Update and Comments: 3 February 2020

Never Just Another Day !

Every day is a clean slate in many ways, and you just never know what you are likely to experience. Sometimes you tend to feel battered and bruised, especially when you are let down by friends and family who somehow just don’t do what you would have expected them to do. The only way to cope with these disappointments is to always try to remember that, no matter how much we think we know another person, everyone has their own unique agenda, and way of going about life.  It is somewhat egocentric to think that somebody else is actually capable of even knowing how you feel and what you expect from them. The upside is that life is rarely dull and boring when you are in contact with other members of the human race. That having been said, even one’s four- legged family members are often a complete enigma and can be full of surprises – not always what you would have anticipated or even considered when they came into your life.  That is another story entirely.

If you are, like me, a person who has always been labelled as talkative (at least one junior school report stated, “Judith would do better to listen more, and talk less!”) then it can really be a big advantage once you leave the restrictive school environment. When it comes to getting to know other people then it really is far easier if one tends to be more of an extrovert than an introvert. The years should have taught us to use our ears twice as much as our mouths, and then the interaction with new acquaintances is likely to yield some amazing facts. Nothing is more rewarding than finding that you connect really comfortably with someone you just happened to meet along life’s way, purely by starting a conversation.

There is always likely to be something which any two people have in common, be it age, culture, career, one’s children, pets or even just being in the same place at the same time. So often you stand in a queue waiting to be served and the person in front of you may seem quite unfriendly, judging by their demeanour. However, just a word about the weather or a comment regarding the products you have purchased, may result in a total change of mood and you find you have a very pleasant interaction until it is your turn to be served. Poking fun at yourself is also an ice breaker and it is good if we are able to take ourselves less seriously than we may have done when we were younger.

The reason for this piece of writing is due to my having had a really great experience last week. Walking through a local shopping centre, I happened to find myself passing a woman who was working on her laptop whilst having a cup of coffee. I couldn’t resist just making a comment regarding never being able to get away from one’s work. She responded immediately and it was very refreshing to discover that we had quite a similar outlook on life despite a difference in age as well as culture.  When I left I just felt that I needed to give her my business card, purely so she would have my mobile number as well as my e-mail address. A few days later I was absolutely thrilled to receive a short message from her saying how much she had enjoyed our conversation. I will definitely be keeping in touch with her as, seeing what it is that she does for a living, opens up many areas of common interest which would make for great future conversations.

So, my words of wisdom, for what they are worth, are that the best way to handle each day with all its potential challenges and stresses is to go out there and face the world and expect the unexpected! With a bit of luck, whatever the day may bring, as long as you have the right state of mind, you will experience more positives than negatives which should leave you feeling satisfied when evening comes and you finally drift off into the Land of Nod.

“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect
– Oscar Wilde

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

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Update and Comments: 13 January 2020

Stuck between a rock and a hard place and the New Year has hardly started!

I believe that one’s home can be a very dangerous place to be. Yesterday could have resulted in my demise, if truth be known. With the semi-long-haired German Shepherd spending several hours having a much overdue grooming session at our local dog parlour, it seemed a good time to get rid of all the dust behind all the kitchen appliances. This is a job which is impossible to do when dear Kelly is around as she sees any form of housework as an invitation to become a total monster. She barks aggressively at brooms, vacuum cleaners, spray bottles, dusters, in fact anything that remotely resembles a cleaning tool and does her level best to destroy the item in question.  I am beginning to think that she is the reincarnation of a previously badly treated maid.

Anyway, back to the potential disaster whilst cleaning. I pulled out the washing machine as well as the dishwasher. Both of these appliances must have originally been installed by someone who had zero idea of the necessity of cleaning behind them once they had been installed. The hoses on both machines have to be secured in the exit points in the wall tiles with Prestik! If they are just pushed into the holes in the tiles, then the water pressure, when the machines are in operation, is capable of making the hoses shoot out of the wall, and the resultant gush of water will flood the kitchen. Therefore, the need for blocking the holes and securing the hoses with Prestik.

