Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Special Time

I am here in the east and in the land of order and routine where everything is on time, in time and works - like clockwork. Its lovely! The only chaos is behind closed doors with a 2 1/2 year old toddler and a 14 week old baby - Occasionally in public too with the toddler!
Its amazing how we have become used to living behind walls, gates, barbed wire and locked car doors in South Africa - here there is such a feeling of safety. I haven't been asked for money - no one has asked to park my car and the locals are relaxed and eager to smile and engage in conversation.
Time with the children is special and time with the grandchildren even more so. We have swum most days and visited the park strolling through lush vegetation - no pot holes in pathways and unlike SA ALL the streets are pedestrian friendly and have pavements. No dodging taxis skipping red lights and hooting - even rush hour is orderly here.
 Noodles, Dumplings, Dim Sum, Sushi and Green tea. Food is fragrant and plentiful and the choice endless. I love Thai food and the way it is presented. I was treated to an exquisite Italian gourmet meal for a belated Mothers Day from the top of a tall building with views to make you dizzy.

Getting to know baby Adam is a joy - such a good little chap and I love looking into his eyes and knowing there is a little bit of me in his history. Katherine skips, scoots, runs, hops, climbs and bounces everywhere - her curls bouncing with her. She is full of energy, mischief and curiosity as every 2 year old should be. This morning she made a turtle at Moms and Tots group attached with string to walk slowly to the music - but hers was the racing model and her turtle went everywhere at the speed of light and on occasions flew. She excelled in the Hokey Cokey - which she obviously gets from her nanny!







 She is napping now and I am savouring the quiet. I am enjoying my time here - slowing my pace to cope with the heat. We have a boat cruise planned, a trip on a cable car, China town calls in the morning and a special afternoon tea to enjoy later in the week. Lots of playtime planned and story books to enjoy. Life is good and I am grateful!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gym Tales and Pony Tails

I am being quite diligent with my gym visits - I have been three times this week and intend to make it a record by going tomorrow too......maybe Sunday as well - although last time I went at the weekend I was the oldest person there by far and the only female without a high pony tail! I think I should get a clip on one just for gym because it looks so attractive on the treadmill when your pony tail is bobbing up and down - makes you look as if you are moving faster (have just googled 'woman on treadmill' in Google images and EVERY image has a woman with a pony tail). Anyway I was on the treadmill this morning thinking how ludicrous it is to pay money to walk indoors - my Nan Westwell would laugh herself silly at the notion. I used to walk regularly in the fresh air as the good Lord intended till I moved here and no matter how I plan my route around Walmer Heights, I always seem to end up in Builders Warehouse car park and I am not sure the good Lord wants me to walk there. It used to be safe to walk anywhere but you cant take your safety for granted these days and I also like to contemplate while I am walking and you cant do that with the neighbourhood dogs going ballistic - so its off to gym I trot!
I saw Gerald again this morning - who taught me how to use the machines and who was impressed with my leg flexibility on the hip abductor. He avoided eye contact - I think my comment about giving birth four times embarrassed him after all!  I nearly collided with him as I was distracted by a lunging lady - Yes a young woman was taking HUGE strides around the gym carrying iron weight! She was being shouted at by a mean looking, pinched faced, skinny bitch who obviously lurves her job! Yes! Something else Nan Westwell would find incredible - people pay to be tortured so they can have firmer thighs. Soft thighs were all the rage in her day along with kind eyes and well filled cardigans,
 
Gerald was striding towards THAT section of the gym - the Holiest of Holies! This is where testosterone rules, tattoos are compulsory and huge tyres are moved around with ease - weights clank and there is the occasional grunt - no one here makes eye contact - least of all me in case I am challenged to a stare down. I astonished how they take it all so seriously and also a little distracted by those oiled biceps. Anyway I did my circuit trying not to notice anyone else and ended up on the bicycle where I pedalled like mad for 15 minutes only to be told I had done 2,5 Kilometers - Nan Westwell would have snorted with laughter at the thought of going nowhere and not very fast.

I was never the Sporty Spice Gym Girl at school but back home and showered I feel quite proud of myself - there is a great pleasure to be had in slight ache of muscles that have been stretched a little and I am hoping to do it all again tomorrow! Now where can I get a clip on pony tail???

