Have you ever sat at your desk and wanted to just scream/cry/hide? We all have those moments. While I was in the Kruger Park recently, I was driving home after a hot day in the park when I saw a giraffe crossing the road. I stopped to watch him when out of nowhere, another dude appeared. I grabbed my phone, turned off the car, and sat there recording the utter silence and this giraffe’s complete disinterest in my existence.
This was, I think, HIS road.
So, next time you feel mad, crazy and just plain frustrated, take a moment and just enjoy this. It’s just for you.
I want to thank you. Until I came across your UK site and complete ineptitude, I had no idea what a brain embolism felt like. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to experience it.
Visiting the UK site was a true revelation. The way the information was scattered around without rhyme or reason. The complete lack of help when it came to filling in the various forms. The total disregard for my search terms. Thanks to you I can now find lost dictators in deserts as my search skills are vastly improved.
I loved the fact that you provided us South Africans with a phone number that went to the entirely wrong department, was answered by the world’s grumpiest person, and that my requests for assistance had me transferred to an answering machine. That the new number I was given has yet to be answered. I had no idea that the sound of a phone ringing out 20 times a day could be so stressful. I now understand that you were merely helping me to develop remarkable redial skills and a high pain threshold. Obviously in case of future torture or abuse.
Your foresight astounds me.
And, thanks to you, when someone does answer a phone at any other time, I am now almost pathetically grateful. Why, I nearly sent my doctor’s surgery flowers! Although the receptionist was strangely disturbed by the fact that I burst into thankful tears. Thanks to you, I am now far more appreciative of people doing their jobs.
I want to thank you for forms that make no sense. For forms under the Child Passport section that ask when she was married and how she got her South African citizenship – without once giving me the option to choose “By Descent”. For expecting me to know how to complete the Father’s ID section when he is, wait for it, NOT South African. I have toyed with making his ID Number up. Would that be alright?
I must apologise for cutting this effusive epic of gratitude short. Sadly my headache requires surgery.
You ever have a fat day? The day where you turn and accidentally catch sight of your ass in the mirror and a part of you starts screaming like Munch and doesn’t shut up for at least 24 hours?
I get them. Funny how I get them more now that I actually am fat. I look back at skinny me and mentally slap her for stupidity. If I still had that old figure I’d be sitting here naked and wearing nothing but knickers on the school run. If I did that today, there would be heart attacks, medical emergencies and a restraining order. And that’s just from my husband…
I read, recently, that as you get older and into your 40s a woman’s body deposits fat on the arms and thighs as a part of some or other ageing process (translation: god has a sick sense of humour) but I had no idea this happened OVERNIGHT. Yes. If you are not 40 yet, please be warned that you will go to bed 39, looking ok, but wake up 40 with your upper arms and ass dragging on the floor behind you. Allow me to give you the name of a good surgeon…
Anyway, this morning, as I was wrestling my arms into some sleeves (kidding) I got an email from a dear, dear Saffa I love. This email has officially made me laugh so hard that I may need back surgery. Here it is, enjoy…
Finally the power is back on and I can show you all the magical, brilliant, hilarious and wondrous posts that came to me for this, my first ever blogging carnival.
Before I stand on the podium and sniff into my hanky crying out, “You love me, you REALLY, really LOVE me,” I shall show you the genius of the humans who write on the web. (Ten points to whoever guesses the actress that said that at the Oscars many years ago…)
To start with we have a post from Kids Party Heaven that will make you nod in recognition of lessons learned and moments of cringe. It made me think of times when I did things so utterly daft I still blush today when I think about them. Not that this was that bad, obviously, but just how well it is written and how quickly you are taken into the moment. Grumpy, funny and inspirational. Just how we like it! And if you are ever on the lookout for a fab children’s entertainer, then Diane is your lady.
Next up we have Nelly’s Eggs, a delicious blog by Nelly that talks about her life and her first baby. Her post is called Welcome to Spain but only just and describes what seems to be the same holidays departures as I have. I too get all panicked and race to gates and end up late while The Husband looks all relaxed. I think Nelly did this with remarkable composure, if I am honest and boy can I relate! I love the way Nelly writes, it is very emotive and engaging.
