Monday, May 31, 2010

Pervasive pinkness

There’s something about pink that I never could like, even as a little girl. I’m not sure if it’s the colour itself, or the connotations associated with it: ‘Pink is for girls, pink is feminine, pink is frilly’. Oh alright, sometimes I wish I was a bit fluffier, but it if its to involve Pinkishness, I’d rather continue being as cuddly as a sea-urchin and have done with it.

Then again, perhaps it’s the way pink stands out – I don’t wear neon orange either – I’ve no desire to be seen coming over the horizon like a rising sunset. I like being able to fade into the background at will with chameleon-like cunning.

Perhaps its just my sense of aesthetics: the idea that bright colours should be used sparingly if at all, or the temptation to whip on a pair of sunglasses becomes overwhelming.

As for painting whole rooms pink, its awfully unsettling, like being cocooned in candy-floss: so sweet its sickening. Cape Town presented me with the pinkest room I’ve ever seen, and since it was a ladies’ restroom and my need was great, I entered this roseate room of pervasive pinkness – the trauma will no doubt remain with me eternally.

Apart from the pink walls, the floor was painted a particularly noxious shade of green. I usually like green, but not like this, and not with all that pink! The toilet seats were the piece de resistance: glittery transparent purple plastic things with plastic butterflies and flowers set into them like gruesome Disney fossils on whom the wrath of China has been inflicted. Delightful: and so tasteful! Ah, and I love spreading delight around, so you may share with me… Perhaps you too will prance forth with a manic grin.

Pink, pinker, pinkest.

Relative affluence

The city of Cape town is quite a culture shock for a small-town person, and one of the things I always find the most striking, is the way it feeds off itself. A city consists of people: all sorts of people, and the relativity of affluence is almost painfully apparent.

I drove through the leafy suburb of Bishop’s court: all stately homes and luxury cars. The place smells of money and debt (or would, if money and debt had a fragrance). I found myself wondering what it must be like to have so much money that ostentation is second nature, the way to live. I don’t think there’s anywhere to go from there but downhill. You’re bobbing about on the top of society, you have everything of the ‘best’. If you’re lucky, you’ll stay there, because the only direction in which movement is possible, is downwards.

My route took me past the squatter camps too: shanty towns of wood and corrugated iron perched cheek-by-jowl beside the freeway. You’re on rock bottom over there, and even someone with a RDP house is pretty well-off. (Note to foreigners: The Reconstruction and development program – the government build little houses and give them away - long waiting list.). The RDP houses are nearly as tightly-packed as the shanties, row on row of them, and to their occupants, even someone as precariously lower middle class as I am is wealthy by comparison.

Now here’s the funny thing: in terms of the bottom line in cash (let’s ignore ‘assets’ for now), looking at how much credit is left when debit is subtracted, the shanty dwellers are probably in the best shape. After all, no-one’s going to give them credit. My bottom line falls below zero, squarely in the red, and that of the Bishop’s court folk, is probably way, way below that. Money: most of it is imaginary. Wish I could dream up a bit of it, mind you…

Now here’s where the food chain comes into the equation, because everybody is trying to sell something to the rest: be it consumables or time or South African flags from China. Round and round it goes, you buy this from me, then I have money so that I can buy that from someone else. No-one cares if you’re rock-bottom or upper crust, as long as you’re buying, because buying means money and money means spending for its recipient. It’s a bit like being in the middle of a school of hungry piranhas in full feeding-frenzy.

Sure, deep in the countryside, the cycle of getting and spending continues, but in the City, its so intense, so aggressive. People become faceless, its daunting. There’s constant sensory bombardment, so you have to ‘switch off’ certain things you’re accustomed to perceiving in full or you’d end up gibbering. It reminds me of one of the reasons why, though having grown up in a large city, I worked very hard in order to never have to live in one again.

Thing is, it… like… really stresses me out, you know? Maybe I’m a hippie after all.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The joy of coffee

Its wonderful, wonderful stuff, and I’ll freely admit that I’m addicted to it. If I don’t get my cuppa in the morning, I’m as cross as crabs all day. In South Africa, most people drink those awful chicory / coffee blends that taste like pencil lead – can’t abide the stuff – I’d rather go without.

