Category Archives: DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN

I WANT ONE OF THOSE !


 

 

 

20180503_150433-2.jpgDon’t ask me why, but South Africa is obsessed with white cars. I would go so far as to say that seven out of ten cars that pass you on the roads will be white.

 

So when I saw the wonderfully bright pink sporty little number at Seaside Village, I was amazed. Isn’t it a zooty little number? Don’t you love that bright pink? Is it petunia pink? Or maybe bubblegum pink? Either way: its great. I prowled round it, phone at the ready to catch a few pics, and expected to find a commercial branding logo plastered on the side, but no. Glorious pink all round. I’d love to know who drives it.

 

And, P.S. I’d love a bright pink little roadster!

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, HUMOUR

THE ORAL BIOGRAPHER


businessman-loudhailer-illustration-vector-66584766

I was in the copy shop, waiting for the copier to spit out my papers, when I became aware of a persistent monologue to my right. The backview of the speaker showed a short woman, dark blonde hair in a ponytail, long sleeved white sweatshirt, blue & red floral leggings . Probably middle-aged, judging from the backview and timbre of her voice. Visually, nothing extraordinary. But the soundtrack? Golly-gosh-wow! Delivered in a normal speaking voice, not overly loud, but perfectly audible from the one metre between us. She was addressing the hapless young clerk behind the counter, whose face I could see. The clerk’s face  showed polite attention.
The monologue went this way – snatches of it, anyway:
He murdered her, but its still not come to court …. High court ….I don’t know why it takes such a long time …. I had to wait … fifteen years before my divorce, we were separated …. I had him deported … the police caught him at the airport … he never paid any maintenance, you know – only two months! I was married in Canada …. fifteen years ….
I am fascinated and astounded that people will cheerfully relate their life stories to complete strangers, over shop counters. And in queues, to strangers. Maybe this is the point? That the listener IS a stranger, and in no position to deny or challenge the storyteller?

 
I knew a young woman who was obsessed with a websites called SECRETS (or something similar; I now don’t exactly recall). She kept urging me to visit the website and look at the contents: anonymous people’s revelations. Clearly the idea intrigued her. Not me! Do I really want to be peering and poking through dark, shadowy corners of other peoples’ lives? Even for research purposes for my writing? No thanks!
Would I ever do my True Confessions recital, in public, or over a shop counter ? Never in a million years. How about you?

 
I’m born under the Chinese astrological sign of the Snake, which is classified as being secretive. A very good idea, indeed, in my view!

 

2 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, HUMOUR, SOCIAL COMMENT

EVERYTHING CHANGES


images
Its well known that older people are often resistant to change, and find it difficult to deal with. Intellectually I’ve always known, and understood , that change is the one constant in life. An elegant paradox if you will, and one of the central teachings of the Buddha.
Yesterday I had change shoved right up into my face, by – of all people – my hairdresser. I’ve driven up to Melkbos for years, to my home hairdresser who gives me a perfect haircut for a modest charge. Wonderful! She understands my hair and is prepared to do a dry cut. In other words, I don’t have to go through the rigmarole of a wash and shampoo prior to the haircut. Fortunately I have very manageable hair, that falls into place easily and behaves itself.

 
She started to snip away and announced she and her husband were moving to a small town 97 kms up the West Coast, and  she was retiring. I nearly fell out of the chair. Bam! Out of the blue.

 

I managed not to burst into tears, which was what I felt like doing. I wished her well and thanked her for years of beautiful haircuts, not to mention the plant cuttings she had given me over the years. We share an interest in gardening, you see. Apart from the excellent hair-cutting skills and the gardening, I like the woman: a no-nonsense middle aged Afrikaans vrou*. We’d chat about our families, and local neighbourhood events. She always alerted me to the date of the next mammoth pre-Christmas Church Fete held by the NGK in Melkbos.

 
You knew where you were with her. You might not always agree, but hey! I only saw her at seven or eight week intervals, so it wasn’t crucial.
I’ll miss my hairdresser. And the worst thing is, I now need to find another home hairdresser in my area. Sigh. This older lady is not enjoying this particular change in her life.

*vrou = wife, woman

11 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, HUMOUR

TREE THERAPY


 

A

20180211_141024.jpg

Readers of my blog will have seen from recent posts, Cape Town is struggling through the worst drought of 100 years. To add to our woes, we’re experiencing a very hot summer. For example, today’s temp is 36 degrees Celsius. Way too hot for me. I positively drool over blogs from the Northern Hemisphere showing snow pics.
Anyway. On Sunday I managed to spend a wonderful five hours in my favourite place, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. KBG have their own water supply from high up on Table Mountain, so the gardens are watered and present a restful oasis of green. There are benches placed under shady trees and shrubs, little secret leafy bowers, wood-chip paved windy paths leading to yet another cool, green shady spot.

