Tag Archives: Christmas

A CAPE TOWN DECEMBER 2018 SNAPSHOT


clifton-4th-beach

Our world famous Clifton Fourth Beach

 
Me: nobly dog-sitting the neighbour’s Papillion dog. Virtuous dog-walking to off-set the Christmas fare. Dog returned with relief. Little dogs are demanding. Give me a nice self-sufficient cat any day!

 
Different voices on my local radio station while the regular announcers took a well deserved break after a hectic year. Less hard news – more Christmasy items – where to go for the perfect picnic, how to cook the tenderest turkey – which will be the place to celebrate New Year? Does the annual Cape Minstrels Parade (PC-speak for the traditional Coon Carnival) still have any significance? Reminiscences about Christmases Past, when life was simpler and easier: grand family gatherings. Boxing Day beach picnics. Volunteering at Christmas for the less fortunate; plenty of street people in Cape Town in need of festive cheer, blue skies & sunshine notwithstanding.

 

 

And then hard news with hard facts about real life kept intervening: the annual carnage on our roads; I don’t even want to think about the numbers.

 

EMS  crews being attacked and robbed when they enter some of the more dangerous townships. Can you believe it? Robbing Ambulance crews!
And of course – 3 drownings. The Western Cape is a coastal province, and most of the locals have never learnt to swim, so predictably, every holiday season, there are beach fatalities despite lifeguards on the beaches, and PRO exercises by the NSRI.  . So sad when fatalities could be prevented if people only listened and swam where indicated or on beaches with lifeguards. But of course, they don’t. People being people. https://www.nsri.org.za/

 
A Rambo type private security firm illegally chasing people off Clifton’s famous 4th beach and the ensuing uproar, the politicising, the protests, the slaughtering of a sheep on the beach to make a point (poor old sheep, I say) and then the fresh uproar about debasing customary Xhosa ritual animal sacrifice for political gains – it wouldn’t be South Africa if we didn’t have at least one issue in December with inflammatory ingredients.

 
Aforementioned Rambo Security Service arbitrarily closing off roads – ‘coning’ they call it, this is not a typo, it refers to the orange traffic cones used by the Traffic Cops in Cape Town They closed roads in an affluent area thus provoking further outrage and uproar, and and and … sigh, whatever happened to the Season of Goodwill? Just asking.

 
In my own tiny little world, there were gatherings, festive meals, modest gifts, laughter, stories, jokes, Christmas crackers that wouldn’t crack (el cheapos don’t) and more hilarity as we read out the terrible terrible puns and jokes spilling out on tiny paper strips. Now we know what Santa’s elves do post-Christmas during those long Arctic nights. I mean, how elf could they be gainfully employed? A feeble pun I know, but indulge me.

 
We drank toasts to a Happy Christmas, and one week later we did it all again and drank a toast to a Happy New Year. Everybody agreed that 2018 was challenging and difficult, so we’re looking forward to an easier year in 2019. There’s an encouraging start on 2 January when the new monthly petrol price comes in, with a ZAR1.00 price reduction per litre. That’s good news!

 
And so I wish all my readers a peaceful and prosperous year ahead.

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THE ANNUAL INSANITY REPORT


Christmas in the post-War United States

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The dog helpfully tidied up the leftovers in the kitchen and was spectacularly sick on the hall carpet.

Meanwhile 12 year old James polished off the sherry trifle and the dregs of everybody’s wine glasses and was spectacularly sick en route to the downstairs loo.

The twins plugged in their new PlayStations, which blew the Christmas tree lights which set off a chain reaction and tripped the mains, and in all the excitement nobody realized the deep-freezer in the scullery needed switching on again. Twenty kg of thawed deep frozen fish is a very un-festive event indeed.

Grandpa George had words with George Junior because he wanted to watch the cricket and George Junior wanted to watch the World Darts Champs.

George Junior gave me a new Hoover for Christmas despite my hints about wanting a season ticket to the Artscape Ballet.

