Farewell, adieu

I’m off, not for good, but for a month to visit with my daughter and granddaughter in the UK. Preparing for this trip has been hectic, so much to think about and plan ahead for – my work, the dogs, the house, finances but most of it has been done.

Now the packing starts, thank goodness we are flying Emirates and have a 30 kg luggage allowance each because granddaughters gifts, birthday presents and Christmas presents are taking up a lot of space, not to mention gifts for friends we will also be spending some time with.

Oh well, that means there will be space for some shopping to come home with us too 😉


Blasted out of shops

Why do we have shops? Is it just to create employment or to provide their customers with goods and services?

I ask because more and more I find myself driven out of shops because of the awful loud music assaulting my ears. I’ve come to the conclusion that the music is to keep the staff happy and too bad if the customers find it unbearable.


Yesterday I was shopping for a gift at the Waterfront, two out of the three shops specialising in soaps, lotions and pamper treatments were pumping club style music into their shops. In the first shop I could not hear what the sales assistant was saying and asked for the music to be turned down, she went away and came back asking if it was better but there was no discernable difference so I walked out. I just walked in and out of the other shop when I heard the same type of loud music blaring away. I would have thought that soothing music would be a more appropriate choice for their product range but the music is clearly for the benefit of the young staff not their more mature customers.

Not everyone has perfect hearing and loud background noises make it difficult for people with hearing aids as well. And that goes for screaming kids too. I am not against kids in restaurants, just those whose screeches have the ability to shatter crystal at 5 metres. If you have that type of kid please don’t inflict him or her on other diners, some of us actually want to have a conversation with our dining companions without your little darling’s accompaniment, trust me, it’s not music to our ears!

While on a retail rant, our local PnP has drawn criticism and complaints for months on Facebook for a variety of reasons –stock availability, rude staff, even ruder shelf packers, cleanliness, the list goes on. Every complaint receives the same auto response about how our business is important to them and our complaints will be investigated. Nearly a year later nothing has changed and more and more people are shopping elsewhere. Lower demand leads to even lower stock levels and more stock outs and more complaints. I seriously wonder if there is anyone in management there with a couple of brain cells and the will to actually sort this Cinderella store out.

Parental responsibilities

I have not blogged for ages, simply have not felt that I had anything to say that others might find interesting but here’s something that happened recently.

We were at a dinner party with a newly married couple in their senior years. It was the husband’s first marriage and the wife’s third. He is a professional person nearing retirement age. I listened with shock to him complain about how disruptive it was to his office that his only employee who had children was forced to take three days off work when her child was hospitalised for surgery. Apparently it is a rule that children under five years of age have a parent with them all the time they are in the hospital. I don’t know if that is a general rule or it just applies to that hospital but he felt that this was completely unreasonable because “what are the nurses there for?”

107429815 I was gobsmacked that someone could be so out of touch with reality and parental responsibilities and I think I probably gave him a bit of a hard time. It just made me so angry to hear such self-centred shite in 2014.

I worked for most of my children’s growing years and know only too well the guilt I felt whenever I had to take time off work to attend to their medical or educational needs. Of course OH never had that problem because his job was far too important for him to sacrifice the time to attend his children’s year-end nursery school concerts and take them to emergency doctor’s appointments when they were sick, or take the day off when the nanny did not pitch-up for work in the morning. All these problems traditionally fall on the mothers whose careers, I believe are severely compromised by carrying this extra burden. At that time bosses viewed working mothers as unreliable and generally would not promote them to more responsible positions.  Often woman bosses were the most judgemental.


I think it’s time to level the playing field as far as parental responsibilities go, fathers should shoulder their fair share of child care when problems or illness arises. Companies should realise that children have two parents (if they are fortunate) and that both mothers and fathers should play an equal role in parenting. That way, when it comes to promotion maybe women won’t be at such a disadvantage. Things may well have improved since my children were small but I remember even before they were born being asked at interviews when I intended to start a family. I’m not sure if it is politically correct to ask that question in a job interview today. I felt quite intimidated by it and really wanted to respond “none of your bloody business”.

