Friday's Feast 162

How are you today?
I've got a cold I am battling to shake, but I'm not going to let that stop me from having fun. It is the last day of the school holidays here today, so I have taken a day off work and plan to spend some time with my youngest daughter who goes back to school on Monday.

Name 3 television shows you watch on a regular basis.
Grey's Anatomy

South African Idols

Survivor South Africa

What’s the scariest weather situation you’ve experienced?
My husband and daughters were taking part in a mountain biking event that lasted the entire weekend in Oct 2005. We had just bought some camping equipment, so decided to go and camp at the game reserve where the event was happening, along with numerous other families, on the Saturday night.

The older kids and adults went on a "night ride" (see photo below) and then we all headed off to bed for an early night. No sooner had we put our heads on our pillows when a wind came up, which gradually became a gale and then the mother of all storms came to join it! Now we can laugh about it, but at the time it was frightening to say the least! For a couple of hours, we lay there in our flimsy tents on this very exposed hill side, while lightening flashed all around us, the thunder crashed and torrential rain lashed our tents, while the wind tried to flatten them! Terrifying! In the early hours of the morning it finally abated and we all got up to survey the damage - a group of very unhappy campers...

Main Course
If you could wake up tomorrow morning in another country, where would you want to be?
In England - I have a yearning to go back there and do all the things we didn't get time to do when we were there in 2001.

What do you usually wear to sleep?
Pyjamas - in Winter a t-shirt and long pj pants and in Summer the coolest nightie I can find.

Great South African inventions

Being a South African living in South Africa, it is very easy to become bogged down by the negative - crime, inflation, crime, our neighbour across the border, did I mention crime?

Sometimes I find it helps to focus on the good that has come out of this country - I came across a list of South African inventions the other day and thought it was quite interesting. This is just an abbreviated list of some of the amazing inventions to have come out of South Africa – for a more comprehensive list, have a look at this website

Heart transplant - The first heart transplant was performed in South Africa, by Dr Chris Barnard on 3 December 1967.

Pratley Putty - A South African engineer, George Pratley, invented Pratley Putty in the 1960s. Pratley Putty is the only S.A invention to go to the moon, this happened in 1969 when the putty was used on the Apollo XI mission' s Eagle landing Craft

The CAT scan – The computed axial tomography scan, or CAT scan , which uses x-rays, radiation detectors and computers to produce images of planes through the body, was developed at Tufts University in the UK, by South African physicist Allan Cormack and Godfrey Hounsfield of EMI Laboratories. Their achievement secured them the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Kreepy Krauly - The swimming pool vacuum cleaner was invented by Ferdinand Chauvier, a hydraulics engineer who came to South Africa from the Belgian Congo in 1951.

Wind-up appliances - Freeplay wind-up radios, torches and cell phone chargers

APS Therapy - The Action Potential Stimulation Device (APSD) was invented by Gervan Lubbe and is used for pain relief

Colindictor - the first device to record a telephone message

Fire – (quite a biggie this!) the first use of fire was recorded at Swartkrans cave some 1.5 million years ago. (and what would Survivor be without it ;-)

SharkPod - a shark-repellant device

The Speedgun - this is a device used to accurately measure the speed and angles of speeding objects such as cricket and tennis balls, it was invented by Henri Johnson and first formally used at the 1999 cricket world cup.

Automatic popcorn vending machine - Peter Ramsey and Mark Beagle from Kwa-Zulu Natal invented the automatic popcorn vending machine.

Dolosse were created by an Eric Merrifield of South Africa and were first installed in the harbour of East London. A Dolos is an unusually shaped concrete block that can weigh up to 20 tonnes, they are designed to separate wave actions and protect the harbour walls and coastal installations. They are now exported around the world.

Oil from coal - Sasol is the world’s first - and largest - oil-from-coal refinery. It is situated in Sasolburg in South Africa and provides 40% of the country’s fuel.

Cybertracker- This hand-held computer provides a high-technology method of tracking animals in the field. Louis Liebenberg and Lindsay Steventon invented the Cybertracker, connected to a satellite navigational system, in 1996. The graphic interface makes it possible for illiterate people to enter very detailed information, which helps scientists carry out their research.

Resources used for this post:

Wordless Wednesday 6 - MTB bliss

Sani2Sea bridge

It's my Blogging Birthday!!!

My blog is having its birthday! I can’t believe it’s a year since I posted my first, rather inauspicious, post.

What a fun journey it has been! I’ve “met” some incredible people through my blog and I’ve become a regular visitor to numerous other amazing blogs. Blogging has become such a meaningful and enjoyable part of my daily life.