Monday, May 2, 2016

A peek at my week

Another month and we are half way through the year - that is a sobering thought! Well it is for me as I set myself challenges at the start of each year and at this stage I am not making progress - "Could do better" as my school report often said. "Must try harder." was in there too so I shall be trying harder from now on.
Where I have been. I have been.
Mr Niemack was in PE for the long weekend so we took ourselves on a roadtrip to Port Alfred. Roadtrips with V are always different as he is inclined to reverse, do Uturns and take off across fields if something takes his fancy. He sometimes forgets that I have a nifty red polo and not a bouncy backie. We bounced off to Bathust and went up to the toposcope.
 This is the site that Colonel Jacob Cuyler's camp was stationed when he supervised the allotment of land that the brave 1820 settlers were to farm and settle on. Its circular and there are plaques pointing to various directions stating the number of miles the party had to travel, location, leader of the group, English county they came from and the ship that they arrived on. All very interesting to me and also to others - so interesting that some of the plaques have been stolen....... and not by settler descendants I fear! Its quite a bleak spot and the wind was gusting as winter decided to arrive that very day as we stood there! After a little think about these pioneers we did what they probably did on a cold windy day and headed down into the village inn which looked quite deserted until we followed our noses, ducking under a low ceiling, around a little passageway and through a latched door and we were in a warm noisy smokey room where men propped up the bar and booted ladies sat on high stools, while a buxom wench (surely an Emslie) pulled pints and served bar lunches to the locals. We caught our breath and warmed our insides and then headed to the local antique shop where we enjoyed an hour remembering all these familiar items - This is when you know that you are yourself an antique! V picked up a replica of his lunch box from when he was a train driver and couldn't put it down. I found a dish reminiscent of a fruit set my Nan Westwell had in her display cabinet. The shop owner told me it was lustre ware and was given away at fairgrounds at the coconut shy or the shooting range. All I can say that my gran aka 'Annie get your Gun' must have spent many hours at the fair! V then found some LPs with Dean Martin, Connie Francis and a compilation of smooth jazz contained in a cover sporting a naked beauty discreetly draped in a red piece of  silk - 1960s porn V said! Of course he bought them!
Back to our hotel which was also historical - the older building now refurbished but still keeping some lovely features, a handcrafted staircase,  a quaint Queen Anne wood stove, polished yellow wood floors and beamed ceilings. We were in the new part - our room light, a bed to get lost in, space age lighting, our furnishings luxurious and our floor soft grey laminate and in the corner a frosted glass cube - the space age bathroom!!! NOooooo! If there is one think that brings me out in a cold sweat its a bathroom that has no door. V is the same - we lay in our 400 count percale pristine linen chunnering about the bathroom and what was the world coming to when design and decor comes before privacy and human comfort. We spent the weekend visiting private loos within the hotel - with DOORS!
Who I have met.
The locals of Port Alfred, Bathurst and Grahamstown, Lavinia, a lovely beauty therapist with beautiful royal blue nails who painted my toes the same bold blue and tried to sell me the secret of eternal youth in a jar for R 2750.00. Sorry Lavinia but I cannot afford to be that youthful! A wholesome young girl in a coffee shop in Grahamstown where V ate oxtail pie and I a French coconut tart. I thought she was a school girl until she told us how much her one year old loves rooibos tea - another sign of antiquity when young girls who look like they should be playing with dolls are caring for real babies!
V had to have a couple of medical tests while he was here in preparation for his continued treatment in Capetown. I met my bookclub friend who I have seen dressed as an elf, Santa, a bunny, a hobo, and wearing a wedding dress - usually with a glass of wine in her hand. This time she was in the uniform of a nurse attending to V in a most professional and expert way. Ironically part of the test had to be performed in a glass cube with V blowing his lungs out! He passed with full colours!
I must also make mention of Gerald who has been putting me though my paces at the gym and kept a very straight face when assisting to position my legs into the machine designed to reduce thighs - you know that one that you have to push your legs together and then the weights drag them back out to that very unlady like position. Well all I can say is that having four children helped and my experience of elephant back riding came in useful!
What I have learned.
Crochet - at long last I have mastered the art of crochet. I joined a beginners class where I met some nice ladies but learned not a lot about crochet. I then discovered tutorialhere and have a sizable collection of granny squares. I have tried before several times and failed - I think because I am a pretty experienced knitter. I tried harder and kept at it and hey presto I am hooked! Am keeping it simple for now but I know that I will be enjoying this for many years to come - after all I have the contents of a small wool shop in my garage cupboards ready to be transformed into blankets! I have a new camera too which is completely different to my Canon so I am learning weekly to manage the settings. I have also learned that being alone is actually a blessing at times. I am free to pusue my interests and am making progress towards my plans for the year. I am working, I have joined a gym, I am reading, I am journalling, I am writing, I am learning and I am starting art classes this month.  Happiness equals Reality minus Expectations. I am no ways going to reduce my expectation of life so I am increasing my reality by filling my time with my favourite things and people. Its as simple as that!