Saturday 26 March 2011

My favourite thing in the house

This is my Upstairs, Downstairs basket.

This prticular one is about 5 years old and lives on the stairs.All day I pick things up from various rooms, football boots by the frontdoor, a school tie that has been dropped, mobile phone charger, various bits of toys, washing and towels.

The rule is, if you are passing it, pick it up and take it with you, remove items and either put away or put them in the room they belong if not yours.

Hubby manages to overlook it on every trip and sounds surprised it's there, when I remind him of it's purpose.

You can guarentee, every day that someone is looking for something....I say 'have you tried the upstairs, downstairs box?'
The reply 'thanks mum, I've got it now'

Thursday 24 March 2011

23 Tweet ups

In no particular order
1st tweet up didn't work out...not as much in common as the tweets indicated, but I had a nice few visits and it didn't stop me.

@mediocre_mum many, many visits...her and family to ours, us to them on xmas day, a twuneral,(@elladickenson was there) over night stays when I was working in London, many pub trips and a weekend away with #twitsfortits, great fun, great friend, her daughter's chickenruby and won't accept my name is Suzanne.

@annieqpr on her birthday with @mediocre_mum...a QPR nut, mnay occassions to the pub where shes drunk white wine with ice cubes and even walked home one night with her glass still full, met hubby on xmas eve and two adorable kids.

@cbolam and her hubby and son - in the pub on xmas day, one and only visit before we , would love to see her again.

@captaintom3 and @mrstom and their lovely son, descended on them with youngest and @blakey108 whilst camping in sussex, turned up early for breakfast and had @captaintom3 fetching us from train station, very late at night when we missed our train coming back from Wembley.

@stephiemalverns - yep from Malvern, lived round the corner, many fun nights line dancing and lots of visits to the pub.

@welsh_si and @ladywl - met in Starbucks in Newport for a coffee, took hubby along for first tweet up with them, later joined them with @ianlatham and family for breakfast one week and @amandalatham popped along.

@mustntgrumble - hadn't really interacted a great deal on twitter, but went on a training course in Northants and we met in the local pub, loads of things in common, mainly kids but same tolerance levels of life.

Arh yes the football #BCFC
@knutroger from Norway to see Liverpool play.
@jenfortnum who popped down from her seat to say hi.
@stevanegg in Mcdonalds and the pub prior to kick off and a lend of his sons season ticket.
@kevb8ll and his son after a match, outside the club shop.

#twits for tits
first met @gawnee and @beachhut81 in Neros in Winchester, took son for job interview and they popped over for the afternoon.
@pennynash lives near by husbands aunt and uncle...Penny took me on a route march around the Lee on Solent, in her wellies and thick winter jacket (it was May)
The we all met up again for a weekend away with @mediocre_mum in Wales on a cancer charity walk, fundraising via twitter. Janes boots fell apart and Chrissie had some evil blisters.

@wondernat and family on the beach at Eastbourne for the airshow...we actually met the previous year discussing the airshow with one another.

@becksbissel at her 40th birthday party, nearly met @Justin_A but he got lost and we left early.

@bob_the_nurse - always tweeting beep beep on our way to MIL in Bath, finally tweeted up in the pub in her home town (yes she really is a she) 1st meeting was cancelled due to us breaking down.

I met @chris_swan on a train to Birmingham, we chatted, she was palying with her phone, I asked if she tweeted, she did, we added one another then discovered we both taught at the same college and followed the same people.

I've not met @dawnmcwilly, but we posted oneanother sweets across the atlantic.

Same with @julesey10 we've chatted on the phone..does that count.

and finally @rydlewis...never met him, but he works with my BIL who says he's a great guy. who's next...I'm hoping it's @By_Mercia this weekend at the local Mall...I'm a quick worker....

If I've forgotten anyone *crosses fingers* I'm sorry, I'll add you somewhere in the middle and no-one will ever know...

