Simple Life

The next best thing to a perfect cuppa tea on the bedside table is waking up to the gift of a free day – no commitments, no obligations, no deadlines. I may be retired but that doesn’t mean I have a lot of free time. Alex uses the term admin to refer to unpleasant chores that require undue effort and sometimes I feel quite overwhelmed by admin tigers snapping at my heels – accounts to pay; phone calls to make; emails to send; fundraising proposals and reports to write; and a mountain of filing that never seems to shrink. I must confess that I spend more time worrying about what needs to be done than the actual doing requires. But I’m afraid that is the way of a procrastinator. On top of this there are always thankless and never-ending household chores lining up to claim my time, especially tidying. I spend a disproportionate amount of time clearing surfaces and putting stuff away only to find that, as soon as my back is turned, the clutter magically reappears.

I also have commitments that take me away from the farm, like playing bridge in the village several times a week and volunteering at the school. When you live on a smallholding you tend to try and kill more than two birds with one stone whenever you venture out. So although bridge in Nottingham Road may start at 1 pm, I usually leave home much earlier as inevitably I need to run quite a few errands while I’m out. Shopping once a week in Howick is a day affair; it takes 30 minutes to get there and after numerous stops we usually treat ourselves to a lunch out. Despite the fact that I enjoy doing all these things (indeed I’m grateful I have them to do), I still relish the days when I have no obligations.

So here’s to the simple pleasure of commitment – and admin – free days:

There are so few empty pages in my engagement pad, or empty hours in the day, or empty rooms in my life in which to stand alone and find myself. Too many activities, and people, and things. Too many worthy activities, valuable things, and interesting people. For it is not merely the trivial which clutters our lives but the important as well.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From The Sea

Layla, stopping to smell the daisies

Layla, stopping to smell the daisies

Buddy, enjoying a mid morning walkies

Buddy, enjoying a mid-morning walkies

a beautiful serval spotted on my way home the other day

a beautiful serval spotted on my way home the other day

some of the wild flowers and grasses popping up in the garden

some of the wild flowers and grasses popping up in the garden

Looks are deceiving Debbie! This is me on the same day as the doggie pictures.

Looks are deceiving Debbie! This is me on the same day as the doggie pictures.

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Simple Life

In my previous post I mentioned that I had started reading The Book of Joy. I then read an online article with the title: Why Small Pleasures Are a Big Deal (you can read it here). Both these reads have given me cause to reflect more seriously on what makes me happy and I’ve decided to create a regular post devoted to Simple Pleasures. I want to highlight the simple things in my life that transform the mundane into the sublime, hopefully without coming across all precious and twee (I promise I won’t start referring to myself as blessed, Kiera!). I hope to add at least one a week until I run out of ideas. I’ve also created a page where I’ll list simple pleasures as they arise.

Please feel free to comment – I would love to hear your take on this.

According to Why Small Pleasures Are a Big Deal:

We’re surrounded by some powerful ideas about the sort of things that will make us happy. We think that really to deliver satisfaction, the pleasures we should aim for need to be: Rare, Expensive, Famous and Large Scale.

As a result: if someone says they’ve been on a trip to Belize by private jet we automatically assume they had a better time that someone went to the local park by bike; we imagine that visiting the Uffizi gallery in Florence is always going to be nicer than reading a paperback novel in the back garden. A restaurant dinner at which Lobster Thermidor is served sounds a good deal more impressive than a supper of a cheese sandwich at home; it feels more normal that the highlight of a weekend should be a hang-gliding lesson, rather than a few minutes spent looking at the cloudy sky; it feels odd to suggest that a modest vase of lily of the valley (the cheapest bloom at many florists) might yield more satisfaction than a Van Gogh original.

A pleasure may look very minor – eating a fig, having a bath, whispering in bed in the dark, talking to a grandparent, or scanning through old photos of when you were a child – and yet be anything but: if properly grasped and elaborated upon, these sort of activities may be among the most moving and satisfying we can have.

Appreciating small pleasures means trusting our own responses a little more. We can’t wait for everything that is lovely and charming to be approved by others before we allow ourselves to be enchanted. We need to follow the muted signals of our own brains and allow that we are onto something important, even though others may not yet be in agreement.

