Monday, 31 March 2014

Keeping Busy is the Answer

People keep warning me that I shall have my husband constantly underfoot when he retires. I think not: witness this week-end for example.  7.00 am, Sunday morning. - we are in the kitchen starting to 'work' the remainder of our scraggy bits of venison meat together with one (expensive) lamb, to make sausage.  We haven't done this for years, as in a previous life we were committed to a low-fat diet. However, with the new regime, we can eat glorious, home-made sausage again; the old machines were hauled out of the shed and we set to work.  An exhausting 7 hours later, we were the proud producers of 20 kilograms of sausage and 10 kilos of ground mince for the freezer. In the past, my husband has made a 'boys' day' of this event, sharing costs and labor with two of his friends, fortified by sufficient whisky and beer for the duration and I used to make good my escape. 

Making sausage

This disadvantage of this method was that it took me 3 days to clean my kitchen. However, time and people have moved on and this time I was called upon to assist. The usual husband and wife spats did occur, sometimes ludicrously. e.g. when it came to the weighing of the total amount in batches of 3 kilos on my small kitchen scale, I wanted my husband to shout 'next' and he insisted on saying '3', for me to write down. I sulked briefly but gave in (being the better person!) Mostly, I stuck to cleaning up as we went along.  Another week-end, M was inspired to have a shot at making 'Witblits' or Moonshine as we have a large crop of black grapes every summer which we normally throw away as they are very sour. This time a still got made, copper tubing was twisted into shape, Youtube was consulted, lots of sugar was bought and for about a week the liquid was left to ferment. Thereafter, I was asked to sample the first drops - really, really strong was my verdict as I wiped my watering eyes. There was much studying of the rate of 'bubbling' - ours was really fast, possibly 80% proof? Since then, we have kept one bottle - but are too scared to drink it. Perhaps it will light our Bar-B-Q fires? 

For my part, I am making my spare bits of material into a commemorative 'puffed' quilt. There are reminders of various parts of my life: my daughter's bridesmaids' dresses, my mother-in-law's curtains and other things. Thus I can move on...taking it with me.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Curse of the Long-Married

Google image

..Is that it's easy to read between the lines. Take last week, for instance.  We had a Public Holiday here last Friday, hence a 3-day week-end. As we would be away,  I was inspired to switch off the geyser timer here at home to see if it would save on electricity.  Naturally, I forgot to switch it on again when we came home on Sunday night, so at 5.30 am on Monday, my husband had a cold shower before going to work. He hates this and I was subjected to a constant stream of sound effects,  "Brr.....aaargh....ooohh.....aacch...." repeated loudly and ad infinitum for the entire duration of the 3 minutes that he was able to stand the icy (actually, it must have been luke-warm) spray.   I understand completely that this was entirely for my benefit, so half-way through I went to the kitchen to make a pot of tea. I did chide myself somewhat for not anticipating that we would have a rainy week-end so the solar geyser wasn't really doing its job, so yes, the water was a little colder than it should normally have been. Still, I didn't feel I deserved the verbal censorship that accompanied the crime, which culminated in raised eyebrows and a martyred expression when I was told,"This is now another thing I shall have to check evey night."  Translation: I want you to feel really bad right now, but actually I won't remember to do this. When he was finally dressed, had eaten and picked up his briefcase to go to work, together with the lunch I had made him, I knew he wouldn't be able to depart without kissing me goodbye. And so it was. I guess, depending on which side you are on, reading between the lines can be a curse but also a blessing.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Very Odd Question

Google image - cute hey? A 'Come hither look'

From reading some blogs lately, I feel the need to distract your minds a little to less burdensome thoughts.  We have sold our house and as a result I am packing (slowly, I have two months).  Although I've carted off a lot of stuff to our local charities, I have been stumped by a find of a box of 12 'Dolphin' vibrators, occupying most of one shelf in my study. These date from the days when in another life twenty years ago, I sold sex toys and sexy lingerie at private all-girl parties in people's homes. These particular ones were the 'creme de la creme', possessing a dual motor which stimulated on the outside and the inside (if you get my drift) at the same time, but with individual and varying speed settings. Ours didn't look like the ones in this pic - ours had a little dolphin in front. The ladies were in heaven and we battled to keep up with demand.  However, all good things come to an end and I think these remaining needed minor repairs (usually a de-greasing, ex factory, which my husband used to attend to). So they will work. I can't think of a good place that would appreciate such a donation. What about an old-age home? Got any better ideas?  By the way, the movie 'Hysteria', starring Maggie Gyllenhall, is the true story of how the vibrators were first designed in the 1890s - intended to cure the female condition known as 'hysteria'. Brilliant film, hilarious and informative.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Let them Eat....Natural Fats

How nice is this?

