House Hunting: A Nightmare in the Garden Route

I’m a member of various FB groups in our region – mostly to market my Herbalife sideline business, but also to stay in the loop as to what is happening in the area, because I live under a rock most of the time.  I don’t buy the local rag because it is more ads than news and with social media being reported in real time, by the time the paper makes the round on a Friday, most of the news is old already anyway.

One thing I have noticed on many of the groups is how many people are looking for accommodation, yet they can’t find because of limited availability and for those who do manage to find something available, the places come with ridiculous rentals and the owners are very particular about no pets.  Some even state “no children”, which I think is cruel – and this coming from someone who is not a parent.

House Hunting

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It’s the price of living in the Garden Route, I suppose, but it doesn’t seem fair.    It brings that Roger Miller tune, King of the Road to mind.

One member pointed out, “How am I supposed to afford a house with a rental of R8K when between my wife and I, we’re only bringing home R11K.  We have accounts that need paying, kids that need to be fed, clothed and schooled, and then some…”  Some replies were, “If you can get a house for R8K you should count yourself lucky” and “if you don’t want it, I’ll take it.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find accommodation here?”  These statements are true, but it doesn’t make the reality any easier to deal with for those who are struggling to make ends meet, because in many instances employers in this area are still pay their employees way-under-market-related-salaries.  Every morning I say a prayer of gratitude because I work for a company that not only remunerates its workers well, but also allows for both professional- and individual growth.  Add to that great colleagues, and it’s a recipe for success.

Besides the supply vs demand for accommodation in general, another topic came up for discussion: In December many people were left out in the cold as their landlords put them out to rent the places for the summer holiday at rents only the Northerners can afford.  There are two sides to the argument of course – as a tenant of a furnished flat, the first thing I did when signing the lease was to check that I wouldn’t have to vacate the property during the summer holiday, because my brain said, “where will I go?”  I wanted the assurance in writing that I would have a roof over my head during the busiest part of the year, and I got it.  I will say too, that the couple that owns my home, are amazing lessors.

So, the question begs, did these people that were displaced not know about the requirement to vacate, or did they merely not bother to procure alternative accommodation in time?  Or did the property owners merely shaft them?  It’s anyone’s guess.  The plight of the tenants left stranded has now been raised to the point where the legality of such rentals is going to be investigated.  A good thing, I believe because there is clearly exploitation of a loophole somewhere. Whether it is intentional or not is irrelevant.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the investigation is.  Guess we’ll have to just wait and see…

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Candles in the Wind…

This past fortnight has been quite emotional for me.  It can be written off to the Mirena I had put in when the doctor did the other two procedures in November last year.  It’s normal.  Apparently.  I must just ride the wave.  Does that mean surf’s up?

Last week was a particularly bad week for me.  I would go from zero to bitch to activist to snivelling heap, to centre of attention to strong silent type in a matter of minutes.  Add to that I sometimes have foreboding premonitions and well, you pretty much have a category five hurricane on your hands.

I don’t often have these gut feelings, but when I do, they’re generally not wrong.  My friend Cassey was on my mind a great deal last week, and instead of just touching base, I kept putting it off.  Turned out she, along with another friend of mine, both lost parents last week, and one of my FB friends lost her brother, but the heartbreak doesn’t stop there 😦  On Saturday Shayla-Rae let me know that a couple of our former teachers lost their eldest son in a tragic drowning accident.  He was only seventeen.  A young man, with his entire future ahead of him.  It puts things in perspective for me once again.  Life is precious and in the blink of an eye, it can be ended, whether after a long illness, or in a heart-rending accident.  It also leaves one asking Why? Why did God decide to snuff their candles out?  Only He knows…

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In the bigger scheme of things – you all know how scared I am to lose my parents, but having heard of all this loss this past week, I’m grateful The Toppie only broke his arm.  It could have been a lot worse.  A few people have sent well-wishes after my post about The Toppie.  As I said, going back to work did him the world of good.  I also think it saved The Bean from committing murder 😀  The next bridge to cross is when the plaster comes off.  I’ll give y’all another update shortly after.

