Monday, April 26, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly

I've been reflecting on how much fun I had on Saturday evening. That, combined with some comments by the preacher on Sunday morning, meant I had a miserable Sunday. From high to low in one easy step.

After Sat evening, I was on such a high. I realised that I've really missed those kinds of interactions since we've moved back home. At church in the UK, we were heavily involved and we knew lots of people, which meant that we were frequently involved in some or other social interaction with new people on a regular basis. We had our circle of friends and we were always busy doing something.

Since returning home to SA though, we have really struggled with this. Sure, we have colleagues at work that we are friendly with, and we have some friends who are still living in the city, and we've got a great cell group, but none of them are really involved in our lives, or we aren't really involved in theirs. Despite having people around me all the time, I am incredibly lonely. The friends we have all have their own social groups, thus, we only see them once every few months, and usually only when we instigate something. That's the other thing that really hurts - that we often have to be ones to initiate contact.

I was saying to G that, quite honestly, I feel that if I were to die today, the only people who would miss me would be him, the kids and our parents. Sure, our friends, my colleagues and the people in our cell group would be sad, but it wouldn't really change their lives because we're not really involved in their lives. They could go on as before and not really be affected. In fact, I think that the kids I teach would miss me more than my colleagues, but even they wouldn't really miss me all that much. It's all rather pathetic, isn't it?

Anyway, after spending a morning feeling very sorry for myself, my daughter gave me the most awesome hug in the world. It made me cry it was so beautiful, then she cried because I was crying, because she thought she'd done something wrong... which made me feel TERRIBLE. I then had to explain to her why I was sad - which was hard. But I realised that I am going to have to keep this loneliness bottled up if it's not going to affect her and Nathan - which it must not be allowed to do.

As I'm already keeping my grief tucked away somewhere, I guess I can keep this tucked away somewhere too. Of course, I know that it will pop out at times - I'm not stupid enough to think that because I don't feel lonely all the time doesn't mean I'm not - but I'm going to have to make sure that it only appears when my kids aren't in a position to be affected by it. I'm not sure how I will do that, but after seeing how utterly distraught Nellie was that I was sad I simply can't allow it to happen again.

Of course, the best solution would be to create a community that is involved in our lives. Well, that's not as simple as it sounds in Cape Town. We Capetonians are the most insular bunch in the world. Making friends with Capetonians is very difficult, especially as most of them make their friends at school or varsity and then just stick with the same people for the rest of their lives. I've tried making friends with the parents of kids at Nellie's school, but that's also not easy as they are also Capetonians who already have their friends and don't really want any more.

Reading this back through, I sound so unbelievably whiney and pathetic. Ugh! So much so I considered not posting this, but in the interests of honesty, you get to see the good, the bad and this - the ugly. And it's ugly, I know. Here's hoping that after a few hours of work, and then some more quality time with my family, I will get completely over myself.

Saturday Night Fever

Every now and again something good happens that makes you realise something about yourself. Saturday night was such a time for me. For the first time since moving in our street held a street party. It was fantastic. It was only the 2nd street party I've ever been to, but it was the first one where I was actually a resident. (The previous occasion I was a house guest over the Christmas period....)

It was really lovely meeting a lot more of my neighbours and catching up with those I already know. I'm the kind of person who thrives on this kind of interaction. I love meeting people. I love socialising with folks who share something in common. G and I also got to experience a bit of limelight because of our gorgeous kids (who were SO well behaved!!! I was SUCH a proud Mommy!!!) who stole everyone's hearts.

By the time I eventually got home I was on cloud 9. It had been like breathing fresh air after being locked up underground for years. While I love my kids, having kids often means I can't socialise the way I would like. Either they are interrupting, or they need to go home to bed, or we need to go home to feed them.

All round it was a fantastic evening, and I am SO looking forward to the next one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What a prick!

I don't particularly like needles, but I don't have a pathological fear of them the way some people do. Never the less, whenever I have to get an injection, I can't watch the needle go through my skin. Once it's in, I have no problem looking at it and seeing either my blood being sucked out or the medicine (or whatever) going in. I know that whatever the purpose, the jab will help - in one way or another.