We are in the middle of a food revolution in South Africa and it is a sensational topic of conversation at the moment.  We have a highly respected Sports Science guru, Dr Tim Noakes, who has been in our media for years promoting good health and exercise in various ways.  His latest theory, based on extensive and scientific research says that it is not eating fat that clogs our arteries and causes all kinds of problems: the real culprits are complex carbohydrates!  He has written a marvelous and stunningly illustrated cookery book containing all the information you might need to convince you to change to this regime: "The Real Meal Revolution". Basically, you avoid anything 'white' i.e. anything made with flour and all sweets, anything preserved with MSG, sweeteners, except Xylitol, all take-away foods, ice-cream and instant meals etc.  You do eat: lots of full-cream yoghurt, full-cream milk,  pork chops, lots of bacon, eggs every day, meat with the fat on and save your pork dripping to fry other stuff in, or use butter to cook with.  No vegetable oils except olive oil and you can use coconut oil instead. Lots of it is psychological:  if you love pasta and will miss it - just julienne some long courgettes instead.  Fry slices of aubergine to put under your fried egg,  make mashed 'potato' with cooked cauliflower, blitzed with a little milk and butter.  Use slices of aubergine in a lasagne instead of pasta sheets.  For bread, listen to this, you take two cups of flax (linseeds),  grind them to release the high Omega-3 content, blitz with 5 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, 60 mls olive oil, tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder - I think that's all.  Guess what?  I made it - it works and looks just like the picture and my brain thinks it is just a loaf of ordinary brown bread. The amazing thing is, people like my husband, who have battled with their weight their whole lives, are finding the weight is falling off - wait for it - especially around their stomachs.  My husband has pulled in his belt two notches after two weeks and I weigh less than I ever have in the last thirty years.  The funny thing is, I keep thinking back to the way I grew up. My mother did most of this  - and she lived to be 90, my dad 95.  Look into it.  Meanwhile, back to my pork chop.....

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Softie at Heart

My husband never ceases to amaze me.  Having waged war on the house sparrows that have been determinedly making their nest next to the wall in the thatch cover just outside our TV lounge, he has decided to make them a house. At one stage he threatened to shoot them because of all the mess (toileting on their doorstep) and because of their noisy objections if we didn't get out of their way at sunset when they wanted to go to bed. Actually, I think he harbors a sneaking admiration for the male, who applied Herculean efforts to pulling out the chicken wire that hubby had stuffed into all the cracks in an attempt to foil their homing instincts.  Unbeknown to the man of the house when he removed their last nest,  the three tiny babies were hiding behind it,  keeping dead quiet and he didn't see them when he put the wire there. Perhaps it helped that I mentioned that the humble house sparrow was becoming endangered. Whatever the reason for the change of heart, much banging and sawing is going on in our garage and an impressive wooden structure is emerging.  I just hope the sparrows acknowledge the gift and agree to live in it when it is put in a more convenient place. Meanwhile, hubby is still stressing about his untidy garage and rushes out to close the door when someone is coming to view the house. He is still astonished that to date, not a single person has wanted to see inside.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Who'll Buy Our House?

Google image

OK, the honeymoon period is now over - five weeks and not a dicky-bird, despite being assured by many that our house would be snapped up in a week.  Apparently, there is a 'critical shortage of stock' in our area and houses only come on the market if there is death or divorce, or more rarely, retirement as our case.  Of course, it is possible that we started off over-priced. We have now changed agents, dropped our price to a more market-related value and viewings are beginning to flow.  The first person was  British woman with two teenagers (and a 3-year-old). They all loved the house and would be the ideal owners regarding walking distance to good schools, a bedroom each and our swimming pool. However, money would have to come from the UK and was it seemed a 'complicated' matter - although they would have been laughing all the way to the bank considering the favourable exchange rate.  Next has been a black couple:  he, an up-and-coming lawyer with a big firm (six foot in an expensive suit, looking like a handsome escapee from LALaw or more recently, Suits). Fascinatingly, his tiny wife was wearing a traditional blanket around her body, pinned under the arms and a headscarf.  Forgive me, but this is the way domestics dress around here.  I was pretty sure our humble street would not be yuppy enough for him and she might not have liked our neighbors. It turns out they both like the house but not the area. Tomorrow we have a local cash buyer. That is always interesting. On Thursday, all 100 agents for this area belonging to our chosen agency are coming to see the property.  Things should accelerate after that, what with the Internet advertising sites, 'virtual tour' and lovely pics.  Watch this space.  Meanwhile, hubby is determinedly cleaning out his garage and moving his precious things to our retirement house (header pic on blog).  Luckily, it won't be a huge wrench for us to move there (as is the plan), as we've been building it for 7 years now and have already spent many happy times there with our family so it also feels like home.