Update and comment – 1 November 2020

It is a chilly, overcast day, here in Johannesburg, with more rain predicted for the next few days, and how welcome last night’s heavy rain has proved to be. Gardens were becoming parched and tempers frayed.  Weeks of extremely hot sunshine without even a drop of rain has made many of us very tired – not easy going about one’s day to day business in that kind of weather. Not everyone has the luxury of floating around on an inflatable pool lounger, drinking cocktails during the day and dreaming about life after Covid! Most of us have to face whatever it is that the day brings and try as hard as we can to be optimistic about the future and continue to try to make a living.

Being able to keep in touch with friends and family members during this challenging year has proved to be a very necessary lifeline. It is so easy to wallow in self pity and become bogged down with worries and concerns, many of which are fuelled by listening to news reports or reading articles loaded with doom and gloom and resonating from the mouths of dodgy politicians or so-called experts in every conceivable area of life. So, a phone call to a friend, a joke shared on WhatsApp, or just a quick catch-up with a relative can give you enough mental energy to carry on regardless.

I was advised several years ago by a well- meaning sister-in-law to buy one of those highly recommended colouring-in books in order to forget my worries and relax. Well, after all this time I decided to get out the crayons and chill! It just isn’t for me at all! I know that I am an A-type personality and, yes, I do have some vestige of creativity within me, but colouring in? Not a chance! I was so irritable whilst trying to get good quality crayons to actually give me a dark enough hue (maybe they have just been lying in the box for so many years that their pigment has died a death!) to actually show up on the abstract design I was attempting to enhance that I got more and more agitated, and less and less relaxed. So, after about 15 minutes, I gave it up (probably for every) and have decided that painting a wall, or doing some necessary home touch-ups is definitely more my style than trying to find inner peace with a crayon in my hand! What do they say about different strokes for different folks?

Whilst writing this little epistle, the sun has come out and I might just endeavour to go into the garage and get out the green paint which is used for the garden walls and put my creativity to a practical use! Here goes, and I hope that the rain holds out just long enough to allow the pva to dry!

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 Comment 17 February 2019

I cannot believe that the last occasion on which I wrote anything under “update” was over a month ago. As I have said before, the world seems to be literally spinning out of control when it comes to having enough hours in the day. Surely I am not the only one out there who feels like putting a huge brake on time just to be able to do so much more than we are currently doing?

Although social media has its down side, it does help to a large extent when it comes to reminding us of birthdays and anniversaries of people who are important in our lives. However, it is so much more personal to pick up the phone and give that meaningful someone a few minutes of your time instead of just joining the list of well-wishers on facebook or twitter etc. A phone call is so often extremely gratefully received and for many people can make a huge difference in an otherwise possibly lonely day. However, making these calls does take up more time than keying in a quick sms or whats app message.  All this waffling is just to justify the ridiculously long interval between my last update and this one – loads of birthdays and anniversaries of happy as well as sad occasions that needed communication have taken up quite a lot of my time recently, but I am here now!

The year has been busy so far and constantly trying to multi-task can be a challenge especially when the weather decides to get involved with non-stop rain for days on end (in a country which suffers from weeks and often months without even one drop) then things can be complicated. A leaking roof with its resultant flooding of a living room, running a business and keeping in touch with clients and associates, as well as still having all the usual mundane day to day domestic chores that need to be taken care of all sound like a good excuse for my tardiness in this instance. I will try hard not to allow this to become my usual modus operandi.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and I can hear many of you saying “thank goodness!” as it does tend to be a money making racket in many instances. I heard something very interesting on a local radio programme on 14 February regarding the happiest relationships being those where the parties concerned hardly ever, if at all, post photos and personal information about themselves on social media platforms. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Well, this update is already starting to look too lengthy, so until next time – au revoir!

Just Another Day

When I woke up this morning, I could hear the rain was still coming down and it seemed to be dark outside so I shut my eyes and went back to sleep. Not for long though, as one of the people with whom I share my home decided it was time for me to get up, have breakfast and go out for an energetic run. Honestly, no peace at all for the wicked in this neck of the woods.

The constant rain of the past few days has really made me very anxious, and my behaviour has left a great deal to be desired. I find that I want to eat anything and everything I can get hold of, and this must be to do with being inside more than I would really choose to be. Still, I heard someone say that on Sunday the sun will start to shine again, so I will be able to carry on with my usual outdoor activities.

My housemates seem to have a total obsession with toilet habits. They worry about the number of times I have to relieve myself, and I hear them discussing this all the time. Can’t be normal, but I am starting to think that I am the only really normal soul in this house.  What is that saying about not being able to choose one’s family as they are foisted on you, but you can choose your friends? I don’t have any close friends at the moment, but I do interact with a bunch of like-minded individuals on a weekly basis, but this is coming to an end next week, sad to say. After that I have no idea of how my social life will continue.

I love sleeping – this could be a sign of depression perhaps? I think that it has more to do with the amount of food which I consume. I eat, do the necessary toilet things if needed, have a bit of a run, and then it’s time for another nap. I have a very high IQ and hope that I don’t sound too big headed by mentioning this. My mother was quite old when she had me, although my dad is a lot younger than her and is known as a real stud. Mum didn’t have too much patience with me right from the start and, as an only child, I suppose I have been rather spoilt by good friends of my mum. Anyway they do say that the brighter the child, often the more challenging they can be.

