Lifeskills SA Style

As you read this, we will be on a plane to Cape Town taking the Lastborn to university. We are both sad and relieved. Sad because we will miss her, relieved because since the Lastborn returned from safari in Zimbabwe (where she apparently earned the MVP award for her ability to jol), there has been non-stop partying and the husband and I are FINISHED.


I have been trying to give the Lastborn little useful nuggets of information about how to budget and how to do laundry, but alas, dear reader these gems have fallen on deaf ears. Also, the laundry lecture was supposed to happen in the first week she was back but tragically it interfered with jolling time so no laundry was done and clothes were just plucked off the floor and worn again. Or taken out of the Husband’s cupboard.

Back in the last millennium when I was but a youth, I had not done one stitch of laundry by the time I left to go overseas after university. I do not know how I managed this as I lived in a flat for a year, but I suspect I took my washing home. We were living on the island of Tenerife (selling timeshare, as one did in those days) when we first washed clothes and then left them on the balcony for a couple of days to dry (okay, possibly a week). When we brought them inside, one side of our t-shirts was three shades lighter than the other side. I learnt about laundry the hard way, dear reader.

The Firstborn says he has come in for non-stop abuse from his English counterparts because of his general uselessness compared to kids in Britain. As the one girl said, all he does is hang around looking pretty (the Firstborn did point out however that he is exceptionally good at that). It is true that his domestic skills are somewhat lacking, but I reassured him that he has other skills:

  • Driving in Joburg particularly during loadshedding when you have to interpret the signals of a homeless person who is off his face on an uncontrolled substance and is now directing the traffic
  • Advanced driving skills for when a taxi driver makes an emergency stop or pulls out unexpectedly
  • Ditto for navigating potholes in the roads without ruining your tyres
  • Leaving enough distance between you and the next car at robots to fox hijackers/smash and grabbers
  • Knowing that a robot is a traffic light
  • Bartering in a sensitive yet firm manner with the traffic police who would like cooldrink money
  • Understanding what ‘cooldrink money’ is
  • Starting a generator
  • How to fill said generator in the pitch dark without spilling one drop of precious fuel
  • Deciphering the loadshedding schedule
  • Making a shower (when the water has been off for three days) by leaving a five litre bottle of water in the sun to warm it then punching holes in the lid and turning it upside down
  • Appreciating the art of the braai including when to put the steak/chicken/chops over the flames
  • Identifying what is being cooked on braais around the neighbourhood through smell alone
  • Understanding the importance of preparing the pot when making a potjie
  • Getting a respectable score in bokdrol spoeg (Google it if you’re confused)
  • Understanding that Hippos are more dangerous than lions, but also that it’s best not to try take cute photos with either of them
  • Playing chicken with a hijacker standing in your driveway and pointing a gun at you. Will he shoot first or will you run him over before he can? Extra points if you can do this whilst reversing out your driveway
  • Making appropriate small talk during home invasions. Not the time for eye contact or firm handshakes. Keep it friendly but professional. Extra points if you manage to get them to leave your ID/Driver’s license/Passports
  • Joking about absolutely everything even the most terrible things. It’s the only way to survive.

Obvs, we are no longer using a generator because we have solar. I did promise I would report back and I am happy to say that it has transformed our lives. I think we will possibly need a couple more panels and another battery but honestly it’s been utterly fabulous. I also love the fact that they tell you how many trees you have saved by being a bit off grid. We are renting our panels from Gosolr for around sixteen hundred SA ronts and we have been very happy with them so far. I highly recommend this route for your own sanity.

Restaurant recommendations:

We finally made it up to the deck at the Radisson RED in Rosebank on the Lastborn’s birthday. I was thrilled that they offer Graham Beck by the glass which is what I had. Gorgeous views but it does get quite windy and chilly up there so take a jacket. The husband was trying to get out of going to Sandton to eat (we try not go beyond Hyde Park if we can help it) but the Lastborn was having none of it so off we went for sushi to The Big Mouth.

At the Raddison RED
At the Radisson RED

The wine by the glass was a little disappointing but the service was fabulous, the sushi was fantastic and I LOVED the squid heads. They also brought the Lastborn some choc mousse seeing it was her birthday and that was delicious. We had been going to drive there as the Husband insisted he was barely going to drink (yes, I also found that amusing). There was a road block on Oxford Road on the way home so thanks to uber there was no need to do any sensitive yet firm bartering with anyone.

At The Big Mouth
At The Big Mouth

Drink recommendation:

Diet Cokagne. Two thirds diet coke, one third champers, add ice, viola! Sooooo refreshing! Thank you, Tom Hanks and Tiktok for the recommendation. If you want to lower the alcoholic content even more, use the light champers from Woolies. Boykey Sidley reckons it tastes a bit like sangria, the Lastborn said it’s a waste of champagne AND coke.


Diet Cokagne
Diet Cokagne

Film/TV recommendations:

Started watching the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker. Couldn’t get into it. Beyond pissed off that Emma Thompson didn’t get an Oscar Nom for Leo Grande.

Book recommendations:

The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama. I LOVE Michelle, like I want to be her BFF. She is so down-to-earth and lovely, plus she has THE MOST amazing triceps. The book is all about how kak Covid was (and still is) and how we should take risks even when we just feel like staying at home binging on Netflix. I very much enjoyed it.

When we meet next week, I will be a proper empty nester but I suspect I will be heaving a sigh of relief as the Lastborn has plans for us in Cape Town and I am already exhausted. Wish me luck and happy reading! xx

The Light We Carry