Sunday, March 14, 2010

No power, no shower

When will the big rains come?  I've heard so much about them, how the roads turn to mud, water run-offs overflow and houses flood, but the positive is that the rains fill the dams.  And, for a country that runs on hy7dro-power, they need water.  the last couple of weeks it's been like it was when we first moved here.  Almost daily power cuts, always from about 6pm at night going through to about 11.30pm.  I don't bother with candles anymore.  as soon as the power goes out, the battery on my laptop goes dead and it's dark outside, I just go to bed.  I can't be bothered with straining my eyes with poor candlelight anymore.  Last week, when we did have power, my body is already so tuned into early nights, that I was so tired at 8pm I went to bed, only to wake up at 10.30pm, work on my new novel until 1am and then go to bed.  Unfortunately, the disadvantage of no power during the day, which does happen sometimes, is that the gardener can't put on the pump to pump water to the house.  Which means when I want to shower at 6.45am, not having been abloe to shower the night before as there was no power for hot water, then there's no water to shower with, even if there is power.  Highly frustrating.  Going to work feeling dirty, trying to clean your dirty feet with spit on a facecloth is no fun.  it puts me in a bad mood all day.  But I do tell the kids in the morning, no shower so don't cross me, and they tend to listen to that and take it on board and behave.

Siobhan spent the past week practising like mad for her song in the Variety Show on Friday night.  If I hear Taylor swift's Fifteen again I just might scream, and if I haven't had a shower, I just might kill.  I really want to work on my new book, Not Telling, as I am on a roll.  However, since I accidentally knocked diet coke over Siobhan's macbook, it no longer works.  although we have a television, we have no cable, and our dvd player has stopped working, says 'Disc error' everytime you put a disc in.  The internet says that it's because of dust on the laser, so i have to try and clean that, because Siobhan is unable to entertain herself quietly.  All she wants to do is watch movies or TV series and she can only do it on my laptop.  Which means I can't write my book.  And it's my fault she's in this predicament, as I spilt the coke.  When I tell her I need computer time, she plays her guitar and sings.  Loudly.  I can't concentrate then, so just save my work and hand her my laptop to watch movies with and go to bed.  Teenagers.  I'm so grateful when teachers give her homework to do, as then I can get some of my work done, although she sings when she does homework as well.  Unfortunately, she doesn't have an off button, or volume control.  But I have to say, she did a fantastic job at the Variety Show.  She does have an awesome voice.  Her first act was an Indian dance group.  That was pretty good, they looked like a group of Bollywood dancers, only thing is, not an Indian in the group.  She's taking Indian (Bollywood) dance lessons every Friday afternoon, and she is very talented, I must say.  Takes after her Grandmother, that's for sure!  When the lights dimmed and she stood in front of the microphone to sing, I started shaking so much and held my breath, I was so nervous.  She oozed confidence, and was fantastic.  I was so proud of her, and when the song ended and everybody started cheering for her and applauding, I started hyperventilating from holding my breath for five minutes during the song.  I found it embarassing when everybody came up to me to congratulate me on Siobhan's amazing voice and singing.  Like seriously, what I have I done?  I just popped her out and she definitely hasn't inherited my singing voice!

The great news is that my order of books arrived on Friday from the US.  they only took two and a half weeks to arrive, so now it's all go for my big book launch of The Case of Billy B in Dar-Es-Salaam on the 29th March.  Which reminds me, I need to search online for some cheap and good accommodation.  Not sure if that goes together or not.

Spent all of yesterday in the sun, so my face looks like a toxic tomato after it's been dropped in nuclear waste.  The day started off as a bit of a nightmare, but improved considerably as it progressed.  I was supposed to make a batch of Hertzog cookies for the South African stand at the Arusha campus's International Day.  I was going to be baking all Friday afternoon, but then remembered that I didn't have a beater to make the meringue.  My friend, Mags, leant me her one, and the plan was that I was going to make these cookies after the Variety Show.  Unfortunately, the show only ended at 10pm and when I got home, there was no power because of a power cut, so I set my alarm for 5am and went to bed.  But because I was scared *I was going to oversleep, I woke up every hour to check the time.  After mixing up my short pastry, I realised that I don't have my rolling pin, it's in storage in Cape Town, so I cursed heavily.  I made the dough softer so I could squish it into the patty pans with my fingers.  Next problem, was that I had no time to let the cookies cool down as I should before lifting them out the patty pan, as I had to be at school at 6.45am to leave on the bus with noisy kids for a swim gala in Arusha.  More cursing, broken cookies glued together with apricot jam.  Siobhan woke up and asked me why I was complaining to the cookies as they are inanimate and can't respond.  My answer was a glare and more cursing.

My swimmers swam like they were being chased by crocodiles and made me so proud.  As usual, I failed to take precautions against the harsh African sun, and ended up being burned to a crisp.  Then went straight to International Day and immediately downed a big bottle of ice cold beer even though I hate the stuff.  It was nectar and didn't even touch sides.  My friend marina, brought out an ice-cold bottle of South african white wine, and I thought the gods were finally on my side.  Unfortunately, no corkscrew, which put a bit of a spanner in the works.  With the white wine rapidly warming up under the hot sun, I quickly skedaddled down to the French stand where this guy Michel, who has a French cheese and wine shop in Arusha, was standing selling expensive glasses of his frightfully expensive nasty French wine.  "Hi Michel, howya doing?  Could I please use your corkscrew to open up my bottle of wine."
He wrinkled up his nose as if he was a mole who had come across something unpleasant buried in his mole-hole.  "No," he said in his frightfully put-on French accent, "I vill not let my cockscroo touch a piece of shit bottle like that."
Excuse a mois Mr. Frenchy, I thought to myself, this is not a piece of shit bottle but a bottle of good quality cheap South African plonk.  I laughed, mistakenly thinking he was joking, and repeated my request, and he repeated his answer and waved his hand for me to disappear.  His girlfriend told me he was being serious, he meant it, and I should go.  Well Gaston, er Michel, you are so lucky I never grabbed your 'cockscroo' and shoved it up your arse.  Luckily, the Swiss stand were far more friendly and obliging.  It could be because of that yodelling they do on the alps, and they lent me their Swiss army knife with corkscrew.  The South African wine was delicious, far superior to the French plonk that is sooooooooooo expensive, and I was truly tempted to go back and hit him over the head with my empty bottle of South African wine, but I managed to show some restraint.  That and because we had just opened another bottle and had to drink it before it got too warm.  A bus trip back with extremely noisy singing shouting kids and I thought my head would explode.  Mind you, it could have been a combination of sun and great wine.  Dinner at friends, great company, and back home at 1am, a long day, and other than an altercation with some Pool Mommies from Braeburn School at the gala and the french twerp and his precious 'cockscroo' it was a good day.
But, no internet at home because now my phone line is down.  Power, but no phone.  Guess, you just can't win, eh?  But the Stormers won, beat the hurricanes, so our Super 14 Rugby is looking good this year!
Have a wonderful, wonderful week ahead, and remember to stay far away from Frenchmen and their 'cockscroos'!
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