Wednesday, August 28, 2013

outside the courtroom

A woman came clack-clackety-clacking down the corridor in very high heels.

I was drawn to turn and look at her, smiled when I met her eyes. She looked back, her expression half blank, half defiant.

Why draw attention to yourself if you don't intend to engage?

Maybe this is why I wear sneakers so often. So as to be inconspicuous should I so wish, to have the choice as to whom I smile at or not.

Though arguably she still has that choice, even in heels.

I could totally take her in a foot race however.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

27 June 2008

Frieda was just one. She and I had spent the afternoon at a friend's. I remember I'd had more than one gin and tonic. It was Friday and it felt that way.

We got home a little late for starting supper etc, and swooped straight through the house to the kitchen. I put Frieda in her high chair and started scrabbling for something to feed her.

The alarm had been on when we'd arrived, I'd disarmed it before we entered. The study door was closed but that didn't strike me as odd, we often closed it so Frieda wouldn't toddle in there unsupervised.

It was only when I tried to open the back door, and couldn't, that I realised the broom cupboard which stood just outside it was on its side. Then I saw all the broken glass and went cold.
Where they still here?

I grabbed Frieda and my phone and walked straight out of the house again. Stood in the bitter wind phoning my husband and the security company. I wrapped her close in my big jersey, my heart thudding through us both.

Turns out the burglar was long gone. He'd smashed the solid pane of the study window (having realised that the alarm worked with contact points on all the opening windows and doors), closed the door to the study and helped himself to everything in there - 2 laptops, a tablet, a bike jacket, a mobile phone, some cash etc.

A bloody fingerprint stained the strip plug he'd unplugged my laptop from.
I am so grateful I'd copied the photos of Frieda's 1st birthday to a flash drive to share with a friend.
He left a can of mace spray behind.
I'm so grateful we came home when we did.

He left some other fingerprints too. And the reason why I tell this story now is that tomorrow I go to court to bear witness against him. 5 years and another dozen charges later they've got him, and although I don't really see the worth of my testimony - I can't add anything to the original police report, I never saw him - I'll do what I can to help find him guilty.

We were 'lucky' to have only been burgled once in all the years we lived in Observatory. (Actually we were broken into twice but the other time the perp only got into our garden shed and took a dump - I was away working on a shoot so I guess that time just I was lucky!)

But I don't feel particularly lucky now as I have to leave home in the dark and rain tomorrow to spend the morning on a cold, hard bench in the unsavoury environment of the Cape High Court.
But Justice must be served right?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


There's a gecko on the outside of the sliding door, half a mm to the right and he'd be in danger of being squished, but he's been hanging on there for days.
Dude's too cold to move.

Each time I open or close the door I hold my breath and watch him, willing him to stay put. I open that door more than one would think in this weather, as various pets decide they need to be out and then, jesus christ no, back in.
All day I open and close the door for temperamental cats with iffy bladders just as all night I lift and drop the edge of the duvet for them to come in and out.

You know it's winter and you're a sucker when you prise yourself away from the warm back of your husband to make space for a cold and elderly ginger cat to wedge herself between you. The warmest place in the house. There's 2 of them in our bed these nights.

The draft from the ill-fitting edge of that sliding door cuts through the room like a knife. I stand sofa cushions upright in front of the gap and wedge them there with a dining room chair.
I've masking taped the keyholes of the west-facing doors.

Today I watched coots tumble-weed down the lake in the face of a bitter gale force wind. The water has white-capped waves which lap up the lawn. Our jetty has detached and undulates in the foam, whole palm branches and swathes of litter caught up against it.

Winter was a long time coming this year but she's here now. Oh yes she is.

Monday, August 19, 2013

on aging

I saw a photo of myself recently - a side-on of me smiling - and the lines around my mouth seemed to meet the crinkly lines from my eyes, drawing a circle around my face akin to those inside a tree trunk. An age line to count my years by.

Maybe it's short sighted of me (I believe that comes with age as well), but it so doesn't really bother me.

I've never been a `lotions and potions' kind of girl. I've bought one tub of anti-aging cream in my life - a panicked response to the first smile lines which appeared around my thirtieth birthday. I use a face cream with a SPF factor every day, but only because my skin feels tight and uncomfortable without it, not for any real hope of slowing the aging process.

I had my first facial a few months back. It was lovely, I really enjoyed the deep cleaning aspect of it, but after that I got a little bored with the host of creams and powders and 'deep tissue massage' thingies the therapist started applying to my face. Lying there with my eyes closed I was reminded of the scene in Love Actually where Rowan Atkinson's character is extravagantly wrapping the adulterous gift purchased by Alan Rickman.
How many more layers was this woman going to add to my face? A sprinkling of fairy dust maybe? A scoop of lavender? A cinnamon stick inserted in my nose?
At the end of the session she told me I should use a face cream with a higher aqua content, and suggested some complicated and radically expensive options. `Like aqueous cream?' I asked. She blanched.

