Saturday, October 20, 2012

Away. Away. Away.

And then I found myself here, in the quiet, in the place I've longed to be. And I'm a contradictory mix of bliss and fear and joy and, and... It's beautiful and the silence is interrupted only by birds twittering, rain falling on the roof (it's rained, a lot!), the occasional donkey walking past and the even more occasional car. I can feel my soul slowly unwinding.

I am blogging as myself, elsewhere, keeping this blog as its semi-anonymous self. I like this place, this haven I've created, but I wanted to be able to blog for everyone I've left behind without losing the anonymity of this one. Anybody who's interested, please put your e-mail address in the comments and I'll happily send you the link.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Online shopping and a lot of chocolate biscuits

I have just completed my online shopping for the trip to the Great Wide Open. Normally, grocery shopping doesn't hold huge appeal to me although, if you were to ask me to choose between clothes shopping and food shopping, there is no contest. Take me to the nearest food shop please. Shopping for my great adventure, though, was not a chore. Although, the slowness of my connection/their site did make me say some choice things that I am (possibly) not proud of.

I'm new to online shopping, and after my experience this morning, I should probably best avoid it. While I admit to being a bit of a hazard - in the ooo-look-at-that-let's-get-one-even-though-we-don't-need-one variety - in the grocery shop itself, something about online shopping brings out the compulsive shopper in me even more! There's just so much there. I know, I know, it's all in the shop too, but as I said above, I'm not the hugest shopping fan, to put it mildly. My loathing of hundreds of people ambling down aisles, stopping in inconvenient places etc, saves me from over-spending time and again.

In the real shops.

Online, that slightly hysterical claustrophobia doesn't exist. I'm in my lounge for goodness' sake, I can look out of my window at my furiously flowering, beautifully purple, potato bush, and behind it, the mountain. While I buy another packet of chocolate biscuits.

This shop, not only absent of the fraughtness of Other Shoppers, but also for my great adventure was, I must admit, highly enjoyable.

And one can never, ever, have too many chocolate biscuits really, can one?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Getting stuff done

Sunday, late afternoon, after a weekend of getting things 'sorted out', readying for my trip into the Great Wide Open. Seven weeks it'll be. Seven, full, weeks. This entails much planning. It's funny, though, the routine grocery-buying, salary-paying, getting enough hand cream, tampons, dog food for two months, suddenly takes on a silvery sheen, a shuddery excitement.

The Big Black Dog is coming with me, she's getting old, I can't leave her. I also can't deny  her the joy of living in a place where she will be free to roam, lead-less, her lungs filled with clear, fresh, air, the sky above her stretching further than she has ever seen.

That sky.

But still, regardless of the silvery sheen on it all, there is much still to be done, I just can't do it now. It's Sunday afternoon, I still suffer (twenty years later) from Sunday Aftenoon Blues, a hangover from boarding school. The dread of going back, hearing the doors lock behind you, leaving the weekend looking forlornly at the closed hostel door.

These Sunday Blues, however, are a lighter blue. More eggshell blue than royal blue, because I have six more working days until I am off for 60 days. Sixty. With that, I give a happy sigh, and get back to my sorting out things, the huge blue sky doing somersaults in my head.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


It was a pretty average Monday afternoon, at 5pm, broad daylight still, on that road, you know the one? That one that snakes off the mountain and flows into the city, past that big shopping centre on the left, it curtsies to The Grand Old Lady before bending to the right. You know that bend? The one with the old cinema that shows art movies, the one named after the princess with the rude name. The cinema next to the gracious old government building, or is it naval?

It’s the one that watches over that intersection, the one with the robots (traffic lights to you foreigners), the robots that lead up the little side street that connects to the other big road that goes all the way up to the mountain and falls down the other side, into the bay. That little side street is the same one with that music shop, you know, that one. The one with the guy who found Rodriguez.