We are dominated by striving: for better relationships, work and personal lives. Restless, we think, is synonymous with success. Nothing should be good enough for long. But, in so concerning ourselves with unattainable levels of excellence, we overlook more modest pleasures, closer to home.

So here goes: my first simple pleasure of the day is a ritual which usually involves being served a steaming hot mug of tea in bed when I wake up. I lie in bed while Peter gets up to put the kettle on and let the dogs out. After that he feeds them and the birds and then he brings me tea in my special fine bone china mug (a gift from Susannah). After 3 mugs of tea and 3 pages of writing, I’m ready to face the day.

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I have never been a morning person so to be able to lie in bed, write my morning pages, gaze dreamily out of the window at the birds in the garden and drink tea without any pressure to do otherwise is my idea of bliss. It doesn’t happen every day and, to be honest, when it does I mostly take it for granted. However since I’m making more of a concerted effort to appreciate small pleasures, this is one to be savoured, especially if there is a homemade rusk or two thrown in for good measure. Thanks, Pete.

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Make it Rain

Enough already with the incessant misty drizzle. I’ve been cooped up indoors for days now, unable to get into my garden because of the gloomy weather. Yes, it’s wet but it’s not rain. The other night I saw an ad on telly for HTH featuring beautiful, sparkling pools full of people having fun and I was plunged (!) into an abject longing not only to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin again but also to frolic about in a pool like we did when we were kids.

At the moment I’m reading The Book of JOY, based on a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu and recorded by Douglas Abrams. The book deals mainly with the question “How do we find joy in a world filled with suffering?” And the answer it seems is to not think too much about yourself.

I’ve only just started the book but already it’s got me thinking about the difference between joy and happiness and the value of simple pleasures. According to DL and DT happiness is dependent on external circumstances whereas joy is a state of mind and heart, a way of being. I think one has to not only be open to experiencing joy but also to be mindful of the possibility. It takes a conscious effort.

One of the things that makes me happy is spending time with children, and volunteering at the local farm school gives me the opportunity to connect with preschoolers and bring some play back into my life. I love it when those little hands reach out to grasp mine when we play a game or when a little body snuggles onto my lap when we’re looking at books. However there is a more serious side to this and that is that most, if not all, of the children come from poor homes. So I give up some of my time to help fundraise for the school in the hope that they may get a better education than their parents and eventually be able to break the cycle of poverty. When that fundraising pays off, I think I do experience joy, knowing that I’m doing what I should be doing even though I don’t enjoy doing it!

The secret of happiness is not doing what one likes to do, but in liking what one has to do.

Sir James M Barrie

Last month, I organised, and catered for, a teacher training workshop which fortunately turned out to be a resounding success. It was quite stressful and there were times when I questioned why I do this to myself when I could be relaxing at home instead. Cooking chicken curry and rice for 25 people was bad enough (thank goodness for the Hairy Bikers chicken curry for a crowd). However, once it was all done and dusted I knew that I would, without hesitation, do it all over again. Why? Because there’s joy when one connects with humanity.

This is a report I wrote on the workshop:

On a cold and misty Midlands morning in October, 20 teachers from 11 primary schools, as near as Lion’s River and as far as Loteni, gathered in the Curry’s Post Primary School science centre for a workshop on the intermediate phase (grade 4 to 7) 4th term maths and science curriculum. All of them had one question: “How do we make maths and science interesting and easy to learn?”

The workshop facilitators from CASME (the Centre for Advancement of Science & Mathematics Education) were very interactive and it wasn’t long before teachers started participating quite vociferously. The morning started with the maths curriculum and focused on the concept of probability. This generated much discussion about the fact that things we often deem impossible are in fact possible but not probable! Teachers then explored ways of demonstrating this, for example by tossing a coin or rolling a dice. One of the teachers shared the following teaser which left us all scratching our heads: There are 2 red, 2 blue and 2 green socks in a drawer. If you take two out in the dark, what is the probability of getting a matching pair? During the tea break one of the teachers commented that her head was buzzing, but in a good way!

