SHONGWENI FARMERS’ MARKET


 

Over the years on my visits to  my Durban Family (eldest daughter Helen & family) I’ve been taken to the nearby Shongweni Farmers’ Market. It was a scant 5 kms down the hill, sited on a rough, grassy hillside, inevitably wet and muddy, packed with people and their excited dogs. For some reason, Durbanites  saw the Market as a great Saturday morning venue to exercise their dogs, and the ensuing tangle of dog leads, frantic barking and  occasional dog fight were  part of the fun. All this amongst families, toddlers, pushchairs,  shopping baskets, vendors unloading their products, lost kids and runaway dogs. Happy family mayhem. I loved it.

Then – oh no! the market moved. The land lease expired, and another venue had to be found. Which it was, close to the nearby Shongweni Dam.  This, however, is 12 kms from Helen’s house, so I was heaved briskly out of  bed at 0530 on Saturday morning  and told departure was in 25 minutes. Apparently the parking situation, plus the  inevitable traffic tailback on a skinny country road, has to be avoided at all costs. Fair enough.

And so it was I stood at 0630 on a damp, drizzly hillside, peering at rows of  corrugated iron roofs, and neat  cement walkways. Clearly no more mud at the new, bigger, smarter market. To my relief, plenty of families, toddlers, and dogs in evidence :

I must admit the new market is orderly, clean, vast,  and offers a huge variety of merchandise. For example – huge mushrooms, being sold by an elegant vendor. Note the funky guineafowl table covering.

I do love the colourful Zulu beadwork, but it’s a hell of a price nowadays. I cherish my antique strings of beads bought for virtually nothing, twenty years ago. The baskets are not beaded, as you might suppose. They are made from thin wire. Originally weavers used to gather scraps of electric cable left behind by Telkom or Eskom. They would strip off the external plastic covering to get at the 4/5/6 strands of fine wire within, which would be colour coded. Whether the baskets are still made this way I don’t know, but it may partly account for the enormous amount of  of telephone cable  theft ….   Roll on the introduction of fibre optic cable!  The downside will be less – or no – beautiful woven baskets.

There’s food of course. What would a country market be without food?  Locally made cheeses; locally grown coffee; and the ethnic bakers – Greek, German and of course, Indian, this being Kwa-Zulu Natal  which has one of the biggest Indian populations outside of the Indian continent.  I had my heart set on samoosas and a few Pakora*but alas! the market was so big I never managed to find my way back to the Indian food stalls.

I couldn’t take pics of the foodstalls due to the crush around them. But  I’m including a bad pic of the man selling pesto. Unfortunately his colourful pots of pesto didn’t come out well in the pic, but you can clearly see the smart new roofing. Which was welcome on such a drizzly, misty morning.

Me & my cellphone  will never win any prizes for photography.  But I did catch one pic of these fun dog biscuits!

I enjoyed my visit, and would love to go back another time. But the old country atmosphere has gone. The new version may well be out in the country, but now its much more organised and businesslike.On the plus side,  the public loos are a great deal better.  Ah well. Things change. But luckily the  vendor’s smiles stay the same.   Howzit, Barry!

 

*deep fried potato cake – beyond delicious finger food and death by cholesterol, but when you eat one you really don’t care. Actually, stopping at one requires superhuman willpower.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under TRAVEL

SUN ‘n SUSHI


A beautiful day so I drove up to Melkbosstrand for an ad hoc al fresco lunch : sushi by the sea.

 

 

I stopped off at my local supermarket and bought sushi. And you Sushi Snobs can stop raising your eyebrows. Their sushi is delicious. I stood and watched them make it – fresher than that you don’t get.

 

 

And of course there was an opportunistic gull, beadily looking out for a dropped crumb. Sorry bird: no crumbs associated with this lunch.

I reminded myself I should do this more often. Just 11 kms up the road is a pretty little town with a superb stretch of coast. I’ll be taking more picnics to Melkies beach.