Please someone tell me that the workplace is a friendlier place for working mothers today and that the comment I heard is not representative of business in general.

10 year drives while Dad drinks

This report from News24 today:

Bloemfontein – Traffic officials couldn’t believe their eyes when they pulled over a car and found it was being driven by a 10-year-old boy.

Volksblad reported on Tuesday that the boy’s father was sitting next to him, drinking a beer.

A baby was also in the car at the time.

A traffic department spokesperson said officers noticed the Toyota Corolla was driving erratically in Bloemfontein on Saturday and pulled it over.  

The boy was apparently sitting on a cushion, and was not wearing a seatbelt.

According to Volksblad, the father told officials that the child wanted to drive, and he had agreed.

The father was fined R1 000 for allowing a minor to drive without a licence, and a further R750 because the car’s licence had expired. The car was impounded until the fines were paid.

The spokesperson told Volksblad that the father’s actions were highly irresponsible, as he was showing his son it was okay to drink and drive and drive without a licence.

Some people just should not be allowed to breed and keep passing on the “stupid gene”.

But even more alarming to those that still retain a modicum of common sense is that the fine is nothing more than a “slap on the wrist”.

How do you handle invites?

Dinner Party

What would you do if you invited friends to your home for a meal/braai and they said they will check with their partner and get back to you but you still have not heard from them on the day the invite was for?  And this was not the first time they had not responded to an invite – would you

a.            follow up with them

b.            assume they are coming

c.            assume they are not coming and make other plans

I would be interested to hear if this has happened to anyone else, and if so how they handled it.

In my case I opted for (c) but they arrived anyway. I had nothing prepared and to cut a long story short they left again.

When we receive an invite the answer is a prompt and courteous yes or no.  If there is any doubt that we can make it I’d rather say no thank you than keep someone hanging on as they might want to invite others in our place.

I am rather used to business invites being treated with indifference but I expect more from my friends. Can’t help feeling really disillusioned about this at the moment.

Belated New Year Wishes

Happy New Year to all, I hope that this year everyone’s circumstances will improve in some way and make life more fun/pleasant/bearable – pick whichever one applies to you.


Ozzy & Milo sharing a cool spot to enjoy a chew treat.

Apologies for the long absence from the blogs but this time my data signal via my smart phone’s hotspot at our holiday home was truly pathetic – No 3G, only very, very slow Edge and that kept me busy so long that it was frustrating to do anything on the computer except that which was absolutely essential.

Apart from connectivity problems we had a lovely break, three weeks of glorious weather followed by a few days of heavy rain, mini flood and then lots of mud!


An unusual but delightful sight in our neck of the woods.


Then came the rain and the flood, huge branches/trees and rafts of branches and reeds rushed past the house.


Our walkway and fixed portion of the jetty is totally underwater, just the floating bit remains like an island.


Once the water receded OH had to clean inches of mud off the jetty.

We had three groups of family and friends to stay at various times and enjoyed catching up and celebrating with them but we also enjoyed the few days between visits when it was just OH and I and the dogs.

040Milo in laid back holiday mode.

Back home our garden survived the month’s neglect rather well except for a pergola beam that appears to be rotten and cracked under the weight of the bougainvillea on our front patio. OH’s jobs are already being lined up.


We had so hoped to visit our daughter and granddaughter in the UK this year but with the Rand at new lows and an election looming we have decided to delay any firm plans until later in the year.

I am dying to visit all your blogs and catch up but first I must bring the office up to date and get some year planning done.

