Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life


Sometimes when you are feeling a bit down in the dumps, people try to cheer you up by pointing out that there are always others who are worse off. I don’t know about you but I have seldom found that to be terribly helpful; it just makes me feel even more miserable – for being so self-centred and thoughtless, not to mention feeling bad for all those other poor buggers as well. Intellectually I know that my problems are minor in comparison to many others but emotionally, knowing that doesn’t really help to lift my spirits. What does lighten the mood though is humour, always. So when I read Louise’s comment: “Come on Brian, look on the bright side” I immediately felt a stirring of wellbeing. What better way to cheer one up than Monty Python, not just because the sketch itself is so funny but it conjures up all those wonderful memories associated with that time in my life when my friends and I could, and would, quote Python sketches verbatim (and I bet Chris can still can do it). Sometimes I catch myself using a Python phrase and am aware that the person I’m addressing is totally oblivious and looking at me as if I’m stark raving mad. Hello? I wish to register a complaint; this she calls “using her intuition”, I call it crap”; it’s shuffled off its mortal coil and so on. And how many of you reading this heard those expressions in your head exactly as they were originally uttered?

Eddie Izzard is another favourite comedian of mine. Alex first brought his humour to our attention a few years ago and we went to his show in Durban. It was fun listening to the younger Izzard devotees in the audience repeating his lines back to him, like you do. I’m afraid I just can’t retain stuff like that anymore! There are some people that I’ve never met that I feel a connection to, that I sense if we did meet we would get on like a house on fire, Eddie is one of them. I have this innocent fantasy that he comes for dinner, we have a rip-roaring evening of scintillating conversation and we part as the very best of friends. Ah well, it will have to suffice that I’m going to see his new show in Cape Town in June. I also have a fantasy concerning Paolo Nutini but that one is rather X-rated. “Oh Mother”, I hear Kiera say, “that’s disgusting; you’re way too old for him!” At least, that’s what she said when I confessed that I thought Jake Gyllenhaal was a bit of all right.

I think I’ve mentioned before that Peter and I were invited to join a wine club. There are 20 members and we meet once a month at our local to taste different wines, eat fantastic food and get to know our neighbours better. We attended last week and had a very enjoyable evening tasting sauvignon blancs and chardonnays. Matt, the owner of the restaurant, prepared a delicious starter of tomato and mozzarella stack, drizzled with basil pesto and croutons. This was followed by a melt- in-your- mouth belly of pork with crispy crackling, mash and creamy mustard gravy. It was an outstanding meal and the wines were good too. The members take it in turns to present the wines and work out a complementary menu with Matt and I have to say I’m quite looking forward to our turn. I’m thinking of doing a “wining and dining on a budget” theme! Peter has a nose for bargain wines that taste good and I’m currently doing lots of research for Alex on budget meals, not to mention how I had to juggle our being broke not so long ago with our predilection for good food. Alex has, after 3 years in res, moved into a house in Stellies with 3 other lads. They take it in turns to cook supper and have a budget of R100 for the meal. I got a call from him to say it was his turn coming up and he needed help. So I sent him my recipe for spag blog, which I think every student should know how to cook. Although he couldn’t afford the parmigiano, the other ingredients came out to almost R100 on the dot and fed all 4 hungry guys perfectly. So now I’m on a roll – how to eat well without paying through the nose, although I somehow don’t think that our wine club buffs will take too kindly to mince with their vino. Perhaps I can dazzle them with some home grown veggies.

Finally, as I’ve come to terms with the fact that if I don’t live my life, no-one else is going to, I’ve plunged myself into rejuvenating the allotment (which has been sorely neglected for about 3 months now). I bought a copy of The Ultimate Moon Gardening Guide, studied the calendar and supporting info, downloaded onto my laptop so that I can chart the moon’s phases and started planning when and what to do according to the waxing and waning of the moon. I’m keeping tabs on what we planted before the new moon and will compare with what we have planted now during the first quarter which is (and I quote from the before mentioned guide) “the first growing moon phase, and is a productive phase as energy and moisture levels rise and produce balanced leaf and root growth. This phase is considered as the spring season of the moon”. My brother, Mike, has just bought a telescope and I am terribly envious. I’m just going to put it out there that I have a birthday coming up in a few months’ time and see what happens.

It was very misty today, perfect weather for taking photos.

one of my compost heaps looking good, with Layla doing her "where's Wally" in the background

one of my compost heaps looking good, with Layla doing her “where’s Wally” in the background

another compost heap being turned by Kho wearing his New York beanies

another compost heap being turned by Kho wearing his New York beanie

a more "scenic" view of the compost heap, full of earthworms by the way

another view of the compost heap, full of earthworms by the way



my little lean-to greenhouse

my little lean-to greenhouse

these kale seeds sprouted 4 days after being sown - is that down to the new moon?

these kale seeds sprouted 4 days after being sown – is that down to the new moon?

Arabella Miller found a hairy caterpillar ...

Arabella Miller found a hairy caterpillar …







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2 Responses to Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

  1. Chris Ammann says:

    I totally agree. Being told that there are others worse off than you is almost as bad as being told to snap out of it. I find a long walk usually helps, as does a dose of comedy. Eddie Izzard is great and I suspect everyone would like to be his friend.

    A couple of years ago when I was between jobs but also a member of a wine group, I put together a CYSGDWFUAF tasting (can you still get decent wine for under a fiver). The answer was a resounding ‘yes’ though I used every trick in the book (discounts, bogoffs, etc) to make it happen. If you can overcome prejuces, fortified wines are often a bargain.

    Re interesting food, may I suggest something interesting you can do with a carrot. Par boil about 6 to 8 medium carrots for 5 mins. Drain dry and add to an oiled roasting pan together with a couple of quartered onions still in their skins (they stay together better). Coat lightly with oil and bake for about 30 mins at 180 deg C (add 20 deg for non fan oven). Now add a tablespoon of soy sauce, shake about (the veg that is) and bake for another 20 to 30 mins until the carrots are going a bit brown. Cheap but delicious.

    Hope the wine evening goes well – we’ve had some very raucous tastings here where the tasting comes, as it should, a distant second to the joy of good company.

  2. Louise says:

    Good to see things are back on track! How interesting re
    the moon phases coinciding with your planting. Love the new photos, must surely have been up very early to catch that worm! Eddie Izzard sounds like a good idea, might just pop along too, might be lucky and catch a lunch at the canteen on the Deathstar 🙂

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