Friday, September 18, 2015

I am here in my mother country - feeling mostly like a foreigner!

Roads and directions have changed, accents are sometimes difficult to understand and the money is strange - plus I am multiplying everything by 20 in my head when shopping. The choice in the shops is phenomenal and I want to buy everything I see ...... Then I remember to times the price by twenty and ponder on my inadequate luggage allowance. I have met two South Africans already in my small town and chatted to a lady whose daughter has just been to SA to rescue turtles proof of our limitless world.
Poverty is a completely different concept here and there is a contentment that is devoid of 'joy' in some way - I guess what I am trying to say is that Africa is extreme, wild and larger than life.

I am loving .... Chimney pots, roses, red brick, hedges, courteous drivers, friendly shop assistants, emerald green grass, efficiency, being with family, listening to accents, pansies and garden pots, the small talk of strangers, and the autumnal shades of England.

I am not loving.......the feeling of being a foreigner, even though I look and talk like everyone else, the smallness of things, the hot and cold of inside and outside - coat on/coat off, traffic volume, and having my twenty times table in my head all the time!

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Plea from Polly Esther!

The internet and especially Face Book is used for social interaction and recreation and I love that I can keep up to date with friends and family far away - I also like that I can keep tabs on my local friends and not only hear about their escapades, but also enjoy their photographs. Its great for finding out about people and I was once in a lift with someone smiling and nodding - like you do - until I politely asked, "Where do I know you from?" "You are my Facebook friend!" came the reply. Of Course I am!
In the absence of DSTV and sometimes having to twiddle my thumbs at airports and at the lodge, I admit that I am guilty of passing time online and Facebook can eat your time quite nicely and leave YOU feeling full. I am however, amazed at what crap is being put on there these days. All this liking and sharing to see what happens and getting these school teacher photographs to Timbuktu or somewhere or another. Photos of abused children always leave me nauseous and that someone can use them to send a ripple through cyberspace nauseates me more! Wisdom quotes are inspiring in small doses but nobody seems to have an original status any more - we are all just posting words borrowed from Mother Theresa or and some people are posting titbits of cheesy philosophy every five minutes!
What is really amusing me and not in a good way at the moment are the variety of Face Book quizzes that appear on my page daily. A selection from the weekend include:  "Which horror movie defines your life?"; "If you were a dog, what breed would you be?";What ice cream flavour are you?" What your coffee colour says about you?" and "What were you in a previous life or What was your old fashioned name!" I didnt need to attempt the latter two as my reflexologist/white sangoma has already told me that I was a can can dancer on a bar in gay Pareee in a former life - I imagine my name was FiFi  or Genevieve or Polly Esther! Actually there IS a quiz to find out what your stripper name would be .....REALLY!
I imagine a room full of deranged people somewhere having serious discussions about these topics and compiling questionnaires to tempt us to spend time doing them, so that they can copy all our online information and encourage us to share our hilarious findings by inviting our friends to surrender their information to the deranged peoples data base!
So can I put a plea out there to make FaceBook what it was  - a social media network for sharing your status and your lovely family and holiday photos and your thoughts and ideas to inspire and  encourage one another. A forum to cheer us up and bring some JOY into our lives. Invite me to your event, if you make something clever please tell me and if there is a special on at WW also tell me,,,,,,,,,, and if you were a stripper in a previous life please tell me ........I am looking for a partner to dance with me on a bar in cyberspace!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sent to Coventry!