Fecking Flies

It started off as a lovely morning

It was warm and getting warmer

There was no wind to speak of

Our gardener arrived and was put to work

I hit the office and tried to get some work done inbetween supervising the gardener

It was getting hot

I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to cross something off my Christmas “To Do List”

So I took out the chicken livers to defrost

It got even hotter

Then I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to make the chicken liver pate earlier rather than later before the sun came around to the kitchen

So I set to work

And then they arrived


In droves

They brought all their friends and family for the feast


I must have swatted dozens in all


While trying to stir fry the livers at the same time


Take food mixer and blender out of the cupboard  …..while swatting flies

Start transferring chicken liver mixture to blender jug  …..while swatting flies

Notice liquid dripping from bottom of blender jug

Thought I had messed  …..while swatting flies

Could it be that easy – NO

Blender jug is leaking  FECK, FECK, FECK

blender Put pan of chicken livers in oven because of the FLIES


Unpack other blender with cracked jug …. while swatting flies

Run finger around inside of jug to see how bad the crack is just in case I could use it

Crack worse than I remembered, sliver of glass in finger, now bleeding AND swatting flies

Run to bathroom to find a band-aid

Take 10 minutes struggling to open plaster while bleeding AND SWATTING FLIES

bandaid on finger

During this time the flies must have sent for reinforcements

The kitchen was alive with them


I swatted, and swatted, and swatted (AND SWORE!)

Start to make gardener’s lunch – still swatting flies

Feed gardener

Pack dishwasher …  while swatting flies

Clean surfaces

Hubby comes home for lunch

Tell him about the blender and the flies – “WHAT FLIES”, he asks

Take pan of chicken livers out of the oven and stick my head inside instead – TO ESCAPE THE FLIES! 


Boerassic Park

We went wine tasting in at Cloof Estate near Darling on Saturday and after enjoying a number of wines and a Ploughman’s Platter we popped into Darling to revisit Pieter Dirk Uys’ “Evita se Peron” (Evita’s platform for non-SA readers). Pieter Dirk Uys is a well known satirist, the previous Apartheid Regime provided no shortage of material for his shows and the current ANC government produces it in spades.   His alter-ego Evita Bezuidenhout features in all his shows. He has established his own little theatre and restaurant in Darling in old railway station buildings. The decor is eccentric, funny, and irreverant – there are no “holy cows” at Evita’s Peron.

So join me in a visit to Boerassic Park and the “Old South Africa”



I am so glad these signs are a thing of the past



Imagine the pain of having to tell your children they are the wrong colour to play in the park

151Here he is “Die Groot Krokodil” PW Botha – that bottom lip and a waving finger made him instantly recognisable in Pieter Dirk Uys’ sketches.

156But the current crop of politicians and their associates don’t escape ridicule either. Here is Winnie Mandela in the bath.

144And Alan Boesak, a corrupt womaniser and ex man of the cloth with his “ball and chain”



Lastly ex President Thabo Mbeki on his private jet



Strangely Zuma, aka Showerhead does not feature yet, probably can’t make up their minds which aspect of his character to portray 😉

Thank goodness for Pieter Dirk Uys who gave us something to laugh at in the dark days of Apartheid. The current bunch are not spared either and hopefully they will laugh at themselves like the old Nats did who were quite fond of PDU and quite proud to be the subject of one of his sketches.





Where did the year go?

Yesterday was OH’s birthday – he has now been retired for a year, well semi-retired as he helps our DIL in her business three days a week leaving just two days a week for his home “To-Do List”. It feels like he has never been busier!

We celebrated his birthday yesterday with lunch at the Chapman’s Peak Hotel in Hout Bay. It was lovely sitting on the terrace looking out at the bay and enjoying a great meal. Afterwards we went for a walk along the beach but by then the South Easter was coming up and walking back to the car was a bit of a “sandblast”.


Last week Thursday we headed off to Canal Walk to try and do our Christmas shopping and after walking both levels of the centre twice we were done in more ways than one.Image


We enjoyed a quick pasta at Primi before heading home as there was no way I was going to cook that evening. This is probably the earliest we have ever done Christmas shopping and it’s great to know that it’s mostly done. Just a few small things to pick up and a couple of on-line purchases and we’re good to go.

