Sunday, January 27, 2013

Writing Again

I will not get into the whole apology thing of not being here for months! Stuff was happening - some of it shit stuff, I tell you, but here I am now. Hello, all of you - if there are any of you left...
Anyway - I've been doing some writing exercises today. At the beginning of the year I decided to set myself small goals - not huge, ginormous goals that I never reach and then feel so damn inadequate and useless, just bite sized goals, ones that I can fit in inbetween work, and washing and feeding The Testosterone Club, that will help me achieve the huge, ginormous ones.
So, instead of saying to myself this year I will finish my book - which one, you ask? oh, I dunno - anyone of the 3 - I decided to set the goal of doing writing exercises at least twice a week. Sunday and Wednesday. And as today is Sunday, that's what I am doing.

I am working from 365 Ways to get you Writing. Daily Inspiration and Advice for Creative Writers by Jane Cooper. So far, so good.

365 Ways to Get You Writing
In it she asks what your first memory that involves writing is. I thought about this and it was hard to find the first memory, as I can only ever remember writing. Okay, I know I wasn't born with a pencil in my hand or doing short essays at the age of 1, but I cannot pin-point the time when I actually started writing.
There is however, one memory that springs to mind. I was about 10, on holiday with my father and step-mom. I had written a (very) short story and I showed it to my father. Who read it - or seemed to read it, said 'oh' and handed it back to me. It was a good moment for me to remember this, really.
It reminded me that just as I don't enjoy every book I read, and some I give up on after the third page, there will always be people that don't like my writing, but it's still no excuse not to write. So, I will keep at it.
And maybe I'll even get to this blog more often. We'll see.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Best Love Story of All Time

Forget Rhett and Scarlett, Elizabeth and Mr Darcy or even Romeo and Juliet.
My favourite love story is better - shorter & sweeter.
When I was young it made me feel giddy and filled me with a desire to be in love. I was fascinated at how two such total opposites could be in love and go off to live happily ever after. Okay - the story doesn't say 'and they lived happily every after', but I was certainly left with the impression that they did. Not happily ever after in a starry-eyed-forever kind of way, but in a warm companionship kind of way, being so opposite and all.
It made me feel that there were such great possibilities for love.

It was also made me want to be the owner of a runcible spoon (it sounded so exotic) and dance by the light of the moon...

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are."
Pussy said to the Owl "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?"
Said the Piggy, "I will"
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Caning vs. Canning, Porn vs. Pawn

I have taken an interest to canning.
No one can be more suprised by this than me.
Me - who when I met Mr Husband proudly announced that I could defrost a fridge and cook sausage. And the sausage part was open to debate.
Fast forward 20 years & some bad meals in between, and I'm looking for ideas on canning and preserving. I have even thought of making jam.
So I did what most people would do - I Googled Canning and Preserving in Britain. I added the 'in Britain' bit because on other searches Google had offered me many American versions and I really can't be bothered with trying to convert the measuring units.
This time the first thing Googled spat out was British Canning Society. Ah, excellent. A whole society dedicated to canning and preserving Britain.
Click on the link... Oh. This is the British Caning Society. Who knew? I don't even know what to think of that, really.
A caning society! Whatever for?
I felt guilty even looking at the sight - like I had accidentally stumbled across a porn sight.
I think you have to join to be able to have a real look around and be part of the forum, but no thanks... I don't know why I feel so disturbed by this. But I do. It doesn't sit well with me. I start thinking of all those poor children that got beaten to sticky pulps in horrid schools.

Okay - lets move on.

Porn vs. Pawn

A conversation that took place between my mother and sister years ago when my brother's girlfriend at the time finally found a job in the small town they were living.

- Sasha has a job.
- Oh, that's fantastic! Where?
- In a pawn shop.
- A porn shop?
- There's nothing wrong with working in a pawn shop. It's a job, after all.
- But what does her father have to say about this?
- I don't know, but I'm sure he's pleased that she has a job.
- But in a porn shop?
- Why are you being so snobbish about a pawn shop? It's not like we've never bought anything there...

I think that's when the penny dropped, because we all know that my mother is not the type to frequent a porn shop, but a very keen visitor at pawn shops.

Oh, how misunderstandings can start.

I'm off to go and look for proper canning and preserving techniques now.
If you have any tips, I would be keen to hear. Thank you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Brother's Diary

steel kitchen cupboards,
plastic egg holders,
quality street cake tins, vinyl kitchen floor

hand rotation bread slicer,
electric carving knife,
jug & glass coldrink sets,
boiling condensed milk for caramel

mulberry jam, flap jacks,
sloppy Joe's,
cottage pie
mac and cheese, jelly
pan fried wors*

hang ten plakkies*,
sieve doors for the flies,
flower patterned crockery,
lunch tins and leaky cooldrink bottles

home made jam & rusks
steel garden furniture & paper thorns
pantries and Consol bottles,
Croxley recipe books and ivory handled cutlery

slow cookers and a braai* pan
gem squash
and compost heaps

This pretty much sums up our childhood.

