Friday, November 28, 2008

Foul Play

How does one get rid of racketing guinea-fowl?

Day and night I am put to the test with the following kind of noise: a chirping, chomping, chortling, chuckling, cackling, clapping, clattering, cock(ing?) and doodle-a-dooing of an altogether different and feathery nature...

Turns out I did not have enough sympathy with a friend who told me about a year ago of a guinea-plague that had hit her surrounds. Correction. It targeted her and only her garden. They terrorized her in the mornings as they lined up on the telephone wire outside her window and at night stalked her into near madness with constant battering, presumably continuing the day’s gossip.

The cacophonic birds decided to migrate to our side of the mountain. They seem to flourish amongst the depths of our and the neighbours vegetation. These terrorizing spotty little cock-wits with their dozens of hatched eggs seem to be at it from 04h58 in the morning until all hours at night. They either inflict deafening harassment with crass beak-splattering sounds which can put an ibis to shame. Or throw their heavy lumps clumsily and randomly with menacing accuracy out of the sky onto the cottage roof at whatever ungodly hour of the day and night.

Before bedtime last night, the weight of such a one perfected yet another landing on the rooftop. Fat dick, I thought. Must have had a lucky day and probably been digging up each single corn kernel I planted the week before. However, gravitation of such a nature will make any unsuspecting person jump out of their skin and in as in my case it was nearly a jumping out of my skimpy sleep-things. Lewis and Skye sat up straight, ears suspiciously erect as they watched the ceiling with surprised cat interest. It felt as if a dinosaur was about to crash straight through the bedroom window any moment as we listened to tweaky feet scraping above our heads.

Could I shoot them with a pellet gun, do you think? A friend offered to lend me one. Guinea-parties just don’t suit me very well – especially when it must be me frolicking in fun on balmy summer evening... and not some crazy birds.

As it is Friday I may very well let go off any murderous thoughts.

Let them off the whip and hook as I am anyway already harassed by a bird song chorus that starts abruptly each morning at 05h00 together with the wake-up calls of at least 10 cockerels from at least twenty different directions, a snorting bull from a plot nearby, horses galloping, a screaming peacock and the grandeur of Egyptian geese perfecting their Sunday choir songs...

Perhaps I’ll go round to the World of Birds this weekend, as they are situated around the corner – to check out a fraternity of feathered beings. Would I be taken serious if suggesting they lock their very verbal inhabitants up during the night, and maybe until the end of summer?

Scaly Bush-watchers

Once upon a long time ago, Pa had a permanent iron-foot on the speeding side of things. I’m not sure if he got scared (with ageing) or why exactly he doesn’t drive so madly fast anymore. Maybe the real reason is that a bakkie can only go so fast. Maybe also the presence of rockety-rickety dips, potholes, meerkat-manors with entrances dead centre in dirt roads, three-four meter long crevasses, cracks and ditches have grooved itself firmly into the road that leads to the farm too. Making it feel as if one is trailing high on the edge of some treacherous and bottomless Nepalese-cliffs.

Reminds of the time Ma and I drove to town to get something and on our return we noticed this fat-bellied meerkat lying on its back, next to a cattle-grid. Not sunbathing unfortunately... We knew it could only have been our doing as it must have jumped out of the grid the moment we drove over it earlier on. Call me cruel and other things, but apart from the tragedy of it, it reminded me of those very funny Tom & Jerry clips.

Amongst Dad’s post this week, was an official notification that a vehicle in his name, e-rt... had been speeding. One that is in Cape Town for which I pay a monthly installment to Dad as it still is registered on his name.

Well, apart from nearly having a fit, he looked at the attached photo and saw it wasn’t me behind the steering wheel. It was the mutt called my sister who must have been flying to work instead of driving and collecting speed-points with MY car which someone will have to pay for. Not me!!

Quick explanation about why I drive her blue donkey and she my white boxy golf: Working in town she uses my car as it is economic on petrol-usage and as her car should have had new tekkies seven or eight months ago, I use it for the 6 km daily drive to work. If I was clever and not so generous as to give my new mountain bike to the ex-boyfriend in Scotland, it might have been even more economic to cycle 2 km’s across the river past the stables to work, but aye alas not...

It gave me such pleasure to watch how the mutt sort of deflated like a flat tire when Mom had the pleasure of informing her of the speeding offence.


I was well smitten, because madam had the cheek to pull a nasty joke on my fragile gullible self only last week. Told me without so much as blushing that I got a speed-ticket with her car – which was in truth only a reminder for her car license renewal. The low lice could have given me a heart-attack!

But the wicked can’t laugh too long... and calamity upon dire unbelief hit me two days ago. I managed to pick up an official looking envelope that had fallen onto our garden path and should have dumped the filthy scrap of dirt in the rubbish bin nearby. Instead I placed it on the kitchen counter where my sister would find it. Just contend with fermented grape juice, I sat back after dinner when the rat calmly told me that I got a fine while I drove her car. The schizophrenic witch enjoyed that, I tell you. And it happened at the same place she got her fine...

It is a darn Criminal Injustice to sit behind bushes and robbing innocent, normally law-abiding citizens of their honest and hard-earned money when they need a rush of air to wake up in the morning and get to work not half an hour late.

Well, now we’re equal and I daresay the thieving traffic department will be guaranteed a jolly party end of this year. The culpirt or bush-sitting cop must have slammed his greedy claws firmly into a hell of a lot pockets, of that I am absolutely sure. Including innocents such as these two sissies...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Meet the Adams...

