Saturday, 22 December 2012


Ah, the world didn't end. Just as well, as I've bought a lot of Christmas presents...maybe that's why my husband was galvanized into going to a movie? Nah, just kidding..
We were surprised to be amongst adults at the film, and less surprised to find most people were couples like us.  I was bored during the first five minutes of relentless stunts  before the title, and then restless during most of the movie. Even my husband said afterwards that we have perhaps become too old, too intolerant of fantasy and uneasy about the amount of spurious violence and death in films today and the incredible destruction of property portrayed. No wonder that some of those amongst the young, living in their remote world of video games, go off the rails. There were some good moments in the film. For instance, the title is only explained towards the end, which provides a little welcome suspense and there are some nostalgic moments when the old Bond movies are given the nod viz the dry martini, the adorable old Aston Martin and Bond's inimitable lines of introduction when asked his name. There are one or two funny lines. I laughed out loud when after a hectic chase through London, Bond ends up seeing the bad guy exit a tube station in rush hour. Bond is given his instruction to board the train only after it has picked up speed and has almost left the station. He sprints through the crowd and leaps onto the back end of the train: a bystander is heard to remark to his companion, "that bloke's in a hurry to get home", (may not be the exact quote).  Anyway, go see it. The final scenes are set in Scotland and we enjoyed the action in Shanghai: and what female is not a sucker for men in suits?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Time Freak

I am one of those people who has to know what the time is, several times a day, even though I am retired and don't have a lot of appointments. I must wear a watch: I glance at it often, even though I'm not catching a plane. I count my life in wasted minutes. I timetable my day: so many slots for work/play/jobs/knitting/reading... I love waking up early when the day stretches out - with lots of time to fill.  I always arrive on time: I know how to calculate and allow for traffic. I usually arrive a bit early. So when my watch stopped last week (it was an expensive Seiko, 18 months old), I didn't worry: thought it was just the battery.  Turns out it is solar-powered and needs a new circuit. Quite a lot of money, but no problem as long as I have the guarantee docs, a two-year warranty. I had taken my credit card slip and the shop invoice - not enough. Now where did I put the guarantee?  Of course, although I always keep these things, after a lengthy search, I can't find this one, but still have the ones for ancient machines we dumped 20 years ago.  Nostalgically, I now long for the perfection of my previous watch - a Citizen - had it for 30 years, never a problem until it died of old age last year. To top it all, I can't find my back-up watch either - the one my husband gave me for my birthday the year I asked him for a tennis racket. Grrrr... I suppose it will be like my husband's movie card, linked to our medical aid for really cheap movie tickets. Although mine gets used nearly every week, the last film my husband saw was "Blood Diamond", about 8 years ago, when he was forced to be off work for a week after a carpal tunnel op.  Just my luck, after carrying his card around in my wallet for the last 8 years, I tidied up a few months ago and put it away in a safe place. Needless to say, when my husband announced out of the blue  that he wanted to see the new James Bond, I couldn't find the card and had to pay top dollar for his ticket this morning.  I've just found his card in my desk drawer. Perhaps I'll have another look for the watch guarantee: after all, I might find other things I've lost in the process. I'm looking forward to the movie although of course, Daniel Craig is just Daniel Craig: the real James Bond is the inimitable Sean Connery of my youth.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Bargain Hunting and Barbie Beds

I give up on the search for bargains. As Christmas approaches we have been bombarded with ads in our newspapers/letterbox/mobiles as the stores vie for our custom.  The mountains of toys that have appeared are mind-boggling as is the uniform plasticity of most of them (made in China).  My 3-year old granddaughter has just become interested in Barbie, so I've been looking around at the accessories, exhorbitantly priced and - in my opinion- trashy-looking.  So I decided to make her a doll's bed out of a shoebox, as I had in my youth.  I rummaged through my cupboard of sewing bits and pieces, took about two weeks to plan it in my head and to stop procrastinating. I've finally put it together - took about two afternoons.  The only fly in the ointment was that my husband recommended contact adhesive to stick the ribbon on and its made visible marks, but never mind.  At 3.5 years old, I hope she just sees the big picture. We bought all our meat last week and now suddenly arrives a flood of ads whereby the same shops have now cut all their prices. Ah, well. You win some, you lose some. One must be philosophical. At least I've learned to delegate and should be able to sit back and watch my children doing the cooking on Christmas Day.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Circle of Life etc

