Its my dream, not his and LM moves out..

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It would appear, dear Readers, that LM wont be proposing to me anytime soon.  He has, in fact, decided to move out, so I shall cease the amount of days that I have been counting since we met and realise that fate has once again dealt me a crushing blow.


I am not entirely sure what was the final card ” we” dealt but suffice to say that he has decided to kip in the spare room now for 10 days and although he still puts his washing in the wash bin and uses ” our bathroom”, there seems to be no thawing.

It seems to be coupled with the fact that I had a dream which I wrongly assumed to be his also, but in fact it wasn’t.  As Number Two Son said, rather sagely, ” Mum, its our dream, not his!” and I take this as a small bit of comfort that the next part of my journey will be without him.

no 2 son

The dream I have is to remodel my Dad’s house on the beach.  It was an undertaking that I would have preferred to have taken with LM but as he isn’t about, I shall galvanise myself and do it alone.  As The Pilot said whilst communicating with me recently from Lusaka ( where he currently lives with his wife ! ) , ” Nanooka, take a deep breath; wipe your sword and move forward.  You are stronger than you think!” and with this printed off and stuck to the front of my PC I am, indeed, moving on.

project 3

Its certainly not a trip for the faint hearted.  I have sold my house and will have to either camp in a caravan on site for six months or rent somewhere.  Personally, I would prefer camping out on site, but the Architect says he would prefer NOT to have me there, because apart from the Builders having to work around me, they also don’t want to be responsible for losing any chickens; cats or dogs.   So I will be relegated to renting a home for a few months and planning my future.

I see me growing old disgracefully; drinking a Gin Sling on the Balcony and throwing stones at the passerbys. I am obviously destined to be single; batty and have a house full of animals and not men, but  with a wonderful view of the Channel and the twinkly Wind Farms, what’s not to like?  It will be ” The House that Jack, (re) built…)

Its a new adventure and I cant wait….




Two Beers; a Curry and a fight

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I was very excited about the Curry Evening and felt prepared and even, “in control”.  Then the guests arrived.  I was just in the middle of putting the chickens to bed ( they are lazy and wont put themselves away until I shoo them up their steps to their coop ) when the doorbell rang.  I was still running around with rollers in my hair and my dressing gown.  I had showered though.  Bonus in everything. Something! Well, nothing, as it would later appear…

David had turned up early and as he undid his scarf and coat told me he didn’t want a Curry.  Bit late to tell me after I had slaved over the Hob all day making 3 of the dammed things.  I took his coat and left him standing in the hallway.  I was a bit hacked off already.

Next through the door, and still before the allotted time for Bombay Blasters was Jon.  Jon and Murielle have just sold their house and are relocating to France.  I wasn’t sure if he thought it a blessing or not, as Jon is very hard to read.   He Is actually very well read but hides it well.  He prefers to be the contentious one at the party. A real Agent Provocateur!  He is also an Anarchist, which doesn’t go down well with David.  Local Councillor.  Or Bill and Jenny, who I love to death but are  straight out of The Shires and adore all things royal.  I allow them to choose their seats, rather than get involved.  Jon also drives a Jag. so the socialist bit of his Anarchic life style falls down.  I think he has little man syndrome.  Small man. Big Car. ‘Nuff said. Jon was obviously having a slow moment.  He likes to be contentious and he was.   Sitting quietly at the top end of the table, he learned across and said in a huge stage whisper ” are you still sexually active?” to Maria, the Portuguese neighbour.  I wasn’t sure whether she was going to laugh; have a heart attack or a case of the vapours, so I decided to serve the curry.

Bill and Jenny are very pleasant.  Very pleasant indeed.  Think ” rich and pleasant land” and country fetes and you have them, all tied up in a red check bow from Laura Ashley or Bodens.  Bill plays Golf with LM at the local ( Bull shit) Golf Club.  Jenny goes to Yoga and the Book Club unless it conflicts with the Bridge Night as, it would appear, it often does.  Its all very Middle England.  I just observe.  I shouldn’t snipe, I am probably just jealous.  A social Interloper.  I don’t quite cut it at the Golf Club and cant play Bridge or Poker.  No hope for me, obviously….

