know you will eventually be found out and that the consequences will be much worse then. Before you can say Jack Robinson –the enterprising Indian technicians have already left and are living and working in London. But who am I to talk? I will do anything to avoid confrontation.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

More Building Woes

I went out deliberately all morning today, leaving small son to field the non-stop sob stories of our builder’s subcontractor; these vary from “we forgot our wheelbarrow/rake/screw driver/sharp knife can we borrow yours”, to the latest. The new slusher we bought doesn’t work - there’s something wrong with the washer”. Now work is on hold while someone is despatched to locate/borrow/buy another one. I am beginning to think these wall pillars will never be finished. My son-in-law had better stories though: his tiler didn’t pitch up for a few days because he was in gaol, and one of the brickies couldn’t come for two weeks, waiting for the end of the month because he had broken his angle grinder and had to wait for money to come in before he could buy another one. This is South Africa.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Spell it Out

My son was asked by his father to help him move the safe to a more secure position. Son readily agreed and got the help of a friend. Having duly ‘moved’ it, son was ready to skip off to go surfing and was highly indignant when his father insisted that he had only done half the job - the other half of which was to drill the requisite four holes through the back and floor of the safe and similar into the walls and floor of the house at the new location. (We have rather determined gun thieves in South Africa.) This part required a little elbow grease. A heated debate followed as to the interpretation of the word ‘move’. I made a mental note to intervene and act as interpreter next time as I have crossed swords with my son on similar ground before. I have learnt that it is necessary to spell out each step in painstaking and precise English, although I have to admit even this is not always a guarantee against the inventive and devious mind of a teenage boy trying to get out of doing a job around the house. I should add that we only have such firearms as are necessary for my husband and sons to help cull the venison on our in-laws farms every winter, which also helps greatly with our food budget. PS My son went on his annual two-week visit down to the farms with such a small bag, I felt obliged to peek in his cupboard. As the owner of 14 pairs of underpants, I counted 13 still on the shelf. Presumably, this applied to the rest of his clothes and he will return with significantly dirty/worn out items. Yuk. Even a girlfriend has not resulted in him changing his ways. What's wrong with today's girls?

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Winning Tickets

March 3rd, 2008....

An atmosphere of gloom and despair has descended onto our house. I didn’t lose my job or have a heart attack: my family are all well and I am not depressed. What has happened is apparently trivial - I washed my husband’s shirt with his Lotto tickets still in the pocket. Looking at his face, you would think the world was at an end. The huge downside is that I think I shall not hear the last of this for the rest of my married life: every time we might be in need of a substantial sum of money to fund whatever, my husband will hark back to today, giving me a martyred and reproachful look, and say that of course, he might have had the winning ticket. I can think of only one thing worse - KNOWING that you had the winning numbers - and having lost the ticket! ….. Fast forward to today – November 26th, 2010. Miraculously, time has had a healing effect and I have not been reproached about the washed tickets in the last twelve months! Until today – that is, when I actually lost the ticket on the way to the shop to have it checked. Unlike our normal modest purchase, my husband had won some money in a bet with our son-in-law, and had decided to splurge it on a 10-draw, double row ticket. THIS would definitely have been the ticket that enabled us to retire in splendour. Double whammy. Now he has remembered about the previous incident as well and I am constantly reminded of both. I shall never hear the end of this lot. (Indeed, what if we had won? It doesn’t bear thinking about.) I bought him another big ticket to make up but paradoxically he has already decided this is a no-win item as I have now brought a jinx into the situation. Alright, I’ll keep it then. I’ll let you know!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

It's All in the Detail

We are having a metal fence with pillars built across the front of our property, a bit like this pic.

When my husband came home on Friday, he basically blew a gasket, so inexpertly has the work on our fence pillars been done so far. I don’t have much technical savvy and so did not notice that the track for the rolling gate only had a wafer-thin layer of cement to run on and was already cracking, nor did I choose to notice….well, a fair bit of other stuff. Besides I felt rather sorry for the youngster running the crew and yes, he had not been there when all went cock-eyed on Wednesday and Thursday but I had thought that it would all be put right on Monday. So we went out for breakfast this morning before our regular trip to our hardware store for sundry rawl plugs, shelving etc.etc. and came back to find the same sorry crew, sent to put all to rights today. This did not improve my husband’s mood because in the end he had to sit down and draw everything for them with meticulous measurements, copy for the contractor which I must take to his office on Monday. I can’t help feeling that this should all have been done by the contractor on the original quote. Our fault for not insisting on precise specs for everything but we thought these were experienced people, vouched for as they were, by the referral company we have used. I remember thinking I should have insisted on contactable references at the time with photographs of completed work to go and look at. Still, even that is no guarantee: your work is only as good as your current workers and they come and go all the time. It’s a bit like rugby really: your team is only as good as your currently naturally gifted players. No reason why last year’s champions should retain their place next time.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Teenage Boys

