Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom

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The great thing about Mitch's books are their deceptive simplicity and their brevity - you can read through either "Tuesdays with Morrie" or this one in a couple of hours and their message lingers and touches.
I guess most of us spend time in our later years wondering why we are here, have we achieved anything and is there anything hereafter?
In this novel,  Mitch explores the idea that we are inter-connected in sometimes unexpected ways: our contact with others, no matter how brief, has a domino effect. He suggests that we might bump into five people in Heaven - we may not even have known them all - but each can solve an unanswered question about something traumatic that happened in our lives. It's food for thought. A lovely book.  The writer is sensitive, thoughtful, creative and easy and compulsive to read. The central character, a seemingly grouchy old man is redeemed before our eyes. His questions are answered in fascinating ways. Recommended.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Into the Dark

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I have deliberately made this the not-quite-correct title of a new British television series which I thought I would like (in case I mistakenly describe the main characters) .  We watched ten minutes of the first episode and decided NO.  It is a detective thriller set in the North of the UK but the characters are so contrived to be politically correct - it is painful to watch.  There is the requisite obese lady police constable, the rather ugly two main characters  (sorry, but we are used to the beautiful when we watch American shows), the black boss detective in charge, the Indian forensics guy and - of course, the mixed marriage central couple - usually a white man with a black woman.  I feel as if we are being systematically brain-washed into believing this is the way of the world.  I still think that people are usually physically attracted to those who are the most like themselves.  I make no apology if you think I am being racist: I happen to think nature knows best.  I accept that in the end the world's population will all be a 'khaki colour" and maybe that is ultimately a good thing?  Would it stop all wars if we all belonged to the same gene pool?  Meanwhile, I am glad to have a wide choice of what to watch on TV.  At the moment, we have opted for a series called "Versailles" about Louis XIV and the building of Versailles. After 11 episodes, I am finally tiring of the exquisite costumes and sets and the court gossip and intrigues and am suitably horrified at the life style of the nobles and the poverty of the masses (the only tax payers). An American show I am fascinated by is "Animal Kingdom" starring a shockingly plastic-surgery-altered Ellen Barkin. The family dynamics and plot are so far pretty intriguing. How wicked can a mother be? Luckily, my husband and I both enjoy this show - despite the obligatory homosexual son.  What a world.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Daughter of the Short Memory

For my mother's sewing machine
Anyone recognise this?  Yes, it's the instruction book from a 1959, state of the art, sewing machine. My mother always had the latest appliances and she was always sewing and knitting  (Passap knitting machine). Thus when she finally got a new one, I got to bring (with some strengthening of my right arm) this extremely sturdy old thing back to South Africa. It did everything, had all the amazing attachments like the 'roll hemmer' and a vast array of embroidery stitches. When my daughter got married and needed a machine, I lent her this one, having preserved its instruction book, which fitted tidily inside the lid in a niche designed for it. A couple of years later, she gave the machine back, having preferred a cheap, light Chinese job, but minus the instruction book.  She claimed adamantly that she had never had it !!  At this point, I was not only very annoyed, as said book had been guarded  by me for 30 years, but I needed to lend the machine to an old lady, a prolific sewer, whose own one had packed up.  I had to give it to her without the book.  Amazingly, her ancient husband did a Google exercise, found the manual and printed it all out.  In the course of time they returned the machine, but the printed pages were rather blurry, nothing like as useful as the original. A year after that, having moved house, my daughter produced the precious book, airily declaring that she had 'found it among my things' and hotly denying that she had ever said she didn't have it (???)  I was open-mouthed and speechless.
On reflection, I remembered lending them various things which they claim not to have had:  viz a large gazebo-like tent, a high riser  (car child seat) amongst others. The silver lining is that the machine now resides with one of my sisters-in-law, whose lovely Bernina was stolen from the back of their pick-up truck. Soon she will be in possession of the original book: she's older than me, so I know she will appreciate it.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Husband Blameless as Usual

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It is not often my husband is careless with his phone, but in this instance he couldn't find it, even when I called it up, it went straight to Voicemail.  Failing to locate it in all the usual places, he retraced his steps as far as the bathroom  - and there it was, staring up at him at the bottom of the bucket of shower water that we have been keeping daily for flushing the toilet for the last few months because of our severe drought conditions and municipal water restrictions. It's always in the same place.  This did not stop my husband railing at me (and the bucket) for being in such a stupid place. The phone had presumably fallen out of his pocket on standing up and slipped soundlessly into the adjacent water. Hastily snatching it from it's half-an-hour submersion, he grabbed my hairdryer and gave it a 5-minute blow-dry.  Thereafter, his Apple worked perfectly.
Much to our surprise. It hadn't been sold to us as waterproof.  NB. the bucket remains in its original place. Our drought continues.....