Fowl Play

Dinner was almost lost.

Showing great bodily strength (which does not match his diminutive size), and a large measure of stealth, my scrawny Squeak, Basil managed to silently haul  a fair-sized, frozen chicken out of its dish and across the width of the kitchen counter, onto the floor. I call him “the Squeak”, because that is what he says, leaving the tricky and cumbersome meowing to his noisier sister, Sybil.

There is no way of knowing what his long-term plans were for this slowly defrosting bird. Perhaps hoping that it would land on one of those  annoying cat-chasing, barking dogs’ heads? Would he have shared it with his sister, or hidden it beneath the house among the cobwebs and shrews? Set it free, maybe? The latter is unlikely, as Basil, little though he is, has the stomach capacity of a circus tent. Crowds can enter. With popcorn. There would still be room for the clowns  to dance.

None of the following was seen by human eyes, therefore one can only piece the evidence together to form the chain of events.

All items on the kitchen counters are placed out of Wanda’s reach. Wanda is a labrador, and skilled counter surfer. She has won olympic medals for this, in an alternate universe. After losing blocks of butter and a litre of milk, we have learnt.

I had set the chicken down for a minute, planning greater things, such as popping it into the microwave to hide it. I turned my back on it while preparing the rosemary for the marinade. Big mistake! When I looked again, the chicken had left.

Basil had quietly set to work as the household cat burglar, pulling the chicken towards the end of the counter. This must have involved some silent panting, and mopping of cat brows, as this was a very large bird.

At some point, and I am assuming mid air, Wanda grabbed  the chicken, just as Basil was coming in for the home stretch. Victory was about to be Basil’s. He could almost smell it, he was so close. And it was all stolen from him by Wanda.

I turned around and picked up the dish that the chicken had been resting on. I turned it around, in case the chicken had crawled underneath, you never know with these free range fowls. While doing so, I realised that the dish was at the edge of the kitchen counter, and that Basil was sitting on the floor, his face expressing remorse, anger and sheepishness, in equal measures. And then I ran, not an easy task I must say, when one’s brain has caught on faster than one’s feet.

There was Wanda on the grass, leisurely chewing a frozen drum stick. Very relaxed, as if sunbathing on a yacht with a tasty popsicle. Eyes half closed and enjoying the moment. Until she spotted her half crazed looking “mom” rushing towards her.  She instantly distanced herself from the slightly damaged chicken, and tried in vain to make her little brown eyes look round and surprised, as if to say  “I rescued your dinner from the cat, aren’t I a good girl who deserves a treat?”

The chicken, although now missing a leg, was still in its packet, the rest unharmed. After a good wash and a huge slice cut off of it, it was seasoned and roasted with vegetables.

You are all invited for dinner. Bring wine.


Who am I (prompt from a Facebook Fiend)

Yes I meant fiend, that was not an auto correct error.  He is our good friend in real life, but in the mystical realm of all things Facebook, we will refer to him as “Fiend” for the following reason: He put up one of those odd Facebook posts yesterday. We all know the ones, those that have us scratching our heads in bewilderment, wondering if our friend is being mysterious, miserable, or downright difficult.

Of course he might really have forgotten. When people reach a certain vintage, this can happen, and we should all understand. His status update read: “Who am I?”

I decided to treat this as a  writing prompt. This may not have been the greatest idea, seeing as I have had a slight, but temporary loss of sense of humour over the past few days, wallowing gracefully in misery jelly. Nevertheless,  fuelled by good intentions and a glass of the Ruby Cabernet. I wrote a (thankfully) short poem.

Warning: this may make your eyes bleed.


Who am I?

I am a speck of dust in a cold white room.

So light, you cannot see the walls, the floor, the ceiling, the corners.

I do not belong.

Soon they will see me, exposed and insignificant as I am.

Imposter! You cannot be here. Leave us.

But there is nowhere to go.

For I cannot see the doors or the windows in this blinding light. 


Aunts in hats-volume 1

I am blessed with a vast variety of aunts, each one as unique and as marvellous as the hats at a royal wedding.

My great-aunt, who at eighty years old, can still reign over the dance floor at a party and calls for “guinea fowls” to taste her latest pudding concoction, sets the trend, as far as aunts go. Her diminutive size is no match for the sound of her  laughter, which has been known to wake the sleeping masses of neighbouring countries. Joy.

The aunts always love a decent gathering: great food, good bubbly, and scintillating conversation. The latter should be held at maximum volume, because all seven conversations around the same table are being held at maximum volume and you need to make yourself heard after all. Those with great powers of concentration should focus on all seven conversations at once, lest you miss out on information that might never be remembered again.

A bouquet of kind hearts, mingled with  a good dose of “crazy”, shipping containers of laughter, shared tears,  and a generous dollop of the chilled white wine.

Mad. But good.



Starting on Monday

Mondays are new beginnings. This illusion of a time line in which we live, tells us so.