CASME facilitator demonstrating use of magnets to explain concept of probability

CASME facilitator demonstrating use of magnets to explain concept of probability

After tea, the science session started off with a vigorous debate about why we need to understand the world around us and how science helps us to do this. Given the recent call by the student movement, The Shackville TRC, that “science must fall”, this is an extremely pertinent topic. Unfortunately there is a myth that science is western, due largely to educational bias that propagates this notion. However, it was agreed that science is a system of acquiring knowledge and making sense of the world (through observation, experimentation and drawing conclusions based on probability); and it was understood that both science and mathematics are universal languages.

teachers discussing the curriculum in groups

teachers discussing the curriculum in groups

This workshop was the first in a series organised by the Curry’s Post Educational Trust with funding from the New Settler’s Foundation. One of the Trust’s aims is to encourage hands-on maths and science learning at primary schools in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands. To this end it hopes to develop portable maths and science kits, as well as provide teacher training in the use of the equipment. This initiative has the support of the Department of Education circuit inspector and natural science subject adviser and it was greatly appreciated that they both made time out of their busy schedules to attend the first workshop.

The Trust is most grateful to the staff of the Curry’s Post Primary School for allowing us the use of their wonderful facilities. The school’s science centre provided an excellent workshop venue. After an intense day of maths and science, participants relaxed in the newly refurbished school hall to a sit-down lunch and the opportunity to get to know each other and share experiences.

When asked by his principal whether the workshop had been okay, one of the participants replied, “It wasn’t okay, it was awesome”. If some of that enthusiasm rubs off on learners, then workshops like these are truly worthwhile. Inspiring rural learners at this early age to find “awesomeness” in science and mathematics will lay the foundation needed for them to take the first steps towards becoming the engineers, doctors and technologists of the future.

The next workshop will be held at the beginning of the first term next year.

If any of you, dear readers, feel moved to assist with this programme, please let me know. I’m always on the look out for donor contacts (especially for funding the portable maths and science kits, the lending scheme and our other outreach programmes) as well as anyone who would like to volunteer.

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Spring 2016

I wanted to write a post about spring in the Midlands but first I decided to find out more about what causes the changes in the seasons and how the start of spring is determined. (It never ceases to amaze me how little I know about such matters.) We all know that seasons divide the year into four distinct periods of time – each one bringing different weather, hours of light, and plant/animal behaviours. But how does one define the start of a new season?

In meteorological terms each season is defined as a three-month period, with September 1 as the start of spring in the southern hemisphere. However, astronomers base the date of the seasons on celestial events – the spring and autumnal equinox and the summer and winter solstice. The astronomical start of spring is therefore normally around September 22, about three weeks after the meteorological one.

Image result for spring equinox southern hemisphere

A third definition of the start of spring comes from phenology – the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events. The start of spring in this field is dictated not by a set date or a single event, but changes in the natural world.

Dr Kate Lewthwaite, project manager for Nature’s Calendar for the Woodland Trust, which is calling on the public to help with observations, said that for different people the change of the season was signified for different events, meaning in phenology the definition was more personal.

For some the first blackberry, which can ripen in July, heralds autumn, while for others it has arrived when the trees are bare, which can occur in December. “We have a much more fluid definition of when the seasons start. The seasons are definitely there, but exactly when they start varies between years and the long term trend of the seasons seems to be shifting as a result of climate change,” she said.”

telegraph.co.uk

Certainly, in the years that I’ve lived here, spring has never arrived spot on September 1, which is the meteorological definition. So I’m inclined to go with a combination of the astronomical and phenological definitions. This year we only started to see signs of spring arriving towards the end of September and by mid-October we could quite confidently say it had settled in. That’s when we started cracking on with our veg propagation and planting in the hope that all threat of a late frost had past. Of course, one never knows – last year I planted sweet potatoes in the first week of November; that night there was snow on the ‘berg and the very next day we had a frost that wiped out most of the plants. Although warm days have been few and far between, plants have been springing into life left, right and centre amidst much drizzle and mist. One can almost feel the stirring happening beneath the soil and the asparagus patch of course makes this awakening quite visible as the spears tenaciously thrust their way upwards. Asparagus and artichokes are quintessential spring veggies and we seem to have them in abundance this year.