I received a surprise ‘bonsela’ (free gift) the other day in the form of a water melon because I purchased more than R100 fruit and veg at our local Fruit ‘n Veg. I don’t usually buy a water melon for our small family although we do like them, as they are too big and also heavy for me to carry. This one weighed about 10 kilos, but I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. So having lugged it home I asked my son to take it over the road to our good neighbour, M, (as my husband was away) and ask him to cut it into thirds, some for him, some for us, and some for our other good neighbours next door to him. The last I saw of it was my son handing it over at their front door before dashing off with his surfboard to a waiting car full of friends. Two days later I asked my son what had happened to our share? “You never said anything about cutting it up,” he declared, but I could see a grin of recognition spread over his face. So I can guess what happened. Not wishing to miss his lift to the beach, my verbal instruction would have been shortened to:

“My mom said here’s a water melon for you.” Score one out of three: obviously the other family didn’t get their share either.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Marriage Down Time

This is only on a small scale, but very much appreciated - my husband is away for two days on business and I can do exactly as I like in the evenings. This means no cooking! Cheers! I can indulge in my favourite food - tonight it is large quantities of humous on white toast followed by a whole bar of Cadbury’s nut chocolate. I can carry a pot of tea or bottle of wine to my study and sit on the computer all night if I like, while listening to Leigh Benny on 567 Cape Talk Radio (Cape Town’s local radio station). Tonight they were interviewing a financier addicted at various times in his life to heroine. He is never really cured. Serious stuff. I needed to switch over to my taped Barry Ronge show from Sunday morning for some light relief, all the while glued to my computer screen. My small son shouts from the kitchen that he has made himself a mountain of pancakes (in the glaring absence of anything else to eat). So he’s fine. At 9.00 p.m. I am going to watch ‘The Da Vinci Code’ with him. He hasn’t seen it before but I have - twice. If my husband were here, we would be watching ‘Dirty Jobs’ on Discovery channel, but I can always watch a good movie a few times. My husband can’t see the point of this and won’t. Last night I went to bed and indulged in my taped chick flick ‘Beaches’ with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey (remember her?) Great sob stuff. Then I carried on with my book, a John Connolly - also great stuff, well past midnight. Then I switched on the radio to have some company while dropping off . (567 again - what nuts phone in during the small hours!). This is all because although we now have an alarm system with outside sensors, I am always nervous when my husband is away. I have a completely false sense of security if he is asleep beside me. Can’t wait for him to come back.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Battle of the Blades

Gillette recently released their newest razor blade the ‘Venus Embrace’ for women, featuring no less than 5 blades! This is the latest in a long line of one-upmanship with rivals in terms of how many blades can be squeezed onto one handle. What attracted me to this article in the Business Times (24.02.08) was the highlighted research-speak viz “Female shaving areas are more topographically varied” than men’s. Also notable is the solemn dedication of the researchers to the ‘emotional end benefits’ apparently crucial for women to experience while shaving. What could these be I wonder? Some sort of cosmic soothing brought on by the feel of the delicate curves and colours of the handle? I suppose it’s not that far removed from the feelings evoked by the sight of a curvaceous bottle of perfume, for example. I would never have thought that a disposable razor would have to have such bling. I reason that a razor cut on the shin is just as painful whatever the packaging and to my way of thinking, a thing with five blades just presents 5 more opportunities for inadvertently chopping bits out of your leg! I’m not totally low-tech though: I am partial to the double blade which can still be obtained by dropping to one’s haunches to the bottom of the smart razor gondola, where its’ humble packaging resides one shelf above the really cheap single-blade jobs. I’ve tried an electric razor, can’t get on with it. If the price creep continues though, I might consider going back to the beauty parlour waxing thing - I’ll just have to weigh up the relative pain of the two procedures. Actually, there’s no real contest: I’ve only ever had one wax. As any man will agree: the pain is extreme, but waxing will always be with us as there are some places I wouldn’t want a razor to go, especially if I were a man: have you heard what they ask for at the beauty parlour?

“Back, Crack and Sac,”, (my daughter delighted to inform me). How gross is that?

