Waking Up is Hard to Do

Okay, so here’s what happened here, a few weeks ago I was working in Cape Town.  One night I went to sleep looking normal and woke up like this.  Cape Town and I have a very complex relationship.

On that same trip I sat down and wrote the passage below.  But somewhere between the ocean and microwave meals and the gps lady and looking for parking, it was forgotten.  Until the other night when an out-of-nowhere bout of insomnia had me opening every folder on my desktop.  And there it was:

There’s something so wonderfully unsettling about being away from home.

I’m writing this sitting on the floor of my bed and breakfast, leaning against an ancient dressing table because my Mac cord is too short to reach the bed. I’m also pretty sure it’s haunted here.

Earlier, at a busy sushi restaurant, me and my table for one, my table for one and I, got moved to the sushi counter section, where single person dining is welcomed with open sushi chef arms.  I sat next to a couple almost definitely on their second date.

One of the perks of being alive for 32 and a half years is being able to sort of tell which date strangers are on.  These guys were definitely on their second, although she wore wedges and lipstick and he wore flip flops and a hoodie (stick with me here man readers), they still seemed to be having a really good time.  They spoke about how slushies are a hardcore drug of the sugar world, John Cleese and something else, which I couldn’t quite hear but made HoodieFlipFlops say  ‘presuppose’ once and ‘indeed’ twice.

When alone, I always find myself doing things like telling strangers their salads look delicious.  And plugging in my phone to charge at all kinds of not wise places.
I ate ice-cream, which I almost never do because my teeth are practically made of paper and thought I heard someone calling my name twice.

There’s a certain liberated anonymity in travelling alone.   A kind of craziness for one that leaves you feeling a little terrified and completely exhilarated, all at once.

(And now, a Friday bonus picture.  Happy weekend, Friends!)

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But Seriously Y’all, Baby Lambs

I’m in Underberg at the moment visiting my parents.  Yesterday, we spent the afternoon at friends of theirs.  A magical place where chocolate cake is fresh out of the oven, apple orchards are just beyond the kitchen door, honey is collected from bees and the layered mountains create a theatre of the round.  For life.

When the sun was reaching out to play Hide and Seek behind a mountain, we all headed outside.  I pulled off my converse and pulled on a pair of borrowed gumboots.  The air was weirdly balmy (there’s whisperings of snow), the light was a ridiculous shade of golden and the baby lambs were ready for supper.

I have never held a baby lamb before. The closest I have come is sheepishly (sorry not sorry) sticking my fingers through a fence to try and feel their gruffly soft fur.  While full grown sheep are all body with stick legs, baby lambs are all long limbs with little, warm bodies.  And they have almond shaped eyes and Disney ears, and they trot.  Even half an hour after being born, they stand up and trot, because they know that is just what baby lambs should do.

Baby lambs are also super wriggly, they want to play and snuggle with their moms and unlike puppies, have very little interest in a bottle of warm milk.  So you have to keep the teet of the bottle in their mouth and hold them on your lap until they’ve had at least a few gulps.

The mom sheep all watched suspiciously from a corner.  Baaaa-ing moodily every now and again.

(I’m thinking of sending this post to Farmer’s Weekly, ground breaking notes on animal husbandry, I’ll say.)

After the baby lambs had wriggled and gulped a little milk and baaaa-ed and trotted around, we walked down to the river where a herd of horses from the farm next door had wandered over.  The sound of their hooves clip clopping home across the river bed was all at once strangely familiar, completely foreign and exactly what every pair of ears should get to hear.

Can something you have already done be on your Bucket List?
If so, my Rebucket List would include:

Going back to Paris
Throwing vacuum cleaners out of the back of a convertible at high speed
Kissing in the rain

Feeding baby lambs

Me: This is the happiest moment of my life.

Baby Lamb:  Heeeeeeeelp.

Lastly, a note on genetics.  I was looking through my parent’s pictures of the afternoon (thank you guys for every photo in this post!) and these two pictures stopped me in my tracks.  Mother/Daughter What Now?!  My Mom and I are standing exactly the same at two moments along the way.  Geez genes.

PS.  More on genes – I am my father’s daughter.

(I should mention that I know that lambs are baby sheep.  But ‘baby lambs’ just sounds so much better.  Thank you for understanding.)


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About a Fridge

I bought a new fridge.  This is not at all valuable or exciting information except that, this fridge is so much more than a fridge.  This fridge is the beginning of letting myself live the life that I have now.  Dude, I know.

For the longest time, five years or so, my little bar fridge and I moved through life all care free and rootless.  Big fridges were for people with families and gardens and babies and parrots and tvs. I wasn’t ready for big appliances.  They were for those who knew what was what and who had settled into full lives of root growing and large quantities of fresh produce.

Then suddenly, a month or two ago, it was time.  I realised that although my life may not look like what I thought it would (boy, it’s time to break up with that sentence), it was okay to have roots and plans and large quantities of fresh produce, anyway.

So I bought a fridge.  It’s huge and silver and has a water dispenser in the door, a tray for eggs and a home for at least two bottles of wine.  This fridge is not messin’ around.  This fridge is going to hold the ingredients of many dinner parties and champagne bottles and left over pizza and the last slice of birthday cake and maybe one day a baby bottle or two.  A full life kinda appliance.  Welcome to the family, fridge.

(Turns out fridges aren’t so photogenic.  So here now instead, a picture mostly of my hair, well on its way to embracing the Grace Coddinton-ness it has secretly yearned for for years.)

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We sit around.  We laugh.  Someone makes coffee or pours wine.  The air is cold.  Enough.  To wear anything, everything.  Those things that belong in between layers of other things.  But the sun shines.  Determined.

We live in a twilight disguised as day.  Perhaps it has become day.  Our daylight.  The roots are long since gone.  Our bags packed and unpacked until we hardly need them at all.

We have each other.  And time.  Gone by.  And ahead.  We whisper, we share and we withhold.  With love.

We know with a knowing of a decade.  Or so.

These times.  These times that seem so easy, so light, so filled with contentment, fulfilled.  They may go.  They may change.  The storm may come and wash away these sacred moments that seem like normal.  Now.

But now.  Right now.  I see.  I hold, I cherish, I inhale.  Every bit.  Moment.  One.


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