Like being vaccinated. I had all my jabs as a kid, and NEVER got any of those horrid childhood illnesses. But, I got chicken pox when I was 29 which was HORRID. I still bear the scars on my face. (People think I must have had bad acne as a kid... if only they knew... my face used to be umblemished and really rather lovely. Now it's scarred. C'est la vie, I guess.) I stopped counting the spots when I got to the base of my neck and had already counted over 200 on just my face and the front of my neck alone.

So I'm pretty much in favour of kids getting their jabs. I would hate for Nathan to get mumps as an adult and become sterile. My scars are really nothing. Not being able to father a child is pretty bad. I would hate for Nellie to get German measles while pregnant and give birth to a baby who is blind as a result.

There's been an outbreak of measles in SA just recently, because parents have failed to immunize their kids properly (partly because of that fallacious scare about the triple jab for MMR being linked to autism, and partly because they think they're out of danger). So much so, that the government has taken the action of going into all schools and creches to vaccinate the kids. Of course, typical of the local government, the implementation of this has been very poorly managed. But for the sake of the kids, we grin and bear it. My precious Nellie was very brave. She said it was sore, but she didn't cry.

Of course, our yearly flu jabs are done around now. I waited as long as I could after recovering from my cold to get mine done. The school offers it for free, and I get one because I find it usually does protect me later in the flu season. I got mine last week, eventually. Wouldn't you know it though? My system is still so weak that I got full blown flu. Yup. I've been at home IN BED for 2 days now. Yuck.

Was it worth it? I hope so. I think the cost of 2 days off work now, and feeling horrible, and not sleeping (oh, but wait, not sleeping is normal for us) is worth it if I don't get sick later in the year. Only time will tell if that's what will happen though.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I can't believe that there is anyone out there who doesn't yet know about the volcanic eruptions in Iceland this past month, or the effect on the airports in the UK and Europe this past week.

I've been so fascinated by the whole thing because I keep wondering whether the ash will stick around for long enough to (partially) reverse the effects of global warming. I mean, back in 1815 Mount Tambora (in Indonesia) spewed up so much ash that global temperatures dropped so much there was no summer the following year. It was rated 7 on the volcanic explosivity index. (Krakatoa was rated 6.)

If you take into account the fact that many volcanoes that have had several smaller eruptions in a short period of time have wound up having a major one, I think we're in for an interesting ride.

The airports in the UK and northern Europe are already closed. How long will they remain closed for? Will they have to close again at some later date? Can you imagine a Europe with no air traffic? Will the airlines be able to survive financially? Will that put us back to the days of relying on boats and trains more (if airlines collapse?) or will the governments give the airlines a bail-out? And if so, will that mean that airfares will have to be hiked incredibly to pay back those loans? And if so, will that mean that air traffic will reduce??????

See what I mean? I'm just BURSTING with questions about this.

While I wait impatiently to see what happens, here are some photos to keep you all entertained. OK, not really entertained, but at least they're worth looking at. Once again, they're from 'The Big Picture', which is one of my favourite photo sites.

Of course, if you're Tammy and stuck in SA when you should be making your way back to London to your job, that seriously sucks. But for the rest of us living here in the land of milk and honey, it's pretty cool.

Which reminds me of a cool joke I heard about Malema... but I'm not sure it's appropriate to put it into print... so sorry, you'll have to hear it from someone else. Oh wait - none of the Saffas can fly to the UK now, so I guess you won't be able to hear it. Bummer dude!

Friday, April 09, 2010


And no, I'm not talking about the musical.

I adore cats. I am fully content to be staff, rather than owner. Anytime.

Of course, we can't have them because G has a really bad allergy to them. I have a mild one, but I don't care - I'm willing to live with that if it meant we could have cats. Oh, yes, of course the other problem is that Baggins would eat it alive. Can't forget that.

So, I've been in 7th heaven since I've been going to Callinetics classes, because the owner of the studio has TWO cats, who both come to visit during the class. I've known these two beauties for about as long as I've known Graeme - not quite, but close. Marigold is a strapping boy, with attitude to match. Kizzy is a pussycat (metaphorically speaking) and drools at the slightest touch.

