Wednesday, 23 June 2010

That Hormone Patch

So now that I am pushing sixty, my doc says I must swop over to a patch – better for the liver, she says, considering that I have to take cholesterol pills as well. Well, they seem quite easy to apply – just out of sight on the buttocks, as long as they are far away from the breast area. OK. I’ve used about six now and tried one on my upper thigh for a change – as it’s winter here and I wear pants all the time. Shock, horror! Upon removing this one, I saw that, similar to wearing a plaster for half a week, when you rip it off, there is a nasty, greyish residue left behind where the glue was and it is the devil of a job to get it off. Upon observing my rear end (with some difficulty) in the mirror, I now see that I have literally a patchwork of these that I didn’t know about and upon which the gentle daily shower sponge has clearly made no impression. Nothing for it: I shall have to get my husband to apply the pot scourer to these out of reach regions. Maybe there can be an upside? Perhaps we can turn this bi-weekly exercise into some kind of esoteric foreplay. Failing that, it should at least be a bit of a giggle!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Bafana Bafana! World Cup Soccer

So we lost last night - was that any reason for half the stadium to leave before the end, revealing ironically so many empty blue plastic seats that they looked like even more support for Uruguay. What interested me was the absence of Matthew Booth, so I was even more interested to hear the following three comments from black soccer fans who phoned into our local Cape Talk radio last night. One said, Matthew should have played because he shows leadership and always keeps the team's morale up, another pointed out that as we are a 'rainbow nation' as far as our rugby team is concerned - why isn't our soccer? And a third gentleman campaigned for soccer to be offered more widely in white schools. Well I never! Of course, should we have won last night, no-one would have queried the absence of any white face in the team. Even more giving pause for thought is the irony that should we not have drawn with Mexico, fans would not have expected half as much from our match with Uruguay. Have we forgotten that we started out in this tournament, ranked 88th in the world? Shame on us - we should support our guys through thick and thin, as do the dedicated British fans - LIverpool being a case in point. By the way, the television commentary of the opening show at 2.00 p.m. last Friday was abysmal! Seven minutes of absolute silence during the fly past , nothing during the impassioned performance by the Zulu warrior, which cried out for a rough English translation and explanation of Zulu cultlre, so that some of us could have been spared the conviction that war was being declared on all and sundry. Famous faces picked out by the camera in the crowd received no comment. The whole thing was so amateur, I am sure it was ad-libbed without any research done. Who were all the different groups who performed so marvellously for our entertainment? These commentators only came into their own when the match started. Which explains everything. Thank goodness the fantastic vibe at the venues made up for all this.

If you Can't Beat 'Em.....

The family knows that I don’t like help in my kitchen. There are several good reasons for this - the main one being that I can’t concentrate on many things at once if I have to organise other people and show them where everything is. Also, not everyone does things the way one prefers - one has to accept this help in times of great need e.g. non-stop catering for the influx of people who came for the wedding - a huge cooked ham for lunchtimes and braais (Bar-B-Qs) at night took care of that, but otherwise I like to do my own thing. I had to give in this time though, faced with the high-energy, chatty personality of ‘the new girlfriend’. It is not good enough to delegate some tasks to her - she finishes them at top speed and beseeches one to give her something else to do. Blitzed with the non-stop chat at the same time, I found myself getting exhausted and also worried that if we couldn’t keep her occupied she would rapidly become bored. So I first sent her off to the shops and then relinquished my whole kitchen and sat down with a glass of wine, having told her what dishes to prepare. In the end I think I got the best of the deal. I even enjoyed my dinner.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Botswana Border


We once went on a four-day holiday around the Transkalahadi Frontier Park between South Africa and Botswana. One of the borders was just this dirt road. We stopped to look at all the animal spoor so clearly visible in the sand. Featured are my daughter and my elder son - about eight years ago. I am doing this quick post because I happened across the photo on my computer and am trying out the "Send to Blogger" option.
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Middle Age Spread

Friday 28th December 2007

That’s it. Dress for the wedding is finished, but have to hold stomach firmly in all the time, even though it drops into an A-line from below the bust, shoulders back - in fact, having difficulty remembering to breathe. Can’t I get some sort of corset somewhere? I am reminded of every day when my mother used to come home from work (in the sixties). She would stop on the doorstep, raise her skirts, detach her suspenders from her stockings and peel off her corset, breathing a huge sigh of relief. Of course, it’s too hot in South Africa to even think of wearing such a garment in temperatures of 30 degrees C, even if I could find one - and don’t ask me to wear a G-string - both prospects would make me suicidal! I imagine there is some other kind of ‘pantie’ that won’t show and may help to slim me down a bit. It’s not fair: no kind diet or exercise will shift this middle-aged spread, short of plastic surgery or liposuction. Has anyone found the answer?

