Africa, Family & Kids, KwaZuluNatal

Our Cul de Sac

What an interesting cul de sac is Elston Place. Sure there are five boring houses with abelungu in them, and one high-wall complex called Maroela or Marula something with faceless people living in it who don’t know that if you live in a ten-gate dead end you GREET everyone who lives there . . or who drives past.

BUT: We also have four council houses with hordes of kids. THAT’s what makes our road interesting.

Those that visited when we first arrived ranged from three to thirteen, Fezile, Asanda, Katelo, Khanyiso, Michael, boys. Andile, Azokuhle & Minenhle girls. Who exactly they belong to I never fully worked out. But the kids (mine) knew, and shook their head when I asked – yet again. The older ones have moved up and on. They’re now thirteen years older, and too cool for our pool; or our trampoline and jungle gym – both of which are now gone. Three of those now have bambinos already. Kids with kids. I fright for that.

The new generation now is all girls: Lwandle, Amahle, Lisa and Cutie. They worship our Jessie:

– as far as these princesses are concerned, Jess is the Queen of Elston Place –

One house is childless. Occupied by Bill G, ex-Durban Corpse employee who knows everything, especially about how grass and verges should be cut – and specialising in kids’ education: “You must study hard, y’hear? My daughter didn’t play in the street and look today there she is, a doctor.” We’ve never seen his kids, he’s right about that much.

One is Thandi, who works at Woolies and goes to Virgin Active Gym every day, walking her ample bum 3km’s there and 3km’s back (even tho there’s a gym in our nearby centre that she works in – I guess Woolies has her on Discovery Health, and therefore Vitality, and therefore Virgin Gym).

One has a green car and drives her kids to school at Westville Jr Primary every morning. Her kids don’t visit or play in the road.

Lawrence and his young wife and little daughter Cutie. He worked at Nourish Cafe nearby, but they closed, so now he walks to a far-away newly-opened PicknPay near Thandi’s gym.

And we have N and S from Pakistan with dogs that bark incessantly right in my ear when I’m in my bedroom and vehicles that arrive and leave at all times of the day & night. That’s the only real bummer of the neighbourhood. Sometimes I get up and bellow and throw stones until they finally shut the dogs up. They might think I’m bonkers. I KNOW they are. They built a double story on top of their garage then complained they could see into my yard! They finally sold and left after nineteen years in the cul de sac. I actually got on well with them. They just didn’t know how to treat or train dogs. They shouldn’t have had any.

Deo was our Metro cop. It was good to have a Metro cop vehicle in our road with his smiling face in it. But he’s late. Car accident. I thought he’d been hit in the blue & white Metro car by a truck, but his widow Nkosazana came round yesterday dressed all in black top-to-toe including scarf and hat, and filled me in on the details: He was driving his private Nissan X-Trail and hit (or was hit by) a Toyota Hilux bakkie. Neither he nor his mistress were badly hurt, but he “wasn’t right” and was sent back to Westville hospital after a while, then on to Entabeni as his condition worsened. There he died and his wife (who he’d ‘kicked out’ in October) was only then able to get there and try and sort things out. Mistress in the meantime had the house keys and took documents, cellphones, watches and stuff. His Metro cop colleagues believed the wife and took her around to the mistress’ place and got some of the stuff back. Nkosazana needed me to update her CV so she can look for another job as she was recently retrenched from the security company where she was a CCTV operator. Bliksem. Three kids. Around 19, 16 and 13.

Elston Place also borders the 100 acre wood. Actually better, the 100 hectare Palmiet Nature Reserve, and the day before yesterday I saw a new bird at my bird bath: A Yellow-bellied Greenbul.

The End.

~~~oo0oo~~~

abelungu – pale, formal people

cul-de-sac – (from French for ‘bottom of bag’), no through road or no exit road, is a street with only one inlet or outlet – a ‘dead end.’ Not that we’re calling our street a dead end!

– princess Lisa and Queen Jess –
Africa, Family & Kids, Nostalgia

Bullshit, Frankincense and Myrrh

Or biblically, gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold is valuable, frankincense and myrrh not so much. but BULLSHIT! Now, bullshit: Bullshit has made billions. Take how you were bullshitted and went Oooh! and Aaah! when you were told gold, frankincense and myrrh, even when you didn’t know what the hell they were talking about, and when you SHOULD have been asking WTF is that!? George Davie? Emma Morton? Anybody? What’s frankincense? would have caused an awkward silence, followed by whispers of ‘trouble-maker.’ Good children would go Oooh! and Aaah! and move on . .

So WTF IS ‘frankincense and myrrh?’

Smellies. Derived from tree sap, or gum resin, both frankincense and myrrh are prized for their alluring fragrance. Frankincense is a milky white resin extracted from Boswellia sacra, a small tree that grows in Somalia, Oman and Yemen. These grow to a height of five meters, have papery bark, sparse bunches of paired leaves, and flowers with white petals and a yellow or red center.

– frankincense boom leaves and flowers – Boswellia sacra –
– pic by Scott Zona https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5409339

Myrrh is a reddish resin that comes from Commiphora myrrha, a tree commonly used in the production of myrrh. It can be found in the shallow, rocky soils of Ethiopia, Kenya, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. It boasts spiny branches with sparse leaves that grow in groups of three, and can reach a height of three meters.

Commiphora myrrha

The processes for extracting the sap of Boswellia for frankincense, and Commiphora for myrrh, are essentially identical: Harvesters make a longitudinal cut in the tree’s trunk, which pierces gum resin reservoirs located within the bark. The sap slowly oozes from the cut and drips down the tree, forming tear-shaped droplets that are left to harden on the side of the tree. These beads are collected after two weeks.

– sap, saps –

It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-pest and can be used for oral uses. It has been used as an astringent, antiseptic, anti-parasitic, anti-tissive, emmenagogue (huh?), and antispasmodic agent. It was commonly included in mixtures used to treat worms, wounds, and sepsis. And very helpful in fumigation. Hey! When your only tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail, right? Our parents had castor oil and guess what? They used it for a lot of the above.

