WATERLESS

Last night we had a preview of what it will be like on a “DRY” run – if you will pardon the pun.

At about 18h00 we, like many others, found that there was not one drop of water coming out any of the taps. There was general panic in our little complex. We hadn’t been expecting this. We hadn’t been warned. There was no email, Whatsapp message or any communication from the people in authority. In fact we were on our own.

NO WATER. AMEN

Most assumed that despite the reassurances that Cape Town had water until 4th June, the reality of being without water had come to being reality. Our worst fears had been realized.  What now? Most of us, those with foresight that is, and I think most caring people have done this, had stored a certain quantity of water in case of emergencies.

Our problem, was therefore, not the fact that the taps had run dry, but how long were we going to be in this situation? Most people would have about 50 litres on hand, enough for one person for one day if you take the reckoning of the Municipality as being accurate.

No joke. Want to make a meal? Use some of your fifty litres. The dishes? What do do about them. Do you use your 50 litres for this, or do you stack the plates, having wiped them as best you could with some roller towel? Want to make a cup of tea? Fill the kettle with up to two litres of water? No way. That is far too much to waste. Use just the minimum.

Personal hygiene. Has anybody in your family got a runny tummy? Heaven forbid. That could use up your whole water supply for the day on one or two flushes, because your grey water will not last for longer than that either.

Bedtime! Probably the best solution when you have no water. But then how to brush your teeth? Use more of your precious water, especially to clean your brush afterwards. And you need at least to have a good wash seeing that a shower is impossible. More water gone, although if you are resourceful, and most of us are by now, you take that water and pour it into a basin to wash your undies at least. But you are feeling a little chilly. Your feet are cold. No, you can’t just soak them in lovely warm soapy water. Oh no. Out come the socks, which in the next twenty four hours you are going to have to wash again, in that non-existent water.

I think the most annoying thing in this whole situation was that we had no forewarning. We hadn’t been able to prepare ourselves for it. So typically being me, I was on the phone to the Municipality ready to do battle with their perceived lack of caring for their ratepayers. Well, luckily something told me to be more polite, more caring, more considerate of others.  Fighting talk was not going to help either me or them.

Quietly I described out plight, enquiring even more quietly whether this was now Day Zero, or whether there was some other reason.The young lady called Monique who answered my call asked all those questions about who, where, municipal account number etc. She then went off for a moment before returning to tell me that (a) it was not Day Zero arriving months ahead of schedule, but (b) although inconvenient at the moment and she was sorry she could not give me better news, but that the switch to the Sunnydale area where we live was faulty and that the technicians had been working all day trying to repair it. They had apparently been so busy with the repair that they had not had time to deliver the bad news to the people who needed to spread it to us. Hence, dear Monique was very sympathetic and most apologetic.

When I told her that all this must be making her life difficult as she was now bearing the brunt of calls from irate customers, I could hear the smile in her voice as she agreed with me. Then I said thank you for being so efficient and I am sure the smile must have got bigger and we closed off with me telling her that I hoped it would be sorted out soon and that she was to enjoy her evening.

To bed, to sleep and this morning, those technicians must have waved their fairy wand over everything because this morning the taps were once again delivering our life giving water.

And to paraphrase the situation, it has certainly given us water for thought!.

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LIVE A LITTLE, LEARN A LOT

This week has been quite revealing and quite daunting. I have battled on many fronts – not in angry jostling fighting, but in finding things that have always been difficult, suddenly made simpler.

I have learnt to push myself further when it comes to computer problems and have finally managed to get my Mailchimp site working. That has been an epic battle.

Then on Facebook, and I can hear many of you saying ‘Not Facebook” with a sigh and a rolling of the eyes. Well, I tell you I can learn a lot on Facebook. One of my dearest friends from schooldays, (yes that’s you Kath!) sent a link to a site that shows one how to do a number of simple tasks in an easy and straight forward manner.

One of the things I learned was how to make my trousers fit snugly around the waistline. This has always been a problem for me. Normally I spend a fortune having trousers altered by a tailor. Now I simply follow the illustration that was given, and voila the trousers fit snugly. A simple piece of elastic threaded in and tightened is all that is required. And those trousers or jeans that are always too long. I always feel that it requires a major alteration, also needing a tailor once again. Now, its a matter of folding in the right place and stitching and turning the right side out again and a quick press. Nothing simpler.

Amongst others there was also a trick to thread a needle. I don’t know about you but with eyes that are not what they used to be I sometimes struggle with this. No more. Now with thread and needle positioned correctly on my hand and a rub of the needle, it threads itself. Nothing could be simpler.