I think what I like most about blogging is that it’s something I do entirely for myself. As a mom, I find that I often become swamped by family issues, it sometimes feels as though everything I do is about, one or other family member, never about me. My blog is something that helps me find myself again, it’s a little oasis of peace for me, in amongst the washing, meals, work and shopping that make up my day.

In honour of my blogging birthday I browsed through my blog to see what I have posted about over the last 12 months and a couple of posts jumped out at me:

My very favourite post - My Bundu Bashers

Probably the most surprising post of the year - One Cute Stationary Bike

The post that every woman should read - Inflammatory breast cancer

I then tried to pick my top ten favourite blogs, but failed miserably – there are just so many good blogs out there, so please have a look at my blog roll (a little further down on the left) to see ALL of my favourites and then hop on over to visit those sites!

Hi, my name is.... Gill

I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend.

I’m sensitive and a softie, but my will – it don’t bend!

I love reading, cooking, chocolate and wine,

dogs, movies, blogging and birding sometimes

My favourite season is Autumn and I love the colour blue

I enjoy popular music and a little jazz too.

I’m nearly forty (and it shows), I’m a bit plump and rather short

I’m typically Capricorn and, quite simply, I don’t do sport.

I’m a Christian, a bookkeeper and proudly South African to boot

And if you don’t like me, quite frankly, I don’t give a hoot!

This crazy little post came about as a result of the Sunday Scribblings prompt "Hi, my name is...." I had such fun with it! It may not be literary genius (LOL!!) but it's ME!

Fridays Feast 161

What is your favorite type of art?

I'm not really an arty type, but I have a "thing" for Vincent Van Gogh. I am on the look out for some art work to decorate my home, but I am taking my time about it as I need to really fall in love with something before I will buy it to hang in my home and I don't want to spend a lot of money either!

When was the last time you got a free lunch (or breakfast or dinner)? Who paid for it?

My Dad took the whole family out for my mother's birthday 2 weeks ago.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how emotional are you?

I'd say an eight. I am not a great one for dramatic displays of emotion, but I am highly sensitive and feel things really deeply.

Main Course

Approximately how long do you spend each day responding to emails?

It varies, probably 15-20 mins on average.

To what temperature do you usually set your home’s thermostat?

We don't have a thermostat!

Wordless Wednesday 5 - Beauty and the Beast

Much loved South African Products

Mrs Ball's chutney
Ouma rusks
Between 2000 and 2003 my husband, Grant, lived in the UK and the girls and I lived here in South Africa. We had a trans-continental marriage! Grant would come home every 6 months for a few weeks. Let me put it this way, it was … challenging. I certainly wouldn’t want to live that way again, but on the whole Grant and I survived the experience fairly well, our daughters less so.

Like many South Africans living “away from home” there were specific foodstuffs that Grant missed and that he stocked up on whenever he came home, these included:

Biltong (dried meat, similar to jerky, a much loved South African snack)
Niknaks (corn crisps)
Ouma rusks (delicious dipped in coffee)

According to South Africans living abroad, the list of longed-for South African products often includes:

Mrs Ball’s chutney
Peppermint crisps (gorgeous thin chocolate slab with a crispy mint centre)
Boerewors (South African sausage)
Aromat (a seasoning)
Flings (crisps)
Nando’s sauces
Zambuck (a herbal ointment)
Amarula liquer (an alcoholic liquer made from the fruits of the Marula tree)

There are quite a few South African shops springing up around the world (such as this one), providing homesick South Africans with these longed for products from home.

Fortunately Grant is now in the position where he can nip down to the supermarket to get his much loved South African goodies!
Chutney photo by Ian Wilson

The early bird catches the worm

What is it about weekends that cause me to wake up at the crack of dawn? On any given weekday I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock at least twice, but on a weekend I am wide awake at 6:15am, no alarm required. It is so frustrating! I lie in bed trying to convince myself that I really want to doze for just a few more minutes, but in reality I know that sleep is over and I might as well get up and greet the day.

In some ways I love those stolen minutes on weekend mornings. I usually get up and spend some time on the stationary bike and then I make myself a cup of herbal tea and sit at the computer to read my feeds and fiddle around with my blog. The house is quiet and those moments are probably the only moments in the week that I am entirely alone with my thoughts, free to do what I want to do, with no other claims on my time. Bliss.
Photo by Bhubezi-Jake

Fridays Feast 160

When was the last time you visited a hospital?

3 Years ago and I don't plan on going back anytime soon if I can help it!

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how ambitious are you?

