"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"

Thursday, 24 April 2014

music and memories (and gin)

It happens to me quite often.  I am thinking about something or trying to put a blog post together, it does not seem to be working or coming together and then, by chance, I read or hear something that hits just the right chord and it makes everything gel together nicely.

It was supposed to be a happy Easter weekend with Nic arriving and some family time planned.  I collected him from the airport at 11.30 on Friday night.  We had not even hit the N2 when I received a message on my phone.  Nic picked up the phone to read the message.  His "No Mom, No, No!!" gave me a cold shiver and had me nearly pulling off the road.  Sam, his uncle and the oldest Rosslee brother, who he had been staying with in Pretoria, had died suddenly that evening. Shock, dismay and feelings of helplessness followed. Bob, now 89, had lost another son. His wife, had lost her soul mate and his three children, their dad and grandfather. Sad times.

But once the sadness and shock wears off good times and stories are remembered. Two of my best memories are both about having Sam visit our home in Parry Road years ago.  He was in Cape Town on business and arrived to visit, very smart in his full air force uniform.  Dalene and Kathy were visiting me after they had finished work.  It was still pretty early, a hot summer day and the boys were playing outside. Sam went off to change and said he was off to the bottle store as it was a good evening for gin and tonics and a braai.  We were not serious drinkers in those days (maybe this day changed it?).  He came back with gin, tonic, ice and bitters and proceeded to pour the ladies a drink (in long beer glasses).  They were just perfect and we ended up having three each.  Once we saw that his 3 drinks each for 4 people had used up three quarters of a bottle of Gordons Dry Gin, we realised why we were having difficulty getting out of our chairs. As his punishment he had to cook supper for the boys because the ladies slumped straight back in their chairs, sat laughing and joking and were not good for much else. I never let him forget that story.

The other story was a late night music one.  An argument about whether Leonard Cohen or Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah was better.  I was for Buckley, Sam for Cohen.  Sitting around the fire with John, Vaughan and Sam, I eventually admitted defeat, with all three ganging up against me, I did not stand much chance so I sulked off and headed upstairs for bed.  The trio (now all no longer with us), with Cohen's version blaring, were not going to even entertain listening to Buckley (or my latest Sting CD), so bed was a better option.  A few years ago, Sam sent me his best Dylan selection - he knew his music (but would never admit that Buckley's version was definitely better).  He knew better than to send me any Leonard Cohen!! 

Dear Bruce Springsteen,

It was 2002, I believe, and you were on your Rising Tour in Detroit -- where I'm originally from. My father, being the fan that he was, liked to splurge on General Admission tickets. I didn't blame him. There's no sight quite like watching each droplet of sweat leave your forehead and land on the chords of your guitar.
And I inarguably had the best seat in the house.

My sisters and I would take turns watching the concert from my dad's shoulders. Imagine it: a breezy night in the mosh pit of Comerica Park at eye level with The Boss, feeling the security of my dad's warm embrace.
Magical is the only word I could use to describe it.
At one point, I felt like it was just me, you and my dad in that arena. After watching your sweat seep through the bandana wrapped around your forehead and spotting each speck of dirt splashed on your sneakers, I looked back at the stadium and saw the mega crowd going nuts for you.

After reading this, some goosebumps and some tears, I could not resist listening to Thunder Road again

The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey, that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again, I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside, darling, you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright
Oh, and that's alright with me

You can hide 'neath your covers and study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now, I ain't no hero, that's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey, what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well, the night's busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven's waiting on down the tracks

Oh oh, come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey, I know it's late, we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road

Well, I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride ain't free
And I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free, all the promises'll be broken

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets
They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines rolling on
But when you get to the porch, they're gone on the wind
So Mary, climb in
It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here to win

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

balmy days

I have been reading some rather sad and heavy stuff lately.  One particular blogger always gets me thinking and re-reading her posts and makes me pretty envious of her ability to write real heartfelt stuff.  It makes me wish that I could write some "deeper" and more meaningful posts and not all this light trivia. As a result, I have spent quite a while now, on a post which I am not quite sure about or ready to post.  I suppose it just does not come naturally to me to "get heavy" and it is not because I am not able to be more serious, not because I have a perfect life, children, relationships (although they are pretty perfect ;) but I think it is more in my nature to look on the brighter side of life. It has taken me this long to realise that this is why my book is not going anywhere.