Anyway, it seemed to go down pretty well.  An odd amalgam of Peeps; plenty of red wine and some gentle bantering.  Then the Brexit question.   Of course, I voted out and still do.  It may be a rough patch we will sail through but like everything else, there is always an end to it.  I know it will be fine in the end, and if it isn’t fine, then it isn’t the end ( I nicked that from the Exotic Marigold Hotel before someone accuses me of plagiarism )

Jon didn’t want Brexit.  Bill and Jenny did.  The Portuguese Lady whose sexual activities were questioned over the chicken Jalfrezi naturally, didn’t want to go home.  After all, why should she as she seems to have a very nice home and a UK Pension.  How the heck did that happen?

I admit I was in the kitchen warming up the Camembert when it all kicked off but before I knew it, there was a shout of ” mind the curry” and ” grab the wine!”.  I hesitated and fiddled with the oven temperature.  What to do? What to do? What to do?

Once I had heard nothing more for at least 30 seconds I ventured the courage to walk back to the dining room.  It was mighty quiet there.  Bill and Jenny were sitting quietly sipping red wine. God that man can drink!  And fast!  I assumed it was more of a nervous reaction than quenching his thirst.  Murielle was mopping something off Jon’s face.  As it turned out it was curry but for a minute I thought it might be blood and Maria, Portuguese lady with good UK Pension was simply rubbing her hands.  I had missed something, but no one was saying.

So you probably think that the fight ensued when I was in the kitchen.  Not so.. it happened later.  Having a few spiky remarks made during the meal, the battle lines were drawn and Maria; Jon and Bill&Jenny began eyeing the exit nervously. Murielle didn’t eye anything.  She seemed to be blissfully unaware of anything.  Wonderful state of life to be in, that’s for sure.   The conversation which had started off so well became very limp and forced down one end of the table and very controversial down the other.  I sat, quietly, in the middle, rather like being at a tennis match.  Looking at one end of the Court and then the other.

Finally, and yes it had become a long evening, they took to leaving.  Once one person stood up.  In this case, Dave, the Local Councillor, everyone stood up.  ” Anyone want a lift home?” he enquired.  Eying up Jon who, Dave considered, would only act that way under the influence.    In any event, it didn’t matter as Murielle was driving.

So I was not quite sure how it happened but somewhere along the line, Murielle got into the Jag. Now whether it was excitement to leave the curry night or needing to escape an embarrassing moment I am not sure,  but she did what many did in her age range do and that is, mistook the first gear for reverse and having pressed foot to metal in no uncertain fashion she took with her firstly, my flowing shrub; secondly LM’s wing mirror on his ” toy” and thirdly the rear bumper of Bill’s new Audi.    As always in moments like this, we draw breath and wonder who will blink first.  In this case, it was Bill who wrenched open the door on Murielle’s side and shouted across her to Jon, who by that time seemed to be having difficulty in breathing and I wondered whether a call to 911 would be on the cards.  After all, he is 73!

” Why are you driving a Jag when you are a sodding Socialist?” seemed to be the question of the moment and not ” can I see your Insurance and have you seen the damage?”

Murielle by now had had an attack of the vapours and Jenny was using her old nursing skills and kept asking her to drop her head between her knees to save from fainting.  Not an easy feat when you have the steering wheel to negotiate before your head can drop neatly through your knees.  Still Jenny managed it with coaxing and pressure, although I did wonder if Murielle’s head would ever have the same flexibility again……

I looked at LM.  He sighed… ” I’m off to bed.  Let them sort it out” and with that he turned and shut the front door with a very determined hand.

  • To be continued…..( after clearing it with the Lawyers for Libel!)



Sibuyisela Ulwazi

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Such am amazing project to get involved in – and we will!

Mpophomeni Conservation Group

Mnandi was honoured to be invited to participate in the Biowatch SA Siybuyisela ulwazi Food and Seed Festival last week.   We sold many recipe books, made great connections, shared stories and seeds, and learnt a lot.  Biowatch SA organised the festival to celebrate the diversity of our indigenous and traditional seed and food cultures, exchange knowledge and ideas and explore innovations in support of food sovereignity, social and environmental justice.


