Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mid Week Rainbow!

Not a rant this week but a rainbow and it isn't because it rained last night!
I received an unexpected little package today containing a letter from my favourite aunty - Aunty Gladys. It was a birthday card and letter full of her news and at 93 that is an accomplishment in itself - to have news! Its shows that she is out and about and in touch with people. Best of all was the lovely gift - a mousemat with visit Garstang on it.
Garstang is a lovely little village in Lancashire (aunty Gladys will kill me) "It's a market town Susan!" I can hear her saying! I love being there because its got a lot of windy weins, interesting buildings, several pubs, a canal, lovely gardens and its surrounded by beautiful hills. What more could you ask for? The mousemat has pictured of all of these and I love it that my mouse can whizz around Garstang - Sadly it cant shop or visit family, aah but the imagination is a wonderful thing!

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Timeline

Facebook has got the new Time-Line which prompted me to create mine! I decided to use my favourite possession at the time to steer me through my journey to the present.

Satin edged blanket - I am 2 years old and have been told that I loved to rub my nose against the satin edge of my blanket to get to sleep. Sadly - I still do - but obviously not the same blanket - Percale sheets are almost as good!

Nina - My doll. She is not the vinyl, soft variety that you can cuddle - but made of  hard plastic. She has eyes that close when she lies down but one sticks so she sleeps with one eye open. Maybe I find that more comforting!  long ago she said "Mama" but I think that curious hands poked something into that mechanism so that now it's a quiet, unsteady "meow" that she makes. I was told not to wash her hair so I did - she is bald but very well loved.

A Basildon Bond Writing Set, a present at a Christmas party at Pilkingtons Glass where my dad worked. It looks very refined and the pale turquoise paper and envelopes are tied with satin ribbon. I have no one to write to but I loved looking at that blank beautiful paper and imagining that I would be a person who would write on it one day.

Mascara - I am 15 and my sky blue eye shadow and black Max Factor 'spit and scrub' mascara are my ticket to sophistication. It was a block mascara with a tiny brush that I used to create my "Twiggy" eyes - complete with eyelashes drawn underneath the eyes and a smattering of freckles produces with my brown eye pencil Beautiful!

A Tapestry Coat which I wore with a burnt orange hat and scarf. My Joseph coat of many colours! I was an art student, my hair is short and sort of spiky. I am a little different to say the least.

Three beautiful boys  under the age of four and another one to follow. Life is busy but fun. I knit a lot and make my own clothes. Hairdressing is also a home job with Wood Nymph Golden Blond.

Earrings! I waited till I was thirty before having my ears pierced. My father died in 1982 and he hated pierced ears so we girls were forbidden to mutilate ourselves! I had mine pierced and bought my first pair of earrings. Little studs to symbol of bittersweet independance.

My Buren Watch! bought with a little bit of money from our late sons' estate. Those words don't belong in any sentence. The reality is that we were his beneficiaries and there was one small policy that he has named just me -his mum. So I bought the watch that I still wear today to remind me his time was cut short and that I must make the most of mine.

The Millennium year when we all wondered if the planes would really fall out of the sky at midnight! As a family we went to the most wonderful masked ball and I bought a black dress with a large white satin collar that I will never throw away. I felt like a movie star in that dress as the millennium arrived and we watched the fireworks over the pier and not planes falling.

My HRT, My Laptop, My Camera

I record my life, explore my opportunities and potential and fight my hormones and the progress of time. I think I am winning!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mid Week Rant - Priorities???

In yesterday's paper on page six there was a small mention of how a female was held at knife point in her garage at 8am - yes in broad daylight as she arrived home probably from dropping her kids at school - and robbed of her jewelry, cell phone etc. just around the corner from me.

What was on the front page of yesterdays Herald? A story that the traffic police are threatening to go on strike because they don't like their new uniform! Give me strength!!!! They liked their blue military type of outfit and have objected to grey and white! Strewth! You would think they were being asked to wear pink tutus! Apparently they weren't consulted - I doubt if that chap at the garage who hands out Easter eggs in a bunny outfit was either but he does it with a smile on his face because IT's A JOB! I am wondering if Gok Wan is going to come over and style our traffic cops - Why not? The government have been throwing our money away for nearly 20 years.

