Monday, July 29, 2013

my first matroyshkas

And a couple of other Milnerton Market finds yesterday.

Cacti make me happy. Does that make me a bit of a prick?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

a moderate lush

I know, I know, there's plenty of fun to be had without alcohol. But the fact remains there's plenty of fun to be had with it too.

In these fast paced days of child-rearing and minimal adult relaxation time, nothing changes gears faster than that first gulp of wine of the evening. Literally washing away the horror trauma craziness of the afternoon and making for a much nicer Mummy (and a much more animated reading of the bedtime story if I've succumbed to the call of the vine while they're still up).

At Frieda's 6th birthday party recently the first gin 'n tonics started flowing at 11 am, and the last guests left at 6 (it was supposed to a be a 2 h party). Related? I think so.

One of my favourite moments of the last month or so was barreling through the dark streets of the town I grew up in - an unofficial high school reunion - 3 of us crammed into the back seat of a friend's car singing (and I use the term loosely) along to Bohemian Rhapsody at the tops of our voices. For a moment I was 17.
Was alcohol involved? You betcha.

Nothing says Friday evening like a gin cocktail, or in summer a tall sweaty glass of beer.

But interestingly since I started this post yesterday evening (I had to break for wine) I've had a bit of a sobering experience.
The news that a South African filmmaker, a man much older than me, has won a prestigious local film award for his first feature film in 20 years. I've not seen the film, I'm not even sure I want to, but it was the news of this man's success which really moved me.

When I met Andrew Worsdale 13-odd years ago, he was such a sick alcoholic that people were telling me he wouldn't live for very much longer.
He'd fallen off the wagon repeatedly, looked like it had ridden over him a couple of times, lost his home, most of his possessions and almost all of his friends. He had one of those horrific chemical implants which was supposed to make drinking unbearable, but yet he drank.
My boss at the time was one of his last remaining friends, giving him small film review jobs and other bits and pieces to try and keep him going. Andrew would hang out in our offices occasionally, and I was horrified by how damaged he seemed.

How remarkable that he's made it back from that.

My taste for alcohol could never compare to that kind of disability. I can't imagine having to battle those demons or fight that kind of fight. I'm so proud of him.

But I'm very grateful to be able to use booze to my advantage every now and then!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Okay, so it's no secret (at least not here ha ha) where I stand on religion, but this sign outside a church in Cape Town caught my eye recently.

I like it.

I like it because it's subtle, inviting without any brimstone, and because it seems to acknowledge the real reason people should embrace religion - for comfort, fellowship, inclusion - not fear, guilt or from a sense of duty.

I may also like it because I like this church, it's probably the one I've been to most in my life (and that's not a whole lot). Christenings, Christmas carols, weddings and most recently, a funeral.

Comfort, fellowship, inclusion - some things I've never felt from religion, but yet will always be reminded of by this church building.

home hack: laundry room

I've confessed before how this house is obscenely big for just the 4 of us.

The previous owners had fitted out the top floor to be a separate-entrance flat for their son (and various tenants over the years), creating a 'kitchenette' from what used to be a second bathroom. A room with a gorgeous view (confession: most of the rooms here have them) and no real purpose for us.
For the last 10 months it's been a bit of a dump space, filled with boxes and 25l tins of paint and some overflow kitchen stuff which didn't fit in the cupboards downstairs.

Then winter came and I discovered that our outside washing line gets ZERO sun in the winter months. Time for a hack ...

Up went a retracting washing line in the spare, north-facing room upstairs (which also happens to be my dressing room - I'm just going to stop apologising for this shit ok?) - happy sunny washing with a view!

And a gorgeous place to hang out and, um ... hang out. AND how convenient to remove washing from line, fold, turn, and put away in cupboard? So convenient.

But ... I wasn't done. Now we were generating all our dirty laundry upstairs, hanging our wet laundry upstairs, storing our clean laundry upstairs ... what's missing?

Yup, we hauled the washing machine ... upstairs. And over a weekend recently I cleared out the 'kitchenette' and made a bona fide laundry room. Such as one may see on Pinterest but minus the twee posters and plus some pretty dodgy 'gold' tiles.
Which the washer and dryer share with the cats (a quiet, elevated place for their kibbles) and just a little bit of main kitchen overflow.
And did I mention the view?

Ah, it all makes a little home-makers heart very happy.

But the best thing?
'Muuuuuuuum, where are you?'
'I'm upstaaaaaairs doing the laundry. Be down in a minute.'

Did I mention my bed and my book are also upstairs?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

home security

Of all the ways we're ripped off as South African middle-class citizens - insurance, bank charges and the like - home security is waaaay up there.

Private security companies take full advantage of the horrendous state of crime in our country and totally coin it. They hardly need to spend anything on marketing either, one only has to read the papers or go to a dinner party with friends to get enough motivation to spend heaps of cash on beams and bars and electric fencing.

My brother-in-law's house was recently burgled in the middle of the day. Their bars and security gates and Doberman posed no hindrance to the determined thieves, and without a house alarm to betray their presence the bastards clearly spent a long time picking and choosing their loot (the doggie was completely unscathed and untraumatised by the way, she probably welcomed the company and no doubt got a big juicy bone too!).

My mother-in-law, understandably rattled by her eldest son's loss, turned to her religion to make sense of it all, saying that it was only due to God's mercy that he and his wife weren't at home at the time. I don't usually credit that fictional being with having a hand in these things but I have to say if I did, in this case I'd say god was with the burglars, they should be on their knees in gratitude that my brother-in-law, a big angry man who carries a weapon, didn't come home to find them there.

Anyway the result is that even that big angry pistol-packing man is freaked out, and looking to improve his home security. Quotes he's currently receiving to install a home alarm system are in some cases in excess of R40 000.00. Forty thousand rand to sleep better at night. What the actual fuck?

Which brings me, finally, to the inspiration for this post. This crude sign I photographed outside a house this morning.

A desperate, innovative, much more affordable and extremely indicative of how we're all feeling, approach to the constant threat to our possessions and well-being.
How long until the unlucky testicles of those who don't heed this sign (or can't read) are displayed along this wall as a real warning ... ?

Monday, July 22, 2013

all or nothing

We were at a party on Saturday night. It was late and there were only 6 or 7 of us left. A man and a woman, who'd only just met as far as I could make out, sat to one side in their own conversation while the rest of us shrieked and bantered at the table.
If I recall it was this making us laugh - the inane hilarity of a personalised pre-recorded birthday salutation. It was late okay?

Then, in a sitcom-esque moment of pure comedy, as our laughter died down and a lull ensued, we all clearly heard our friend across the room, saying to his new friend: 'When you touch it do you feel something?'
My god we laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed.

I still don't know what they were talking about, I know it wasn't as intriguing (or intimate) as it sounded, I know the timing was beautiful and I know my sides were still aching yesterday. Those laugh muscles got quite a work out, it was a great party.

But it made me think about this space of mine, which I miss, and why I don't just come back here with everything and nothing like I used to. Since I've been so absent here I increasingly feel the pressure to come back strong, to break the lull with something exceptionally well written, or hilariously funny.
I find myself thinking of things to write and then not doing so, because it's not 'good' enough.

Not good enough for my own personal blog at the end of the universe? If it's good enough for the inside of my head it should be good enough for here. Self-censoring my content here feels like censoring my thoughts and how crap is that?

Like a knife through the heart cake.

Made for our friend whose birthday we were celebrating on Saturday,