Thursday, March 19, 2015

Diana is commissioned, and I join a launch team..........

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It has been an exciting week around here. I will tell you about the launch team in a second -  but first, the best part was Diana being commissioned today in her new role in the church. There were 3 bishops and an archbishop in attendance, and the archbishop joked that he may as well make her a bishop for children - she was relieved when he resisted the temptation! So she is officially in her post, and already hard at work. Last week saw a trip to the South Island as well. Now, finding a car and an apartment are top of the list. And her boxes are on the move, and hopefully heading south. When last she tracked them, they were in Hamburg. This is a little alarming, as Hamburg is north. Oh well. They are obviously on the scenic route.......

We live in hope. 

So, apart from a total meltdown this morning re an incomprehensible phone bill, which necessitated a conversation with the sub continent which did not go swimmingly, and a renewed disabled badge issued for 9 months instead of 3 years, which means more and ever more debilitating forms, and dwelling on the tough parts of being me, not to mention paying the same for 9 months as I would for 3 years - life is bumbling on. 

That is a ridiculously long sentence.

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Facebook, or was it her blog, by Jen Hatmaker, asking for anyone interested in being in a launch team for her new book, to apply. So I did. I have so enjoyed her books, 7 and Interrupted, and I thought, oh well, who knows. Maybe? 

5000 applied, and 500 were chosen. Including me. I think I am the oldest on the team, but that is absolutely fine.  Grannies rule, after all. I have just made 499 instant friends. Jen decided not to have celebrity endorsements this time, but instead to use members of her "tribe" - us, the ordinary people. I was going to say women, only there are 3 men with us as well!

So, the private Facebook feed exploded with 500 excited people and the digital version of the book was downloaded and we all read and discussed and chatted, and spilled our stories, and came alongside, and ordered mugs, and talked of launch parties and .....

That may be a little complicated for the 5 or so of us who are not in the US. But you never know. It is entirely possible that the 5 or so of us were a mistake. I refuse to consider that. We are there and there we will stay!

The hard copies of the book are arriving at addresses all over the place - I have no idea when I may get mine. It will come. And I will read it again. There is SO MUCH in it to share, but not yet. We have to wait until later in the year. Launch date is August. 

I have never been involved in anything like this before. Let me tell you, it is great fun. The group will remain after launch as well. 

Sigh. 

Life throws some fascinating twists into our paths at times. The scenic route, to repeat the analogy above. 

So, what with quilt assembly, eye appointments for Mum and assorted appointments for me, aquazumba - the water was PERISHINGLY cold on Monday - {{shudder}} - and falling asleep whenever I sit down anywhere, the days pass quickly. I even used my birthday garden centre vouchers from last year and bought tiny plug plants for the troughs and baskets, which are adorning the windowsills. They have been planted on once, so far. 

I have decided not to invest my entire life in the garden this year, but to do a minimum, so that I can actually have a life, and leave it for weeks without being riddled with guilt about all the watering and will it die, and I need to stake the plants etc etc. I want to go places, and do things. I want to get away from the village for a while. I am even looking, very seriously, at visiting the US this autumn. Starting on the American adventure, seeing both country and meeting up with friends as well. 

It is about time. 

Right. The sewing machine calls. I will be back. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Definitely Spring......

It definitely feels like Spring around here - the sun is shining and the skies are blue, and the seedlings on the windowsill are growing and I am going to go and get some compost this afternoon. 

Well, it is Senior's Day - Wednesday - at the DIY store, and 10% off sounds good to me. 

The house is as Spring as it will be getting this year, apart from the Easter tree which I will do in a week or so. Mother's Day, or Mothering Sunday comes first, and that is this Sunday. I had to double check, because it is usually Mother's Day when the clocks leap forward, successfully making a mockery of the long lie in on Mother's Day. However, that is at the end of the month. Everything is early this year, it seems. Me? I am still in January. 

(About the apostrophe - I am speaking of Mother's Day in the singular - mine. All The Mothers = Mothers' Day.)

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So here we go with a few Spring like house changes. I have to grin, because I have had  some visitors who have popped in to check if I have changed yet. In fact, one came around before I had packed away the reds and was a little disappointed, I think! 