On a happier note, I’m having a catch-up with Carmen after work tonight.  She’s visiting her parents for a few days.  Can’t wait to have a decent chinwag with her.  Even though I saw her three weeks ago, it feels like years has passed.

Have a great week everyone, and remember – tell the important people in your life that they mean something to you.  You never know when they won’t be around anymore!

Exodus 20:12 / Ephesians 6:3

I want to be obedient and receive the promise of the two verses that head this post.  Sometimes though, I look at some people and think Thank God I am not them. And then I pray, God, please don’t ever let me turn out to be like them.  I don’t want to hurt the people closest to me.

There are a few situations that I know of, and while I’m not sure where to start, I feel very strongly to voice my (what many will feel is a personal attack on them (but hey, if the shoe fits…)) opinion.

I don’t like to ram my beliefs down anyone’s throat, but one thing I do believe s to “Honour your Father and your Mother”.  The Greek word for honour means “to revere, prize, and value.”  I believe that this honour means all the time, until they are no longer destined for this earth – not only when you as a child live with your parents, under their instruction and teachings, or when as an adult, you deem them to be deserving of it.  We forget that as we are growing up, our parents are growing older and that they may actually need us to be around for them – to revere their wisdom, prize their presence and value (what little) time we still have with them.  I’m the first to admit that I do fail at this, and when I do, I repent and try again, because I want to live a long life.

I was chatting to a friend’s mom, Patty, the other day.  Her dad. Arthur, is in a local old-age village, because he wants to be around people his own age and he enjoys all the activities that take place at the facility.  Every Wednesday, Patty and her husband pay Arthur a visit and on the weekends, Arthur spends time with them, at their home.  It is an arrangement that suits everyone.

Patty did tell me that there are many of the elderly people at the facility whose children don’t even bother to phone their parents.  One lady in particular’s children were here on holiday for almost a month, living it up in a hip beach house – not once did they fetch their mother to have her spend a day with them.  It got me wondering just how many children conveniently forget or simply toss aside their parents, for reasons unbeknownst to me – is it because their parents are no longer employed with an income to bankroll their children out of a bind, or because their parents have become frail and may need some extra care, or as I’ve heard one person say something in the lines of “Mom, you of all people should understand that I don’t have time – my kids keep me so busy”.

Screw that!  Your parents made time for you and were there for you whenever you needed them.  They deserve, at the very least, a visit if you’re passing through their town or a phone call on a day that is not their birthday or Christmas and not for you to hit them up for money, nor to tell them about all the luxuries you’ve purchased, when you know they’re struggling to keep their heads above water.

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Remember that you can get a new car, a new house, a new job, even a new spouse, have more kids, and possibly inherit some if you remarry, but you can never, ever, replace your parents when they are no longer here.

2016: It wasn’t All Bad

I didn’t type a post on January 1st as I have done for ages.  It’s not that I didn’t want to, I wasn’t of much value yesterday having rung in the New Year with Neil, Eliza, Neil’s friend, Grant and his wife, Casey (who happens to be Eliza’s cousin) and only had 4 hours of shuteye.  I’ll admit the hangover was deadly, but if I had to do it over, I would.  I had a great deal of fun and honestly, I was happy to see the back of a year in which I had shed a great deal of tears because of unsolved worries and constant financial and emotional stresses. It was a harsh, unforgiving year in the sense that I not only came to realize, but accept that many people are fickle and that they will only be in your life as long as you are able to give and they are able to take.  Once the proverbial well dries up, those same people who would telephone you once, sometimes twice, a week, can’t seem to operate the telephone anymore, nor can they make a special effort to pop in for coffee when they happen to be in the neighbourhood.  It hurts, and it makes me bitter, but I am not going to allow the bad vibes to cloud my hopes for 2017.  I also realized that there are good people out there too – people who I hardly know and who I least expected would care, who have proved to care more than some people I’ve known for a long time.

Looking back on some photos taken last year, I am grateful for the happy times that I had too.

