Emma Czornobaj, ducks and life in prison

Have you heard about Emma Czonobaj? She’s 27 years old. She lives in Canada, and she loves animals.

Emma’s love of animals has resulted in her facing life in prison. The animals in question are ducks. The crime she committed is as follows:

“Czornobaj had stopped her car in the left lane of a provincial highway after spotting roughly seven ducklings on the median. . . The self-professed animal lover told the court that she did not see the ducklings’ mother anywhere and was trying to herd them, with the intention of taking them home.”

She has been found guilty of the following:

“two counts of criminal negligence causing death, a charge that carries a maximum life sentence, and two counts of dangerous driving causing death, which comes with a maximum of 14 years in jail.”

Simply put, Emma Czonobaij stopped to help a family of ducks, and in doing so caused the death of a father and daughter who crashed into her parked vehicle. They were riding a motorcycle at the time.

Why my interest? Well I find myself torn. On the one hand, we have a young woman, exemplary by all accounts, clearly with a big heart, who was prepared to save the lives of animals, which to be fair, most animal lovers would do. I know myself I’ve slowed down to prevent hitting a dog. And on another occasion recently I came to a stand still for a tortoise, allowing my husband to leap from the car and move to the road.

Yet on the other hand, her actions on the highway were negligent. One cannot dispute that. I can only imagine she gave no other thought to her actions than possibly assuming whoever came towards her would pass on by. Whether she had her emergency lights flashing, who knows. Regardless of what we know or don’t know, two people have lost their lives, and a mother and wife has lost her family.

There are those that argue Emma should face the maximum sentence, while others are calling for leniency. Google Emma and you will find petitions, stories, Facebook pages calling for support and action to save her.

Reading further today I see a recommendation has been put forward for a 9 month sentence, and or probation. Emma’s fate is in the hands of the judge. December she will know the outcome.

As for myself, I’m inclined to go with probation, citing her sentence will be mental torture for the rest of her life.

What do you think? Should Emma face a sever sentence, or should she be given probation?


Let me out!

Earlier this year husband and I were in the UK, and after making the decision to not hire a car, we relied on public transport to get us around. For us, the chance to jump on and off trains and enjoy the local bus service as we sped across the country was pure delight. I don’t even need a hand to count the amount of times we’ve used a train, or a bus in South Africa.  We/I just don’t do it.

Anyway, mostly in the UK we were heading to places within a couple of hours of where we were staying. And while we were highly competent in boarding and disembarking with ease, due to automatic doors – aren’t they so clever? – and allowing people ahead to do the honours, one day it didn’t go to plan.

For the life of me, our destination that day has left me, but wherever it was the requirement was to change trains several times. Easy peasy lemon squeezy? Ah, no. Total embarrassment and hysteria more like.

So there we were loving the rocking motion of the train as green fields flew by, wooly sheep munched grass, cows moo-ched around, industrial areas tarnished the landscape, and let us not forget the occasional buffet car announcement regarding delightful snacks and hot drinks that to be fair should have been left behind, and never ever brought within an mile of the station.

The general rule of thumb with train trips, as we all know, is the train stops, you get off as fast as you can, as in max 1 or 2 minutes before they leave again, and then you run like a looney for your next train, arms flaying, face white, gums exposed as you fight for breath – erm, sorry, that’s probably just me. Failing this of course, you’ll be singing to the conductor on the platform “wish me luck as you wave me goodbye” because there is no way you’re getting off that train until the next station a gazillion miles away. Why you only get a minute of two before the train goes is beyond me. Do you think it has something to do with raising cardio levels for those with little time for the gym?

Well this particular day husband and I had thawed out – you do remember we were in the UK in Spring? –  we’d eaten a pretty darn awful bacon butty, washed it down with coffee strong enough to curl our toes, and sufficiently burnt our gullets in the process. I thought British Rail drinks were supposed to be lukewarm? Do you have to order it this way? You know sort of along the lines of having a skinny latte with wings, as opposed to requesting “coffee to go love please.”

Where were we? Yes, about to disembark. We were ready, tickets clutched in  hands. We smiled at each other, as we do when we know the sprint is about to take place, and headed to the door. Alone. Nobody else was in our carriage. I checked my ticket about 256 times to be sure we were getting off at the right station. We were. I checked it again.

Train stopped. Fellow travellers began to spill out of other carriages. Our door did not open. We looked at each other. Panic reared its head and I swear my bacon butty was readying itself to appear. Sweat began to form.

“Open the door.”

“I can’t.”

“Where’s the handle?”

“I don’t know.”

By now we were banging on the window, hands and fists, shouting for anybody to help us.

“Why won’t it open?”

“I don’t know, it just won’t.”

“We have to get off.”

“I know.”

“Is there a sign showing you how?”


“Open the window, try to use the handle outside.”

“How do you open the window?”

Teeth were bared and eyes were wide with fear.