I managed to squeeze between the two pulled out machines and, sitting under the countertop, with great difficulty managed to stuff a large amount of the Prestik into both outlet holes after pushing the hoses in as far as they would go. Now came the dangerous part – how on earth to squeeze back out from under the kitchen counter with both machines partially blocking my exit. Getting in under the counter hadn’t been difficult, but now to get up from a squashed, sitting position, and to extricate myself (fortunately I am not a particularly big person) was ample cause for hyperventilation and the start of a panic attack!! Crazy how getting into a situation is one thing, but getting out of it is quite another. Being alone at the time, it was rather nerve wracking to say the least. Anyway, I had to take a very deep breath and relax, then squirm my way to a semi standing position, grab the edge of the kitchen counter and ease my way out.  I cannot over emphasise the relief of being upright once again and made sure I didn’t put my back out whilst pushing the afore-mentioned appliances back into their respective spots.

If it had been later in the day, I think a nice glass of wine might have been in order, but not at 10am! I am beginning to believe that one should have an insurance policy to cover any unforeseen eventualities whilst cleaning one’s home.  Anyhow, I am still here in body (the mind is always a debatable entity)  to continue blogging into 2020!

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

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Update and Comments: 6 December 2019

I seem to do nothing except make excuses and apologies for my lack of writing every time that I manage to sit down and start bashing away on my keyboard. However, this time around I am laying the blame totally at the feet of that always unseen, and criminally inclined creature with whom I have had dealings before, the very dislikeable time thief. He lurks out there somewhere and, when there is just so much to be done, and so many ends to be tied up, he wields his evil magic, and steals precious hours, and even sometimes days! In this case, and I know that I am not alone in my belief that 2019 did not have the usual numbers of days, weeks or months, he really surpassed himself! I say “he”, but the culprit could just as easily be a “she” or even an “it”. Whatever the case may be, I sincerely hope that 2020 and the start of a brand new decade sees the creature retiring or expiring completely. I need 365 days – oh bonus! 2020 is a leap year and we get that extra day in February! Now all that is required is for each day to have 24 hours with not a minute being stolen, hidden or removed in any other fashion. Too much life to be lived and words to be written.

I hope that you, my readers, are coping successfully with the end of year wind-down (often extremely hot in the southern hemisphere), and chilly festive preparations (in the northern regions) and may we all look forward to the end of a particularly challenging 2019  (for most of us here in South Africa at any rate, and possibly elsewhere too) and a bright new 2020!

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

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Update and Comments: 29 October 2019

Could someone possibly tell me what has caused this year to be only half as long as previous years? It seems just the other day that I was decorating my Christmas tree in time for the 2018 festive season, and now it’s almost that time yet again. I am beginning to think that there is an invisible and very devious time thief lurking out there, conniving and scheming to steal that very precious commodity from those of us who really could use a few extra months each year just to catch up on ourselves!

When a year begins with huge amounts of heavy rain resulting in a lounge having its own version of Niagara Falls, then I suppose it stands to reason that the rest of the year could be somewhat challenging. Roof and ceiling repairs, replacing a door, then small appliances deciding to give up the ghost, all played their part this year. Then last week my faithful laptop just made up its mind to go AWOL. No indication that it was suffering from stress, was overworked and under paid, and generally feeling frustrated and needing a long holiday. It just bit the dust, so to speak. It might have been a sign of loyalty if I had been given some kind of warning – but, no! Just a blank, non- responding screen.

Unfortunately, when one is totally dependent upon one’s computer, a quick decision needs to be made, and time is of the essence. Therefore, I am now getting my head around a new laptop with a more up to date version of Windows, and I hope that I haven’t lost too much of my writing due to the changeover. From now on, I think that the Cloud needs to become my new best friend. Cannot bear the thought of hours of work disappearing into thin air ever again!

All the above chit chat is just a way of letting you know that I am still here, in body if not always in mind, and back to bashing away on my brand new keyboard.

Until next time, it’s my hope that none of you are spooked out this Halloween!

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

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Update and Comments: 22 September 2019

No excuse at all is acceptable for the fact that for the past few weeks there has been virtually nothing posted on my blog. I could blame it on the excitement of having celebrated a birthday with all the messages and phone-calls which accompanied that day in the calendar, but that would be a bit of a feeble excuse. After all, it should be second nature, after many years of multi- tasking, to be able to sit down and write something relatively intelligent in order to let people know that I still exist.

