"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

rambling on again...

This has been a busy year. I know it is not over yet and things are speeding up, weeks are flying by and it is now becoming necessary to use a wall planner calendar for December so that I can keep track.

I have had two nights of little sleep and last night at about 3, instead of coming to the study and switching on lights, I decided to sit at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and a pen and paper. I had read this blog post before going to sleep. I read it a couple of times. It is such a beautiful piece of writing that I thought I would follow Katrina's footsteps and maybe a pen and paper would work for me too. Not to be.

It is weird how I have forgotten how to write, how my handwriting is now a scrawl and my hand gets a cramp.  But it was reassuring sitting at the kitchen counter, filling in my calendar and taking stock of things.

So 55 is where I will be next year (and Kathy, Lesley and Ellen). Things are changing. They always will.  Reading this post made me realise how important it is to live in the moment because we do not know what the future holds. It is important to tell those around you that you love them, to forget about things that happened in the past and try and be more mindful and live in the moment.

My creative juices have all dried up and I moved on to filling in dates on the calendar.  Important ones are Nic’s graduation on 16 December – I am so proud of him and how he has managed to get through these last 3 months after major surgery.  Matthew is coming home on 17 December for Christmas but leaves before New Year.   David and Lucie are heading to Glasgow to spend Christmas and New Year with Lucie’s family.  Gareth and Hayley are difficult to keep up with and have a spate of weddings around the country but will be in Cape Town for Christmas. They are getting a new puppy which also needs to be filled in on the calendar.
We will be home and it will be great.

Roll on December but not too excited about what January brings - Nic moving to Pretoria, Matt back in Hong Kong.  February = 55.  55 I am ready for you!!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

what a week...

This past week has had it all.  A 3 day visit from my friend Hans from Holland, a "business trip" to Robertson, friends and family for a braai, wine tasting in Constantia, the Noon Day Gun, lunch at The Grand and a fun evening of newbie bowls.  Add into the mix a few long morning walks, a record week of wine sales, a dog bite and spending 2 hours of the most beautiful day, in a warehouse, waiting for wine to be delivered.  It really had it all.

In no particular order - it has become a bit of a blur.

Noon Day Gun.  Nic had been with friends a few days previously and had said what a great experience it was.  All Capetonians know about, have seen and heard the gun that goes off at 12 everyday but most people I have told about it this week have not been there.  You can see it from the top of Signal Hill and would presume that you have to wind your way down to get to it - no - you get to it through Bo-Kaap.  The journey there is half the fun, cobbled streets, winding roads, chickens and potholes.  Get there 15 minutes before (11.45 ;)) and you get a bit of the history, a demonstration and then wait for the countdown.  In some ways the views are better than those from Table Mountain because it feels as though you are right there, hovering above the busy city with Table Mountain as a backdrop.

from the canon
Cape Town at its best

A business trip to Robertson
This was an interesting one.  Nic came along with Hans and I and we headed to Robertson to collect some wine for an urgent order.  We were going to head to Viljoensdrift (one of our suppliers) for a lunch on the river but we were early and none of us had had breakfast.  They only opened for lunch.  So, on my suggestion we stopped at a little shop (on the left as you enter town) where Kathy and I had had some fun before, and decided to have breakfast there and pop into Tommy's wine shop/sauce shop/tasting room while we waited for breakfast.  We should have known when we walked in and found only one lady playing a board game with her father/husband at 10 in the morning that this was not going to be a pronto breakfast. Tommy next door entertained us for a bit and insisted that we have a taste of his white muscadel.  I told him that we would come back after breakfast as we had not eaten yet, to which he replied "You can't eat on an empty stomach".  So we obliged him with a shot of muscadel, on an empty stomach.  While drinking coffee on the sidewalk, watching the town go past and waiting 45 minutes for our breakfast, Nicholas James realised that he had a physio appointment in town at 2.15.  Damn, no Viljoensdrift, wine tasting and touring Robertson for us.  Straight to Graham Beck to collect the 11 cases of wine and back on the road. Nic was back, dead on time for his appointment.

Record wine sales this week.  It is so awesome to see how our little business is taking off.  Thanks to Gareth and his tweets, we had a sale to one of his mates for 34 cases of wine for gifting.  The little black ankle-biter at the premises did not fancy me much though, and gave me a nice snap on my achilles as I was leaving.  The price you pay.

This order, together with a couple of other nice big orders and the friends who continue to buy a couple of cases here and there has put us in a good position.  Now for the first time we have more money in the bank than what we owe and our little warehouse is overflowing with wine - AND the Silly Season has only just begun.  It is also the first anniversary of Wine Time, so I think celebrations are in order!! It has been a busy year but so much fun to do something for yourself that you enjoy and have time in between for....