Monday, 14 June 2010

Teenage Sisters' Christmas Gifts

Thursday 27th December 2007

Another Christmas over, a little different this year as the family is growing and evolving. We had a great lunch catered al fresco at my daughter’s new house - that was different - seafood stew and ham cooked in the Weber with a prawn, avocado and mango starter. I made an ice-cream bombe for dessert. The weather was perfect: the company great as the two younger sisters of my son-in-law entertained us with their witty banter. This year apparently, the youngest had told her sister in no uncertain terms: “I’ve spent exactly R245 on your Christmas present - and you had BETTER have spent the same on me!” The story behind the story was that the previous year - a little short of funds and also at the last minute, the elder sister had bought a bar of cheap soap and - insult of insults - not even wrapped it - just carelessly shoved it into a supermarket packet. You would have to be sisters to get away with that. It reminds me of a birthday gift I once received from a friend - a scarf. She told me she was so relieved that I was poor so that she would not have to buy me an expensive present! This further makes me think of a wedding we shall be attending - the couple already have everything. So we asked about gifts - luckily, they want anonymous donations to their favourite charity.

Friday, 11 June 2010


December 2007

It’s just a coincidence that my daughter-in-law’s parents got married on the same date and same year as we did and that we are all still married after 33 years. But in my regular coffee shop today, I find that the owner’s son is getting married on the same day as mine, on a wine farm (so is mine), they are the same age and both are marrying local girls. Both live in London and work in IT but are marrying over here. Can you believe it? I don’t believe in coincidences myself, because the other obvious explanation is that their situation is simply typical of the other 1,000s of young South Africans in London at the moment. They would all like to come home, but meantime, they are doing so well….We have stopped asking when? I feel that as the world has become such a ‘global village’ I am sure they could make a plan and live six months in each country and please everybody. We can’t afford to go anywhere else, so we just hope they will come to us – at least for a while.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Schoolboy Humour

One night, when the whole family was gathered and braaing was going on (a Bar-B-Q) in the garden underneath the wooden deck of my sister-in-law’s house, I was amazed to see husband with an ear-to-ear grin on his face. I suddenly realised how rare this is, so fraught with work worries is he normally. The cause of this light mood proved to be an ice cube that he had carefully placed on top of the deck so that it would melt slowly on top of his brother-in-law’s bald head. Perhaps there’s something to be said for boarding schools - you learn to be the butt of jokes. It reminds me of another of hubbie’s boarding school japes - one of the guys was very stingy with his termly ‘tuck’ whereas the others all shared and he had an assortment of three padlocks on his locker to prevent theft. No problem: my husband and his friends simply unscrewed the back of the locker and helped themselves. Apparently, the guy never tumbled to this ruse. Perhaps he got what was coming to him.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Steaming Toilets

December 11th 2007

Flashback to the past.....

One reason why my daughter’s house is taking so long to finish is that almost everything that is not the main structure has had to be done again. Painting, skew doors, skew walls, skew tiles. The workmen not turning up for various reasons such as being in jail, having broken a major tool and having to wait until payday until buying another. You name it had to be done over. The latest is the worst, the liquid stone surfaces in the kitchen have been cast in completely wrong sizes, apparently because the sub-contractor was in hospital and had to contract out to someone else. This seems to me to be a huge job - the stuff is so heavy. Well, they can’t move in without the kitchen counter tops, so that’s another big delay. Further, no workmen are allowed on the premises after the coming Friday (rules of the complex). Help! Looks as if Christmas could be at my house after all. Well, that will be a disaster – my husband and I will be at our holiday house the week-end and Monday of Christmas Eve– madly tiling the bottom bathroom in preparation for people coming for my elder son's wedding

January 8th 2008

Almost back to normal – Christmas over, wedding over, lots to catch up on. The final instalment of my daughter’s house-building saga yielded a move-in one week before Christmas, the descent of a water leak onto their heads while they slept, the descent of three of her cousin’s families and their assorted children just before the wedding, a photo-finish of finding beds and bedding for the afore-mentioned and finally – the mysterious steaming of the toilets –it appears unbelievably that the plumber had linked up the toilets to the hot water system. This has meant that sitting on same as been quite a soothing and pleasant experience but still...I don’t envy them their water bill.. (NB. Fast forward to the present - one toilet still produces steam two years later - too expensive to change it!)

Friday, 4 June 2010

Come to Cape Town!