Living in Johannesburg, South Africa, unlike other parts of the world, we really only have two seasons – winter and summer. Although we talk about the first day of Spring being the first of September, it has often turned out to be one of the coldest winter days instead of heralding warm, balmy temperatures. This year was no exception, and it reminded me of being in my last year of high school when we were invited to visit an old age home in the town in which I lived at the time. We were asked to wear summer dresses and bring small bunches of flowers to give to the old people. It turned out to be a really bitterly cold day and we all felt as though we were going to die of exposure!

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We have a plant known as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow which blooms in September each year. It has a beautiful strong fragrance which reaches your nostrils as soon as you come through the front gate. The sad thing is that it should have been named Here Today and Gone Tomorrow because, as soon as the temperature soars, like today, the flowers  as well as the fragrance fades and the plant is soon no longer a thing of beauty but a rather sad, dried out has-been.  That is what happens when you only have the two seasons. Living in Italy years ago it was so good for the soul to see how new buds and leaves grew slowly every day as Spring days followed those of Winter. In Jo’burg, if you blink you miss the transition from stark, bare winter branches to trees covered in an abundance of fully formed summer foliage!

One must not jump to the conclusion that everything here is faster than in other parts of the world –most certainly not! That is a bone of contention for many of us who have had to try to learn patience or expire! Africa is Africa and some things still take place according to African time!  As relaxed as it could be to do things in slow motion, it doesn’t bode well when one is reliant on modern technology in order to run a business.  Enough said! The sun is shining, the weather is hot, the birds are chirping and I am back in writing mode!

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

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Update and Comments: 28 June 2019

I initially began this update with a summary of my shocking experience regarding the renewal of my South African driver’s licence in a town called Krugersdorp, which is in a municipality adjacent to the Johannesburg municipality in which I reside. However, just remembering the 7 hour agony of the wait made me decide on a précis (it has become a rather long précis!) of the whole unpleasant debacle. If the characters working there had any self-respect as well as some human dignity, we would all have been in and out in record time. Many people had suggested that the Krugersdorp licencing department would be far more efficient than one closer to my home. This was not the case. Suffice to say that the disgustingly militant attitudes from every single woman working there on that day should have resulted in them being fired or at least hauled over the proverbial coals for rudeness to those of us who actually pay their salaries through our taxes. Unfortunately, this is the state of affairs in many government and municipal offices in this country these days.  No-one is taking pride in their work, and the public is treated with disdain and contempt regardless of skin colour. Sad but true.

One good thing to come out of all those wasted hours was the interaction amongst many of us who were in the same situation. One woman kept on telling us that she was sending messages to Cyril Ramaphosa (our president!) and that he was on his way to sort things out!  I had a Black guy called Tumi, who drives children to school, sitting near me and between his chirps and my own, we managed to laugh our way through what would otherwise have resulted in one or both of us having a stroke or a heart attack. My licence only needs to be renewed in 5 years’ time but he has to go back in two years due to his public transport licence! I feel that after a certain age we should have a renewal from now until death – except that when I saw some of the elderly people doddering around and waiting to renew their licences, it would actually make sense to be re-tested at some stage. Oh no, forget I said that. With the incompetents working at the licencing departments let’s leave things the way they are!

Well, at least my passports are valid, I am legally allowed to drive my car after waiting 8 weeks before my new licence was ready for collection and I have a valid South African identification book. Just one other comment before I bore you all to death. When a request was made to change my husband and my I.D. books over to the new card system, we were informed that because neither of us was born in South Africa (we both have South African citizenship and vote) we cannot get a card. However, we can apply for a new book if we want!! What kind of logic is this? Someone must have got the wrong end of the stick. Just another frustration in an otherwise perfect world! The sun is still shining in Jo’burg even though it is mid winter so what on earth is there to moan about!!

I would really be interested to know whether people living in other parts of the world have to suffer similar situations at government or municipal offices, or is this purely a South African scenario? When I had to apply for a new British passport 3 years ago it was completely painless and professional. The relevant documents were couriered to the U.K. and I was kept informed every step of the way as to where they were and at which stage of the process. In a very short space of time I was phoned by a local courier company to ensure that I was at home in order to accept the delivery of the new passport.  Zero stress involved at all. Oh well, there is a saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!!

How about having the following saying displayed for all to see in government or municipal offices all over the world!

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Bye for now and see you on the Magic Roundabout!

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