ImageOH always says he’s just the Sherpa 


Two weeks ago we both had a check-up with a dermatologist and while OH passed with flying colours I had some areas that needed treatment. One was a large mole on my back that I suspected was dodgy because it has been itching for a while. The dermatologist said it had to be checked out immediately so she scraped it out under local anaesthetic.  I did not feel any pain for the first four days and then it started to get sore. OH took the dressing off and found that it was clearly infected so he started redressing it daily but it got worse. On Wednesday I had a routine check-up with my GP and I asked him to look at it and he agreed it was infected and recommended an anti-bacterial cream. But it got worse and I was very aware of it on last Thursday’s shopping expedition, by Friday evening I was in so much discomfort that I decided to go back to the doctor on Saturday morning. Saturday’s are a walk-in so after a wait of 90 minutes he agreed that it was much worse than on Wednesday and prescribed antibiotics and had the sister dress it with special impregnated gauze that we also got to take away with us to continue the treatment.  It’s getting better but I am still not completely pain free. OH is changing the dressing daily and wants to know where to send his bill?

Also, very uncharacteristically for me, I am suffering with frequent headaches, not sure if this is in any way related but I do feel a bit run-down. The sister checked my iron levels on Saturday morning and all was fine. The good news is that the mole was not a melanoma but I have been advised to use only Factor 50 sun protection in future.

The next four weeks are going to be hectic as we try to accomplish the impossible (as usual) before we head off to our holiday home for four weeks. Our partners have other holiday arrangements this year so we were more than happy to extend our stay, theoretically it was not even our turn at all this season. Friends and family will come and go over the four week period and Ozzy and Milo will be delighted to have a long stay at their favourite place.

I have about three different “To-Do Lists” on the go and feel the pressure mounting. Our home is not exactly a lock-up-and-go property so being away for four weeks especially over the summer needs some careful planning in respect of the pool, garden, post, security, etc.  So many homes in area have been broken into in the past six months but mostly it has been when the residents are home.

Just remembered something else to add to the To Do List …


Open Garden Season

It’s Open Garden Season in the Cape. Yesterday OH and I visted some of the Franchoek Open Gardens. On the whole it was a lovely day out but the Lions Club did drop the ball somewhat when it came to organising the event. When we purchased our tickets we were not offered a brochure or map showing where the gardens were. On enquiry we were told the brochures had run out and we should go to the Tourism Info Centre and get them there. Well, of course they had run out there too so the lady there kindly tried to mark the gardens on a town map but with no actual addresses. However she got it very wrong and after walking for some time in over 30 degrees we bumped into an estate agent who kindly gave us a spare brochure and we were on our way. Incidentally it would appear that every second property in Franchoek is for sale, can’t help wondering why when it must be an idyllic place to live.

Here are some of the gardens that we visited
Tight and neat formality



One of many lovely Irises

013Fabulously lush borders

011 031

008Col, do you know the names of the above plants? I love this ground cover with leaves that look like variegated mint and tiny pink flowers. One above  – we saw this shrub with grey foliage and crimson blooms in many different colours and I would love to know what it’s called.

This pool area won me over for  a small manageable garden in a lovely setting.

025And then there was my favourite garden, on a much grander scale and in the English country garden style. Perfectly manicured lawns and beautifully co-ordinated borders in cool white, pink, blue and lilac – absolutely breathtaking in it’s perfection.

097 088 048 075 043A lovely statue perched at a water feature


These stunning ornate gates lead to another section of the garden where your eye is drawn down the tunnel of arches planted with jasmine to a stone bench at the end.


060 061

Railway sleepers interplaned with pansies, lobelia, poppies and ground covers provide a walkway to the seating area at the end.
Here is the view from the seating area looking back through the tunnel of jasmine.

After visiting four gardens we were dehydrated and in desperate need of some sustenance so we parked off in the shade at a cafe on the main street and enjoyed a delicious light lunch at a surprisingly reasonable price.  After recovering and a bit of retail therapy in a gift shop next door we got back into the car to drive to one of the gardens on the outskirts of town.

This grand house has the most amazing view from the pool area.
123 127Some more examples of symmetry
105 040Lastly the glorious Franchoek mountains

In all we saw five of the ten gardens that were open to the public, leaving the other five for next year with maybe a return visit to my absolute favourite English country garden.  We are truly blessed to have a gem like Franchoek on our doorstep. It’s Open Gardens in Elgin over the next two weekends – I am already working on OH 😉