Monthly Archives: July 2016

The stuff in your head

We were watching TV the other day when a truly diabolical advert with a super annoying but addictive sounding soundtrack appeared on the screen.

‘This advert’, I said in irritation, ‘is ridiculous. It has no bearing to the product and it’s completely crazy. What were the makers of the advert thinking?’

‘Really?’ said Plus One, trying hard not to laugh, ‘I always imagined that is what the inside of your head looks like.’

‘What? Random animals bouncing around and chaos? And that completely mental music?’

‘Yes,’ he responded, ‘I honestly think your head is not a quiet and orderly place to be. If anything, it’s messier in there than the advert.’

I was going to be insulted.

I was ready to be insulted.

But I then recalled a conversation with a colleague when I was going full steam about how much needed to be done and when and in what order. And she also commented how everything must just rush non-stop in my head and didn’t I ever just pause and take a mental break.

‘What,’ I asked, ‘Do you mean? It’s not like I can control the fact there are thoughts in there, I can only direct them.’

‘You know, when you just sit. And think of nothing.’

‘How do you think of NOTHING? You must be thinking something, even if it’s only ‘I’m thinking of nothing’.’

‘You just DO, you don’t do that?’

‘You manage to just have nothing in your head?!’

‘Yes, especially when it’s really stressful at my desk I do that for a bit.’

She is not a stupid girl, she is actually very smart and organised and well put together. But apparently is capable of blank periods.

I still don’t get it. How do you think NOTHING? So nothing is going on?

Although perhaps the noises and movement in my brain are a bit extreme? I can’t tell. It’s like asking someone who is blind what blue looks like.

PS the advert in question if you are curious. Credits to Ribena and co

 

 

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Last Friday

Last Friday evening was one of those magical nights when all was right with the world. Which was great given it was on the back of a not great week.

But, after having finally gotten bank cards back, I was flush with cash (well, not really but I was able to at least BUY stuff without borrowing off other people) , the weather was balmy and I was meeting friends by the riverside.

As usual a shambolic system as we are incapable of managing time or location very well. But we eventually managed to find each other and after forcing our way past a load of young men who had managed to Bring You Own with two crates of Fosters and bags of Doritos, we found a place on a series of steps leading off a pub into the river.

The Thames rushed in eddies and whirls past us, reeking pretty much of refuse from the boat just downstream from us, with river boats flying downstream and literally chugging with effort upstream. We pretty much took a safe bet on drowning if any one of us was suicidal enough to try get into the water. Not to mention if you managed to not drown, inhaling any of the Thames would probably kill you more slowly.

‘There are three things essentially that float’, declared my friend wisely as we watched a box float by and wondered what was in it, ‘wood, and there isn’t a lot of it on this river, plastic and condoms, which are mostly just plastic.’

‘WHY on earth did you choose that as an appropriate subject to prove what floats.’

‘Oh, you know, my friend used to kayak along the river but tired of all the condoms that would slap him in the face when the paddle came up bring up debris.’

I’m not sure that was a true story.

What was true was at some point a police boat raced up the river at speed. It was yellow and blue like police cars and vans here. Inexplicably it also had a whirling light and a very loud siren, both of which were on.

‘What,’ I found myself asking, ‘Do they need THAT on for? It’s not exactly like the river is so crowded they are going to be weaving between a traffic jam of ferries, it’s a bit show offy and extreme, no.’

That’s me, cynical.

Other friend pointed this out to me on leaving, that I needed to stop grumbling as she knew I didn’t mean it but other people don’t always.

That’s what true friends are there for. To point out the good and the bad.

It was a good evening.

(Until I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with a raging thirst regretting the last half pint – oh wait, does that make me sound cynical and whiney again?)

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Lost

I lost my purse this weekend.

I am annoyed.

This has never happened to me before so I’m at a bit of a loss.

Ironically I periodically turn out the contents because I think I will lose it but I hadn’t done so lately so I lost more than I normally would.

  • Around 40-45 quid, normally not that much money in there but I had a paranoid turn about taxis and late nights and buying emergency food for a braai that particular day
  • A coffee shop card with all it’s stamps, validating a free coffee, probably worth up to £3.70
  • My drivers licence which I don’t even USE in the UK (Was using it for ID for something weeks ago) This costs £20 to replace and has my address printed on it but so far no joy with honest citizens
  • Random change from around the world, especially the States and a 2 pound coin with the London underground logo as a special print run
  • A series of store loyalty cards. My suspicion is at least one of them has over £20 on it.
  • Receipts for the last million places I have gone
  • Hopefully not two cinema vouchers I’d collected the week before, valid for any cinema within a certain franchise. Value at box office around £20
  • Bank and credit cards. Fortunately they don’t charge you to replace these in the UK but they aren’t that efficient about sending them immediately either so I’m literally cash poor now
  • One silver earring. (I lost the other one but I’ve been convinced I bought three of them so kept the earring in the hopes of finding the last triplet somewhere)

Probably about £100 if not more GONE in one go. They say the average handbag in the UK is valued at well over £250. When you remember people put their phones, ipads, house keys etc into them,  I can see how this is the case.

note to self: Weed out what is in your purse/bag more regularly because you never know when it may go for a walk. And don’t carry the non-essentials with when you don’t need them because they become essential when they are gone.

