Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The fan walk revisited, Spain vs Portugal

 We started out later - it was already dusk. It was overcast and cold. The street lights weren't on. These fans were more hardcore, more drunk, more unruly. I saw a tall Spaniard, all in yellow and red, with a big black bull on the flag hanging from his back. I wanted to take his picture, but his face was such a thundercloud, I didn't dare ask.
There's a big Kentucky Fried Chicken in Green Point and it's really well-lit. It was filled with fans in colours. Last time it was so full of Dutch fans, the orange glow spilled onto the pavement.
I missed those jolly Hollanders last night.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

City Mouse visits Country House

The Better Halves picked me up and whisked me away to the misty mountains of Suurbraak. Their house is the perfect mix of old and new. There's an Esse stove just like my granny used to have:

 The gas spectacular:

 As well as an open hearth in the corner, for geselligheid and the odd indoor braai. Our party of six included the canine contingent: Sir Max and Lady Seven I've known since they were kids, but the new guy was a wild card. I saw him eyeing me as I piled up a second plate of supper. (Lady who are you eating all the fillet steak like some polite kind of wolf?)

  At night I slept under striped linen and a pile of fluffy quilts. It felt like the story of the princess and the pea, but in reverse. (The pea in question being a dog named Jean, who finally gave me the nod.)

 I got up at six and stood on the stoep, looking at the mountains. A long-forgotten fragment of poetry came to mind: as the mist leaves no scar on the dark green hill...
The breeze was warm and promised something about summer coming and feeling different then.

 Sheep grazing in the cemetery. Farm gates. Mustard mashed potatoes. Apple tart and cream. Coffee in bed. Dog's wet nose. Snowdrops. Demented roosters with no grasp of day or night. But the best thing of all: seeing the way these two people appreciate each other. Kudos.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Painting the town orange

 We did the fan walk last night, my lovely friend and I. If anyone hasn't done it yet - do! It was other-worldly. The Dutch fans were so jolly and I didn't pick up a single bad vibe anywhere. Besides the innovative outfits, there was so much to look at along the way. We saw larger than life marionettes (Handspring, was that you?), a band of drummers with black ostrich plumes on their hats, a chain of luminescent soccer balls with people inside them, a group of opera singers, people on stilts, children jumping rope in a fantastic way... all of this just down the road from you.
It was a little sad that there were so few Cameroonians. Very little green in a sea of orange.
The mosaics in the stadium tunnel are beautiful and the biodiversity garden next to it - breathtaking. Indigenous plants and trees, fountains, a lake! Where did that come from? The wide path takes you all the way to the lighthouse and the sea.
We ended our walk with a lager at Brewers@Union. Perfect.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The importance of digits

 A note on avoiding domestic accidents: don't try to force heavy objects into small spaces when distracted. I squashed my ring finger (the irony is by no means lost on me) and my pinkie between the wall and a gas canister last night. Result: loss of blood, fractures, swelling, bruises and a dinky little splint.
Now I'm not advocating that you go and mutilate yourself if you're feeling down, but darn - it sure is a good distraction.
In a few weeks I'll be right as rain, but in the meantime typing is slow and I have to walk instead of drive. That's the best thing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

run run run

I started running again last week. Why I left it so long I couldn't say. I found this in one of my old journals: At the reservoir there was mist hanging over the water and the mountains were purple and crisply outlined. The waterfalls flashed silvery white against the darkness. I saw the ground coming up to meet my feet and the sky reflected in the puddles and all those insurmountable problems seemed smaller. Running heightens my senses. My skin buzzes and tingles. I feel strong and I feel light. I am replete. After my morning run, everything tastes and smells better. The scent of a banana makes me reel, fresh fruit juice feels velvety and luxurious on my tongue - full-bodied in the true sense of the word. 
All of these things are still true.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

R.I.P. Leonard and Basil

Two of Cape Town's well-loved characters died last week. Leonard worked in many of the shops that I've frequented over the years. Be-pierced and Dali-esque, Leonard was hard to ignore. Always friendly and full of ideas. One night, for an exhibition opening, he asked a friend and I to wrap his legs in cling film. He wore those see-through pants with a tuxedo jacket.
Basil was the proprietor of Bristol Antiques in Long Street, one of my favourite haunts. He was cultured and soft spoken. He said to me once as I left his shop:"You are such a lovely young lady." I saw him two weeks ago at Ashbeys and we spoke about glass and books. He was one of the last true gentlemen.
I'll miss you both.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

He made me smile

I saw a wonderful thing as I was driving back from the market today. A smallish Harley slowly cruised by me as the light turned green. The guy on it was wearing brown leathers and riding shotgun was a very happy Alsatian hound. The dog was stretched out in front of him on the seat, tongue lolling. There was a yellow vuvusela strapped upright on the back, flying an orange Holland scarf. My friend, you are the coolest dude in town.
I came home to find a flock of guinea fowl on the lawn.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

really good things

1. The first story in Alice Munro's latest collection of short stories, Too Much Happiness. It's called Dimensions. Staggering and gut-wrenching.
2. The film This Is England. Real and harsh and tender.
3. The costumes in the film Bright Star. Hand-sewn with thousands of perfect little stitches.

Friday, June 11, 2010

home is a place that comes up through your feet

 It took me almost twenty minutes to get to the Garden's Centre for shopping. (This is normally a five minute trip) The city has turned into a grid-locked beast. Cars are hooting and there's the ever-present lowing of vuvus like hungry cows coming home. Now and then someone drifts from the herd and walks the streets in my quiet neighborhood, blowing his horn.
At the supermarket they are handing out free Mexican snacks. People are wearing green, yellow or red wigs. Fan finery everywhere. Happiness.
I came home and caught the last bit of a peachy sunset on the berg. Cold and crisp.

I know. I know

 At last count I had eight pairs of red shoes in my wardrobe. But how could I not buy a pair of red leather ankle boots? They will take me to the ball tomorrow night, quicksticks.

Once she begins dancing, she can't stop. The shoes take over. (They are Hush Puppies nogal!) She cannot control them and they are stuck to her feet. The shoes continue to dance, through fields and meadows, rain or shine, night and day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Green Glass & Flags

 The boot sale has been miserable lately, but I did find another green wine goblet. In the past I have always been on the look-out for red glass, but lately the green has had more appeal. My mom bought the place mat in Swaziland when I was a baby. I'm lucky enough to have three. I rather like the Tretchikoff boobies in the background.  

 Patriotism is even extending to fruit juice these days.

 In my mind the colours of South African sport have always been green and yellow. It's an imprint from my childhood. I'm not a sport-nut nor have I ever thought of myself as patriotic - I'm one of those people who only gets the feeling when I'm far, f-a-r away from home. And then only after quite some time has passed.
The World Cup has made people do strange things - I go down to the Gardens Centre for some shopping and all the cars have small flags fluttering from their windows. Their mirrors have funny little flag socks pulled over them. The other day I walked past a small navy blue Renault and in the back window, on the dash, was a South African flag, neatly laid out and folded in at the edges. I got a lump in my throat.

 Some people are obviously batting for more than one team.