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.