Imagine this:

Idyllic balmy white-hot summer holidays spent lazing under big trees, preferably with a good glass of ice cold wine or beer in one hand and best-seller novel in the other. No buzzing computers or phones except for some crazy wood beetles making hysterical love and keeping one's heavy eyelids open. Butterflies darting amongst the nettles and a purple bank of cauliflower clouds growing bigger in the far western horizon. Not a care in the world can come between one and such tranquility...
And BANG!!!... and the recently topped up glass topples over and spills an unfairly big measure of some great contents across the white pages of a very good new library book. With the superb grace of a lizard, one slides a striped bum back onto the wooden garden chair and wonder aloud:

“What on earth NOW?!”

Sometimes I wonder how come the Venter-family has not yet been reported by passersby and black-marked as a red-zone threat to normal civilization and the reputation of all real Italian Mafia... Really, we portray at least one character of that old sitcom “3rd or 4th Rock from the Sun” - the Adams family can’t possibly be the only derailed family on this planet.

What caused me to fall off my chair and out of day dreaming? Oh, only the virtually top-of-voice excited tones of Mom and Bro who was again that day, at each others throat. I hoped they were not in the kitchen with its plenty of sharp knives, skewers and other piercing or mixing utensils.

It was the Pre-Christmas all-hell-breaking-loose-story again. Families breathing and seething like barking mad dogs at each other. Don’t get me wrong; we are normally a very loving and warm family, very protective over each other, but when the moment of disharmony strikes, it can go the wrong way...

Dabbing the sodden book with my happy-holidays skimpy skirt, I noticed Pa's shadow carving a dead straight to his vegetable garden - as fast as his short sun browned legs could carry him away from squibs and such things and before Mom demanded that he gets involved.

A door slam shut and bro takes a drive to town to join the touch rugby team, just to return later with a beer-breathe and concussion from barging into the rugby-field H-pole. In the meantime Mom had come to the unhappy verdict that two of her daughters were at least paralytic alcoholics beyond help after she discovered us hiding a box of wine in the car trailer, just there under the big old walnut tree.

Actually, by now Mom was in riveting tears and Dad somehow had to defuse the moment. Forced to make his voice heard above all wailing or else he ended in the haggard dog box too, with some of the other culprits banished there already...

Do you fear the Christmas season because of some miss-matched realities of family life? A mixture of different personalities thrown in one bag can cook up a fiery flood of under-currents resulting in basically one word: singing chaos. I like watching people, but there are limits as to how much of one’s own family can be absorbed.

So, Mom and Dad's three daughters made a deadly decision. Name us ‘Three Criminals’ if you like but I swear we were well-past our wits-end with Mom so unnaturally flying highly strung that particular year (not so long ago). As we poured over the coffee mugs one morning, we gave special attention to a blue mug with a yellow corn flower. A very particular blue oval shaped tablet was then stirred into it and middle-sis took the incriminated contents to the parent’s bedroom.

We went back to our beds, drinking coffee, reading and listening for any sound. We were so desperate for a peaceful day for once. My thoughts were skirting around the possibilities of putting things like pain-killers in biscuits and wondered why can’t tranquilizers be hidden legally too? Instead of politely asking people to just bloody take the things because they bloody needed it, or dump it in their coffee illegally.

What we did not know, was that Mom took two headache tablets with her coffee.


Dad became worried as Mom dozed off and seemed to be completely knocked out as she lay snoring next to him. She did not move as much as an eyelash. Much later that morning she got up with great effort and struggled through the day with the most admirable of efforts. We watched with quiet discomfort, and I’m sorry to say also with wide-eyed amusement, how Mom executed her daily tasks. Shuffling from kitchen to sitting room to bedroom to rest again in the kitchen. Still not a lamb, but for once we were able to relax with a tiny be-speckled reminder of our guilt.

Later that day we informed dad of matters – him asking us to repeat exactly what we just have told him. It took a few seconds to sink in and with a small smile he nodded and with the smile still on his face ventured away to tend to the watering process in his garden.

I have a grand Pa. As much as Ma, but still...

This year we decided to take at least 60 Xanors each for the time spent at home with the family. No no no, not planning mass-action but prevention of any souring or soaring tempers that might fly around again. I am going to take that for myself - one for the morning and to sleep tight at night - and try to stay out of trouble for as much it is possible in the heat of a festive season.

Oh, by the way: Men snore, lions roar and women...PURRRrrrr.

Sluttish dolls versus...???

I was told about a brilliant subject on News24 last week - about the reaction modern day dolls can have on unsuspecting grownups between 20 and 40. My age group. In this particular case a "modern" girl was instructed to buy a "modern" doll for her godchild. Oh the shock and horror..!!! she exclaimed.
I had the same sort of nightmarish privilege of setting eyes on a BRAT-doll recently. This happened during a recent visit to my 4-year old darling fairy godchild. Unfortunately I can't say it was a pleasure looking into the scary BRAT-eyes of a sluttish chic with hair as wild as Tarzan's apes. Actually, I nearly had an ape when darling Alysha brought the whole katooti of BRAT out of a box - the proverbial Pandora’s Box. I stared back at these creatures with their cosmetically botoxed-perlaned-sucked whatever anatomies and got really scared.

And I would very much like to pour a bucket of ice over the people who sell such pompous and brainless rubbish to kids these days. What happened to the long-legged one’s that we used to play with? In fact, the latest ones makes Barbie look quite timid and rather nun-ish...