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This is the simple year of change. The boxes are largely unopened. Just the real daffodils and the greens and yellows. Love it. Fresh. Sunny. 

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It is now early evening, and the day has flown by. Mum and I managed to get to the DIY store to get some compost for the garden, but it is in the car and will stay there and wait for David to remove it. It weighs a ton. I need to repot seedlings soon, and I am also thinking of starting some of the vegetables now as well. 

Garden time is beginning, people, and mine needs to be cleared before I get into Spring mode out there. This weekend. The chicken is roasting. The house is tidy. Time for a rest. I will be beck with a more interesting post tomorrow. After aquazumba. 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

A blur.....

The last few weeks have flashed by in a blur. Diana came home from Switzerland and had 8 or 9 days of doctors, physio, a trip to London to say goodbye to her friends, and then family all gathered here, and more goodbyes. Our friends came down from Scotland as well, and up from Kent, and as I said, it was all a blur. 

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There was also packing and re-packing and packing the shipping stuff, and repacking the shipping stuff, and papers to fill in, and ...... a blur.

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And then, last Wednesday, complete with a raging ear infection, she was off. We will not discuss the less than stellar treatment Heathrow Terminal Two displayed towards someone who had clearly booked Special Assistance and was then told she had to stand (with orthopaedic boot and crutches) for approaching an hour in a queue to check in. 

Heathrow Terminal Two and I have since had discussions. I am awaiting their explanation. 

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So, my daughter has arrived at her destination. Never mind the jet lag, she now has infected throat, eye and ears. Just the perfect way to leap into a new job, feeling like the pits, in pain, and in desperate need of sleep. At least I know that she will be a great deal better once she heals. 

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Ann, Andrew and Missy came up for that last weekend at home, and just check out this amazing hair do that Ann did for Missy! Fantastic! It was wonderful to have everyone here again - it will be a while before that happens again, I suspect. 

Since Diana left, I am not sure what I have been doing now I come to think about it. Well, I organised the sewing room, and then changed to Spring here, and then saw the shipment safely out the door to the shippers, and managed to tweak the back a little. Creaking is not good. Somehow, Mum also managed to tweak her back. The whole place is clearly falling apart. 

Our last Sunday in church also happened this last weekend - we are out of the church until the end of the year, for it to be renovated and changed into space more usable for the 21st Century. We will meet as a body once or twice a month, and then the rest of the time will be in smaller groups or out in the community, so it will be a time of huge change and growth. Interesting times. 

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Then there was the trip to see Mum's old friend who used to be her neighbour on the spur of the moment yesterday. Isobel is almost 98. They had a great time together remembering things. The sun shone all the way there, and there was a blizzard on the way home. Bizarre. So today we are doing very little. 

Paperwork. Sorting out water tariffs and car insurance and STUFF. 

The sun is shining today again, and I had a cursory glance at the garden and retreated back indoors. It is cold. The garden needs to be sorted, and I will get out there when I can muster the will. 

So, I can see my sewing room. The house is quiet. There is an empty space here. 

I miss her. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday the 13th is a wonderful day in this family........

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Friday 13th February. 

A date for celebration, rejoicing, and, contrary to ridiculous superstition, a very, very lucky day for our family. 

I remember another Friday 13th, a few decades ago - the one when my daughter was born. Not that she was due to arrive that day - she was 10 days early. In fact, as I am sure I have mentioned annually ever since, when I went to see my doctor on 12 February back then, he asked "So, are you ready to have this baby soon?" "Any day except tomorrow." I replied, cheerfully. 

So of course I went into labour at midnight. 

It was inevitable. 

Diana was born 11 hours later. 

It was the height of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. It is strange, you know - my sister was born on 1 September. My mother was determined to have a spring baby, not a winter one. Now she has an autumn birthday. My birthday was in winter for 35 years. Now it is in spring/summer. Diana's was in summer, and today, it is in mid winter. Next year, however, she may well be back to partying on the beach. 

Hemispheres do that. They change things slightly. 

Birthday parties in February in Cape Town revolved around water. Pools. Ice cream. Swimsuits. Shorts. T-shirts. Blue skies. Heat. 