Presentations about all the things we are passionate about were by inspiring and knowledgeable people. There were talks of seed and African spirituality, the Food Price barometer, GMOs, Climate Smart Agriculture (not so smart), the benefits of fermentation, Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, beautiful music made from the humble calabash and a myriad of food activists to connect with.   Legendary Permaculturalist John Nzira asked “What is the difference between seeds and money?”  Amongst all these seed savers and defenders…

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An Indian Stand off….

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Its not going very well with the dress code for the Curry Supper.  I had agreed with the local Indian Restaurant for them to prepare several exquisite curries for us and also for some of their staff to serve it.  I really wanted to embrace the evening and get into character but the Manager refuses to play ball.

Originally he said he could send staff around to serve it as he was slightly over his man power quota and there were a few extra sleeping upstairs looking for work.  If I could agree to pay them, under the table, so to speak, I could have as many as I liked.  It seems that some personnel had come in, not under the table, but under the radar, and this is probably why he is happy for me to offer them some work whilst they await a knock from the Home Office.  Be assured, it will come one day….  ( the knock from the Home Office, not work from me!)

After discussing the Menu, we returned to the thorny question of the ( staff) dress code and I could see he wasn’t altogether happy about my asking them to dress up as Indian Moguls, complete with dangling daggers ( good literation there, ) and turbans.   I noticed him shaking his head over this, but I really wanted the whole evening to be themed and go with a swing.  What’s the point of having a party if you don’t get into character?  I asked him if it was the ruby stone  in the turban which was the “deal breaker”, but he said he just wanted them to turn up in black trousers and white shirts.  Apparently he  doesn’t feel this is the right moment to draw attention to quite how many of them are living about the Bengal Tiger Indian Restaurant!


I admit to being very disappointed and cant understand it.  The last time I had a Christmas Curry Luncheon was when I was in Curacao.  I was lucky enough at that time not to be working particularly hard and had time on my hands, so my imagination could run free and it did!  It was also when I used to have access to the Pilot’s Emergency Credit Card.  (Now, obviously, a dim and distant memory. )

Anyway, I had the very novel idea that a group of gospel singers standing on the staircase greeting guests and singing Christmas Carols would be a great way to break the ice.  The local gospel choir were more than happy to oblige and even when I asked them to wear bright cassocks, with white surplus and a regal neck ruff, there wasn’t a peep from them.


So much so, that it was rather the highlight of the night. A group of ten gospel singers welcoming the guests as they came through the door and  I really don’t understand why the Indian Restaurant cant oblige and do the same .   As they say, ” there’s nowt as queer as folk”

Talking of queer folk, I am also having to badger LM to get on with The Empire Quiz.  I told him that it had to relate to “our Empire”, but he wanted specifics and asked for a Time Frame.  I guess its no good raising questions on Rhodesia and Uganda, if the era he is looking at is post 1974.  By then of course we didn’t have much Empire left so the questions will be pretty few and far between.  I also had to remind him that questions about Arsenal, even though there were about during the Empire, would not be allowed and neither would anything on Golf either.  he had a bit of a sulk and said he couldn’t find questions on Aden or Egypt and would it be ok if they were all based arund New Zealand.  For some reason he isn’t getting into the mood with this Curry Night and I fear it will all be a bit of a damp squid.

Finally, we have just returned from our neighbours lunch do, where a very strange woman came up to me and said that Mrs C ( the sacked cleaner) wasn’t at all happy with me and would be seeking me out early next week. I wasn’t taking too much notice of this woman because I had previously overheard her holding Court on the fact that she takes her dog, ” Dolly” to agility classes each week.  When someone asked her ” why?” – she said she wanted to stimulate Dolly and thought this was great fun for both her and Dolly.  Fuck me!  In my day you only needed to stimulate the kids, not the bloody pets as well and before we know it, they will be taking fish for counselling on account of their water wasn’t changed every seven days or the temperate was slightly too cold for warm water fish.   So I thanked her and smiled at the ” heads up” about Mrs C and continued nibbling my olive and sun dried tomato on a stick which I reckon to be the 21st century equivalent of pineapple and cheese.

I don’t know how I have gone from Hero to Zero in the matter of time it takes you to “Jif ” up the bath, but there you are…..

Update!     It is now 201 weeks and 5 days since I met LM and no marriage proposal has been forthcoming yet!  Just saying…… ( and still counting, obviously!)


I recapture the castle and Curry is on the menu… again!