Thandi, bless her cotton socks, enjoys preparing artichokes – a break from the tedium of housework I guess. So when she’s trimmed a batch, halved them and removed the chokes, I braise them in light olive oil and wine with home-grown thyme and garlic. The cooked and slightly caramelised artichokes then get smothered in my favourite extra virgin olive oil, Tokara, which Judy gets for me from Checkers in Durban – I love the taste and the memories it evokes of my frequent visits to Tokara with Alex when he lived in Stellenbosch. Keeping the artichokes sott’olio (“under the oil”) preserves them until pizza night when we combine them with fresh asparagus to make the most delectable pizza topping. Who needs Debonairs when you’ve got frozen pizza bases from Woolies and spring veggies? Although I must confess one of the things I do miss since moving to the country is not being able to order in pizza (or Chinese for that matter) when we’re too shagged out to cook.

a bowl full of spring

a bowl full of spring

Another sign of spring is the birds – I saw my first swallows here a couple of weeks ago and his nibs, the pintailed whydah bird, is back at the bird feeder and a-courtin’ with a vengeance. Some of the other LBJs have become splotches of red and black as they moult into their breeding plumage. The front garden is home to a variety of birdfeeders – mixed fowl food for the francolins, wild and garden bird seed for the seed eaters, fruit for the bulbuls and sugar water for the sunbirds. It sometimes gets a bit bloody raucous, what with all the chattering, squawking and swizzling going on. Ah yes, spring has definitely arrived, but unfortunately we are still waiting for our spring rains. We’ve had dribs and drabs but nothing to write home about just yet.

Recently Kho and I made 2 raised beds in the allotment using wood slabs that Peter bought for R50 from the local sawmill. After we screwed the slabs onto poles which had been sunk into the ground, we lined the insides with thick plastic and filled each bed with compost from our own heaps. It was fun getting stuck in to something again and I was right proper chuffed with the results. I’m going to use one bed for salad stuff and the other as a seed bed. What a pleasure it is to garden without getting down on one’s knees – I wish all our veggie beds were raised.

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Our potatoes in the orchard are looking very healthy on top; I’m hoping that they’re as impressive underneath the soil.

the potato patch in the orchard

the potato patch in the orchard

Mielies, squash and strawberries are also coming along quite nicely in the orchard. And in the allotment we are harvesting lettuce, spinach, kale, artichokes, asparagus, leeks and garlic. Peter has been busy propagating veggie seedlings from heirloom seed – tomatoes, cucumber, chillies and peppers and I’m hoping we are going to have enough of a surplus of these in summer to pickle or freeze.

Other than as a pizza topping, I mostly prepare asparagus with eggs. However, the other evening I was in need of comfort food, after a day of not feeling so great, and I made Asparagus Cream Pasta. So simple but wonderfully tasty and therapeutic – I’ve put the recipe on my Recipes Page.

our newly fenced "allotment" - porcupine and buck proof

our newly fenced “allotment”, which is now properly porcupine and buck proof

onion flower

onion flower

kale

kale

swis chard, bright lights

swiss chard, bright lights

 

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My Back Pages

 

Dear Kiera

Recently I watched Jane Fonda giving a TED Talk with the title Life’s Third Act.  I’ve never thought of Jane Fonda as the kind of person I would take advice from (even her exercise videos passed me by); she’s a little too Hollywood for my liking – too glamorous, too rich, too contradictory. However, she is a feminist (which is a big plus in her favour) and, think what one may about her, she’s also very articulate and what she had to say made a lot of sense to me.

She talks specifically about how our life expectancy has increased by 30 years and refers to it as our 3rd Act, which I think is a rather nice way of putting it now that I’m approaching 60. She advocates that we shouldn’t regard these years as part of a downhill curve but rather as a chance to finish up the task of finishing ourselves. She has a refreshingly positive take on this stage of our lives, unlike Shakespeare whose 7 ages of man monologue describes the final stages of a man’s life as:

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

One of the points Fonda makes really resonated with me; she talks about doing a life review and mentions a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl in which he wrote:

Everything you have in life can be taken from you except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. This is what determines the quality of the life we’ve lived — not whether we’ve been rich or poor, famous or unknown, healthy or suffering. What determines our quality of life is how we relate to these realities, what kind of meaning we assign them, what kind of attitude we cling to about them, what state of mind we allow them to trigger.

She goes on to say:

Perhaps the central purpose of the third act is to go back and to try, if appropriate, to change our relationship to the past.  It’s not having experiences that make us wise, it’s reflecting on the experiences that we’ve had that makes us wise — and that helps us become whole, brings wisdom and authenticity. It helps us become what we might have been.