I've been struck lately by a few odd things. My sister-in-law in the UK sends all of us marvelous and thoughtful Christmas cards every year - only last year they arrived at the end of January. Instead of opening them, I told her that I would keep them for the family for this year instead. We opened them last week.  The thing I hadn't bargained on was that she would have signed all the cards on my dad's behalf as well. He died in July this year. By the same token, the several cards are addressed to each of us individually - except that our new baby's name is absent. He arrived in October. Another funny thing:  I've been finding lately, that new words I've come across, whose meanings  I have had to look up, have suddenly popped up in another context a couple of days later. Mostly, I've dismissed this as heightened awareness on my part, maybe the words weren't that unusual, but then came this one:  "Blefaroplasty". I read it first on the after-care instructions given to me by my surgeon after my eyelid op.  Two days later, I came across it in the middle of a detective novel.  How weird is that? Do you think the universe is trying to tell me something?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

More Memories on the Walls


To complete a theme:  these pics adorn the walls of our holiday house.  We liked the humor of the local artists in Zanzibar, a few years back.  The paint is not great quality, and there was still beach sand in the canvasses when we unrolled them back home. My husband has always been fascinated by the Masai.  They discreetly patrolled the beach at our hotel: you could leave money, jewellery or anything else on your beach mat while you went for a dip in the sea and  no-one would touch it.  The 

boat is a little sad:  my brother-in-law (who committed suicide) flew down for my husband's 60th birthday two years ago - that was his gift.  It doesn't have non-reflecting glass - so that's why you can see me as well. Our bedroom boasts a watercolor that I bought when a friend of mine gave an informal exhibition for a friend of hers at her home thirty years ago. Memories.

The lioness? Oh, she was peacefully sitting with her impressive mate next to her on top of a rock next to our proposed campsite in the Kalahadi Transfrontier National Park (between SA and Botswana) in 2007. This camping trip was one of my husband's dreams: four 4 x 4 vehicles, each containing a family, dragging everything but the kitchen sink - including all our own drinking water and spades with which to dig discreet holes in the bush to bury our 'personal' waste.

One of the most pristine parks in the world, the Kalahadi did have much going for it - peace and absolute quiet (apart from lion roars) being the main attraction. One's campsites were merely marks on the map. Having seen no animals all day, we were the leading vehicle when we rounded the last bend before our nighttime stop, to be confronted by this lady and her mate, about two yards from us! In the ensuing chaos, climbing over each other to get cameras organised, the male finally lost interest and casually and very slowly walked away!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Defining Decor

Above our bed
Bought in a pub in Scotland - local artist, acrylic

Oil - by a dear friend

 Watercolor, $1 Bargain - real wood frame

Behind the toilet door, looking down
When I posted the photo of my husband packing to go to Germany, Sextant hazarded an incorrect guess as to what would be above my bed as a headboard. Most of the things which hang in my house are sentimental (oil paintings done for us be a dear, departed friend) or family stuff (mostly of our grandchildren, donated by our children). Above our bed are these two originals, painted by my daughter's best friend, while she was still at high school - part of an exercise of six differently colored versions of the same still life. It is now 15 years later, and this girl is currently an illustrator of children's books and still my daughter's best friend. The frames I found in my mother-in-law's house after she died, ancient and dusty. I spray-painted them gold and I like the effect. In our bathroom, behind the door, I have recently framed and hung, six little old people faces, all with spectacles, made of stuffed material. We got these peering out of a glass jar when we were in America in Wisconsin 30 years ago. Also, in our bedroom is a picture of a lone antelope standing in the Bushveld: it's a watercolor and very big - about a meter wide. I had to sing for this picture: we were strolling about admiring it in our local mall when we were newly married - the vendor said that if I sang a verse from his favorite song I could have it for R10 (about $1 in those days). It's certainly the biggest bargain I've ever got. What hangs on your walls?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Homemade Hammies

Observe disembodied foot!

 After a typical week-end of gardening and fixing around the house,
PVC downpipe cutters
My wine glass just out of sight to the left
hubby decided we must get to work and use some of our venison (of which our freezer had been full since June). Small son had requested some hamburgers to take to work so on Sunday we defrosted about 6 lbs of mince, made originally with a little mutton fat, hubby chopped up six large onions, mixed and spiced everything with ground coriander (a must for venison), dried herbs from my sister-in-law's farm garden, salt and pepper, oats, breadcrumbs and egg to bind. The results were impressive and the perfect size was obtained because of hubby's idea: he went to his garage and cut two templates from PVC downpipe (he had some left over from a plumbing job - don't ask) and we cooked 12 and still had some left-over to freeze.  We shared one and the other 11 should last small son for the rest of the week. What did we have for supper?  Well, our diet has been working for us - at night, we just have two 'Crackerbreads' each, with low-fat cream cheese and sardines or tinned tuna, with slices of tomato and cucumber. My friends are scandalised that we seem to be eating so frugally, but we are slowly losing weight. The hamburgers will be great on the braai (Bar-B-Q) over Christmas. We shall be at our holiday house for a week - full house as usual. After initially quailing at the thought of all the meals that have to be organised, I have knuckled down to the planning and am quite enjoying it. As usual.