Dad and I attended the first birthday of the parkrun.  I can’t remember when it was, but I do remember the theme was funny hats.  We didn’t do as many parkruns as we did in 2015, but this year that will change.  Dad has been very tired with his part-time job and the ridiculous hours involved, so I didn’t want to push the envelope too much.  It was good for us though, our bonding thing, so we need to get back into it.  It will also take his mind off the worries he has, albeit for a little while.

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Elizabeth’s sisters had babies early in the year – the first being Anna and Miles’s little princess, Karolyn and less than a month later, Ilne and Zachary welcomed their first-born, Harold to the world.  They are both sweet kids, with polar-opposite personalities.  Elizabeth is such a proud aunt, who shares their progress with me often.  Little Harold started walking just before Christmas.

I did a first aid course in April.  The course matter was intense, but the instructor made the day informative, interactive and fun.  My certificate is valid until 2019, but honestly I hope that nobody at work has a serious injury because I think my nerves may get the better of me.

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June I decided to do some baking.  I made a peanut butter and syrup swirl roll which turned out to be such a resounding success, a friend makes it regularly for her children.

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July I broke away to Shayla-Rae for a few days.  It was, as it always is, spectacular to see her.  She taught me how to stoke a proper wood-oven and she cooked on the stove for me every night because I was totally fascinated.  Let me tell you something:  a chicken roasted in a Dover oven tastes out of this world.

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In August Carla, her friend, Elaine and I went to Benguela Cove where we did a wine and chocolate pairing – a first (but definitely not a last) for me.  It was a special day, a memory etched in my mind.

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September was a month of celebrations.  Mom turned 70 and she and dad also celebrated their silver wedding anniversary.  I took them for a fancy lunch and afterwards we ate cake – for days afterwards.

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I also turned 18, for the 19th time and did something different – a Murder Mystery Party.  It took a lot of planning and while nobody was really sure what to expect, the evening was an absolute hit!

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My Herbalife business picked up systematically throughout the year, and I’m trusting that the trend will continue upwards this year.  My upline had a promotion for the members in their team and I qualified for a Hawaiian themed-party in October!  Pictured here are all the qualifiers.

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The same month I decided to give my hair a bit of a chop and while I hate selfies, many of my friends wanted to see the new look.  I like it, but sadly, finances don’t allow for a short do that requires constant upkeep.  By the end of 2017 my hair may very well be long enough for me to sit on!

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One of the most special events that happened in October was the birth of Neil and Eliza’s second son, Leonard.  I am the first person that will tell you I am scared of babies, but he is special.  I have really bonded with him and look forward to cuddles from him when I go to visit them.  Their eldest son, Noel, who is three now is such a good big brother.

November Carla treated a number of us to a weekend away for her birthday.  We went to a tiny little place called Nature’s Valley (about two hours from here).  We had a special time, bonding as friends, over wine, laughter, food and the tranquility of the nature there.  I’m sure another weekend will be on the cards this year.  Topping the last one may prove a bit difficult, I think.

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Elizabeth also had her birthday and my gift to her was an open-air movie at the Botanical Gardens in George.

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The last month of the year brought with it summer and with that, the annual Colour Run.  It is marketed as the happiest 5k on the planet and I think it lives up to that statement.  I was man-down afterwards because the heat was extreme.  It is fun and the positive vibe is electrifying.  The only downside is the struggle to get clean afterwards.  It took me three days to get all the paint out of my hair and off some parts of my body.  Will I do it again?  Absolutely!

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Dad also bought Mom a hand-reared cockatiel, who I named Marley.  It means misty meadows and she is grey, so it was a no-brainer.  She has proved to be a real joy.  She is only nine weeks old, and can be a bit of an attention-hog.

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The saddest thing that happened in December was the devastating veld fires which raged for a few days.  There was speculation that someone had tossed a cigarette butt out of the car window, but it turned out that it was arson.  One of the fire-starters was caught red-handed and arrested.  People could have lost their homes and so many animals would have been displaced, or worse, killed.

