Already Tom’s memories are mainly The Legend of Mom, more than real memories. Jess remembers far more. So Tom had lots to say today about Mom. Jess was mainly quiet. As most years, Dizzi and Jon came round to clink a glass in your memory. Jess set a lovely formal table with flowers from the garden – and even a table cloth! I only remembered to take a pic after it was all over.
We had a medicinal G&T as we had all just been to sort-of malaria areas – me n Jess to Hluhluwe, Dizzi n Jon to St Lucia.
‘Please call the police; my friends are fighting and I’m very worried.’
The sound of a young woman’s voice early Saturday morning on my gate intercom. Luckily the intercom was in one of its working phases. They’d had a party, she said. Funny, I hadn’t heard anything. Sometimes the parties are really loud. I dialed 10111, explained, gave my name and address and the man said ‘I’ll send the police there’ which I found re-assuring. He said ‘I’ll send them’ not ‘I’ll tell them.’
Later the same lovely voice very politely checking ‘Did you phone the police? I’m so worried!’ I asked Are You Safe? Do you want to come in? To be behind the gate? ‘No, I think I’m safe,’ she replied, which I didn’t find overly re-assuring.
A short while later the gate again, ‘Thank you so much, they’re here,’ followed by three more Thank You So Much-es.
As far as I can recall, that’s the first time I have ever called the cops!
I must have called them back ca.2004 when we had our only robbery – in 10 Windsor Avenue while we were out. Aitch’s Zeiss 8X32 binoculars and her wedding and engagement rings were gone. Typical Aitch, she replaced the binocs only.
. . raised a whole lot of money for Udobo School. Udobo is a pre-school in Montclair for the special kids of Montclair. Udobo – the name is isiZulu for fishhook – needs to raise funds to keep going and Aitch’s unused ceramics helped. Anne Snyders of Udobo set her kids to painting them, varnished them, and then auctioned them off to those wonderful suckers called parents, who each bid way more than the intrinsic worth cos THEIR kids painted it! Everybody wins!
In the Southlands Sun: UDOBO Pre-Primary School hosts an art exhibition and auction at the major hall of the Montclair Methodist Church on Saturday, 24 November from 11am to noon.
They sold tickets for R50 which included a meal and light entertainment. The children’s artwork was on sale, and the pottery pieces plus tablecloths decorated by the children were auctioned.
Hey! and they gave me a free plate, painted by Eli! Look how cheerful a kid can make a plain white plate!
Recently I took another load of Aitch stuff – books, picture frames n stuff (which occasioned this letter). Hopefully they can put it to work for them too.
Udobo’s main source of funds is from Action Udobo in the UK. Their website has pics from Udobo just down the road from me in Montclair.
I think my favourite Aitch Art piece hanging on our walls was the Pear Tree ceramic. I broke it.
Oh well, we’re going to buy . .
One box of wine
Two packs of beer
Three sticks of glue
Seven . . . . dancing . . . . girls
and hold a –
Party-y in a Pear Tree
And we’ll fix it – yep. Louis is going to be the GluMeister, I’ll keep it lubricated, and Petrea will bring a semblance of order.
Update: A preliminary Cocktails and Curry evening has been held in which a Mak Martini was drank; also a cream vodka with mint sprig; and a medicinal flu jab consisting of one part gin one part vodka one part vermouth and freshly squoze lemon and orange, garnished with a slice of lemon and topped up with Little Miss Muffet’s whey orange juice from Tropika. Oh yes, and some practice glueing was done by the Glumeister.
Who also made the curry, fresh from New Delhi, the gurugram district. It was delicious, spicy, tasty, filling, warming on a chilly evening. Jess supplied dessert: Baked cheesecake, dark chocolate, double-thick cream; Then strong filter coffee in zebra hide cups.
Aitch took me to Brasil. She had done well as usual in her sales for Scherag and so off we went. First a flight to Manaus in Amazonas province, then a long drive eastward along the Amazon River towards a lake just off the river, then by ferry to a pousada on Silves Island.
We weren’t married, but I was on my best behaviour and just watched as the bachelors (actual and temporary) in the party would trumpet every night ‘TooDooDoot TooDoo’ “we’re going fox-hunting!” they would announce at dinner and troop out with huge grins on their dials.
I stuck to feathered birds like oropendolas, huge toads, caymans and a fresh, very sad ocelot skin the lodge staff had proudly recently shot! Aaargh!
Then we headed way south to the coast, to Angra dos Reis – the Cove of Kings. A booze yacht trip to the islands and beaches and swimming. One night Aitch felt ill and announced she’d go to bed early, I must go to supper alone. Yes!? I said. Sure, she said. Enjoy yourself. Ha HAAA! I was off – after dressing in my warrior fox-hunting regalia. At supper I tooted the fox-hunting horn with the best of them and announced my newfound freedom. We were off.
We found a bar with a wonderful barman. He gave you anything you wanted and all you had to do was scribble your name! It was first-class. Another round! I’d yell and we’d throw down another marvelous caipirinha and fling the glass over our shoulder. No! No! said the barman, grabbing his broom and sweeping up the pieces. MORE BEER! I’d yell, getting into my stride now.
Of course, I can handle my liquor but some of the guys were less capable. In fact, they dropped me twice on the way back to my chalet. And once there they just propped me up against the door, knocked and ran away. So Aitch found me closely inspecting the door mat and mumbling how I’d have to have a word with them about their service.
She says she dragged me into the shower and ran the cold water full blast and threw me into bed but of course that could all be rumours I don’t know I wasn’t there.
I got up early and made breakfast, feeling sprightly. And where were all the culprits? Nowhere to be seen. All indisposed, it was said. That’s what drinking too much will get you. We checked out that day and I was made to pay a bill a metre long with some complete stranger’s signature on all the slips. A signature that got less and less of something until it was just a short downward line with what looked like drool on it. I just paid. Rumours were going around and I didn’t want to cause a scene. I was there as merely spouse-of, so I had to behave.
On to Rio! To the Copacabana! I was sure there’d be some licenced premises there too. There were! Aitch turned thirty high up on the roof of our hotel, with her colleagues giving her a huge festive bash. We had a banner made to string above the bar “THIRTY! and UNMARRIED!” it said. We had a roaring party that had the hotel guests below us wanting us to hush and the favela okes on the hills above us wanting to join in!
pousada – Lodge or Inn
Angra dos Reis – cove – or inlet or creek – of kings
caipirinha – wonderful cold drink; refreshing; then tiptoes around behind you and taps you on the shoulder
favela – informal housing; shacks on the steep hill slopes