Very Greek

     “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.
     “Business!”cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Temple of Zeus

The elderly Mr SM (Shipping Magnate) ushered us into his substantial office and gestured to the leather sofa. “I give you two minutes,” he held up two fingers and perched his slightly unkempt, rather portly, untucked self on the arm of a chair. “I tell you what to do if you want to work with us,” he began.

“You are shipbrokers?” He studied Hubby’s card. “It is good you visit. What bring you to Greece?” Continue reading Very Greek

Monastic musings

“There was no doubt about it. Sister Evangelina’s action had been brilliant. A masterstroke. To say that a fart cleared the air may seem a contradiction in terms, but life is full of contradictions.”

Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950’s by Jennifer Worth

Monastic mosaicsHubby: Father Zachariah, I’m taking over my father’s business next year and I wonder if you have any advice for me?

Father Zachariah: There were once three monks. One monk rose early every morning and left the cottage to work in the fields. It was back-breaking work. He only returned home as darkness fell, but he provided all the food and income for the household. The second monk was very ill and spent all day in bed, praying. The third monk remained at the cottage to care for his brother. Which one has done a full day’s work, I ask you? Continue reading Monastic musings

2018, tell me all your secrets

“If you can look into the seeds of time. And say which grain will grow and which will not; Speak, then, to me.”

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

“I believe we can rule out anything sinister,” said the radiologist. “Only … there is something rather unusual. You have right-sided hemiagenesis of the thyroid.”

I wiped the gel off my neck and sat up. I leaned in closer to the ultrasound screen. Continue reading 2018, tell me all your secrets

A Christmas Tale and a 2017 Calendar

“”Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.”

Little Women by Louisa M Alcott

Little Women Louisa M AlcottA Christmas past. Muddy roads and rain. I had 3 nieces rather than 4. Dad was still alive. We’d been cooped up inside for too long and the cracks were beginning to show in tantrums and whining.

“Okay, this is what we’re gong to do,” I ventured, placing each niece in seclusion with a sheet of paper and a pen.

“I want each one of you to write a letter to Father Christmas. Tell him if you’ve been good or not, and write him a list of things you’d like for Christmas.”

For a few blissful minutes they took to their task enthusiastically. The adults breathed a sigh of relief and I padded over to the awaiting kettle. Continue reading A Christmas Tale and a 2017 Calendar

Send in the Clowns

“It is useless to describe the astonishing performances of the acrobats and gymnasts. The turning on ladders, poles, balls, barrels, &c., was executed with wonderful precision. But the principal attraction was the exhibition of the Long Noses, a show to which Europe is as yet a stranger. These noses were made of bamboo, and were five, six, and even ten feet long, some straight, others curved, some ribboned, and some having imitation warts upon them. It was upon these appendages, fixed tightly on their real noses, that they performed their gymnastic exercises.”

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

Coated and scarfed, we trooped across the common, crunching leaves under foot. The almost-full moon brightened the autumn sky. Circusy-music drifted towards us on the breeze, promising high-wire tension and hilarity.

Some 35 years ago I’m sure I must have run,  towing one of my parents behind me, across the entire dusty field to the circus entrance, a similar pink ticket stub in my small hand. White horses with plumes, the smell of damp straw, animal cages, waistcoated monkeys and hotdogs – the Boswell Wilkie Circus! Continue reading Send in the Clowns

Russia Part 1: Pavlovsk, Pushkin and Peterhof

“If so, better let him be named after his father. His father was Akaky, so let the son also be Akaky. Thus it was that Akaky Akakievich came about. As the child was being baptised, he cried and made such a face as if he anticipated that he would be a titular councillor.”

The Overcoat by Nicholai Gogol

A South African in RussiaIt seems that Putin and Zuma have formed an unholy alliance. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. I hear your groans. I see your rolled eyes.

But there is a silver lining.

As of 31st March 2017, South Africans have visa-free travel to Russia and Belorussia.  If you itch to travel the world and experience different cultures, now is your chance. Go! Go to Mother Russia! Continue reading Russia Part 1: Pavlovsk, Pushkin and Peterhof

Of birthdays, bouquets, blue skies and overtime

“And thus ever by day and night, under the sun and under the stars, climbing the dusty hills and toiling along the weary plains, journeying by land and journeying by sea, coming and going so strangely, to meet and to act and react on one another, move all we restless travellers through the pilgrimage of life.”

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

This is a story of blue nail polish. Not blue meaning sad. Not blue to keep with my blog title. Blue nail polish.

It was a sunny day in Pennington on the Natal South Coast. I was visiting my grandparents who live there. Later in the day we were planning to meet my aunt for a coffee and a slice of cheesecake. My aunt has appointed herself National Cheesecake Taster. Continue reading Of birthdays, bouquets, blue skies and overtime