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There were other gems throughout the year – random drives with Mom to The Point to feed the seagulls, or simple pleasures like a beautiful sunrise, entering the American Green Card Lottery (I’ll know later this year if my application was successful, but I have a really good feeling that my dream of writing a novel in The Big Apple will be realized) a homemade grilled cheese sandwich, real boerekoffie in an enamel mug and even a spontaneous cheese and wine with a friend on the back of his bakkie.

In closing…

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Getting It Off My Chest…

I am not sure where this post is going to go, but I feel this incredible urge to write because I feel that, if I don’t, I am going to have to decapitate myself, simply to silence the voices in my head that are, once again, at loggerheads with one another.

A number of people who I have grown to know over a period of time have said that my biggest asset is my personality – that there is something that they can’t quite pin point in the way I act towards others, that draws people to me.  Little do they know that I feel it is not my personality that draws people to me, but rather my need for validation and recognition (the fact that I’m vulnerable) that draws me to people.    A simple thing like receiving recognition for reaching a sales target, being told that I’m an integral cog in the machine, or being included in an event of some kind makes me feel “normal”. The other clarification is that I may be a FOMO sufferer (although I don’t think so, because I don’t spend that amount of time on social media wanting to know what other people are doing; I just want to be asked if I can be included in what they’re doing…)  I often think that being “The Piece of the Puzzle that doesn’t Quite Fit”, that my Maslow Triangle is inverted –

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that Self Actualisation, Esteem and Social needs are more important than the basic physiological and safety ones, although my triangle would look more like this:

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Valerie, a colleague, for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect, because she speaks the truth in a non-judgemental way, told me one day that the face I put to the world is a false one; that the party-loving, loud girl, is actually not who I am.  Man, did I cry that day.  Not because I was offended about being told I’m false, but because something in my heart changed.  The truth took hold.

A lot has happened since that talk with Valerie.  I’ve reassessed a lot of things and…

I’ve moved…and in three weeks of living on my own, I’ve learnt volumes about myself.  I’ve learned that I hate being on my own.  When I lived with my folks and they would go away for a few days leaving me alone, I would relish the silence – simply because there is always background noise in their house, the radio is always on in the kitchen, even though two TV’s are on.  Now that I’m on my own, the first thing I do when I get home is put on the radio, simply so that it feels as if there is another “life force” there with me.  Fortunately I have friends who know this and who will pop in for coffee or a quick chat, making the loneliness a bit easier to bear.  I’ve been told by many people that it takes getting used to, but that I will.  I’m looking forward to that day.

I’ve learned that some people will make me their friend, even though I had reservations about them when I met them initially.  While I have an incredible requirement to be accepted, I’m still inclined to be a bit choosy about who I want to accept me.  (Do you understand why the Little Voices are squabbling?) Once I’ve accepted that these people want to be part of my life, the scales fall off my eyes and with this renewed vision, I see the incredible kindness in their hearts.  To give an example, my neighbour invited me over for supper on Tuesday night.  I took over some corn on the cob and she made two lamb chops for each of us.  To some of you reading this, you’re probably thinking “Oh pu-leeze!!  This chick is getting sentimental over chops?!”  People, meat is expensive when you’re living on your own. 

I was telling Carmen the other day that I’ve made a new circle of friends through my Herbalife business.  She says that it is great because it is a circle of other people with other interests from whom I can learn something new.  She’s right too.  (Just how lucky am I to be surrounded by such wise people?)  These are people from all walks of life, who are working towards a common goal of helping people get healthy and active.  There is an indescribable camaraderie between the members of this “family” that is second to none.  It doesn’t matter how bad I’m feeling some days – after team training, or fit club with these amazing people, I feel energised and ready to carry on.  Just last night three of these people came to have a cup of coffee in my humble abode.  Just talking to them and hearing how they do things has motivated me to get back on the horse and keep trotting on.  There is a wealth of knowledge readily available through this “family”, not just about Herbalife, but about life as it happens.  (MTM is making a mental note to thank Steve for persisting to get me signed up…)

On a lighter note, I’ve learned that despite vehement denial, I am a lot shorter than I like to think I am.  The work surface in my flat is correct according to all ergonomic parameters, but the stove is a mobile one, which is substantially higher than a normal hob.  This is how I have been cooking for a while. 