So folks, same old, same old.  I can't help myself

Wonderful weather and a busy weekend.  A stunning sunset cruise on Thursday night got that "weekend feeling" starting early.

from the cabin

Listening to this song on Friday had me trying to sing the eastern version, karaoke style.  Try it, it is not so easy. 

A beautiful bouquet of tulips from Hayley and Gareth 
to say thank you for looking after Alfie
Playing with the new Waterlogue App.  Such fun.

A special swim in the sea with Fay and being part of a group of her family and friends who were celebrating the birthday their paraplegic friend.  He was being taken surfing by his friends as a birthday treat.  Strapped to the longboard with his head supported by a polystyrene wedge, it was not without it's nervous moments. We spent about an hour spent on the shore and in the water.  It was an hour spent observing the love and support of his wife and his friends, a humbling hour and the look of absolute glee on his face as he rode wave after wave made it something I will not forget and a privilege to be a part of.  

A twirly-whirly soft serve before we left Muizenberg

And to finish, a little story:-
Michael and I had a very interesting Sunday morning.  I had invited this elderly couple, clients of Michael's, who live around the corner for tea at 10. The husband is amazing for 92 and despite being a tad deaf is as sharp as most 55 year olds. The wife is about to be 88.  She is honest and direct, entertaining even though a bit repetitive.  She tells a wonderful story. 

They live in a rambling house in one of the avenues and have lived there for 54 years. They have been married for 65 years. They love birds - all birds, cockatiels, doves, pigeons and guinea fowls. Cockatiels and their cages fill the floor and Persian carpet in their lounge. The cockatiels roam free until visitors arrive. They feed the neighbourhood birds, the guinea fowls have destroyed their grass and upset their neighbours and pigeons venture down their parquet floored passage looking for food.

We visited them together a while back, had a tour of the house, heard stories of the antiques and paintings, toured the bird aviaries (inside and out) and studied the grape vine.  They have this enormous vine laden with Katoba grapes.  They have just spent two weeks making 230 jars of jam which they sell (to help pay for the bird seed).

I visited again last week. I was invited to come and sample the now completed jam (I have bought a couple of jars and am going to try and sell some jam for them). A slice of bread with the thickest amount of margarine ever was waiting at the front door for me.  It was then spread with a generous layer of the Katoba jam and I had these two old faces watching every bite I took and waiting and wanting a full and honest opinion.  Once I got through the margarine, the jam was good (anyone interested?).

A visit can never be a short one and I was in a bit of a hurry.  To make it easier for myself to leave, I asked them to please join us for tea on Sunday morning, when we could finish our chat. (She had started telling me a pretty heavy story about her relationship with God and the miracles that had happened in their lives).

Sunday dawned.  A beautiful day and a real pity to have to miss out on a swim at Dalebrooke.  The doorbell rang at exactly 10, they arrived with a loaf of fruit cake and two and a half hours of stories to tell.  We heard about squabbles with neighbours, fights about birds and about backwashing swimming pools; about the work they do for a soup kitchen in Lansdowne (they collect bread rolls from various bakeries in the area and deliver it to the church hall in Lansdowne twice a week); about problems they had with an adopted son; about their travels to Holland and her stories of beating every man at the chess club under Rondebosch bridge. For the last hour, stories about their faith, their baptism and the miracles that have had happened in their lives.

I felt bad having to stand up, break up the party and take cups to the kitchen, but we had a lunch date at 1 o'clock.  It took another half an hour for them to leave but before they left, they wanted to pray for us.  The husband led the most beautiful prayer and it was just the sweetest thing which left us both with tears in our eyes.

We were a bit late for our lunch and we missed our swim but mornings like these don't come about too often.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

two topics on everyone's lips...

The Oscar trial has overtaken the overworked "Banting Diet" as the top dinner table topic at the moment.  I have been surprised at how seriously friends and family are taking this whole trial (even more seriously than "Banting").  This week I joined the "serious ones" and am hooked and intrigued (on the Oscar trial not the Banting Diet).

It has been hard trying to juggle wine deliveries, mountain walks and admin work around what is happening in Pretoria.  The radio coverage has been great (except today when they had some stupid election debate being broadcast live from Cape Town).  I listen in the car, I have a radio at the warehouse and on certain days, I have rushed home hoping to see some live action on television and have been disappointed to find that court has been adjourned for some reason or other.  Channel 199 is on every evening and I have even tried to set up Nic, in Pretoria, on a date with "Ask Emma" (isn't she lovely? (and clever and articulate)).