Little Amanda was devastated to discover that Father Christmas is actually George Junior, and George Junior equally devastated to discover that there is no sporton any channel after 1700 on Christmas Day. This gloom was only surpassed by his expression when he opened my gift to him – well, I thought he’d enjoy The History of Rugby, in two de luxe volumes; he’s always saying rugby is his substitute for religion. Will I ever get this gift thing right?

Aunty Joyce carefully refolded 53 pieces of Christmas wrapping paper because we should all re-cycle dear and didn’t really enjoy the December Hazel Nut Loaf as her turkey substitute – you know I never eat garlic dear, but never mind.

Uncle Basil broke his front tooth on the R2 coin inhis Christmas pudding, there’s a break-in next door while the neighbours are on holidays, and all three of my credit cards have broken the records, broken their limits, and I’m a broken woman.

But you know what? The thing that breaks my spirit completely is the grim knowledge that next December we will do it all again!  VOLUNTARILY. Can someone please explain that to me?

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SOME NOT- SO- MERRY REFLECTIONS


Christmas postcard date unknown, circa 1900.

Christmas postcard date unknown, circa 1900. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two weeks ago I did my volunteer bit, and manned (why don’t we say womanned??) the Charity Kiosk in a big Cape Town  Shopping  Mall selling Christmas cards.  Its  a dying tradition –  the customers were 95%  the elderly, and they all said “just one pack this year, dear; we can’t send cards like we used to,  the  cost of overseas postage makes it very expensive”.  I know what they mean! In  years past we all had lavish, loopy string of cards that constantly dropped the cards on the carpet.  Every flat surface in the lounge would be decorated with cards that constantly fell over … it was all part of the Christmas season.  Now I stick mine up on the inside of the front door, and enjoy the bright colours and Northern Hemisphere snow/robins/holly …. okay, I’m  wallowing in sentimental nostalgia. Live with it.  This year’s crop is very modest, but I treasure my overseas friends and relatives who make the effort and send cards.

And what about the Annual Family Christmas Bulletin , usually crammed on to 1 x A4 sheet, printed both sides in teeny font and single spacing.  There’s a detailed account of hordes of people that you don’t know – whothe hell are Robert? Jemima? Koosie?  –  outlining in careful detail EVERYTHING these strangers have done during the year.  Oh boy. This is where blogs come into their own. And even Facebook , for that matter. At least on FB the space limitations curb the relentless detail. Plus you get pix, which are generally more interesting that the news report.

The Woman who went to Bed for a Year  by Sue Townsend – contains a breathless account of a British housewife’s marathon Christmas preparations. For me this section was the only enjoyable part of a grim tale; most of the fictional family should have been shot at birth.  But reverting to the annual frenzy of shopping, cooking:  Why do we do this to ourselves?   I have many memories of gigantic Christmas lunches, eaten on sweltering hot afternoons, leaving us comatose like pythons for days afterwards.

I recall one year  when sanity prevailed – well, sort of – when my Durban family served a hot, traditional cooked dinner on Christmas Eve and served a banquet of cold meat and salads and trifle etc etc  on The Day.  A much better approach, don’t you think?

And this leads me to one of my pet hates: paper hats out of Christmas Crackers.  I hate them with a passion.  My hat never fits.  Because December 25th is always boilingly hot, I’m  hot and sweaty even in repose, so sitting at the festive table, I’m as hot as the roast turkey, I’m steaming like the veg, and my jolly red paper crown sticks to my perspiring forehead and leaves a red tide mark on my face, to match my scarlet cheeks – I’m a female version of rubicund Santa Claus. Groan.

Despite my cranky curmudgeonly griping, I do enjoy Christmas. Theoretically its the Season of Goodwill, and I say “aye’ to that notion. Let’s spread more of it, with gay abandon – let’s all be happy, and generous. Just for one day of the year – can we all try, please?

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