 (my emphasis)

 I like that: “become what we might have been”. Recently however I’ve been reflecting more on my mother’s life than my own. I don’t want to sound critical but I’ve learnt a lot from her mistakes and I hope I don’t repeat them.

“What has all this to with me?” you may well ask. Well, since you will soon be completing your first 30 years of life and have probably not given much thought to what your life will be like when you have done another 30, I thought it may be appropriate to share some of my learnings with you.

As Fonda says:

Women start off whole, don’t we? I mean, as girls, we start off feisty …. We have agency. We are the subjects of our own lives. But very often, many, if not most of us, when we hit puberty, we start worrying about fitting in and being popular. And we become the subjects and objects of other people’s lives. But now, in our third acts, it may be possible for us to circle back to where we started and know it for the first time. And if we can do that, it will not just be for ourselves. Older women are the largest demographic in the world. If we can go back and redefine ourselves and become whole, this will create a cultural shift in the world, and it will give an example to younger generations so that they can reconceive their own lifespan.

So, here goes: what I’ve learned from my mother’s mistakes:

  • It is critical to look after one’s body – to keep fit and healthy and nurture one’s appearance. Problems with eyesight, hearing, teeth, muscle strength, bone density – all the things that deteriorate with age – should be dealt with as they arise. I’ve seen my mother struggle with some of these issues because she either didn’t seek help at the time or didn’t continue with the treatment. Now it’s too late. As for appearance, I don’t mean disguising one’s aging. Rather, celebrate it and hold your head up high. Confidence is what it’s all about.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

(Maya Angelou)

  • Even introverts need social contact. I’ve discovered that making the effort to be more sociable has had many rewards. I’ve met lovely people by learning to play bridge and joining a book club and it’s led to other social activities. I’ve also been introduced to books that I would not normally have chosen to read – it does one good to get out of one’s comfort zone. As she got older, Edna became more reclusive and without company, she gets quite lonely and bored.
  • It’s good for one’s psyche to have a creative outlet, something that you can continue doing when in your dotage.

I want to approach my 3rd act very differently to my mother. I want to continue evolving and living an authentic life. I don’t want to have any unfinished business when I die and above all, I want to be happy and fulfilled.

Given all of that, I have a favour to ask of you. Don’t let me give up and play the age card; keep pushing me to realise my potential and not to be fearful. Call me out if I become self-pitying, complaining, negative or small-minded. I’ll understand even if it hurts – I’m sure I’ll cry and get annoyed but at the end of the day, I’ll know it’s because you love me.

I don’t think this is too much to ask you because already you have a knack for pointing out, with alarming alacrity, when I’m being foolish. And I appreciate it, honestly I do. I wish I had done the same for my mother. I let her stop trying until eventually she won’t go out, even to visit us. If I know that you’ve got my back on this, I’ll have one less thing to worry about and I can get on with my 3rd act and give the performance of my life.

Love you,

Mom

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Lily The Pink

I’ve mentioned before on my blog that I am rather partial to alcoholic beverages. Champers for celebrations, a g&t on a summer’s day, holiday cocktails, a glass of red in front of the fire on a cold night, a pint of draught in the pub, a whiskey and soda at the end of the day and so on and so forth. And there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact society encourages it.

Alcoholic drinks have been produced and consumed by humans for thousands of years and have played an important role in religion; supplying nutrition and energy; providing medicinal, antiseptic, and analgesic benefits; quenching thirst; facilitating relaxation; promoting conviviality and social cohesion; increasing the pleasure of eating; providing pharmacological pleasure; and generally enhancing the quality and pleasures of life.

David J. Hanson: Historical evolution of alcohol consumption in society

However, the article does go on to say:

Still today, there exists a conflict of views as to whether alcohol is an attractive elixir or a dangerous poison.

If it’s only a few drinks on the odd occasion, then what’s the harm? But if one feels that the only way to experience bliss is to keep drinking, then I think it is a problem. Unfortunately for me I’m one of those people who keeps looking for “that first soft spring breeze of intoxication” by drinking more.

By the time I got down to the bottom of the glass …… I could feel the warm, suffusing glow of alcohol wash over me. There’s really nothing quite like that first soft spring breeze of intoxication. Keep drinking all you want, but you will never get it back. Nothing has changed, you’re still the same guy sitting at the same kitchen table, and yet everything feels just a little different: Several degrees less literal. Leavened. And whether or not this angle of mental refreshment offers anything of genuine value, anything worth saving for the consideration of more ordinary hours, it does seem to open up, however briefly, a slightly less earthbound and more generous perspective on life.