Next up we have Tots 100 slebs Diary of a Frugal Family sending us their post on The Worst Weekend Ever… Cass writes this with such brilliance I was crying with laughter and empathy. Actually, it had me crying with laughter full stop. My favourite colour is pink, the same shade as your nipples. Oh, oh, so funny. Thank you for this, Cass. Thank you!
In A Bun Dance, a blog written by the witty and sharp Ellen (and I have to mention here that I am smitten with the nickname The Panther of News) had me pondering questions like – if you were stuck In The Night Garden who would you shag? Seriously? Answer that if you DARE. Her post Sh*g, marry, avoid – the Edinburgh Moonwalk version is very entertaining indeed. Although they were too nice in their options. Ha!
Muddling along Mummy sent me a post called The Friday Rant Club – give us some proper role models and boy did this post hit some spots with me. I completely and utterly and totally agree with her on this. I think anything that has Celebrity Dad of the Year attached to it is a waste of time and effort. Why not get real people to nominate real dads for real reasons. And who voted for these slebs anyway? Bravo on this post! Can you hear me clapping from here Mrs Muddling?
Joanne, another talented journalist and blogger, sent me her discussion of the week about reviews on blogs. She asks some serious questions and suggests some thoughtful answers that are well worth considering if you do blog reviews. Reviewing is a serious business and, as Joanne says, you have to avoid playing fast and loose with somebody else’s money. It’s definitely worth chatting about – what do you think?
Finally we have something to take your mind off the grumpiness and to make your troubles melt away. Scarlett’s Kitchen, a blog written by Alice that covers her adventures in the kitchen with Mini-Chef. There are recipes and stories galore. She sent me a post on Where does our food come from? that offers a lovely idea for a day out with the kids that is educational and fun. Well worth visiting for the recipes and the feeling of comfy relaxation you get when you sit down to read.
And that is it! I wasn’t inundated with entries, I’m afraid. I think this is due to the fact that I didn’t pimp it out as much as I should have. In fact, if it wasn’t for Alice I would have completely forgotten. If you have a blog that fits the theme and would like to be included, I don’t think it’s too late!
Go on, send me your entries anyway! I’ll keep this up all week so newcomers can get their carnival posts up and their genius out there.
And to round things off, here are two videos that make me scream with laughter.
I want to make friends with the natives, I do. I want them to envelop me in their English arms and feed me muffins and jam.
I have been actively stalking them at the school gate. And one poor innocent creature fell for my African charms. H is a lovely lady and her daughter is one of Squidge’s best friends. Squidge and G adore each other and I regularly have her over for playdates.
As you all know I started a Get Fit For Charitytheme last year which, sadly, fell by the wayside as the month in South Africa, illness and work overload put it to the side. I’m not very good at exercising and dieting when I’m tired and under pressure so I failed to raise a cent for LearnAsOne.
However, a few months ago I had an extraordinary experience that defined 2010 for me – a woman working for a company I used to work for, contacted me via Facebook and told me that the aforementioned company owed me money. This was due to some law that was passed in SA and I ended up with an unexpected windfall of R24,000. A lot of money!
I swore that a portion of this money was to go to a charity. But I didn’t want to just donate to an organisation, I wanted to see my money actively change a life. So, I gave the money to The Husband as he was venturing back to Zambia and to the LearnAsOne project, and I asked him to give it to the school.
After buying some shoes for the kids, he also ended up donating the remaining money towards building and maintaining a nursery on the land. I honestly could not have asked for a more amazing investment. What an utter honour and privilege to be able to change young lives. It is incredible.
You can read the whole story on The Husbands blog, he reveals the ins and outs of the nursery and how it came about.
If you would like to help me keep this nursery going and these children educated, then please do donate to LearnAsOne. It doesn’t matter how much you donate, it really doesnn’t. Every teeny bit helps. The nursery is a part of the school project so any money donated will ensure that these kids keep on learning.
Seriously. Was I completely and utterly insane? Why did I allow myself to clamber onto that plane on Monday night?
When did I get all responsible?