And the best of all in this water deprived area where we live and where water has become more precious than gold, platinum or titanium, a man came up with a simple idea that makes it easy and quick to wash vegetables or hands with the minimum of water. It involves a plastic bottle an straw and a quick lick of contact adhesive. Then you fill the bottle give t a quick squeeze and a trickle of water comes out. You use a minimal amount of water doing this.

But those are only some of the things learned. The most amazing one to my way of thinking though has been training a dog who has never seen me. My neighbours behind me have a rather noisy German Shepherd who gets pretty lonely during the day and so often dreams up invisible burglars at whom he can bark. This barking drives me to champagne but there is only so much I can drink in a morning before passing out. So, one morning is utter despair and because I was hoarse from yelling at it to shut up I started banging on the window from behind the sheer curtains. Well, he stopped, turned and looked in my direction and then after a few minutes started to bark again. Once again I banged on the window, and he stopped and stared before meekly walking away not to be heard again that day.

I was quite proud of myself, especially as the next day when I repeated the exercise, he stopped after the first bark and has gently ‘obeyed’ the signal each day since. Now I think that this is one very bright dog. I am sure he has huge potential to learn a whole lot more. But no, I don’t want to adopt him, thank you. He has barked, but then I could see that there were people in the street and I have left him to do what he has to do, but the nuisance value barking has stopped completely.

There were other things I learned this week as well, but we’ll leave that for now. I may need to return to this subject another day. In the meantime, remember to try to learn something new every day. It will keen your mind active and alive.

Anything you can relate to that has happened to you?  I would love to hear your comments.

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Sometimes you need to smile.

I belong to a writing group called “Out of Africa” and twice a month we are given the first line of some piece of writing and are asked to make up our own story, using that line. I thought you may like to read my contribution for this month.

THE PERFECT FOIL

Lynn grabbed the closest thing she could find as she kept her eyes fixed on the front door. She could see the lock and door handle moving around as the little noises came from outside. She knew without a doubt that somebody was trying to break in.

Here she was alone, with nobody to help her. The telephone was as dead as dead could be, It had been since last Friday and they were now fast approaching midnight of  Monday. She had not even had an acknowledgment of her complaint because the telephone company did not work over weekends. The lock movement grew louder as she watched and she became a little more rattled with each movement.

There had been instances of robbery and armed robbery in the neighbourhood lately. It seemed that their area was being targeted by criminals. What was she going to do? Should she scream out and let everyone know that she was being attacked, or should she stay quiet and pretend the house was empty and that he would give up and go away? Not that screaming would help much, the properties were quite a distance form one another. That had bought here because of the sense of being out in the country.

She was convinced it was a man because to her knowledge  women weren’t normally housebreakers and burglars.

She felt fairly sure that the lock was a pretty substantial one that would not submit without a fight. The salesman who had sold it to her had assured her that it could withstand everything including a bomb-blast. Silly her for believing everything the salesman had told her. She was far to gullible.

She waited, clinging on to her weapon, standing directly behind the door jamb so that once the thief opened the door she would, for a moment, be hidden by it. This she hoped would give her a few moments of grace, to lift her weapon and hit him fairly but squarely on the head. Maybe it wasn’t going to be ‘fairly’ but ‘unfairly’ but then it would serve him right for breaking into her house.

A thin beam of light shone through the keyhole. Huh, she thought,  he had even brought a torch with him, the cheeky swine. She felt her heart beating a hundred beats a second in her chest. To her it sounded so loud she wondered if he could hear it out there. Then the small ray of light disappeared and the banging and jiggling continued.

She was beginning to think that running away would be the better option. Maybe she should escape through the back of the house and alert her neighbours. But on the left, Maisie and Bill were away. Had the burglar already been there, she wondered?

If he knew that they too were gone he was certainly not going to go away in a hurry. He would then know that he would not be disturbed. On the right were the Lamonts, but there house was set so far back and had such high walls around it they would never hear a thing.

She slid down the wall to her haunches, still hugging her weapon of choice. Yes, the children had been right. They had told her to move into a secure housing estate with security controlled entrances and exits. But, she was always too stubborn to give in without a fight. She didn’t want to move. That was the thing. Having lived here with Dick for all these years, bringing up the children here, knowing the neighbours, knowing the area, she didn’t want to move to somewhere safe where the neighbours would be so close they could hear her pass wind in the loo. No, she didn’t want that sort of closeness. Although at this very moment she wished she had opted for that lifestyle. She would then have been able to press a button and have a horde of security guards after the nefarious thief who was intent on taking her precious belongings from her.