I looked in the mirror the other day and got quite a shock to see how my appearance is changing. My hair seems to be getting coarser and no longer as dark as when I was younger. My teeth bother me a lot and I just hope that this problem is temporary as I have the desire to chew things all day long – I don’t think this is acceptable judging by the reaction it gets from those around me. I also get so excited at times (an adrenalin rush perhaps) that I have been known to jump up and down like a deranged individual and it cannot even be blamed on a sugar overload.  I really must try to control myself or I might just end up in an institution.

I have excellent eyesight and my hearing is tops but it is my sense of smell that causes me the most concern. I can identify scents from months ago in my home and outside too and this seems to irritate people an awful lot. They just don’t appreciate how finely tuned my nose seems to be.  What would appear to be a great benefit to me is not perceived as such by anyone else. A pity when one’s talents go unnoticed or unrewarded, but that’s life isn’t it?

Although it has been pretty chilly these past few days, there have been several times when I have hovered on the edge of the swimming pool contemplating jumping in for a dip. The trouble is that, although I plan on improving my swimming skills next summer, right now I need to stay on the top step as my legs aren’t long enough to get out of the water without a helping hand – so embarrassing having to accept that kind of assistance as I am very independent by nature. I am capable of giving a great deal of affection, but I do have a tendency to often break the rules and give people a bit of a run for their money in their dealings with me. I do try to please people but it can be a lot of fun to see the frustration when I refuse to toe the line.

I can hear those wretched birds chirping outside my window, and if I weren’t so sleepy I would get out there and chase them all away. They have no respect for my garden and I just cannot understand why one of my housemates insists on feeding them all the time. I feel a bit jealous sometimes of the attention they get as I like to be top dog around here.

You probably realise now that, although my name is Kelly and I really am the most beautiful creature with an amazing intelligence, I am just a 4 month old German Shepherd puppy with a rather bad attitude much of the time!

Good Morning!

I hope that this early blog of mine, when posted, appears where it is meant to appear. The technicalities of blogging are still a bit of a challenge to me, but with some of the assistance which I am getting, things should improve sooner rather than later. Please bear with me!

Brilliant sunshine once more here in Johannesburg – so much easier to be sunnily chilly than blearily cold! For those who may not know, Jo’burg is situated on the Highveld plateau, approximately 6000 feet above sea level, and our winters are reportedly the best in the whole of South Africa and it is not as difficult to be cheerful when the weather is good rather than when it is overcast. We really only have two seasons here – winter and summer, and after the wonderful, much needed heavy rain over the past weekend, the summer heat has waned and it is a bit on the nippy side today! This was the first real rain of the season and was so badly needed. Everyone was delighted to see the plants in the garden being resurrected after 4 months of not a single drop of rain, but after two days it is always wonderful to see the sun again!

Whenever anyone mentions the U.K., the subject of weather raises its head. It’s always about the miserable faces of the darkly dressed commuters on the London underground that seems to have a lasting memory for people who have lived and worked there. One fails to realise that many of those commuters are not in fact English and do not even understand the language. Quite unnerving as a visitor to the U.K. and trying to find one’s way around London, when you jump onto the train just before it departs and then ask all and sundry if this is going to wherever you want to be,  and all you get is dead silence! London has changed!

In the late 1960’s London was a different place altogether. As you arrived at Heathrow you were immediately aware of the cockney accents all around you from people working at the airport. Even if there were faces of different hues, everyone seemed to be a Londoner. Not so any more! One struggles to come across a true Londoner in the capital these days. From the moment one heads for the centre of London on the Heathrow express, it becomes apparent that the old London is no more, and is now inhabited by every possible nationality speaking their own version of English!

Whilst in London a few years ago I noticed that Oxford or Regents Street on a normal working day can be packed with people rushing by pulling their overnight bags or, in rare cases, their business bags, behind them. If it happens to be raining, the other hand will be wielding a brightly coloured brolly. It becomes a major feat to get to Hamleys toy shop whilst fighting for your life amongst this mayhem and trying to avoid being trampled to death or blinded by an umbrella’s spike. Dare to walk right on the edge of the pavement to avoid the rush of passers-by, and lo and behold you could find yourself having a London bus or a taxi practically mounting the curb right beside you – what a way to go!

Someone once told me that their late Grandmother had survived the Titanic, only to be killed years later by being run over by a London bus – makes one really wonder about fate! Must be a lesson to be learnt here somewhere? Stay home and forget about further travel maybe? This is certainly not an option with most of the people I know!

Another rather ironic situation in the present day London as compared to the swinging sixties is the fact that shop assistants are no longer local people. Italian restaurants have Polish waitresses, Hamleys have Chinese young people demonstrating all the toys, Selfridges seems to have no one whose English is good enough to assist you in finding the rest rooms and so it continues! Every once in a while you may see an elderly couple looking quite out of place in the centre of the shopping area obviously going about their day to day lives. They are easily spotted due to their shopping bag on wheels and their English peaches and cream complexions.

Being part of the E.U. has obviously had an impact on the changing face of London along with the influx of people who form part of the Commonwealth and therefore were able to settle in the U.K. Not only London, but throughout the U.K. things are very different to the post war years. Change is an inevitable part of life and some changes are for the better, but when a country loses its identity due to being overly accommodating, then one can sometimes become rather nostalgic for an England which no longer exists. However, the fish and chips are still delicious even though they are no longer wrapped in newspaper and come in a polystyrene container and playing conkers is considered a dangerous sport!

How different will the U.K. be after Brexit?