3 Comments

Filed under EXPLORING CAPE TOWN

IT’S A WONDERFUL WORLD


FLOWERS

Sometimes everything works in your favour. Just for once!  Such was the case when Nina & I visited the Postberg Flower Reserve within the West Coast National Park  last  week. The Reserve is only open during Flower Season, in August and September, when our fabulous Spring wildflowers pop out. So I thought I’d share our lovely day with my readers. And also to show the more positive side of South Africa instead of the usual drama and disasters that blights our country.

Firstly here is a  pic of my faithful photographers standing in a field of flowers.  As I have said before  we’re the perfect combo – she likes to take pics and I  like to go on outings

.I couldn’t resist this pic – the carpet of purple flowers was gorgeous. Thanks to the strangers who provided perspective for Nina’s pic.

 

This was the one and only patch  of cerise flowers we saw – a genuine shocking pink!

Not so dramatic, but still beautiful.  If you look carefully at the two close-ups you will notice more tiny flowers in the pics. The white background is a mixture of sand and pulverised shells.

 

What a glorious day we had!

 

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, ECOLOGY, TRAVEL

THE PLEASURES AND PERILS OF SOLO LIVING


I’m going to start with the pleasures, before I get on to the topic of the perils. I enjoy living alone. I’ve earned it. After years of boarding school, followed by life in a girls’ hostel, then marriage and family, having my own solo space is a privilege and a joy. Plus, I’m a cranky old lady with an equally cranky old cat, so not an ideal housemate. Chocolat and I have worked out a harmonious sharing agreement. She dictates, and I salute. Works well.

One of the solo pleasures is having control of the TV remote. I never have to watch sports programmes which bore me witless and neither do I have to endure horror movies, or ultra violent crime series. And, perhaps best of all: I don’t have to endure the male habit of surfing restlessly from channel to channel, flicking endlessly from programme to programme, just when I’d started to watch and enjoy something.

Another major pleasure is being able to eat meals ad lib, ad hoc and add plenty of fruit and yoghurt, please. For one glorious week, after my younger daughter’s wedding, I ate trifle for breakfast. I left others squabbling over the left-overs from the braai*, and quietly removed the remnants of the luxury trifle. The most sinfully delicious  breakfast week ever.
Now I have to relate one of the perils of solo living, having cheered myself with happy reminiscences. Bolstered my courage, as it were.

Spiders. Big, enormous spiders. Lurking ominously on the bathroom ceiling. At nine thirty at night. I don’t do well with spiders. Little ones I bravely swoosh into an empty jar and hurl them outside into the garden. But a spider the size of a teacup saucer? Uh-uh. Not going to happen.

My knowledgeable friend tells me it must have been a rain spider. Thanks for the helpful info. That night, I neither knew nor cared. The crunch was: the spider and I could not remain under the same roof. Especially as I was preparing for bed. Can you imagine? An inquisitive spider exploring my entire house, including my bedroom ? Aaarrrggghhh.

Summoning every speck of courage, I armed myself with a broom and despatched the insect. Awful. And then I had to sleep with my bedside light switched on all night, just in case … irrational, I know. Ridiculous – I know.

I told you, I don’t like spiders. To the extent I’m not going to Google a pic to head up this post. I just can’t. Consider this a public exposure of my Achilles heel.

*braai – barbecue

10 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, HUMOUR

*(JAP) INTERNET PASSWORDS


 

 

Whilst happily browsing in a bookstore on Saturday, and fighting the urge to buy yet another notebook, I found a spiral bound, hard-covered notebook  with the title “INTERNET PASSWORDS”.  My first reaction was: what a good idea!  All the passwords in one place, quick and easy reference. No more ratty little bits of paper.  And then I thought: Hang on a mo. If the password notebook is on your desk, or in public view, then what is to stop other people from snooping? Or – even worse –ransacking your bank account? Spending thousands on your on-line shopping sites?  Maybe not such a good idea. I wonder where you keep your passwords?  Because I have different passwords for most of my accounts, I have to write them down, that’s for sure.  And I’m not telling you where I keep them. Yes:  I confess to having  a nasty suspicious nature. Actually, the word ‘password’ is a misnomer.  Swear words usually ensue, on this topic.  Especially when trying to persuade some nitpicking electronic genie to accept your new password.  Too short.  Too long. Not enough numeric symbols. Too many alpha symbols.   **!!@#!**&%#$@!!!!**

*(Just a Paragraph:  when I’m short of time and/or inspiration, I keep my blog ticking over with ‘just a paragraph’: random thoughts, reflections, comments, ideas … little snippets)

 

12 Comments

Filed under COMPUTERS, HUMOUR

*JAP* BRICS BANANAS ??