I do admit to having a problem being judgemental and not having an open mind but, from that fateful Valentines day, my mind was made up.  He was guilty.  I am not moved by his sobs or tears, I think his vomiting is staged (how did they just happen to have a bucket ready for him?).  I am, however, pretty impressed with the way he presents himself and the way he talks (when he is not whining or sobbing). I do have some heart and I do feel sad when I see his sister's sad, pretty face and wonder whether she knows the truth (surely she must know?) and my heart breaks for Mrs Steenkamp and what she must be going through.

The questions I have been asking:-

1.  In all those Whatsapp messages with "Boo" and "Baba" and other terms of endearment, how many times did you see or hear the words "I love you"?  There were plenty "I miss you" "Wish you were here" messages but I did not hear Barry Roux or Oscar read out those 3 words once.

2.  How many woman in a "loving relationship" lock the toilet door when they go to the bathroom in the middle of the night?  How many woman even close the door in the middle of the night? 

3.  How many woman take their cellphones to the bathroom in the middle of the night?

4.  Why, when you are so paranoid about crime and safety do you sleep with your balcony doors open?

After today I am confused about some of the questioning and why the fan(s) are so important.  What is the significance of the two fans (the second fan apparently was not even plugged in and could not be plugged in)?  I was also puzzled yesterday as to why Oscar suddenly mentioned that Reeva had woken up and spoken to him before he moved the fans.  The whole thing is a puzzle, which hopefully will all eventually fit together.

It amused me that he messed up with the opening of the Valentine's Day present, saying that he only opened his present 6 months later on 8 August ("Reeva's birthday").  Reeva's birthday was not the 8 August but the 19 August.  How well do you know someone in 3 months? He wanted the pretty blonde on his arm (even although he did not like her accent or the way she chewed gum) and she wanted to promote herself to celebrity status and was happy to be the pretty blonde on his arm.

It is all very sad but my heart has not softened.  To me whether it was Reeva or an intruder behind the door, it makes no difference.  To shoot 4 shots with those terrible bullets at close range through a door shows an intent to kill.  He committed a murder.  After seeing him at a shooting range firing a gun like a madman at a watermelon, laughing hysterically and saying "just like brains" was seriously scary.

I am worried that the judge seems to be showing some sympathy towards Oscar but Gerrie Nel must have some more aces up his sleeve.  Please say he will not be let off because of police inefficiency?  Surely he will be severely punished for what he did?  Too many questions?  Overworked topic?

Anyone know where I can buy a cauliflower in the Southern Suburbs?

Monday, 7 April 2014

have a lovely day

I love Sunday nights when you sit and reflect on a weekend that seemed to fly past. Then when you finally work your way back to Friday afternoon and the weekend that followed, you realise that quite a lot was crammed into the weekend.  

A weekend of perfect weather in Cape Town meant taking advantage of the last of summer and appreciating what we have on our doorstep.
Mountain from my doorstep on Saturday morning

On Saturday morning I met Gareth and Alfie for a walk.  I had visions of a leisurely walk in the park, a visit to the Oranjezicht Farm Market, which I had not been to yet, and an easy Saturday morning.  Gareth had other ideas.  He took his mother up the steepest hill in Cape Town, to the Deer Park trail walk, we did stop once so that Alfie could have a swim.  If I had had half a chance I could have jumped in too.

Mountain from Molteno

Mother left for dust

A lovely walk through Deer Park, dogs, runners, mountain bikers.  A beautiful spot which I had never been to before.  I thought Deer Park was the cafe and small park attached to the restaurant!

On the way down, we did stop in at the Oranjezicht City Farm.  What an oasis in the middle of suburbia.  I bought a box of the most divine black figs and a variety of the best samoosas ever.  There was still a way to walk so shopping was curtailed.  Definitely heading back there soon.

De Waal Park
Gareth and Hayley were off to yet another wedding - No. 11 for the year and I had Alfie in my charge for the rest of the weekend. What could be better than sushi (and wine) in Kathy's courtyard?  A first of many for Alfie.

 Bet you can almost taste it?
Did we really leave some behind?

Alfie is now the honorary male at our lunches, since Nic decided to bail on us

He got tired of girl talk and decided to flatten the groundcover
 Two favourites
and another two favourites

A lovely one for the start of a new week