Thursday, 28 August 2014

Things you Can't tell your Best Friend

Google image - just for fun, not my friend

Knowing that my best friend is a lover of pop music, I suggested we go to the movie version of "The Four Seasons & Frankie Valli" before the school holidays kick in next week and there will be nothing for us to watch. I forgot that she likes to sing along with whatever music is playing around her, at home or in public. I forgot that she is tone deaf.  I wonder if that means that people with this affliction are completely unaware that they are aurally challenged? Although this resulted in me wincing my way through most of the music, I suffered in silence, just made a note to self to learn how to screen out extraneous sounds and how to concentrate on those one wishes to hear. Children and teenagers have this skill re their parents' voices, so it can't be too difficult. Having said that, I have an equally annoying trait - I often fall asleep in the dark, seductive atmosphere of the cinema no matter how exciting the film, and I snore quite a bit.  Friends used to tease me about this, but now that we are all past menopause and some, like me,  battle to sleep at night, they are more understanding.  It's a bit like marriage, a lot of give and take between friends. A discreet elbow in my ribs is usually enough to solve the problem and as long as I've had 'forty winks', I will last the rest of the movie. It was really good, by the way. A real trip down memory lane. The only small point to mention is that I thought I was going to see a film about The Beach Boys. I somehow thought they had the same sound.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My Car is in Lymph Node

My cautious little car

If that sounds a bit Monty-Pythonish to you, it's because I am not much tuned in to tecchie stuff about cars and have never opened the manual which came with mine.  Also, I must admit to slight deafness in my advancing years. It's enough to know I have a brilliant car which purrs along and never gives trouble. Until yesterday. All of a sudden the digital display said, "Run-flat indicator unavailable. Visit service station" - and my car lost power and proceeded along at a stately 25 mph. despite all appeals to the accelerator pedal. Mystified, I pulled over and phoned my husband  (thank heavens for cell phones, how did we manage in the past?).  "Oh dear," said he, "it's gone into Limp Mode".  Well, that made sense, once I had ditched my medical interpretation of the phrase.  LIghts on. How cute, actually -  and although I am not one who anthropomorphizes vehicles,  I did find I felt more sympathetic to my car's woes, if it found itself only able to 'limp', no doubt because of various in-built protection measures designed to safeguard its computer(s). I was not so empathetic however, when I crawled embarrassingly along the highway, hazard lights on, to get to the Mercedes garage where my husband works. All's well that ends well however, and we are back to normal, with only a small amount of money expended for a new part. Just thought you might be intrigued by the odd title to this post.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Best thing about an i-pad....

We acknowledge its amazing cuteness and tininess and the easy access to e-mailing photos and looking up stuff.  However, I think the very best is that you can lie in bed and be reading a book  e.g. Dan Brown's 'Inferno",  and every time he describes an amazing work of art or sculpture - you can quickly find a pic of same on Youtube or Google Images.  I am so into Stephen Fry and Robin Williams' lives at the moment.  I've just finished "The Fry Chronicles" and realised that all the marvellous British comedy that I missed on TV in the 1980s - I haven't actually missed!  Every time Fry mentions some programme or theatre show that he was in, especially with Hugh Laurie, I've indulged in an orgy of Youtube clips, sometimes complete shows and what a joy that is.  I've watched several television interviews that Robin Williams did over the years and realised that his quicksilver wit was even more brilliant live than even in his films. Three cheers for the i-pad, and a nod to all the wonderful comedians who make us laugh and brighten our days (if not always their own).

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Just a form....

We have a crazy system in this country: when you sell your house, even though your municipal payments are up to date re water/sewage/rates on your property, you are obliged to pay up six months  in advance of your sale date which you can claim back later, once transfer of your property to the new owners has been recorded. Thereafter, they can expect to receive a large bill after their first six months occupancy. To this end, our lawyers handed us the appropriate form and explained the procedure. It is now time to get our money back. First, the fax number I was given was incorrect: delay of three weeks. To avoid subsequent problems I went in person to the municipal offices and presented my forms.  Sorry, these forms are 'old'.  You have to submit the new ones. Apparently, Cape Town underwent a change of 'logo' 3 months ago and we may not submit the old forms - even though the information to be data-captured is identical!  I remember the storm of controversy at the time: why take away the previous logo - an outline of our beloved Table Mountain and substitute it with a generic kind of sunshine thing? As usual, public opinion did not prevail and obviously someone has made money out of the change to the new logo. I decided not to let this spoil my day, and so indulged in some retail therapy, reasoning that I may not have much longer in which to do this after my husband retires. Unfortunately, nothing fit: at least, the pretty summer dress did fit, but revealed my knees, which according to the image in the mirror, was a no-no. Therefore still fuming, I went to visit my best friend who happened to be home.  There is not much that a nice cup of tea, a good rant and a letting off of steam can't fix. So after all, it was a good day.  Got hubby to sign the new form tonight: faxed it off: wait 7 days to see result in our bank account. I'll let you know.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

Book by John Green

As we have to read this book for Book Club this month, I went to see the movie, just opened at our local cinema.  I was half-way through the book at the time and the movie was just right - every character was just as I had imagined them, whether that is a compliment to the author or to the director I don't know. What a heart-breaking, thoughtful, intelligent film.  The book is meant for teenagers but the two cancer-sufferers, aged 16 and 17, who fall in love are so bright and mature in their clear-eyed recognition of their lot in life and their no-nonsense, sometimes even brutally honest, analysis of their lives and love,  mean that the text merits complete adult attention. I will give nothing away, save to tell you that the philosophy of Hazel Grace so totally echoes my own tentative attitude to my own existence and place on the planet, that I felt uplifted, vindicated, relieved and encouraged by the end of both the book and the movie. I also thank my lucky stars that I have been privileged to live my life into my sixties with no serious health problems so far. It is necessary to be reminded that the stars can be randomly cruel and we should cherish every good moment.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Family Dilemma

Google image

Something's been bugging me lately.  I feel I ought to invite my brother and his family to visit.  It's never been easy to plan - they live in the UK, we live in Cape Town, the seasons and the school holidays don't mesh very well. The only time in 37 years that they did come, the weather in Cape Town was absolutely miserable for the duration of their visit. We had to go and shop for warm clothes for the children. The thing is: none of us has anything in common so it's difficult to know how to spend any time together. When I was young, my brother (six years younger) was pretty quiet and spent all his time in a shed down the garden, constructing electrical circuits, radios and suchlike.  My father would be developing photographs in his dark room, or gardening. My mother would be ensconced in her private eyrie/sewing room, listening to Afternoon theatre (not to be disturbed) and I would be in my bedroom: reading.  We barely communicated. My mother and I did share some interests, but we didn't really 'talk', not like they do today. I respected my parents but my brother was in a separate world. Nothing changed after I left home. As I student, I used to phone home and my mother would say, "Here's M - have a chat with him" and pass over the phone. Mostly silence ensued, once I had run out of small talk and he would pass the phone back to my mom.  Now that his children are grown and out of the house, I feel I should invite them again. Now that both my parents have died, I have not been back. I used to go and help out once a year, sometimes twice but now that our currency is so badly devalued, I can't manage a trip without a really good reason. I also have little in common with my sister-in-law except that we both used to teach French. Most years, they went to France for their holidays.  Well, it's much cheaper than coming here. The thing is we don't 'miss' each other. It's enough to know that everyone is well and financially OK. Should I invite them again?  I feel I must for my mother's sake. My brother doesn't even like holidays. My sister-in-law loves hiking, but I don't think he does. Oh dear, what would you do?