This is one of the parts of moving countries which you tend to overlook. Seasons and how they affect the family high days and holidays. All so different. 

Anyway, there are memories everywhere. Photos of Care Bear cakes. Videos somewhere of young girls playing that chanting clapping game - the name of which I cannot for the life of me remember - in a circle. Attempts at synchronised diving into the pool all in pink. Shell suits. Guessing games. Caterpillar cakes. Sleepovers. Human pyramids on the lounge floor. Laughter. Fun. 

Winter or summer - the celebration of her birth continues. It doesn't matter where she is - here, there, or way over the world. My daughter is a remarkable young woman, who is dearly loved, and always celebrated. 

Happy Birthday, Diana! We love you very much. 
MDS.
xxx

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A little hectic around here......

Thursday - somehow, today has turned out to be over-packed with things to do, so I have called a halt to those things and am taking a break. 

Diana is still in the Alps, having a wonderful time in stunning weather - you know the kind - white snow on mountains, blue skies and plenty of sun. Yes. That. It is lovely that the weather is behaving. And also lovely that she can have time with her aunt and uncle. 

For those of you who don't know, Diana has been appointed to a national post in the Anglican Church in New Zealand. Her responsibility is for families and children, and her role will be to guide, teach, encourage, and resource them up and down the country. A big job. Lots of travel. Lots of challenges. And I am so proud of her. So, around here, the packing has been in progress, because she starts work at the beginning of March. On the other side of the globe. 

While she has been away, I have been finishing off the bits of sewing she asked me to do, pacing, and generally trying to anticipate any flaw in any plan. 

Completely useless, of course, but exactly what mothers tend to do. 

The brain doesn't rest, even when the body goes on strike. 

Anyway. Today started with ferrying my son to the bus for work at an early hour, followed by laundry, collection of medical note, collection of Glynis and Jean, and an aquazumba class. 

Then came all the rest of the stuff, which included collecting Mum and heading off to do the grocery shopping. My favourite. (I am kidding. I loathe it.) And I am supposed to be at the first new house group meeting this afternoon, and I admit that I just gave up and apologised for my absence. Can't move any more. 

Missy is 6 next week. My older son starts a new job next week. Diana is home next week. She goes to London next week. 

So yesterday, I went and had a Linds Special at the beauty salon. That is the hand in wax thing. I dip my hands in wax 3 times, they are encased in mittens, and I get to lie in a darkened room for half an hour, listening to mood music by candlelight. The absolute best. I HAVE to relax. Nothing else is possible. This is one of the therapies we had when I was an inpatient at the CRPS unit in Bath, and bless their cotton socks, Gem and the girls at our local Pink Rose, decided they could do it for me too. Now and then. Yesterday. It was exactly what I needed. 

Bliss.

And, on a lighter note, I have acquired one of those noodle makers, which you use to turn courgettes and carrots into noodly thingys. Courgettes (zucchini) have never tasted so good. I may graduate to a larger more complicated thingy one of these days, but this little one was a revelation. Such fun! 

I am off to make a chicken pie, I think. Then I can sink into a stupor in the chair......




Thursday, February 05, 2015

Wherein we discover Bill's...........

Day 2 in London brought grey damp weather, but, nothing ventured, and all that, so we checked out of the hotel and headed to the place Diana's had found while lying in bed at an early hour. She googled "Pancakes Covent Garden". And hit the jackpot.

But first, let me tell you how we got there. On the bus again. We hopped on to the bus, and sat down in the same place we had been sitting the night before, only we were sort of jammed. Wedged in place and breathing was a trifle complicated. We could NOT work out why we didn't fit on the seat. We fitted 12 hours before. And then, the light bulb moment, we realised that neither of us had been carrying rucksacks the night before. At this point, I was lying across the gangway trying to unhook my rucksack and it was proving to be huge entertainment for the rest of the bus. Thank the Good Lord that the person sitting in front of us decided to get off at the first stop, so I lurched into the new seat, and my rucksack could breathe. So could we. 

I mean really. How could we be so dim witted? Probably needed sugar. Or caffeine. 