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Yes, I’m standing on a chair so that I can see what is cooking in the pots.  This will soon be a problem of the past as mom and dad have lent me their little induction cooker, which is flat on the work surface.  If I really want to bake, then I will use the little oven, because the way it stands now, it is at least at eye level.  Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry have also graciously donated a George Foreman grill to me, so once I receive it, I will be able to grill at an ergonomic level too!

There, now I feel slightly better, having got it out…the Voices are no longer shouting at one another, they’re hissing in whispers…

 

 

 

Wine Tasting in Herold…

It is scary just how quickly time flies, especially at this time of the year.  I have realized, with some dread, that it is a little over six weeks to Christmas!  And, with that said, a little over five weeks until we close for the summer holidays.  Eek!  There is so much still to do.  But, being a little more in control of my internal panic button, I am still taking time out to relax and recharge my batteries, like I did during two weekends in October, with friends, both old and new…

The first was with Elizabeth, Steve (who was no longer in a relationship with Michelle – not sure who broke it off, or why…) and another friend of ours Gerald.  We went wine tasting at Herold Wines, which is about 45 minutes from the town where we live.

We set off on the Saturday afternoon, the pouring rain not dampening our spirits.  We drove in Gerald’s 4 x 4 as we were travelling over the historic Montagu Pass, which is not a tarred road.  It wasn’t really necessary as many day to day cars travel the road, but it was definitely more comfortable.  The 45 minute journey took substantially longer than expected, but only because Elizabeth and I kept screaming “stop”, jumping out and snapping pictures.

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We eventually arrived…

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The range of wines is limited to six, so the tasting went quickly…

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and then we headed off to our digs for the evening, a self-catering cottage on the farm called Flufftail.

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It was quaint, clean and comfortable.  The water was hot, there was a fireplace and best of all…no cell phone reception, so we could really enjoy each other’s company.

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We stayed up quite late, but as is par for the course, Elizabeth was up first, then Gerald and then Steve, and as much as I tried to pretend not to hear the noise, I was up just after five too.

Steve went for a run, and Elizabeth and I decided to take a walk before breakfast.  There is something magical about farm life…

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Returning from our walk, we quickly prepared breakfast, while Gerald and Steve had a serious man-to-man talk at the fence … I love this photo because it looks like they are peeing at the fence, but they aren’t.

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It seems that everywhere we go, someone always ends up with wet feet or shoes…

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But, as with all good things…the visit soon came to an end and we had to head home…taking a few more pics along the way…

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Our journey ended with a quick lunch of leftovers at the beach.

I am so blessed to be able to make memories with the most amazing friends.  Life is good!

I will put up the post about my latest camping trip (the second October outing) either tomorrow or Thursday, so…pop by for another visit!

A Little Fun for the Weekend…

Many moons ago I blogged on a different platform, where this “challenge” was doing the rounds. I thought I would give the answers true to me, using lyrics snippets that are applicable (to both me and the questions…) If you feel like doing it on your blog – feel free…drop a comment and I’ll pop by to visit 😀

I am:

What I am, I don’t want praise, I don’t want pity…

(Gloria Gaynor ~ I am What I am)

I have:

Faith, I gotta have faith

(George Michael ~ Faith)

I know:

That too much love will kill you, just as sure as none at all.

(Queen ~ Too Much Love will Kill You)

I think:

I am too lost in you, lost in you

(Sugababes ~ Lost in You)

I don’t think:

Life is a Rollercoaster, you’ve just got to ride it.