Anyway, as you can imagine after reading the previous post about my delightful accommodations, there wasn’t so much as a whiff of decent coffee to be found anywhere in the place. ‘No problem’ you’re saying (or should be if you’re paying attention) ‘She’s in the big city, she’ll find coffee shops on every corner’. Well, yes and no, but mostly no.

The problem with Cape Town, if you don’t know it (which I don’t), is that one wrong turning can take you miles out of your way before you can turn back. Not wanting to end up in the Antipodes, I had to hope to find a filling station on one of the routes I happened to be following and look for coffee there, but oh! What a joy it was to find that grail in a paper cup after hours of questing, to sit back and enjoy the heady elixir on the grass outside (I need to smoke when I drink coffee, so of course, out I go) and to feel it seeping into the blood stream like… like… really good coffee.

Oh coffee thou art my true delight

You keep me awake into the night

You make my ulcers burn so hot

But I’d rather have you than.. er


See? True inspiration!

A room with a view

Doing things on the cheap can sometimes be entertaining in a semi-disastrous sort of way. This trip to Cape Town is a case in point. Last time I went somewhere on business, I was lodged in a backpackers, and it was very comfortable, commodious and all the things a weary traveler could wish for. So this time, I booked at a backpackers too, and as you can see, I got a room with a view!

The showers are the most comical of all, they’re communal showers, not a problem in itself, but the cubicle doors don’t close, and there’s nowhere to put your clothes where they’ll stay dry. The trick is, to take the shower while the place is fairly empty in the afternoon, holding the door closed with one’s foot while getting a quick rinse off. You hang your towel over the cubicle door, since there’s nowhere else to put it, and when you’re done with the balancing act involving said door, you wrap yourself up securely in the towel, and streak down the corridor to the room.

The building itself is rather intriguing, and should be good for a few photos. It’s some pensioned-off institutional building next to Falkenberg mental hospital. There are broken windows on the upper floor, and the guttering hangs precariously in places. Despite the unprepossessing fa├žade with its chipped and peeling paint facing a railway line, and the equally unprepossessing interior with its painted concrete floors, there’s a rather pleasant, grassy quadrangle lined with Avocado and banana trees, which is where I sat as I wrote this.

One other, vital factor in its favour is that its clean: the linen is spotless, and the floors are clean enough to eat off, supposing that you’ve a yen to eat off the floor, in which case you probably belong at the mental hospital next door, but that’s beside the point.

Names are also misleading: although the place is called 'River Lodge', there isn't a river to be seen. Most remarkable of all, is the fact that its situated in an 'Eco village'. I haven't an idea what could be 'Eco' about it: the railway line? Yes! Come to South Africa and view the wild railway trains - bigger than any of the big five! Something like that, perhaps.

To tell you the truth, I rather enjoyed my stay in a perverse sort of way, I always feel out of place in plush places, as if I should be waiting on tables instead of eating at them. So, what’s the most surreal place you’ve ever slept in?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trip Troubles

So you think you're organized: everything's ready for the road-trip and then... and then... some stupid thing happens, that prevents you from doing things as planned. Its happening to me right now, and I'm having a great deal of difficulty in dealing with it in a good humored way, in fact, my first reaction is a strong urge to throw a temper tantrum: Wanna! Wanna! Wanna! Waaaaaah!

The point is that my plans have been overset in a small way only: I'll be leaving late because, despite having booked the vehicle in advance, my firm has decided to do something else with it for the morning. All it really means is that I'll be arriving at my destination at eight or nine tonight instead of six or seven. Apart from the fact that I'm terribly nervous about driving in the big city at night, there's no real reason why it should be a problem, but it feels like a problem. In fact, I want to grab my boss by the throat and shake her, while having the tantrum mentioned above, but all I've done is to mutter a bit and look sour. Do I deserve sainthood? Surely!

Only please, someone, tell me I'm not the only person who feels like a werewolf when things like this happen?

** I'll illustrate this with a car pic: This would get me to Cape Town double quick!

Friday, May 21, 2010


I've heard it said that women with husky voices sound sexy. Well, that's to my benefit, because I've got one of those chocolate and gravel voices, and of course, I really like thinking I'm sexy. So what's my problem? Simply this: I've been doing one of those pillar-to-post batches of phoning about a banking problem, I've spoken to four operators and EVERY ONE of them called me 'Sir'.