Has anyone seen the holiday rep?

This post was written 5 weeks ago, I just forgot to publish it.

We haven't really had time to relax and enjoy South Africa yet, we hit the ground running and if you've read previous blogs you'll see what's been keeping us so busy.

When you go on your holidays, you enter into a contract with the airline and the hotel etc, you purchase insurance (we forgot one year when we went to America)and if you miss your plane due to air traffic control or baggage handlers strike, there's some inconvenience, but it all gets sorted for you, eventually. Should you have any problems with your accommodation or you are taken ill, ring down to reception and they were either sort it out for you or let you when your holiday rep is in next. When you get home some 2-3 weeks later and a problem wasn't resolved and you have evidence you can make a claim. (in theory)

When you emigrate you don't get that help, and unlike being on holiday where you rest, read a book and explore, we had to open bank accounts, buy a car, get mobile phones, find somewhere to live, deal with a different way of doing things and try to understand this medical aid stuff by finding drs and dentists. We had to get the water and electric switched on and all in a country with some of the highest crime figures in the world, a two year visa which prevents you from getting a loan as you may be Nigerian and considered a flight risk, and requires you to pay 50% deposit up front and the rest within the 2 yrs.......

And not a bloody holiday rep in sight

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Top Gear - you let me down

It started as a bit of a laugh with my 16 yo son getting fed up of my constant complaining about the quality of tea here and suggested I contact Top Gear to see if they'd bring some PG Tips over for me when they came to Kyalami on the weekend.

I emailed, I tweeted, I had numerous retweets but no response from @BBCTop_Gear.

On Sunday we went to see Top Gear, we had a brilliant day, the weather held off till just as we got on the bus to go home. We watched them bungey jumping with cars, we saw Stirling Moss, The Stig. May in a Twingo and Sabrine in a Megan race David Coultard in a Formula 1 car, and finally we saw Clarkson...

what was he doing?....nothing, he walked down the steps on the opposite side of the track, stood there, and took a swig from his mug of tea before wandering you think he knew I was there and tealess? Could've made me one.

Too much baggage

I’m not talking emotions.
Our furniture was removed from our house on December 23rd 2010 and since then the 4 of us have lived out of 9 suitcases and 4 hand luggage bags and most of that stuff was winter clothing as we didn’t leave the UK until the 18th January.
Our container was due into Durban on March the 4th. We moved into our permanent address on March the 1st and up till that date we were in temporary accommodation, which was very basic, we bought a few things we needed such as towels, a measuring jug and a baking tray to supplement the apartment equipment.
We also purchased some picnic stuff, cutlery and plastic plates etc to use in the new house and a King size bed for us and 2 singles for the kids which we’re now using in the spare room now our furniture has arrived.
We got rid of so much stuff before we left the UK as we were led to believe our furniture wouldn’t arrive until the end of April and we didn’t want to double up on stuff, but we’ve managed well, the only additional stuff we have now is bedding and towels. But we’re hoping for lots of visitors who can use it all. The furniture arrived on March 13th...see previous posts for the hassle there.
So what about all the other stuff? We’ve lived without it all for 3 months, so what’s the rush to unpack it all?
So the stuff from the attic has gone straight into the wine cellar...well wine won’t last long enough to be stored will it?
The photos albums haven’t been looked at and have gone straight into the cupboards in the guest room.
The guitars/amps/clarinet and other instruments are still in their bubble wrap.
Toys have been put into rooms, nice and tidy in boxes then promptly spread all over the floor. The outdoor toys are being used frequently...dumped in the pool.
The furniture is assembled, the clothes put away, kitchen all unpacked and all being used, the ornaments remain boxed as I’m waiting for the electrician to come to re wire the plugs so I can’t put the display cabinet into place yet.
So that’s it then....we’re here, we’ve arrived...we’re going to stay...I’m not bloody going through all of this again.

And to add to all of that...I now have a large collection of cardboard boxes.

