“The inescapable fact is that the brain is an unnerving place as well as a marvellous one. There seems to be an almost limitless number of curious or bizarre syndromes and conditions. Anton-Babinski syndrome, for instance, is a condition in which people are blind but refuse to believe it. Capgras syndrome is a condition in which sufferers become convinced that those they know well are imposters. Perhaps the most bizarre of all is Cotard delusion, in which the sufferer believes he is dead and cannot be convinced otherwise.”
The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
No, it’s not an ABBA song and no I’m not Martin Luther King Jr … still … I had a dream. How are you at dream interpretation?
One night in December 2019…
My dream started with me standing at one of 3 turnstiles in a dilapidated building.
People came and went through the turnstiles on either side of me. I watched as a woman walked up to the turnstile on my left, picked up a rock and used it to ‘buzz’ herself through. She replaced it neatly on the opposite side for someone, leaving the building, to use on their way out. Similarly, a man walked up to the turnstile on my right, picked up a slightly different object (a fossil or a large shell?) and did the same.
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Our neighbour has passed away.
The last time I saw Sharon she was her usual vivacious, smiling self. She excitedly told me that she and her husband, their grown up sons and girlfriends were leaving on safari in Botswana that week. She couldn’t wait. She clasped her hands across her stomach as we spoke and I noticed that it was distended.
She must have seen that I’d noticed. After a few seconds she quietly told me that the cancer had come back.
“I’m starting treatment at the Royal Marsdon when we’re back from Botswana. I’m in really good hands,” she said. That was September. Continue reading A life
“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
“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.”
“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across the these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up, near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen)
“We paid £3 for a haircut in South Africa,” we told our flamboyant, full-of-opinions, Irish hairdresser in London some years ago.
[This, when he quoted Hubby £45 for a men’s short back and sides.]
“WELL! … I don’t exactly live in a frickin mud hut, do I?” he pointed out.
“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!
“Good-bye,” said Michael to the Bird Woman. “Feed the Birds,” she replied, smiling. “Good-bye,” said Jane. “Tuppence a Bag!” said the Bird Woman and waved her hand.”
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
I stood in the warmth of the church after the service sipping a hot tea in a paper cup. Outside a small boy, puffer-jacketed, gloved and woolly-hatted ran back and forth on the lawn chasing pigeons. They settled. He charged. They flew up into the chilled air and swirled around him for some seconds. Then they settled again on the other side of the lawn. He squealed and charged again. They took flight. He waved his pudgy coated arms around. They swirled. It was mesmerising, this game. Continue reading Pigeons, Pantomime and Christmas vibes
“I hadn’t been driving long when I felt what I thought was a bug fluttering around my left leg and ankle. I tried to brush it away, but it persisted. With my eyes on the road , I leaned down again to shoo it away, only to feel something much larger than an insect against my hand. Looking down, I saw the head and about 10 to 15 centimetres, of a snake. We had somehow picked up a passenger.”
‘The Biyamati Stowaway’ by Gordon Parratt, from ‘101 Kruger Tales’
A shriek came from a nearby cottage. Then we heard the crash of crockery shattering on a stone floor. A man shouted and swore in German.
Within seconds a large male baboon bounded onto the lawn in front of our cottage. He looked back a few times towards the last shouts of the angry German, then settled down on the grass. Continue reading Profiling a villain
“One thing I’ve learned in my brief career: It’s the side projects that really take off. By side projects I mean the stuff that you thought was just messing around. Stuff that’s just play. That’s actually the good stuff. That’s when the magic happens.”
Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon
My English ancestors sailed on the HMS Weymouth from Portsmouth to Algoa Bay in 1820. They were from Burton-in-Kendal, Evlestoke and Guildford. An out of work labourer, a weaver, a wife. It took them 6 months to get there. Their hope: to reinvent themselves in a new country.
Many births, deaths and marriages later, I turned up.
I had a privileged, colonial upbringing. Good schools. Good manners. Good books. My English accent was corrected by my maternal grandmother. Summers were spent at the sea, winters in the game reserve.
Mother England I’m sure, was proud of her colonial child.
Ah, the colonial life (you might say) … wide open spaces, sun, land and opportunity!