Good heavens, it’s been almost five months since I have penned anything here. I’ve been busy with all sorts of things, which have put personal blogging on the back burner.
Yesterday South Africa celebrated Women’s Day. Historically, in 1956, on August 9th, approximately 20000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to contest the changes to the Group Areas Act and the requirement to carry a Pass Book to be able to move in certain areas. For many though, it has become a day to celebrate women and our accomplishments.
I meant to post this on Monday, 3 May, but while I was cooking, the insane need to pee immediately gripped me and as I was undoing my pants, my phone fell out of my back pocket into the toilet bowl My need to pee evaporated instantly, and all I could think of was crap, crap, CRAP!!! (no pun intended!) and then silently thanked the cleaning gods that drive me to bleach the loo every second day. At least I didn’t have to fish it out of the bowl with my hands. Needless to say, I tossed the tongs away. Next my brain said get the phone into rice straight away to give it a fighting chance at surviving the water that was slowly infiltrating its innards. Thank the Pope a colleague gifted me a bag last month. Somehow I don’t think she or I thought that an expensive bag of brown basmati rice was going to end up in a plastic Tupperware trying to dry out a phone. Why don’t the cellphone manufacturers make water resistant handsets? Because, from what I’ve heard, cellphones and toilet bowls seem to have an affinity for one another. Next I went to Elizabeth’s house, panic stricken, and tried to dry the phone with the hairdryer on a low heat, and then it went to Chante, whose sister repairs phones. My phone’s board is okay, but the screen needs to be replaced. I don’t have the money for it now, but fortunately Elizabeth has lent me a phone in the meantime. Anyhow, the intended post follows…
Yesterday was not a good day. I found out that a bottle of expensive wine that I bought almost a year ago disappeared out of the back of my grocery cupboard. The only thing I can think is that it was taken by the once-off cleaning lady and her companion that came to help me spruce up The Cave during level three of the lockdown. I left them alone for maybe a half hour to go and buy them some groceries as part of their agreed remuneration. It’s not so much the wine, but the memory attached to the bottle. I bought it for the girls’ night Eliza, Carmen and I had when we knew that Carmen was leaving to join Ewan in the Land of the Kiwis. We never got around to drinking it, but we made a pact to drink it together – Eliza and I at her house, with Carmen on a video call. To add insult to injury I felt a migraine setting in late afternoon and I felt all round blegh. Anyway, what’s done is done; there’s nothing I can do about it.
It’s Friday and nobody want to listen to gripes anyway, so I am going to share another kitchen adventure with you.
There I was, merrily typing away when poof, off went the computer and the deafening silence that only loadshedding brings, set in. We were supposed to be on stage one, but apparently a half hour before 14h00, they upped the ante. I had a number of consequential four-letter words that I silently screamed at Eskom. Aside from work that gets behind, I am worried about the fridge. It has taken to making a loud knocking sound every now and then. I hope it isn’t on it’s way out. Anyhow, I caught up some of the lost hours, with a delicious treat-coffee.
Given that I couldn’t work, I decided to go to the shop for the missing ingredients for the boozy mac and cheese that I keep seeing in my saved FB items.. Holy crap! Dinkum hard cheese is pricey. I’m talking R420 a kilo expensive. To add insult to injury, it is better travelled than I am! Made in Poland, matured in Italy. Pfffffffft!
As I stood with a mere 148 grams of it in my hand, uhm’ing and ah’ing about if I really wanted to try the recipe that much, the Cookery Goddess, Penelope (who has been on hiatus) emerged and said, “For crying in a pot of minestrone soup, you’re willing to toss half a cup of Old No.7 in this dish. Buy the effing cheese!” I knew best not to argue – people tend to look at me funny when I have a conversation with Pen in the middle of the dairy aisle.
I am going to make the mac and cheese tomorrow, assuming Eskom doesn’t put the power off in the early afternoon. Lord knows, this mac and cheese better live up to all the anticipation I have built up and the money I’ve spent on ingredients. Penelope had better come up with other recipes to use this cheese because I’ll be damned if I’m letting it turn into a penicillin-based science experiment in the (possibly retiring) fridge. On the flip-side I got paprika for almost R12 less than the local grocery shop here. The brown sugar was on special too. Penny best be clever there too. Last time she had me buy castor sugar for something and when I eventually wanted to use it, the ants had built slopes in the box and were donning skis.
It is less cold than yesterday, for which I am grateful. Even though there isn’t much warmth in the sun, the light is bright and the sky is blue. The alien tapeworm is also dormant – another thing for which I give thanks. I’ve only had a cup of coffee, my Herbalife shake, and two apples today. Tonight I shall most likely have some fish and roast vegetables.
I tried to wear my ankle boots that have a slight heel. I lasted all of ten minutes walking with them. My ankle did not appreciate being bent at an awkward angle. I very quickly put on the spare pair I had in the boot of my car. The Toppie is always on me about my car being like a travelling wardrobe, but today it was a blessing. My ankle is sore, but without a change of shoes the pain would be worse.
Before lockdown was implemented a hundred and whatever days ago, a few friends and I celebrated a friend’s birthday. There we joked about driving around ever weekend in search of the perfect carrot cake. We even joked about having a van, with WortelKoeke on the outside – the blokes being the wortels and the gals being the koeke. In this spirit, I want to do the same kind of thing, but for the perfect savoury pie, preferably pepper steak.
This may be #TMI, but after shitting through the eye of a needle for four days earlier this month thanks to a dodgy chicken mayo vetkoek sarmie, I’m averse to the idea of eating anything chickeny unless I’ve cooked it myself or seen it being prepared. I don’t wish diarrhoea for days on anyone.
Many South Africans are sad because Nestle is discontinuing Chocolate Log bars. They’ve been around since 1969, but in all my life if I’ve eaten one a year, it’s a lot.
I’m not big on marshmallowy chocolates, except Sweetie Pies; if it has peanut butter in it I will devour it, but failing that anything wafery is good, as is a Peppermint Crisp, Flake or anything by Cadbury. I swear I can taste the glass and a half of milk in every block. When I came back from my holiday to Singapore in 2004, I bought a Cadbury Black Forest slab at the airport. It was deliciously indulgent. I broke off a single block every so often and savoured it. That slab must have lasted at least three months which is a record for chocolate when I’m around.
While infections continue to rise, recoveries go unmentioned, and Eskom continues to freeze us out of the warmth and light many of us pay for, life is good – Rachel the Rocket continues to grow, work chugs along, and I’ve not yet acted on murderous impulses – but, it is only Wednesday…
If for nothing else, this lockdown has taught me to utilise my kitchen. I am not going to lie – if The Cave didn’t come with a dishwasher included in the rent, I would be living in PB&J sammies, served on paper plates and drinking my coffee out of a paper cup.
Waking up to the pitter-patter of the gentle rain this morning was a welcome surprise. It made me feel less guilty for a slow start out the blocks. Most of the days during lockdown have been sunny and warm – beach and ice-cream weather. I will never be blasé about living in a seaside town again, because even though I hate the sand, I wouldn’t mind just sitting on it, watching the waves break.