I leaped at the opportunity to meet with an old friend... not THAT old ....well a friend that I have known a long time....while I am up in Natal. She has lived up here a long time but has recently spent a year in the UK. Where to meet? I suggested the Pavilion shopping mall because it has lots of places to eat and sit down and also because I have been there before - I know how to get there, which is a great recommendation when you are in an unfamiliar area. "Ok - Where in the Pavilion," asks Olly and in the absence of knowing many places there - WW immediately sprang to mind but I know that WW has many entrances so to avoid confusion - I suggested we meet by the green peppers - there is only one place in WW where the green peppers are displayed!
Excitement mounts, the day arrived and off I set in good time to find the green peppers in WW and my picture the darling Olly waiting for me there with one in each hand! V suggested I leave early before the green peppers become red peppers and waves me off in the bush lodge's skindonkel-no aircon-no frills-bakkie! I bounced my away along the N3 keeping an eye on the time - I take the exit, I see the Pavilion and turn where I think I am supposed to and..... I am back on the N3 travelling towards ...Port Shepstone I think! "Sherbet!" Well I didn't actually say sherbet to be honest.  Don't panic - I think - I will take the next exit and turn around back onto the freeway - I am perfectly punctual its dead on 1.30pm. I take the next exit. There is no means of getting back onto the freeway. I am hurtling along an unknown road with lorries juddering past me, to who knows where!
Olly and I have been communicating via messenger - she doesn't have a number having been out of the country for a long while and if she has I don't have it. So I cautiously message her that I have just passed the Pavilion and am trying to get back on track. I receive a photo in reply of beautifully displayed green peppers....some are already red!
I switch on Tom Tom on my phone and put in the location. I await instructions - a map appears but it also appears that Tim (my selected voice) on Tom Tom is not on speaking terms with me. Trying to look at the screen while on a very fast road surrounded by whizzing vehicles is hair raising, I can't pullover as this is the freeway so I know I need to get into a place where I can sort Tim on Tom Tom out. I pull off and follow the road till I come to a place where I can park. I reset Tom Tom - I cannot get Tim to speak to me - no matter how many buttons I push, no matter hard I plead. Tim has sent me to Coventry or in this case PineTown or somewhere on the way to PineTown. I position myself so I can drive while looking at the screen of my phone. I contract Olly - apologise and say I am trying to find my way back. She pleads that its very cold by the green peppers-going red, and tells me she is going to sit and have a warm drink somewhere more comfortable. I take a deep breath and set off from whence I came trying to watch the screen and drive.  I drive another 20 mins and Tom Tom takes me to a cul-de-sac in which there is an entrance to a gated complex. A very tall man with a short grey fringe and a religious look about him approaches my car. Considering that I have been praying quite hard during this time, I believe that the universe has sent me some sort of divine RAC monk to help me. I tell him I am lost - he tells me I am found. I am in heaven! He starts to give me instructions and I show him Tom Tom - he proves that he is indeed an unearthly being by throwing his hands to the heavens and declaring he has never seen such technology! I listen intently to his right, left, straight on, follow the road instructions - take a deep breath - am tempted to ask him to pray with me before I set off again from whence I have come. After a few U turns, I am back on track on the freeway - I see the Pavilion - I hear a heavenly choir - I take the exit - its there in front of me and then its gone again. I sail past once more missing my exit because its unsafe to switch lanes or reverse up the freeway and I am now on route to King Shaka airport or North Coast or South Coast or somewhere!
I now say, "Flip it!"  Well I didn't actually say 'flip it' to be honest!  Don't panic - I think - I will take the next exit and turn around back onto the freeway. I message Olly and try to reassure her that I am OK while apologising. She tries to cheer me up by saying she has now retreated to a place that sells tea, coffee, light meals and wine and what shall she order for me."Wine!" I type as I sail off the freeway at the next exit. I watch my screen, I drive - I beg, plead and start negotiating with Tim on Tom Tom to please forgive whatever I have said or done to him and to please just start speaking to me again. Silence! I drive along, up, around, I see a school, I see a market, there is a strange smell and not a nice feeling. I see shacks. I see stray dogs, I see a sign that tells me I am in Sydenham, I see a funeral home - I am doomed! I dare not stop - this is not an area that invites stopping. I lock the doors - twice - I drive as the sweat trickles down my back. I cant turn around - I pray. I curse JC Le Roux - Well I didn't actually say JC Le Roux to be honest.  Don't panic - I think - I will turn around just now and get back onto the freeway. Almost immediately I see a stationary police car! YEAH!!!! Good old JC - I pull in front of it - there is no pavement it's not that sort of place that has pavements. I grab my bag, phone and my belongings and clutching them to me, I knock knock on the police car's shaded windows. It silently opens. I cry, 'Please you have got to help me - I am so so lost. Please take me to the Pavilion". They look at me like I am mad - I must admit I do look deranged. An alien demanding to be taken shopping -  I am lost and now an hour late! They can't do that they tell me - they are on an operation! Expecting a stray bullet at any moment I duck back to my car and follow their directions. A garage on the right, another on the left - under a bridge, speed bumps, right turn, left turn. My phone pings - not Tim from TomTom but Olly in Centre Court at the Pavilion asking if I am OK and telling me that the staff at the place she is at is suspecting she has an imaginary friend. She has now sat for over an hour with a second glass of wine in front of her. I say I am sorry - I am tempted to tell her to tell my children that I love them in case I am doomed to drive for eternity!
THEN - I see the signs - The Pavilion - as easily as I got lost, I am found, I am here and only an hour and a half late. Ninety minutes of white knuckle driving. Wine has never tasted so good!
Thank you Olly for waiting for me - No thanks to you Tim from Tom Tom who I have permanently
sent to Coventry! I shall be installing a new version with a female voice - someone I can rely on - perhaps she will be called Olly!