Sunday, 8 July 2012

Art as a playground or is it craft as a playground?

You may or may not know that I am a bit of a crochet fan. And knitting and embroidery bla, bla, bla. I am not terribly skilled but I am enthusiastic and over the years have needle worked my way through crises and happiness and found calm in the repetitive nature of these crafts.

And look what I found on pinterest: It is just so whimsically out of the box creative thinking that I want to climb inside her head.


Friday, 6 July 2012

The Cape Town Trip Part TWO

The Fandamily and Cameron's Party Part of the Trip to Cape Town

The first thing we did when we arrived in Cape Town was PHONE THE SONS. During the course of the phone calls we bribed them with  the promise of  free food and drink. A few hours later we met up with them for supper at a delightful slightly seedy Mexican restaurant in Cameron's neighbourhood called The fat cactus. Lots of catching up jabbering  and drinking and dinnering took place. SIGH. The mother in me was very pleased that both my boys were in the pink of good health. Although, my first born, Philip was looking a  bit cold. His whole winter wardrobe  and a lovingly crochet blanket ( made  by me ) was in the Emirates Cargo Store waiting to be collected.  Mind you, I do think that Philip may not feel the cold in the same way as the rest of us. He spent  his first winter in Cape Town with a duvet cover on his bed. Please note that I did not say anything about a duvet inner.......

Reunited with offspring.

The next day a series of delightful coincidences occurred. We crawled out of bed having had already consumed the complimentary “starter pack” that was available in the cottage so had to head out for FOOD and something  warm for me to wear, I was freezing.
We went to  Cavendish Square because it was nearby and we know it and we knew that there would be Internet access at the Mugg & Bean. As we arrived at M & B who do we see but Bryan's cousin wife Lorna with her daughter Kerryn. Now we knew that they would be in Cape Town and had made semi arrangements to meet up. But here they were, great minds obviously thinking alike etc. So we stopped with them for a bit and caught up on lots of lovely family and general  what you catch up on stuff. The Olivier’s went off on their way so I left Bryan at the coffee shop catching up on his work and went in search  of warm clothes. After a semi successful shop getting warm leggings and a scarf I went back to join Bryan to find him nattering away merrily to his mother, Cecily, and her cousin Justine. Now,  I assumed that Bryan had called his mum and they had come and joined him. But no, they just happened to be passing by and bumped into Bryan. Well, well. That was the 2nd random meeting in half a day. So we had another lovely catch up. Cecily and Justine went off and I left Bryan once more to go and do some provisions shopping at Woolies. When it comes to grocery shopping there is the most amazing variety here in Dubai. There really is and it is lovely but there is no Woolies Foods. It is a big sadness in my little life. I have not come across a better store here. I have not come across one that comes close. Anyway I am being side tracked. How unusual. After a successful grocery shop ,which included me returning a great many things to the shelves because “Really, really Penny  do you HAVE to have every yummy thing you see?” (that is me talking to myself), I returned to Bryan who was still pounding his laptop and sipping endless  cups of coffee.  He was very smug. He had been beavering away when a waiter drew his attention to the fact that there was a couple sitting across the coffee shop from him trying to get his attention. Bryan had bumped into friends from Zim (Nigel and Claire Turner whose son, Daniel, was at school with our's) who were in Cape Town for  a few days bla, bla, bla.  And it did not end there, on another visit. The Mugg and Bean  having become Bryan's Office for the duration of shopping expeditions to cloth sons and stock up on Oma Rusks and other ESSENTIALS. We bumped into our eldest  and then our Youngest - and got to buy them breakfast.

Where the World Meets?
Obviously if you want to see the world go by, get down to Cavendish Shopping Centre in Cape Town and plonk yourself down at the Mugg and Bean for a few hours.

The next few days were a whirlwind of family arriving in the form of  my Mum, my beloved Sis-In-Law , Bryan’s Niece and Nephew, settling in’s and catching up. This was interspersed with me forcing people to be tourists. All undertaken  with much vehicle juggling as between us we had three small cars and not everyone was in the same place at the same time, all the time.

Cameron's girlfriend Samantha had her Graduation the same week we arrived and her parents were in town for the occasion. One of the drawbacks of being expats is that you don't get to meet most of your children's friends terribly often and you don't get to meet there parents and considering that Samantha has been in our lives for some time is is a crying shame that we had not met her family and not seen much of her. This was a perfect opportunity to get together. The only person missing was Sam's sister, Daniella. We had dinner in a delightful quirky Italian  restaurant  Bardelli's on Kloof Street. It is right in the old Rosenhof house estate. It was one of the original homes in Cape Town and goes back to the early 1700’s. It was used as a hire house in the 1800’s and the first appointed astronomer to the Cape lived in the house and observed from a hut in the garden.  The atmosphere was warm and convivial and just right for a cosy evening out.  

