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Posts Tagged ‘laughter’

January is my time to dream……. The nights are long and the polar cap blows its icy winds. It is all too easy to snuggle up in front of a crackling fire. My mind is preoccupied by my dreamy thoughts where I look forward to the year ahead. There will be no thoughts on New Year’s resolutions either. Oh no, that is not for me! No thoughts on cutting out chocolate or on how I am going to be able to brave the cold for that much needed walk. January is my reprieve and my time to ponder. It is my La La Land month and I visit it with much zest and enthusiasm.
It had been a busy and special Christmas with our house bursting with our family. It was wonderful to have them all home with us and under our roof. Two active toddlers kept us all on our toes as we ran after them and attended to their needs. There was never a dull moment. We dreamed up indoor activities to busy these little tykes. One being a slide around the house on the indoor snow sledge. The kitchen was a hive of activity too. Our table was full and so were our hearts. When the house eventually emptied it seemed to echo. There was less of everything…..less laughter, less music and less food!

 

My kitchen helpers.....

My kitchen helpers…..

Lemon anyone?

Lemon anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
This deprivation made me plunge headlong into dreamland. There were French lanes and intimate coffee shops. In my mind’s eye were quaint shop windows with French bakeries and French delicatessens. That was it, a trip to France! I scolded myself as I thought of the practicality of seeing this dream come to fruition. The brain went into overdrive. There was a plan. What about a trip up to Quebec City? It was only 800 km away instead of 6000 km and it would certainly be kinder on the coffers. A few phone calls were made, an Airbnb booked and we hit the road.
I must add at this point that I do not speak a word of French. We have heard that the Quebecois are understandably fiercely proud of their heritage and their language. Therefore I needed a quick crash course on a few fundamentals. The long car trip was the ideal time to practice and I rolled my tongue around the que’s and the de’s.
Un, deux, trois, quatre…..
This was hard and I just wished that I could make my words sound like my French teacher! It would have to do and I spent the rest of the trip reading up on the places to visit in Quebec City. Chateau Frontenac along the frozen Saint Lawrence River, Place Royale, Basilique Notre Dame de Quebec, La Citadelle and the historical Old City caught my eye. I also found our period house ‘La Victorienne’ in Rue Saint Jean where we would be spending the next 4 days.

 

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It was as I had envisaged it. There were narrow cobble streets to explore, French food to savour and plenty of French culture to soak up. I was in heaven!

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A painted mural in the Old Town.

 

 

 

The Plains of Abraham where the English and French battled it out.

The Plains of Abraham where the English and French battled it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January is the month to dream and to look forward to the year ahead and the journey within.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=129kuDCQtHs

The two pairs of eyes were fixed on me as I danced back and forth clicking my fingers to the rhythm. I had fetched the twins just after 6 that morning as their parents were in dire need of some catch up sleep.
‘Ok kids, it is you and me for the next few hours!’

We turned up the volume and the sounds of “Old MacDonald had a Farm’ wafted through the air.
I bounced down the staircase to the basement guest room with Leo, the family dog, at my heels. My arms were bursting with all baby katunda that I could carry.  This included two soothers, two baby seats, and a healthy supply of nappies. I remembered that I had forgotten the toys and decided that whatever I could pull out of my case would have to suffice. My silver bracelets are always firm favourites and the shine usually did the trick.

Jack with his Nan.

Jack with his Nan.

I gazed across at them as they snuggled into the covers. Jack with his long gazes and his slow wide smile. Those deep blue eyes shone with wisdom. Heaven help us! I could just imagine some of the questions that would no doubt arise on my watch …..

‘Nan, where does the sky go to? ‘All the more reason to keep on my toes and to keep the head sharp.

Kate with the cute button switched on.

Kate with the cute button switched on.

Then there was Kate with her twinkly mischievous eyes and the smile that filled her little face. She had already mastered the cuteness button and was bound to use it masterfully. The game was on as they interacted with one another and Nan watched from the side.
The Seattle sun streamed in through the window and 2 little soporific heads nodded off.  But the reprieve was short lived and the relay of wet nappies and hungry tummies kept me on the hop.

The morning had raced by and it was time to get myself up and dressed. A warm shower was called for but i would have to think of a way of amusing the twins so that i could do just that.

Jack and Kate before the finale.

Jack and Kate before the finale.

So the finale began…..my fingers clicked again to the music. I must add that the said music was a collection of nursery rhymes that I had pulled up on YouTube. The little eyes followed me as I moved backwards and forwards. I turned on the water and adjusted the temperature and placed my towel where I could reach it. The 2 little bodies began to squirm in their seats. This was just not exciting enough and I was going to have to add some other dimension to ‘Jack and Jill climbed up the hill.’ I pulled off my sock and swirled it around and tossed it to the other side of the room. Peals of laughter ensued from the two bouncing seats. Then I pulled off another sock and added some clicking, singing and a few dance moves. The amusement continued and I managed to plunge myself under the water and wash. Every now and again I would stick my head out and throw something else into the air. A stray toothbrush and a comb went winging across the room. Some wobbly singing was added to the mix and a few intricate dance steps topped off the whole ritual. Then little chairs bobbed and looked over in anticipation. Yes, it was done. Nan was dressed and ready for the day.

