Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's in a Name

In my last blog I told you I spent the day doing factory observations. Apart from enjoying these lovely ladies enthusiasm for their work - I was fascinated by their names. Most cultures hand down family names and in my own family there are certain names that have reoccurred throughout the generations - Leonard, Auchel, Cornelius, Caroline, Lena, Anne Jane... somehow I don't think Auchel and Cornelius will be happening again though!

As it is we decided to choose first names for our boys that couldn't be shortened ...and at hubby's insistence they have 'proper' boys names, "No namby pamby stuff," he said, "they need mens names!" We went with family or more traditional names for second names. Subconsciously I named my boys in alphabetical order which could have been limiting if we had gone on to have a fifth we would have had names befinning with T - Z to chose from.

In true South African style last week my delegates also had names that had been handed down through the family but the difference being was that they were mostly from the coloured community and here that means combining the name of the parents and creating a new name. So I had Davidan - obviously daughter of David an Ann  and Shaunese - perhaps daughter of Shaun and Denise - Janneil, Carlize, Keisha and so the list went on! 
It made me think what my name might have been had my parents, Harry and Lena, had gone this route - I could have been Harlena perhaps or Harryle! It also made me think of what options we may have had for name for our own brood  if we had combined Sue and Tony....Suet...naah ......'Sony'......sounds familiar........Stoned...sounds more like it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A new appreciation for my ironing board!

Last night I was in bed by 8pm - Worn out! I spent the day in a factory where I did 19 observations - part of a Learnership for a qualification in Production Technology. I met 18 ladies and one very brave man  - an Iron Man -  who obviously loves being the centre of attention! They all work for a company that makes wooden products spice racks, clothes driers, breadboards and ....ironing boards. My role yesterday was to ask them about their work, quality, safety and stand and watch them work and assess their competency. I was exhausted doing this so how they feel at the end of a shift I really don't know and yet they were full of fun and energy, proud of their workmanship and love what they do.
I will remember them when I moan about my ironing and remember all the hard work and love that goes into making that instrument of torture - the ironing board!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bad to Tha Bone and other Taxis!

I've been meaning to write about Taxis for a while - Since the Mount Road off ramp closed actually, and I have had to come off at Albany Road and drive through North End at least twice a week - For those who are reading this overseas - I am not taking about London cabs type of taxi! In South Africa we have a whole different transport system where people carriers that seat 13 passengers are used to transport most of the African population around. It is like nothing experienced in Europe - think drag racing for mini-buses!

The buses themselves are a feast to the eyes - many have parts missing, some are like metal patchwork wonders. When we had the World Cup here - was it only a year ago? A lot of them were replaced - subsidised by FIFA and most are already looking decidedly worn out!

They have names like "Terminator", "Hail Mary", 2fast 2furious and No Limits - I ask you would you get in a vehicle with such a name? They actually all share a common name - "Death Trap". They follow no rules and can not be anticipated. They will stop in front of you whenever is convenient for them, they will pass you on the right, or by cutting in front of oncoming traffic. They will try to turn right from the extreme left lane. They will drive on verges and almost run you off the road trying to gap in. What they won’t do is give you any warning. I am only here to tell the tale because my brakes are serviced regularly and thank Goodness I drive alone - I 'flooked' my way down Govan Mbeki Drive - more than the paintwork on my car was blue!
Bump! Bump! Bump! and that's just the bass from the sound system they have - They're never gonna hear their grandchildren sing - they will ALL be stone deaf before they turn 40!
Apparently the Taxi Industry has just launched an airline - the mind boggles at who will fly with it!

This weekend I am celebrating - The Mount Road off ramp has reopened and I will not have to take my life in my hands navigating North End any more - Sadly thousands of locals who have to use this mode of transport do..... and that is no laughing matter!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pregnant Pauses!

