Life in the Garden Route of South Africa has its perks. There are quite a few gin distilleries close to my hometown. There is even a school in town where you can make and infuse your own bottle of gin as a keepsake to enjoy in the comfort of your favourite chair at home.
In an attempt to draft a ‘getting to know me better’ post for you, my awesome readers, I put a post on FB which read, ‘if you could ask me any question, what would it be?’ The response wasn’t all that great, so I searched ‘how well do you know me’ images online and found one with thirty questions:
Do you have an addiction?
If I had to admit an addiction, it would be ice-cream. It is one of the few things I can’t resist – even when the weather is colder than the ice-cream is.
Who is/are your best friend(s)?
I have many besties – all for different reasons. It wouldn’t be fair to single out only one or two.
When is your birthday?
Soon – September 22nd.
What is your current mood?
I’m still a bit cheesed off because of Stage 4 loadshedding, but I’m feeling remarkably chipper otherwise.
I will never tire of the roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote.
What is/are your favourite movie(s)?
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dirty Dancing, Fatal Attraction, A Few Good Men, An Officer & a Gentleman, Dead Poet’s Society, Shanghai Noon, The Holiday, Two Weeks’ Notice, and Notting Hill.
What is your favourite colour?
What is/are your favourite food(s)?
Homemade: The Toppie’s curry or The Bean’s cottage pie. If I splash out at a restaurant, I prefer a medium-rare steak, sushi, or seafood.
Which of your girlfriends do you trust?
All of them – we wouldn’t have a friendship without trust?
Which of your guy friends do you trust?
See the answer above.
What is/are your favourite TV Show(s)?
Lately I’ve been watching Nurses and Pure Genius and loving them. A few of my all-time favourites though are: Bones, Dr Who, NCIS (all of them), and Suits.
Do you have any insecurities?
Show me someone who doesn’t, and I’ll show you a liar.
What is the last lame joke you heard?
On AlgoaFM Breakfast yesterday, Charlie T told this one:
A woman goes shopping and when she gets back to her car, she sees she locked her keys inside. A man stops, asking if he can help She explains what happens and the man removes his pants, wiping them across the lock on the door and it springs up. She asks how he did it and he replies, ‘these are my khaki pants.´
Who is the last person you hugged?
What is/are your favourite hobby(ies)?
Blogging and more recently, cooking.
Who is the last person you texted?
My colleague, Nikita.
What is a random fact about you?
Before I got my braces, I could fit my fist in my mouth.
What is your current relationship status?
I’m so single that if I was a dollar a stripper’s g-string would spit me out.
Do you have any children?
Of my womb, no; of my heart, many.
Who/What do you miss?
Charlie, Suki, Carmen, and my mind most days.
What is something you hate?
Being woken up when I’m not fully rested. Seriously. Just. Don’t!
What is something you love?
Spending time with my parents and with my friends.
What is something you want?
To travel abroad again.
Who is the last person you called?
If you must know, it was Teresa – and that was on Tuesday night.
Where are you from?
What do you look for in a significant other?
Honesty, integrity, loyalty, trustworthiness, and compassion.
Do you have a morning routine?
Yes. Most mornings it is to try to get to the office on time after working from home for almost five months.
Yesterday morning I woke up to many messages saying happy Spring or something to that effect. I am a stickler about the true start of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere, purely because the Equinox is on my birthday.
I then saw the news that Eskom was once again implementing load shedding. My flowery thoughts did a three-sixty. New season, new loadshedding…
On Thursday last week I had a MS Teams meeting at 11 and I was out of data, along with money to buy, so Eliza offered that I work at her and Nathan’s place for the day. Their little boy, Lambert, aged almost four called for Eliza and I to ‘come look’ and eventually we got round to it. There on the ground in front of the sliding door lay a tiny bird, clearly stunned from flying into the sliding glass door.
At the beginning of the year, when the Coronavirus was still only in China, I set a list of goals (as opposed to New Year’s Resolutions) – one of which was to have a getaway at least once a quarter. Lockdown totally messed with quarter one and two, but as soon as whatever-minister-is-in-charge-of-tourism announced that intra-provincial travel was allowed, I was online to find things to do and places to stay like white on rice.
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.