 

 

Really? Bananas from Ecuador, for crying out loud? Now I realise why it cost me R6-77 in Cape Town for two bananas. What a crazy price. But I suppose if the fruit has been air freighted from the north-east of South America to the very tip of Africa in the South , the price is bound to rise. South Africa produces bananas  on our southern coast in Kwa Zulu Natal; as does our neighbour Mozambique to the North of us. Not to mention Malawi  even further North.  South Africa joined the trading bloc BRICS  – BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC” (or “the BRICs“), before the induction of South Africa in 2010. BRICS – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRICS

Thanks Wikipedia. What would we do without you? Global info is wonderful but I’m not so sure about global trade deals . They  certainly wreck the price of bananas.

 

*(Just a Paragraph:  when I’m short of time and/or inspiration, I keep my blog ticking over with ‘just a paragraph’: random thoughts, reflections, comments, ideas … little snippets)

 

 

 

 

 

 

*(Just a Paragraph:  when I’m short of time and/or inspiration, I keep my blog ticking over with ‘just a paragraph’: random thoughts, reflections, comments, ideas … little snippets)

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under FOOD, PRESENT & FUTURE, SOCIAL COMMENT

GRANNY GOES GAMING


 

 

Proof – I really did go! Here’s the ticket stub, and the indestructible, hard to remove armband that gets you through the door.

Why? I hear you ask.I’m a self-confessed wrinkly, who doesn’t play electronic games. All true.  But I’m a dedicated fan of The Big Bang Theory  and brainwashed by the Uber Nerds, I was hoping for a Comicon style display of glorious Star Wars costumes down at the Gaming Expo. I have to say, I was disappointed. I spotted very few. What I did see was enough  PC Monitors and big screens to thrill every gamer in Cape Town. Nerdvana heaven, without a doubt.

The gamers were there in sober blacks and greys,  throngs of spindly teens with ratty locks and deathly white complexions, clearly unaccustomed to the Great Outdoors or meat and three veg. I had to resist the maternal urge to dash up and force feed them. There were quite a number of hefty Dad-type men in attendance too, and not all of them were clutching kids by the scruff of their  hyped up necks.  Some women, but clearly on kid duty, and I spotted only one of my contemporaries. These events are not really Granny territory, but hey!  You never know until you give it a bash.

Bash being the operative word. All I could see on the mega-screens were un-ending battles with exotic creatures demolishing opponents with brilliant red starbursts. And not to forget the death-defying cars zooming through canyon-like cities. I’m not a boy. I could care less about fast cars. Give me style and padded luxury any day. James – bring round the Rolls.

 

 

 

Another reason for my attendance were the advertised Board Games. I’m looking for a particular board game and hoped to find it there, but no luck. To my astonishment I spotted big piles of boxes of Monopoly and Cluedo on the Games stands. There was merchandise to gladden every gamers’  heart: figurines, hats, costumes,  and I even spotted Harry Potter lingering over the trinkets.

 

 

The pic I missed: a 7 year old little boy, wearing a brown Jedi robe, with an enormous fluorescent green light sabre clipped to his belt. The sabre was so long, it trailed on the ground behind him. Ag shame.

Never miss an opportunity to wear your pink Princess outfit.  Despite all the sexy girls prancing round in lycra, the Pink Princess was the prettiest girl there.

 

 

Will I go to another Gaming Expo?  I very much doubt it. Unless the cast of The Big Bang Theory happen to be in attendance …

Because   my faithful photographer Nina could not accompany me , I am responsible for all the blurry, second-rate cellphone  pics – photography is  not my strong point.

