Still me

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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

25 December 2010: May your Christmas be full of bright-eyed joy

May your Christmas be full of wide-eyed, bright-eyed joy! Jethro is delighted with his first Christmas ever.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Monday 27 December: The new kitchen

An unanticipated and unplanned development of 2010 was the complete gutting of my old kitchen and the installation of a completely new kitchen, down to the tap fitting and tiles. It all started with a casual remark over a coffee. "I would love to renovate my kitchen, " quoth I, "but lack the courage." My good friend, Trudie, an even greater optimist than myself, retorted,"What is three weeks' of chaos compared to the rest of your life?" I took up the challenge even though the three weeks were closer to eight!

My kitchen was old, functional and boring. The walls are crooked which made measuring a designer's nightmare. I wanted a romantic French Provencal look, complete with chandeliers. The latter were the cheapest item and the easiest to find: Mr Price's Home store.

The old wooden door leads to my pantry, which only needed new tiles and a coat or two of cream paint. A curtain bought earlier in Provence was just the thing to cover the glass panes.

My choice of wall tiles changed at the last moment. The tiler was already at work, using with the accent tile on the floor. I was doubtful but lacked initiative after weeks of dust and mess. Ria, my domestic helper, intervened. "Those tiles are ugly. They are spoiling your whole kitchen. Everyone (the installation team) thinks so but they are don't want to be honest. Now, I'm telling you!" Thanks to Ria and the salesman at Italtile, who made the exchange at 5 pm without batting an eyelid and no extra expense.

I just love my 'fireplace' with mantelpiece and glass cabinets which can light up at night.

I have since had blinds installed and am rearranging the displays bit by bit. The kitchen boasts pot drawers, a wine rack (still more or less empty at the moment), a pull out drawer for my Kenwood and a pull out grocery cupboard housed in the place of the former, unused broom cupboard.

The worst moments are forgotten; the best are still to come. Thanks to Trudie.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday, December 22: Cape Town reunion

The butterflies on Diana's 60th birthday devil's food chocolate cupcakes seem to flutter in anticipation. A week ago the up-country family - myself, Ruth and the girls, Cath, Ryan and baby Jethro - spent a long weekend in Cape Town to celebrate. We had not seen Ryan and Laurie since their permanent return to South Africa after a sojourn of a decade in London. Two-and-a-half year old Oliver and baby Eva needed to get acquainted with their cousins...
And Aunt Ruth, who looks mighty glad to have a lapful of baby.

Ruth and Joelle and Jaelene and I in a pre-party pose.

Laurie iced the dozens of cupcakes baked late night by Charmel.

The labourer is worthy of his wage and the baker gets to lick her fingers!

Graham and Di posed under the gazebo in back garden before the guests arrived. The south-easter died down to permit a tranquil summer evening party with lots of friends. The adjective 'old' took on a dual meanings: I renewed acquaintance with a former beau of teenagedom and the pipsqueak brother of a school friend, who had suddenly become middle-aged overnight even if he has not lost his impish charm. How could we all possibly have reached the formidable age that our parents had been just yesterday? 60's music played in the background: 'Remember the Bee Gees?' 'I just loved the Beachboys, Sonny and Cher, the boys from Liverpool!'

The three cousins enjoy some ice cream sticks. Oliver commented. "Di, I really like the two J's!" Well, what sensible young man would object to the attentions of two blondes set to mother him?

There was plenty to eat other than the cupcakes but somehow they drew the most smiles. Here is a chuckle from Bids.

The day after the party we picknicked on the green lawns of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden with the sky so blue and the mountains the backdrop behind us. Cath is a soliticious mom and Jethro looks satisfied.

Especially if there is a jar of strained veg around.