Sunday, October 5, 2008

Not Keyne on Milton Keynes...

A sunny autumn morning and I am up much earlier than usual to enjoy the sunshine! (To clarify: to enjoy the sunshine from my warm little spot on the sofa right next to the radiator, dressed up in all the warm, cuddly things I could find AND my coat!) Yes - winter is here, even though it is technically only still autumn - but remember that when one is African, many things are not quite as it may seem (wink!) Admittedly, Zuma has the same effect on my heart that the English winter has on my body, but: I haven't been able to really get to grips with the ins and outs of what's really going on, so I'll not allow myself to comment at this time, lest I make a poephol of myself!

Plans for today? Stay on 'high alert' for a call from Simply Education, my supply teaching agency! I'd assumed I'd be working 5 days a week, week after week, but I've only had one (disastrous and discouraging) day so far. Eish! Also, I'll do some writing - but more excitingly, I'll head into my little studio to concoct a game-plan for MOOCH. Mooch? Huh? 'Scusez mois?

A hot cup of perfectly sweet tea and toast soaking in melted butter and honey was brought as a peace offering yesterday morning to wake me after an irritable night spent next to the now hopeful peacemaker who tossed and turned like the sea after a storm - the sad result of an oft repeated chemical experiment whose the thesis remains the same: Jack Daniels and red wine in one evening do not bode well for a good night's rest! Munching the delicious offering in wolfish acceptance, we stared out together in dismay at the torrid black rain which dampened our enthusiasm somewhat for the day we'd had planned: a trip down to Milton Keynes to visit a craft fair.
Driving along in the car with our South African neighbours/friends, Barney and Ang - Ang and I in the back, I very quickly became more carsick than I've ever been in my life - but closed my eyes, breathed dramatically and deeply through my nose and blamed it on being pregnant (most things get blamed on that these days!)but by the time we reached the next village along, I couldn't bear it much longer (and I think my fellow passengers couldn't either!!) so we lurched to a stop and I leaped into the front next which soon proved to be an instant solution. No, let me rephrase that: a short-lived solution! The nausea crept back slowly but surely, so that I began to frantically gobble down the apply I'd packed for much later in the day in the hopes it would settle my blood sugar level and make this YEEEEEEECH feeling go the hell away!! A windy farm road decided my fate: I was to be sick, for the very first time in my life on TWO accounts, 1)on the side of the road and 2)in front of my fiance and friends................ Bloody hell!!
With my carefully applied eyeliner now running in long grey streaks down my red, puffy cheeks, we headed to the nearest place we could find some munchies. It was unanimously decided I'd not had enough to eat for breakfast, so a ploughman's sarmie, Lucozade and chocolate bar later and I felt like the proverbial million bucks.

After a shortish drive from our emergency stop and a fair amount of our driver's vehement cussing about how he abhors the English and that our African taxis drive more considerately, we arrived at an old, sprawling stone farmhouse that had been converted into a farm stall and various little decor/trinket shops. The mustards, chutneys and jellies really tickled my fancy - their flavours ranging from apply & thyme jelly to Devil's Breath mustard! The big loaves of just baked bread left us all in a mouthwatering state of temptation - until we saw the price per loaf!! But what really captured me (mind, body AND soul!) was the selection of Turkish Delight! THE REAL DEAL kinda stuff - so that you could almost smell the old, dark hands of the Turkish merchant and touch his tightly wound, unwashed grey turban when you picked up the box and felt the succulent weight of the heaven inside... A purple, hexagonal box boasted 'violet' Turkish delights. I was wracked by strange sense of deja vu thinking about these violet-scented delicacies, but simply could not place the feeling or memory...
The next shop along was a very French decor boutique bedecked with chic candles, cushions and some gorgeous art I didn't think would sell outside of Europe. The owners, a subtly pushy Frenchman with shoulderlength, wavy greying hair that would look ridiculous on a man of any other nationality -- and his Dutch wife (ex-model, by the looks of her) chatted with us while she soothed her crying 11 month old baby son, telling me about her other 3 children aged 17, 15 and 12. I refrained from saying 'laatlammetjie'!!
Craig had disappeared awhile before and I discovered him in the next shop along, the proprietress holding up a white babygro - the front embroidered in delicate silver with 'i'm a baby angel', the back adorned with tiny little white fabric wings!
Wonderfully cute, but hey - for TWENTY ONE fat squidoodles, my baby can be cute enough for me without it!! The rest of the shop was elegantly stocked with the most fabulous stuff - the kind of stuff you would find in Cape Town (somewhat exacerbating my homesickness!) Little square silk sachets of something scented, handstitched, with a little printed arty image stitched down onto the silk... Flat round fabric button-badges decadently hand-embroidered with words or little images... Glasses and vases in dazzling blue, etched with trailing flowers and random butterflies or summer swallows... a long floor rug in knotted suede strips with the word L O V E running along its centre in blood red...
The long and the sort of it, before I get carried away, is that I will now spend the next 2 to 3 weeks making some of my own decadent little fripperies and small square art canvases - and then potentially become a supplier for Mooch - their second shop opening up in nearby Buckingham in the coming month! (This could not have come at a better time for me!!) ---- oh yes! Mooch stocks SA's Carol Boyes silverware. The owner's husband has some or other South African connection/heritage.


If you've ever read Bill Bryson's book about England, you will understand my lack of enthusiasm about encountering the town centre and (in)famous shopping mall of Milton Keynes. Parking was a nightmare with everyone greedy and grabbing for a space, the rain not making things any easier. The mall is just one looooooooooong stretch of shopping shopping shopping. Wallis, Hugo Boss, Woolworths, Faith, Burger King. The bizarre uncomplementary mix of shops is reflected in the crowds - elegant, ruthless women in stilettos and manicures bumping and jostling between loitering cheap-tracksuited families who look lost and soul-hungry. Yip - a pretty scathing criticism, huh? But if you've been there, you'll agree. And if you're going to go there, don't say I didn't warn you!

Enough of all that. Max is shredding the newspapers in a lonely, hungry rabbit-tantrum - his way of telling me: I KNOW you're in the next room, Lisa! Don't think I'll let you ignore me for long!! Time to get give my bunny some love (and keep a beady eye on him so he doesn't get another mouthful of lounge wallpaper!!)

1 comment:

Anne said...

You poor thing with your vomiting episode!! Hope you feeling much better now. Love reading your observations about the UK, brings back lots of memories. :o)