It took the greatest effort of willpower over disgust not to scream but screw my eyes to slits and force a note of interest over horror onto my feeling-like-plaster face. I forced my quivering tight-lipped-mouth to move eventually, saying the right thing or what was expected of me to say: "Oh! Wow, A-aren't they so very...pretty?"

It took even greater willpower not to start pulling the hair out or make sure those voluptuous bodies with tits and buttocks weren't for real. Jeeee-bloooooody-helllllll!!! They don't even look like humans, neither space aliens...

Catching the eyes of her mom and other family members, I cast my horror-filled eyes downwards. Just to look up at my godchild’s sucked-in-expectation-lips and her eyes all lit-up as she watched her scared-out-of-her-wits fairy-aged-godmother. I got a grip on myself but needed a stiff scotch actually.

Instead got more of these monster things dumped onto my lap, was asked to play and pretend I'm the one with the jolly philandering slut Angelina Jolie lips. My least favorite actress and if that is what god motherhood is like, and then I take me hat off for each and every one.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bloody Outstanding!

Some vets are really SMART.

We all know an empathetic and very patient nature an oh-h yes...affinity for animals are essential, if not prescribed, in the blueprint and job description for a standard veterinary surgeon.

A certain type relationship or chemistry must exist between vet and animal-patient. But a Masters in “Psychology” and “Manual & Handling” certificate for the aspects of demanding, freaking and neurotic pet-owners is more than vitally important...

Working for a short time at a veterinary hospital years ago, I once spat outrage at another understanding employee as I fumed rage once object of affliction left the building:

“That bloody bitch ought to get spayed – and not the poor little Maltese!!!”

One really needs a special personality in order to cope in that environment, and since those days I’ve been weaned off any noble ideas of becoming a vet, animal behaviorist or veterinary nurse. I can’t cope with idiotic owners and buckets of blood...

Last week I had an entertaining day at the veterinary practice. The owner had taken the initiative to re-think who and what he ought to employ to push up monthly turnovers. He recruited two new freshly qualified vets, both blond and golden skinned like some escapee Greek gods with their graduation cloaks hardly gathering dust yet – a male and a female.

I’m not certain if this strategy is focused solely on healing sick or unhappy animals and think maybe the old shrewd vet had an ulterior motive. He took into consideration how a young fresh-faced vet would affect pet owners not only in the health department but also the retail section of a practice. More people go back for more than collecting their mongrels or pedigreed poochy-poos these days. They also seem to lavish their darling pets now with excessively full bags of cattle-hooves, pig-ears, collars, balls, shampoos, de-flea-worming stuff, joint supplements and anything else under the sun just for the privilege of setting eyes on these new vets.

The “sting” has virtually been taken out of the visiting the “VET” as well as paying astronomical amounts of hard-earned cash with a smile either for a consultation, back-breaking hospitalization, medicine top-ups and any other pet-groceries...

I’m not sure though if one could say “all’s fair in vets & war” when I notice other vulnerable single women (like me) or men drooling in front cat or dog food shelves as we pretend to take our time choosing what flavor our poochies want. Must also admit to having partially joined this throng of gullible singles skulking shyly around just to find out what happened to certain homeless litters or whether finding a tick on one’s pup could have deadly effects...just to see The Vet. The Gorgeous, Scrumptious young and new VET.

I fetched Harry-cat last week after my dream-vet had to drain a nasty abscess. The cat-fellow slammed his cute deformed paws into my new flatteringly low-cut purple shirt. Apparently avenging his abandonment for a whole day. Keys in one hand, dog hooves and antibiotics locked in my other hand, handbag tucked under one arm, I was left completely unable to do anything but hold kitty-cat frozen between clenched hands, right in front of me.

His front claws were grooved into the folds of my shirt in the region between upper-stomach and stuff that rose above the occasion.

Silence erupted as the receptionist abruptly lost her usual babbly abilities. And the girl carrying in cups of late afternoon tea nearly burned her hands to cooked meat. Dr. Vet tried with intense surgical concentration in gorgeous sky-blue eyes, methodically undid Harry’s iron grip. Each time however, a freed paw yet again slammed wildly and with sedated confusion back into the perfectly same spot as before. He nearly shred the fabric to rags, but I hardly cared as my eyes watched fascinated how my vet, with something close to knighthood, tried freeing me and Harry from the de-stressing obscurity of de–dressing in front of a wide-eyed audience...

Strange things we do or say amidst times like these when our shameless thoughts seem to skirt into all possible corners... Of course I had to go blurting out: “Oh, this is so funny!”

Nails, claws, beautiful hands, paws, long human fingers, toes... Eventually a cacophony of relieved voices and applause broke loose as he eventually executed the complex operation of freeing us both, successfully. Done without any ruptures except maybe for my and Harry’s raggedy pride.

Oh, it’s been a while since I had watched such skill from such tender hands, of someone so damn sexy and unbelievably young to be a vet yet.

E-r, in case you know of anyone who needs someone to take a little coochy-coo to an outstanding practice with a personal touch, please tell them I’m available.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

National Toilet Day – The mist of the forest

Yesterday was officially announced to be “National Toilet Day”.

Will it be considered offensive if one wonders whether this particular “day’s birth” may have originated far from here in the Northern Hemisphere? Somewhere on a small green island north of France, south of the North Pole and Orkney Islands, namely The United Kingdom.

Some of my British friends never run out of interesting conversations around dinner and pint tables, as it would be like running out of toilet paper in which cause it would cause severe disruptions in an ordinary English household.

