Driving to work this morning, navigating my way around more roundabouts than should be legally built in one city, I had a thought.
My mood lifted, my grin grew.
Yes. Finally. Something to blog about. Something fun. Indeed, the kick up the backside needed to sit me at the keyboard again. Quickly the entire blog was mapped out in my mind. A little humour here, a little nonsense there, a little sharing of me. Perfect in every way. What was that? Did you mention modesty?
Several roundabouts later and quickly heading into the building, my plan was to ignore my normal daily tasks and, cheekily, whack out an email to myself, of said blog, for copy and paste and publish later on. Who would question my furious taping at the keyboard? Not a sausage.
What could go wrong?
Palm to forehead. I bloody well forgot it all. No hints, no a-ha moments. Nothing,
Note to self: Numpty!
Purpose of this blog. No purpose. Only a place to write for 15 minutes. Thank you so much for dopping by
great book, easy to read, satisfied with the ending. Bearing in mind the entire story unfolds over one single night, namely the night Elvis died, you would expect this story to be Elvis through and through. Well it isn’t. Which is good. Instead you follow a group of young music journalists, not much older than very early twenties, cock sure of what they are doing and where they are going, only to find 12 hours later that everything has changed, mostly for the good. Pretty much a coming-of-age book. Based in London, jumping from clubs, to squats, to punch-ups and much more, you can’t help but recognise a little of yourself in this book. How you felt the world was at your feet and that you knew everything, only to discover at some point you know nothing at all and, that as you get older life will send you who knows where when you least expect it.
It’s been almost a year since we left Cape Town for the UK. It’s a been a tough one. And only now are we going to be moving into our own home – 10 days time.
During this past year there has been reflection a-plenty. It still continues, and it brings me to a point where big and small changes to my life have happened, and will continue to happen. And as they do so they will be embraced or kicked into touch.
Writing has been a big one – completely lost the will to do so. Maybe the new house will have me inspired.
Sunday morning it is then. Sunday lunch needs to be prepared, and a visit to the local pub for pre-lunch drink with my Dad is calling.
When earlier this year we returned to the UK, after living in South Africa for a million years, I was more heart sore than I let on about leaving my girls behind. And despite them being young women, one married, one about to be, both happy, that wasn’t enough to allow me an easy “leave”. Even before boarding the plane I was wondering how on earth we would be able to stay in touch. How would we be able to deal with not having our treasured meet up for shopping and dinner nights, or go to a movie, or visit a winery in the glorious Cape? Even an opportunity to sit outside a changing room as they tried on clothes was going to be missed. Even harder would be the “are you home, popping round” calls.
Of course we have Skype and email and Whatsapp, which have been fantastic, and are the three things I wish had been available to me when leaving the UK for SA in the 1980s. Back then it was about pen to paper, email quality to keep the weight and cost down. Red and blue edged envelopes. Licking small, blue, airmail stickers, whose glue would leave you pulling a face, and wishing there was an easier way to communicate!
And then it struck me. Why not write to them? I like writing. I can throw a few words together. Let’s give this a go. It could be good, just what I need. And it is.
Once a week, often Monday morning, I take hold of my pen, sit in a quiet spot, and write. Not pages and pages. Instead I fill a blank card, the sort you buy in a bookshop with beautiful photo images, often purchased from places we’ve visited, or a card that caught the eye at the supermarket. It’s enough space to have a nice chat, without rambling. If there is a little more to say, and space allows, the back is also used. I tell them about what we’ve been doing, what we are planning, and even things I’ve seen which had me chuckling – a lady outside her house, covered in what looked like ash, shaking herself off while yelling at her children to go to their room was one such chuckle moment.
Writing to them somehow makes me feel as if I’m chatting directly to them, more so than taping at a keyboard. And while we continue to electronically communicate regularly, the writing to them is treasured. As is the moment I hand over the colourful envelope at my local post office. For it’s at that point I know what I’ve said is on it’s way. And as I walk away, I’m already planning my next card purchase, but never the content. That only happens on Monday morning when there is time to reflect on the last seven days.
I’ve lost count of how many cards have been written, but I’m guessing 8 to each of them so far. The aim being for them to receive a letter/card a week. Sometimes it works, and sometimes they get 2 at once. But so far so good. The SA postal system has not let me down.
And then there is a magical moment when I receive a card back. I held one in my hands today and beamed.
And as I did, I hoped they both do the same when they receive mine.
Funny thing about moving and or leaving a home, job or country, is how you start to notice the things you will miss. I’m not talking family here, but rather the smaller things that you nurture and enjoy. Take these roses for instance. Hubster and I have wanted climbing roses in our garden for about 285 years, and finally this past summer we got them. They were brief, but quite spectacular nonetheless.