What I should have done was what my dear friend S did. Call a friend, grab the kid, climb out the bedroom window and hide until it was too late to catch the plane.
Instead I flew with a fever, high on paracetamol and ibuprofen, with a child. Alone. 12 hours to Madrid. Two hours in Madrid. Two hours to London, Heathrow. Two hours to home by car.
I discovered a GIGANTIC hole in my leg while having a lovely bubble bath (cold as water not hot yet, but hey, at least there were bubbles).
that had red lines emanating off it and looked terrifying
So what did I do? I did what every calm, self-respecting adult in the presence of a child would do. I shrieked, grabbed my child, ran upstairs and called The Husband (who was still wafting about Africa) on Skype.
“OMG I HAVE A GIGANTIC HOLE IN MY LEG AND I AM GOING TO DIE!” I explained calmly.
“Is it a mozzie bite,” he asked in a way that can only be described as maddening.
“A MOZZIE BITE?? I NEVER SAW A MOSQUITO THAT BIG? OH MY GOD IT WAS A SPIDER AND I AM GOING TO DIE!”
“Why don’t you go to the doctor? They are still open there, you know.”
Ten minutes later….
“I have a gigantic thing on my leg and it has red lines emanating off it and I am also extremely ill. I think that they might be related, my throat is so sore I can’t swallow and I’m having hot and cold sweats!”
Then she said the first thing that made me stop and stare, “What do you think it is?”
WHY did she ask me this? If I knew what it was I would be in the chemist downing the relevant medicines already. If I knew what it was, I wouldn’t be sitting here imagining baby spiders hatching on my calf, I would be drinking tea and poking it affectionately.
What did she expect me to say?
Then the doctor poked my hole, declared that it could be (and I am NOT kidding here) “anything“(this was the second thing that made me stop and stare) and proceeded to give me antibiotics. I need to point out I was now giggling.
Then she said, “Draw a line around it and if it gets bigger in the next few days, go to A&E for IV antibiotics.”
I genuinely felt she wasn’t taking my potential limb falling off due to toxic poison from previously undiscovered spider all that seriously.
Fortunately I was lucky and today, two days later, I can swallow food again (although inability to eat has made me feel nice and skinny), the hole has stopped glaring and emanating and is nearly gone, and I am not hallucinating. Yay!
P.S. I plan to bore you to DEATH about Africa once I am entirely recovered, finished unpacking the suitcases (no, I haven’t, shut up) and slept more. Brace yourself.
I have been rubbish at updating my blog since I landed in South Africa. I’d like to say I’m enormously sorry but my relaxed brain can’t find the energy.
The flight was long and, ahem, interesting. We flew Air Iberia and it was faintly terrifying what with rattling, shaking, ancient CRT monitors hanging from the roof and air staff that, at one point, looked as frightened as we did. Still, we made it safe and sound and utterly exhausted.
I can’t tell you how fantastic it is to be warm and toasty again. We have had soaring temps of 38 degrees, stunning thundering storms that have crashed down upon us and left branches and rivers floating in their wake, incredible dusty sunrises that catch your soul in a grip of delight, and the magical scent of the bush that has me reeling in ecstasy.
For our first week we were staying at Sabonani Lodge which is right outside the Kruger Park and that has a herd of Hippos roaming free and easy on the grounds. On the first day we were given strict instructions to avoid walking in dark areas and round the back of the property at night. Hippos are big, fast and deadly, as well as cranky.
I plan to pop a bunch of photos on here during the course of the week showing you the awesomeness that is the Kruger Park, but as a teaser I can tell you that we saw leopard and cheetah. The latter being incredibly difficult and rare to spot, especially in the thick green grass of summer.
The entire trip so far has been an emotional journey of note. I’ve been assailed by thousands of memories as I see familiar sights and smell familiar smells. I’ve been stunned by how much has changed and how much has stayed the same. One thing is for sure, I am not sure I will be able to leave. There may be some screaming and crying and clinging to solid objects…
My return home is approaching with speed. I’ve spent the past four months bouncing up and down with excitement at the very prospect, giggling madly to myself in queues and public transport. The natives thought I needed special help. I was a gibbering, drooling wreck of joy.