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Its that time of the year, again, when I do the Curry Lunch complete with either Bombay Blasters, or for the more lily livered, some Fluffy Ducks!  The last time I served Fluffy Ducks, someone queried it was a bit of a ” play on words!” but sadly, I’m not that clever. Its just some Advocaat; .Lemonade and fruit juice whizzed up.  In fact I think I published the recipe here a year or so back……

Curry Lunch is something I have been doing since The Pilot Days and its just a tradition that has continued.  Maybe not as grand as previously but certainly more fun.  We always have some great Curries; lots of “falling down juice”; a dress to impress code and of course the Empire Quiz.    The Empire Quiz is something we play between Courses.  It allows the Curry to settle before we bring the ice cream out.  Home made, of course.  The questions are becoming harder and harder, or probably just more obscure as we scour the history books and On line Quiz Sites for new and unbeatable questions.  LM always likes to take it seriously.  He says there isn’t any point in taking part if you don’t play to win.  I heartily second that and we always have great fun with the Men against the Ladies, don’t ya know…


I always like to get into character when we have a Curry Luncheon.  I used to ask the Indian Restaurant to pop over with the food and hang around to serve it up.  The thing is, they wanted to do it in black trousers and white shirts, but I wanted them resplendent in feather turbans and sashes and curled shoes and a dagger hanging from their belts.  The manager told me most of his staff came from Southall and so the nearest thing they had for a dagger hanging from their belt was when they went ” up town” on a Saturday night for protection.  That was not the image I wanted in my head but he relented and said that if I wanted to hire the costumes, he would get ” his boys” to wear them.  They only did it the once… the following year they insisted on the black dress code again.   I really don’t know why.  After all, who wouldn’t want to wear a black feather ( in their hat) with a faux ruby holding it all together.?  Boys from Southall, apparently!!

Anyway in the middle of all of the fracas of Empire Quizzes; Fluffy Ducks and what to wear I have carried out a bit of a coup.  The house had been looking slightly worse the wear for a month or so now and I did feel that Mrs C, the cleaning lady, was pushing her proverbial luck.  I had got used to the fact that she used to take everything out of my drawers and rearrange them and I accepted that if I wanted my rather nice Bohemian glassware on show, it would only be when she had gone home and I had got it out of the back cupboard again but when my bath had slowly, but very surely lost its shine, I knew something had to give.  Or as the Mitford’s Pa used to say ” its the thin end of the bloody wedge!”

Its true to say that it has only been one week since she left with a pout and a pirouette but its been better.  I am almost in Seventh Heaven that now when I clean my bath, it sparkles appreciatively back at me.  My glassware is exactly where I want it and even though I have put my back out , there isn’t any dust under the bed or behind the doors.  So I am vacuuming and washing floors with a bit of a spring in my step but no doubt will get fed up with it once I get tired; busy; overwhelmed or all three.  Meanwhile, Mrs C now has me on her “Hit List” and I am walking around the town avoiding her in case there is a showdown at five paces outside the French coffee shop.  Still, if nothing else I have found a pretty, albeit more circuitous way to dodge her bullets and cycle to work.  It adds another fifteen minutes onto a ride which normally took ten, but I am thinking its great for the lungs and keeps me away from the wrath of Mrs C.   I have also noticed that the Alpaca’s are calmer now and I did think that maybe her keep letting the chickens out to roam freely with the Alpacas and nip their toes wasn’t the best way for any animal to start their day. I think she was doing it in a fit of spite but she wouldn’t have it.

The chickens are roosting neatly in the Willow Tree and snacking on some Brussel Sprouts and the Alpacas don’t spit and snort so much now that they are not being attacked by Dora; Daisy and Dolly before the sun has even risen over the fence, let alone gone down over the yard arm.  Yes, peace reigns even in Animal Farm…..

Anyway the extra time it takes me to cycle each morning along the towpath and past the houseboats allows me to listen to my Binaural Beats and activate my higher self. Its such a great route and often quite magical, or it is to me.  If nothing else, the style of the houseboats always raises an opinion or six.  I am also getting to be quite a dab hand at working out Menus on the hoof and can now dictate into my phone when I think of a handy Menu as well as listen to the Binaural Beats  via my IPod.