And with that food theme - it's no suprise that he became a chef.

photograph taken by Pieter Wolhuter
*wors - South African sausage
*hang ten plakkies - hang ten flip flops
*braai - barbeque

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dreams for my Mother

My parents divorced just before my ninth birthday.
I immediately took on the role of Husband Finder for my mother.
There were not many men I felt were suitable. In fact, I stopped the hunt immediately after deciding that my best friend's divorced father was The One.
Of course, this wasn't just decided on a whim - there were positive points as to why I thought he would make a suitable husband.
  • He was the manager of a national sweet & chocolate factory. This meant that we would have sweets and chocolates on a regular basis, which was more than the once a month we were getting at home. It wasn't Cadbury's, but it would do.
  • A pool. Running through the sprinkler on scorching hot summer days would be replaced by jumping into a wonderfully clean, clear pool.
  • He owned a decent car. Not an orange two-door beetle like my mother. His was a normal, beige Audi. It had four doors.
That was about it. More than enough reasons, I felt.

I had it all worked out: My mother would sell the rambling house we lived in and we would all happily move to the northern suburbs to our new house with the pool.

There were other factors that weren't so convenient - that I chose to ignore - like the fact that my mother had never expressed any attraction to the man, that he was a smoker (he gave up later, but that didn't seem to make any difference to my mom), that between the 2 of them there would now be 7 kids living in the house which would mean the house-with-the-pool-in-the-northern-suburbs would not be big enough for all of us.

Of course, none of this came to pass and when I admitted to my mother that every night I prayed for her to find a husband, her response was, "Good heavens, child! Stop that at once!"

So I did.

But, it didn't stop me often fantasising that she would meet some one that was interesting. A reader, a lover of history. I imagined a learned man, caring, with a good sense of humour.

I found him, dear reader, I did!
Okay, he's married and he probably has the entire ladies OAP population after him, but I can still dream...

Monday, August 20, 2012

How Many Blogs Do YOU Have?

I don't even want to tell you how many I have. It's embarrassing.
Of course, it wouldn't be embarrassing if they were all well-read, often-read, interesting, up-and-coming-for-blog-awards type of blogs.
No. Right now they're more like unblogged blogs.
I always have good intentions. Probably identical to the ones the road to hell is paved with.
Any good blogger out there (and believe me there are many - alas I am not one!) will tell you - the key to good blogging (besides having something half decent to blog about) is to BE CONSISTENT.

Therein lies the true challenge for me, because I am nothing if not INconsistent.

Actually I blog every day. In my head. Of course that's no use to anyone, as wish as I may, people still can't read my mind!
And every day I say, "Today I'm going to blog." But I don't. I go to work (although I must confess that's not every day), I come home, I do washing, I shout at the kids, make food, lie on the couch, dream of sleeping, kiss the kids goodnight and come upstairs to my beloved laptop, where I start trying to translate random thoughts and sentences scribbled at the back of receipts into something that someone should find worth reading one day. I keep thinking I must blog, but then I get sidetracked looking for flights for Mr Husband who will be going to Our Island again soon and I wander off looking at prices for tickets to Prague and Alaska and Turkey and Rome... places I dream of visiting.

I'm not making promises. Beloftes maak skuld. Which means promises cause debt.  I certainly do hope to be back soon, and I can assure you (notice I didn't say promise?) I will make a real effort to become more consistent. Let's see what happens.

I was going to add a photo of a beautiful sunset we had last night, but blogger won't let me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back In The Loop

Today I am thrilled!
After months of battling with a dying laptop and believing all had come to an end, I got my new one.
Okay - so it's not as nice as the last one, but I couldn't afford exactly what I wanted (limit from insurance), and the keyboard is not as nice as the last one and it's really not even the brand I wanted, and, and.... While I was going on about the nitty gritty things that I would have liked/not liked, Middle Child piped up, "Yeah, Ma. You're really suffering with that new laptop." I shut my mouth very quickly, realising how very ungrateful I must sound.

But, I am chuffed. Really, really chuffed. And so what if it isn't the specific one I would have liked and all the rest... It works, I don't have to use my iPhone for everything and I can continue with my writing that has had to rely on pen and paper (who would have thought!), brief notes on my phone and rushed scribbles on the back of receipts.

All is well in the world today.

The sun was out, I took a walk with my sister and we enjoyed sweet nectarines in the sun.

Yip, all is well in the world.