 

20180211_151720
And of course, the trees. Magnificent tall trees, in avenues, clumps, groups, pairs, scattered throughout the grounds of the garden, which is large – ‎528 hectares (1,300 acres). Because I live up the coast in a very windy coastal area, trees do not do well up here. Those that do grow are generally stunted and warped by the wind. Consequently, I suffer from tree deprivation. For me, one of the chief attractions of the Garden are the variety and number of trees.

20180211_152120
After soaking my weary body, mind and spirit in Kirstenbosch’s green balm, I drove home relaxed and smiling, healed from my hectic week. If you’re hot and frazzled, I heartily recommend the Kirstenbosch Cure.

 

20180211_151805

10 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, ECOLOGY, EXPLORING CAPE TOWN

THE MIRACLE OF MY HEROIC TOMATO PLANT


 

 

 

20180212_075958

Look at my daily tomato crop ! Amazing! Steady, too. I pick a handful of ripe or nearly ripe little tomatoes every morning. They’re tangy, sweet and flavourful. All this from one heroic tomato plant growing in my bathroom drain. See my previous post on the topic.

The Universe is truly amazing – Thanks, I’m appreciative and grateful.
Whatever your circumstances, why don’t you plant a tomato plant today, whether in a small pot on your windowsill, or in garden soil, and watch what happens. My plant has thrived in a hot, sunny corner which affords it some shelter from our buffeting summer South-Easter wind. So if my plant has performed so splendidly in less than ideal circumstances, I’m sure you’ll be able to grow your own.
Let me know how your garden grows?

6 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, ECOLOGY

MY HEROIC TOMATO PLANT


 

 

20180111_093045.jpg
The drought is frizzling up our gardens, and the pounding South Easter summer winds are finishing off the job. Anything green and leafy is having a very tough time of it. So imagine my surprise on returning home from my Christmas family visit, to discover I have a flourishing tomato plant growing in the bathroom drain. Clearly it is a volunteer plant, and who knows how a tomato seed arrived in the drain. If it had sprung up in the kitchen drain, this would be less remarkable. Waste water exiting my bathroom is minimal because bathing is not happening in my life, only the briefest 2 minute shower every other day. And that waste water is recycled into my lavatory cistern, but somehow there’s enough water leaving my drain to sustain a brave tomato plant.
So there it is, yellow flowers and all, visibly expanding.
The inexplicable growing power of a stray tomato seed reminds me of something I heard from a wise old man, forty years ago. At that time in my life, I was privileged to hear the teachings of Swami Nisreyesananda of the Ramakrishna Mission, based on the island of Mauritius.

Swami was a scholar, a jnana yogi. He was a tall imposing figure, with a magnificent white beard, and very few teeth. His dark brown skin glowed, and his bald head positively shone. Swami spoke a quaint , old-fashioned heavily Indian-accented English, and made frequent reference to notable philosophers of the early 20th Century, like Bertrand Russell , for example.
I’m including a photo which I took of Swami. I had to take a photo of an old photo, so the quality is bad, but you will at least get an idea of the man.

 

20180112_111630.jpg

 

Swami was educated in India, and had a comprehensive knowledge of classical Indian philosophy, in addition to his fascination with Western scientific ideas. He would recite long passages from the Upanishads, in Sanskrit, and then comment at length on the meaning. Listening to him was like being enrolled in a graduate programme on Indian philosophy. I have no idea how old he was, but he was definitely in his 70s, if not older; his mind was a vast, crystal ocean of sublime knowledge, which he loved to share.
One day he pointed to a small weed determinedly pushing up between the paving stones and said, “Mankind with all his cleverness cannot make even one seed grow. That growing power comes only from the One.”
In that moment I realised I’d heard a cosmic truth. His simple statement made a deep impression on me, which I’ve never forgotten.

 

Note: compiled from various sites:
It may not be out of place to tell here of the continuous preaching of Vedanta through classes and lectures for quite a few years now, being carried on by Swami Nihsreyasananda in South Africa, with Salisbury , Rhodesia (35, Rhodes Avenue) as his centre.
From 1959 Swami Nihshreyasananda, stayed in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) moving about the neighbouring countries.

 

2 Comments

Filed under BULAWAYO, DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, ZIMBABWE

ELECTRONIC BANKING


 

20180118_102022

 

You are looking at the remains of my Amex credit card. Have I snipped it up because of a New Year Resolution not to use it again? No. On bank instruction, I wielded my scissors. Why? Because some so-and-so hacked into it & fraudulently used it in Pretoria 2 000 kms away from Cape Town.