I’m moving too far from where I saw him, though, let’s back up a bit, back to the gracious (naval?) building, the one next to the rude princess’ cinema. It has stairs leading up to it, open onto the street, walled to about chest height at the street level, the walls filled in with grass, I think. It doesn’t matter. It was the stairs that mattered. Well, not the stairs really, more the boy on the stairs, his back pack messily placed next to him, various things scattered about him.

He looked like an average twenty-something year old, almost a hipster, but not quite. I first just saw the tip of his hatted head above the walls of the stairs as we came around the bend after curtsying (sp?) at The Grand Old Lady. The robots were red, so we stopped. I had a chance to look at him properly, to take in his rucksack, to get a glimpse at his face, a good-looking face, I think, I couldn’t see properly because it was bent slightly, a tight elastic band or string clenched between his teeth that led to the top of his arm where it snaked around just below his pushed-up sleeve.

He was concentrating very hard on inserting the needle of the syringe into his vein.

I made G go around the block, and when we passed again, fleetingly this time, as the robots were green, the syringe was gone, but the tourniquet was still there. I wondered if we should stop and release it for him.

A strange coincidence after I’d read American Junkie over the weekend. I’d never before seen a junkie shoot up on a public street in broad daylight and it made me sad. We continued on our way, though, down that side street, past that music shop, you know the one, and on to dinner with old friends, to celebrate their new year. The sadness hovered near the door though, as I hoped he’d find somewhere safe and dry to sleep, even if it was just there, in the doorway of the arthouse cinema with the rude princess’ name. Rain was forecast.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Looking ahead

I was doing well there, for a bit. Getting a post out every day, every second day, and then I faltered. I feel like I have nothing to say, I kept opening new blog posts, even giving them a title and then, breath bated, I sat. Then I berated myself and said: "Shiny, if you have nothing to say, then you'll just have to bloody write about having nothing to say." Feeling suitably shamed by my own beration (is there such a word?), here I am.

I'm counting days until I leave for the great Karoo expanse. I shall be there for almost two months, blessed with large tracts of time during which I have no commitments. None. I plan to do a large amount of sitting on the stoep, maybe drinking beer, maybe reading, maybe watching the donkeys amble by (yes! there are donkeys), maybe chatting, maybe being still and listening, but definitely breathing. Large lungsful of clear Karoo air that make my heart swell.

And then, hopefully, I'll be showered with inspiration to write and I won't feel like I'm dragging myself over here by the scruff of my neck.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

So very, very, excited

I am three days short of a month of the date that will take me to the heart-swelling, inspiration-inspiring place that I long to be. For seven weekd. Seven! That would be thirty three days until I go, give or take. I can hardly contain my joy. Short, simple, truth.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Little girl lost

She is beautiful. She has his cheekbones and is immaculately made up, her hair tightly braided. He wouldn't have liked that, apparently. Rastafarians like their women 'au natural' - no make-up, no hairstyling, just looking as they were made by Jah. I like that, the bit about being natural, not so much the idea that it was forced by the men on 'their' women. I digress, though. There she was, manicured, and talking about him, her father, Bob Marley, in the documentary of his life - Marley - which I watched yesterday.

Her beauty, her perfect manicuring, however, did little to disguise her sadness, which poured out of the screen, a product of parental neglect, still at forty-something utterly tangible. It was as if she just wanted his attention, but never got it.

It's not that he was a bad man, his ideals were good, loving, human and his music, well, we all know his music. He just had no idea how to be a father. It's not surprising in the greater scheme of things, his father was completely absent by the sound of it, a white man having his way with as many beautiful Jamaican women as he wished. And Bob Marley had eleven kids from seven mothers. I never knew that.

It's a fascinating story, about a fascinating man who did incredible things, but it was her, his daughter, that has stuck with me. He was riddled with cancer when he was flown back to Florida from Germany to die. He was only 36-years old as his family gathered at his bedside to bid him farewell.

"I thought then, maybe this time, that I'd get to have my moment with him, just us," she says with barely contained sadness that borders on bitterness. It broke my heart.