Lunch at the Grand with Lucie and Hans - Beautiful day, sun on our backs, sand on our feet and fancy boats cruising by.  Not forgetting the chilled wine and cajun calamari. Thanks Hans.  

And what is a road trip without a song.  

"Big Parade"

Lovely girl won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me
All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see
Lovely girl won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me
All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see

Fleet of black, fleet of black limousines
These tinted machines, here comes the cavalcade

With the armored cars, armored cars like berettas
Flags on antennaes designed to keep me safe, keep me safe

And oh my my oh hey hey
Here he comes, the candidate
Blue eyed boy, united states
Vote for him, the candidate

Diamonds cut, diamonds cut for the carrots
Plaster of paris, the floats fill up the street

And the beauty queens, beauty queens with the white gloves
All sick from the night clubs, they wave with pageantry, pageantry

Oh my my oh hey hey
Here it comes, the big parade
Marching bands and barricades
Make way, for the big parade


Canvas covered, canvas covered in resin
The violent men who dance the blood ballet
And the bookies say, bookies say it's the 3rd round
Oh when louie will go down, if he don't there's hell to pay, and hell to raise

And oh my my oh hey hey
Here he comes, the welterweight
Take a dive, for goodness sake
Or say goodbye to the welterweight

Catholic priest, catholic priest in a crisis
He's torn between romance and jesus, who will win the civil war

And he says I'm in love, I'm in love with a woman
Yea this is my confession, I'm leaving I can't a priest anymore, anymore

And oh my my oh hey hey
There he goes, the man of faith

Left the church for a fiance
Let him love, the man of faith


T.v. cameras, t.v. cameras and stage hands
American bandstand, electric guitars

And he's singin songs, singin songs for the lonely
All the girls with the room keys, they know all his words by heart, by heart and they all sing

Lovely girl won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me
All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see
Lovely girl won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me
All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see

Lovely girl won't you stay, oh oh ohoh

Oh my my oh hey hey
Here she comes by saving grace
Burn the car and save the plates
She's arrived, my saving grace

Good times.

Monday, 18 November 2013

monday mix

Another cheating blog post with links and pictures and songs that have caught my interest and my eye this last week.  

Have you seen this advert?

This made me laugh especially since our neighbour's poor dog also has his head in a bucket at the moment.

This book looks pretty funny:-

On the topic of marriage.  Maybe you have seen this as it was doing the rounds on Facebook last week. I thought it was beautiful, so simplistic and made so much sense.

And then a song.  We went to church yesterday.  Incorporated into the Remembrance Day service was a short memorial of sorts for Michael's brother David who died in London recently.  The family were having a service in London yesterday and this service saw a small gathering of his friends getting together to remember him in Cape Town.  A young musician from the church played the most amazing rendition of this Dylan song and it has been playing in my head ever since. 

Katie Melua does a great version too

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

some stuff you may like

Lou Reed - I can't confess to knowing his music very well, except "Walk on the Wild Side".  Gareth forwarded me this link the other morning.  It is such an awesome tribute and those last three paragraphs I have read over and over again. 

This is a pretty amazing bit of music. These Bach sonatas were written as violin solos.  Chris Thile plays them on a mandolin and knows all the music off by heart. Scary.

How good are you with colour?  Take this test.  I scored 32 but must confess my eyes were struggling.

A bit of a strange assortment but that is how things are at the moment.  A strange assortment.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

the long goodbye...

My boys hated it when little and now that they are all grown-up they still hate it.  Our family take their time saying goodbye.  From when they were young and I would stop their fun by saying "Come on we are going now" and half an hour later they would be shouting at me from the car while I was still finishing off a story and saying my goodbyes, to today not much has changed.

It happened again last night. Nic was making himself comfortable on my sister's couch.  "Don't get too comfortable, we are going now".  Now Nic was a tad grumpy.  I had just collected him from a second operation on his knee and we had popped in to wish Kelly a happy birthday.  He had finished his final law exams the day before and had been out for a bit of a party (big party) the night before.  Not much sleep, a hangover, a knee manipulation with a general anaesthetic then a "quick pit stop" to wish Kelly, it was no wonder my usually placid and jovial son was grumpy and snapped at me "Send me a Whatsapp when you are in the car and have the engine started".  

So later last night I had to smile to myself when I read this article on "Ghosting".  It does take me a while to say goodbye to family, friends and small groups but what I learned from my first husband and his friends was a skill that they called "The Chiropractic Sneak".   Named after our friend the chiropractor who would always just vanish from a party without saying goodbye we realised after a couple of years that it was not a bad idea and not such bad manners as we originally thought.  