Dear Mr President - I'd like to suggest that we spend more money on reducing crime and creating jobs than on new uniforms for incompetent public servants and dear Herald I think you should get your priorites right when printing your newspaper!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Did you have a nickname once upon a time? Do you still have one? This blog was sparked by an item on the news this morning which mentioned of the mysterious disappearance of Lord Lucan. My sister worked with a chap whose nickname was Lord Lucan - because he kept disappearing!
In fact, the north of England is big on nicknames - I think for the rest of the country (maybe the world), nicknames are confined to Public Schools  - a la Spud! My nickname at school was Skick because of my surname of Van Schaick - it changed to "Sick" when I vomited into my water beaker during school dinners and again to "Stick" when I shot up and lost weight at the same time - I was a fore-runner of Twiggy and occasionally called that too!
There was a girl in our class who we called "Pirate" because she had a sunken chest - I think I qualified for that nickname and was quite relieved that "Stick" stuck before my bra size was found out! My sister swore that she knew a girl nicknamed Beige - because she went with anything! some explaining to do there in later life I think!
Mr G worked at Ford Halewood and nicknames were compulsory - I think his was Brum - because he was a Brummy! I remember him speaking about a guy called Gripe Water - because he almost laughed once or twice. There was "Bigger and Better" because as a typical scouser everything he had was ...... you guessed it! The Ghost was a tall pale guy with white hair who was fond of appearing unannounced.

Of course celebrities all have nicknames - David Beckham - "Golden Balls"  is married to Victoria aka "Posh". Apparently Prince Charles and Camilla call one another Fred and Gladys - I will leave you to decide who's who! Some celebs have joint names like "Branjolena". Madonna becomes Madge and Britt Ekland says Rod Stewart’s pet name for her in the Seventies was apparently “Sex Kitchen”. His needs, she says, with no apparent irony, were “pretty simple”. I’m amazed he didn’t call her Sex Kitchen Football.
In the north of England you are given your nickname, you laugh no matter how embarrassing it is, you live with it! Its a long time since anyone called me "Stick", I have branched out and am more like a tree trunk these days - maybe I would be renamed Bark!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The City of Love!

I went to see Midnight in Paris last week - a typical Woody Allen Film - but very enjoyable as it combined my loves of movies, art and literature! It swept me away to the most romantic bohemian capital and my memories of a visit there with my sister and husband a couple of years ago.
I visited my sister in late November and while I was packing we chatted on line, "I am trying to travel light," I explained, "Will be be going anywhere fancy?" "Only Paris, "Came back the reply! I nearly fell off my chair - my lovely sister had booked a city break for us to Paris.
Our weekend started very early as our flight was at 4am! Tom was still packing and Julia had made the unfortunate discovery of two right boots - she had bought a new pair to impress the Parisians in! We decided to look on the bright side by thinking of it as an opportunity to meet someone with two left feet! Pulling her older but very stylish boots on we headed for the airport and practiced our French in the taxi! 'Ello, 'Ello Paris!
Our hotel was out of central Paris but very close to Le Metro so we were able to get around 'tres facilement'. In spite of the chilly rain we headed straight to the landmarks Notre Dame Cathedral, L'arc de Triomph, Sacre Coeur, L'ouvre and of course The Eiffel Tower. there were two options to ascend the Eiffel Tower - the lifts "ascenseur" or "escalier" which Julia and I thought meant escalator. We bought our tickets for the latter and ended up walking up a million flights of stairs! Our French was not as good as we thought! We eventually puffed our way onto the 'ascenseur' when we reached the platform! The view from the top was worth it though - Dusk over Paris is very pretty!
Our whole weekend was great fun! Shopping on Champs Elysees - where we had Hot Chocolate and grabbed the chance to sit on a very hansome Santa's knee! Strolling the Latin Quarter - French Onion soup - the Eiffel Tower sparkling on the hour - Le Pont Neuffe - the Louvre where time only allowed us to jog past the most amazing paintings - and of course walking along the banks River Seine!