The thing I struggle with the most is the darkness. The change of clocks each year triggers such a powerful negative response in me that I want to crawl under a bed for six months until the darkness has gone. Yes, I know that being in bed is dark. Sshhh.
Each year I tackle this as objectively as I can. I run, I try to eat properly, I go out, I knit. I find some way of battling the grey pallour of the skies with positivity and energy. This year is no different. I slipped on the Get Fit for Charity a bit but am now firmly on track. I have been out, I’ve been visiting, I’ve been working all hours.
But that sense of sadness and pointlessness seems to ooze in regardless, and I hate it. This year it has started to tarnish my return home. As I make plans to meet up with my friends back home, I realise how many of them I’ve lost touch with. From over 30 people at my farewell to a cluster of ten. Is it pathetic that this makes me cry? Probably, yes.
These friends are amazing. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t seen them in nearly four years, so for us all to still be so close is something of a gift. But I am filled with doubts. Will we still be fine when we meet? So much has changed. I’ve changed. South Africa has changed.
Everyone tells me how different it is over there now. That I won’t recognise it. I am afraid that I will return home and discover that the changes make it somehow alien to me. That I am no longer a part of my home country. And then what?
You see, I have struggled to fit in here. I am abrupt and straightforward. A country failing apparently. I piss off the natives with heartbreaking regularity. This is a trait that is sadly unique to me. I am a stroppy shit and say what I shouldn’t.
Sometimes I take it personally and think I am a miserable, horrible person with no social skills. Sometimes I get angry and snap back. And then I hate myself afterwards anyway. I’m a bit ridiculous like that.
My self esteem has staggered from alright to zero to sort-of-there over the past five years. I say the wrong things, I don’t say things nicely enough, I misunderstand things. Some of it is culture shock, some of it is me having turned into one very sensitive idiot. I take things personally when I shouldn’t and I get angry about stuff that isn’t important. It’s ok, I’m working on that.
But what if I am the same at home? What if I am not a South African anymore? Instead of a foot in each country, I have no grounding in either. It terrifies me.
So, yes, I approach my trip with a measure of reserve now. I am desperately excited but also afraid. I need it to be like I am arriving at home when I get there because the alternative is too scary to consider.
This whole changing of the clocks thing. Can I just state, for the record, that it bloody kills me? When we change forwards (or is it backwards?) Squidge wakes up at a hideous hour for about two weeks and we stagger around like half-dead zombies of doom.
When we change the clocks backwards (or forwards or sideways) Squidge wakes up at a hideous hour for about two weeks and we stagger around like half dead zombies of doom. Good thing today is Halloween, people will think I am wearing make-up.
See the pattern here? It’s not that I MIND being an exhausted parent, you know. It’s a badge of honour! The bigger the luggage under your eyes, the more hardcore a mum you are. Dammit.
It’s the fact that I have no control over this deranged fiddling about with time. In South Africa the clocks remain niiiice and steady. No mad evil genius twiddling about with dials and controlling time stuff there. Just nice and quiet ticking (sorry) along, year in and year out.
Then I moved here, had a kid, and got confused as to which time zone I was in.
Today was spectacularly mad. The Husband has ambled off to a three day bachelor party in a canal barge on a river somewhere. Alone, I waft about the hallways of the home in a white gown, sobbing. Actually, I’m wearing stripy pants that I LOVE (see pic above) and a white t-shirt and am not so much sobbing as crocheting…
I forgot about the clocks. I did. No clue. SO imagine my GUILT when I got annoyed with my offspring for waking me at 5:30am this morning. Only, she didn’t, did she? NO. She woke me at 6:30. A VERY healthy time and not at all bad.
You see, my child never sleeps beyond 6 really. This entire half term of travelling (update post coming soon) she woke me at 4:30/5am every day. For her to have entertained herself for an hour (she did!) and then call me is so good. And I got crabby because I thought it was 6am.
Stupid clocks. Stupid Saffa Mom. Poor little Squidge.
THIS is why Salvador Dali painted those clocks, I’m telling you. His head was done in by this madness.