Still sucking

Just a short note, really, to tell a true little story with no moral that I wish I didn’t know.

So you get robbed, and you put in new locks. You sleep badly for a few days, but eventually fatigue sets in and you have to get over it.  Ten days later your excellent insurance company delivers a brand new laptop which begins to make up for the irritations, the time lost, and the holes the assholes made in your world. Life approaches normal. How do you say? Oh yes, “shit happens”. How cathartic. You remember how to relax.

Then they come back. They take your brand new laptop and everything else they can get their grubby hands on (passports!). Your house is covered in foreign fingerprints you can’t see – and neither can the illiterate cops.

But of course. It could have been worse. We could have been here when it happened. We could have lost important work (praise be to Dropbox!). They could have taken my Kenwood Chef! They could have taken the single malts! They could have taken a shit on the floor!

They didn’t. But if that’s supposed to make it somehow better, it doesn’t. Neither does it make it better that “they” are quite likely among, or friends of, the group of builders renovating close by, who we continue to see every day, and who have been able to watch as we slowly turn our home into an impenetrable fortress. Will they bring a bazooka next time?

Things will be replaced, and deep sleep will return. But sadly I am not sure if I can re-find the Cape Town I have lived in for most of my adult life: the one un-threatened by “them”, and the nauseating idea of “next time”. I suspect I’ll be keeping my young friend close at hand, just in case:

Some Fridays Really Suck

Like yesterday.

I was actually looking forward to yesterday, because well, it was Friday. Which meant final lectures of the week, which meant a nice evening with a friend to look forward to, followed by a weekend of quiet time for some “real” work.

First, it rained, and here is the umbrella that I should have had with me, but didn’t:

Yes, it rained so much that I even contemplating cancelling the night out, and turning it into a nice night in instead. Fire, red wine, and good food, without having to go anywhere. That would have been nice. But my friend likes ‘out’, so we headed out, like people *should* on a Friday night. We even got adventurous and went to a restaurant neither of us had tried before. We drank nice wine and I ordered an ostrich burger which was just what I felt like.

The burger was full of gristle. I had two bites. The onion rings were nice though.

Then I came home, while my friend went off to a fancy dress party dressed like a demon. (She wore cool black wings.)

But I couldn’t get in because someone had bolted the door from the inside. Since it wasn’t me, and since the Philosophe is attending peace talks in Oslo, I fairly quickly deduced that this was bad news.

So I phoned the cops and waited hopefully outside for them to pitch up in the next five minutes to rescue me, and to get me into my home.

I ended up sitting in my car for an hour.

When I finally got inside (escorted by armed forces), it looked just like it does in the movies when someone walks into their house to find it has been ransacked and burgled. That was pretty sucky.

So were the next few hours, of statements, and locksmiths, and trying to find sleep many hours after my bedtime.

This morning: fingerprint detectives, insurance claims, and trying to figure out which detergent best removes the dirty feeling of strangers having rummaged through your stuff.

I know that it could have been worse than it was, and I’m glad that it wasn’t. But for a Friday, I think I deserved better. So to the idiots out there who can’t get into my laptop anyway,

Birthday tripping

I have a birthday coming up in a few days, and for the first time in years (ever?), I am quite happy to let it pass quietly by. See, I’ve just spent 14 days in various manifestations of the pictures above: mostly on a boat (pictured centrally, she is Isola Bella, the beautiful island), where many hours were spent watching waves, less hours (but rather a lot) drinking gin and tonics to yet another gorgeous sunset, some time sitting on deck chairs in various marinas watching other boats while sipping gin and tonics, and even a few stolen afternoons lounging at pools with other hot and weary travellers. We were a small crew: our captain, my father-in-law; his son, my husband and first mate, and yours truly, the galley slave (later to be promoted to galley admiral, and thereafter commander – either because the sandwiches got better and better, or because I became less tolerant of interference with the sandwich-making. This remains unclear).

Our home point was Kent Narrows, Maryland – where la bella lives when she is not out sailing – and our destination New Bern, North Carolina, where my Raleigh family came to hang out for a day before we turned around and headed on back. Little did I know that I would also be greeted with a bucket-load of birthday presents to make up for their not being here on the actual day. And you know how people sometimes give you all sorts of useless crap because they feel they have to give you something? Well, this bounty was the exact opposite of that. I got a rocking brownie pan (the one that makes lots of edges) that I’ve been coveting ever since I got into the sordid business of finding the best brownie recipe (it’s all in the pan!). I got some funky Bodum and Scanpan accessories (it’s sometimes nice to be Danish). And all the way from Jamaica:

So, after two three weeks of eating and drinking copiously (oh, the Maryland crabcakes. Oh, the North Carolina shrimp. Oh, the captain’s steak Fiorentina. Oh, the beef jerky!), and coming home with a stash of goodies to a kitchen that has already had one big gift this year (oh, beloved Kenwood Chef), who needs a birthday?

In fact, I rather like the idea of drinking water and eating apples for the next few weeks. And working from dawn till deep into the night, like some mad monk.

OK, that last part was bullshit. I would never be so irresponsible. Work and apples should be used in moderation.

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