Friday, 29 May 2009


I came to a somewhat unsettling conclusion yesterday evening. For all intents and purposes, I am a 50 something British man.

Which is a bit disturbing to deal with, since ostensibly I am a 20 something South African chick, but hey.

I just finished reading Mark Haddon's A spot of bother. This is the guy who wrote The curious incident of the dog in the night time.

I read this book in almost one sitting. It is so funny, and disturbing and random and so
(stereo?)typically English in that wry, self-deprecating way, that I could not put it down. It also reaffirmed why I will NEVER EVER get married. Dude.

Basically the book is about an average dysfunctional family, which proceeds to go through a spectacular meltdown to become united in the bizarre mayhem. This culminates in a wedding from hell, involving a religious dog and a headbutt.

The mom is having an affair, the son is gay, the daughter is marrying someone inappropriate who throws rubbish bins when he gets mad.

But of all the characters, I saw myself and my future in the father. He is reserved, distant, detached from his surroundings, disinterested in social interactions, an emotional coward who prefers to hide away rather than face up to uncomfortable situations, or else he just pretends they never happened. He forgets names, makes no effort to remember people or conversations.

He finds family and social life way too demanding. And that is me to a T. A retired Englishman.

If George is anything to go by, I should probably try to change quite soon, or else I will find myself lying in ditches, and doing things with scissors that I really do not think they were made for. This book is pretty gory and disturbing at times. Be warned. I had to take a break in one part just to settle my stomach.

I enjoyed the book and it is pretty light reading, but it does freak me out to identify so strongly with a pensioner with a dingle dangle. Perhaps I should start trying to engage with life a bit better, or at least pretend to until it becomes real?

Hmm. That sounds like too much hard work. Bring on the dentures and the Y-fronts.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Feeling all at sea.

The tide of my terrible time at work was broken yesterday. Stuff worked. Lots of stuff all at once. Granted this may only be one day's grace, and it will all go to pot on Thursday. But it came at a good time. I don't think I could have taken much more.

On Friday I was basically catatonic. Another day of nothing working, after more than a month. Even the fundamental shit that should not be a problem was screwed. My only explanation at that point was that aliens came in the night and deactivated all of my enzymes, and zapped me with a plague of flies while they were at it.

I was feeling so bad, my self-esteem was squashed like a flea. When I feel like that I completely dissociate from the world. I cannot speak to people.


So people bloody well speak to me don't they? And then I just want to run away or bawl or something equally antisocial.

I know, I am a freakazoid. When I feel bad, having people around me drains me. Some people need other people around them for comfort, I am the opposite. I need time alone to find my way back to myself.

Ever since I have been feeling bad about work, all that I can think about is the ocean. Very specifically the Indian Ocean, and most specifically, the stretch along Kwa Zulu Natal, which is in South Africa if you did not happen to know. That rough, warm stretch with the sharkies, both the rugger-bugger and the sharptoothed kinds.

Somehow the damn Indian ocean has dug it's salty claws into me and won't let go, and I have no idea why. As I have said before, we never even visited it much when I lived no more than 20 minutes away. But last year I did spend over a week swimming in it every day, from Durban beach front to Mhlanga to Sharka's Rock, tumbling around like a deranged pebble in those crazy waves.

Lately that ocean has been my only source of comfort. It is a calming vision in my chaotic mind. I keep telling myself that if things get really bad, and I lose my job due to gross incompetence or an alien invasion, all I need is money for a flight.

Then I can go and live by the ocean: in a tent, or a box or a palm leaf, or in the nude, or in a nice person's luxury apartment, whatever, and learn to fish, and eat bananas (I freaking hate bananas but I will persevere) or other people's leftover Steers burgers.

And I can swim and swim and tumble, and hear that soothing sound, and somehow, because of that intoxicating all-powerful ocean, everything will be alright.

Except for if I get munched on by a shark.

If I did, it would probably be an alien disguised as a shark, because the bastards are clearly out to get me. I hope the bananas give him a really bad feeling in his bowels.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Pretty fly for a white girl

Yesterday (Saturday, please note) I was at work the whole day for a conference. Before I made my weary way home, I stopped off to water my plants. I swore at the flies, watered and then left.

What with the walk, the missed train, the wait at the station, and the journey, I was travelling at least an hour an a half.

When I got home and looked in the mirror, there was a fly on my face. A squashed dead fly on my face, like some kind of mole or somewhat unbeautiful beauty spot. OR fly freckles, fly measless, a fly zit? It was one of the disgusting tiny scarid flies that have been plaguing my poor plants for the last few months.

