Thursday, March 31, 2011

Winds of Change!

Something isn’t right with the world – It’s not only the ground that’s shaking and the ocean that’s rising up – the people of Egypt recognised that all is not well and had the courage to say “No more” and this wave of discontent has swept through Northern Africa like a tsunami.
I am feeling the rumblings of it here! There seems to be a sense of disappointment hanging in the air – a feeling of being let down. This time last year we were gearing up for the World Cup and were high on Afro optimism. We knew that the eyes of the world were on us so we rose to the occasion and all played our part. It was extraordinary! We learned that when we pull together we can deliver but it seems that we are not prepared to serve our citizens with same level of energy as we are to serve our international visitors – slowly things have slipped back into the rut. Autumn is closing in and I am sensing a winter of discontent – of power cuts, water shortages and fuel increases.
Perhaps its time we all stopped complaining to one another and perhaps it’s time we got angry and started holding those who are supposed to be providing a living wage, a reasonable standard of living and basic services, accountable to the citizens who entrusted them with their future and their rates and taxes!
I am sensing that a feeling of hopelessness is setting in and when people have no hope they have nothing to lose and that is dangerous state to live in.The problem is we have all been lulled into a sense of gratitude because we haven't been devastated by earthquakes, plague or radioactive fall out. Oprah and others - who tend to have too much of everything that they could possibly need or want for the balance of their lifetime - encourage us to keep journals of gratitude for everyday blessings. I think there is a thin line between gratitude and complacency and the latter is the enemy of change.

Yes I feel that people are about to say enough is enough - we are worth more! I sense a tsunami of change on its way. The earth isn't happy and neither are its citizens.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Currently Disadvantaged

We have all heard the terms previously disadvantaged here in South Africa but right now I feel I am currently disadvantaged. Don't get me wrong - on the job front I am were I have always been - pretty much on top of my game because I love what I do I don't have a problem keeping my knowledge and skills up to date and I have a pretty good reputation. My clients love me as much as I love them! (I hope).
No it's in other areas of my life that I feel currently disadvantaged. Firstly, I am a baby boomer - over 55 years old - which mean mentally I feel energetic, youthful and ready for anything but sadly my body just cant deliver what my mind sets out to do. I cant party late and go to work the next day - in fact I can't party at all and go to work the next day! I Can't spring up the stairs two at a time nor can I run around shopping malls in my break - I just don't have the energy that my brain thinks that I have. Having said that I have a lot more energy than many twenty year olds!
Secondly I weigh more than 50 kilogrammes which means that eighty percent of the clothes in the shops just don't fit me. They are made by little people for little people - petite and slim. Most of the fashions for us who are a little more well padded on this continent tend to come in polyester and in colours suited to those of a more olive complexion - saffron, brown, orange and yellow just don't look good on an English rose. So I have to hunt for stuff which costs me time and energy and I usually end up having something made ...which costs me more and means I have to work harder which means I have less energy to party in what I have had made! Get the picture!
Lastly I keep forgetting stuff - simple things like where I have put my glasses, my keys and my car. This is a real disadvantage when I need to out and even more when I forget where I am on my way to!
Oh how I wish I could turn that clock back - just a couple of years - I'm not ready to wear brown polyester and there is so much I still want to do - If only I had the energy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

One of my favourite pastimes is people watching. I love observing others - couples on a date, children demanding their parent's attention and people out and about shopping or enjoying company in coffee shops. If you enjoy this too, then I can recommend a shopping mall on a Friday evening. I got myself a prime viewing spot on the outskirts of one of the eateries - the food was mediocre but the view was very entertaining.
What I enjoyed most was watching the antics of the teenyboppers - the 13 - 16 year old girls trying very hard to look older and sophisticated and what amazed me the most this Friday were their shoes! No let me rephrase that, what fascinated me the most was how they struggled to walk in them desperately trying to look as if they were comfortable.
Fashions come and go and at my age I have seen and worn most of them at least once before - footwear included! I have worn kitten heels, platforms, boots - including the white knee length ones favoured by Abba and wedged espadrilles. Stilettos have never been by favourite - the last thing you need when you are 5 feet 7 is additional height - and I have always seemed to spend my time rushing to somewhere or someone. Life for me has been one long dash.  I seemed to have missed out on the luxury of having time to sashay around in stilettos. They have been in and out again several times - they were a favourite of my mother but even she had the sense not to go shopping in them and I am not sure she would have been brave enough to venture into a glossy tiled shopping mall in them. So watching the young girls struggling to walk in the latest fashion in footwear on a highly polished surface was really entertaining.
Our young people tend to hang around in groups and nature, having a sense of humour, ensures that most young gals reach puberty before the guys catch up so at this age they already tower over the guys in their company. Adding four or five inches difference adds a lot of comedy to the situation. The girls beautifully styled, made up and polished to sophistication seemed to be boldly striding around in courageous gladiator shoes, while their fresh faced, freckled and spiky haired escorts tottered alongside or trailed behind them in T shirts and takkies. I watched a couple of brave recoveries as one heel went one way and the other in the opposite direction. Perversely the longer the legs - the higher the heels while the rest wore the only alternative flat flats - you know those ones that are really just a sole tied to the foot with a metallic shoe lace (that probably cost a fortune). I suspect that these are the girls who had already learned their lesson the hard way and had perhaps limped home on a previous Friday with sore feet or a sprained ankle and had thrown their 6 inch stilts to the back of the wardrobe.
Fashions come and fashions go but I have always noted that in the world of haute couture - when the stick thin models strut their stuff on the ramp looking like aliens in the most outrageous outfits - at the very end the designer appears, they are usually dressed in the most ordinary garments often black and their shoes - comfy crocs or soft leather boots!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mid Week Rant!

