Archive | August 2010

REDISCOVERING WILFRED OWEN

This post was inspired by Jamie Dedes:

http://musingbymoonlight.com/2010/08/31/that-old-lie/

I dreamed last night of my high school English teacher; Norine van Arkel.  Miss van Arkel, who, at a time when our boys were being sent to the border, in a school where Bothas and Koornofs were plenty and might report her, had the courage to teach us the futility of war. 

She exposed an ancient, brutal lie, perpetuated by generations of fathers that led boys to believe in the honour and the glory of going to war. 

“It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country”, she read to us, and then – again, faster and faster; brutally – she read the other lines:

“yelling out and stumbling

and flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.”

“Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sack of sin;”

 

And then she gave us words to play with and we were made to understand that Spandau ballet is not pretty as it sounds, it is how men dance to the music of bullets.

 

She taught us passive protest and so much more. 

I wonder if she’s still alive, I really like to write to her and thank her.

 

 

Dulce et decorum est pro patrica mori:

mors et fugacem persequitur virum

nec parcit inbellis iuventae

poplitibus timidove tergo.”

“How sweet and fitting it is to die for one’s country:

Death pursues the man who flees,

spares not the hamstrings or cowardly backs

Of battle-shy youths.”

Wilfred Owen – with Latin from Horace.

 

FOOTNOTE:

I first published this post on my previous blogging platform in February 2009.

Amazingly, a comment was left by a reader; the niece of my English teacher.  She said that Norine was alive and well and provided her postal address.

LA VIE EN ROSE

And so came the first evening warm enough to merit an outdoor supper.  Last night was glorious and called for salad.  When my husband phoned me in the afternoon to ask what wine to buy on his way home, I said Rose.  Of course he gasped, but I explained that we were having salmon and it would match nicely.

Parkview Liquors had no Kleine Zalze Rose, but he bought a The Pavilion  Shiraz Rose from Boschendal.  Very nicely matched my salad INDEED.

 

A sticker on the neck of the bottle caught my eye:

“Integrity & Sustainability Certified” and I had to Google it, and found the SWSA webpage:

“Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA) is the alliance between the Wine and Spirit Board (WSB), the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme, the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) and Wines of South Africa (WOSA).

Together these organisations are driving the South African wine industry’s commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly production. We are not just advocating green, we are practising it!”

I rather like that!

ASSES TO ASSES, I LIKE ‘EM SARDINES

“I can’t stand them; they’re of a different class. I arrived at their house last weekend and they were sitting around having lunch, I couldn’t believe my eyes; tinned sardines and brown bread!”

Thus spoke the wife of a man for whom I once worked. I refrained from commenting, the slated tinned sardine having been a grocery cupboard staple throughout my life. Mashed with chopped onions and a bit of pepper, on lightly toasted rye bread … With fresh chillies on a chunk of ciabatta, or – like today – in tomato sauce with plain brown toast; a taste of summer sunshine.

Our Kwa Zulu Natal coastal region is experiencing the annual sardine run which heralds the arrival of our summer. I sit here at my desk with my simple lunch and dream of having fresh sardines to drench in lemon juice and grill on a beach fire. Bliss.

A different class, what an ass…

THE EARLY HOURS

A car thumps by, outside on the rain spattered road;
youngsters, I think and smile.
My dogs, snoring in ecstatic little grunts,
make this room smell of biscuits,
I don’t mind, it’s rather nice.
Beneath my fingers a conversation almost happens,
with a clever boy in London.
As you age, it is said,
you need less sleep.

They each have a perfectly good basket to sleep in, surely this can’t be too comfortable?

GUEST BLOGGER : NR HATCH

Side View’s weekend challenge this week is ‘New Beginnings’. Please go over and see who else has participated:
http://viewfromtheside.wordpress.com/

I spent a fair amount of time mulling over my contribution, having had a fairly introspective week and having made a decision to make certain changes in my life. As sometimes happens in this crazy world of ours, I went to read N. R. Hatch’s uplifting blog this morning and there I found a message that stunned me: it was as if she had written it directly to me.