Apparently my face is more effective at fly destruction than the numerous fly papers which they refuse to get trapped in, the insecticide, and the nematodes which are supposed to eat their vile progeny.

The effing flies have wised up to the fly papers and now they don't even fly. They just sit there. They are not even flies, they are sits.

I have never seen the point of flies, I mean, they don't even eat flies, as Eddie Izzard would say. But what could be the point on this earth of a sit? These are flies on the dole.

So I wore the fly in public for an hour and a half. Fantastic.

No one said anything. How could they? How do you say to someone, "Um, you appear to have a dead fly hanging from your face" and allow for any modicum of dignity for yourself or the poor insectly-afflicted person?

Fuck you flies, you are going down. Even if I have to vacuum up each of you individually, as my boss did one afternoon.

Apologies to any Zoologists (Helen) or insect lovers. Helen, you need some lizard food?

Friday, 22 May 2009

All that glitters is not orange

Yesterday I caught the BFG applying my self tanning body cream to his face.

I encourage him to moisturise after shaving on occasion because otherwise he looks like the Sahara. But he just grabs the first bottle he finds off my dressing table without even looking at what it is. It could be haemerrhoid cream ferfuxaches. Not that I would ever have such a thing on my dressing table.

I do not have hemmorhoyds ok, it was just an example. I don't even know what heammemememeroids are, or how to spell them.

I informed him that he might want to avoid that cream as he could wake up looking patchy and orange. So he grabbed the next bottle, which happened to be another self tanning body moisturiser, one that I had rejected because it is super orange and streaky and also contains glitter.

Something, some stupid, evil thing, made me stop him.


How could I have averted waking up to a boyfriend looking like a glitter-covered carrot? It would have been hysterical.

Work is reducing me to tears at the moment. Well, not literally because for some reason I have the inability to cry, even when I really really need to. But I am crying inside. Nothing works, not even the most basic things. I kept telling myself that things would get better as they always do, but that was weeks ago, and things keep getting worse. I find myself retreating into a reserved terrified shell of silence and self doubt.

So why the crap did I not let my boyfriend smother himself in glitter and have a good laugh? This could have been the highlight of my entire week.

Sigh. I am clearly too good for this world. One can only hope he makes the same mistake again. There are good odds.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Shoes are sooo last Empire

Here, have a picture of my butt climbing in Vietnam. Lucky you.

I may not be the best ambassador for South Africa.

See, at uni I made friends with a huge group of climbers. These people were the people I found it most easy to get on with ever, and I am still friends with some of them today, although we are all in different countries. We felt like one huge family. And of course we all had climbing in common, and that was good, seeing as that is what we spent all our spare time doing.

Climbers are a remarkably distinctive species. Worldwide.

The aim in life is to travel all over the country (students) / world (more upmarket climbers) climbing every rock there is. All the while spending as little money as possible. Money is for petrol and climbing gear see? Climbers are all incredibly stingy by nature. This means they will never pay for camping if they can sleep in a field or a car or a bush for free, and they will never eat out if they can eat two minute noodles or reconstituted Smash, and they will never ever pay for a National Park permit if they can avoid it because paying for climbing is sacrilege.

They also tend to avoid paying for clothes until, well, there is no until. Climbers wear T-shirts with more holes than material, or no T-shirt at all.

This is just the way they are. And because I hung out with so many of them, it is my norm.

Many of these friends have flitted in and out of the UK for business or conferences or studies or to live, and recently they have all been congregating around Oxford. So we have had a few reunions, and of course always go ... and play Bingo. Heyhey, gotcha, didn't I? We go climbing. What else?

A while ago there were four of us South Africans in a car with a token Russian. The poor girl. Anyway, we were on our way to go climbing indoors.

Now, a few things have changed since we were young and nimble. We all look much older, and we all get decent and sometimes even huge paychecks, but nothing really significant has changed.

One of my friends was wearing a climbing T-shirt that I had seen him wearing 7 years before. His belly was somewhat bigger and his hair somewhat sparser, but signs of age aside, they are all as stingy and as scruffy as ever.

The Russian was staring at my friends with their shorts and strops in winter, one with bare feet, all of them with holes in their clothes, and she asked me:

"Are all South Africans like this? People wear shoes in Russia."

And I told her without a waver:

"Sure, yes they are pretty much all like this."

It only occurs to me now that perhaps a fraction of South Africans, perhaps even a majority, like to dress neatly or even fashionably, wear clothes bought since 1999, would be happy to pay money to stay in decent accommodation with electricity and a bed, rather than sleep in a bush, and prefer eating food that takes more time and care to prepare than powdered mash potato from a sachet. And, like, they probably wear shoes.