There are two subjects of prominence, namely:



The Weather

I strongly doubt that they will ever tire of these two subjects.In a drenched country with rain, sleet and snow as common ground, one has empathy with people getting nearly obsessed with the weather. The south-eastern parts receive +- 700 mm a year and the Lake District is the wettest with average annual totals exceeding 2,000 mm a year, comparable with that in the Western Highlands of Scotland. I know this because I used to hang out permanently kitted out in wellies and raincoats. I also understand why the Scots are burdened with the stigma of being the world’s heaviest drinkers.

This is rather worrying for a Capetonian as we get more than 788 mm rain a year. Kirstenbosh received 240 mm in one month alone and the place is only over the next little nook from where I live!

Will we become like those people on the small island - alienated from the “normal” world associated with “normal” conversations?

As for toilets, I am at a loss. They told me the correct manner of speaking is “loo”. This was something new to me as I became aware of this class-system which affects the grading of what “material” one uses in this environment: it is now either “loo-paper” or “toilet-paper” and belief me, there is a massive difference between the two.

All these dinner conversations must have rubbed off on this Colonial because it provoked a colleague at work to comment on my version of the British most favorite topics of discussion.

Dryly, he said “Have you ever wondered why you are man-less?”


That comment stinks and makes as little sense as the mention of ‘the smell of forest mist’ has any relevance to sanitary systems. I don’t get what the absence of a male partner in my life has to do with popular topics of discussion...

Do you?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Would love to know if one can take a cake out of the oven and put it into a microwave oven to “bake” further...

Tina, our extremely entertaining neighbour came over for a glass of vino at sundowner-time in our garden and so the topic of cake-baking was broached. Please don’t get too excited or put-out as one can easily be mislead by this topic. We are not an expertly cake-baking club and chances for that in this century is sub-zero. I’d rather pack cat food tins.

Some enjoy eating cake. Others have a fuzzy view of what sorts of cake we like and dislike as we hardly ever crave the sweet seduction of cake. Nobody can possibly eat more cake than the British - ever noticed which isles are usually the busiest at any Tesco-, Sainsbury- or M & S store? Their dental work, apart from the French usual in quite a state...

Apart from some of the British shameless lusts, I completely appreciate the artistic beauty of something such as a melting Black-forest chocolate cake. Licking all ten fingers as I stare through a glass window at a creamy blueberry-raspberry chilled roulade. Still, steering well clear of the technicality of "how it got there" and "the baking".

Tina asked if anyone would know why all her cakes suddenly "deflate" just when it ought to fluff and stabilize at the end stage. At this point, I happily rise to refill our glasses with a set expression on my face which says “Don't ask me”. It could just as well have been a question about Greek Mythology and Religion.

The story goes on. Her ancient oven once died in the middle of a delicate baking process. A genius idea struck and a quick calculation was done of timing of transferring a half-baked cake to the micro-wave oven. It did not happen exactly as planned since halfway across the kitchen the cake completely collapsed. Still, it was dumped into the microwave with the undesired result of what intense laser beams sometimes do to flesh or cake – it burned. I asked Tina if they had some rock-cake slices, but she decided then it was time for another top-up. Neatly side-stepping such bald and shameless curiosity.

It also came to light during this intensely interesting conversation, that if one desire of finding a fire-man in one's kitchen, the best thing to do is to leave a pot of popcorn unattended on a hot stove. Apparently these men start showing up uniformly in the kitchen, and out of the blue (smoke).

We moved on to another subject of planning an informal pre-Christmas party at Tina and Johan’s place. So far I have never attended a Shark-Pre-X-Mass Party; it should be interesting for a Cheetah supporter. Anyhow, so we talked about starting a “Cooking-Book Club” in 2009. My job is already certified as the one who will keep the conversation afloat refilling empty glasses and replacing melted candles and wax from the table.

Tina left later than planned and her fiancé in the meantime had given up all hope of chicken-Tina-a-la-??? And started preparing a chicken curry...

Gals, there may be a lesson here for all of us...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hazy Tuesdays

How strange that one word or a small act, the nervous flicker of eyelashes or twitch of a mouth can stop the world, and suddenly put one in a poetic frame. How I would love to be out there today, and ponder a few things. Spend time in the shade of a pine or birch and soak up the pure smell of summer and the goodness of the raw earth. Hear the buzzard on his flight across the forest and watch butterflies twiddling from one dew drop to the next.

How I would love to be there...


All things alive have a manner of strife,

Whether it is a passion for being alive...

Dancing through obstacles or dreams,

Believing in abundance of all things good,

Knowing we are never quite alone,

and much more than the total sum of all...

There are precoius gifts and fields of roses,

- places where one can watch wide eyed limitless skies

- Catch wisdom and Grace

- Playing and free-falling in a soft breeze

- Yes, and be vibrantly alive and pure of spirit

- And sometimes mischievously pull the leavers

Until the whole world is lit with blossoming mirth...

Why and what makes fear part of life,

And have us struggle against endless possibilities?

Slowly and wearily we look up, into a reflection

Of limitations and we forget the good...

But for gazing upon our lives as worthless,

With impending traps for failure lurking around...

Which scares us and make us believe,

It's all but for the tick of a vein and catch of a breathe...

Take courage, and gain strength from knowing

Of a life not grasping fruitlessly to lower skies,

neither berating nor beating up ourselves,

To a bruised pulp of what once was beautiful,

And drop the cloak of battle and rage,

let it fall like the old, autumns leafs...