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The place Diana had found was right next door to the Lyceum theatre. Genius. Bill's. Well. Take a look at our breakfast. 

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Blueberry and buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, bananas and strawberries. And bacon. 

Bliss. 

This was a first for me. Well, french toast dusted with icing sugar and served with maple syrup is nice and the closest to this, but I have never tried the pancake (sweet), fruit and bacon (savoury) combination before. I know Americans do this. It is just not that often tried here. But I LOVED it. 

I make pancakes - I always have done for the children, only I call them dropped scones, and pancakes are the flat things you roll up for Shrove Tuesday. With lemon and cinnamon. My Gran called pancakes/dropped scones flapjacks. But flapjacks here are oaty undercooked bars. We overcooked them in SA and called them crunchies, and they were thin, not fat. 

Things are the same and yet oh, so different, aren't they? I am now in a cultural bird's nest in my head. 

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The booths at Bill's were lovely too. So was the coffee. Just be sure to ask for TAP water. WE made sure we drank every drop from that shiny new bottle. 

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So, we waddled out the doors, and decided to walk to Covent Garden, which was a building or so away. The cobbles didn't help the walking at all, and Diana went and perched against a pillar while I had a quick look around. There are NO seats anywhere, unless you go to another restaurant, and we were exploding from all the food already. 

In the end, we made it to M&S, I had another long drawn out black coffee and the rain started, so we decided to grab a taxi, and go to the station, even though we were very early for our train. Thankfully, when we arrived, we discovered a Mobility Lounge. Somewhere for those of us challenged physically to sit, and, more to the point, a place where little pope-mobile cars were based. We were driven in splendour to our train, when it finally arrived. 

Perfect. 

Our little trip worked for us. We had a lovely time, and even though we didn't quite have the foreign adventure we planned, we had a great home one anyway. More memories to cobble together. 

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So, back to home life. Yesterday, I had another ultrasound appointment to check out my wrist at a very early hour, so I took David in to work early, and sat with my puzzle book and waited for 9 am. The coffee shop behind those green shutters only opened at 8. I was 4th in the queue. 

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This morning, Mum and I took Diana to the airport to fly to Switzerland. She is having a week or so away to see Marge before her epic trip. She got to try out the assisted boarding, which has made travelling so much easier for me. And, unlike her mother, she managed to get 3 seats to herself to stretch out across. This is the girl who also set off on an adventure around the world alone at 18, and the very first flight from the UK, she was upgraded to business class. Humph. 

She has just sent a text to say she has landed in Der Schweiz. All is good. 

See? Adventures all over the place here. It is all about perspective. I did a trip to Lidl. Adventure?? 

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

I DID something on the list.......

This is the year I am going to DO stuff, remember.


I went on an adventure last Friday. Well, my daughter and I went on an adventure. We had planned to go away for a weekend to some place neither of us had been before, like Helsinki, Trondheim, Lisbon....

However, time ran away from us, and, given that neither of us is in a position to walk further than a couple of steps without complications, we decided to DO something. To cross something off my list. To make it possible to go and enjoy something new. 

So, armed with foam blocks, ear plugs, medication and a change of clothing, we set off for London. As we could get incredibly reasonable tickets in advance, Diana decided we would go first class. This simply means that someone writes First Class on the windows and it is likely you will have a seat, by the way. We discovered this quickly. 

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And, once ensconced on the train, we sat. And sat. And sat. And went nowhere. Finally, there was a series of announcements re a problem on the track ahead, and so, after well over an hour, and with a few trainloads of people now waiting, we were moved on to an extended train. Then they declassified First Class, and all the rabble (I can say that, even though I am usually part of the rabble) burst into our compartment. We closely resembled sardines, but we were finally on our way to London. 

The guard announced that we were welcome to claim compensation as per the regulations, and before we made the first stop, my daughter had sorted that one out. We wait to see what happens next. 

I tell you, we took a great many selfies in 24 hours. You will get to see some of them, grainy though they may be. I need a proper camera which will take night photos. 

We were sitting there, talking about where we were going, and Diana started laughing, and informed me that I looked like Mufasa. 