It's just that for me, those guys are the norm. All South Africans I happen to know are like that, age 19 or 33. So it's not my fault the poor Russian thinks South Africans have not discovered the shoe.

We had her talking about robots within minutes though, and that is all that counts.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Monday is funday

And how. I don't normally go on about my day but this was quite special.

Firstly my alarm did not go off. I set up the alarm on my Cookie, and it worked all last week, but I must have screwed up the settings, or (more likely) my evil phone decided to sabotage my life and is in cahoots with the phone gremlins, who switched off my alarm. The BFG also forgot to switch his on, which usually is no issue because I wake him up.

FAIL. We woke up at NINE, and I usually wake up at 6:30. But I am able to get ready in seconds if required, scruffy has always been my look, so we bolted to the train station, and by my calculations I would only be an hour late for work.

Only of course the train never pitched up. It just never came. And the next one was half an hour late. So I ended up being two hours late for work.

But after all that, it really could have been so much worse.

It could have rained while I walked to and from work. In my haste to leave the house I forgot raincoats and umbrellas and things, and it has been raining constantly the last few days. But the sun came out just for me and disappeared again once I was safely inside. Sweet.

My phone battery lasted just long enough for me to call work before pegging.

My boss laughed the whole thing off, because he is cool like that.

I thought it would be valiant to skip lunch in order to catch up on work. Normally this would be bad news, because my rampant appetite, mad metabolism and low blood pressure could have meant me passed out before 3pm, but I was just fine.

There was a rainbow on the way home, a huge bright one that filled up my whole window. And then it stopped raining and these enormous fluffy cumulo nimbus clouds were bouncing around in a bright blue sky, and this is a rare sight and it was beautiful.

And then I came home and saw this, courtesy of JustB[coz] (not sure where she got it), and I had a good hose.

I did my own artistic interpretation of the whole thing:

sleeping around is sleeping around. Sleeping around is sleeping around.
Sleeping around and around. Around and around we sleeping go. Sleeping
is round and round. Around sleeping is sleeping around. Here we go
round the sleeping round. Is around sleeping sleeping around?
Sleeping sleeping is around around. Sleeping is around the around sleeping.
Reaping a sound is weeping profound.


I am trying my best to follow Rox's zen philosophy. There is no need to write off a whole day just because it started badly; there were many small good things in there too.

Ok this is so unlike me, I am usually the most cynical, negative person on the planet, but there are days you wished never happened, and this was definitely not one of them.

C'est la vie. Wotever that may mean.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Of naked men and nuts and things

I work in Oxford, and every day I have a twenty minute walk from the train station to work. After about three months of walking every day ( yes yes I am a bit slow), I happened to look up and I saw this:

A statue of a man standing at the edge of a building, looking as if he is thinking about jumping.

He could be standing there to admire the view, or maybe he is watching the passersby, BUT [censored viewing, parental guidance advised, avert eyes now]


I am not sure how clear it is in the pictures, but from where I walk each day it is perfectly clear that this man is also naked. His dangly bit is in full view.

Now why would a naked man be standing at the edge of a building except to jump? He has clearly lost it and is about to go balls to the pavement.

He freaks me out, and now that I know the statue is there I can't stop myself from looking up each day and feeling just a little bit disturbed.

What kind of message is this crazy man sending out about Oxford? That if you study there you will go nuts and want to strip and then kill yourself? Noice.

Seriously though, I know there are people with Oxfordian backgrounds out there. Please won't you enlighten me as to the true significance of the naked man, so that I won't be freaked out every time I see him?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Talking shite

Here is a post of utter randomness. I am bored alone at home and have this urge to write. But nothing to write about.

  • I really do love the Killers. My interest has grown from a passing enjoyment to a strong like and is now probably bordering on obsession. And Brandon Flowers is totally hot. It is the eyeliner. Lead singers wearing eyeliner do it for me in a big way.

  • I don't care that he is a Mormon. I have nothing against Mormons or any kind of religious beliefs. You are free to believe and practice whatever you want so long as that does not involve harming others, in my opinion.

  • I just don't happen to personally believe that Joseph Smith saw angels or had these gold bars with sacred texts on them, or that Jesus visited the US of A. But if you believe that Brandon, that is fine by me. You are hot so anything you do is just fine by me. Perhaps you should lay off the skin tight leather pants though, even hot people look less hot in those.
  • You looking for a second wife?

Just keeding, I never plan to get married. Is there anyone else out there who never wants to get married? When I tell people this, loads of people say, oh yes, me too. And then are married two years later.
They mean that it is all a big hassle and stressful and they are a bit wary of it. But of course they will do it in the end.