This week I've been playing catch up as I missed a few classes due to illness and holidays. Thursday's class was just incredible, because both cats came in and made a beeline for me! They know that I will give them a good loving (to the detriment of my exercise... I'd rather love them than do another nerve stretch, or tummy exercise, ANY DAY!). But I believe that it's good to nourish the soul as well as the body. And my soul is nourished by kitty love. Simply because cats are so aloof, independent and aristocratic there is something so delightful about the fact that they deign to be loved by me. I can't explain it, but it feels as refreshing as a hug from a loved one when you meet them at the airport after they've been away for a year.

Sigh! If nothing else, I guess I'll hop into the car and go to Callinetics because I know it means I can get my weekly fix of kitty love.

Down the rabbit hole

No - I've not been to see the new Alice in Wonderland. However, when I first saw this creature in Sedgefield's Swartvlei lagoon, I thought I must have fallen down a rabbit hole. I'd never seen anything like it before.Doing a bit of research, it turns out that this is a Shaggy Sea Hare (Bursatella leachi) and is a fairly rare creature. Oddly though, there were hundreds of them in the river mouth. It would appear that their distribution pattern is shifting south, because they were first glimpsed in Plett in 2007, and this was their first appearance in Sedgies that my in-laws could remember.

They're fascinating little creatures - to me at least. They're about 10cm long, green, with black spots (you can't really see the spots unless you get up good and close) and these pink tassels. They filter out algae from sand and have an internal shell. They are thus very soft to the touch, and slightly slimy. I discovered afterwards that they usually release a purple or black ink when disturbed, so I guess I must have been pretty gentle with them. Some of them (not this species though) release sulphuric acid when disturbed! That's a definite "DO NOT DISTURB" sign, if you know what to look for.

ANCYL does it again...

...or rather, Ju-Ju opened his mouth only to change the foot that was already in it. I know that everyone is astounded by his treatment of the BBC journalist yesterday. While it was outrageous, what I find more bizarre is that the ANC hasn't called for him to step down from leadership. Yes, they have now officially condemned his behaviour, but he apparently takes no notice of them. (After all, when they said, "don't sing revolutionary songs that will polarise the nation" he went ahead and sang another anti-Boer song.)

How is it possible that there are still people in this country who think the way he does??? My mind boggles. He is so obviously a racist. How is it that the YL can vote such a person into power? This country would be a lot better off if he was removed from power and taken out of the spotlight. To that end, there's a blog post calling for us all to ignore Julius for a week - irrespective of what he does. Personally I think it should be calling for us to ignore him for the remainder of the year, not just the next week, but that's just me. (Could you imagine how apoplectic he would get if that did actually happen and he couldn't get anyone to take notice of him???? LOL!! It would be worth it just to see his reaction.)

All I can hope is that the future of this country lies in hands more sane than his.

Foodie weekend

We've had a few really great meals of late. The first was in Sedgefield, at Scarab. The village was holding a Slow Festival which included an evening of Boulle and Backgammon at Scarab. Ryan, the chef, made THE MOST DIVINE veg lasagne. I could easily have eaten seconds and thirds... The Boulle and backgammon was a lot of fun too - definitely to be repeated, methinks, next year.

The second was an evening out at Marko's African Place Restaurant in Bo-Kaap. Apparently, Marko was the first black restauranteur in Cape Town. Anyway, his food is TO DIE FOR (but don't bother with dessert). I had a platter with springbok, kudu and ostrich, with a side order of samp and beans. (The Kudu won, hands down.) While it did feel rather odd sitting in a fabulous restaurant eating samp and beans, I have to say it was really great samp and beans! The venue itself is pretty cool - including the live band from the Congo whose name I still can't remember or pronounce.

The third was lunch at the Food Lover's Market in Claremont, near Cavendish. OH MY WORD! I can't believe there's a place like that that isn't in town or the Waterfront, but is actually so close to home. We will definitely be making a stop there again soon. It's a buffet style restaurant, including a lovely sushi bar, which caters for all tastes. The food was fresh and delicious. We both opted for salads, and could easily have spent far more than than R40 we each spent. If it hadn't been for the horrible truck sitting nearby and spewing out fumes, it would have been very pleasant sitting upstairs on the balcony. Such is life, I guess.

Next week it's back to peanut butter sarmies for me... or cuppa soup... But I guess I need to lose weight anyway.