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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