Monday 21 March 2011

Overload - but twitter helped

well that’s it…we’ve arrived.
This is my new home, all the furniture is in, unpacked…just a bit of re jiggling and we’re done…so now what?

It’s been a very stressful time for all of us…Peter in a new job, well same job, new country and way of working, different work culture and covering a much larger geographical area and managing more people.
Kids in a new school, new friends, new languages away from their dad and the very large and close knit family.

Kids have made some great friends and most of Peter’s work colleagues have been really helpful with advice and places to go and visit, but other than than we’ve had to do everything on our own.

I’m on my own all day, I have the gardener and the pool guy to speak to, but to be honest that’s out of politeness only. I visit a couple of cafes on a regular basis and seem to be a bit of a novelty being English as they’re aren’t many of us here.

We live in Centurion which is an Afrikaans area and their love of the English is not great. I’ve had a couple of encounters with Afrikaans because of my country of origin, guess it’s something I’ll have to get used to, but won’t tolerate…just got to learn to keep my mouth shut and walk away.

Yesterday the kids were watching Top Gear at Kyalami and as I’m not a petrol head I wondered off for a coffee and a cigarette. There were thousands of people there and everyone was getting knocked and bumped into, lots of smiles and apologies and ‘after you’ As I walked off there was a mad rush to get up the step to where Clarkson was standing and as I moved through the crowd I bumped into a gentleman, as I turned to apologise he shoved me from behind….I asked ‘what did you do that for?’ he started shouting at me that I was rude and to get out of his way….I replied ‘I’m sorry but there was no need to shove me’ his response was ‘don’t fucking mess me with lady’ and he shoved me again and sent me flying. He was white, 60+ and Afrikanns. I know this as someone muttered ‘bloody afikaans’ I stood there amazed, I didn’t swear, retaliate, I walked off stood behind a board and I cried. I found the first aid tent, asked if I could sit a while, explained what had happened, they gave me a tissue and left me to have a real good cry.

I was alone, Peter is in Europe this week with work, I had no one to turn to, no one to call, only the children were there and I’m not their responsibilty. At that moment in time I wanted to go home, back to the UK and the only friends I had were on twitter and boy they were a support, I recieved hugs and kisses, messages of support and understanding, some from people I tweet with regulary and others not so much that were on line and responded.

I calmed, I stopped crying, I found the kids, I told my 16yo son what had happened. He fetched me a drink, looked after Alex and we carried on and enjoyed the rest of our day.

By the time we drove home at 6pm I had the mother of all migraines, I needed sleep, medication, a cup of tea and looking after..again who is here to help me? No one just the kids, so Dan had to help me, he got Alex to tidy up his mess and get ready for bed, made sure all the lights were turned off and let me go to bed with a hot water bottle and a steaming mug of tea.

Still got a headache this morning…..Alex is entertaining himself with selotape and cardboard boxes, Dan will probably sit in front of the xbox/TV all day and I’ll stay here on the sofa with the laptop and my twitter friends

Tuesday 15 March 2011

6 bed house for rent Malvern Worcestershire

Anyone looking to rent a house in Malvern, Worcestershire?
6 bed, 2 ensuite
Family sized bathroom and downstairs cloakroom
Large lounge
Kitchen and separate dining room
Parking for 2 cars on drive
Low maintainence gardens access both sides
Shed 10" x 12" smaller shed and storage for bikes
Within walking distance for 3 primary schools, 1 secondary school, train station and shops

Monday 14 March 2011

What happened next.....?

We were kept awake last night with the most amazing thunder storm, it was like watching National Geographic channel through the curtains, the skies were every colour you could imagine. At 2am the rain came down and I mean rain, like the stuff the UK had in 2007. The river burst it's banks, thankfully it doesn't flood our garden, flooding the 14th, 15th and 16th fairways. It made for an interesting journey to school and eventually it stopped raining around mid day. The river has receeded but is still very fast flowing.