Hah. Now you know where we were going......

The collar of my cardigan looked like a mane. 

Right. I like to look the part. 

We finally arrived in London, and were virtually the last off the very long train, and were hobbling our way up the ramp to the station concourse, when a herd of wild animals came stampeding towards us. 

Actually, the wild animals were people, who had obviously been waiting for a couple of hours for the delayed trains, and they charged for the platform the moment the number was displayed on the board, and believe me, two women with walking problems were totally ignored. We had to flatten ourselves against the wall - Diana on crutches and me with the stick. It was terrifying. 
One of the things we both noticed ever so clearly, was the complete lack of any form of empathy in London. On the streets. The hotel and the theatre could not have been more accommodating. People just seem to care only for themselves, and mow over anyone in their way. 

Sad. 

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The Royal Festival Hall is on the left, the red thing is the London Eye and in the middle you can see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. 
We stayed at a hotel near Waterloo station, and this is very much Diana's home territory, because her university (King's College) is at the Strand, and she graduated at the Royal Festival Hall, and went ice skating in Somerset House. It is a part of London she knows very well. 

So we took a taxi to the hotel, and flopped on the beds for a while before setting off for the chosen restaurant for an early supper. It happened to be a block from the hotel, in the direction of the theatre, so that was good. The GBK proved to be as good as we hoped, and the avocado bacon burgers were fantastic. The best bit though, was the bowl of little fries, Just sensational. (The photo of them is down below. I can't move it at the moment.)

You can tell I don't eat out often, can't you??

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St Paul's, the Gherkin, the Shard, and assorted other Important Places. 
After supper, we rolled out of the restaurant just as the evening rush was beginning, and found a bus to take us the couple of stops across the river, and then we walked back to take some photos. Grainy. But we were there. 

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And then, we reached the theatre, just at the top of the road. I tell you, things could not have been more simple. It was all right there. The legs just needed to be in working mode. I did look so incredibly elegant clutching my bag of foam. I will cover it one of these days, but the whole thingwas an experiment to see if it worked. If I could go to a show. And survive. The foam, by the way, worked very well on the bus. Busses are not known for smooth rides. They rattle and shudder. 

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I can't tell you how excited we were. Diana picked up the tickets and we hobbled inside. Our seats were AMAZING. We were in the stalls, in a wide gangway, so had plenty of room to stretch out the legs. 
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The grins were very wide. I looked at the rows of drums with a baleful eye, but you know, when it all started, the music was not all that amplified. There were bad moments, of course, but the foam, the meds and the ear plugs deadened a lot of the sound and vibration, but I could still hear the music. I had to sit forward at times, but we will modify the foam next time. And there will be a next time. The Sangoma was just sensational. The whole things was unbelievably beautiful, and where we were sitting, the cast ran right past our feet as they flew around the auditorium. 

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The old theatres in London are really beautiful. 

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Sigh. 

We had the most amazing evening. And then we caught a bus back to Waterloo Station, and walked to the hotel. Slowly. 

Even at approaching 11pm, the city was full of people. It never stops. And neither do those people. Diana was trying to get onto an escalator in the station, and no-one paused to let her on to it - they pushed past with no respect for her. I got to the bottom, turned around and saw her still struggling and couldn't believe how uncaring the world appeared to be.

Nothing could have dampened our delight in our day, though. It was worth it all. 

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Those little fries, I talked about up there at the top. We still hanker after them, let me tell you. They were that good. 

So, we fell asleep. We were mega tired, and in fact, I am still falling asleep as soon as I sit anywhere. I will tell you about Saturday tomorrow. I need some coffee if I am going to stay awake and it is only 12.40pm. 

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I started with the snow - on Friday morning, we awoke to a white world - finally some snow fell on the village and it all looked so beautiful. Not a lot, and not enough to cause a problem, but snow, nonetheless. It is very cold at the moment, but it really feels like winter now. It has been mild so far. 


I hope the sun is shining for you today.....



Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday rolls round again.............

I have a few half written posts in the folder here - and clearly my staying power has been compromised along the way because I cannot post half written things, now can I. Nor do I seem to be able to finish them. I start off early in a fit of enthusiasm, and then, as soon as I get up to make more coffee, I get distracted by life outside the study door. 