I’ve lost count; I think it’s day 76 of the lockdown, or as I’ve come to realize, the new normal. It’s been challenging, but slowly I am beginning to get used to it. I’ve pretty much given up wearing my specs when I go out because they constantly fog up when I wear my mask.
My cooking skills continue to improve. I made an amazing Thai green chicken curry a while back which was beyond delicious. As I become more confident, I will experiment with spice mixtures myself, rather than the readymade ones. The Amish apple loaf is something I can make with my eyes closed and it is an absolute hit.
I also tried my hand at making a vegan tropical rice pudding. Oh my word! It was so delicious, I at the entire pot all by myself.
Tomorrow I plan to make chicken a’la king and somewhere in between then and Monday, I want to try a Jamaican banana bread. Yes, I’m finally climbing on the bandwagon. I also want to try making pizza dough in the breadmaker.
Staying in the kitchen, I finally used my juicer. I made an amazing mix of beetroot, cucumber, apple, pineapple, and orange juice. I stored it in a Douw Egberts coffee bottle, but it didn’t last. I drank it all. I felt spritely afterwards. My body must not have known what hit it – such freshness! I made some for Elizabeth and when II went into work, I took some for Carla and Rowena too. Carla is quite keen to try anything that comes out of my kitchen. I feel bad for all the pulp that goes to waste, but I will freeze it next time and use it in waffles, soup, cakes, or even try to make vegetarian patties of some sort.
On June 1st, the ban on alcohol was lifted. People queued for hours to get booze. I waited until Tuesday, went to Woolies and bought a bottle of Diemersfontein Chocolate Shiraz there. In and out in under ten minutes. Elizabeth and I drank it on Friday night while sitting a great social distance apart from each other.
There are rumours doing the rounds that some MEC’s are requesting a reinstatement of the ban because abuse cases are on the rise, as are accidents. Just last week, someone posted on a local Facebook group that a visibly drunk man knocked her son over – this while the inebriated prat had three children in his own vehicle. Apparently, he was let go, because under COVID-19 regulations, he couldn’t be breathalyzed. The question begs, why wasn’t he detained and taken to hospital to have his blood drawn? What if the child he hit had sustained serious injuries? The mind boggles…
On the subject of blood, I went to donate a pint yesterday. It’s been over a decade since I last made a donation. Turns out my details were still on record after the extended hiatus, and yesterday was a milestone donation: number 25. I got a nifty picnic blanket to mark the occasion. My hope is that when a modicum of normality returns to life, I can convince our management to host a clinic once every two months. I broached the subject in March, but then lockdown happened.
Last Wednesday, Lily-Rose celebrated her crown birthday. I could unfortunately not spend the day with her, her parents and her Nanna because I had work but took a drive out to the farm on Saturday. The great thing about the farm is the wide-open spaces, so visiting with social distancing in place is easy.
They have a few orphaned lambs that are bottle-fed which is always a highlight to me. I can confirm that Ba-Ba Black Sheep is indeed real. And he is a glutton for milk. If I didn’t have a tight grip on the bottle, he would have pulled the teat clean off.
I also got better acquainted with the chickens.
One thing I love about going to the farm is t a drive down to the river. The reflections on the water are always magnicient.
Rachel the Rocket continues to grow, giving me hope that I might be able to cultivate other edible indoor plants after all. I don’t have the right set-up at The Cave to grow plants outside, and with the way the wind has been destroying things of late, even if I could, I wouldn’t.
Tonight, a ridiculous wind storm is expected, bringing with it a cold front and freezing temperatures. I fortunately still have some Cape Ruby Port left from last year, and The Bean gave me a pair of warm slippers to wear, on the proviso that I buy her another pair that simply slips on.
The one thing I do enjoy about the winter is the sunsets (I just hate that the sun is down by 17:30 already).
Work continues at a reasonable pace. The lockdown has changed many things and there is a ripple effect as a result. It can be extremely frustrating at times, but I’m still fortunate to have a job, and even more so, to still be able to work remotely. On cold days, I’m extra grateful because I can work while sitting under a blanket, with an unlimited supply of coffee.
That’s all for now. I promise my next post won’t be weeks away.
Until next time, stay safe and keep warm! And remember: