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Archive for June, 2012

Josh checking out the weather…..is it good enough for a walk?

 

Josh pushed his nose up against the bedroom door and drew in a deep breath. It sounded like a train and the high pitch resonated through the crack. He knew that this was a sure method to get someone to respond to him in the morning. It was time for a walk!

 

The air was crisp and still and I felt the cool air against my bare arms.  As it was a Saturday morning, everyone was still having their usual lie in except for a few keen bike riders and the odd early riser like me. A bleary eyed man opened his front door and stumbled down to the gate to collect his newspaper. He obviously needed his fix of news with his early morning cuppa. A young mother raced along with her push buggy trying to console her irritable bundle. She shouted her morning greeting across her shoulder as she sped around the corner. Memories of my own inconsolable little mites came flooding back. I recall many days of pounding the pavements trying to sooth a ‘troubled teether.’ It always amazed me how difficult it was for them to cut the teeth and then how difficult it was to keep them in good shape. Teeth are hard work!

 

I passed a golden shrub and the air filled with its fragrance. It was soft and refined. No wonder it is so hard to capture this same fragrance in a bottle. Each garden I passed had a new scent to entice me. I would try to locate the source each time. As I glanced back I noticed roses, peonies and rhododendrons to name a few.  I was treated to the full array of lingering perfumes as I made my way down Lakeshore Road into the Old Town. Stately historical homes that had seen a hundred summers appeared to show off their manicured gardens with renewed summer vigour. Their long green lawns cascaded down to the lake. It was certainly just the right spot for a picnic. There were the tell tale sighs of   children. The rope from a tree swing hung nearby and a tricycle propped up against a tree.  I hoped that this lot had interrupted their play to enjoy the odd snack on this lush green carpet.

 

My stomach grumbled and it was definitely time to call in at my favourite café for the usual….. homemade croissant and a cappuccino.

Josh settled under the table with his eyes fixed on a nearby dog. It was just a matter of time before he leapt up and sent my coffee flying…….

Summer beauty!

 

 

 

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The thrill of the first snow flakes

It had been a long and tedious trip. I could not sleep and continuously searched for a position that felt comfortable. It was not to be and I just lay there with my eyes closed and reflected on the last 10 days that I had spent in South Africa.

I had only been away for a year but it seems like an eternity….. so much had happened during that time. I had managed to drive on the ‘wrong side’ of the road, stand up on my skis and actually wend my way down a slope. I had built up muscle in parts of my body that I never knew existed and all the yard work was surely keeping me limber! Every day was a challenge of learning, remembering and experiencing new things. Just to memorise my telephone number took a few months, as I have never bothered ‘my pretty little head’ with such trivial things. Who needs to remember when you can just enter the number in your cell phone? It also took a while to recognise the coins, as I only ever used them for parking meters!

Things are beginning to feel familiar. The ‘firsts’ are becoming seconds, thirds and fourths. I can now find my way around town without quivering in my boots and actually recognize a few landmarks. I greet my pharmacist by name and the cashiers at the supermarket smile when they recognize me. I am certainly in there frequently enough! The baker, who makes the most delicious seed loaf, always inquires about our life ‘back home.’ We continue the sequel each week as I stock up on my supply of freshly baked bread. I suppose I just don’t feel like a Barberton daisy that is trying to survive in a busy street anymore!

The wait in Amsterdam dragged and I was finally on my last leg of the trip. As I arrived at the gate I was informed that I had been bumped up to business class. Hoorah! They must have noticed this bedraggled passenger and taken pity on her. I spread myself out and sank into my soft leather seat. I stretched my legs out and wiggled my toes. I was in 7th heaven! Then I was plied with French champagne and served an elegant supper. I was absorbed by all the new delights and the array of movies that were on offer on the in-flight entertainment. I could not help notice my neighbour who was quite blasé about the whole experience. He was obviously one of the frequent business class flyers and I stood out like a sore thumb with my naivety and enthusiasm.

Over the past year I have certainly displayed my vulnerability with all the change that has occurred.  But I have also recognized the enthusiasm that exists deep inside me and the strength to cope with life’s challenges. I have felt the wind beneath my wings……  

One of ‘the firsts’…watching football.

 

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The mountain was clear and there was no rain that day.

The wheels screeched on the tarmac and the aeroplane swayed from side to side. I felt a surge of emotion as I traced the silhouette of Table Mountain with my eyes. It had been a whole year since I had seen that majestic piece of sandstone; I was back on South African soil!

It was a typical Cape Town winter’s evening and I drank in the moist, sea air as I jumped into the car. I tried to pick out the familiar landmarks through the shadows as we caught up on all the news. My soft bed was a welcome sight having spent 24 hours in transit. I could still hear the drone of the engine in my ears. I lay there and was soothed by the soft rain on the tin roof.

 The morning brought more rain but that did not deter the enthusiasm to get out and explore. This was after all, my old stamping ground. I had raced around these very streets in my mini all those years ago……

Waar is daardie dae?

 I looked up at the mountain and was reminded of my student days with the sherry and peanut sundowners, we used to enjoy on the grassy banks. What a combination! But we thought it was grand and of course Old Brown sherry suited our pockets too. These carefree memories all came flooding back and I savoured them. But I was brought back to reality with the surprise that my children had planned for me. I was about to be treated to a grown up version of a similar celebration. It was to be a ‘high tea’ at the Mount Nelson Hotel.

 The vista over the formal gardens was magnificent. It came complete with cascading fountains, white roses, blue plumbago and pink hydrangeas. We sipped on our English Breakfast and tucked into the dainty treats that had been carefully laid out on a tiered white china plate. The stately morning room came complete with the sumptuous furnishings of exquisite brocades and soft velvets. It reminded us of a bygone era and we took in the period paintings, carefully selected cutlery and the strategically placed tassels.

One of the guests appeared as if he had just jumped out of a time machine. He had the hugest handle bar moustache that I had ever seen. The ‘grisly white mouse’ stretched from ear to ear and curled up at the tips. He spoke with an air of authority and can only imagine that he must have had a military background. Major or not, he would still have had to pick that hairy appendage clean each night!

The next hairstyle that I was about to admire was that of a jazz violinist who played foot stomping melodies at a local market. This teased pyramid of hair swayed back and forth as the shoppers poured over the wonderful array of home grown goods. There was everything from honey to home brewed beer. I decided to sip on the latter as the taste of tea had already left my palette.

The mountain, the people and the music…….I was back in Cape Town.

Interesting people abound at the local market.

Here’s to catching up with family and friends in SA!

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