But first I had to gather up the whole array of articles that I had flung around during my final act.
I think my second childhood has begun.

Can’t start a fire without a spark……..

 

 

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The water glistened as the waves motioned towards the pier. Yachts were tied up with thick yellow rope and deckhands whistled as they polished and repaired. A seal bobbed up and checked if there had been any food debris thrown overboard. No such luck this time! Its sleek silhouette slipped back under the boat. “Come and buy the best bargain ever,” shouted a vendor. “Two for the price of one!” Music floated through the air as buskers beat out their rhythms and melodies. We all just soaked up the warmth of the sun and the reprieve from the gusty south easterly winds.

We had breakfasted at one of my favourite vantage points…..Rhodes Memorial. The bronzed lions still graciously line the steps. They proudly serve as bastions as they look out towards Table Bay. The huge granite steps provide a challenge for Leo, our 8 week old puppy. He shows his tenacity and makes it all the way up the path to the restaurant. It was surprisingly pet friendly and our pup was greeted with a handful of dog treats and a fresh water bowl. We are definitely coming back here again! It was one of those windless, warm clear days that we dream about. We could see right out in the direction of Bloubergstrand. My thoughts went back to when I was a young teacher and we used to stop off there on the way back from work! Back in the days when time and commitment were of no concern!

The view from Rhodes Memorial.
The view from Rhodes Memorial.

So I cannot stop myself from walking down memory lane when I visit this beautiful city. Floods of warm thoughts and connections are made as I tread the streets that were once part of my daily life. I had the added fortune of meeting up with some of my school friends that I had not seen for 40 years! There was much laughter as we visited our school days again. The pranks, the teachers…… It was wonderful to reflect on what we were like all those years ago. Had life changed us? We agreed that our essence was the same and although we were hopefully wiser, the twinkle in our eyes still shone brightly! The school theme prevailed on me and I met up with an ‘old pupil’ of mine as well. She is now a self assured, beautiful young lady who is studying at the University of Cape Town. I could not help seeing the young pigtailed bright little face in front of me still!

The Waterfront ......
The Waterfront ……

Cape Town is synonymous with a visit with family, this being my main purpose. I cannot explain the hole that one feels when you are separated from those that our dearest to you. Thank goodness for Skype! We walked, talked, laughed, had picnics and cried together and were reminded about what we cherish in each other. Those memories are precious and I hold onto them as I wing my way back to Canada. There was another part of my family waiting for me there. Although I am sure that my men folk enjoyed the peace and quiet while I was away. Josh would have certainly missed his mistress and the walks each day!

Leo discovers The Gardens.

Leo discovers The Gardens.

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The ego was still intacked here!

The ego was still intact here!

Christmas sparkle!

Christmas sparkle!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR2WYVWI65M  

 My world is changing……      

The tinsel has lost some of its sparkle and there are baubles lying around the bottom of the Christmas tree. It is time to remove the wreaths from the staircase and to toss the tree out in the road for collection. There has been laughter, good food and friends and we have indulged in all that is Christmas.  So ‘after this Lord Mayor’s Show’ there certainly needs to be a clean up cart! This involves the unraveling and packing up of all things Christmas.Our second Christmas in Canada has been and gone…..

I know I have found you…….

  I begin by about sorting through the decorations and packing them into boxes. I always add a few to the collection each year. The camels from Dubai, the hand crafted angels from South Africa and the wooden raccoons from this Canadian Christmas. They all remind me of the Yuletides past. There are wreaths to unravel from the front door and all the Christmas lights around the house too. This ‘packing away ritual’ used to evoke pensive thoughts as I contemplated the end of the festivities. Instead, as I systemically place each shiny bauble back, I allow myself the time to indulge in the happy moments of the last few weeks. It is almost as if I have to put them ‘all to bed’ so that I can start the new chapter. All too quickly the New Year will be staring me in the face and I will get sucked into the hustle and bustle of every day life.

You never fade away……

The big snow dump has been part of this Christmas too and our surrounds have been transformed into a winter wonderland. Kids are out on their toboggans and young and old delight in the white covering.  Temperatures have dropped significantly and some brave souls even took part in the polar bear swim in the Ontario Lake! Definitely not my cup of tea! I landed up the other day next to the lake on my backside ‘met bene in die lug!’ The slippery snow got the better of me! It left me with a bruised ego and an aching rear end! So I have come to realize the merit of the ‘penguin walk.’ This unflattering geriatric gait allows you to tackle a slippery pathway with ease. Although I think I need to add some ski poles to the mix for added stability.

It will feel like Christmas all the time……

The boxes are packed and stored away for another year. But all is not lost! Christmas will have to linger in the Morkel household for a little while longer. It is just too cold to get up on the roof to remove all our Christmas lights. They are going to have to twinkle for a couple more weeks. At least they will let us down gently……….

The Joy of Christmas stays inside us …..

 


 

 

 

 

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