Smile Therapy

“To tell you the truth, I was considerably upset and worried. I am not going to pretend that at that moment I foresaw the events of the next few weeks. I emphatically did not do so. But my instinct told me that there were stirring times ahead.”

The Murder of Roger Achroyd by Agatha Christie

Next to The Golden Girls, one of the best old ladies of film – Ms Ellen Albertini Dow (1913–2015) of The Wedding Singer (1998)

On Easter Sunday Hubby and I had lunch (Easter Lamb – delish!) at a friend’s house. I was sat next to our friend Floz (not her real name). Floz is a part time conspiracy theorist, a full time intellectual and in the evenings works as a companion to 3 old ladies.

“Do you know the key to happiness in old age?” she asked me as I prepared my roast potatoes with butter, salt and a good dose of gravy.

I leaned in for the holy grail of advice. Continue reading Smile Therapy

Stone Soup

“A rich man’s soup – and all from a few stones. It seemed like magic!”

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

Besides the Teeny Tiny Woman, the other childhood story my parents frequently read to us was Stone Soup.

It’s a folktale of far reaching import…

In the French and Hungarian stories, a soldier who has been through many trials is returning home. On his way he passes a village. He is hungry, but has no food and carries an empty pot. The villagers, wary of soldiers and tired of war are unwilling to feed him. But their curiosity is piqued when he makes a fire, fills his pot with water, drops a stone into the pot and begins to heat up the water. Continue reading Stone Soup

Cats ‘n dogs ‘n floods

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”

The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

“Good morning! Thank you. We are all settled in amidst the pouring rain.”

This is the email we received from our tenants on Sunday 21st April – Easter morning.

We have a couple from Johannesburg and their 3 small children, a granny and two aunties renting our Morgan Bay home. They booked for 6 nights and are our first paying tenants.

Hubby and I were nervous-excited to get our first let. I’d put together a welcome pack filled with info about what to do and see in our idyllic South African seaside village. It promised to be a wonderful holiday!

Little did we (or they) knowContinue reading Cats ‘n dogs ‘n floods

Honey, I’m home!

“It is a long way off, sir”
“From what Jane?”
“From England and from Thornfield: and ___”
“Well?”
“From you, sir”

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This morning I logged into Nyamazela.com after a long absence.

I took a metaphorical key out of my pocket, turned it in the lock and pushed the now-slightly-warped door open, wiped my feet on the mat and walked in. The air was a little stuffy, but I opened a window, drew back the curtains and breathed in the familiar smell of home. Continue reading Honey, I’m home!

February S.A.D.s

“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

In September 2012 I stood on a floodlit off-West End stage. The final act of a play called ‘Life Begins‘ and my most challenging scene.

“When it comes to it,” the director had told me some weeks before, “You’re going to have to find your anger. You’d better find it, pull it out of somewhere deep and let it go!”

The scene was a hospital waiting room.

“How dare you!” I tore across the stage at a fellow actor and had to be held back from hurting him. The audience was on the edge of their seats because no-one knew yet whether or not the lead character was going to live or die. Continue reading February S.A.D.s

In other words … you can do it!

“Niggle was a painter. Not a very successful one, partly because he had many other things to do. Most of these things he thought were a nuisance; but he did them fairly well, when he could not get out of them: which (in his opinion) was far too often. There were other hindrances, too. For one thing, he was sometimes just idle, and did nothing at all. For another, he was kind-hearted, in a way … it did not prevent him from grumbling, losing his temper, and swearing (mostly to himself). All the same, it did land him in a good many odd jobs for his neighbour, Mr. Parish, a man with a lame leg.”

Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien

French verbsI was bemoaning (to a Thespian friend of mine) the realities of hiring Millennials. “This means,” I wined, “that Hubby and I have to become boss-parents to grown people – teaching them patience; how to get up when they fall down; that things worth doing don’t come easy; that making an impact will take more than a day, a month, a year.”

To which my dear honest friend replied, “But don’t we all need to learn those lessons?”

Ah, the voice of wisdom…

She’s an empathetic listener, but annoyingly too much like my conscience. I felt convicted right away.

I’m just like those millennials! #innerscream Continue reading In other words … you can do it!

Being bookish

“All the suspects in a classic murder mystery have secrets, and to keep them they lie, dissemble, evade the interrogations of the investigator. Everyone seems guilty because everyone has something to hide. For most of them, though, the secret is not murder.This is the trick on which detective fiction turns.”

The Suspicions of Mister Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale

ReadingBonjour à tous! ça fait trop longtemps!

Il fait intéressant pour vous: The word ‘clue’ comes from ‘clew’, meaning a ball of thread or wool. It came to mean ‘that which points the way’ from the Greek myth in which Theseus uses a ball of wool, given to him by Ariadne, to find his way out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth.

The plot of the ‘who-done-it’ – one of my fave genres – is a kind of knot. The story can only end satisfactorily with a denouement, an unknotting. Continue reading Being bookish