No more sorrow at failure, crumbling fortresses,

In the knowledge that we are more than this...

Even when all are done, waltz to the tune of life,

In the knowledge that more or less doesn’t matter,

Whether there is something or nothing...

- We will always get up from the dirt and dust,

And fall all over again in love...

With this Life

Friday, November 14, 2008

Life in the undergrowth - Africa

For this Blog I just have to borrow David Attenborough's documentary title...

The municipality rated ***** for African excellence and efficiency in mucking up is situated in my folk’s town in the Eastern Cape Province.

I’m glad to say it is far from here, because this municipaility managed to make history in the town called Burgersdorp. Should I rather say, managed to leave the town high and dry. Strictly speaking, WITHOUT WATER... As far back as I can remember Burgersdorp’s dam has never ever been empty. I wonder what happened to the aquatic life. This municipality must have a misconception about the saying "Water is Life" or else like so many other municipalities they can't be too sure about what is going on around them. To let things go as far as this and allowing a town with living beings who need to survive on a mere 3 hours of water supply in a ...WEEK!!!

My parents have a wind pump on their townhouse plot, which is very lucky and Mom now heats water for baths, and Dad’s job (as ever) is to carry on buckets of water for the more mundane activities that happens in bathrooms or other small rooms where one can usually sit reading in relative peace...

Apparently the municipality resorted this week to drilling for water... Could we be reverting back to the olden days?

Cats & Dogs: Lizzie is a wee Jack Russell who was nearly killed early in her life at close inspection of the front wheel of a big lorry. A little bit brain damaged which caused her to limp for a while and only slightly these days. She knows however how to stand her ground amongst a pack of energetic, playing and munching bone-hoof-stealing-bigger dogs. She is our neighbors little mongrel.

On our side of the fence lives Harry. He is a cat who will not win any contest for his unusual looks but definitely on the forefront of personality. Said so by vet-friend Angela. If any presidents could think like our Harry, they would be the world’s biggest opportunists! He is a pale yellow color with a thick-unusual type of skin cat with a different twist. Affectionate too and don’t ever forget – with plenty of mischief up his sleeve.

Unfortunately for both these physically challenged pets, Lizzie got lost in our yard yesterday and thus forgot her place too. She decided to pounce on the unexpected Harry. Our kitten got away virtually unscathed apart from a limp and extreme bruising to one back-leg and injured pride. He is not used to being the victim of such brutality as the game usually belongs to him when he bobbled-bob across the lawn terrorizing our other cats. His other trademark is prowling comfortably amongst our two dogs as if he is a dog, tail erect and bossy and his slightly de-formed paws that can’t carry him fast enough when one whistle for his attention. My concern is that Harry-Barry may now be scarred for life with regards to his smashed cat-acting-as-dog pride.

Chicken-pen-mince: Dad stood amongst his hens in the chicken-run giving them some greens from his vegetable patch. For the honour of receiving such organic goodies for free, I would seriously consider becoming a feathered-species too. The next instant he saw something extraordinary: a veldt mouse jumped out from beneath a contraption and the next thing all the chickens were chasing after it. Forget the greens, let's become carnivoric! They started stamping and kicking it (what a terrible death) and the cockerel (typical male to think of his stomach first) squeezed it between his yellow beak and swallowed the whole dead mouse.

And there is the poor Pigeon tale: We have been feeding some pigeons in our garden. We used to have 5 useless cats when it comes to hunting. None of them have ever managed or had much inclination to catch mice or birds. Well, this week someone did. Not the dark mysterious quick-silvered Skye, neither red-haired mustached comedian Lewis, arthritic old Sox or needy Lolita whose moods are affected by the moon. It was Harry who managed to commit murder, leaving feathers strewn over the lawn. He did not eat again for two days and seemed more than contend with life in general, uncomfortable round belly and all.

I wonder if pigeons carry karmic-pigeon-pie wrath to the after life? Too late, I know, but I did manage to make a contraption for feeding the birds which now hangs from a tree-branch.

And this reminds me of being stalked by small creatures. Something one must expect when living in a country-setting full of strange things such as peacocks, a bird sanctuary, horses and the smell of horse "fertalizer", the world’s smallest producing vineyard, a plot with a bull grazing the golf-lawn, Australian ostriches, moles, squirrels, frogs and a river not so far... a mouse in the house a few weeks ago.

Half narcotic from sleep I opened the kitchen curtain one morning and heard myself scream out of the comatose state when a black stripe shot close to my hands to the left. My first thought was snake!!! It turned out that apart from five cats, two dogs and human beings we also had a mouse that lived in the cottage. It stayed for a while as the cats were not even aware of it, but lately I haven’t seen any “evidence” around of little Mr. or Mrs. Mouse.

Apart from the biggest low pressure in 30 years, we survive just about the weather that has been wreaking havoc lately. Big parts of the country are affected, with sheep and lambs washed out of river-mouths that has never been seen before. I think we all need a little bit sunshine and summer, don’t you think?

I just found this:
Distance from Burgersdorp to ...

Distance from
060km.Aliwal North
900km. Cape Town
300km.East London
090km.Gariep dam
450km.Port Elizabeth

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The gist of fire-lightning-mud-floods

More likely should have been titled "The gist of my bad side"

The word “gist” is described amongst other descriptions as “the most vital part of some idea or experience”. This makes a resonant sound for my forever questioning the following:

Why are certain parts of life so vital and others seemingly not? And why must one have the experience of certain things if most of it seems to hurt and confuse oneself and others most of the time?