Now just how on earth is this supposed to make me feel feminine let alone sexy? Let's say that its another myth debunked shall we?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Distance, Age or Colour

I'm going to make you cringe today, check this out:

'Remember that distance,age or colour does not matter in a reall relationship but love matters alot'

You've had these? If you've ever advertised for pen friends, you will have. And you've probably noticed the pattern too. The letter begins by saying that the writer is a 'beautiful young girl' or some variant on that theme. At this point, I think one's supposed to get all excited. Wow! A beautiful young girl is writing to me!

Next comes a statement saying that (s)he has 'read your profile' although she manifestly hasn't, because if (s)he had (s)he'd have noticed that I'm a woman, and have requested a pen friend who is proficient in English and can write a decent letter, adding that offers of heart or other anatomical parts are unwelcome.

The impression that your profile never got so much as a glance is reinforced by the standard of English, the charming line I started with and the signing off 'Forever yours'. Before closing, the writer suggests that pictures can be exchanged. Wow! I'm trembling here.

Occasional variants are offers of marriage, or a declaration that the writer is 'looking for love'.

Alright, you know all about this, so why am I rabbiting on about it? The answer is this: I've been thinking about the format of these letters, each so similar to the other, all containing the dreadful 'distance, age and colour' line, the same 'information' placed in exactly the same order time after time with only minor variations in the wording, and I'm convinced that they're the work of one person or a ring of people working in co-operation.

This really gets my goat (which has a bristly beard and those weird slot-shaped pupils and yellow irises and looks like the devil incarnate when its roused especially when steam starts issuing from its nostrils and ears). The thing is, this highly prolific person or persons is giving all Africans a bad name online.

Its hardly surprising that people now think that Africa has more than its fair share of scammers, when in truth, its probably a handful of people that spend all day trawling for email addresses and sending out what amounts to being exactly the same letter over and over.

Being African, I know my fair share of Africans, and they're just like people everywhere: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful shaken together like liquorice allsorts and just as colourful. I don't know any Nigerians, because they have just as bad a name here as they do elsewhere in the world. I'm sure that some of them aren't drug traffickers, gangsters and con-men, but sadly, it seems to be the bad eggs that get about as a rule.

What's really disturbing is that somewhere, somehow, there must be people who are naive enough to take those letters seriously: who think that beautiful girls will fall in love with them on the basis of a pen-friend advert, that job offers in the hotel industry appear out of the blue and that there is such a thing as money for nothing. I don't know whether to feel sorry for them or whether to be cross with them. If scamming wasn't lucrative, people wouldn't do it, would they?

** Seeing as I'm being patriotic today, I'll post a pic of an African who looks more African than I do.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Swing doors - the death of coolth

Coolth, though it means different things to different people, is the shell we hide our imperfections behind.

I've got tons of coolth, so I won't blame you if you think I'm nearly perfect. I mean, I wear black a lot, I listen to 'good' music (you don't like it? That's because you need more coolth, of course) and I don't allow my outward calm to be ruffled easily.

People think I'm 'in control', but that's because they haven't got under the shell. Underneath it, there are all sorts of messy things going on, and its all very un-cool indeed and quite often out of control.

I'm starting to realize though, that its the same for everyone. We're muddling along through life trying to look like we actually know what's going on, and hoping no-one will realize that we don't.

A simple example: Pushing a door that's meant to be pulled. Doesn't it make you feel like an utter twit? There's this awful 'I hope no-one noticed' moment, and you're convinced that you're the only one who doesn't know how to open a door correctly the first time.

Well, you're wrong. I sat at a pavement cafe once and watched a certain door, and plenty of people did the push-pull thing. Not one of them failed to have an 'I'm a twit' moment. If you watch closely you can see the moment of tensing, the furtive glance 'No-one's watching, are they?'.

The human condition. I'm sure that push-pull doors are part of it in a small but significant way. They help us to remember that coolth is only skin deep. Should we thank them?

**It was difficult to find a picture in my files that demonstrates coolth, but perhaps this one will do? L, my friend, you are the coolest. Pity you don't read my blog.

