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Goodbyes…

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Halfway home….a little bit of sun starting to show.

Yesterday was a shitty day. Because, saying goodbye… 😦

I had a weird few days, actually. Let’s start it off on Saturday. Like I mentioned in my previous post, it was my birthday on Saturday, and I would have been alone, had my sons not decided to come visit. So, the first part of the day was in expectation of their arrival.

My boys and daughter in law arrived much later than expected, but it was glorious seeing them! They brought with them some gifts and flowers, and as a lovely surprise, a beautiful birthday cake! We spent the rest of the day together, catching up, chatting, debating, eating, drinking, you know – all the things people do on birthdays when they haven’t seen each other for some time (thank you Covid! 😦 )

The cake…

But as with a lot of situations, at the back of my mind was the knowledge that these few days together had another purpose, aside from my birthday. My youngest actually came down to say goodbye to his brother and I, as he is leaving South Africa for Ireland. At the moment he is not emigrating, but he might decide to do just that while living abroad. Since it is the second of my three children leaving the country, you could maybe imagine how I’m feeling. (Even as I’m writing this, I find it difficult to breathe…) I do, how ever, wish him all the good luck in the world. I hope it is everything he imagines and more. I hope he will be happy, and successful in all his endeavours. With all my heart.

So, the whole visit was bittersweet, from start to end. We did make a few more special memories together, and we did have fun doing it, so please don’t imagine that it was only doom and gloom the whole time! 🙂 But the whole vibe changed perceptibly as the time to say goodbye drew near…

Yesterday, after saying goodbye and on my way home, the weather was atrocious – wild wind blowing, dark clouds, intermittent rain…As I got nearer to my house, there was more sun and less wind – I did somehow feel it was a metaphor for my feelings and the whole situation – things will get better, and I will get over this feeling of despondency…

I had to…

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Just look at it.

Isn’t it a gorgeous little trio? I had to buy it.

I don’t often just buy things I like or want, but I’ve been looking for a long time for a dainty little teacup trio. When I saw this one, it immediately screamed ‘buy me!’, so I did. Not one hundred percent what I thought I was looking for, but it is so pretty, dainty, light and beautiful! And since it is only one set, I can still buy one or two more trio’s in future. 🙂

The thing about rainbows.

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I had to stop for this one!

I love rainbows.

Maybe everybody loves rainbows, I don’t know, but I always get excited when I see one. If it is a ‘full’ one, touching earth on both ends, so much better!

They make me believe that there could be magic out there, and that makes me feel better about life. I think we all need a bit of magic in our lives at the moment since reality is a bit difficult to handle right now.

I grew up bingeing on Enid Blyton books, and the idea of fairies and goblins was food to my active imagination. I have to add here, that I grew up as an only child, and I had more than enough time to let my imagination run wild. Also, my mom made sure that I knew they were fairytales, but I chose to believe that they could be real, if only we knew where to look…

What do fairytales and rainbows have to do with each other, you ask? Well, to me it is a weird question, because don’t fairytales and rainbows go together? You know, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or when you run underneath a rainbow you can change from a boy to a girl or vice versa?

Maybe it is a result of my over-indulgence in the books of Enid Blyton, but I continue to believe that there is a kind of magic in rainbows. They make me happy for various reasons. They are so very gorgeous to look at, for a start. And wherever there’s a rainbow, it means that somebody close by was lucky enough to have been blessed with some rain, even if it was only a drop.

The one above nearly landed me in trouble, though. Or maybe it was my Daisy dog that nearly landed me in trouble. I was on my way to visit my kids when I saw this lovely sight ↑, and decided to stop and take a picture. Since I couldn’t see a car anywhere near me, I cruised to a stop just half off the tarmac, to take a quick snap and be on my way again. But the ever present Murphy reared his spiteful head, as usual. As I was lining up the shot Daisy decided that it was the perfect time to jump out and go and explore, and as I was scrambling to get her back in the car, of course! suddenly there were traffic from all sides, and those drivers were not happy with me!

Darn.

Of course I know one shouldn’t stop like that – half on half off, but it was supposed to be quick, and honestly, there were no cars in sight when I stopped.

But once again, life has a way of teaching us lessons, even when you think you know it all.

Internet and warm winters.

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Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

I hate the internet.

Also, I can’t live without it. How can people cope without it these days? I would love to be able to do without, but I think once you’re on this slippery slide, it’s tickets.

My mom, for instance. Yes, I know, she is 85 years old, but she drives to the bank every time she needs to pay someone for something. She has to go to the bank to draw the money and then drive to the person or business and make her payment. She does have whatsapp on her phone, though, and uses it avidly. She has never owned a computer of any kind in her life, and she is happy without.