At 10am (South African time - was due at 9am)the 'Discovery' man arrived, Medical Aid, to talk through with us how the system works and what we need to do. We're in our 9th week here and already had Dan rushed in by ambulance for a cricket injury and I've had a new front tooth after snapping it on a coat hanger (don't ask) The electrician and odd job man arrived during this to fix some of the faults with the house, nothing major, but we don't want billing for it as we're renting.

I made tea for Andrew, the odd job man, he speaks no English I speak no Afrikaans but we got on fine. I pointed, he fixed. The ideal man, what more could a girl ask for?

At one point I asked the electrian to check the main fuse box, it's outside and the cover has broken exposing it to the elements. There are NO H&S laws here, loose wires and cables run everywhere. 'It's lekker' he said and as I pointed at the earth wire which was bare and had every other wire attached to it, Andrew swipped my hand away and flicked the main switch off, I assume that means it's not safe........

.........this triggered the house alarm, next thing I'm sat on the balcony having a fag when I hear this voice 'Ma'am are you ok?' I assumed it was the removal firm with our furniture as promised 'will be with you at 11am' I stand up, turn round and there's a man in combat gear, inside the house, gun drawn, held steady in both hands.....well...OMG....I discovered my natural fight or flight instinct, I had neither, I managed to keep control of my baldder though. Turns out he's from the security firm and as the alarm had been triggered he had been dispatched to the house within 5 mins. Once he questioned who the two men were and I convinced him I was safe and they had permission to be here, he left.

It took an hour to calm down and when I did I realised the furniture was late....I called the office....'oh dear this is serious, we'll call you back, they left Jo'burg over 3 hours ago, we're 45 mins drive from there at the most, they didn't call back for an hour, I'm panicking, I'm sweating, I'm going through every box in my mind, just what have we lost....the phone rings....'we've not got your furniture, customs refused to release it, incorrect paperwork...more money.....' I switch off listening, then the anger kicks in.....'No more storage charges, no more excuses, furniture delivered by 9am tomorrow morning or I will seek legal advice' (It's an international removal company we hired) 'we'll do our best, Ma'am' so we'll see I'll let you know in the morning what's going on....fingers crossed.

Thursday 10 March 2011

Cultural differences

We'd been in the country less than two weeks and I was summoned to meet Alexs teachers grade 6 (Uk yr 7) as they were concerned about his education, in particular his lack of South African history and Geography. Mmmmmm now let me think about they really think that's an issue? Or are they just plain stupid. I suggested they quiz him on his European knowledge and the countries he has visited. Their response we don't do that till grade 9. My response yeah and? FFS what the he'll did they expect?

Friday 4 March 2011

Racial abuse or have I met the biggest twat in SA

Tonight we went to a golf do organised by the boys school on the estate we live on,for the presentations for the days golf that Peter took part in. We were seated next to the obnoxious table, you know the type think they own the place, lobbing cutlery and crockery at one another then started throwing ice cubes, some hit our table peter asked them to stop, so they threw more, while peter was getting into an argument with one bloke i polietly asked another to stop doing it, he replied are you fucking english, fuck off and get your hockey stick out your arse, i said being english had nothing to do with it and would he stop, he asked again are you fucking english i replied are you a fucking twat and walked off, as i sat down he stood up, hes at least 6ft 5 and threw a small block of ice directly at m e, which hit me squarely on the head, it broke the skin and was bleeding and i have a nice raised bruised on my hair line, everyone was apologetic, peter and another bloke who is from SA, challenged him and he was racially abusive to peter and myself calling us c***s and to fuck off back to uk. This tosser is white, was pissed and deliberatly threw the ice at me because i was english, it was a racially motivated assult, im physically ok but very shaken up. he was asked to leave the premisies and has been black balled from all future events at the golf course and school functions, he apologised because he was embarrased in front of his friends.....and yes he is a fucking twat