 

 

 

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Places starting with a D

I have a general rule. If you can pay to fly direct, generally fly direct. There will be a time when you are very young and very old where you have the luxury of time but no financial ooph. Then you fly via via via but otherwise, try go direct.

So I had to fund a holiday for two and I had to break the cardinal rule. I had to go via via via.

I refused to go via Charles de Gaulle because that airport is infamous at losing either me or my luggage or both. It is impossible to get round that squashed doughnut shape quickly enough to make connecting flights (or have your luggage moved onto them) if you are even slightly delayed from your start point.

So we went via Dubai. I generally avoid anywhere connecting that is firstly in a desert and secondly starts with a D (and thirdly but not exclusively usually hosted in a place where they cut your hands off for theft and women are lesser citizens). So for me that means I generally don’t go via Dubai, Doha, Dakar and Abu Dhabi (I know the D is in the wrong place) – or Accra for that matter (A apparently being the other letter to avoid.)

Airflight was fine. Good in fact. But I remembered why I don’t do via. You land in a timezone that is in the middle of the night EVERYWHERE, including the place you are in, which just adds to the jetlag.

Bits of the airport smell like curry for some inexplicable reason and you can’t tell if it’s due to other weary passengers or a food house. Despite ‘duty free’ and ‘tax free’, many things are not particularly cheap. And noone really needs to own a giant Toblerone. Or, for some very strange reason, plastic containers making up jumbo litres of flavoured water when diluted out and mixed up. Or dates. (not the fun other half kind, the fruit type) Or alcohol. Or luxury brands you couldn’t afford BEFORE you went on holiday – and which don’t become MORE affordable just because you are in an airport.

The edges of the building, near glass doors or escalators onto atriums, are very hot. Because outside even in the middle of the night it’s over 30 degrees Celsius. But don’t worry. The inside areas are very cold. So you wish you had stolen the airplane blanky, such is the airconditioning.

Over half the restaurants, aesthetics AND branding looking like they have escaped from a mall in London. With excessive tourist prices to boot. Due to the jet lag/time lag issue, these restaurants live in some twilight limbo and serve breakfast next to supper according to diners needs.

Staff all clearly never see sunlight, working these strange graveyard shifts, and mostly appear Filipino, Indian, the odd Caucasian, the so called ‘locals’ clearly have better things to do, like SLEEP.

I’ve heard if you actually exit the airport prices drop (temperatures no doubt rise unless you are in airconditioning.)

Whatever. Personally, so far, that is another step too far for me.

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Orangey Fruits

So the world has gone mad, especially Britain. This huge palava over Brexit. Whatever. The people spoke. Maybe incorrectly but they spoke so get on with it. It’s not like the country will collapse immediately and if it does it will be because of a self fulfilling prophecy due to attitude issues.

Noone stockpiled tinned food or rush ordering passports to elsewhere like South Africans did in 1994 before the referendum but after the fact hardly anyone is accepting the results with any good grace which at least most South Africans did after the vote when they realised the sky does not immediately fall down the very next day. I feel like I moved from one tin pot country with issues about what peoples rights mean to another tin pot country with issues about what peoples rights mean.

Selfishly I am more concerned about the smaller issues. I question not Brexit or Britain’s role in it but will this affect my ability to affordably buy produce from outside the UK if the pound falls too far? While this may make British produce more competitive in Britain, I’m not really that interested in brussel sprouts or wonky apples or potatoes.

I miss naartjies. I think they don’t travel well so South Africans just eat them all inside the country. An orange fruit with a very loose moist skin, large and slightly flattened with juicy sweet segments of something that is  bit like a tangerine/clementine/satsuma but is just specially naartjie flavoured and not any of the above. It is much sweeter, juicier, larger and more delectable. Instead we get these other varieties of citrus here. Undersized oranges and the random midget tangerine/satsuma/clementine things. We can never guarantee what variety or type will be in the shop as it is all seasonal to the WORLD. (And may even contain SA orange fruit but not naartjies, instead smaller more sour things the locals didn’t want to eat.) This means we have given up giving the fruit a name. In our house we just say, ‘oh, we need to buy some orangey fruit’. And then someone goes out and finds a mesh bag of any random roundish fruit because it could be any variety from anywhere.

And never a naartjie.

We just came back from a holiday. Where they served orangey fruits at every breakfast and lunch if you wanted them. Not naartjies or random round fruits.

Papaya. Lots and lots of fresh papaya.

I  forgot how much I missed papaya. Decently priced paw paw that will ripen and don’t have finger marks in them are impossible to find here.

Brexit, schemexit. I’m debating how do I move to a country that probably isn’t even in the EU but has permanently sunny skies, white sands and tropical fruits. A place where orangey fruits really are orangey…

And if I did so, how would I live? Or would a couple of coconuts, grilled fish and a hammock under the stars be enough?

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