 
Thank goodness for Nedbank’s SMS warning system that tells you when sales are registered against your card. No sooner did I read the text than I was on the phone to report a fraudulent transaction. Whizz- bang-splat: they blocked my card. So much good it did to the hackers. A curse upon the lot of them!

 
I had to fill out paperwork (the plague of the modern world) but in three working days I fetched my shiny new Amex card, from the nearest branch of the bank. The service up to this point was excellent, but why, oh why, in this digital age do you have to wait a very long time while the bank clerk patiently waits for their lumbering computer system to process your collection? What’s with the PCs in banks? Invariably the clerk apologises “for our slow system” or – even worse – the dreaded words: “sorry, we’re off-line. You’ll have to come back.” I’ve encountered this often in the bank. And, to be fair, elsewhere.

 
Perhaps, in view of South Africa’s staggering crime rate, the clerks have to navigate an obstacle course of security checks before they can process your request. I don’t know. I remain baffled.

4 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, SOCIAL COMMENT

YOUR COUNTRY IN FIVE WORDS?


 

 

555297_306952029384824_110546972358665_54853015_1942190269_n
As some of my readers already know, I’m a fan of Postcrossing, the international postcard exchange club. This week I was given an address for Lucy in Taiwan as my next card’s destination. On her profile, Lucy suggested members list 5 words to describe their country, assuming the prospective senders couldn’t think of anything else to write on the back of the card.

 
I thought this was a great idea, pondered for a day or two and this is my list to describe South Africa:

 

1. Beautiful
2. Complex
3. Frustrating
4. Warm hearted
5. Dangerous
Number 1 was easy: we have natural beauty in abundance. Great contrast too, from coastal to bushveld, to semi-desert. Magnificent mountains.

 
Number 2 – complex? We’re an uneasy mix of First and Third World Countries, which leads to a host of problems on every level – social, financial, educational, developmental, ecological – in fact any and all levels you can think of.

 
Number 3 – Frustrating? Very! Try getting anything done. Mundane stuff like repairs, or renewal of licences, or a visit to any public, government institution. Unnecessarily time consuming and un- productive. Maddening.

 
Number 4 – Warm hearted: is there a crisis? Another fire in a shack settlement? The public rallies round for water/food for the fire fighters , and shelter/food for the newly homeless.

 
Number 5 – Dangerous? For sure. We have one of the highest crime rates in the world, sorry to say. Let’s just leave it at that.

 
Which five words would you chose to describe your country?

 

5 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN

ANOTHER USE FOR THAT FEATHER DUSTER


 

20180112_102042 (2)Whilst pounding away on the treadmill at the gym today, my gaze roaming idly over the car park, I spotted a middle-aged man, dressed in his gym kit, meticulously dusting down his car with a feather duster. Well, I thought, here’s a conscientious citizen who isn‘t wasting precious water during our drought crisis , by washing his car. He’s dusting it instead. Good for him! And let me add, the car was a modest 4-door family sedan, not a fancy Porsche or anything.

Another worthy citizen’s large, white sedan was parked in my neighbour’s driveway this week, and the dust begrimed passenger door was decorated with a finger-drawn large daisy and the words : I’m a water warrior! Yes you are, dear citizen, please keep up the good work.

If you don’t own a feather duster, and you live in the Western Cape, I suggest you dash out and buy one now. Furthermore, they are an excellent tool for trapping large spiders and shaking them away outside the house. Apparently the spiders’ hairy legs (shudder) get all tangled up in the feathers.

You never knew feather dusters were such a multi-purpose tool, did you?

7 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, HUMOUR

THE WORST THING ABOUT OUR WATER CRISIS (JAP)*


 

images
Do you know what I hate most about Cape Town’s water crisis? Not the two-minute-only showers, every other day. Not watching my garden dry up and wither away. Or only flushing the toilet once a day (although this runs a close second). So what else could possibly be the problem ? I hear you ask. I’ll tell you. Dishwashing. Huh? What? Dishwashing?? Yes. You see I own a dishwasher and have done for years, ever since I immigrated nearly 40 years ago. Being a single parent, working all day, maid-less for the first time in my life, and since dishwashers were on the market, it seemed the obvious solution. Which it was. Brilliant solution. But the machines use an awful lot of water, so …. Need I go any further? There! I’ve got that off my chest. I can see you shaking your collective heads as you click CLOSE. We all have our personal stumbling blocks, and this is my current one.
*(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)

20 Comments

Filed under DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN, HUMOUR