Saturday, 20 November 2010

How to Fit a Toilet Roll

I cannot believe that neither my husband nor my son (both practical people) can seem to fathom out how to insert a new toilet roll into the holder. Why does it not offend their aesthetic sense to place the new roll on top of the old, not even convenient to tear a piece off? Come to think, why does it also not bother them when they open or close curtains and leave gaps between the drops or where they meet in the middle? Is this something I should have read about in “Men are from Mars….”. Despite this book’s popularity, I haven’t read it, having previously felt that none of my men or myself fit into the stereotype of what a man or woman typically is, my husband usually being able to turn his hand to anything I can do: moreover, I am pretty good at reading maps. It looks as if I might have been able to find comfort in a chapter or two.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Drama at the Gym

I had to skip stretch class last week because I had visitors so I missed the drama. A gentleman was training for a Spinathon just outside the windows of our studio, on one of the machines when he apparently had a heart attack. One of our regulars - an older chap - proved to be a retired doctor and he speedily supplied first aid while the Paramedics were summoned. Thanks to his quick actions and the arrival of the Paramedics within about four minutes, the man’s life was saved. It transpires that he had undergone a triple bypass not long ago! It just goes to show two things in my humble opinion - some people will always push themselves too far and too much exercise (as I have always suspected) is bad for you. “A little of what you fancy”, say I, reaching for my medicinal red wine. Just one glass though.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

A Brilliant Invention

There would be great cause for depression if it wasn’t that there are so many clever people about. When my friend, M, returned from the UK she brought me back a lot of gadgety gifts as if her wont. Among them was a nifty gadget for making toasted sandwiches. It is a sort of thick plastic bag made of some kind of rocket science material into which you insert your two slices of filled bread. You then place the bag into your toaster, choose a fairly high setting and voila! In the same time as you would normally toast a slice of bread you have a snackwich! And she gave me two of them! I see my small son has already become quite partial to these bags (M gave me two) as he has clicked that there is no washing up attached to the operation. You can put the bags into the dishwasher too. Three cheers for brainy inventors!.... Sadly they gave in after constant use for about six months. Where can I get more? .... Oh, of course - Just "Google" - there were so many photos to choose from for this post, these things must be in common usage by now, especially in America. Do any of you use them?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Retrospective Exercise

I have decided to concentrate my energies in my spare time to seeing if I can concoct a novel - loosely based (of course) on my own life experiences. To this end I am going through old correspondence: it seems I have kept every letter anyone ever sent to me since 1975, when I left the UK for good and kept in touch with everyone by Snail mail. This is becoming the strangest of experiences: I have forgotten good friends who sent me regularly 10-page letters when I was going through the trauma of different relationships, I have kept every weekly letter from mother, with its consequent trivia: I even have a small series of letters from my father - the worst letter writer ever - but he wrote to me faithfully during the year when my mother refused to communicate when we were at odds over my ultimate choice of husband. All these are so precious. I have letters from girls I worked with when I lived in Israel for three years. I am so ashamed that I have struggled to remember their faces. But these precious documents are all before Facebook and e-mail. I have letters which I have completely forgotten - from a dear male friend I had at university: he was the best friend of a boy my best friend lusted after and so we sometimes went on foursomes. Once I slept with him (it was the Sixties after all ) - although I was not attracted - he had rather an underbite - but he was such a nice big and friendly guy. It seems I wrote to him years later, asking advice for my entanglements of the moment. I chuckle now when I read his ten-page missives - so witty and self-deprecating. Why did I not realise it at the time ? Did he perhaps really fancy me? I feel tempted to try to trace him. It's so easy today isn't it. I wouldn't want to upset his wife (surely he is married and has grandchildren by now) but as I age, I begin to wonder if it isn't a true gift of today's digital world that we can make contact with our past and perhaps, with hindsight, make better sense of it. I assure you that I adore my husband - I love every hair on his head and every wrinkle on his face - and wouldn't change him for the world: but it is very tempting to get in touch with 'the past' and to try to make sense of everything by relating it (with the wisdom of hindsight) to 'where we are now.' Perhaps I'll try: this 'friend' had a family farm in Scotland. I still have the address. I'll keep you posted......

Take Your Choice - what to believe?

There are so many ‘scientific’ studies out there today that one can pick and choose the bits of research that suit one’s own way of thinking: for example, I cut out all the articles that tell you how good coffee is for you or red wine or how bad too much exercise can be - and ignore the rest. At the moment I am trying to train my daughter to do the same re childbirth, breast-feeding, child-rearing etc as I see she is becoming mightily confused by all the conflicting advice available. The other day I came across someone whose life is mostly devoted to her own ailments and in beautifying as much of her body as she can at vast expense. Her justification is that the bible tells you that your body is your temple and you must worship it and look after it. That would be the same bible that says that the black man must be the slave of the white I suppose. I think I must give the bible another go and bookmark a few pages.