Troubling tranquility

Being cross is such a waste of time. Alright, its quite 'metal' having a jaw that juts so that it looks like you can break rocks on it and having smoldering eyes you could light cigarettes off (metaphorically speaking), but it takes it out of you, it really does. It doesn't achieve anything either (unless ulcers can be counted as an achievement).

Peace (love isn't a necessity, especially not at work) is so much more rewarding. I must be turning into a flower child which would be appropriate though distasteful. Already, I'm attracting bees, so maybe I should have a tantrum or let off an A-bomb or something just to show I mean business.




Nothing happened? Yes, I know, I got distracted by a butterfly...

Here's a pic of Kleinkranz beach: very Zen.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts and Silly Phones

Its always worse contemplating doing things than actually doing them and getting it over with. In terms of doing and contemplation, I think I’m doing pretty well: everything is getting done, and I’m not thinking at all because I’m far too busy to think. This is good.

My thoughts, when I have them, are a bit dubious. I can do without them. They only make me uncomfortable, whereas ‘doing’ is going swimmingly. At some point, I’ll get contemplative all over again, and then I’ll have ideas. It’s a dangerous practice. If a few less people had ideas, the world would be a more peaceful place.

Some thoughts are good for putting off the advent of other ones. For instance: Cell phones. I have one. I either know where the phone is, or the charger, but seldom both. When I know where both of them are, its because I’ve left my cell phone at home on charge, and it’ll take me several days to remember it when I actually am at home so that I can unplug it and put it in my bag and then hide the charger. The result is a phone that only works for two or three days every few weeks.

Every now and then, I resolve to be a better cell phone parent. I think about it. I devise strategies for remembering it, and then I forget them and its back to square one again. I think I could do this elliptical thinking process over and over again, thereby keeping my mind out of the sort of trouble complicated questions like ‘What’s it all about really?’ can cause.

Peace on Earth: MM is working out how to keep her cell phone charged.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tsitsikama treetops

Not much to say for myself, but at least anyone can see I've been busy! Will do some proper thinking-type thinking and write a decent post soon. For now its just the treetop tour and my new house.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Break neck

Things are moving at what, for me, is a blinding pace. Of course, that's not too difficult. I think life is hectic just because coffee doesn't make itself and other cars use the roads. So, what's cooking?

Moving house this weekend and going on a treetop tour which'll also involve a sleepover. Wondering what a treetop tour is? Take a look at the pic: and the course lasts two to three hours.

Tsitsikamma Tree Top Canopy Tours
There'll be eight of us, and the idea is to camp over somewhere. Then there's a hiking club expedition the following weekend, and then I'm off to Cape Town on business.

Somewhere in between all that I'm doing the move. Fortunately I don't have too much stuff. I can't help being excited about my new lodging. The other two pictures adorning this post are of the views from the front and back of my new cottage: sea on one side, mountains on the other. Wonderfully isolated. My kind of place

I should be a wreck by the end of the month, but at least I'll be able to say I've gone swinging through the trees: a post-simian getting back to her roots. Er... on second thoughts: roots will, with luck, have nothing to do with it - those trees are high!

I’m Amazing, believe it! (Or else… don’t)

If I tell you how amazing I am often enough, and with enough ‘confidence’, you’ll believe it, believe me (Or else you’ll pretend to believe it out of politeness, which is good enough for me if you do it properly).

I often tell people that I’m scintillating, superb, sparkling, incredible, impossible and infinitely impish. Way I see it, if I go around asserting I’m ordinary, people are bound to believe me sooner or later, and I don’t at all want to be regarded as ordinary. Not I. I’m a masterpiece, one of a kind, and don’t you argue this with me, because I’ll give you stick!

The problem is, I argue this with me, which is why I’m writing this. Maybe if I tell myself I’m (list of flattering adjectives) often enough, I’ll believe it in the end. Lots of people seem to get it right. Why not me? Just because I live in this skin and am used to myself doesn’t mean I can’t be incredible does it? I think not. ‘So there!’ to me.

