Adj. 1. erstwhile – belonging to some prior time; “erstwhile friend”; “our former glory”; “the once capital of the state”; “her quondam lover”
one-time, onetime, quondam, sometime, former, old
past – earlier than the present time; no longer current; “time past”; “his youth is past”; “this past Thursday”; “the past year”
Adv. 1. erstwhile – at a previous time; “at one time he loved her”; “her erstwhile writing”; “she was a dancer once”;
erst, formerly, at one time, once


I paid a visit to my erstwhile employer on Tuesday and begged a favour; in my future job interviews, I should need to look snappy. She kindly obliged by giving me a new coiffure that has drawn much favourable comment from my pals. Now I can only hope that my erstwhile colleague, who has since moved to the field of recruitment, makes like a gale force wind and gets those interviews lined up pronto.

Very cold Johannesburg; early-morning frozen birdbath:

On the subject of pals, I mentioned on Facebook that I was going to stave off our sub-zero weather with a pot of carrot, apple and ginger stew. One friend suggested I had made a typo and meant a pudding instead of soup. No, no, the inherent spicy flavor of carrots, offset by the sweetness of Granny Smith apples and a dash of marsala-mix with a hefty pinch of ground ginger and a garnish of coriander … my kitchen carried a scent that, if bottled, would epitomize the perfumes of autumn and the health benefits of this combination are manifold. Interesting trivia I found on Wikipedia about carrots:
Lack of vitamin A can cause poor vision, including night vision, and vision can be restored by adding it back into the diet. An urban legend says eating large amounts of carrots will allow one to see in the dark. The legend developed from stories of British gunners in World War II, who were able to shoot down German planes in the darkness of night. The legend arose during the Battle of Britain when the RAF circulated a story about their pilots’ carrot consumption as an attempt to cover up the discovery and effective use of radar technologies in engaging enemy planes, as well as the use of red light (which does not destroy night vision) in aircraft instruments. It reinforced existing German folklore and helped to encourage Britons—looking to improve their night vision during the blackouts—to grow and eat the vegetable.

On the subject of warfare, I had my first cold shoulder from a now-erstwhile friend this week. I found an excellent and perfectly relevant piece on the net, written by one ‘ctomshaw ‘: “It’s fascinating to see what happens with friendships before, during and after divorce. You hear all the time about ex-partners fighting for custody of their children. What you DON’T hear about is losing custody of their friends.” This fellow, evidently terrified of being caught engaged in conversation with my by my erstwhile spouse, positively quivered in his haste to put a distance between us.

In response to this, I can only quote “Give him carrots!” I can’t find the source of this saying, but when I discussed the matter with Big Betsy, she was wholly in agreement with the sentiment.



  1. It’s a shame that that man deliberately avoided you – shame on him. I have a good friend and she divorced her horrid husband. A few years later I saw him at the supermarket and stopped to chat and be friendly even though I was in her camp. I thought it couldn’t hurt to be civil. She found out I’d spoken to him and phoned me up and abused me! Said, ‘Why did you even speak to him when you know what he’s done to me’. It’s a minefield out there of trying to know what’s the right and wrong thing to do but definitely I think the thing to do is to be impartial and polite and friendly to all parties – let the business of the marriage breakdown be between the couple only. I hope you have no further episodes like the one you just went through xx

  2. Living in a small town as I did when married, I avoided that kind of situation by moving far, far away to make a new life. It was easier for me to make new friends.
    Missus number 2 had to live with my legacy in the same town and that was not easy for her.
    Big Betsy looks so soft and cuddly.

  3. Ah, you get to know who your real friends are after the split. Hang tough, Cindy. Life does get better.

    Love the soup, the haircut, and the criter.

    Be well.


  4. Sadly, it takes something as devastating as divorce to weed out the friends-by-association from the real friends.
    The carrot thing is a myth, if my eyes are anything to go by… I love them though, and your carrot stew/soup looks/sounds delicious – I can practically smell it from here. 😉
    Hope your place is warm enough to see you through the winter. Good luck with the interviews – I find your new hairdo quite dashing.

  5. Sorry about the incident with the friend,why couldn’t he be just civil? You look beautiful,the soup looks delicious! 🙂

  6. Pingback: erstwhile… « Read Between the Minds

  7. I am with Tilly, time to let that friend go. You will meet many new friends, communication is key to a good friendship. I cannot believe you have ice in your birdbath, Betsy is beautiful and so is your new hairdo.

  8. Hmm. Carrots. I have always made myself eat them but never really enjoyed them: maybe your soup is just the thing to change my mind once and for all. Erstwhile, what a fascinating word, laced with wistfulness; yet I am put in mind of those creatures who must shed a skin to move on. You are more vital and more brimming with ingenuity than the old life. I wonder if salamanders ever looked behind them at their erstwhile skin and mourned it?

    I ramble. Solidarity 🙂

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