Is anyone else fed up of car guards? I am so tired of being waved into a car space I can see very clearly, getting out of my centrally locked car and being asked if it can be looked after. Then when returning to it being waved out of a parking space that I am quite capable of getting out of and then being asked for money!
This is a service that I don't want or need and is nothing more than legalised begging.
I know that their are poor people who cant find work but why should I be paying for them to hang around car parks. Today I parked six times and was harassed by car guards six times - Give me a break - PLEASE!!!
As far as I know South Africa is the only country that tolerates this  - and those hawkers at the traffic lights that sell coat hangers and bin bags. When I want to buy these - I go to a shop.
OK  - I feel better now!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Most Cherished!

A friend and follower of my blog challenged me the other day to read an entry by Scribbling Mum about her most cherished possession. She created the scenario that if your house was on fire what would you save or make you want to run back inside for.  I do a similar exercise in training when I ask delegates to imagine how they would spend their time if they have a short time to live and what they would be saddest to lose. I am usually asked if this can be a person or people and I always reply that I hope for their sake that it is!  Of course the things in life we most treasure are not things at all but our loved ones. Its sad that we spend most of our life chasing possessions when they are not the most important things in life after all!
Scribbling Mum decided that her wall of photographs were her most treasured item (after her family) and she had a whole wall of special photogrphs that she would grab. In a way I was forced to make this decision about treasures when we left England. I gave, sold and abandoned most of my possessions and all that I packed into a tea chest for shipping were photographs, some small special mementos of my family and the childens' very favourite toys.
Among those special family treasure were my mother's Bible which was awarded to her on her confirmation. When she passed away she didn't leave much physical evidence that she had passed this way at all - her family are her living memorial. But of her possessions, I chose to ask for her Bible and when I looked inside it I found a photograph of me with both my parents - I think the only one that was ever taken of the three of us together  - so I knew it was meant for me. I also packed a plate that she liked to serve cakes on - it was an unusual shape and size - elegantly white trimmed with gold and it looked very posh. I was sad when it broke but I survived!
I brought my father's box camera for no other reason that I thought it was an antique and I like the idea that he had looked through the lens and captured his own memories on his travels in the RAF. A small pearlised china horse that my grandmother had rescued from some one's dustbin was also tucked away - seriously she couldn't understand why someone would throw such a beautiful object away and it reminds me that someones trash may be another persons treasure!
I have also kept the little white outfit that my boys were christened in.It reminds me of how small, helpless and innocent they were when they came into the world and how proud I am of that they have grown up tall, strong and capable. I still have it after thirty seven years and was touched when my grandson Craig was christened in it. I had quite a stash of thier artwork, stories and homemade cards and I was forced to choose one of each - I still have those and they include the story that Mark wrote about his mum being 'a big blonde'!
I have experienced the cruellest loss of all - that of a child - but I have survived.
In the last couple of years we have been burgled twice and I have had my purse stolen and I survived those losses too. I did regret the loss of my photographs stored on the computer  - thankfully many of them were backed up on disc - but the rest are gone but not the memories that they captured.
So I guess that the thing that I would be saddest to lose after my loved ones, would be my memory. I would miss my photographs but its not the photograph that counts but the memory that lay behind it that is most precious - and a fire could not extinguish that. Treasuring moments - really savouring them cements them on the mind so living without a memory must be like living without a history, without a sense of how you became who you are. That to me would be unthinkable!