Thursday, October 25, 2012

Palm Trees and Pigeons

So you know I have these three palm trees in the garden – one that is now officially dead, one doing ok-ish and one which had lots of dates on, enjoyed by our multitude of bird-residents.  I think they – the palm trees – have never really been looked after and I thought the time has come for them to be pruned.  I bought a saw and luckily we have a ladder.  This ladder normally looks like a very big accordion –rather complicated.  The kind of ladder which one woman cannot operate by herself , she may very possibly loose some fingers in the process - there are these clips and levers and things that make it un-collapse,  so she asked her kind husband to pretty please drag the ladder outside and make it look like a ladder and he said he’ll do it.  Now if a man says he’ll do something, he’ll do it – there’s no need to remind him every six months about it.   

Great joy when the ladder was dragged outside and made to look like a ladder last weekend.  I did a little happy dance, went inside and got the saw.  One two six and I was up in the palm tree merrily sawing away at the dusty –surprisingly spikey - branches for several minutes before I realized that the saw makes absolutely no impression on the branch.  Upon closer inspection I realized the saw came fitted with some kind of plastic protective sheath-thingy, covering the blade (which I never saw.)  That went flying off quickly before anyone (Tinus) could see and by the time he appeared outside again I had a neat (ok, more like scattered all over the lawn) pile of palm leaves – if you think one has to call them fronds – I refuse to use that gentle word to describe these leaves – these have several extremely sharp spikes just where you have to grip to stop yourself from falling out of the tree.

If you look real careful you may
see the mom and little one
Even though it is turning nicer out these days it was hard work – Tinus soon pitched in (or up) as I took a break and we slowly progressed.  One done and we were about two thirds finished with the second when all of a sudden (Tinus was up on the ladder) a pigeon fluttered out from between the palm leaves and from the ground I could see a little wing frantically flapping as the little pigeon in the nest tried to stop itself from falling out.  We almost broke a nest with a little one still in it!  Tinus made sure the nest was secure and steady and we decided to leave the pruning to be finished on another day.

Little Lives by Tshepang Makofane
I was so worried that the mom had such a fright that she’d abandon the little one, but the next morning I saw the two of them in the tree.  With most of the leaves cut away I had a clear view of the nest and saw the little one came out of the nest to practice his/her little wings with the mom on a nearby branch looking on.  Now, every morning when I have my morning coffee in the garden I see the two of them and it makes me happy.  When I told her about this, Maria remarked that the mom must be very happy that we didn't destroy her house and for some or other reason I thought of this painting which one of my children from Boys High (Tshepang Makofane) did, called “Little lives.” 

He explained to me – I hope I can bring the idea across correctly – that these two kids’ lives are seemingly insignificant compared to the famous faces on the wall,  if they should die (the little one in a hospital gown – possibly aids) the world will not know.  I guess it may be because I now know about the life of this little bird. 

And after having read this - so do you :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

In the City of Life

We've now been here for a year and things are finally at a point where we can focus on just living. Tinus and the kids have settled in their respective routines and now - without any major supportive and motivational functionality in the family I find myself itching for something meaningful to do.

For someone without a job I'm actually quite busy :) My life circles around various social activities - this is the City of Life - so I'm just living. Many of us live in places people pay lots of money to come and visit - yet we hardly ever do any of the touristy things ourselves; so I've decided to live, when I can, as if I'm a tourist myself.

After a year I'm now over the malls - we do go there, but I still prefer the more traditional places. A while ago my lovely friend Petra took me shoe shopping; Petra has many talents, one of which is knowing where to shop and so we set off to Karama.

This is the place where wonderful words like abra and dhow, souk and Bastika become part of the conversation. Traffic is crazy and the minute you enter the narrow streets flanked by alley ways stuffed to the brim selling any kind of merchandise available from East to West, you become part of the old traditional Dubai.

You have to haggle; best price for good luck, hands and voices raised trade gets done and both parties - normally - walk away satisfied. The reason why Petra is the shopping guru is this:
Trader: "Lovely scarf for you - today only 180 dirhams!"
Petra: "Is that your best price?"
Trader: "Always best price for you madam."
Petra: "I'll give you 20."

She eventually bought it for thirty I think, but this is the thing; I would've bargained him down to 150 and thought I got a good deal. It's a great gift to have her to shop with.

From the old souk we crossed the creek on an Abra - for two dirhams!! To get across to the spice souk side, but like I said, our aim was shoes. We eventually found the Aerosoft outlet and I bought EIGHT pairs of shoes...for the price of one pair. Just so you know - not all for me, but WOW!! I'm told in South Africa they sell for R250 a pair - so when you come visit, come with an empty suitcase :)

This blog is getting long and I feel as if I'm not saying much. I think this is more a what we did since last we spoke kinda blog :) So, Petra's daughter had her 21st on a Dhow - it was a nerd dress up thing, which was hard for me to dress for, so I went as myself :) It was amazing!! Lovely full moon on the creek with conversation and music happening around you while the city drifts past decked out in her evening lights. Food was middle eastern - yummy and pretty.

The South African Women's Association asked me to host a monty coffee morning here in Mirdiff and we had the first of that. New faces who turns into new friends - all good. They've also asked me to take photos at a fashion show - Baruni - check her out on facebook - lovely stuff. Took Petra's older daughter with - up and coming photographer, had fun with that. Been to the beach with Maria and Cobus - lovely relaxing day, had a few dinners over the weekends and those are all the noteworthy events I can think of at the mo.

The weather is brilliant - I'm outside at the moment under my trees with all the birds singing happily as I'm writing this. The kids have started mid-term break, they're off for a week. Skye's just back from another outdoor adventure with the school and Tinus is leaving for Cape Town in a week's time.

Hopefully, by the time I write next I'll have something more meaningful to say - in the mean time life is good, here in the City of Life.