Archive | September 2012

RUDE HABITS, HEARTS AND ROSES

Someone out in the road is being rude and making loud, crashing noises. It sounds to me like a Waste-Tech bin is being filled with metal and pieces of broken concrete. It’s late afternoon and I’m battling with the flu (again!), which makes it doubly rude and annoys me no end.


People are rude about habit. It is supposed to suggest sloppiness and laziness, but I don’t think they have thought about it properly. Habit is useful and comforting: it rides over the bumpy bits, it is the track that cuts across the hills and valleys and carries passengers safely through.” Elizabeth Buchan – Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman.
I bought myself a small treat. Having not chosen to own a television set, I nonetheless found that the radio didn’t do much to dispel the uncomfortable silence in my home. Sundays are especially bad and on impulse, I went out and purchased a small, portable DVD player and have taken to spending Sundays in my pyjamas, watching movies. I began with the entire first and second series of Downton Abbey and have move on to other period dramas. As habits go, this one seems perfectly acceptable.


More distressing is the slow disintegration of my blogging habits. I simply don’t have anything very interesting to say, much less any interesting food to blog about. I’ve nudged myself back into action by my very kind friend, Mal. She’s bestowed upon me the ‘One Lovely Blog’ award, of which I feel very undeserving, yet very grateful. Thank you, Mal. I’m to accept the award my nominating 15 other bloggers, which – for those bloggers who’ve befriended me over the past 5 years of blogging know – I never do, as I can’t isolate only 15 bloggers.
I also need to disclose 7 things about me, so here goes:
1. I obsessively remove price stickers from things. I am incapable of reading a new book while my finger constantly catches on that little scrap of paper on the back cover, I must pick at it until it comes loose.
2. I rub my feet against one another while I read or watch movies. I’ve tried to make a conscious effort not to do it, but then find I’ve been concentrating so hard on not doing it that an entire chapter has run away under my eyes and I can’t recall a single word of it.


3. I’m a magpie for many objets, but in particular for heart-shaped knickknacks. (This is, according to the very reliable Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the correct spelling. I can’t find the origin of the term, but would be very interested to know it.)


4. I should like to have been named Rose, after my mother. Roses are quite one of my favourite things and I always have a bunch or pot of them somewhere in my home where I can catch a glimpse of them. “Roses are the only flowers that have never had a nickname. No heart’s-ease or Dutchman’s breeches for the rose … Roses rustle in the wind and smell of heaven. They are tokens of love, as well as grief. Think of that.” IBID.


5. I have a new tattoo. It is on my wrist and very small. I suppose one could say I now wear my heart and roses just below my sleeve.


6. This past Monday was our National Heritage Day and – over the past few years – it has become our national habit to braai. My solitary barbeque was a bit sad and I couldn’t help but compare it with last September and to marvel at how much one life could change within the small time span of twelve months.


7. If I should be asked to give a young girl a piece of sage advice, I’d tell her to wear the highest heels while she can. And that life is too short to try to match everything perfectly.


Once again, thanks for the award, Mal. It’s flattered me and brought me back to the blog world.

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WONDERING ABOUT PEOPLE, A HAILSTORM AND GOD

“It must be the same all over England. People buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The superhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday. The loneliness of that.” – Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.


In growing accustomed to living alone, I am becoming fascinated with strangers and I stare and stare; in supermarkets, in traffic and in the corridors at work. I try to interpret their posture or their facial expressions and I wonder about there being so many stories out there; some wonderful and some dreadfully sad. I wonder if they, too, look into my shopping basket and wonder about the single curl of smoked sausage, the small piece of blue cheese and the three slabs of dark chocolate …


I’ve become rather a slave to Lindt’s new wasabi infused dark chocolate, discovered at the same time as I found Ms Joyce’s wonderful novel. I’m devouring both shamelessly, with the freedom to do both well into the small hours of the morning without disturbing anybody.


This morning I took the book and a toasted sandwich into my garden, on which the Garden Gods seem to have bestowed a curse. With Betsy rabbit gone and no longer eating all my plants, new shoots were pushing their way up everywhere. My pigeon had finally flown away; her damaged wing healed, and was no longer coating everything in guano. Things were looking up, my roses were budding and my agave florets were sprouting again. And then the most ferocious hailstorm hit and everything was battered.


Still today has dawned sunny, I’ve cleared most of the debris and am considering a trip to the nursery. Optimism is a funny thing, the way it refuses to be quashed. My tranquil corner is restored.


On the new job front, things are going well – I was terribly stressed at first, but I’ve got my head around the work. I resolved to keep to myself and not make friends, but my resolve was very short-lived and the good nature of my colleagues won the day. Friday was ‘Casual Day’ and we were presented with pirate hats and had a bit of a party, which was tremendous fun.


Another thing I vowed was that I would not entertain in my new life in the little cottage. This vow, too, flew out the window with time and I’ve had a few dinner parties, which went some way to placating the disapproving funk my kitchen had been greeting me with in the mornings.
I’ve even resumed my habit of a weekly cake bake. A friend and I are currently working on a long-term ‘spiritual journey’ and she gave me an assignment to write on my personal perception of a Higher Power. Writing it made me feel so uplifted that I presented her with a heart-shaped cake.


My Higher Power is not embodied in my mind in the form of man or woman. Rather, my own Higher Power is an abstract concept which contains at its core a concrete set of moral values and principles. This set of values in its simplest interpretation sits in my mind as the essence of difference between good and bad. In effect, this Higher Power is – as I conceive it – “the absolutely RIGHT way’, in other words; the counterpart to evil. For want of a better term, I use the words ‘SPIRITUALITY’ ‘PIETY’ HOLINESS’ or – that term with which I feel most comfortable – ‘MERCIFUL GRACE’. For purposes of meditation and prayer in my daily life, I will continue to address myself to this Higher Power as ‘God’.

Have a peaceful week, my friends. I feel the need for another cup of coffee. And something sweet …