Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Great Christmas Guests

Google image

I was a little nervous when our niece phoned and asked if she and her family (husband and five teenagers) could visit us for a week after Christmas.  They had left it too late to get a booking for 7 anywhere and they wanted to show the children Cape Town. They live in Pretoria - about 1200 miles north.  Although we do have 4 bedrooms, two with queen-size beds and double bunks, I did wonder how we would all fit in - as all my children also announced they wanted to see their cousins and would thus be coming too. In the end, the Northerners have proved to be the easiest house guests I have ever had. The matriarch (my niece) organises her brood with casual (but firm) precision e.g. "We are all having muesli for breakfast tomorrow" - and no-one argues! She shopped for groceries - surely enough for a small army - and I haven't had to provide a single meal.  In fact, hubby and I have snacked on their food as well and they have taken us all out for dinner. Even with such large numbers, I have been amazed that e.g. today - they piled into their RV before 7.30 am (all having eaten muesli) and were off to see Cape Town, an hour's drive away. They are all pretty fit and half wanted to walk up Table Mountain (too much wind for the cable car today) and the other half headed for the mall. They are all polite and delightful young people and every single one offers to help with chores and they make their beds and clean up after themselves. Even the bathroom is spotless. Something to be said for large families. They can visit us anytime. NB Small son is coming back tomorrow with more friends to spend New Year with us all: I hear tents will be erected in the garden.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The 4-Hour Work Week

If only

This transferring of my phone line has left me without Internet for 10 days...
Anyway, back to the subject of Small Son.  He is thoroughly enjoying his unofficial apprenticeship as a Project Manager for his brother-in-law's proposed building concern.  In January, he is supposed to have learnt enough to go it alone. That would be after six months practical experience.  As I understand it, this means my son-in-law plans to put money into developing new homes and Small Son is to manage the projects.  This wouldn't worry me so much, if small son hadn't taken the above book out of the library recently.  The other featured text on the front cover says, "Escape the 9-5, live anywhere and join the new rich."  Hmmm.  There is a picture of a guy in a hammock under palm trees also on the front cover. But I am tired of worrying about small son: it's worrying enough how we are to survive ourselves. Life is entirely hectic at the moment. We are still packing cases every week-end and rushing to and fro. At least the cupboards are finished. We are looking forward to a family function on 2nd January.  My sister-in-law will have been married for 50 years and there is to be a big celebration. She got married at 19, moved to a farm and has lived there ever since. My husband can't wait - he was quite a little boy at her wedding. - it will be his first trip ever without having to apply for leave and without having to rush back to work. He is going to find it very strange.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

An Old-Fashioned Proposal

Wilkie Collins

I have only just discovered the joys of finding free books on my i-pad, having clicked on the icon, 'i-books'.   I see on a cursory viewing that many of the classics are available at the click of a button and I chose to have a look  at Wilkie Collins's : "A House to Let" because we had his "The Woman in White" as a set book when I was in High School. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery story and I just love the sedate, gentle, humorous writing style of the times. Wilkie was born in 1824 and lived to 1829.  Consider this proposal of marriage: "Can there be any reason, my dear Mrs Smith, as to why we two should not put up our horses together?"  (Slightly misquoted). Not surprisingly the lady in question is a little mystified by this as it is her lodger speaking and he has heretofore given no inclination that he had anything else on his mind other than having his hot bath prepared and his tea correctly made in the morning. Other niceties of language follow delightfully on every page. Sometimes it is really nice to escape from the 21st century and slow the pace a bit.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Modern Allergies

Finally went for the keyhole surgery on my knee, mindful that next year we have to downsize our Medical Aid as the company will no longer be paying half.  I was determined not to have another allergic reaction either to the propellant in the antiseptic spray or the waterproof plaster or the latex in the plaster as per my last op., so I was guilty of repeating myself re said allergies to all and sundry all the way to the operating table (literally) as the anaesthetist saw fit not to give me a 'happy pill' before the big jab as I wouldn't be out for long.  Just as well, since once in the theatre my bed refused to be jacked up so I had to get off and climb onto the table under my own steam (aren't they narrow!). I awoke to immediately examine the state of my knee and found it correctly bandaged only in old-fashioned cotton wool and stretchy crepe. Unfortunately, this was almost from thigh to ankle and quite tight (thrombosis precaution), so I was forced to limit my activities for the prescribed three days as I couldn't bend my leg. Whilst waiting to be 'put under' the theatre sister told me she had once had an allergic reaction to hair dye - her scalp swelled.  The next time she used the same product (duh!), her face swelled up alarmingly as well.  My daughter confided to me last week (some time after the fact, of course),  that when she was trying on bras a couple of weeks ago, she noticed her one breast was visibly swelling, (she had a breast enlargement two years ago after having breast-fed two children for nine months each). Alarmed, she drove straight to her surgeon's office and he lanced the area.  A large amount of fluid had accumulated around the one implant - her body had suddenly decided it didn't like this foreign body. The surgeon duly drained the area, saying that this was only the third case he had seen in twenty years. She had to be on 4-hourly antibiotics for two weeks.  Apparently, it is unlikely to recur and she still has the implants. I can't help feeling we subject our poor bodies to too many chemicals in today's world.