Things like washing machines, dishwashers, an annoyingly grubby hob, the sun, a cobweb, a newspaper - they leap up and grab me and then I forget all about the writing and the muse. 

And that, my friends, is why you seem to get the rest. As in a rundown of events, rather than the content of the brain, and/or heart, as the occasion may warrant. 

Take for instance right now. The incoming email pinger pinged as I wrote that last line, so I had to check what was there, didn't I? Exactly. There were some Groupon offers, so I wandered off through the merry maze, bought nothing, and then remembered I was trying to sit down and write something worth reading. 30 minutes later and a load of washing rescued.

I am doomed.

By the way, I am hoping you have all seen that Boomama (Sophie Hudson) has a new book out? But more to the point, her first book is FREE on the Amazon Kindle at the moment, so rush on over and download it. You will not be sorry. I absolutely LOVED it! I, however, bought a real paper book ages ago for money. That didn't stop me downloading the digital copy too, though. One can never have too many copies of good books......

(Washing in drier, and hung up in sun. More cobwebs dispatched. Cobweb catcher bashed about in the sun outside to clean it. Dead leaves removed from plant. Broken terracotta bits of pot hidden from view. Hands washed. Here I am again. Coffee cold. )

(Additional list of post ideas written and mulled over. 15 mins gone.)

(Still considering a photo book Groupon.)

(Concentration is not one of my talents.)

You will remember that I was watching over my friends' home and dog over Christmas...... well, I saw the wedding photos over the weekend. They had gone to Cape Town for a family wedding and holiday, and on Saturday I got to see the photos. Such a beautiful place. Well, you see all the fabulous places when you are on holiday, which is only natural! Anyway. I had never heard of the word Marryoke. Have you? Am I the last person on earth? It was hysterical. Brilliant. Perfect. Hilarious. Fun. 

What a fantastic idea! For anyone who may not know about Marryoke, it is a video made while members of the wedding party, the friends, guests, family etc all lip-sync to the words of a song. This wedding the song was Summer nights, from Grease. Apparently the photographer took at the footage on his iPhone while playing the music for you to pretend to sing on an iPad. Genius. Then he goes away, slices and dices and voila!! The end result is the best memento of a wonderful day. 

Try popping over to YouTube and watching some of the hundreds posted there. You will love them. Good grief, when I remember the official formal photos of my wedding - I never look at them. I never really liked them. The best ones have always been the casual ones taken by friends. They are the most natural, the ones which make me grin. The others are the rolling the eyes in the head variety. I do remember the very expensive and utterly useless woman who was my official photographer took ALL the pre wedding photos of me in the garden with a lamp-post emerging from the top of my head. Photoshop was not around back in the time of the dinosaurs. 

Forget the staged dances. Seriously, getting everyone involved and joining in, unrehearsed, is clearly so much fun. 

(Three text massages received and answered. Lunch made and half eaten. Chat to daughter re physio report. )

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There are signs of life in the garden already. The hellebores are starting to bloom, and the snowdrops and other bully things are growing rapidly. I have no idea why so many bulbs are out of the ground, but it could be the squirrels. The garden needs a great deal of tidying up, because I couldn't do anything after the cataract op at the end of autumn. It can wait. I got out of bed yesterday, to find a large black and white cat sitting on the windowsill looking at me. That was different. He is welcome to loiter, because I am quite sure he will dispatch any wandering rodents emerging from their winter slumber. 

Right. That cold coffee needs to be tossed out. 
I will be back. 

Mission: Take some photos worth looking at.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Back in the water.....

This morning, I got back in the water at the gym, and did the aquazumba class for the first time since October and the cataract op. There have been so many issues since then, and I suppose I should have waited a little longer, but this morning, Diana said - have fun in the pool. So I popped on line to see if there were actually any spaces in the class. There were. I gathered the dusty bag and briefly wondered if the aging bathing costume might spectacularly explode in the water, and then stuffed all the hesitations back in the bag and departed. 

It was great. 