Good intentions are born days before, carried with care, nurtured on Mondays, and are often abandoned, left to die alone on Tuesdays. Broken promises.

Begin today. And make it, whatever it is, only for today. Do the same tomorrow. And then the next day.

Eat the elephant, one small bite at a time.






Red wine and bitter lemons

You can be invisible.

To some, in their pursuit of their own people and interests, you are not there. Briefly, if they have need of you, you will appear to them. And then you will vanish into the mists of their memories when the need has been fulfilled.

Think of those who serve you. Waiters, cashiers. You recognise and greet them when you see them, while they are serving you. You may even share a laugh or a pleasant chat.  Do you think of them afterwards, when you are at home or out with friends, wondering what they are doing, or how they are? To some, that is where you are placed in their minds. There is no malice, only lack of true caring or interest. To pursue them, to try and become part of their life story, where there is no place for you, ends in heartbreak and bitterness.

You have your people. The ones who see you, who know your heart. You weather storms together, live through the red wine days and cloud filled nights. Some have been with you forever and some you are yet to meet. Some do not stay forever, but you are there, and they are with you,  words and chapters on one another’s pages.

Find them, be with them.




Absolutely flabulous

Weeks of almost eating well, and nearly exercising  are surprisingly not yielding any positive results. Or should that be negative results, seeing as it is shrinking that we are after, not expanding? The expansion has already happened. It is a glass really, really full situation. Not so much a glass as a very full water balloon.

It cannot possibly be the wine, as I have cut it out completely. On Mondays. Not a drop passes these pursed up, tea swilling lips. It is a difficult, rocky path to stumble along, but as the saying goes: no pain, no gain. You have to wonder what sort of evil blackmailer came up with that line.

Food. Why is it so tasty? Unless it’s a lettuce. Terribly healthy (debatable) and flavourless. You would have to be a snail to enjoy it, and I suspect that is only due to the fact that snails cannot eat treats such as chips, as they have a sort of deathly allergy to all things salty. The will power on those poor creatures must be great. Garlic butter on them is even better. The point is, I do try hard to stick to the healthier stuff, but sometimes life happens, and while talking too much, I accidentally swallow things I shouldn’t.

I attended boot camp last week.  It was very difficult for the others, as I kept landing on their towels and floor mats, due to a lack of co-ordination blended in with an occasionally malfunctioning attention span. I seem to have actually worked some muscles though. I am not sure what they’re called and where I usually keep them, but they hurt quite badly for the next few days. Tomorrow, I may try this again, but I am going to suggest they keep me contained. In some kind of box, perhaps. For the others.

I will keep trying, and maybe I will succeed. If not, I am told that as one gets on, a little fat helps smooth out the wrinkles. Believe it! Both of my chins do.



A Bitch called Wanda

Wanda’s day starts at around two am. Sometimes at one, depending on when her woman human has finally reached that state known as deep sleep. It starts with a soft, wet nose nudge on whichever appendage is protruding from the duvet, and escalates from mournful groans to tone deaf barking sounds. Her woman falls out of bed, stumbles and snores softly all the way down the passage, followed by her pack of five mismatched hounds, forgets to disarm the burglar alarm, then opens the door leading to the large green toilet. Wanda’s poor woman is barely awake, trying to remember passwords and string together the right words to cancel the armed response. After a half hour rest on a pool lounger, Wanda decides to let her woman go back to bed.

Three years ago, after undergoing a thorough home check, we collected a fluffy black girl puppy from Project Dog Durban. We had recently lost our much loved Beast, a young Labrador cross Boerbull. He was epileptic and succumbed to a brain haemorrhage. We were heartbroken. We could not replace him, but we could give another rescued puppy a chance to have a home and be loved.

We think Wanda is possessed by Beast’s spirit, guided somehow to handle his unfinished business. Bank cards, wallets, shoes, cellphone covers and chargers alike: they shall be conquered and made humble.

Wanda’s woman keeps her shoes on a top shelf of her wardrobe. If not kept out of reach, they are used to form part of an unknown ritual,  which consists of keeping all left shoes in a circle on the lawn. It is preferable for a heel or at least a tip of each shoe to be chewed off for the ritual to work effectively. A possible theory is that she is attempting to summon the great Beeno god (he who hands out treats all day).

Besides chewing shoes and other tasty objects, and pretending to be ashamed and shocked by her own behavior when reprimanded, Wanda’s main occupation is food. Or the pursuit thereof. While the rest of the pack are chasing the monkeys that often visit our banana trees, or barking at the eagles and noisy hadeda’s flying overhead, Wanda is eating bananas, trying to steal food from the cats (who are very selfish, and never share), or listening out for the creaking sound of the refrigerator door opening. Wanda’s woman sometimes keeps cooked chickens in there.

Wanda and her woman once had a chat via Skype. It was very one sided, the talking part,  however one of the two communicated by bobbing her head from side to side and letting out steamy snorts through her nose. They understood one another.