It seemed the thief was now making some progress, she could hear him hammering at the lock.  He had stopped being cautious. He knew he wasn’t likely to be interrupted.

Lynn suddenly, clearly and with sudden inspiration realised she did not have to be the victim in this senseless assault on her personal property and probably on her body too.

She tiptoed away from the door, towards the kitchen. There she put her weapon down on the table and looked at it. How stupid of her!  She hadn’t even realised what she was clutching in her fear. She almost burst out laughing. Instead she went to the radio which she always had on in the kitchen. It was playing so softly that she could almost not hear it, but when she listened closely, she smiled.

This was the perfect anti-dote to her burglar. She went back to the door, stealthily, taking little soft steps. Once there, she turned the radio on to full volume.

“Well, sergeant, we will soon put a stop to this,” boomed a voice from the radio. They were broadcasting a play about a detective. There was a clatter outside, and she flung open the door, armed with the courage that had fled from her earlier, to see a young teenager disappearing down the driveway as fast as his scrawny legs could carry him.

She sat on the step outside and laughed. She could imagine the headlines in the local paper, as she dropped her weapon of choice.  “Burglary foiled by a cucumber.”

 

THE END.

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WHEN EMAILS GO WRONG

I have had a bit of a week.\Four days without internet due to a fault on my router/modem because Telkom was working on limited services for the weekend. And added to that was a little problem of having somebody hack me and send out thousands and thousands of messages on my behalf that were returned as undeliverable. So when I finally got to my emails I had to wait for hours for these messages to come through. That was awful awful awful. I saw on one day that there were over 20000 (yes – twenty thousand).

My current  computer man said  “Don’t worry they will eventually dry up”. That was not reassuring at all.  My other computer man did something constructive.He closed my email down for 24 hours and then changed my password. I guess I am going to be making some changes.

And this led me to thinking that those of us who can just manage to do the basics, send out email and so on are very much a captive audience by the so called boffins who know all about computers, or at least profess to know it all. We have to take what they say as dinkum fact and accept what they say.

I must confess that I am beginning to think there aren’t very many who really know what they are doing out there, and often we are victims of their arrogance and ignorance in like measure. So when you find a gem – hang on to him or her. In fact how many ‘hers’ are there out there?

My other experiences have led me to question why I am so gullible too. I have launched two books, sent out notices to all. Some professed to be so impressed by the fact that I write and want to read my books, others say hoorah and well done. Yet others say they must have a copy. And there I sit, with my list of items sold for the month at 0, zilch, nothing. So obviously nobody out there wants to read them despite the people who I gave proof copies to who went into raptures.

Now, the conundrum is this: are the books a load of rubbish and not worth putting out there, or are people  just making pretty noises to mollify me? I wish I could work it out.

Is anybody reading this? or am I writing to please myself? Probably the latter. Writing is what I have always done, or at least I thought I could do. And as nobody is reading this except me, maybe my little ego is a tad deflated.

Never mind, I like putting my fertile imagination to good use. It is far better I suppose than setting rumours alight about everybody I know.

That’s it! A light-bulb moment. I am going to become a gossip columnist.

 

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EYES OF EVIL

At last! Eyes of Evil has been reshaped, re-read, and had its multitude of errors attended to. It went live yesterday and by tomorrow the ebook and Kindle versions will also be available. It has been quite a mission for me as, although I have lived through a multitude of technological changes, I am still daunted by computers and the wonderful things they can do, and the wonderful screw ups I can make when trying to be au fait with it all. Trying to act nonchalant when you don’t really have a clue what you are up to can be a lesson in humility.

So there it is. The other books on the shelf at Amazon are all gong to receive the same treatment. I will no longer subject my readers to such blatantly stupid errors. They deserve better.

I envy the writers of old in some ways. They either penned their stories by hand, and got somebody to type them or else they typed right onto the typewriter. However, even that had its drawbacks. Imagine, writing or typing a whole book of a good  few thousand words to find that there was a mistake on page ten which affected the whole story. Not nice, to have to do it all again. So, may be I should say thank you for a computer which allows one to make a myriad changes with not as much effort.

Eyes of Evil, was a labour of love for me. My husband, when reading the story long after it was written said it was ‘too involved’ for him. Others though have spoken about the story keeping them up at night as they had to read to the end and that they really got to grips with the character. So, don’t hold your horses. Read the story, and once read, depending on which camp you find yourself in, there is a sequel in the making. Leonard Lanfear would not let me put him to bed finally. He wanted another round, which I gave to him with my latest rendition, which is at the moment only using a working title.

