Tuesday, January 15, 2008

January mutterings

The weather has been quite strange; forecast tells us sunny, it turns out grey. Forecast tells us grey and dull, it turns out scorching! But in general it is pretty good I must say and I am sure it is better than in Scotland at present! I have been preparing for our visitors; David and Jen arrive on Sunday 20th, it will be great to see them both again. Then on Sunday 3rd Feb, Janie and Peter arrive! So I might not be blogging for a while as I try out my tourist guide skills!
We haven’t been out and about much since Les went back to work. I bought some things for the gym; what a waste of money! I went to a recommended shop for the yoga mat as mine is still in Scotland. Then I spotted one for less than half the price three days later! But worse still I bought “aquasocks” for the water aerobics and I was a slippin and a slidin all over the place in them. I thought it might improve when I got in the water, but it was worse! I ended up in my bare feet. I was so mad to have spent the money on such a pile of rubbish! But I am enjoying the classes so much! I now go three times a week to water aerobics and have met some really nice ladies there, we went for coffee today and are planning to “do lunch” on Thursday. There are about fourteen ladies “of a certain age” in the class; three of them are Scottish and two are English, isn’t that amazing? One of them has a sister who lives near my sister in law’s holiday home in Dunoon. What a small world.
I had a great meeting last week with another librarian, so hopefully we will get some links up and running between our schools once her term gets under way.
We have a satellite TV system much like Sky, called DSTV. I can even get Extreme Makeover Home Edition much to Les disappointment. We keep up to date with the UK news on Sky News and often watch BBC Prime which shows things like “New Tricks” and “Prime Suspect” The local stations are OK but some broadcast in Afrikaans and some in Xhosa or Zulu so we need to pick and choose. The new hot favourite here is a comedy series called “The Coconuts”. It’s about a white family with a black domestic worker who have a spell cast on them so that they turn black and she turns white… Not very politically correct for UK but perfectly acceptable and getting rave reviews here! We also watched part of a drama all about a village girl who gets into trouble with her family because she wants to marry a man who is not a member of the same church as her family. It lasted three hours. We were brain dead after the first thirty minutes so sad to say I cannot tell you the outcome. But if it is ever repeated…There is also a lot of American TV such as CSI, Nip Tuck, Desperate Housewives and so on.
Tomorrow the painters are coming to repaint the entertainment area as the owner is putting furniture in there for us for our visitors. She doesn’t think the current colour will go with the furniture so it is to be redone. The furniture is scheduled to arrive on Friday but that could mean Saturday or even Sunday, the day D&J get here! She has bought a three piece suite (so we will have three suites in total!!) and an 8 seater table and chairs (so we can seat 16 plus 6 outside). She also replaced the garden fountain today. One of the pots had been leaking and Les had a great time emptying it, patching the crack, painting it and filing it. Honestly, it kept him busy for about five days at the New Year, it was great. But she wasn’t happy that we had had the hassle and took it all back to the suppliers. She has ordered a new one but said as we were having guests she needed another immediately, so they have lent her a huge bowl with a nude lady pouring water from a jug. Hmm. The original was quite tasteful, a series of square pots with pipes dribbling water down into a low pebble pond. Hopefully the new permanent one will resemble that rather than something from a Tuscan villa! Now I need to find something else for Les to potter with to keep him out of my way at evenings and weekends!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Guid New Year tae yin an’ A’ and mony may ye see!

So, another year begins! We did not make it to “the bells”, we had been out for dinner and sat out on the patio waiting for midnight… I got to 11.05 and had to call it a night, or a year, in fact. Les was not far behind me, so we woke to a sun filled 2008. Instead of New Year Resolutions, which I seldom keep to, I’ve decided instead to take stock by thinking about things I never thought I’d say/hear/do. So here goes:
I never thought I’d say, “It’s only a moth!” as I picked a big, hairy, bug-eyed monster out of a bowl of pasta on Christmas Eve to the grateful and astonished relief of a Russian man in front of me at the buffet.
I never thought we’d need to stop the car to allow a troupe of baboons to cross the road and this was not in a game reserve, just on a rural road north west of here.
I never thought I’d join a gym, go three times a week and actually enjoy it! I also go to yoga there once a week, but I did that in Scotland so that doesn’t count.
I never thought I’d feel at ease driving a BMW 320i automatic on a motorway where cars “undertake” as well as overtake.
I never thought I’d spend Christmas morning looking at elephants so close I could have touched them, seeing zebras outside the hotel room patio, watching as wildebeest and kudo roamed the bush at the roadside, rhinos posed for the camera and hippos wallowed, down in the hollow, in glorious mud!
I never thought I’d sit in the dark on a hotel patio and hear various animals grunting and monkeys chattering just in the gloom in front of me!
I never thought I’d wake up in the night to spectacular thunder, lightning and torrential rain then get up a few hours later to brilliant sunshine and no trace of bad weather!
Yes, it really is an experience living here and after 8 weeks I am still enjoying it all very much. As you will have read above, our holiday at the game lodge was fantastic and we both enjoyed it. I even went in the pool a couple of times, which as you know I usually hate (it’s sooo wet!!!). Hogmanay, as I already said, didn’t happen! We both fell asleep. On New Year’s Day we were invited to afternoon tea at my friends’ Anne and Raymond’s house. There were 10 of us and it was a lovely afternoon, sitting in their garden round the swimming pool. On the second, we went out to dinner with Ria and Ray from Les’s work, which was a great laugh. The rest of the holiday we spent variously sitting in our garden and seeing a bit more of Joburg while it had less traffic due to the holidays. We also went to see “American Gangster” which was a bit violent but a good film nonetheless. So tomorrow Les goes back to work and I will continue my gym routine, which will now include water aerobics, starting on Wednesday, (more wetness!), yoga on a Friday and a general workout on a Sunday and Tuesday when I walk on the treadmill, increasing the gradient and the speed each session, go on the bike then “trudge” on a cross trainer thing which is a bit like cross country skiing (not that I’ve ever tried that!) Sad to say I am not yet any thinner; I may soon resemble a Russian shot putter, though! The schools go back on Wednesday 9th so I will try to crank up a gear, put on my professional hat (and a skirt, for goodness sake!) and get in touch with all my contacts to set up some links for GHS. We are now on the countdown for the arrival of our Very Important Visitors, Dave and Jen arrive on the 20th and on the day they leave, Janie and Peter get here. We will have the day all together as J&P arrive morning and D&J depart night time. That will be great fun and we are looking forward to “showing off” our adopted country to them, sights, sounds and all. Our friend Ray always says, “Africa is NOT for cissies” and by and large I agree with him!