Highlights of April

For other ‘Highlights of the Month’, click on

World:

My long-term preparations for our Ireland visit continue, as I learn how to say please (le do thoil) and thank you (go raibh maith agat) in Irish Gaelic.

In my browsing on the internet, I come across the deadpan funny Engineer’s Guide to Cats, and an entertaining video by the creators of Wallace and Gromit, which ponders the question “How do you feel about your physical appearance?”. I also find out that there is a Loldogs site too!!

Nation:

Our Deputy Safety and Security Minister Susan Shabangu surprises everyone by urging policemen and women to “kill the bastards” (referring to criminals). Her “shoot to kill” policy is loudly and enthusiastically applauded by the astounded police (who are presumably relieved that government is finally acknowledging that the killing of the men and women in blue cannot be allowed to continue unpunished) and by millions of South Africans who are ecstatic that a Minister has finally been courageous enough to take a tough stance on crime. Unfortunately, our wishy-washy, limp-wristed government and the Human Rights Commission demand a retraction. I wait excitedly to see whether she will continue to defy them.

Neighbourhood:

I love this time of year, when summer is changing into autumn. It’s a time of glorious sunsets and refreshing bursts of rain that wash away all the dust and pollution of summer. Since the start of the year, we’ve made a point of going for a walk around the neighbourhood every evening after work in the hope that we will get fitter and healthier for our planned trip to Ireland in September. On one of our walks, we behold some intriguing activity in the local park.

A flyer in our postbox informs us that the recycling campaign that was implemented in a few of Cape Town’s suburbs on a trial basis at the end of last year, is doing really well in reducing all the waste that clogs up our limited landfill sites. And I am particularly pleased to read that our leafy green suburb of Pinelands is top of the list for cooperating with the municipality!

One Saturday, on our way home from a tiring morning of unsuccessful shopping, we pay an impromptu visit to Mostert’s Mill on the M3 near the University of Cape Town. It is very interesting to learn about the history of this 200-year old mill, which is almost literally on our doorstep. It is definitely worth another visit – next time with a camera!

When we want a special treat, we go to the Millstone Farmstall in Oude Molen Ecovillage, because we love its rustic and laidback vibe. Their food is home-made, feel-good, and very tasty. Their oven-fresh breads from the woodfired oven are to die for. Shijiwe makes me my favourite chocochinos. And there is always something going on: noisy kiddies parties with balloons and sugar-frosted cakes, children clambering up the rickety ladder into the treehouse and swinging on the tyre, horses whinnying with excitement at feeding time, chickens scrabbling in the dust, partially blind old dogs wandering around, a couple of people spending ages repairing a wheelbarrow instead of throwing it away…

At the end of April we somehow end up with TWO long weekends right after each other. In an attempt to make up for all the times we did NOT go away but stayed at home, working in the house or in the garden, we resolve to do ONE nice thing every single day. So on Saturday, we drive out to Paarl for a late breakfast; on Sunday, we head off to Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town for an invigorating walk along the ocean; and on Monday, we fetch Kim from Somerset West and have a decadent lunch at the Houw Hoek Inn Farmstall on the other side of Sir Lowry’s Pass.

But the excitement of such a fabulous long weekend is severely dampened when we hear that there has been yet another armed robbery at the local Spar.

Home:

At last, our load shedding times have become fixed and predictable: Our suburb has no power on Mondays from 12h00 to 14h30 and Thursdays from 20h00 to 22h30. Now that we know this, we can plan a romantic evening at home. The candles are lit, the thermos flask is full, the laptop battery is fully charged, and we have picked out a great DVD.

There is a tragedy in the fishpond: Nimrod is dead and Greysnout has disappeared. I am devastated. And after many nights of searching by flashlight, we finally catch and evict Slakkie the Slug, who has been leaving a sticky silvery trail all across our carpet in the office since last year.

Tuffy continues to keep us on our toes by frequently and unpredictably changing her preferred sleeping spots – although she is still trying to get onto the bed with us every night. She is clearly covering all her bases. Our nights are further disrupted by the fact that our feline sleeps so much during the day that she is wide awake at night, when she prowls through the house.

Although it is already April, I finally create the birthday calendar I have been wanting to make since the start of the year. When I go to have it bound at a copy shop, the assistant binds it on the side, which means that I now cannot hang it up properly. Outraged by such flagrant and unrepentant incompetence, I nominate him for the Doofus of the Day Award.

An American penpal, with whom I’ve been corresponding since 1986 – 22 years! – sends me an article about two elderly ladies, who have been penpals for over 50 years. That’s got to be a record. Bobz and I have a new goal! I remember how Bobz and I first became friends – via the shortwave radio service of Radio Netherlands. Remember when we used to listen to radio on the radio? And remember Springbok Radio? I wonder whether anyone still has penpals nowadays – and whether people still write old-fashioned letters with pen and paper. Or have we lost the art of letter writing?

Movies:

This month, we work our way through the entire six-series multipack of Sex and the City, so we only watch a couple of movies: an Australian movie December Boys, which stars Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame; an enjoyable romantic fantasy adventure called Stardust; the chickflick Georgia Rule, which I quite enjoy despite the fact that it received bad reviews in the media; and the Pixar-animated motion picture Ratatouille about a cute rat with a hyper-developed sense of smell who becomes a chef in Paris.

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