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.
School holidays have kept the blog quiet as I’ve juggled work and offspring with differing degrees of success. Squidge established really early on that hairstyles were not on the menu. She explained that these were for school but in the holidays she was doing her own hair, thank you very much.
It was truly adorable to watch her brush her hair and spray it, even if it meant huge chunks of knot growing at the bottom and sopping wet patches where she had put on too much spray-in conditioner. It was worth it to see her get so excited about doing it by herself.
I went to Africa on my own for 12 days as well. It was an exhilarating and inspirational trip. I realised some core truths, I rebuilt my self esteem and I decided that Africa will always be my home. It is time I think about returning to my motherland and building a life out there regardless of the issues and risks. Choosing a country to live in isn’t about finding the perfect place, it’s about finding somewhere that speaks to your soul and that has issues you think you can deal with.
So, without further ado, rambling and boring navel gazing, welcome to the summer issue of Saffa and the plethora of cute girls hairstyles coming your way. I’ll also be posting up a video I took at a watering hole in the Kruger Park. It’s five minutes of peace, silence and nature that will just ease your soul.
Like the lesser spotted Woolly Mammoth, the Woolly Kindle is a rare and beautiful beast. It lurks in dark places and lures you in with its siren call of, “Boooooks, boooooooooooks, read my boooooks.”
The Woolly Kindle is also free. Yes. All you need is 1x Kindle and some basic ingredients to create this majestic creature.
Ok, I’ll stop talking rubbish and explain.
My Kindle is an older version (it was a gift from My Person) so there are very few ready-made covers for it. I also bought myself an utterly divine skein of handspun and hand-dyed merino wool (made from a pet sheep called Barney, ohhh yes) that demands it is used for something I touch regularly.
The result? I discovered two awesome patterns for Kindle covers that are both free and quite easy to make.
For the Monster Kindle Coveryou’ll have to work in the round but it is quite an easy feat on circular needles. You may also have to register/log-in to Ravelry in order to see it as this was very kindly created and donated by a Ravelry member.
The Baobab is gorgeous, very easy to make, and has sentimental value because of the fact that it grows in Souf Efrica. Yes, I am aware that it is a little bit sad, but hey.
Fabulous free patterns, awesome Kindle covers. Life is good.
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.
This utter beauty was sitting right beside the road when we came out of the Shitlake watering hole at the Kruger National Park. An incredibly rare find, especially in this long grass, and so close to the car we could almost touch him. No zoom used here!
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.
I did. It was all inspired by the post entitled “My Face Fell Off“. Someone from the Modern Herbals officesgot in touch with me and recommended I try out their Syno-Vital Hyaluronan product which is made from….the same stuff that you find in the vitreous humor of the eye. Awesome.
Eye- juice. How could I resist?
The box arrived all nice and shiny and I whipped it open to find lots of little silver packages lurking inside. I was instructed to rip off the top, tip the contents into some water, and chug it down. All before food!
Now, I am rubbish at remembering to take pills of any kind. You should see how crap I am at remembering my echinacea so I don’t get sick in SA. I had to put these guys right next to the bread bin so that I wouldn’t miss them when I went to make breakfast every morning.
It actually worked! I took the sachets every single day for 30 days. The taste was, ahem, unusual. It’s an almost faintly salty, flat flavour that doesn’t offend the palate but does kind of make you feel like you really are drinking eye-juice.
So what is it? Hyaluronic Acidis a natural part of the body found in the joints for lubrication and it binds 1000 times its weight in water, making it the ultimate natural moisturiser and nutrient carrier. Oooh.
As we age our bodies produce less of the stuff (stupid aging) so theoretically if you use this every day you will be keeping your body nice and moisturised and your nutrients will be wonderfully transported.
This particular product is made from premium grade Hyaluronan with a molecular weight of between 2.1 and 2.5 million Daltons. Sadly this is NOT Timothy Daltons. Not even in his heyday. Sorry. I still don’t know what a Dalton is but it looks important here and these guys apparently have far more Daltons than some competing brands.
At first I didn’t notice a difference at all. And I honestly did peer into the mirror a lot, an experience I don’t particularly relish anymore.
It was a hellish month – these 30 days that I took the product – with The Husband and I getting about 4-5 hours sleep a night. Squidge was struggling to settle into school and had bizarre sleep patterns, we were both manic with ridiculous amounts of work, and I started my diet (that hasn’t been going to well. Am very ashamed. More on that tomorrow).
Needless to say, the Syno-Vital had one montrous task ahead of it. I monitored my skin and I have to say that, in spite of no sleep and lots of work, I wasn’t looking as haggard as I usually do after a month like this. It looks like this stuff really works. I’d be interested to know how well it would do when I am well rested! So I have plans to buy a box for South Africa holiday and do another check.
I waited for another three weeks after the product finished to see if my skin reflected any changes. Again, it was a tough few weeks with me getting about 3-5 hours sleep a night and, let me tell you, this was a period of definite Face Falling Off.
As I am not a scientist I can’t say that I discovered any miracle results as my tests were not entirely scientific in nature. However, I can say that a month ON the sachets vs. three weeks OFF the sachets shows a difference. Not a massive difference, I only took it for 30 days, but a difference nonetheless.
Considering the cost of creams and other such things, I am inclined to make this my new beauty regime treat. I like the fact that it does more than just make me “appear” younger, that it also promotes health and well being. I didn’t get a cold while I was taking it, but am suffering from a monster one today.