I am sure you’ll all agree that it is perfectly suited to the theme of New Beginnings:

We are magnets. When we emit positive energy (thoughts, feelings, and vibrations), we attract more positives to us.
Bueno! Life, she is good!
Mangia! Mangia!
When we dwell on the negatives, we attract negatives ~ sapping our energy and strength in the process.
If you’re tired of living under a perpetual rain cloud, keep reading!
Yes, Eeyore, you too!
If we want to attract heath, wellness, and vitality to ourselves, we must stop circulating (and re-circulating) toxic, negative thoughts and feelings.
Here are 10 Ways to Attract Positive Energy into your life, while boosting your immune system, curing dis-ease, and counter-balancing daily stress:
1. Love and accept yourself as you are right now. Start a list to remind yourself of all your wonderful qualities. Add to it every day.
E.g., I am the most positive person I know.
2. Free yourself from past resentments and disappointments about who you were yesterday. Stop engaging in self-blame and guilt for past acts and omissions. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Revel in it.
As Scrooge announced on Christmas morn, “I am not the man I was!”
3. Let go of any and all resentment you’re hanging onto about everyone and everything else. Stop looking for reasons to criticize and blame others for their acts and omissions. Let go of your desire to control others.
The past is gone. It is what it is, and cannot be changed. Let it go.
4. Stop giving your power away. Use your time, energy, and vitality wisely. Every time you choose to focus on a negative, you are depleting your reserves rather than re-charging your batteries.
Focus on circulating and re-circulating positive, life-affirming ideas.
5. Use creative visualization and your imagination to your advantage, not your detriment. Instead of picturing worst case scenarios, see things as you want them to be. Visualize yourself doing things in a state of perfect health.
Visualize ideal outcomes and happy endings, not dire consequences.
6. Do not speak of your illness, or dis-ease with others. The more attention you place on what you don’t want in your life, the more energy it absorbs. Remove your attention from your dis-ease. Put your focus and attention on the things in your life that make you feel good.
Starve your illness and dis-ease by refusing to dwell on them.
7. Love is the antidote to fear. If you appreciate the many blessings in your life, and express gratitude for anything and everything, you begin to flow in a healing bath (rather than languishing in toxins). Develop an attitude of gratitude by making a list of all the things you are grateful for, including increased health and vitality.
Be grateful for the health and well-being coming your way.
8. Recognize that you have the power to heal yourself. That healing power flows from the thoughts you think. Allow positive thoughts to circulate, eliminating stress and boosting your immune system.
There is no such thing as incurable. Miracles abound.
9. Be happy. Appreciate this moment. Resist nothing. Love yourself and others. Be grateful for small blessings. Make happiness your number one priority. When you remain positive, you summon well-being, and vanquish illness and dis-ease.
When we exist in a state of happiness, we boost our immune systems and allow our bodies to use energy reserves for healing.
10. Laugh! Laugh again! Watch funny movies and recall memories that make you laugh. Once you access the joy within, let it expand to fill your entire being, crowding out illness and dis-ease.
Laugh your way back to health.
These strategies work, but you must remember to apply them in your life. Not once, not twice . . . EVERY DAY!
They won’t work if you give up, collapse into a heap, revert back to your previous negativity, while whining, It’s too hard.
Of course it’s hard. But it’s worth it . . . after all, your health, vitality, and freedom are at stake.
Master your thoughts, master your life.
http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/

SOURIS D’AGNEAU AUX FEVES

I believe that it is the romantic traveler visiting France that has given further meaning to the word bistro – using it to conjure up a simple but perfectly balanced French meal, using local seasonal produce, served in a quaint environment with charm.
-Fran Warde ‘New Bistro’

I am an unabashed Francophile and am finding this new book a bit of a holiday. This is my first recipe from it, I’ve always cooked lamb in either the Greek or North African way and I was quite surprised to find that Warde has used white wine in it. Given that we’re having such a splendidly sunny weekend, I caved in and had a glass while I popped in and out between the garden and the kitchen.

1 tbs olive oil
4 lamb shanks
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic gloves, chopped
1 bouquet garni (parsley, rosemary, French chives and bay leaves)
400ml white wine
8 new potatoes
400g shelled broad beans (couldn’t find these anywhere, so I used green beans)
2 tbs chopped mint
3 tbs crème fraiche

180C, I roasted the seasoned meat for 20 minutes, then added the bouquet garni, onions and garlic to the pan and roasted for a further 20 minute.
Next, I added the wine and potatoes, mixing with the juices in the pan, another 20 minutes.
(I veered from the recipe at this point and let the lamb stand for an hour)
I then added the beans and cooked for 10 minutes, before moving the roaster to my hob and bringing the juices to a boil, and stirred in the chopped mint and crème fraiche.

C’était délicieux, le ciel!

JUST A BIT BLOCKED FOR IDEAS

1. What was the highlight of your week?
Getting a parcel sent to me by Sue, and trying out the first cupcake recipe from one of the books she sent me.