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry recently when one of my learners asked whether I wanted a boy or a girl! I was very flattered that she thought I was young enough to have a baby (I am WAY past that age) and at the same time mortified that my girth gave people the impression that I was five months pregnant! Of course I sucked in what I could of my stomach, made a mental note to correct my posture and laughed - What else can you do?
It reminded me of a 40th birthday party I went to at a particularly splendid venue and looking around and admiring the decor I remarked to the stranger sat next to me that I must remember this venue when it was my 40th - I was almost 45 at the time. She sloshed her wine around her glass - looked me straight in the eye and said, "So you believe in reincarnation do you?" Bitch! I thought but I laughed gaily and glowered at her all night!
Winston Churchill was the master of insults and even greater at responding to them as he did when Lady Astor remarked to him, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison." Churchill replied, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it." and once Bessie Braddock (yes this is a real name) said to him, “Sir, you are drunk.”  and his response was, “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”  It must have been wonderful to have the ability to send those barbed words straight back to the offender.
I am proud to say that I managed it once. I worked with a particularly lovely lady who knew exactly how attractive she was a milked it for all she could. How she got the job she was paid to do I will never know - not a dumb blonde but a very stupid and vain brunette! We were comparing Christmas gifts and I remarked that my husband had bought me the perfume I was wearing - she took my wrist, sniffed and said it was very nice but she wouldn't wear it - it wouldn't suit her."Just as well," I said, "because you certainly couldn't afford it!" I have to admit I felt very smug for several days! I suppose my sister did too when she said announced that, "there are no wrinkles on a balloon." when someone complimented my on my youthful complexion. I had to admire her quick wittedness. Here are a few clever insults.....

If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me. -- Alice Roosevelt Longworth

It may be that your whole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. Anon
A great many people now reading and writing would be better employed keeping rabbits. -- Edith Sitwell
A modest little person, with much to be modest about. -- Winston Churchill
Don't be so humble, you're not that great. -- Golda Meir
Abstract art? A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered. -- Al Capp
Always willing to lend a helping hand to the one above him. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald (about Ernest Hemingway)
Don't look now, but there's one too many in this room and I think it's you. -- Groucho Marx
Every time I look at you I get a fierce desire to be lonesome. -- Oscar Levant
He's the type of man who will end up dying in his own arms. -- Mamie Van Doren (about Warren Beatty)
He can't help it - he was born with a silver foot in his mouth. -- Ann Richards (about George Bush)
He couldn't ad-lib a fart after a baked-bean dinner. -- Johnny Carson (about Chevy Chase)
He had a winning smile, but everything else was a loser. -- George C. Scott
He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. -- Winston Churchill

...........................     I'll leave Winston to have the last word - He usually did!

Friday, November 4, 2011


I believe that we all have the ability to be creative but that many of us choose to believe that they are not. The seeds of doubt are often sown in a childhood where someone laughed at a painted masterpiece or tutted at a hand-stitched offering. The lucky ones are those that rediscover their innovative talents as adults and more and more people are realising that using your imagination is an important form of relaxation and brings inner satisfaction. I enjoy all types of needlework and always have something on needles somewhere in a basket to pick up and stitch or knit. I have tried decoupage, mosaics and love most crafts but my love of photography feeds my latest love affair – Scrapbooking.
I started scrapbooking several years ago with a lady called Helen Kingsley – she was bravely battling cancer and had decided to leave a photo albums and journal for her sons. I loved spending time sorting through my photos and she really encouraged me to select photographs that told a story and look at scrapbooking in a different way. I started scrapping and journaling my travels and experiences seeing my holiday snaps in a new light. Sadly she has since passed away but when I am absorbed in putting a layout together I hear her advice and comments guiding me in the right direction.

When Jessica was born I started an album for her and again when Craig followed – I have limited myself to two pages per year to record milestones in their lives and record our times together.

I am lucky to have found a space in PE that brings out the best of my creative side. I just have to walk into this space and my brain shifts into right brain mode and ideas start to flow. I just LOVE going into the Scrapbook Nook as you are just surrounded with positives vibes and inspiration.
Whether it is spelled out in patterned and decorated letters or shouts out at me from a beautifully created vision board. It really is the perfect place to find your mojo and get busy making something.
Philipa and her daughter Cassandra just pour love into this unique place and are always there giving encouragement and keeping us up to date with new techniques and the most tempting papers and embellishments.

And talking of temptation – Cassandra has opened a patisserie next door called EAT to feed us body and soul! The most mouth watering red velvet cupcakes taste even better eaten in a bright green armchair with a cuppa and a copy of Ideas magazine on hand to relax with.

It’s my sanctuary – a place that provides downtime from my busy job and where I can forget about responsibility and feed my artistic soul. A place where strangers become friends and where people share their ideas and their scraps generously. I always leave with a sense of accomplishment and a spring in my step and my family get to admire what I have done with their photos. I love to make mini albums, creative cards, tags and paper crafts for my home and family.

There are so many talented and creative people in this area and guess what you are probably one of them!