Seeing all my friends, and having just about the entire class, and teacher, stop to chat and say welcome back, was just so lovely. I have a great group of friends in that class. 

So, I did it. Back dancing in the water. I may never walk again, of course, because the muscles are not happy as I speak, but who cares. I got in the water. 

Anyway, following on from the moment, I took Mum out shopping and for some coffee, because she loves getting out and about. We had our coffee, and then I went looking for foam, because the DO thing is going to need foam. I bought 2 squares, two different thicknesses. Next I need to borrow the wheelchair, and cut the foam to fit, and then, THEN, people, we are going to try noise. Music. Think London and a show. If it works, then the sky is the limit. 

Now THAT is exciting!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

In the blink or an eye, or a taste, of course.............

Good morning, all. It is a porridge kind of day. Grey. Cold. Damp. Porridge is needed.

Isn't it amazing how we associate food with moods, or weather, or emotions? A hot cross bun day. A salad kind of day. A stick the crock pot on day. A butternut soup kind of day.

Actually, more to the point, it is wonderful how we can recall memories simply by smelling or tasting something. Shell fish - crayfish (lobster), prawns, always whizz me straight back to a back on the west coast of the Cape, where I spent many days diving with friends for crayfish. South African crayfish are huge, like lobsters. We caught them, kept them in rock pools, then cooked them in seawater. And ate them on the beach. I can smell them. Taste them. Feel the sun on my back and the sand between my toes.

I was thinking about Brandy Tart yesterday. Cape Brandy Tart is a regional recipe and absolutely wonderful, especially on a cold dark wet night. Sticky. Served with cream or hot custard. Maybe I should make a couple. They freeze well, and the brandy is still out from Christmas and the cake baking. I made it for a charity supper event one year here in the village - you provide a dish and copies of the recipe which are sold to raise more money, and it proved to be a roaring hit. Especially with the men!

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Then I remember the pecan pies. The carrot cakes. Stuttafords food hall. The Old Cape Farm Stall, with the fresh vegetables and the home made cakes and biscuits. And breads. And jams. My friend Cheryl gave me some Cape Gooseberry jam for Christmas. (Physalis, here.) My absolute favourite, which she brought all the way from Cape Town. 

Memories are made like this, you see. One thing triggers another, and you find your thoughts wandering down old familiar pathways, through the trees, up the mountain and you pass and bookmark stuff as you go to return to at a later time. If you remember how and where. My grammar skills seem to have gone awol in the forest, people. Whatever. I am quite sure you know what I mean to say. 

This morning, I checked Instagram, (I am linds56) and saw a photo posted by a friend. This friend is a man I have known for 35 of his 38 years. He and my older son grew up together, and his mother is one of my dear friends. Obviously, he is no longer the little barefoot kiddie I first met, back in 1981, with cheeky grin and long blonde hair. He is the one in the middle of this photo below, by the way. I had to get my Andrew to go through his photos and email me the copy. 

I say "my" Andrew, because there were many Andrews and he was another one, but he became known as VC. I still think of him as Andrew, though, because I am a mother. We do that kind of thing. 

Anyway.... aren't they cute? 1983. Babies. Andrew, Andrew and Nigel. They had already had 2 years of pre-primary together by the time they headed to "Big" school. I feel old, all of a sudden. 


(We are taking the long path here, people, round the woods and over the hills, and through the river.,....) 

So, as I said up there at the beginning, I saw a photo VC had posted. It was of his 2 sons this morning, on the first day of school. One to start Big School, and one to start pre-primary. (That one was barefoot, with long blonde hair too - just like his father at the same age.) The older one in the identical uniform his father wore in this photo, except for the socks and shoes.  You only start school when you are 6 in SA. Not like here where you go at 4. (Do not get me started. It is crazy.) 
And so I was transported in an instant, back to 1983. I could see this photo in my mind. And I knew I had to find it and post it too, on Instagram. And tag the other Andrew. 

#intheblinkofaneye

32 years ago. I am sitting here shaking my head in disbelief. 32 years ago. Oy. 

Memories. They make the head want to explode at times. 
In a good way. 

I need to go and make something warm. Now where did I put the Cape Brandy Tart recipe.......