Sure we’ll have them again, but they’ll never beat these beauties in our Cape Town garden.
In just under 6 weeks time, hubster and I will be moving back to the UK. It’s been a long time coming, and after me having lived in South Africa for 35 years, and hubster well over 40, we know we are ready to go.
As I sit at my Cape Town desk this morning, I’ve caught the sun rise, and in doing so have watched the reveal of the mountain, and the varied signs of life as cars and people head to work and school. And all the while I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have this spot next to the window, and how magical it is to watch the day dawn. And just as valuable, how these sightings will soon become memories.
That’s the thing about moving, the farewells, the realisations and the retaining of memories. And with this I find myself pausing often . . . taking a moment to remind myself how this is the last time: I will be seeing this, walking this way, driving my car, greeting my colleagues, going to yoga class, socialising with these people, seeing the bluest of blue skies, and touching the soil of our Cape garden.
Moving on then. A new adventure is ahead, and yet the goodbyes will be oh so very hard.
We’ve been doing a lot of heave-ho-out-you-go of late. And my word how wonderful it has been. Admittedly it requires skipping over, or even better limbo-ing under the emotional rope we tend to attach to possessions, but once done, it’s a free for all.
Photos have been a biggie. Over the years we have accumulated many, filling boxes and albums that spend their time being transported from house to house as we move. As we opened them there were some real treasures, and equally there were many which kind of had us wondering what on earth we were thinking, where on earth is that place, and good grief that can’t possibly be me and best you get that shredder out NOW!
Glasses, now there’s a thing. For anybody who wears specs you’ll know the agony of choosing a new pair. You do your best when squinting into a mirror as you try endless frames on, asking the assistant “is this me” and equally telling her “no-way, I look like my great-grandmother from 1702.” And then you decide. You collect the new pair and welcome the positive comments from friends and family, and generally feel good about having your photo taken. FOOLISH! Have you taken a look at yourself in all those old photos and not asked yourself how anybody could have let you settle on that pair?
In my case there is photographic evidence of many major fails in the goggles department. My face is quite small, so how I ended up with a frame more suited to an elephant beggars belief. Then there are the pairs with wonky shaped arms, they sort of start at your ear, take a right angle to the left and then another angle back up where they attach to the lens section. I’ve had the John Lennon shape that only JL should ever have worn, and dare I admit to the funny colours and oddly placed bling choices. Body shudders at the thought. Well I don’t need to expand too much on where those photos ended up do I?
The interesting thing though is how the photo has changed over the years. Hubby was a keen photographer in his youth, creating his own dark room to fiddle with his lens and all. From here we had quite a few, shall we say, interesting images, large and small, black and white and far too many girlfriends for my liking! Kidding of course, however they went into the shredder too. Cough, cough. We also had a lot of the small square photos, again black and white with the occasional colour one. Gradually the size increased and more became colour, and with this change so they were handed in at a 24 hour development point, before being returned in a long envelope with a ream of negatives for further development.
Then of course came digital. And with that we had photo explosion. We seemed to have taken hundreds of images, of the same thing, from every possible angle under the guise of can be deleted later, yet rarely were. And each time, all were printed, supplying us a wedge of photos to keep any door open in a typhoon. The rubbish dump of Cape Town is probably sprinkled with glossy celluloid flowers and historical places, and quite a lot of faces we have no idea of who they are. There’s quite a number of animals too. During one visit to Bushman’s Kloof a particular Zebra was photographed from the rear, front, side and then all over again. They hit the bin too.
We must have run out of money then, because we stopped printing and copied to discs instead. Crickey, this lot weigh a tonne. The problem now is that as my laptop no longer comes with a CD drive, I have copied many onto memory sticks and backed them up to other places until I have so many duplicates, triplicates and quadruplicates I can’t cope with finding anything I want anymore!
So which ones do I enjoy the most? The older ones, when the 35mm film was a requirement, when you had to finish a film and hope what you’d taken didn’t have Auntie Sue with a mouthful of marshmallows, or the dog raising a leg against Uncle Albert’s leg, as he coaxed the braai. The memories raised of my children are the without doubt the best. When they were small, exploring, laughing, cheering, growing, out with friends and family, toothless smiles at times, and badly cut hair, which I hope they’ll forgive me for at some point.
So photos have come and gone and we are left with only the special ones. We’re reasonably confident we will not be so eager to snap every raindrop or passing cloud in the future, concentrating instead on special moments alone. Will we be successful . . . time will tell, time will tell.