Just to whet your appetite, Lanfear goes off as he says he will, but not to Outer Mongolia. He covers his tracks very well, or so he thinks, until a man called John seems to be following his trail, and it is John who leads him into his new predicaments.

This business of writing is a strange thing for me. I love the way stories evolve in my head, but I often lack the stamina to put it all to bed and in a nice organised way. My nature is a little too slapdash – I want, once I have come to the end of a story, to just leave it there, but then think it deserves a bit more. Yet, I lack the discipline to fully do it justice.

I am hoping that this exercise I have just gone through will make it worthwhile and that I will have the courage to set the wheels in motion properly for all the others. Be with me on the journey if you will.  I don’t think it will be boring. I don’t do boring? Or do I?

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Up to Date?

The launch of my new book is about to take place. That is “Eyes or Evil”, which was part of a Nanowrimo exercise two years ago. But with a move, and another two books down in the interim, I have been so slack about keeping my blog up to date.

Hopefully this year will remedy that situation. You know it’s a bugger to be poor. You can’t do the things you want to do, efficiently and properly. Launch a book on a shoestring? Possible, yes, but launch a book when the shoestring is broken in a couple of places, means that nothing is tied up properly.

I must say that I do have some good friends though. Diane Maleczek was wonderful. An editor of note she undertook to edit my latest offering and did a marvellous job gratis! I am so indebted to her. But the proof copies came back and I asked another friend to go through it, but unfortunately he has been a little tardy so months later I am still waiting. And I can’t say patiently. However I am determined that this is where I have to do things for myself. Guess what I am going to be doing tomorrow?

And of course I got myself into a whole bunch of new activities that have dug into my writing time too. Nobody to blame but me. Then we have a 50th wedding anniversary looming later in the year. Can’t believe we have been married for that long, but there it is. Of course it deserves celebrating too.

Okay, so tell me I am just making feeble excuses for not acting professionally, and I will agree with you one hundred percent. But give me a break.

Just one more chance will do. I am determined to see out this year with a real push and a shove and some success. Will you be back to see that I keep to this promise? Please help me, by nagging me every now and then. I would so appreciate it. Thank you.IMG_20180102_190833_BURST002.jpg

 

 

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DAYS OF RAIN AND FIRE

We here in the Western Cape have been rendered helpless and hopeless. We have had a week from hell.

We had a bad storm, but not the mother and daughter or father and son of all storms. In my over thirty years of living here but bad enough with loss of life and homes and a little water to relieve some of the drought situations, but not enough yet. A lot of mopping to be done in the aftermath, but grateful that it was no worse.

Worse though was the devastating fires that raged through the Knysna, Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay areas of the Western Cape with extensive loss to property, animals, and human life. It was such a sad thing to have happened. We are now crying with our friends there. We have all been touched my this. Everyone knows someone who has been affected. A friend’s family , a family member, or a friend or relative somewhere in that area has seen the disasters but has also, and more importantly seen the wonderful help that has been forthcoming from so many wonderful people. Municipalities sent volunteers firemen and women, and full-time employees too. All dug in. Strangers helped each other. The towns became united in their misery.

This morning the worst of the fires are over, and mopping up operations continue, and now is the time for us to really be there in support of these people. The spirit of the people  in the area is great though. They are sitting up and saying, ‘we are open for business as usual. Come now, come and visit, spend your money in our towns. We need your help.’ And they do.

For And what of those who have lost everything? I tried to put myself in their shoes, but was overwhelmed by the mere thought of where to start. Imagine that you have, the clothes you stand up in, and nothing more… A few days ago you had a roof over your head, a car in the garage, a job to go to, and bills to pay. Now? You don’t even have a utility bill to prove who you are, and perhaps not even an identity document.

What about the man who has lost his wife, his children and his home and car? What does he do? Well, one in particular, it was reported, got up, dusted himself off and went to help fight the fire. What a hero!

Two firefighters lost their lives in the tragedy, one a volunteer, one an experienced and valuable member of a firefighting team. Unsung heroes all of them. A young family died, amongst others, a little boy celebrating his birthday and his mother waiting for a new baby to arrive. There will be no happy ending to their tale.

We went down to our local fire-station yesterday where bemused firemen were still collecting goods to take to the people up there who needed our donations. They, too, were just shaking their heads in disbelief. They, too, could not believe what has happened.

Well, we can’t sit by and just shake our heads in disbelief. We have to be positive, do something positive, no matter what. We must support each other.   This is our own private ‘war’ we are fighting. We are fighting the elements and these elements of nature have no mercy.

And no matter how small the helping hand you offer, it is and will be appreciated. Just DO IT.

 

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