Cameron had opted to hold his Birthday Celebration at a Student Pub hang out called Neighbourhood.

 This elicited groans from everyone over the age of twenty five. The braver souls of the older generation (Julie) and those that had no choice (Bryan and I) went to the party dragging our barely legal niece and too young nephew with us.

The party was lovely. Cameron’s friends are delightful.  They scolded Bryan when they felt he had let the bar tab go on too long.

I behaved badly.

Bryan has a party trick - more like a party dare. He encourages people to drink a Mexican Omelet. When Bryan does it, before you even start, you feel a bit ill because he goes on and on about the egg and were it has been before it got into your grubby paw. That would be in a chook's bottom, by the way. I did not do that. but I did hijack Bryan’s party stunt by I simply getting the more foolish of Cameron’s friends (and Cameron) to do the following. The “volunteers” were all given a whole (complete with shell) raw egg. They were given a shot glass of tequila. What I told them to do (and they did) with all that equipment is this- put the whole egg in the mouth. Crack the egg inside the mouth swallow and chase it with the tequila shooter. One has to be careful not to swallow the egg shell. Spit the left-over eggshell into the now empty shot glass. Slam the glass onto the bar counter and feel like a hero. So I got the party goers to do that. WHOOOO HOOOO and then because I had consumed a few drinks myself (by then) I showed them how a middle aged woman does it.

No one has ever accused Bryan and I of being stand up responsible Citizen’s with regard to the care of young people. So it is just as well that Bryan’s Niece and Nephew are responsible and being such Tarry was able to drive her inebriated two Aunties home. This is the reward parents and other close relatives get for years of teenage hood or so I am led to understand. It has to be said that of the two Aunts I was the considerably more inebriated one. Julie was supportive.
The following day we had a birthday lunch  at Harbour house in Kalk Bay for the geriatric contingency (no disrespect to you old codgers of course) which now easily included (in post spirit anyway) every member of the family from the night before.

What we did not have at the lunch (for some time) was the Birthday Boy who had received a message  on the day of his party saying that he had to go to the University the  next day to do some sort of presentation for the Township Debating League. It is a not for profit community organisation, that he is involved with on campus.

Elder son Philip looked like something dreadful had befallen him. It turns out he was drinking many of Cameron’s drinks. He said it was so that Cameron would not be a wreck the next day for is his TDL thing  - but I am not convinced.

The Birthday lunch was in a truly lovely spot. The view of sea around Kalk Bay was delightful. We saw a whale!  We spent a lovely day sitting for a great many hours around the table just soaking up being with family and nattering. Bryan gave a sweet speech we drank champagne and we gently rolled out into the evening going our separate ways to recover from our various excesses.



So People that was the reason for our holiday. We no longer have babies. We have adult children. BUGGER!

Next installment will cover all the totally touristy things that we did.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Man Mall

I was at the Times Square Centre . By the by, what is the difference between a Mall and a Shopping Centre? Are there rules?)  We were driving past and decided that it would be a good idea to stop for a bite of lunch ( on account of growling stomachs) and to look at camera accessories for Bryans just past Birthday ,which I kind of forgot but that is a whole other story. I was thinking in terms of a tripod. Bryan was thinking in terms of a great big wide angle telescopic lens thing. HUMMMMMM.

So this is a question for the Dubai-ite Shoppers. Have you been to Times Square recently?
It has become Dubai’s “Man Mall”. Have you noticed? I don’t think the Management of the Mall has. Their web site has a lovely lady like feel to it. But, when you go to the mall it is wall to wall Man Shops. What with the big Sharaf Electronic Outlet,  Adventure HQ ( I so, so, so, want to do that suspended up in the air climbing thing. Not so keen on the climbing wall as I have creaky  bones and I am not 18 anymore……. )  Intersport and the car accessories shop, it must be Man Shopping Heaven. And there is the bonus that the center is not too big so men can’t be annoyed by too much in the way of retail outlet options.
There are a few things missing. They need:
 A furniture shop that sells items only in glass, leather and chrome.

A barber shop.

A Bar
A hardware shop that sells things like diesel powered saws and torches.

They have what appears to be a rather under-utilized ice cafĂ© where you sit on blocks of ice in subzero temperatures having, I presume, hot chocolate and wondering "WHY?" I suggest that they would do well to have waitresses  wearing short fur fringed skirts and pointy  thigh high, high heeled  fur trimmed boots to attract a more masculine clientele who would come scurrying into the freezer to enjoy the view and to cool down after an exciting time on the climbing wall. Or just turn it into a bar.