Archive for December, 2011

Yeehaa! I was hurtling down a snow downhill slope tucked into a little rubber tyre. I twisted and whirled down the slippery slope and wondered why on earth I was subjecting myself to this… for the sheer exhilaration and the fun of it!

We had had our first reasonable snowfall and we headed out to see the countryside. The conifers were all touched with a soft cascade of white powder just like we see on a Christmas card and the bare deciduous trees had icicles hanging from their branches. The icy, grey shapes silhouetted against the bright sky like a scene from the movie ‘Twilight.’

We were glad to have some temporary respite in our warm car.


As we made our way to the ski slope, we spotted enthusiastic children who had made their first snowman of the season and others that had dusted off their snow kit and braved the outdoors for a bit of fresh air. We donned our newly acquired ‘snow pant’, ripped labels off thick gloves and beanies and headed out to the slopes. We were clearly the new kids on the block! Although the newbies, we soon got the hang of running up the slope and careering like a bat out of hell down the runway on our rubber chariots. We yelled out like kids as we whistled our way over the slippery surface, twirled over the bumps and finally came to a rest against the snow safety barrier. I looked around and realized that our time was up. We had been running up and down the slopes for nearly 2 hours! A cup of warm tea (or something stronger) and some relaxation were definitely called for.


So we need to preserve these happy recollections in our memory bank as they will need to be recalled when we are heaving snow off the driveway. According to local knowledge, it can become quite tedious. Thank goodness we are still the NEW KIDS on the block.

A second childhood

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What the …… is going on? What is all this noise coming from the kitchen, it is 3.30 am!


Now don’t get me wrong, I love my sons but sometimes living with them can get a bit much. The other evening my middle son decided to have, what is commonly known in South Africa, a ‘sitvas’. This is usually when a few men get together and hang out, shoot the breeze and usually consume a bit of alcohol. It was not the usual drink of choice, which is known as ‘brandewyn’, but was some golden old Canadian whiskey. I heard the low voices at about 2am and the churning of the ice crusher in the kitchen. I turned over and went back to sleep as I was not about to spoil their fun. As I struggled to get back to dreamland I tried to imagine the topics of discussions that men cover in these wee hours. By 3.30am they had still not exhausted them so the drinks needed to be recharged. This was so that the conversation could continue to flow and with that the ice machine was kicked back into action. Ice tumbled down on the floor and the crash reverberated through the wooden house. I jumped up and raced downstairs only to be met by a very bewildered male guest standing with his glass at the ice machine. Need I say that my language was far from ladylike and the poor recipient of my wrath went pale around the gills. I somehow don’t think that Canadian mothers go ‘bossies’ here, maybe it is to do with equal rights or some such thing. But this lady threw her toys right out of her cot and onto the kitchen floor.

The wonderful thing about men is they have such short term memories and by the next day, when they had surfaced, all had been forgotten and it was probably just written down in history as one of mom’s bad days.

So lots of patience is required by ‘the lady of this house’ and every now and again I run my bath right up to my neck, pour in loads of bubble bath and just wallow in the glorious warm water. When I jump out I put on lashings of French perfume….just to remind myself that I am a GIRL.

The regmaker does the trick!

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The Michael Bublé CD is blaring in my car as I make my way through the lanes down to Oakville town. I have been conjuring up ideas for a few special culinary delights to surprise my household and I thought of going with a ‘Moose” theme evening. I found the appropriate wine bottle clad with a colossal moose head and the ‘moosedrol’ chocolates can suffice as a desert. Now all I have to do is find the moose venison at our local butcher in Oakville. My shopping list is all planned and I am reminded that I have a coffee date with a South African friend who I met on a ‘South Africans in Toronto’ website. Who would have ever thought that I would meet people in this way? But being a stranger in town one has to resort to drastic measures!

My bokkie antlers are perched on the car and I have dressed in my reindeer stockings just to complete the whole Christmas theme. My son and his wife arrive for a visit from South Africa tomorrow, so we thought we should deck the halls and the car too just to create the atmosphere. Today I am going to have a practice run. The strange thing is, although I feel like an idiot in my Christmas attire and my yuletide car, no one bats an eyelid.  Canadians embrace the season with such zeal and go all out over this time.  In fact we have decided that we definitely have to acquire a few more Christmas lights as our display is quite conservative this year. But wait for it, I will hit the New Year sales and buy up all the bargains and hopefully Maison de Morkel will shine even brighter next year.

Josh rides high on his antler chariot

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Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends and with all our traditions we create those warm memories. The spruce tree has been adorned with ribbons and baubles and lights twinkle from the balcony, front door and the roof. The bokkie (reindeer) stands amongst his forest of lights at the front door and there is no mistaking that this house is definitely going to be celebrating Christmas. There is excitement in the air as plans are made, presents are wrapped and the Christmas spices float through the air.

Josh whines at the front door and I realize that it is time for his daily trot around the block and the evening ritual of chasing squirrels.

The bulldozer growled and squealed as it pushed its way through the rubble. This was someone’s house that was being knocked down and it was making way for progress with a modern one that would soon be built in its place. The planks of wood protested and creaked as they were shoved into the awaiting truck, there was nothing graceful about this old house meeting its demise. The demolition was now complete and this once quant, cottage home was now piled up on the back of a truck. I wondered how many happy memories had been made there, how many family Christmases had been spent around the dining room table and how many bright -eyed grandchildren had been entertained with stories in front of the fire. Sadly these were all but memories now and hopefully there were people who would hold them dear. Josh tugged at my arm as he was growing impatient and as I watched the truck trundle down the road, I thought of the one consolation: This wooden house would once more return to the earth on some landfill and new trees would grow from the nutrients left behind and new houses would be built and new memories made.

As the first few snow flakes fall, our family will gather at Maison de Morkel and new memories of our first Canadian Christmas with its rich eclectic blend of traditions will be created. But underneath it all, will be the solid foundation of experiences of Christmases in Africa.


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