A friend has bipolar. Those who know it will understand the havoc it can cause. And as it happened, I walked straight across a fragile field right into his precariously vulnerable space yesterday – by sending an email which made fun of mental hospitals...

At any other time he would have thought it a wee bit funny (not that funny at all?)

His honest reply to it, as usual direct, made me aware of how often we don’t consider the mere consequences of our acts. Some done unconsciously and others simply dumbly and not thought through properly. I’m sure we all have “off days”. More so when having to cope and live with a situation or condition which can sap the victim's energy or devoid a person of everything dear and near to him or her. And there are those sad times of the loss of those who were supposively friends but decided to turn the other way because they don't understand or simply decided they can't cope with anothers emotional or genetic problems...

I wonder if most of us could be border-lining something or other in an extremely fast paced world and life which we inhabit? Call it a genetic-pre-disposition and illness of modern times, if you like.

There was me and the other inhabitant of Acorn Cottage on Tuesday night, having a real spat with each other. Found a big fat tick on pup Bella after our supper and in the process of applying nail-varnish remover, cattle-antibiotics and all in order to get if off without its head stuck under her skin (no petroleum jelly and no spirits in the house to smother it) we really had a go at each other. Us. All peace flew out of the wooden door and windows with round-eyed pets checking us out uncertainly. Unfair to them, I know.

Imagine the forever-know-it-better telling the other know-it-better not to spray too much of that antibiotic because...because... With the other "know-dam-well-better" thinks the following: Well, marram can spray it forever on Harry-cat who forever is full of scabs from fighting other cats...

By now the other pissed-off-other-inhabitant flying off the roof and me thinking something in the line of: She is SO like our mother. So we carry on telling the other to get other accommodation with both of us nearly falling off our whooshing witchy broomsticks, sayingwe give a flying arse and that we don’t care a stinking rat for each other's wellfare...

And so on...

So life certain chuck stuff at all of us sometimes and it seems down at the bottom one always feel like the root of all evil...Because there are always drama where one is. Not funny really, if one admit this even to a sympathetic audience or my very understanding friend who suffers from annoying mood swings. I seem to ask the fairies why life seems to give others “mild” personalities getting on with others so easily whereas some like me are often a mess of “fire-lightning-mud-floods” when I know there is also this big capacity to love deeply and have empathy with the world and others.

I got so angry and as the murderer in Law & Order on TV got caught and very angry with the persecutor I actually felt sympathy for the culprit...How dangerous can this be for me and my future and the safety of others?

So maybe we aren’t all that stable after-all, even though it doesn’t have a scientific name yet. I don’t know if this will make anyone feel better - sorry if not. All I could say to my friend was to hang in there because he KNOWS that the blanket will eventually lift and he will be able to breathe again.

And at least none of us have been jailed yet...

Lesson? Most of the time it is a good thing to stand back, analyze a situation carefully and just maybe answer with silence (very-very tempting not to).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Knickers on their heads...

Brother Tobias had me thinking about the time when I stayed at Balgowan House in the Isle of Skye. A very old house pitched on a hill (with sheep and buzzards circling in the sky) which apparently used to be an old monastery. I always wondered what a monk would have thought of a lassie, nymph or SA girl having a bath in one of their upstairs bathrooms...

His mother (Brother T’s) was not very well at the time, but she could talk for hours - it seems that she was very lonely after her husband Kenneth had passed away approximately 3 years earlier.

Brother T and his wife (the SS) went to a launch in London last week, to do with a DVD in which his mom had talked about WW II shortly before she got ill and passed away. There was also mention of pieces out of her diary...

I think the only ones missing at the launch were his mother and dad who used to be famous for his charm with the girls & carrying cocktails to everyone. In a way Brother T reminds me of what I think his father was like, except that the younger version perhaps shows affection much easier and seem to sometimes carry one during dinners and Christmas. Such as the time when he and Mike had put knickers given by their respective wives, on their heads (each one's eyes sticking through two holes) while lounging around the table. Too full of vino to even get up and take a break...

I also think Brother Tobias and his extremely well-written blog had caused me to be extremely unproductive at work today. My mind wandering. I must give credit here as it seemed to lift me out of the lower blues of zero-ideas to write a Blog.

But what I really want to say is the following: Sitting by the little fireplace with Moira in her lovely big Balgowan bedroom, I once wondered aloud why things such as WW I and II happened.

She replied: "Well, at that point of time they did what they thought was the best thing to do."

I am so grateful for learning such wisdom from someone who had driven ambulances across France, fleeing before the enemy. And those words spoken by Moira are one of the very few things that make sense in my life.

And then, for the wisdom of putting knickers over one's head...

Snippets & Funerals

A subject at work sparked my imagination to life again. Earlier this morning I slightly niggled about what my next Blog title would be as I started feeling some worry tiptoeing to the fragile edges of my creative mind. It would pester me in the form of "fear" of the sort that is called a "mental-block" that befalls us poor creatures from time to time, which covers the soul like an empty and static black hole...

Words certainly can slip through the fingers like loose sand and I tried gripping sudden imaginary words and beginnings of rambles tightly as they came and went today. They got entwined with memories and so I got to the point where I remembered why I have come to view funerals in a completely different light than most others. My idea of it these days is something rather different from the "olden days" view of black and black and ... If I may, I'd like to compare funerals to something such as The Aureoles Borealis which doesn’t occur very often, happens only in certain parts of the globe, never exactly in the same way and not viewed by many in this world in quite the same kind of light.