I just can't get excited about that stuff.

And it's not like I've got particularly good genes in this department. I have wrinkles. I have bags under my eyes. I still get acne for gods sake.
But yet I can't bring myself to spend money on products to make me look younger (maybe I'm counting on the acne to do that ha ha ha).
I might be kicking myself in a few years time, but I reckon I'll take my chances.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

lichen it a lot

Don't get me wrong, I may have taken a while to adjust, and I may still hanker after the drama of Obs occasionally, but I really, really love it here.

It's just a different kind of drama.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I've been a bit bolshie of late. Maybe it's a sign I'm approaching 40 (in a couple of years that is ...). I'm not taking shit, I'm not suffering fools and I kinda want things to run my way.

I'm not always this assertive, I've examined my conscious and I'm okay with having a period of self-ism - different to selfishness I think.

My yoga teacher tried to change the class times in a way which wouldn't suit me (and a lot of other participants turns out), but I was the one who got vocal in class and on email, until she changed the times back and asked in class, with a bit of an edge, if I was 'happy now?'
Yes thanks.

Socially I had a bit of a disagreement with someone I've known for years, there were others in the room who backed me so I'm confident I was in the right, but I was a little taken aback by my vehemence. I don't think I'll be seeing as much of him in the future.
That's okay.

At the supermarket the other day the cashier didn't ring through a bit of cheese, putting it straight into my shopping bag. I realised she wouldn't be held accountable for it and the only person who'd run a loss was (insert name of fat cat who owns supermarket chain to which I've paid thousands over the years), so I said nothing, paid for the rest of the items and left.
Don't mind if I do.

We no longer have a lift club to school and although there are other parents wanting to get involved with sharing the driving I've been hesitant about making an arrangement.
I don't feel like being dependent on someone else's time frame. Rushing to meet them or waiting when they're late. I quite feel like being late myself without having to apologise. Even it means more driving.
Am I mad?

It's a busy time. My days are full to the brim. I think my bolshie-ness comes from a place of wanting, needing, to make things as easy and pleasant for myself as possible (free cheese is pleasant right?). I don't want to do that to anyone else's detriment of course (he can afford to lose some cheese), but I'm prepared to get a little shirty to have things my way.
I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing.

Monday, August 05, 2013

anniversary reaction

Apparently it's a real thing, unconscious feelings and memories which come floating up to the surface as the world turns round the sun and you approach the annual anniversary of some significant life event.

In a few weeks time it'll be a year since we moved from Observatory. One whole year.

It took me a long time, and a little (teeny weeny) bit of therapy to adjust to the change of moving. I'm a bit wussy like that.
And while my house definitely feels like my home, and our environs grow more familiar each day, my roots are still just laying on the surface of this end of town - happy, well hydrated, but not rooted, not yet.

I suddenly find myself missing having my brother and sister-in-law down the road terribly again. Missing the easy access to friends in the area. Missing the throb and life of that wild 'n murky part of town.

I find scribbles in diaries and in notes on my phone which I've made over the last year ...
'Obs vibrant and ugly, here beautiful but static.'
'Surprising people versus surprising environment.'
'15 yrs in Obs to turn into a Town Mouse, now not sure what kind of cheese I like at all.'

We spent a fair bit of time there this weekend. We saw dear ones, celebrated a birthday, witnessed the aftermath of a mugging, navigated the tiny streets, had some junkies asking for handouts, laughed and reminisced and admired the pinky evening light against proud Victorian eaves. I loved it.
But it no longer feels like mine.

I guess that's okay - normal, healthy, important.

But I miss my brother.

And I miss this kind of thing, we don't get this in our new part of town ...

Saturday, August 03, 2013

perfect Saturday

You'd think a Saturday couldn't be perfect when you have to wake with an alarm at 06h45. But it was.

I woke before anyone else in the house, and had only myself to fed and dress. A brief bit of excitement as I chased a nasty neighbourhood cat across the pre-dawn cool lawn - but that did nicely to wake me up proper and get some adrenalin flowing through sleep-deadened limbs.

I was on the road by 07h30, stopping for a coffee which I drunk, by myself, watching a red sun rise over Kalk Bay harbour.

Then on to Frieda's school were I did my duty for four hours, (wo)manning a stall at their annual Secondhand Sale. I made some friends, scored some cool stuff, earned brownie points as a school-committed parent and was just ... myself, you know?

Home to my sweetie-pies, for lunch and stories and a romp. Then a few happy hours meditatively weeding the lawn (who knew how zen that could be?) and planting up the beginning of my cacti collection (I'm all about cacti at the moment), largely by myself as the girls squealed and splashed on their slippy-slide (mid winter really sucks in Cape Town).

Then as they thawed in the bath (and husband spray-painted in the backyard, it's like that around here), I caught the second golden hour of the day by myself, out paddling - just me and my board and the birds and the setting sun.
I know, I know, no drainage - but how cute?
The perfect Saturday. Largely, even when surrounded by people, by myself.