Do you think it’s possible to go backwards? So much of my life is ‘out there’ – no secrets anymore. It is scary, and I don’t like it. But it is too late. Even if I decide to ditch my laptop, and slim my phone use down to calls and sms’s only, all my ins and outs are already floating around in cyber space – name, birth date, e-mail address! You know that sinking feeling when Google sends you a mail to tell you that some of your passwords might be compromised? No? Well I do! And I never save my passwords to Google, I type them in every time, because I’m scared of them being compromised! So – how?

Ugh, I hate the internet!

We are still having unseasonably warm days here. It was supposed to start getting colder today, but it is still balmy and uncomfortable. I am hoping that we’ll get some cold weather and rain sooner rather than later. I am a believer in the good of a properly cold winter, like I’ve mentioned before. I think everything and everybody need the very cold weather, to be healthy and strong and robust in summer. So I’m waiting with bated breath for the cold spell to hit – I’m ready!

Time that flies and chicken biryani.

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Nearly all the spices that went into the biryani! Photo by Shantanu Pal on Pexels.com

Wow, I cannot keep up!

It is 5 days since my last post – time absolutely flies! I don’t know why I feel that way, since I’m really not busy at all – quite the opposite, in fact, and then normally time drags by.

Remember I said last time, or the time before, that I was going to try a few different Indian/curry recipes this winter? So yesterday I decided that I’m going to make myself a chicken biryani. I had some of the ingredients, like the chicken and the rice, the rest I went out and bought, because it is spices that I’ll use again.

Now it has been quite some time since I’ve had a good biryani, and I remember loving it, so I was hoping it will live up to expectations.

Once again, I’m not going to give the recipe since there are hundreds all over the internet. I chose my recipe on Pinterest.

I started off with marinating the chicken pieces for about two hours.

I then put some oil and butter in a pot, and fried off the spices and onion.

It looks like there are hardly any spices there, but remember most of the spices are already in the marinade.

I then added the marinated chicken, fried it a bit, and then closed the pot so the chicken can cook. When that was ready, the rice was added, with warm salted water. I closed the lid and left it to slowly cook. Remember it should not be stirred at all.

Of course, I forgot to take a picture when I added the rice! I’m sure that won’t be a bother, since I am not actually doing a step-by-step recipe for you anyway.

The result was very flavoursome – a good, spicy depth of flavour, but I have to say, a bit too dry to my taste. I’m not sure how I’ll change that, since you are supposed to cook all the fluids away so the rice is dry and you can separate the kernels.

Any ideas? I would love to make it again if I could just get it to be less dry…

Now it is time for Daisy’s daily walk, so until next time, keep the sunny side up!

Life with load shedding.

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Do any of you know what load shedding is? Because not many countries do, outside of South Africa.

Let me try and explain (Google’s dictionary):

noun

  1. action to reduce the load on something, especially the interruption of an electricity supply to avoid excessive load on the generating plant.

That is it, in a nut shell. Why is it necessary? And I’m talking specifically regarding South Africa. Again, as succinctly as possible:

Eskom chief operations officer, Jan Oberholzer, publicly stated that the primary reason for load shedding was due to a lack of maintenance and neglect over the preceding twelve years resulting in an unpredictable and unreliable system.’

Read the whole piece here.

Thanks to our present government, who does not believe in maintenance – they wait until something is so broken that it needs weeks/months to fix, IF there is money to do so, because the money has a way of mysteriously disappearing in this country…

So, life with load shedding… We have periods of load shedding, on and off, according to maintenance needed, or shortages of coal, etc. Those periods happen unexpectedly. Out of the blue, if you have the load shedding app (YES! – we have an app for that!) you get a message that says load shedding stage 1/2/3/4/5/6 will be implemented as from 14h00 today! Then you quickly scan the schedule so you can try and be prepared for it, as best you can. Different times for different areas. It can be two and a half hours from 16h00 – 18h30. Or 14h00 – 16h30. Whatever. I’m sure you get the idea.

A lot of people have installed solar systems, but not everybody can afford that, like me. Fortunately I do have a gas stove, so I can have coffee and tea, or cook while the electricity is off. We all have some way of creating a bit of light – battery operated lamps, rechargeable lamps, candles, etc. And then all you can do is wait it out, because the wifi also goes when there is no power. No TV. Which is all fine if it happens in daytime, because you can go for a walk, work in the garden, go shopping, but when it happens in the evenings, or at night, what do you do? Go to bed at eight?

I’m sure you can imagine all kinds of ways in which this system is uncomfortable. Businesses suffer – not all of them can buy a generator to keep going even when there is no electricity. Working from home becomes complicated.

We are all a bit fed up with this whole debacle, I promise you. But there is always the positive side to it, isn’t there – ‘It could’ve been worse!’