Have you ever seen those crazy programs where people are trapped behind glass while everybody else stands there watching, nudging each other, pointing and rolling their eyes? Well let me tell you, it’s true, they really do do that. Even the conductor on the platform who was raising his whistle to send the train on its way.

“We’ve got to get off.” We continued to shout and bang and wave our tickets. We must have looked like right charlies.

“HELP!” we shouted, rather loudly. Anybody would have thought we were trying to escape a crazed loon.

Well I don’t know how long this went of for, but however long it was, it was too long. How either of us didn’t end up requiring oxygen is anybody’s business.

So how did we get out?

The bloody door opened by itself! I swear, we did nothing. There was the usual hiss and clunk and lo and behold we were free.

We bolted, hit the platform, laughed a little awkwardly and joined our fellow commuters as if nothing had even happened.

And what you may be asking did we learn from this?

Easy, we are a couple of idiots!

Thank you Wilbur Smith

I’ve been reading Wilbur Smith for years, so I was well chuffed to win this signed copy of his latest Desert God. Thank you very much Wilbur Smith and Exclusive Books.

I haven’t won anything since I won the fancy dress competition dressed like this. Between you and me I think I was the only one who entered  . . .  sshhhhhh!


me waitress 20140925_204126_resized 20140925_204103_resized

Hundred Foot Journey – What a delight

I can’t believe the Guardian said this about The Hundred Foot Journey:

The Hundred-Foot Journey: cute foodie movie leaves a sour taste

Lasse Hallström’s latest piece of food porn will only be popular among critics looking to ram more metaphors down our throats 

Mirren is condemned to using a French accent that’s as cumbersome to her performance as a sumo fat-suit.

I fear the gentleman reviewing must have watched with a carrot in an orifice that it was surely not intended. For to me this movie was pure delight, filled with mirth and pain.

The food of course is significant, but the heart of the story is about an Indian family living in Mumbai who are forced to uproot and leave after a catastrophic tragedy puts an end to the comfortable lives they were leading.

Out of fear for their safety, the family takes up residence in London where they endure a year of  vegetables with no soul, along with the deafening Heathrow flight path above them. Unable and unwilling to stay, it is into a battered old van they clamber in search of a new start. And having no particular country in mind, it will be the battered old van who will decide their destiny, by quite literally hurtling them into a small French village, where cultures will clash, food is put to the test, and all as an Indian family take up root.

Om Puri, he of East is East and West is West fame, plays the father of many superbly, moving me at times to cheer, smile and despair with him.  To say I was choked when he was faced with allowing his son to grow and move on would be an understatement, I could have hugged the man all night long.

And while Helen Mirren may have lost her French accent occasionally, that didn’t take away from her performance of  a Michelin Star restaurant owner, notably one hundred feet from a new Indian Restaurant.

Yes there is a lot of food, which shouldn’t be surprising when one considers the story is based around two restaurants, but there is oh so much more, which every single person watching with me on Saturday evening in Cavendish would appear to agree with, if the laughter and smiles around me had anything to say about it.

Hubby and I loved it, we came out nodding, agreeing it was really something special. There is no doubt this little gem will be settling in my memory along with the Marigold Hotel.





Should we adopt a dog?

So here we are, contemplating adopting a little dog. Travis, our boy, lost the battle early this year, leaving Mutley alone, and sad.

Phew, it’s a big decision, in more ways than one.  The biggest being our long term plan to be swallows, with a house in SA and house in the UK. Hubby says no problem, we were going to take both our boys to the UK anyway, so we would take a new dog with Mutley instead.

The emotions of this are immense. I visited the SPCA a few weekends ago, and as expected shed many tears when we left. Today hubby went alone and came back with a form to fill in. He has seen a couple of doggies that would suit, now I need to go and visit.  Making a choice will be heartbreaking, I almost need hubby to decide. I know he will do the right thing, he’s good like that with an enourmous heart.

Lots to think about on this bright and beautiful day in Cape Town.

Here’s my boy Travis

travis smiling 2




Movie night with Helen

Thank goodness the weekend is here. A good time to reflect on life.

Good that’s done with, let’s see what I’m up to this weekend then. Not a great deal, but hubby and I could well be going to see The Hundred Foot Journey with Helen Mirren, not actually with her, but with her . . . in it. Looks just up my street, some good humour and a touch of love and drama I would think. Anybody seen it yet?

How’s this conversation I had with hubby this morning,

“Will you love me forever?” (I ask him this everyday as a joke and he falls for it every time by responding with a yes and a will you love me to. My standard reply, NO)

“Only if you stop moaning,” he said

“I only moan to keep you on your toes,” I said. “I’d hate you to drop your standards” (You know sometimes I even think I’m an old cow.)

He puffed a bit, pulled the duvet off and said. “But will you love me forever?”


Have a great weekend everybody



My lovely hubby and I