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Sunday, 29 January 2012

I Dreamed a Dream

Last night I dreamed a dream, and it made me think long and hard about the brain, about the quantum theory and about time. But about my dream - the characters in it were drawn straight from my distant youth. There was Alf Withers and his wife, whom I will call Mrs Withers, as I cannot recall her first name. Alf and his wife kept a greengrocer’s shop across the road from my birthplace, Dennis Lodge, where I was to spend the first few years of my life. They had three children, Alf jnr., Chic and Patricia. I remember Mrs. Withers for her “I’ll just go and put the kettle on for a cup of tea” each time my mother went to buy vegetables. The kettle, as I recall, sat on a huge (to me) Aga stove in a room to the rear of the shop. There was also an outside loo that was occassionally stocked with the tissue paper that had once wrapped individual oranges - a welcome change from the usual scraps of newspaper and a foretaste of the first toilet tissue! Dennis Lodge still stands (52°28.205’N 2°09.262’W), and is believed to be a dentists' practice, although the Withers’ shop has long been demolished. 

Let me place you in the time scale. I was born during WWII and lived with my mother at Dennis Lodge, my paternal grandparents’ home, until soon after my father returned from France after the end of hostilities. I recall, it must have been after things got back to normal, making forts out of old banana boxes in a storage building to the rear of the Withers’ shop. (What did people do with old wooden banana boxes – you could hardly send them back to the Caribbean?). Chic was to marry a Dick Garrington who became one of the Midlands’ first importers of VWs. Alf jnr., whom I recall was the owner of a scrambler bike and played the trumpet, stayed in the business until well into the 60s, maybe even later, for I remember him delivering vegetables to The Bell Hotel, which was to become my home from 1960, when my parents took over its management. 

I was to become quite good friends with Pat, even though she was several years my senior. I remember cycling the 20 miles each way to Worcester and back with Pat and two of her friends, Dalveen and Liz, when I was 14. Pat was later to emigrate to Australia, never to be heard from by myself again. My dream brought back memories from more than 60 years ago. I wonder which little part of my brain could have been storing them for all this time. I was only thinking the other day that a mere ten times my lifespan, going back in time, saw the attempted extermination of the Knights Templar in France. What a tiny drop in the vast ocean of time-space my life is. Still things amaze me. Liz and I still have a quantum thing going between us. Only this morning I was thinking “I must go and open the curtains” only to find Liz doing just that immediately after I had thought about it. Quantum Physics continues to have a great influence on my all-too-short life. I am a firm believer that it can explain so many yet-to-be-explained occurrences.

Edited version 2 1/30/2012 after some input from my sister, Suzane.

Monday, 23 January 2012

New Chapter

Enough sadness! Sandy is now in greener pastures and running around chasing rabbits (or whatever they do over there - knowing his preferences here on the farm he's probably chasing chickens). Sandy brought joy and happiness to both Liz and myself, as well as the many others who knew him. It is now time to start a new chapter. We will remember him with all the love and fond memories he so richly deserves.

Now it is time to concentrate our full efforts into the relocation to NC. We will make the move this year, come Hell or High Water. We had a couple of queries about the farm over the weekend, so we'll keep on with the promotions on the Internet and elsewhere. By the way, if you would like to see our farm you can do so at its own website here.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Fond Memories of a Best Friend.

I have been putting off writing a new post - maybe my mind has been a little too preoccupied. Sandy passed to the other side some time between 11 am and 11.30 am local time. He had not been able to use his legs for two or three days, and we made the decision a couple of days ago to phone Dr de Bruyn to arrange for the inevitable. He was meant to pick up Sandy yesterday morning but was called out to a farm on an emergency. We had been giving Sandy a morphine based pill twice a day to attempt to ease the pain a little. I can't help feeling that if we had not had that biopsy done he would still be limping his way around the farm.

Maybe this was all in the Universal plan of things. We were going to take Sandy and his daughter Katie to America with us - that was the plan. Sadly it has had to change.  This is a sad week and a sad day. We will miss you, Sandy. Rest in Peace and wait for us on the other side.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Sandy Mason

Sandy is a White Shepherd – he came to our cottage when he was just a couple of months old at Christmas in 2003. There was a note attached to his collar saying he wanted to adopt us as his parents – we had looked after him while his then owners were away on holiday, and he had become completely attached to us. Sadly, a few weeks ago our local veterinarian, while examining him to see why he had been limping badly, had found a large growth in his bicep. A biopsy was taken about ten days ago and the lump was diagnosed as being cancerous. Sandy was dropped off at our farm by the vet on the Friday evening, and for a couple of days was very weak.

He has recovered somewhat, but still has to get around on just three legs, and is obviously in much pain. Liz and I have been struggling over when the inevitable must happen, which is very sad because Sandy is more like a son to us than a dog. He has a personality, and has had a long standing disagreement with one of our male cats, Bob, over who is the stronger alpha-male. Now he has a sad look in his eyes - it’s almost as though he knows now that he will not be coming to America with us. There are times when he is quite lively, especially when he starts barking at passers-by and running as best he can on three good legs. The strain on his good legs is beginning to show, probably aggravating the arthritis in his joints.  We will make his last days as comfortable as we are able to, and will probably keep on putting off the inevitable. Sandy will be remembered after he makes the journey to the other side – maybe we’ll meet up again, I hope so.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

ANC to Sacrifice Animals

When I heard this morning on my local Eastern Cape radio station that the ANC were planning to sacrifice animals in church during their centenary birthday celebrations in Bloemfontein this coming weekend, I could scarcely believe my ears. Indeed, I had to check out the information before writing this article. I guess that I should now be worried as to whether this news is covered by the much debated Freedom of Information Act, or whatever it is called. I found the confirmation in an article in The Citizen. Apparantly the Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, leader of the small fundamentalist African Christian Democratic Party has slammed the ANC leardership and is snubbing the celebrations for their "adherence to ancestor worship and offering sacrifices to the spirits of the dead".

We live in a supposed civilized society, and associate animal sacrifice with countries such as Haiti, where Voodoo is commonly practiced, or with ancient civilisations that no longer exist. I suppose that we should now be prepared for this uncivilized practice to occur on a regular basis. After all, the corruption and mismanagement associated with the neo-apartheid practiced by the ANC deserves to be classified in such a manner.