~~~oo0oo~~~

The lesson? Don’t ever say Oooh! and Aaah! Say WTF is THAT!?? And when precocious kids ask it like that, take them seriously and answer – or say I Don’t Know.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Aitch, Family & Kids, KwaZuluNatal, Motorcars_Automobiles

Early DUI Evidence

Driving Under the Influence. After knocking back a few – a few too many chocolate milks, maybe? – Jessie grabbed the keys to Aitch’s VW Polo and sallied forth determinedly . .

– where’sh that Polo of Mom’s? I’ve got things to do, places to go . . ! –
– I’m outta here ! –
– that’s better ! – what’s this thing anyway? –
– Yee Ha!! – get outa my way! –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Family & Kids, KwaZuluNatal, Nostalgia

Surprise Windfall Pension !

Out of the blue, the ole man received R7800 in May, he says.

Then R7800 in July.

A surprise pension from the UK !!?

The Poms giving something back for World War 2 !?

If that’s what it is – £780 after 70 years! – it amounts to about ten quid a year!

Did they wait till most are dead and the few left have not long to go, I wonder . . ?

Still: One step better than just ‘Three Cheers!’

He recently got a free blanket too!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Aitch, Birds & Birding, Books, Canoe & Kayak, Family & Kids, Food, Free State, Vrystaat, Home, KwaZuluNatal, Life, Motorcars_Automobiles, Nostalgia, School, Sport, Student Life, Travel, Travel Africa, Travel Apache OK, Travel USA, USA, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Careful Where You Step!

Recording and reminiscing; with occasional bokdrols of wisdom. Possibly.

Random, un-chronological memories after marriage, children and sundry other catastrophes.

– this swanepoel family –

My pre-marriage blog is vrystaatconfessions.com. Bachelorhood! Beer! River trips! Beer!

bokdrols – like pearls, but handle with care

Africa, Home, KwaZuluNatal

Design Excellence

We were talking bathrooms and cupboards and renovation projects. My friends are carpenters, like that Galilean ou, so they were vying for the gold medal.

There was Steve in Brisbane:

and Brauer in Tshwane:

If I was to enter the fray, I needed to lay down some groundrules if I was to stand a chance in this fiercely competitive minefield that looked vrot with danger.

So:

I tip-toed in:

Subject: Architectural and Conceptual brilliance – The Solution

When critiquing my design, please be fair and take time and motion and cost implications into account. I will admit to one advantage over you poor souls: bachelorhood.

I give you: My Bathroom Cupboard:

True, it’s actually in my bedroom, but wait! This neat innovation leaves the mountain bike undisturbed, and the bathroom cupboard ‘nook’ still with endless potential:

Great interest was shown by the judges . .

Terry Brauer: mmm . . – perhaps you . . .

(a) need to go shopping – a little sparse on the blue shirt thing; (b) there may be a light problem here unless you are saving on blinds to keep out the glare; (c) Yip no potential female species will fall for this design I fear !

~~~oo0oo~~~

I had to defend myself . .

Me: I don’t understand! I have a blue shirt for Monday, a blue shirt for Tuesday, a blue shirt for Wed, Thurs and Fri; and a darker blue shirt for Saturdays. What “shopping”?

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Brauer: Amazing how one misses the wood for the trees, but I was in awe of your metrosexual side that had put up new blue curtains for the retro dressing room (although I was suspicious that it was a ploy to dodge having to do some manly woodwork) . .

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Steve Reed: I think for modesty sake you could consider hanging the shirts  at a lower level  to cover your nether regions and minimise offending the neighbours and the kids’ friends but otherwise … brilliant. 

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Terry B: Very insightful Steve (she obviously means the part where he said ‘brilliant’ . . )

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Brauer: Insightful or unsightly?? (a biased judge obviously ignoring that ‘brilliant’ comment)

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Me: Insightful. Even Mrs Suboohi Choudry next door would agree.

She can’t see into my bedroom at all, even though her driveway is only 2m from it. I mean it’s a JUNGLE out there. Her driveway is also about 2m lower. She would need a machete and a stepladder, and she doesn’t have a ladder, she borrowed mine to paint their house.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I think all this intense interest and back-and-forth means I won the Design Contest

~~~oo0oo~~~

UPDATE: many months later

Leaps and bounds.

The home decor front is proceeding apace.

I hope you two carpenters can keep up.

My window is once more filled with trogons and pittas and louries. Quite shirtless.

Built-in cupboards have sprung up in the bathroom. The mountain bike has been moved to the TV room.

~~~oo0oo~~~