It is very clever to leave a party when it is in full swing without saying goodbye because, as hard as you try, saying goodbye does take time and it does break up a party.  It gets everyone thinking "Time to Go", the hosts start to panic and it usually leads to a mass exodus.  It can also be fun and exciting to collect your bags, find the best way out (a problem these days with security, buzzers and alarms) and leave without anyone knowing. 

This sneaky trick initially horrified my new husband.  He comes from an era where you say thank you and goodbye properly to your hosts before leaving. However, the longer he has known me the more mileage he gets out of his statement at the end of the evening "OK Jenny, down to the last 5 people, can we go?".  (He has this theory that we are always in the last 5 people to leave a party - When is a theory not a theory?).  So when we are at a big gathering and I give a mere suggestion that it is "maybe" time to go he is out of the door in a flash, hoping like hell that I do not leave him waiting in the car for 20 minutes.

Ghosting, The Irish Exit, The French Goodbye - The Chiropractic Sneak.  Have you done it?

Sunday, 3 November 2013

how silly of me

to let one customer spoil almost my whole day on Friday.  I am so lucky to have very few bad days in my life and for some reason on Friday I found myself close to tears after a telephone conversation about a stupid delivery to the northern suburbs.

It was a first time up country customer who I had been in constant contact with for about 6 weeks about a wine order.  The way he spoke it was going to be a really big order and I went out of my way to make a plan to get this wine to him on 1 November as he was only in Cape Town for a couple of days.  He was staying in Somerset West but we worked out that delivering it to one of his customers in Parow would be easier for me and "meeting half way".

His wine order arrived and it was for only 3 cases.  Not a problem but after all his emails and phone calls, I was under the impression that he was wanting a truckload full of our very best.  How wrong could I be? 3 cases amounting to R480!! I could not go back on my word to deliver, luckily Caroline works in the northern suburbs and I made a plan with her to deliver on 1 November on her way to her studio at 2.  

At 8.45 on Friday morning, I get an irate call from him, saying that he was now in Parow and "where was his wine?".  I knew the wine would only be arriving at 2 and told him so.  He moaned and said that he was going to have to be back in Somerset West at 2.30 and that I would have to deliver there.  I was at a loss for words and kept quiet.  No ways was I driving to Somerset West with 3 cases of wine on a Friday afternoon. I could not face calling him back and sent him a message that if he could not wait for the wine I would refund him his R480.  

After feeling so cross and shaky after this rude exchange with the man I tried to work out why I was letting myself get so upset. I realised that it was the first time in my new job that I had to deal with someone rude. This whole year has been hard work but it is all so gratifying because I have been meeting and dealing with so many awesome people.  

The day did not improve. I had 2 big deliveries of wine arriving so I had to be at the warehouse. When I arrive there I notice that I have a "No Service" note on my cellphone and no reception. My new contract for my new iPhone was kicking in on 1 November. I had to ask to use the neighbouring company's telephone to call Vodacom in Cavendish. I was advised to remove my SIM card and then put it back. How do you do that?  How do you open an iPhone? Anyway with the help of another iPhone user and an earring from my ear we poke in a hole, the card comes out (and falls between some boxes) and once we put back where it should be I have reception. 

After many phone calls to the wine farm and to the courier company I realise that this delivery is not going to happen.  Cape Town on a Friday afternoon is not an easy place to get anything done.  This would not usually be a problem but 3 friends and 2 new customers had paid for and were told by me that their wine would be delivered on Friday.  I was keen to make a good impression and get it there on the day and in time for the weekend.

So I packed up wines for one delivery to friends close to home.  On my way out of the complex my phone rang, it was my partner who had just delivered a big order of wine to a restaurant.  They had paid him cash and he was now in Brackenfell with a wad of cash and was prepared to come all the way on a Friday afternoon to Diep River to give me my share.  I told him not to worry (I was not that desperate) but was so touched that he was prepared to go to the effort (in traffic on a Friday afternoon) that I started to cry.  I am not usually a cryer either.

A little cry is not a bad thing and my day started improving from then on...

A cup of tea with a friend (whose husband is a great customer) and telling her my tale of woe - which did not sound as woeful as I had been feeling when I retold it  - I felt so much better.  Amazing how some kindness, a cup of tea and a good chat can lift your spirits.  

End of the day, time for some sundowners with Kathy and Dalene and I get a message from the "irate customer".

"Thank you for the wine Jenny and thank Caroline for me, please.  I appreciate your delivery and it was there at 2.  Kind regards"

I had emailed my friendly customers who were waiting for their deliveries and they said "no problem".

Time to toughen up Jennifer