The daughter told me that a friend of hers said “ja, we know your parents, they’re the ones we see walking around the neighbourhood about ten times a day.” which at first made me feel like a bit of a tit, these sad old farts tottering around the hood but then I thought a bit more about our walks and thought – Well, firstly thanks God, something I can write about in my weekly blog, and secondly I realised that I have dear auntie Rona to thank for them. We have lived in this neighbourhood for over 14 years and vaguely understood that it was a beautiful part of Joburg, but it took Covid for us to fully appreciate it.
Cast your minds back, dear reader to the days when we could not go out of our houses AT ALL in that first most extreme lockdown. I was so porky from all the banana bread, peppermint crisp tart and corona cocktails that when I did eventually get out of the house, I practically rolled down the driveway. Remember how we had three precious hours to exercise, from six until nine and it was such bliss to set foot outside the confines of our houses?
Ahhhh…those were the days (I am being sarcastic, I never want to experience that again.) It’s not like the husband and I NEVER went for walks pre-rona, we often went for a quick evening stroll up to Lower Westcliff – but LW has got so popular, one spends more time chatting and catching up than actually walking, so we tend to avoid it.
Now that the daughter is back at school and has early morning swimming or water polo training, we are up at 5.30 most days and after she has been dropped at school, off we go. We head directly down our own road, and greet a little tabby cat called Kit Kat who hangs around the one corner and is exceedingly chatty and friendly. We head down to the Tyrone Strip and greet all the homeless people who wait on the corner.
That’s the other thing, I didn’t know who the homeless people were pre-Covid. I used to get defensive when I was in my car, and they would ask me for cash – now I see them every morning and we have a bit of a catch-up and I try to help them out when I can.
If we’re walking later in the day, the husband heads into Postnet to grab a free newspaper. More greetings are exchanged between us and all the various shop-owners and their staff, the hawkers on the pavement and the car guards as we make it to Croft & Co where we drop off our coffee mugs. Croft is a vibe at 6 am with all the runners and cyclists grabbing their morning fix of caffeine and it’s always very festive. Once we’ve got our coffee, it’s back up Ennis Road and to the Park. Like a crack addict, I stop to sniff the jasmine and the wisteria and have a look to see if the Syringa blossoms are out yet (they are!)
I like to sit on Maria’s bench at the park because it’s a perfect place to check out the birds. I know NOTHING about birds, I just enjoy watching them fighting over scraps; the Indian mynahs being their usual bossy selves and chasing the loeries, the pigeons bullying the poor doves, the hadedahs squawking loudly and scaring the shit out of everyone. Sitting in the park drinking my coffee and chatting to the husband about the day ahead is one of my favourite moments of my day.
Once our coffee is finished, it’s up the hill to Kilkenny where we pass the security guard and have a bit of a chat and then the pre-school that the kids attended. A couple of their teachers are still there and we often reminisce with them before we head down the hill and back to our road.
On the corner there is a little library which we inspect to see what’s left after the weekend. I, once again, say, “Oh, I must bring some books…” The husband says, “You say that every day and you always forget.” Which I do.
We also have a sneaking suspicion that there is a guy that comes and cleans out the books and then goes and sells them at the robots. More power to him.
No matter how tired I am or how much work I’ve got to do I get home feeling renewed. I meditate and do my yoga stretches, have a shower and I’m ready to face the mountain of work on my desk.
The Year of the End by Anne Theroux – wife of the famous Paul – whom I have to say sounds like a complete asshole – but this is not due to Anne trash talking him. She constantly tries to be fair, but my guy’s narcissism shines through and his writing about Africa sets my teeth on edge.
I went on a bit of a binge, reading memoirs and read The Time of My Life – Patrick Swayze’s memoir and then his wife, Lisa Niemi’s memoir Worth Fighting For about his battle with cancer. They are easy reads that have real nostalgia value for those of us who loved Dirty Dancing and Ghost and wowza but what a talented pair, I was quite in awe.
In writing news, Damon Galgut’s The Promise made the shortlist for the Booker. Sadly, An Island by Karen Jennings did not make the list BUT there is a fantastic competition for debut authors. Check it out here.
TV recommendations: I’ve been watching The White Lotus. It is quirky as hell, filled with black humour, I am thoroughly enjoying it. Thank you, Amy Heydenrych for the recommendation. I also watched On The Rocks on Apple TV directed by Sofia Coppola and with Bill Murray and Rashida Jones, it had definite Lost in Translation vibes. I highly recommend it.
In other TV news, The Estate got a whopping 26 noms in the Royalty Soapie Awards and we WON for Outstanding Writing Team!! It is now being flighted on SABC 1 right from the beginning in the fabulous slot of 7.30. Do start watching it if you are not already a fan.
Have a great long weekend, everyone! Happy Heritage Day and happy reading xxx