Just seeing how this panoramic photo loads from my husband's new camera! Enjoy (I think). ....Yeh! No probs. Had a look at the preview. We are gearing up for the World Football tournament, which starts on Friday 11th June. There will be 8 games in Cape Town and we have built new stadiums in all the major cities. The locals have started to enter into the fun with everyone flying flags from their motor cars - sometimes those of a couple of different countries - so inter-married are we. I have two: South AFrica and the UK. I would also be wearing the T-shirt, but our shops have sold out! We are looking forward to a lot of fun over the next five weeks. The final is on 11th July. This is one of our famous views. The mountain is what you see from the plane or if, like the discoverers of the 14th century, you came in by the sea. More anon....

Just for Grans

It is hard to overestimate the benefits of the extended family: we live at the moment close by both our married son and married daughter and thus have the privilege of seeing lots of our two little grandchildren. I find that at this stage of my life as I am no longer working, I simply set aside any time that is required of me to babysit, I give my full attention and reap the rewards. (Unlike when I was a working mom!) My grandson, at two, simply blossoms and is a delight with one-on-one attention, but of course, he is a live wire, loves climbing and exploring above all else and so I always take him out somewhere once he has completed his round of my house and satisfied himself that everything is still in its rightful place and there is nothing new to play with. I don’t buy him things and I keep him away from sweets but we have a great time at the shops. His favourite thing is to go up and down in the lift, pressing the buttons (we do this about twenty times), next he likes to go up and down the three flights of steps up to the roof. Most exhausting for me but I suppose I need the exercise. Last night though I had the privilege of having him stay over: as my husband was away, he slept in the bed with me. There can be nothing to compare with the feeling of a tiny hand touching your neck for security while its owner happily sleeps. NB Neck was sore the next day but it was a small price to pay. This is him at 20 months, launching himself into the deep end of our pool.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Big Soppy Dog

My brother has all his life wanted a dog: our parents were not keen on pets so we never had a dog. The most we were allowed was the odd hamster or budgerigar. So it was with great joy that Rocky and my brother found each other at the Blue Cross Animal shelter. Luckily, M, my brother's wife was equally keen

Maid of Conscience

In this partly third-world coutry of ours, even the average earner has either a char or a live-in maid. My sister-in-law has always been kind-hearted and can’t resist trying to help anyone wherever she can. Thus she has always had a series of the poorest of the poor as chars and is always caught between feeling sorry for their plight and exasperated when they arrive drunk or don’t arrive at all when she most needs them. It was no different last week-end. The maid, Sophie, who has been (half-heartedly) fired several times, returned again, on the wrong day, muttering quietly to herself. She lives nearby. After the usual two hours of doing everything wrong and being more of a hindrance than a help, she was (as usual) sent home with a full day’s pay and half the contents of my sister-in-law’s fridge. Sophie has no husband, has lost four adult children to Aids - 3 daughters and a son - and now sits with all the grandchildren to raise on her own. My sister-in-law is a better person than me. I give only to registered charities now and don’t even have a char, so my house is always in order. I tell myself that I did my duty and had a full-time maid when my children were small, and char once a week when I was working. My conscience is reasonably clear. I don’t suppose it can ever be totally so, not when you live in Africa.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

About the Lioness

A few years back we went to the Transkalahadi Frontier Park on the border between Botswana and South AFrica. You go in a convoy of not more than 4 recreational vehicles (4 x 4s) allowed in one party. You make a laager at night and pitch camp which must be pristinely cleaned up in the mornings. You have to take all your supplies, even water. There is nothing between you and the animals. One day, we had seen nothing much all day and were approaching the designated campsite (a dot on the map) and as we rounded the corner this lady and her husband were sitting on top of a rock, very relaxed, looking down on us in somewhat bored fashion. In our excitement and fumbling for our camera, hubby (who had been sitting next to her), yawned, got up slowly and strolled away so he is not in the shot. My son loves this pic - he says it is so feminine with the pink tongue. Sorry, try as I might I have both PIcasa and iPhoto on my Mac and i can't get the correct photo to upload!! (Cute as she was, that night, my son packed thorn branches around his tent. Hubby and I slept soundly - we had one of those tents on top of the vehicle. This pic is typical of the Eastern coastline of South AFrica. A marvellous warm current sometimes passes through and the surfing is often awesome

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Pull Your Pants Up!

I thought I misheard last week when my husband was lecturing my son for the nth time about being untidy. We were about to go to the airport and my husband had popped into my son’s room and was appalled at its condition. And what’s more, said he, “If you are travelling with me, you’d better pull your pants up!” I thought he had meant to say, “pull your socks up!” - meaning in general behaviour, room cleaning and so on, but no, when I put my head round the corner I could see the instruction was literal. Since his bout of tic bite fever, small son has lost quite a bit of weight and his normally hip-swung jeans have now descended perilously lower and appear to be hanging on a wing and a prayer - I can’t think what else could stop them from falling off. To be fair though, I don't he could have looked quite as bad as the guy in this picture. My husband simply wouldn't have let him get on the plane.