But I really really mean it. No marriage for me. And I have never actually met anyone else who really means it. Anyone?

  • All I want to do all day is sleep and eat and eat and eat. And climb. I have turned into a sloth. What to do? Is there some kind of sloth antidote or prophylactic or vaccine or at least something to ease the symptoms?
  • Work stresses me out. I am tired of pretending to be something I am not. But if it is the game I have to play to get through life and get a salary then fine. I accept. This is partly why I don't want to get married. That is one social game too many for me.
  • I have nothing against people getting married. I am all for it if it is what you want and believe in and it is a special moment. It just wouldn't be for me, so I would be faking it and playing along with a game I am not interested in. So I aint gonna. Living in sin has worked for me so far. I am tired of the games. I may have mentioned that somewhere before.
  • Now I just gotta persuade the BFG that I need to take Brandon as a second live-in lover. Our eyeliner bills will double. Maybe he can give me some lessons. I never quite worked that shit out.

Dear Jacob.

Just a super quickie:

What is it about Jacob Zuma that induces people into the raptures of letter writing? 

I have seen "Dear Zuma" letters all over the internet, asking him to feed the world, cure AIDS, not become a second Mugabe, improve the rights of seamonkeys, whadda whadda bing bang. I find it highly amusing. I hate to be cynical and judgemental but it is pretty funny. He aint getting these "letters" is he? They make not one jot of difference to anything.

If you think I am being a bitch, don't worry, just last year on this very blog, I wrote my own "Dear Zuma".  And yes, it was incredibly lame. So there. I am including myself in this puzzling phenomenon. And I don't have the answer. I don't know why I wrote him a pointless letter.

Do you?

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

I never could say no to cookies

I did something rash on the weekend. Apart from sleeping in. That was pretty daring too. I really do live life on the edge.

I bought a new phone.

Oh yes. This is one of those posts where I go on about my phone history like anyone could possibly care. But my phone history fascinates me because it is my phone history, so enjoy.

I have never bought a phone before so it was all a bit intimidating. In SA I always got given people’s old or spare phones.  I never had the money to buy a phone and my friends were always were kind enough to help me out.

When we arrived in the UK the BFG bought me a phone so we could speak while he was travelling. It was the cheapest phone you could buy at the time, and this was nearly 6 years ago.

Here it is, my sexy little Sagem:

I loved it! I thought it was so snazzy, and it has a COLOUR SCREEN. I had never seen such advanced technology before. It blew my mind. No camera or anything, but a colour screen, and it would moo at me when I got a text/sms (ooh look at me. I can multi-speak. What skills). I loved the moo.

The battery lasted forever and it survived countless falls where it was scattered all over the floor.  It was an excellent phone but it is finally on its way out so I braved the ten million choices of phone out there and tried to find a good one for me.

I almost never use a phone anyway because I am cool like that (ok because I have no friends). So I wanted something super basic with a camera, that would survive my ability to let go of things at random.

I spent hours on the internet reading reviews to try and make a considered decision in my first phone-buying experience. I narrowed the choices down carefully.

So what did I do? I went and bought the most impractical phone I could find. The one with the most bad reviews. The one that supposedly crashes and switches off and has a crap camera (as you can see from the above pic) and whose battery life is less than amazing. And it looks like it would not survive even one plummet from the sky. So why, why did I pick it?

I wish I could tell you the decision was rational but it was not. Maybe I was seduced by the fact that it has a touch screen. Or that it looks cool. And you can draw pictures on it! Like this piece of genius:

The fact that my other choice in phone only came in brown may have influenced the decision (quite strongly) as well. Who wants a phone that looks like a slab of poo?

All of those things were probably swimming around in my pickled little mind. But to be honest there was only one major factor driving my decision: I liked the name. My new phone is called the
LG Cookie. With a cool name like that, how could I not get it, even if it is a fancy pants piece of gadgetry crap?

I am just the perfect example of consumer intelligence, I know.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Lord(ess)* of the flies

I don't know about you, but for me the weekend cannot come soon enough.

I have hit a low patch at work, and at the moment I am just trying to survive each day one at a time. The stuff that I am doing at work is incredibly tedious,  to the point where I am too apathetic to even drool listlessly. I am drool-less.

There are some interesting bits, but true to form they are not working. They have not been working for quite some time now, and it is really dragging me down. The Biology Goddess is being a righteous BeeYatch. And I even wore my purple stripy sock on my left foot only. What more does she want from me?