How I started thinking of this topic today was that a work-related subject revolved around “Reunion” which is in Southern Africa - an island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. They speak French there.

During a Web search a topic line of “a reunion with warm handshakes” appeared and steered my thoughts towards the Inner Hebrides on the west coast of Scotland. I headed past Glenelg on mainland and over the Shiel Bridge which had cause so much controversy over to Skye. Skirted around the corners of the Red- and Black Cuillins, Portree and onto a single track road leading past Loch Braccadale, Balgowan and Struan Village and reached Dunvegan - an extraordinary little village in these rugged western parts of Skye.

After dwelling there, my attention skidded to a news bulletin on the radio next to me. It was about Great Britain commemorating the end of World War II on the 11th of the 11th month, 90 years ago precisely. Twenty million people died during this time. I had no idea! The only surviving British veterans were honored during a ceremony in London today.

On 11 November 2005 we stood watching under a dull gray sky an emotional but subdued ceremony take place next to the Walter Scott monument in Edinburgh. The monument is otherwise known as the “Rocket” of Edinburgh. People stood in final salute to the war veterans – some clustered together as a family and others as single individuals paying their respects. The picturesque city was still littered with plastic red poppies a few weeks on...

Not this reminds me of an elderly lady, Katherine Lindsay-MacDougall who will be 93 on the 26th of December 2008. A brave woman, who used to wear tartan skirts, went teaching with a friend in Africa and finally ran a B&B in the village “Ardfern” near Oban in Argyllshire. She had lost her father in WW I and a brother named John who she so loved during WW II. He was buried in Naples. I took her to the Kilvari graveyard sometimes; this is where most of her family rests.

Earlier this week friend Tobias wrote about the BBC who had the honor to include his mother in a documentary revolving around survivors of the WW II. Her father used to be a commander who was very much against the fact that she joined the services and drove ambulances across France...Moira was very frail at the time of the interview however and died before she could see it on TV or tape.

Her funeral service was held at the Dunvegan village church and the funeral goers came together at the Old School House Restaurant after her burial on the windy slopes of a hill. This was my first introduction to how most of our European counterparts celebrate the joy of life and deceased loved ones. Delicious canapĂ©s were served and to my absolute amazement alcohol as well! When we left, I noticed a warm glow on our and everybody else’ faces and whether that was from the raging fireplace or beverages I could not tell.

Far from heather-clad and eerie dark moors, in 2002, I attended another funeral of a rather stern but gentle elderly gentleman. Following Mr. Verey’s service in the English village Pangbourne, we headed back to his estate where a marques tent had been erected priory. Waiters were serving delicious champagne, wine and all sorts of consumables and even the dogs joined into celebrating the “mourning” of someone great.

It does worry me a little bit now that I won't have much say in the matter of my own funeral one day in a hopefully very distant future. I wonder if something could be arranged in this respect. Let's say have it executed while one is still alive, or state in bold black letters in a last Will that Tea & Biscuits and sad faces will absolutely be banned on such an occasion...

Better still to focus on the right here and right now - and survive life on a mesh of beautiful memories and keeping dreams alive...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tomboys wearing dresses

This may be too-long a blog about a long-time-ago child’s life. One that reads a bit like a puzzle with pieces lost, a riddle with the answer hidden behind many layers and labyrinths in a world I would like to be fragrant from a happy rose-tree garden.

I was a tomboy who liked wearing dresses. A child at home in a garden of broad beans, pets and sunflowers with busy bees centered in their black seedy heads. My aim in this little arrangement was to see how many bees I could hit with my self-made bow and arrow. Other busy activities were baking mud-cakes or setting unbaked elongated pieces of “mud cake” on the maid’s granny flat doorstep to look like something that a dog had left behind. Setting traps with attractive birdseed for wild pigeons, keeping them prison once caught, trying to keep a baby veldt-mouse alive on cheddar cheese in a walking doll’s shoe.

The other side of this child was one who believed in fairies and angels and to this day I see them in gardens and cloud-angel-wings.

Hmm. I preferred comfortable dresses that did not clog and trip around the ankles and the one’s that had patterns of little flowers such as cornflowers with a specific blue color to it. Or ribbed dresses with material patterns of thousands of small blue & white square blocks. Red was okay, but blue was cool and matched my free spirit and to be vain, eyes.

My light blue cat-suit with little frills around the knobby knees and skinny sun-brown upper arms was the best thing ever.

I remember how aged 3, I got hold of mom’s scissors and try as I might, could not slash through the thick nylon hair of my two sister’s dolls. So I chopped my own hair, although I really can’t recall the exact moment the decision was made. I obviously did not get the desired effect with the dolls hair... I remember clearly however how mom scolded me but also laughed at me with dad as she finished off my new cropped hair style with a blade – which was obviously the last resort to making something of the mess I made. There was a silver bin for storing food, a radio and a predecessor of a long line of cats named “Sox” sleeping in a wicker basket in front of orange-brown patterned kitchen curtains.

Very 1970 and 1980’s, don’t you think?

I enjoyed doing my own thing - declined any help putting my shoes on the correct foot and knew just how to tie my own shoes or school tie precisely. Nobody dared suggesting how pigtails should really look with a clear middle-path and equal divided sections and where and how high exactly behind one’s ears. An indication of a solidly stubborn will at a tender young age? Maybe.