Our last afternoon in Paris an on our way back to the hotel we went down the steps and walked next to the river. We stopped to rest and watch the passing boat traffic and Tom got out his cigarette lighter - which played La Marseilles. In no time at all the berets and Beaujolaise Nouveau were out. Julia and Tom attempted a French Kiss, which attracted the attention of a passing photographer. I did my very own impersonation of Edith Piaf - "Non je ne Regrette Rien". There was no doubt about it - we were 'in seine" What a wonderful way to end our weekend! Happy Memories!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mid Week Rant

I have had to endure a number of those calls lately which have made me very wary of answering the phone to 'unknown' number. They are usually from financial institutions or retail stores selling credit or insurance products because they have overpriced their clothing products and their staffing structure is too top heavy so they have to create alternative sources of income! They always seem to catch you  at the wrong moment -when your phone is lost in your handbag or you are driving or forgotten to switch your phone off in a meeting! Is there ever a right moment for these calls and you can hear that the caller is following some sort of script. I know people have to make a living but honestly I am NOT going to buy my insurance over the phone EVER! I also wonder if these calls really are recorded for training 'poipoises' or just to irritate me further by saying that they are! Their latest trick is that they phone you and then put you on ring-back so that when you answer your phone - it's to hear theirs ringing - this to me conjures up an image of a poor telesales person ringing several numbers at once and praying that the lottery stakes are in their favour and that some unsuspecting person will answer their 'unknown number.' So if you are reading  this for 'training poipoises'  please make a note not to call my number ever again! Thanks!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Surprise! Surprise!

I have had a week full of surprises some not as pleasant as others but all the same my eyebrows have been twitching all week.
My first surprise was a really lovely one. I was notified by Fair Lady magazine that I had won a Placecol hamper - Yay! I love winning skincare products or getting them as freebies in goodie bags (Hint hint BWA) mainly because when I contemplated giving up work a couple of years ago, one of my first thoughts was, 'How will I afford Clinique!" and I felt the fluttering of a panic attack. Since then I enter any competition I can to build up a stash of products and God willing I will still be able to use them by the sell by date!
Believe it or not I am still receiving birthday gifts so a pretty soap and a shopping voucher was a lovely surprise on Tuesday.
Wednesday's surprise cam in the form of my sister. Her FB status declared she was online so I opened a video chat to her. When she came on to chat -she was here in the bottle and glass on the Rain ford Bypass, so not only did I get to chat to her but also her French friend Christiaana (whom I met when I visited) and in an authentic Lancashire pub. I think the pub locals must have been very impressed with us oldies social networking!
Thursday's surprise was a nasty one. I bank with Standard Bank who informed that they suspected irregular use of my credit card. It had been used to buy nearly R2 000's worth of Pizza from an outlet in Gelvandale over the previous weekend, an enormous amount of KFC and to purchase enough meat to feed the five thousand. Which is what I suspect my card was used for - funeral food! My estimates is that R2 000 buys at least 60 pizzas and the Colonal must be wearing a really big smile following a purchase of R700. I have never seen R 3 300 worth of meat but I can guess it a cow-full. My credit card had never left my possession so someone out there is a real magician. At this point the fraud is being investigated - it wont affect my bank balance - and I have been told that there are cameras in two of the places it was used so lets hope the person doesnt disappear into thin air!
Yesterday's surpise was a bonus - there is a WineFarm in PE. Theescombe Estate is but a 20 minute drive away and has some really lovely wines. This emerging Estate Wine Farm occupies 2 hectares of land.  1 ½ hectares bear the fruit of approximately 3500 vines.  The first vines were planted in 2006. Cultivars include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and White Muscadel.
The first batch of wine was made in 2010 - for home consumption in the Cellar on the farm.  The Futter family saw the potential for this to blossom into something special in the Eastern Cape and gave it all the energy and time required.  Estate Status was granted in May 2011 and the winemaker is a very dedicated female and a wonderful hostess. As well as the wines we enjoyed delicious local olives from Alicedale, Cheeses from Patterson and local biltong accompanied by a divine sunset. Local is definitely lekker!

Today's surprise was a catchup snooze - something I never do is sleep in the daytime so I was very surprised to wake up with my Kindle on my chest half an hour after I decided to read a bit with my lunchtime cuppa! I suspect it may be related to the discovery of the winefarm and yesterday's tasting!