Life is taking on a slightly calmer feel now and even though my hands resemble an attack of housemaid’s chapped fingers, ( due to using lots of bleach and chemical products to clean the house) I find that now I am chatelaine of my home again, it really is much more fun.   Now you will have to excuse me, I am just off to starch the napkins….





Elephant Parade in India!

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Such wonderful photographs – it deserves to be shared

Jaipur Thru My Lens !!

Elephant Parade recently concluded at the Albert Hall Museum, Jaipur as a follow-up event to Travels to My Elephant race. It is an initiative to save elephants by donating proceeds from collections to The Elephants Family, UK-based NGO. Travels to My Elephant race involves journey through Indian roads in painted auto rickshaws, vintage jeeps and RE bikes. While I have not seen this rally, but I had privilege to witness another one. Rickshaw Run! Rickshaw Run too is UK-based. Looks like Travels to My Elephant is inspired by the Rickshaw Run.

This is what Elephant Parade is as per their website:

Elephant Parade is a social enterprise and runs the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues. Created by artists and celebrities, each Elephant Parade statue is a unique art piece. The life-size, baby elephant statues are exhibited in international cities and raise awareness for the need of…

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Let’s flush it all away….

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  I ​am trying to take a quiet minute somewhere.  Currently I am coming to you from “The Gents !”  What the Gents toilet, I hear you say? Yep!  That’s right,but only because it’s quieter than “The Ladies”. I always nip into The Gents if I can. Close the loo door and sit there. Sometimes I even take a sweet in and suck it whilst contemplating. And yes, in case you wondered, I do open and pop it into my mouth before I sit down. So no cross contamination…..
So why would I want a quiet corner of the office?  After all, it is “closed season” and whilst that can relate to “huntin’ ; fishin’ & shootin'” for some of us, it also relates to the fact that we don’t have any students in unless they are “Late Bookers”  And, Late Bookers are the subject of this sorry little tale, today.
It’s still a busy time as we are preparing new programmes and selling to agents.  Currently it’s going very well selling to Danish High Schools a Work Experience Programme in Cape Town. I am rather pleased with this, but of course smugness is always the downfall of the Common Man…..
The current subject of my angst is the amount of students we get from Paris suburbs and when I say ” Paris Suburbs”, believe me, I dont mean the 8th Arrondissement, if you get my subtle drift!  Of course, with LM having taken himself off to Malaga for a boys week playing Golf, not only am I feeling quite abandoned but my work load has increased.
Anyway, back to the toilet.   Sherry Much-Humper, is having a real problem with these boys.  Sherry is a lady of slightly, only slightly, advanced years and who does a good line in kaftans and very red lipstick.  Think Mama Cass for the dress style and she obviously read the Memo which said that red lipstick on older ladies is quite age defying and thinks that the more you slap on, the younger you become.  Obviously that’s not entirely accurate but I have to admit ( having gone out and bought ” Red Hot Mama” shade myself yesterday, ) it does help a lot.     So there we are having a problem with Sherry and the boys from the ‘Burbs.   ” ..its nothing personal”  I hear myself saying, but in truth it is.  They don’t like her and it ” aint gonna change!”
I did ask if she could be a little more flexible in the way she communicates with them but Sherry is now making this extremely personal and I cant change her mind. The most recent incident was when she was writing on the white board and they starting throwing pen knives ( so not a long blade, you can breath again) around her head.  It took a minute or two for her to notice because they do have quite good aims but the last but one blade just caught her hair ( it is long, flowing and, of course, Gothic black)  I asked them how they had got them into the Country and they told me that, apparently, ” fruit knives” are ok.  I didn’t want to argue….
 By the time she had turned around and tried to see what was happening, the class was in floods of laughter and she was incandescent with rage.   In fact so angry was she that her cheeks had turned the same red as her lips and she looked like Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge
aunt sally
The day before they had found a wastepaper bin ( metal of course ) and set fire to some paper in it.  I have to say their ideas in hacking her off are quite unique  and I would give them ten out of ten for application and persistence.  As for marking them on their improved level of English, well, lets just say its an ongoing project…….
Opps, there is a note on the door.  I have to vacate my quiet spot but I will leave you with some very uplifting music.   Heavens, it takes you back……
Just to say its currently 1641 days since I met LM and no marriage proposal has been forthcoming yet!   Just saying……  ( and counting, obviously!)