Life was idyllic and I made a habit of trying out new things of which some landed me in some really difficult or sodden hot water like the time when I decided pug Lizzie’s two-week old pup litter needed a foamy cold bath. It kept me really busy for a while. And my mom who discovered and relieved me momentarily of my hard work. She rescued the little pups from the claws of hyperthermia and pneumonia as she carefully nursed each one back to live full and happy dog days.

Dad made a swing for us which could send one whooping and with the wind howling in one’s ears. I loved the feeling of leaving the safety of the seat and judge just how far from the swing I could land. I was probably practicing for the day to arrive when I excelled in the sport of long-jump. Another time I disastrously misjudged the distance to the house as I dislodged a self-made “bomb” of the non-suicidal variety by chucking it straight through the sitting room window. It did not even detonate as it was found in its original shape as an empty glass coke bottle. Mom asked me to remove it while she picked up the shattered window glass – a look of desperation in her eyes and in her voice as she asked for the umpteenth time ‘which war in the name of the Almighty Father I’ve been fighting this time’.

This was during the time of the Angola War when thousands of South Africans were called up.

I can’t have been an easy child for my mom who tried her best to reign me in. Once she stood crying as she told my dad how her 'father would have turned in his grave' if he had known what I've been up to and behaved like. I stood there, quietly feeling guilty for causing a scene like that. But also looking up at her and feeling rather disgruntled and cross with her for crying and saying that my grandfather would disapprove of what me... I thought with relief that it was not a bad thing that dead people could not turn in their graves, or hear anything much.

My little brother and I loved-hated each other to bits and pieces. We raced bicycles and climbed trees, hanging upside down for eternity. There were a few death-defying moments such as when I warned the real-right stubborn toddler not to play under iron bars stacked up against a wall; put there by people who were supposed to know it was a wrong thing to do. When the iron bars collapsed over him, he got away with all but sitting in the middle of it’s framework, howling the roof off the house and one shallow bleeding wound to his hard head that needed stitching up.

On a simpering hot afternoon one December holiday on the farm, while we were supposed to be having a nap, I slipped through the window. I went on a venture of purposeful wanderings of discovery – a venture that was often repeated. Finding ferns growing under rocks, lizards and little birds that have fallen out of nests, looking out into the distant horizon thinking about things... One day on one of my many illegal outings, I suddenly saw a snakelike-evil-thing curled up in a hole. Not thinking any further I ran straight home to Dad to call and take him there to get a look at it. Only, the creature had vanished and I remembered, too late, that I had forgotten we were not allowed to walk so far alone, or be out of the house at that time of the day...

I love horses. One afternoon we drove past a vet on horseback who Dad knew. After a quick discussion, I got on the horse of a workman who accompanied him to The Dairy Farm. Hardly gripping the reigns, my horse kicked off towards home with a young twelve year old hanging onto its mane for dear life. The vet followed and riding through a deep riverbed in the dirt road, his skittish horse took fright. Horse going to the right and the rider to the left – but both of them uninjured. I got through the ditch and although this was all a bit scary and very fast, quite exhilarated! It was such a thrill feeling the air brush against my face, the power and above all, the freedom. I noticed the entrance to the Dairy Farm and looked at its sharp and wired pole fences. Been watching too many cowboy flieks of people loosing their limbs... Right before the horse hurried around the corner to the stables, I opted for kicking myself out of the saddle to “save my leg”... ‘Oom Hennie’ stood watching this procession of two riders, one disappearing and the other still going and a combi following in a trail of dust. My horse carried on rider-less while I got up quickly from the gravel, rubbing my back and behind nonchalant with a wide sheepish grin spread from ear to ear. It darn well hurt, and I had trouble sitting down for a few days, but not so much that I would not do it again. That was probably the onset of a few minor back problems later in my life...

There are so many bits and pieces to fit into the puzzle – swearing at the dog and getting a hiding, talking to strangers too often, smelling flowers whilst we played outside at night, swimming in the farm dam... Holiday evenings on the farm we would sit, ears scrubbed clean, around a family table with candle light, drinking real milk, eating sausages and eggs and listen to a Bible reading afterwards. Holding a "smoke-can from dry cow droppings" to help Dad take some honey out of the beehive, playing board games, watching my favorite animation stories on telly, getting away with not eating spinach, chatting to the grannies, making my own vegetable patch and seeing my first watermelon (nearly bitten in half by some hungry insect), making fudge and getting burned, school concerts, falling head-over-handles off my bike, buying real vienna hotdogs for next to nothing, birthdays and Christmas excitement, making new friends... Telling stories to a good friend as we waited for the bus after school, winning a race in athletics with the smell of grass, cigarette smoke and deep heat... Times shared with my best male buddy Regardt and that nerd Leslie and the girly Belinda girl. Naughty dog “Buks” finding the Easter silvery paper wrapped bunny on the mantelpiece in the drawing room – Dad had promised I could get it after Easter...

I wish one could pull that puzzle out of a draw sometimes, or more often...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Speckled Thoughts

Sitting on the front doorstep at dusk, we watched the speckle of a pair of presumably eagles crossing the sky from a very high distance.

The other Acorn-inhabitant said:
"I wonder why they fly so high. Do you know?"

Without thinking much about it, I said
“Maybe they like flying high?”

Something in the dry-tone of my voice made us laugh...

I did wonder then why some birds would be happy to be very high up in the sky, and others not. For all that we know they were gliding on a wind-stream towards wherever home is.

Deep thoughts on a mellow Sunday evening smelling of rain, about the highs and lows of birds.