Although no single characteristic of my personality is unique on its own, there are so many different facets that a personality consists of, that the combinations are potentially infinite. I like this idea. I really do. It’s like genetics in a way, endless combinations and re-combinations. I like mine, most of the time anyway. How about you, you marvelous human you?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sunrise, bloody sunrise


They happen every day, and as winter draws in, I get to see a great many more of them than I’d actually like to. Getting up before the sun isn’t even for the birds (they have far too much good sense) but I will say that seeing the sun coming up is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Sometimes, its so beautiful that I’m not even sorry about not being in bed, and on a nippy winter morning, that’s saying something!

The fiery dawn light illuminates the buff-coloured pasture lands, sere in their winter dormancy while the winter wheat fields are full of summery-looking greenery. Its like having all the seasons at once, spread out like a patchwork quilt in front of the blue and purple mountains. Sigh. So pretty....

On the subject of things colourful: The cat is green. Well, he’s green and ginger – an alarming combination. When you get over the shock, its funny and you can’t help but laugh. Do you have any idea how little cats like being laughed at? Silly chap went a-strolling through the powder poster paint (fortunately non-toxic) on Sunday, and seems to be getting more verdant with the passage of days.

It’s a colourful world with colourful sunrises, colourful fields and one very colourful cat. I'm not too drab either. Take my word for it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wine, whatsit and song

Like just about everything else, being a woman has both advantages and disadvantages. I need cheering up today, so I think I'm going to look at the upside of being female. At least its something that isn't likely to change any time soon, although people will call me 'Andrew' when talking on the phone.

I think that the very best thing about being female, is the things you can get away with:
  • You can be overly emotional and irrational and no-one dares take you to task about it because you might cry at them.
  • You can make a fuss about little things, and people humor you.
  • You can blame everything short of axe murder on PMT.
  • You can park your car in a funny way and no-one's surprised ( I do this one. Its an art).
  • You're allowed to be vain about your appearance (It can be fun).
  • You can get all excited about shiny things (doesn't send me, but it is allowed)
  • You don't have to know how to do minor repairs... which goes with...
  • You can stand around looking helpless and people come and do stuff for you. (Nice one, although I generally at least try to do things myself.)
  • You can get away with being a misandrist (the opposite-sex version of 'misogynist') without being branded 'sexist'. (Not nice, but perfectly true).
  • You can expect other people to foot the bill (I thought this one had gone out of fashion, but apparently it hasn't).
  • You can insult people without getting a punch up the conk (generally speaking).
  • Etcetera
While I'm in this mood, I might as well add that all those awful messages about how wonderful it is to be a woman because you can have babies, and about how being female automatically makes you something a step or two above the saints, are bloody patronizing, and the worst of it all is that its women that forward that drivel. Eeeeyew.

Can't say that I feel awfully positive about men either. Their foibles are different, that's all.

People. Go figure.

I'm depressed today. Does it show?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Malls, make up, frog's arse

I remember that when St George’s square opened, there was some controversy as to what it should be called. The spot where it was built was known locally as ‘Paddagat’, which means Frog’s hole, or frog’s arse: Afrikaans isn’t too particular in distinguishing which is which. People didn’t want to rent shops in the ‘Frog’s Arse Center’ so it was dubbed ‘St George’s square’ and used to be the place for shopping.

Now the mall has been built, and everyone (except me) goes there instead. All the ‘best’ shops have moved there, and the square is something of a ghost town of stores with the fronts papered shut, occasional second hand emporia, a pharmacy. Retail paradise has moved and paddagat is purgatory.

Commercial forays remind me of other things plastic: someone sent me a mail today with a presentation showing an ordinary looking girl, various steps in the make up application process and the final product: all glitzy and gorgeous.

I think it was supposed to make me feel better. ‘Those girls are no prettier than you’ is the hidden message, but the one I get is ‘These girls wear make up. You don’t. They look great. You don’t’. You need to invest a few hours, girl and you might be just passable thereafter.

Almost, almost it persuades me to spend more time in front of the mirror, but though its lowering to think that you could look so much better than you actually do (if you’d only make the effort), its even more lowering to think how much time it’d take up. I’d have to get up half an hour earlier if I took that long on primping, and that’s what some girls use on their nails fer crying out loud. Life’s too short for that… but then I have to live with looking ordinary and I’m not, really I’m not.

Tell you a secret: I have a dazzling personality (hyperbole for effect, but only a slight exaggeration I assure you), but I think I’d prefer, really prefer to have dazzling looks. Silly I know: a bit like the Frog's Arse Center trying to be the Mall.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Oh bloggeration!

