Chutzpa, chutspa, chutzpadik – Pronounced KHOOTS-PAH; rattle that kh around with fervour; rhymes with ‘Foot spa’. Do not pronounce the ch as in ‘choo-choo’ or ‘Chippewa’, but as the German ch in Ach! or the Scottish in ‘loch’. Hebrew: ‘insolence’, ‘audacity’. Gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts’; presumption-plus-arrogance such as no other word, and no other language can do justice to.
The Joys of Yiddish By Leo Rosten
On Sunday morning I lead prayers at church. It had been an emotionally charged week in London. I dreaded standing in front of the congregation. Over 70 people had recently died in the Grenfell Tower fire not far from where I live, fires raged in Portugal and the news was still full of recent terror attacks.
I now dread my 7am wake-up with BBC Radio 4.
In May I’d readily volunteered to do prayers, but as my turn drew near, I wondered if I really had it in me. What would I say? How would I create the right balance between silence and words? Continue reading Building Castles in the Sky
“Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary that we all carry about with us.”
Says Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde
My father-in-law is writing his memoirs and I can’t wait to read them!
“How do you remember all the places and names and details?” I asked him.
“You’d be surprised what comes to mind when you start digging around in the past. You open a drawer, look through a photo album, talk to an old friend, read a letter…” he replied.
Now I know what he means. Continue reading Memories
“It is always hard to see the purpose in wilderness wanderings until after they are over.”
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
By popular demand, I give you our 12 fellow travellers on our South African #roadtrip:
‘Petrol Man’: outside Bloemfontein:
We took a country road towards the Lesotho mountains. TomTom was not pleased. Petrol Man explained that his car had run out of petrol. In parts of the Free State you get the feeling that you’re driving from the middle of nowhere to the middle of nowhere. So we drove on. Eventually we came to a juncture. There was’t even a tiny pin-prick of a suggestion of a village, but with nothing else to suggest we turned down the dust track. What materialised eventually was a twilight-zone-like-derelict-one-stop-hamlet consisting of a road, 6 dwellings, a couple of people and a petrol station! Continue reading Our short interlude into the lives of 12 walkers
“‘Thank you, Mama,’ Grace said. Xhosa people are like Afrikaners. Everyone is family: Auntie, Mother, Sister…”
Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew
A long dirt road led to a small village on the Wild Coast.
We drove this road countless times when I was a child.
We knew every corner, every valley, every cliff, every sign. At a certain spot along the road my father would pull the car over. Out would come a beer and some biltong to share. This is the point when the holiday officially began. Continue reading Longing for a place where everybody knows your name