Michael Pollan: Cooked

Ordinarily, I’m a fairly sober, down-to-earth, clean-living person but every now and again I drink too much and it annoys me. What upsets me more than anything is all the time I’ve wasted being inebriated – it’s no coincidence that being wasted is slang for being drunk. My lack of restraint when it comes to alcohol has been an issue on and off for most of my adult life. I was a teenager when I first started drinking; it was something we did for fun and to give us street cred. We were the naughty kids, bucking the system and thinking we were oh so cool. Later, I started to rely on alcohol as a social lubricant; it helped to mask my introversion and social anxiety. After a few drinks I became more gregarious and less reserved. Again, it was fun and no harm done. Gradually however, over the years, drinking has become a habit and that habit gets a bit out of hand occasionally. Every evening for as long as I can remember at 6 o’clock, sometimes earlier if it’s been a long day (!), the drinks are poured. And at every social event my first inclination is to grab a drink before heading into the fray.

The thing is that when we were younger, getting drunk was something we all did. It used to be funny and we would even boast about our drunken escapades. However, as one gets older, it doesn’t do one any favours – slack-jawed, slurring, incoherent, unsteady, forgetful, not to mention the aging effects!

The turning point came for me a few days ago when we had a lunch party and I had rather too many glasses of wine. I went to bed after the guests left and slept solidly for 12 hours. When I woke up I could remember very little of the previous afternoon and it dawned on me that I’m throwing my life away by not being present. I’ve been told that I can be quite the life and soul of a party when I’ve had a few drinks. The problem is I can’t remember any of it afterwards and that, I feel, is a waste of what precious time I have left. If I’m having fun I really want to know about it! There’s a huge difference between the soft spring breeze of intoxication and having a blackout.

I tend to drink too much whenever I’m anxious about being judged and criticised by others – when I publish a post on my blog or when I’m mixing in a crowd, for example. I think it’s a hangover (pardon the pun) from my closet introvert days when I suffered from social anxiety and felt I had to pretend to be something I wasn’t. Sometimes one needs a little help to just be oneself.

So my challenge is to recognise the triggers and learn to drink in moderation. Habits are hard to break but I’m dettermined to change my ways and writing this post has really helped me to work through some of the issues. It’s helped me to see that things are not as bad as I sometimes think they are but also that things could be better. I would still very much like to enjoy the benefits of alcohol but without the detriment of inebriation.

I’m inclined to agree with Desmond Morris when he writes:

This new style of social drinking … was a marvellous invention of the first great civilizations – a form of shared, chemical day-dreaming that provided vital opportunities for social bonding. Those that drank together stayed together.

It was important that early drinking was most commonly associated with great celebrations and other festive occasions. These are times when those present are in a mood to enjoy themselves. This is essential if alcohol is to play its best role. For it is not a stimulant, but an inhibitor of inhibitions. And there is a subtle difference. Whatever the dominant mood of the drinker, alcohol will exaggerate it by removing the usual social restraints. If the drinker is happy he becomes happier; if he is sad he becomes sadder. There is absolutely no truth in the idea that alcohol helps to ‘drown your sorrows’. If you are sorrowful to start with you will only sink deeper into despair as the night wears on. For this reason, the happy social occasion is the ideal environment for the human ritual of ‘taking a drink’. As such it has always had – and will always have – great social significance.

Social and Cultural Aspects of Drinking: Foreword by Desmond Morris

g&t anyone?

g&t anyone?

celebrating my 55th at Linga Lapa

celebrating my 55th at Linga Lapa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

celebrating Alex's graduation

celebrating Alex’s graduation

Mothers' Day 2013

Mothers’ Day 2013

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

celebrating Kiera and James' wedding 2013

celebrating Kiera and James’ wedding 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

kj-2013-212-of-214

kj-2013-148-of-214

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New Recipe Page

I’ve had a complaint that it’s not easy to find the recipes I’ve posted on my blog under the title Food Glorious Food. So I’ve created a page specifically for all these recipes. If you are looking for a particular recipe, open the page, press Ctrl + F and type in what you are searching for.

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