The rest is just mind-numbingly dull. I spend the entire day in a tiny room in the basement all by myself. Well, not quite. I share the room with about 10 million flies. And let me tell you, they are rather low on conversation. All I have is me and my head, free to overanalyse and worry and be idiotic for 8 hours each day. It's not healthy. I am slowly but steadily losing my insanity. By the end of this I will be entirely and overwhelmingly sane. And that will be a terrible thing.

I know things will improve, they always do. But until then, all that is getting me through the days is the thought of Saturday. I have something big planned for Saturday and I just cannot wait. What I plan to do on Saturday is: SLEEP IN. I get all tingly just thinking about it.

I value sleep greatly, and this whole getting up at 6:30 thing is a bit heinous. And neither our holiday in Thailand  nor our weekend away in Cornwall seemed to include the option of sleep. Perhaps you have to pay extra for that. So all I want to do is sleep in and wake up all snuggled in the duvet whenever my body decides to. Ah the bliss.

So you all, whatever exciting and active things you have planned for your weekends, cannot be nearly as excited as I am about my Saturday morning, which hopefully I shall fail to witness altogether. 

I  wish you all happy sleep-ins too.

*Yes I am aware that the feminine version of Lord is Lady, but it didn't sound as good so wah.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Bank holiday

How is it possible that I went away for two weeks to Thailand and Vietnam where the temperatures reached about 38 degrees, and came back with barely even a light tan, and I go away for the weekend in England in Devon and Cornwall where I doubt the temperatures topped 18 degrees and come back looking like a lobster? My freckles are out in full force again too. Can anyone explain this?

It is the damned wind here I tell you. It fooled all of us into thinking it wasn't that hot and so we weren't as anal about sunscreen as we were in Thailand, where it was so hot that if you moved sweat went flying.

This weekend we went here:

Crantock beach, Cornwall

There were waves and everything

Jolly Poke beach, Cornwall. I don't make this shit up.

Tintagel, Cornwall. Supposedly King Arthur was born here. The link is very tenuous though. As in, someone made it up.


This is definitely my favourite favourite part of the country. If only I could live there....

Ok it was still pretty cold, the wind was icy and the water was Capetonian so I did not actually swim or anything. If someone could only crank up the heating a bit I may even get to wear the mythical bikini I went to so much effort to purchase.

But I always feel so much happier when I am near the sea. Our tent got a good airing. And it was so beautiful. I feel like my batteries have been recharged to survive this four day week when (whaha) you insufferable South Africans have your first 5 day week in aeons. Suckers!
update: I checked and actually the beach is called Polly Joke, not Jolly Poke! It seems I DO make this shit up. I kind of prefer my version though.

Friday, 1 May 2009

blogging angst

I'm all angstified and confusified about my motives for blogging at the moment.

I used to do this for fun. For months and months I wrote every single day, without one reader apart from me. For some reason I had this verbal diarrhoea that came pouring out of me. Secretly I did wish someone else would read my blog and say "oh my god you are a genius why are you not ruling the world?" of course, but I was happy enough being my biggest and only fan.

Then somehow I found a reader or two, but I was still blogging for fun and still had loads of words to share. 

And then I definitely grew a fragile but bloated blogging ego. My very existence came to depend upon having readers, and I believed that if I did not blog often then I would lose all my readers, and then I would collapse in a heap of readerless insecurities and die. I would lose all self worth and be an unseen blogger again. Why this bothered me so much I really don't know. I was cool being an unseen blogger before.

Anyhoo, this is all so very lame. I realise no-one gives a rats ass about this little dilemma I am having with my pathetic ego.

But I need to figure out what to do about it. The plus of forcing myself to write often is that, well, I wrote often. I have a feeling if I try to keep it pure and write only what I want when I want, and wait for inspiration to hit, then I will probably never write. Maybe I needed that internal deadline. I dunno.

But I have strayed from my blogging roots and am trying to please an audience with expectations that exist entirely in my own head. This has to stop. I have to keep reminding myself: nobody actually cares whether I blog or not. This is all for me in the end. If other people happen to enjoy it, then bonus for me.

Maybe I need a sabbatical. I definitely need to figure out how to write for me again, and to not care if I have fewer or no readers. I should be able to go a week without blogging and not panic, right?

We shall see. I will try blogging when I am hit by inspiration, and see how that goes. If I write nothing in the next three weeks then I know that I need a personal deadline to kick me in the butt.

P.S. I have decided to avoid Twitter for a while. I have a terribly addictive personality, and could not use the thing in moderation, and it was definitely getting distracting at work. So it has to be all or nothing for me. I keep getting this feeling that I am missing out on something awesome but again, this is the insecure ego speaking and I am doing my best to ignore the bastard.