Friday, 31 October 2008

A lifetime away

Strange how certain stimulae will throw you back immediately into your childhood. I had such an event two nights ago.

I fell into bed, completely exhausted at about 8pm. Because we are heading into a S. Hemisphere summer, it was still light. Several birds were still making their presence felt – a fantail was flapping about in the cabbage tree, and our resident song thrush was singing a cheerful ditty from the neighbour’s tv ariel.

I was seven years old again, tracing the pattern of pink sweet peas on the white curtains in my tiny bedroom. I could smell newly mown grass from the back lawn and my parents chatting in the garden of the bungalow where I grew up. Dad would be checking the rose bushes for greenfly and mum would be telling him about the parent/teacher’s association meeting.

Mostly, I fell asleep dreaming about the seaside and our caravan on the moors and the wide open spaces of the countryside where we spent our weekends. Forty years on, I will probably be strolling along the dramatic coastline and remembering the shell seeking weekends of my childhood. Wonderful how things do come full circle.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

In Extremis

Extremities are funny things. I have a problem with my hand. At the end of last year, I discovered a small tumour on the right palm. Now the end of my little finger adjacent to the “much reduced in size tumour” is constantly sore. It makes knitting and typing painful.

I always have a freezing cold nose – if it were damp too, I’d be a Labrador. The only way to warm it up is to nuzzle the deep fur of our very patient cat.

I have rheumatism in several of my toes, and if I get stressed or embarrassed, my ears burn bright red. Aside from the colour issue, the ears work quite well, but the feet now tap at tango speed rather than pogo.

My ears are perhaps the most multi functional of my extremities. When the neon light in the garage blew, it would have been possible to see in the dark by the light of my ears. At night, the cat knows to crawl into bed by my shoulder, possibly because my glowing red ears guide her there. Heat seeking missiles could be led off course if I waggled my ears.

That’s it, I knew I had a destiny; as an artillery decoy.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Orchard of Pomegranates

A woman of Valour - Shalom of Safed


Today is Simchat Torah, when we celebrate the giving of the Scriptures and the richness we find there. For generations, the artistic community of Israel has revelled in the inspiration the Torah has given them.

For the last 60 years, since the establishment of the state of Israel, its artistic community has flourished and prospered. Nowhere more so than in the Galilee. There is such a high concentration of artists, textile artists, sculptors, jewellers, photographers and musical instrument makers in this tiny region that a hefty book has been published about their work. Many are hidden away on the kibbutzim which dot the region. The artistic expression is as diverse as the countries the artists originate from; whether Ashkenazim, Sephardim or Mizrahim.

The tiny town of Safed, high on a hill overlooking the Jordan valley, boasts an enviable artistic community. Shalom of Safed is perhaps its most well known “son”. By the time of his death, aged 93, his paintings, tapestries and lithographs had been exhibited all over the world. His topics focussed on the religious and family life and the Scriptures. Just a few examples.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Bad reception and creaky joints

Yesterday I caved in – over a digital TV.

The one we had not only wasn’t digital, but it had dents in it - from when it was kicked by a giraffe in the ark.

We watch TV about once a week and five minutes each night for the news headlines. Hence I felt a bit daft buying such a flashy item, albeit in a sale.

However, I’m a convert. It is BEAUTIFUL to look at – even when it’s turned off. Oh yes, and DVDs will now be viewable in the right width.

Ms Apple Cookie is sulking, as we have now switched from a satellite box, big enough and warm enough for arthritic Ms to snooze on, to a small free view receiver, large enough for a geriatric hamster.

I don’t think a hot water bottle every night in place of the satbox is going to cut it for Ms. I was punished last night by her stretching languorously on my side of the bed. Hubby and I and iPud had to share the other half.

So alas, the new TV is responsible for a bad night’s sleep.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Lifesaving sandwiches

If I had the energy, which I don't, I would write an ode to the humble sandwich.

For the last three days of insanity at my new job, I have been kept upright by a square plastic box containing a two slices of bread and some cheese. There has been so much to learn and do, I've had just enough time to open my mouth and chew.

By the time I've collapsed at the dinner table, I haven't had the energy to lift food to my face.

So, I'm sending out a plea for toasted sandwich ideas. What can I take to put in bread and toast in a sandwich maker. Needs to be healthy, energy inducing and capable of being eaten in around 45 seconds?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Random associations

........the similarity between some vacuum bags and colostomy bags.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Shopping for Dummies

Our local super cheap supermarket recently underwent a big renovation. It is now much larger and smarter, and can stock more products. The trolleys are new, so for the moment can be pushed in a straight line.

The size of the store has several disadvantages.

Firstly, I never know where to find items when I’m in a hurry. You have to traverse several levels of purgatory before you can locate deodorant or shredded coconut.

Second, I didn’t realise how vital it was to have a choice between thirty types of tuna. It used to be simple. Tuna was either in oil or brine. Now it is in soy oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, and spring water. It comes with chillies, onions, curry flavoured or Thai flavoured. It is dolphin friendly (obviously not tuna friendly) and kosher.

Nuts occupy four different aisles – loose in a bin, organic, snack packets or bulk in a sack.

I can NEVER find baker’s yeast or frozen pastry, but I can’t escape the rows and rows and rows of chocolate – there are chocolate ambushes everywhere, even at the end of the laundry powder aisle.

Marmite is on the top shelf like an Adult rated magazine, but Vegemite is at eye level. It is a conspiracy.

Anyone else out there nostalgic for the corner greengrocer selling one type of corn beef, one make of baked beans and freshly sliced pale pink baloney sausage?

Sunday, 12 October 2008


A question. Does anyone know if butterflies are also attracted to objects by smell as well as colour?

As we had lunch on our sunny deck today, we had a Monarch butterfly strutting and fluttering VERY close to our block of Stilton cheese.

There has to be a children’s story in there somewhere.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Moving swiftly on.......

I have had a breathtaking few days, which have resulted in a new job. If I said that the occupants of our house have now been renamed iDoc (husband), iPud (boy cat) and Apple Cookie (lady cat), you might gather that the job isn’t with Microsoft.

Bill and Melinda didn’t suit the cats anyway.

I start on Wednesday. Eek! Excited and terrified every alternate 20 seconds. Will someone please pour me a g & t (or send me some calories via Facebook)

Monday, 6 October 2008

TV or not TV

We have just dished our satellite TV subscription. The channels are a complete waste of money, nothing but repeats and cheap American sitcoms. Quality news reporting is easier to find online. An unexpected bonus is I have realised how much more time I have now I don’t flop in front of the box at the end of a busy day.

So, advertising for the new high tech screens and entering the digital TV age has been somewhat lost on us.

A tangential thought. Simultaneous with dumping the TV, I am using my reading glasses more. I have a pair to keep by the bed – the other pair always accompany me with my book to cafes; hubby reads the paper, I indulge in a tome or two. A few days ago I left my glasses on whilst eating at a cafĂ©. I nearly fell over. My food was so interesting. I could see the dates in the scone, I could see the cocoa on the moccachino – a whole new world has opened up to me through fine tuned prescription glasses.

This afternoon I could see the pattern on my husband’s ice cream cone! Wow, I love my reading glasses.

From now on, I want my dessert digital, not analog!