2. Whose car were you in last?
My own.
3. When is the next time you will kiss someone?
Who knows, miracles can happen.
4. What color shirt are you wearing?
A blue t-shirt with multicoloured writing that says “mOd cow disease”
5. How long is your hair?
Very short.
6. Are you good looking?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
7. Last movie you watched?
The men who stare at goats.
8. Who were you with?
Old Spouse.
9. Last thing you ate?
A strawberry yoghurt.
10. Last thing you drank?
Water.
11. When was the last time you had your heart broken?
It breaks a little every day.
12. Who came over last?
My Pal Mel.
13. Are you happy right now?
I’m all right, Jack.
14. What did you say last?
Are you feeling better Sweetie? (My daughter is ill with bad bronchitis).
15. Where is your phone?
At my right hand.
16. What color are your eyes?
Greeny blue. Bloodshot, I have contact lens trouble.
17. Are you left-handed?
No.
18. Spell your name without vowels:
cndy tylr
19. Do you have any pets?
I have Lulubelle, Fritzl, Diski, Peanut, Mogwa and Jingle.
(Dog, dog, dog, hamster, cat, cat).
20. Favourite Vacation?
Family, sea, cooking, wine. Friends.
21. What do you dislike currently?
Weedeater noise.
22. What are you listening to?
Weedeater noise. Lulubelle barking at the weedeater-man.
23. If you could have one thing right now what would it be?
A snooze.
24. What is your favorite scent?
My daughter after her bath.
25. Who makes you happiest?
Old Spouse gave me a child, something I thought would never happen in my life.
26. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Dreaming about swimming.
27. When is your birthday?
8 January 1964.
28. Who has the same phone as you?
I have no idea.
29. Last time you went swimming in a pool?
February.
30. Do you read your horoscope?
Sometimes.
31. Where was the last place you bought something?
Parkview Spar.
32. How do you feel about your hair right now?
Happy.
33. Do you bite your nails?
No.
34. Do you have any expensive jewelery?
Yes.
36. Myspace or facebook?
Facebook.
37. How fast have you driven a car?
I am terrified of speed. But I once sped very fast between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, I thought my father was still alive and I would get to see him one last time.
38. Have you ever smoked?
Yes.
39. What was or is your favorite subject in school?
Art and English.
40. Do you have Verizon?
What?
41. What type of boy or girl do you usually fall for?
I think falling for boys is a thing of the past for me, but I was always attracted to witty guys.
42. Do you have any hidden talents?
No, I am quite a show-off. Why hide them?
43. Favorite Song?
I always battle to answer this one …
44. Do you like to sing at all?
Yes, it makes my family very cross.
45. Dream Job?
Being paid to blog.
46. Where does most of your family live?
In South Africa.
47. Are you an only child or do you have siblings?
A brother and a sister.
48. Would you consider yourself to be spoiled?
Yes.
49. What was the first thing you thought when you woke up?
Is it time to be awake?
50. Do you drink?
Like a fish, actually.
51. Know any other languages?
Yes.
52. Ever write a coded message?
I used to do that lemon juice thingy …
53. Have you ever been IN a wedding?
Several times.
54. Do you have any children?
Yes, see 25 above.
55. Did you take a nap today?
No, but I may later.
56. Who has the same birthday as you?
Elvis and David Bowie. And my late dad.
57. Ever met anyone famous before?
Too many to mention.
58. Do you want to be famous one day?
Do you know who I am?
59. Any Pet Peeves?
Bad manners.
60. Are you multitasking right now?
Yes, the phone is between my ear and shoulder.
61. Last supper.

I made a roasted chicken, stuffed with baked rice, tomatoes and roasted onions.


62. What is your least favorite chore?
I don’t do chores. Do you know who I am?
63. Last place you drove your car?
Parkview Spar.
64. Ever been out of the country?
Several times.
65. Where were you born?
Bloemfontein.
66. Could you handle being in the military?
No, but I do like looking at chaps in the Navy.
67. What is your average cell phone bill?
R30. People phone me.
68. Who are you thinking about right now?
Barry Ronge.
69. When was the last time you laughed REALLY hard?
A few minutes ago, when Lulubelle tried to bite the weedeater-man.
70. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
An obscene number.
71. Are your toes always painted?
Yes, with white Essie varnish.
72. How many piercings do you have?
Six.
73. What are you doing today?
Cooking something from my new French cookbook.
74. Have you ever been gambling?
Slot machines once, not my thing.
75. When is the last time you updated your page?
Yesterday.