I’ve been enjoying my little surfings through the blogosphere, although blogs do sometimes make me stretch my claws. There seem to be blogs about all sorts of things: even blogs about blogs.

Blogs about babies: there seem to be tons of those, I suppose someone out there – if only the writer – really does want to remember that little Johnny threw up on the couch and took his first steps today. They’re generally a bit sickly and soppy, peppered with words like ‘sweet’, ‘adorable’ and ‘precious’, but I suppose parenthood does that to people. Wouldn’t know, thank goodness. They make me feel slightly nauseous, but then I’m the opposite of sweet, adorable and precious.

There are also a lot of bogs about how people spent their day. Some are amusing, some are interesting, and some are mundane – what people had for breakfast, how many times their bowels moved, went to the shops and then went home etc, etc. Then there are blogs about how wonderful life is and how happy the writer is, and they’re full of inspiring quotes, and they seem to keep it up indefinitely. I doubt its sincere, but there it is, and perhaps it gives them a lift writing such stuff. Bet you anything you like the authors are clinically depressed, poor things.

There are pretentious blogs. Yes, I know these are people’s thoughts (At least their public ones), but some of them are pretentious, pompous people, so I suppose its natural that there should be a fair amount of pretentious, pompous blogs to match. It’s a pity that some of them can’t spell and use grocer’s apostrophes. It rather spoils the effect.

I’ve also read some pretty bad poetry, blogs dedicated to complaining about things, blogs about obscure hobbies and crafts, peculiar sexual proclivities, music, sports – the list is endless.

I think a blog is like talking to yourself out loud. You never know who might be listening, so what you project is a public persona: the sweet mommy, the person with the hunky dory life, the intellectual, the poet. Occasionally, I see a blog that seems to be completely sincere, but they’re thin on the ground and its still a public image – so self censorship seems inevitable.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to project, although I’ll freely admit that my blog is sanitized: the slightly scrubbed version of maundering mutterer, only slightly tarnished. Hope you like my semi-effulgent thoughts.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Doubtful Reflection

I came upon a grand quote about doubt last night: 'The only thing I don't doubt is my doubt'. Of course I can't remember who done said that, but who cares? I like it. I shall make it mine.

There was another one about skepticism being the root of knowledge, but I'm skeptical about that one.

Doubt's good stuff, ditto skepticism, it stops one from believing in stuff like the tooth fairy, the easter bunny and altruistic politicians. I've had it since I was tiny too, so you can't say its the cynicism of middle-age, or that I ever had any faith to lose. I never believed in Santa Claus, not ever.

Doubt's a process though, and I suppose it leads to belief of sorts: I doubt I'll get up this morning - ah, but I doubt my boss will accept that, so I believe I'll get up and go to work after all.

....and that's where I am now. Deep, hey?

Botox and sixpack

I'm so gorgeous today that I could eat myself: lips as puffy and pouting as a supermodel's and without having cost me a cent either.

The beauty secret I've discovered mayn't be for just anyone, though, because it involves head butting a six pack of beer (in the dark, I have an excuse) and splitting your lip open a bit. Then you grab your mouth, jump up and down, say 'Ouch - Ouch - Ouch' and laugh at the same time. (I'm not sure if this step is absolutely necessary, but it was fun). Then you drink the beer and it soothes away the discomfort and tastes nice while you're at it.

Beer's great value: first it expanded my chest, and now its puffing up my lips, plus I get to drink it (which is why I initially bought it in case you were wondering). Plastic surgery would have cost me a bomb, and I wouldn't have got a thing to drink, not even a cup of tea. Ripoff.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Falling down Splat

Today I'm thinking about falling down: 'Splat!'. Not the messy type of falling down that results in injuries or damage to property, that's more of a 'squelch' or a 'tinkle tinkle crash' depending on which of the two it is. I'm talking about those times you fall hard, land loudly and are able to get up and walk away with only bruises to ego (and possibly knees) to show for it.

I've done it quite spectacularly on occasion. Luckily, I'm not too worried about impressing people any more, because it does make one look silly and clumsy. Having come to terms with the fact that I am both silly and clumsy, I live with falling down splat much better than I used to, which is just as well because I also seem to be doing it more frequently. Here's a pic of me contemplating the next splat.

