Sunday, June 22, 2008

This will be the last time

Not the last blog, not quite yet! But here’s a list of all my “last times”….Last Tuesday was my last time helping at the school. Thursday was my last time at my philosophy class. Monday is my last day at water aerobics. Tuesday coming will be my last day at the library. Now you may be thinking, “But she isn’t due home for another month!” Well, it’s because we are about to embark on the longest holiday ever (unless you count my last 8 months, of course!). On Thursday 26th June we set off to drive down to see the southern part of the country, staying one night en route at a riverside lodge before arriving at a seaside town called St Francis where we will stay for three nights B&B. Then we drive to Plettenberg Bay where we will have a week self catering in a beachfront house. Next stop, a B&B at Cape Agulhas, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. Then it’s on to a hotel in Cape Town for five nights before heading inland to Beaufort West. Then up to Kimberley for three nights in another hotel before calling in for one night on the Vaal river. We arrive back here on Wednesay 16th July. Then the fun begins, NOT. After I have dealt with all the laundry, I will spend Thursday cooking for our Scottish dinner party on the Friday. Cullen Skink, Haggis neeps and tatties, oatcakes and cheese and cranachan will feature. I need to get ahead on the Thursday, because on Friday, the packers arrive at 8.00am to pack up all our things, including my African drum, for shipping back to Scotland. Saturday we will be out for a farewell lunch with Les’ work colleagues, then on Sunday we leave the house and move to a hotel where we are meeting friends for a farewell dinner. Monday I need to return to the house to ensure the furniture is safely removed and on the Tuesday we fly home, arriving back in Scotland on Wednesday 23 July! I’ll probably need a holiday to recover!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Six weeks to go

I have again had no internet connection, so therefore no blogging! This is a real nuisance; imagine if someone was trying to run a business from home!
Yes, folks, six weeks from now we will be back on Scotia's shores! We are trying hard to fit in a load of social engagements before our departure; the total stands at two lunches and three dinners so far. Plus we are hoping to arrange a Scottish night here in our house to let some of our friends taste haggis (tinned, unfortunately, due to import regulations on fresh ones) and maybe even try a wee jig (we have a Jimmy Shand CD!!!) Then we are also in the throes of arranging accommodation for our road trip. The distances between the places we want to see are immense, so it will take careful planning. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of nowhere at night without accommodation booked over here, believe me! When we tour in the USA, we usually just find a hotel en route. Things are very different here.
My last session at the school will be next Tuesday as they stop for three weeks holiday on Friday 20th. I think my group has improved but it may be that they just feel more comfortable about reading aloud now. Whatever, they seem to enjoy reading and I have taught them some simple songs. We are reading a book about farms and so now they know “dingle dangle scarecrow” and “five little ducks”. Mind you, the book talks about the crop of corn, so I have to improvise, as they know it as mealie! Still, they coped with most of it, even to the extent they tell me they have a shop in their township where you can indeed buy five eggs, just like the number in the picture! Then one girl told me, “Ma’am, we don’t buy eggs, we have chickens”. I’ll miss them! They are happy with so little, their eyes lit up when I took in leftover fruit and they were ecstatic to receive a new pencil each. They gathered them all up and gave them back to me, not realising they were a gift. I’ll miss the aqua class too, even if it is wet! Mind you, it was a bit like North Berwick this week as the generator to the gym tripped out on Sunday, giving us freezing cold water.
Martin has taken a job in Oz selling maths books, I think it’s to schools, not sure really, it may be like those guys who pitch up in the staff room during break and everyone ignores them!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Oor Hoose

Living/dining, through to kitchen

The kitchen sink, lovely but useless!

Fancy basin in bathroom 1

Fancy basin in bathroom 2

I promised ages ago to upload some pics of Oor Hoose, so here they are. I have had no internet connection for over a week, hence lack of blogs.

Martin has gone back to Oz and is currently job hunting. Les has returned from his travels to US and UK and so things are settling back into the customary pattern here. You have probably read or watched TV news about the xenophobic violence here in the Johannesburg area. We are not affected; it is a problem between different ethnicities of black Africans. Basically many black South Africans still live in shacks in townships or informal settlements. Fourteen years ago after the democratic elections they were promised houses. They have been very patient, I think. Our province is still 55,000 houses short of the target. Now they see black people from other countries such as Mozambique and Zimbabwe fleeing violence and poverty and they are perceived as getting better treatment as refugees than the indigenous black people. One newspaper letter writer said, “We already have nothing; now we are being asked to share that nothing with people from elsewhere. I don’t condone the attacks but I understand them”
Gloria, my black friend who lives in an informal settlement near the township of Tembisa says that she hears screaming and shooting nightly although she has not been affected as there are “none of these people (foreigners) at my place”
Other than that, we have been planning our final “road trip” as we are taking three weeks to see the Cape area before we come back to Scotland. We also have a load of dinner invitations to return, so we will need to get started on that before we get to the stage of eating strange leftovers lurking in the freezer. Talking of strange, on Saturday we were invited out to dinner and the starter was home made game terrine, made from game birds actually shot by our host! Not for the veggie minded, eh?
Car problems…again… We now have a silver Audi, the black BMW has a puncture. So to date we have had…Grey BMW, silver BMW, grey Audi, white Mercedes, black BMW and now silver Audi. Honestly, a Micra will never do now!