3 - I gave up on ambition when I had children, being available to my daughters is way more important to me than any job

Make a sentence using the letters of a body part. (Example: (mouth) My other ukelele tings healthily.)

A nice kid likes eggs.

Main Course
If you were to start a club, what would the subject matter be, and what would you name it?

It would probably be a supper club of sorts, we would go to a different couples' home for supper once a month. What to name it??? "Fat friends' feasts"???

What color is the carpet/flooring in your home?

We have very neutral off-white, slightly speckled Italian tiles throughout our home, with the odd rug thrown in here and there for colour.

Photo by Gailf548

Time for a couple of updates

I thought that today I would post updates on a couple of previous posts:

The Diet:
For those who are wondering what happened to the diet that Grant and I embarked on, which I posted about here – I thought I would finally give you an update.

The diet was supposed to be a 21 day affair – we only did it for 14 days (I know we are so lacking in commitment!) and in that time Grant lost 6 kgs and I lost 4 kgs.

I thought that was really good! We found the first week quite easy, we were very committed to the diet, which helped. The food on this diet was very nice, but by the second week we were growing a little tired of it as there are quite a few repeat meals. I found the second week a lot more difficult than the first, because by then the novelty had worn off and I was starting to long for some treats! I must say that we both felt very healthy on this diet, I think it is a very sensible way to diet.

Since ending the diet I have put on 1 kg and Grant has put on 3 kgs. We plan to go back on the diet really soon!

I posted about the difficulties we have been having with Paula and her asthma here

We saw the ENT and lung specialist last Thursday and to cut a long story short, Paula is on another course of cortisone :-( and we are giving the new inhaler some more time to see if it eventually helps; it looks like it is working as, for the last couple of nights, she has been much better. So here’s hoping!

Impi and the saga of the broken heart:
It appears that Impi will not be performing rudimentary cardiac surgery on himself after all. What a relief ;-) He is spending the weekend at a friend’s house in Durban and will be attending try-outs for the provincial water-polo team on Saturday. I’m holding thumbs that he makes it – he’s such a talented sportsman!

The Wild Coast of South Africa

Wild Coast

Wordless Wednesday

Heartbreak and the dog

You might remember my boy Impi? In case you don't, I posted about him here.

Impi is going through one of those terrible teenage heartbreaks, which we all went through at one point or another. One of those situations when you are certain that you will never recover and will be doomed to a lifetime of suffering and heartbreak…… sound familiar?

The thing is that when it happens to Impi it ends up seeming just a little bit funny. I’m not being mean here, honestly I am not; it’s just that Impi has a particularly comical way with words. Occasionally he will text me with the score from his rugby or soccer matches and somehow he manages to make even those simple text messages an adventure in words. On one occasion he told me that he couldn’t speak to the coach about a problem he was having because every time the opportunity arose he “felt like a turtle”. I asked him what on earth he meant by that and he said that “I feel like a turtle you know, I just stand there with my lips closed, and I can’t speak” Okaaaay…..

Well last night, in describing his heartbreak in a text message to Paula he said “I feel like ripping my heart out and feeding it to Sally”... Sally being the large family dog! Maybe I have a warped sense of humour, but I found that quite hilarious.

I promise you I am not totally without feeling and I do sympathise with Imps over the object of his devotion emigrating to Australia, really I do. But ripping out his heart and feeding it to the unsuspecting dog……LOL!


As a child, I dreamt of growing up and living on a deserted island, writing books. In this fantasy I was very specific about what the deserted island would look like, I could describe it to you in detail right now, complete with strategically placed palm trees; but I was not very specific regarding what I would write about, which is rather a pity. I could use that information now.

In a somewhat ephemeral fashion, this childhood dream has stayed with me through the years. I have given up on the idea of the deserted island, as time goes by I have a tendency to appreciate indoor plumbing and electrical appliances; but I still occasionally fantasise about quitting my job and writing a novel. This fantasy usually comes to mind immediately after a particularly challenging work day, but never, ever on payday!

Unfortunately, I just don’t think I have what it takes to make a living as a writer. I lack a trait that is quite vital to prospective novel writers: imagination. Quite important that! For this reason alone, I think the fantasy shall remain just that, a fantasy.

For more scribbles about writing, visit Sunday Scribblings
Photo by Misterteacher

Fridays Feast 159

Using only one word, how does grocery shopping make you feel?


What is your favorite part about the season of Autumn?

Bearing in mind that we are going into Spring and Autumn is but a distant memory....