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under COMPUTERS, EXPLORING CAPE TOWN, HUMOUR, TV SHOWS

*(JAP) SLOW BLOGGING


 

Today I discovered a new literary blog  on WordPress – dolcebellezza  thanks to the industrious blogger on bookertalk.wordpress.com  who is a marvellous source of info on literary topics.  Anyway, when I was reading the About  section on dolcebellezza,  she made an interesting remark on the topic of Slow Blogging, saying that having reached her 10th Blogging Anniversary (I’m impressed) she’s come to realise the  satisfaction of Slow Blogging. The capitalisation is mine, not hers. In essence it’s about  no longer being driven, or feeling you have to blog daily – or weekly – or instantly – whatever crazy targets you have set for yourself. Instead you blog whenever you have the inclination  and take time to enjoy the process. Kind of like the  Slow Food movement  I suppose? Things that take a long time to cook, whether prose or pumpkin, generally taste much nicer when you get to savour that deep flavour.

Theoretically I have a target of one blog per week, for each of my two blogs * but it doesn’t always turn out that way. Does it matter? Hell no. I blog because I enjoy it, so  less of the whip and treadmill technique can only be good news.

*(Just a Paragraph:  when I’m short of time and/or inspiration, I keep my blog ticking over with ‘just a paragraph’: random thoughts, reflections, comments, ideas … little snippets)

 

6 Comments

Filed under HUMOUR, WRITING

A PLAYDATE FOR MY INNER CHILD


 

When last did you take your Inner Child on a Playdate?  Nina and I took our Inner Children on an outing last week to the Two Oceans Aquarium, down at the Waterfront. Because Cape Town is situated on a Peninsula, it is literally bounded by two oceans: the Indian Ocean on the Eastern coast, and the Atlantic Ocean on the Western coast. Hence the name of our Aquarium. I live on the ‘cold side’ i.e. the Atlantic, and believe me, those waves are cold! I never swim on ‘my’ side – just paddling at the water’s edge is tinglingly painful  if not downright unpleasant.

Neither of us had visited the Aquarium for years, so we joined the heaving hordes of families, school  kids and tinies (it’s school holidays, so our visit was somewhat ill-timed, but never mind). On the upside, we got a very generous Pensioners’ discount at the ticket Office, so that offset the downside.

 

First stop was the penguin pool at feeding time. Nina couldn’t get over how the penguins patiently lined up waiting for the young lady to arrive with a pail full of fish. She  sat down on a rock, and carefully fed the birds, one by one, posting the fish down the birds’ open  beaks . Her colleague sat by her side, armed with a clipboard, and ticked off the dinner queue one by one. The penguins’ daily fish intake has to be carefully monitored.  Apparently each penguin has a unique pattern of black dots on their white chest feathers, which serve as identifiers. A sort of penguin fingerprint, if you like.

 

Next stop was the massive shark tank, where large sharks glided ominously by . The little kids were fascinated, noses pressed to glass. I’m not crazy about sharks. Periodically we lose a surfer or swimmer to a Great White in our coastal waters. I wish they’d stick to a diet of seals.

 

Way back in the mid 70s I saw Jaws at the movies, and nearly had a cardiac arrest.  The traumatic experience has remained firmly rooted in my memory.

 

Moving swiftly on, we  found the beautiful,  gaudy, small tropical fish. I love these, the bright colours and the exotic shapes. There’s a wonderful tubular display with a Perspex bubble mid-column into which small kids can crawl, stand up  and be surrounded by clouds of flitting fishes. Both Nina and I are short ladies, and we eyed the crawl space longingly, but  feared we might get stuck in the narrow entrance tunnel, so sanity prevailed and we dragged ourselves away to the dark, mirrored gallery,  displaying the jelly fish. They were also displayed in vertical tubes, and as you can see from the pics below, the effects were spectacular.

 

I’ve saved the best until last – the small sting rays.  My favourite was the huge tank where the diver was feeding the big fish and the rays. I can watch rays all day long. They glide so effortlessly through the water, gently undulating the edges of their bodies, which creates the illusion of flying.

