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, 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, Family & Kids, KwaZuluNatal, Motorcars_Automobiles, Nostalgia, Travel Africa, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Sheila at Fugitives Drift Lodge – Sit Still!

Sheila worked at Fugitives Drift Lodge with David and Nicky Rattray for a while and met many interesting people and characters from all over the world. She should write about the weird folk she met – the judges and military men and colonial types and rich folk and historians and chief constables and all the other titles the Breetish Empire invented.

While there, she organised for the five of us – her old Swanie family from Harrismith – to have a family weekend there with her as our guide. One afternoon she took us out to the Isandlwana battlefield in a Landrover and got lost. Her sense of direction was imperfect, but she was unfazed and soldiered on like a lost Pom fleeing a battlefield. She had the Buffalo River on her left (or was it right?) and was headed in a direction she thought might get us somewhere sometime. Don’t panic.

– start of the fugitives trail at isandlwana –

So we’re bouncing over the veld, Sheila driving the ponderous old Defender, and our 85yr-old ‘ole man’ sitting in the back getting fidgety.

After a while the bouncing got to his ancient bones and he groaned and – forsaking the old stiff upper lip – moaned about the bumpiness – sort of a geriatric ‘Are we there yet?’

Sheila whipped round and said, “Keep quiet and sit still. Don’t make me come back there and sort you out!” then grinned triumphantly and crowed, “I’ve waited fifty years to say that!”

– isandlwana –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Family & Kids, KwaZuluNatal, Life, Nostalgia

The Reindeer got . .

Mother Mary stumbled a bit through her 2019 rendition of Jingled Bowels . .

She wasn’t up to her usual high standards. When she finished she turned to Sheila, who was filming her, and said: ‘The Reindeer Got A Puncture!’

I wondered if the reindeer hadn’t got . .

. . stuck into the champagne??

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Family & Kids, Free State, Vrystaat, KwaZuluNatal, Life, Nostalgia

A Fascinating Case History

I took Mom to the ophthalmologist in Pietermaritzburg. She’d had some visual phenomena and her description of a curtain falling over her vision against the wall made me decide she must be seen right away. My good friend and colleague Owen Hilliar gave me the duty roster and I phoned the surgeon on duty – Dr L – and arranged to see him Sunday morning 08:30.

What a nice man! He listened to her stories. Unlike her usual eye man, Dr A.

So for a case history on this wonderful 91yr-old qualified nursing sister, and myopic glaucomatous pseudophake, Dr L now has the following information:

There are patterns in my vision on the walls and on the ceiling. Like the patterned ceilings in Granny Bland’s house in Stuart Street in Harrismith. I was born in Harrismith see, and did my midwifery in Durban. We went to Durban as we thought maybe we’d meet some nice boys there. Dr L’s eyes widen and he looks at me. But I met my husband in Harrismith; he worked for the post office and he got on very well with my mother and she told me ‘Peter Swanepoel is taking us to the Al Debbo concert in the town hall.’ My grandfather built the town hall; and he sat between me and my mother and that’s how we met. Unfortunately his good relationship with my mother didn’t last. My grandfather and his brother were stonemasons from Scotland; they built all the bridges for the railway line from Durban to Harrismith; What? OK, Ladysmith to Harrismith. When they had been in Harrismith a while they said ‘We like it here; the air reminds us of the old country,’ so they stayed and built a hotel each, the Central and the Royal – but first it was the Railway hotel – every town had to have a railway hotel. Then they changed the name by royal decree to The Royal Hotel. Or with Royal permission. The one brother had seven sons – she holds up seven fingers in front of Dr L’s face – and the other had nine. NINE – holds up nine fingers. And only one of them had a son. Dudley. He was a bit of a sissy – here my eyes widen – but he had the only boy. Thank goodness he then had sons to carry on the name, although one died in a bike accident. Now Granny Bland had five sons and only two of them did anything; one died of malaria in East Africa. Bertie, I think. When? In the First World War; the others just hung about, didn’t do anything even though they had been sent to very good schools. Hilton or Michaelhouse, one of those; I mean, what did my father know about farming? Nothing. His father just bought him a farm and sent him farming. He tried sheep, that was a failure.

Erm, I interrupted . . No, don’t worry, the dilation will still take a while says Dr L.

See, he wants to know, says Mom and carries on. I was proud of her! She was on a roll! We even found out the Shetland pony’s name was Suzanne.

Anything else about your eyes? he asks when she pauses for breath. Just the patterns and colours on the walls and ceiling, says Mom – no mention of the ‘curtain’ which had made me arrange the appointment in a hurry. And this time she didn’t say she has to remove her son’s glasses to read. Oh, and Oupa Bain went blind; I can remember the older children reading the newspaper to him.

After peering in and then checking V/A’s 6/36 and 6/18 and pressures – low, Dr L re-assures her all is well in her eyes and the patterns may be happening in her visual cortex.

We’re free to go, with huge relief. No trip to Durban, thank goodness. I’ve been nil-per-mouth since midnight, so I must remember to drink lots of water to catch up, says Mom happily.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Family & Kids, Free State, Vrystaat, KwaZuluNatal, Life, Nostalgia

Earning Her Keep

Monica said ‘Don’t worry Mary you needn’t play today,’ but I protested: No Way, you have to play! How else will you earn your keep? So she gamely fired up her stootoot – isithuthuthu – and beetled off to the dining room where her friend ‘Mauritius’ was in her wheelchair, waiting for supper.

She rocked straight into Somewhere My Love, so fast that I missed it. I video’d her next song, ‘It’s Only Words’ (what’s it called?); and she said ‘Supper Time’ but I pleaded One More Please; Play for your supper.

What was that? I asked at the end of it. ‘Deep In My Heart’ she said – and then I’m so sorry I stopped filming, as she said, ‘It’s by Sigmund Romberg from The Desert Song’ and she told me more, that I can’t recall, but that ‘it was beautiful; very special’ I do remember.

I went looking . . .

Deep In My Heart - Sigmund Romberg

Ah, here’s the trailer: You can see why Mary would have loved it back in 1954! Many of the songs are familiar; she played them; the reel-to-reel tape played them; and the Goor Koor sang them – all in the lounge at 95 Stuart Street in the Free State village of Harrismith!

And then the best song: The Drinking Song from The Student Prince! Sung in the movie by Mario Lanza.

~~~oo0oo~~~

By MGM – movieposter.com, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14713237

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17693554

~~~oo0oo~~~

Later: For xmas day sister Sheila gave her a santa hat and she thumped out Jingled Bowels with more enthusiasm than accuracy. Realising this, watch what she says to Sheila at the end:

– “the reindeer got a puncture” –