(Ronan Keating ~ Life is a Rollercoaster)

I want:

It all, and I want it now

(Queen ~ I Want it All)

I have:

Sugar Pie, Honeybunch

(The Temptations ~ Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch )

I like:

The way you move

(The Bodyrockers ~ I Like the Way You Move )

I dislike:

The shark, babe, has such teeth dear

(Bobby Darin ~ Mack the Knife)

I hate:

Your girlfriend, no way, no way, I think you need a new one

(Girlfriend ~ Avril Lavigne)

I dream:

It’s so damn easy making love to you

(Bryan Adams ~ Run to You)

I fear:

A heartache, nothing but a heartache

(Bonnie Tyler ~ (It’s a) Heartache)

I am annoyed:

By the cold North wind they call “La Bise”

(Chris de Burgh ~ Lonely Sky)

I crave:

The Highlands, with its wonderful serenity, where the stars glow and the brooks flow, that’s my way of life

(Nanne Gronwall (One More Time) ~ Highland)

I usually:

Do the Walk of Life

(Dire Straits ~ Walk of Life)

I search:

For someone who understands the concept of:

Baby when it’s love if it’s not rough, it isn’t fun.

(Lady GaGa ~ Pokerface)

I hide:

Behind Blue Eyes

(Limp Bizkit ~ Behind Blue Eyes)

I wonder:

How many times you’ve been had and I wonder how many plans have gone bad

(Rodriguez ~ I Wonder)

Or

Wat van jou geword het, jy wat nog so by my spook

(Lochner de Kock & Richard van der Westhuizen ~ Tussen Treine)

I know:

I didn’t lose my mind, it was mine to give away

(Robbie Williams ~ No Regrets)

I just can’t help:

Believin’ when I slip my hand in his hand, and it feels so small and helpless, and his fingers fold around it like a glove…

(Elvis Presley ~ I Just can’t Help Believin’)

I regret:

Crying over You

(Roy Orbison ~ Crying)

I love:

Rock ‘n roll, put another dime in the jukebox baby

(Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n Roll)

I can’t live without:

Another cup of coffee, as I contemplate the stain across the wall

(Mike & The Mechanics ~ Another Cup of Coffee)

I try to:
Hide it, it’s clear – my world crumbles when you are not near

(Macy Gray ~ I try)

I enjoy:

Red, Red Wine

(Red, Red Wine ~ UB40)

I don’t care:

If Mama don’t dance and your Daddy don’t rock ‘n roll

(Kenny Loggins ~ Your Daddy don’t Rock ‘n Roll)

I always:

Hope for a kiss in the moonlight, on the rooftop under the sky

(Faith Hill ~ This Kiss)

I never want to:

Say goodbye, cause I never want to see you cry

(Westlife ~ Swear It Again)

I rely on:

Love. Love will keep us together.

(Captain & Teneille ~ Love will keep us together)

I believe:

For every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows

(Frank Sinatra ~ I Believe)

I dance:

To your beauty with a burning violin

(Leonard Cohen ~ Dance Me to the End of Love)

I sing:

A Song for the Lonely, can you hear me tonight

(Cher ~ Song for the Lonely)

I argue:

“What planet are you from? Accuse me of things I never done.”

(Rachel Stevens ~ Sweet Dreams my LAX)

I write:

The songs that make the whole world sing

(Barry Manilow ~ I Write the Songs)

I win:

Again, I win, here you stand again, the loser.

(Hot Chocolate ~ So You Win Again)

I wish:

Those days would come back once more

(Stevie Wonder ~ I Wish)

I listen:

To the rhythm of the pouring rain, telling me just what a fool I’ve been

(The Cascades ~ Rhythm of the Pouring Rain )

I don’t understand:

Why some guys have all the luck, some guys have all the pain, some guys have all the breaks, some guys do nothing but complain

(Rod Stewart ~ Some Guys have all the Luck)

I’m scared of:

Your lips (are venomous poison)

(Alice Cooper ~ Poison)

I forget:

I’m broke, but I’m happy, I’m poor but I’m kind

(Alanis Morrisette ~ Hand in my Pocket)

I am happy:

When I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain

(Frank Sinatra ~ Singing in the Rain)