Summer staycation

Book cover“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

There’s a very bad joke that goes something like this …

“Where are you going for your holiday?”
“I’m going to Romania.” (pronounced remain-ya)
“Wow! That’s exotic.”
“No, I’m going to ‘remain-here’ – get it?”
“Ah … not so exotic.”

[best said in a strong South African accent] Continue reading Summer staycation

Is 2020 trying to tell us something?

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if they keep quiet, the very rocks and stones will cry out.”

The Bible, Luke 19:37-40

VirusWhat if 2020 is not really the car crash it seems to be?

Just a thought …

Things really stopped and went quiet for a while, didn’t they?

And now the cries are loud and big and scary … and demand to be listened to!

What if 2020 is a cry for help, a call for change?
Continue reading Is 2020 trying to tell us something?

London 1665: an old story, retold in 2020

“Again he shook his head. The world’s gone mad, he thought. The dead walk about and I think nothing of it. The return of corpses has become trivial in import. How quickly one accepts the incredible if only one sees it enough!”

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

1665

I’ve just finished reading Old St. Paul’s: A tale of the Plague and the Fire by William Harrison Ainsworth (1841), which, as I mentioned last week, details the 1665 plague of London, culminating with the Great Fire.

Several hundred years later, here I am (you are) in plagued-London (fill in the name of your city here).

Even if you are not a lover of classic novels, you will appreciate this … the parallels are simply uncanny! Continue reading London 1665: an old story, retold in 2020

Locking down the little details

“I think of every little trifle between me and Dora, and feel the truth, that trifles make the sum of life.”

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Cauliflower seedling in soilHave I mentioned that bedtime is my favourite time of the day? It runs in the family. We are an early-to-bed-family … not necessarily early to rise. My Mama gets so excited for bed that she squeals when she burrows under the covers. I’ve inherited that habit too.

One of my bed time wind-down habits is reading.

My current tome is Old St. Paul’s: A tale of the Plague and the Fire by William Harrison Ainsworth (1841). The details of 1665 London, during plague times bears much resemblance to COVID-times, I’m afraid, though also with an awful lot of Continue reading Locking down the little details

Stuckhome Syndrome

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

Anne of Avonlea, by L.M. Montgomery (Green Gables books)

X-ray butterflies in my stomach
Source: Google

We are well into 9 weeks of lockdown in the UK.

Some restrictions are beginning to ease.

But many people are afraid to go out, afraid to let their children go back to school, afraid to venture back to work.

A kind of ‘stuckhome syndrome’ has taken hold.

I get this.

What started off rather uncomfortable and restrictive, has become comfortable, safe, the new normal. Continue reading Stuckhome Syndrome

Something lacking

“Across the veld were those hills of the Klein Karoo, rolling up and dipping down like waves. On and on, like a still and stony sea. I picked up my melktert and bit off a mouthful. It was good, the vanilla, milk and cinnamon working together to make that perfect comforting taste.”

Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew

tea and ruskRecipes. Hmmm.

I don’t fit into normal size clothes, I’m told by my Hubby that I ‘always’ make changes to an item I order on a menu. And though I can cook well (I’d say) and can improvise a pretty tasty meal out of random leftovers in the fridge, I’ve never been able to strictly follow a recipe, without some degree of substitution.

I’ve leave the baking to real experts – my sister-in-law, my mother, CharliesBirdla boulangerie, Phyls Kitchen rusks.

This is why I do not bake.

That is, until today… Continue reading Something lacking

Married bliss

The Princess Bride film cover“I am your Prince and you will marry me,” Humperdinck said.
Buttercup whispered, “I am your servant and I refuse.”
“I am you Prince and you cannot refuse.”
“I am your loyal servant and I just did.”
“Refusal means death.”
“Kill me then.”

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Ingredients: 2 or people, 1 x home, 2 x personalities, 2 x jobs, multiple roles

Optional, add to taste: animals, children, car, nanny, cleaner, housework, garden, dreams, personal tastes and interests, humour, neighbours, income, parents-in-law, siblings, illness, personal space and long-suffering.

Method: fold ingredients together carefully, heat gently, do not over-cook.

Warning: some ingredients expire within 28 days.

Continue reading Married bliss

It’s not all bad!

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” 

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

candles on a date“How was your holiday in SA?” I asked, excited to hear how much our friend had enjoyed his visit to my homeland in December.

“South Africa is really in a bit of a mess,” he replied. Note, that in British English, a ‘bit of a mess’ is basically a large scale disaster.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Nothing works. The Eskom situation is depressing. Most people I spoke to just want to get out of there.”

He seemed to be satisfied that he’d given me the final word. Continue reading It’s not all bad!

Units of time in Lockdown

“His way of coping with the days was to think of activities as units of time, each unit consisting of about thirty minutes. Whole hours, he found, were more intimidating, and most things one could do in a day took half an hour. Reading the paper, having a bath, tidying the flat, watching Home and Away and Countdown, doing a quick crossword on the toilet, eating breakfast and lunch, going to the local shops… That was nine units of a twenty-unit day (the evenings didn’t count) filled by just the basic necessities. In fact, he had reached a stage where he wondered how his friends could juggle life and a job. Life took up so much time, so how could one work and, say, take a bath on the same day? He suspected that one or two people he knew were making some pretty unsavoury short cuts.”

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

Bishops park blossomsDIY? Reading? Google searches? Tidying up the loft? Daytime TV?

How are you spending your lockdown, world?

I’ve not had the luxury of boredom yet. Most units of my day are filled with housework, office work (in what was once our sunny spare room, now our office), fighting with Microsoft, fighting with BT, waiting on hold with BA, French lesson catch up, 1 hour per day of exercise (a run or digging in the allotment), heaps of video conferencing, cooking, cooking, stressing about cooking, preparing meals, mulling about which food needs to be frozen and which defrosted …  and did I mention cooking? Continue reading Units of time in Lockdown

Paperless, office-less business in a time of the Coronavirus

“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Kermit panicsWho knew?

Who knew?

There I was waxing lyrical about 2020 and all its promise. It did hold promise. It did. Elections were over. New, interesting enquiries were coming in. We’d taken on a promising new trainee broker. We had travel plans. Some of Hubby’s more difficult deals looked like they were moving forward. It was an exciting time. Continue reading Paperless, office-less business in a time of the Coronavirus