I adore Autumn - our Summers are intensely hot and I long for that first Autumny day. What I love so much about Autumn is the freshness in the air, the air feels clean and has a certain fresh smell to it - I wish I could bottle it!

Have you ever had any bad experiences online?

No I haven't, other than the days on dial-up, when every page took about 100 years to download ;-)

Main Course
Name three things that make you happy daily.

Family, faith and food

What one household cleansing or organizing item would you not want to be without?

My new top loading washing machine is my new best friend. For a family of four we produce an enormous amount of washing. I sometimes wonder if our dirty laundry doesn't breed as it lurks in the washing basket! My new top loader is huge and takes care of all the washing in one load, first thing every morning. I love it!
For more feasts visit Friday's Feasts

I'm loving....

I’m loving…….Estee Lauder “Idealist Skin Refinisher

I don’t normally go in for hugely expensive cosmetics (much as I would love to!) but I splurged on this and I have fallen in love! I use it after toning, under my moisturiser and it gives my skin the most soft, smooth, powdery finish. Love it!

The rantings and ravings of a stressed woman...

stress relief
Ever had a week that you just want to walk away from? This week I could sure use some of the potions pictured above!

As you may remember we had some issues with my youngest daughter, Paula and a chronic cough, which I posted about here. Well unfortunately her cough flared up again quite some time ago and it just won't clear up this time round. To complicate matters, she has also developed a chronically inflamed throat as well as recurrent oral thrush (as a result of her inhaler). We have been to the lung specialist (twice), to a homeopath and to our family doctor, more times than I care to think about, and we seem to be getting nowhere. The poor child has had more medicine thrown down her throat in the last 3 months than I have probably consumed in my entire life!
We saw our family doctor this morning and he has referred us to an ENT specialist, who we will visit tomorrow morning. Here's hoping he comes up with something encouraging...
To add fuel to the fire, Paula began complaining of back ache about a week ago, so while we were at the doctor this morning we had him take a look at her back and he says there is a possibility that she has scoliosis and has arranged for us to have x-rays done. Please no!
The final cherry on top is that Roxy begins writing her school leaving exams .in.five.weeks.time.
Deep breath.............

Photo by tuey

The Power of a Praying Parent

Just a "heads up" for anyone who is interested - Shera at "A Frog in my Soup" has organised an online book study of "The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian. This week we are reading Chapter One and on Thursday Shera will post a list of study and prayer questions for anyone who is participating to consider. You can jump in at any time! All the details can be found here.

5 Things you probably don't know about me

Shera at “A Frog in my Soup” has tagged me for the "5 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me" meme. So here goes . . .

1. When I was in high school, a looong time ago, I took Ballroom and Latin American dancing lessons for a number of years.

2. I’m slightly fascinated by the British Royal Family

3. I don’t have any cousins

4. I failed my Driver’s licence the first time I did it.

5. I fell off my bicycle and fractured a limb when I was eleven years old and have not been on a bicycle since.

I now have to tag 5 others, so I tag:
1. Michelle at Achieving New Balance
2. Amy at Amy’s Random Thoughts
3. Carrie at My Lil’ Corner of the World
4. Jenn at Serving the Queens
5. Kim at To the Starres and Back

Moments that changed my life forever..

On the 23 January 1996 my eldest daughter, Roxy, started school. At about 5:30am on that morning we were catching those last few, precious, minutes of sleep before getting up to get Rox ready for her big day, when there was a knock on our door; it was a policeman who had come to inform us that my younger brother Craig, my only sibling, had been killed in a car accident a couple of kilometres out of town.

I can’t explain the rush of emotions we experienced at that moment. I went into “automatic pilot” and seemed to function completely apart from my emotions – I never cried or broke down in any way over the next few days and I know that many people thought that I must be incredibly cold and unfeeling.

My first reaction was to get to my parents’ house immediately, I wanted Grant and I to be the ones to break the news to them, not the policeman. I was terribly concerned for my mom in particular as I knew that she was very attached to Craig, she adored him, and I honestly didn’t know how she was going to cope with the news (she didn’t cope, in that moment she changed so completely that on some level she effectively died that day too). I also had to somehow protect my children from all the drama, no easy task.

So began a day that I would much rather forget and yet it’s strange how I return to it frequently in my mind. It’s like prodding a bruise – I know it’s going to hurt and yet I am compelled to finger it in my mind, over and over again.

To this day I have not got my head around how a person as vibrant and alive as Craig can simply cease to exist. He was 22 years old, in the prime of his life. It’s as though the words “The End” were stamped on the story of Craig’s life that day, in the middle of a chapter that was wholly inappropriate for an ending.