These days, it involves the mountain and invariably there'll be a stream or waterfall for me to slide into after splatting. Actually, my first memorable splat was in a concrete canal, so only the environment has changed. I remember that one, it was my sixteenth birthday and I was taking the 'freeway' through Pretoria that my mates and I frequented - namely the canal.

It was one of those deep, concrete canals with only a trickle of water going down the middle and occasional patches of slime where storm water pipes drained into it. My friends were discussing all the times they'd fallen into it, and I have to go and say 'I've never fallen into the water before' just as I put my foot on a particularly verdant patch of slime and went arse over tit. Splat!

The splatting wasn't so bad, but it was a bit iffy walking around with my new skirt all coated in green and rather smelly slime. I looked like the swamp thing, I did really.

Another good splatting happened when I was a working gel on a farm. The boss used to come once a week, and I'd invariably be covered in compost smears and plant blood (which isn't always green). So the boss says 'You're the manager around heah, please make more of an effort to look like one.'

The following week, I'm all geared up for her visit, wearing my best trousers, and I inform the team that I'm staying clean for the boss. They all know I'm edgy about the visit, so when her car comes in to the farm, the worker I'm talking to says 'Here she is!', so I turn around to look, only the pathways are red clay and wet from the irrigation so with the turning I find I'm suddenly spinning like an ice skater. I try to stop spinning and... Splat! Red clay from head to toe.

I limped up to the boss's merc, and I must have been a sorry sight. 'I think I need a shower' says I, and she looks me up and down and says in the coldest of tones 'I think you do.' No bloody sense of humor.

My recent splattings have been only slightly less messy, but at least they've taken place in the company of friends, which means that they laugh, but only after I've confirmed that I'm alright, and then they tease me like anything and I laugh too becuase fortunately, fortunately I'm not too upset when I'm caught doing something undignified and ungraceful.

I've a feeling I'd have to go 'underground' if I did mind, really. I seem to do it a lot.

The beach was wide from side to side

Alright, so this bit of ‘news’ is about a week old. Okay, so its not introspective or poetic or anything like that, but oh yes, the piccies are nice, and slightly exotic for my reader (I’ve got one, honest). I mean, the ‘to the beach’ sign is in Afrikaans, and that beach is EMPTY, which is something not everyone sees.

That’s the thing about being a ‘local’: when the weather’s magnificent and the beaches swarm with tourists, we hide in the forest, and once the water starts getting cold and the wind’s a bit nippy and the tourists have gone home, we hit the beach. Typically perverse behavior, but at least I go to the beach sometimes, which is more than many do.

When you live by the sea, its just this big no-go area where the land comes to an end and its not much use to anyone, and its all full of sand and the wind blows a lot, so hardly anyone ever goes there. I hardly ever do. Should though. Does me good.

How not to behave on the weekend

I’m a nice girl, I promise. I’m usually quite well-behaved, and I don’t get kicked out of pubs. Might have come close this weekend though, what with one thing and another, but then Waldo would offer to arm wrestle with the pint sized power house (That’s me).

One should not let the youth (that’s Waldo) treat their elders lightly, and I wasn’t going to give in without a fight. Respect: that’s what its about, young man, take that! My hand might all but disappear in your ginormous paw, but you will fight for this victory if its to be yours! And of course, I can’t pass up the challenge, can’t have the lad thinking I’m a wuss or something…

So when he put his arm down on the table with hand held just so that you know it’s a challenge, I took the hand firmly and the challenge with fervor. The arms were just beginning to tremble as our muscles tensed and the battle had just begun in earnest when… the table gave way with a sudden, loud cracking sound (at first I thought it was Waldo’s arm), drinks went a-sliding and folks were either fielding their glasses like top class cricketers after the winning ball or jumping out of the way of toppling booze.

Yes, I know its not to my credit: breaking furniture in bars, and so I probably shouldn’t tell you that later on in the evening, Candice and I ended up dancing on the bar stools (fortunately without casualties) because I wouldn’t dance on the counter, having been convinced of my ability to destroy counter-tops or tables. No, I won’t tell you about that, or you might begin to think me a hooligan, and I’m not. Honest