 

 

 

And lastly: the Aquarium is plastered with posters reminding us to cut down on our use of plastic, and to re-cycle or dispose of the material with care. The oceans  are not a disposal dump for our careless trash!  Many of Cape Town’s beaches have  plastic  litter deposited by the incoming tides, I’m sorry to say. Apparently there are great floating rafts of plastic debris floating around mid-ocean. The Wiki link below provides info. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch

Thanks to Nina Ganci for all the pics.

 

5 Comments

Filed under EXPLORING CAPE TOWN

WOMEN WHO LIVE IN CARS


 

I recently saw  The Lady in the Van –  starring the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith. The film is a 2015 British comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner, written by Alan Bennett, with Alex Jennings giving a terrific performance as Bennett. Wikipedia says :

The Lady in the Van tells the true story of Alan Bennett‘s strained friendship with Miss Mary Shepherd, an eccentric homeless woman whom Bennett befriended in the 1970s before allowing her temporarily to park her Bedford van in the driveway of his Camden home. She stayed there for 15 years. As the story develops Bennett learns that Miss Shepherd is really Margaret Fairchild, a former gifted pupil of the pianist Alfred Cortot. She had played Chopin in a promenade concert, tried to become a nun, was committed to an institution by her brother, escaped, had an accident when her van was hit by a motorcyclist for which she believed herself to blame, and thereafter lived in fear of arrest.

What a story.  Imagine living in a van!  I certainly could not. Could you?  A camper-van holiday is one thing, even a three month long exploration of the USA in one of those  massive American  RVs is an option, but living in a vehicle for the foreseeable future?  I think not.

We have our own Lady living in a Vehicle, at my local shopping Centre. Not a van, but a white sedan, with a Gauteng number plate. It’s home to Sannie who spends her days wandering through  the Centre, occasionally  to be seen in the Wimpy, or the Coffee shop, exiting the supermarket clutching a small paper bag which obviously contains a meat-pie.

My first encounter with Sannie was early one morning . She was ranting and raving to thin air in the empty supermarket  parking lot. People started to gather aroundto see what the commotion was about . After a while the cops roared up, and attempted to reason with the agitated woman. At which point I had to leave, being en route to an appointment.

Some weeks after this episode, I plucked up courage and approached her one day, having  first checked that she seemed in a calm frame of mind. Due to my poor grasp of  Afrikaans I didn’t quite understand her story, which  was involved and  garbled, and I couldn’t really understand the gist of it. I told her I was worried for her safety, but she assured me she was fine, and slept “somewhere else”.  I didn’t pursue the matter further.  In South Africa, a woman sleeping in a car, alone, in a supermarket parking lot, is a very bad idea. Our national rape statistics are beyond dreadful.

I see her most days when I go to the shops, always neatly dressed in her blue denims, with her blonde hair done up in a plait and  worn around her head, like a Tyrolean milkmaid. Quite often she’s applied make-up, but her face is so weather-beaten from the fierce African sun that it’s not entirely successful.  But she tries. She’s clean and decent. She’s neatly dressed. Somewhat deranged, sure. But she tries.

Shoppers sometimes stand her to a cup of coffee, or a meal. One couple told me she was a schizophrenic, which may well be true. Sannie told me “she was waiting for her kids”. That’s sad. I wonder if her kids know the life their mother leads? Perhaps its been a long rocky road to this point in their family life, and they are exhausted beyond caring. Who knows? Our overloaded public health and social systems stagger along, they do their best, but there’s always cracks through which many people fall, and continue on downwards.

I’m counting my blessings.

Here’s a long distance pic of Sannie and her car. I felt it wouldn’t be right to sneak a close up of her,  but  if you stretch your eyes you can see the top of her head by the driver’s door. Her car is the white sedan directly under the tree in the foreground, with the pole behind it. BTW: I have changed her name to protect her identity.

 

4 Comments

Filed under EXPLORING CAPE TOWN, SOCIAL COMMENT