Monday, 27 May 2013


I was recently told about a conference call with half the universe on it, in a huge multinational, across four different time zones.  And in the middle of this call, everyone could suddenly hear the soothing tinkle tinkle of water, and the echo of what could only be the four walls of a bathroom.  It took everyone on the line about 5 seconds to register what it was and for the presenter to irritably say,

"Can we all go on mute, please?!"

And then I remembered a similar call where we were also talking across three million time zones, with twenty zillion heavyweights on the call and we could suddenly hear a dog barking and someone scream at the top of their lungs,


Again, a restrained request for the mute button to be used was made.

If you think about it, entire careers can be derailed because of not pressing the mute button. Even worse than not remembering to press the mute button is accidentally unmuting yourself with your cheek while squeezing it against the keypad. 


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Lawn games

Last week at my brother's house in Canada, as I was stacking chicken skewers for our afternoon lunch in the sunshine, I let my mind wander to thinking about the bucolic bliss of living in the country and how I could just see myself making my own jam and maybe having a Lab or two who would fetch tennis balls from the end of the garden.

Daydreaming of gardens 
Thanks Pinterest Paola Gembetti

In the middle of this daydream of nature's bounty and the serenity of lawns, I looked up to find myself staring at the neighbour's fat black cat triumphantly standing in the garden with a large fluffy tail protruding from his jaws.

The tail was enormous, and the cat was looking understandably chuffed about his acquisition.  I watched, waiting to see if he would swallow the rest of the squirrel and spit out the tail.   He didn't.  Instead, he dropped the shivering wreck of a squirrel onto the lawn and proceeded to bat it around from side to side.  He then picked it up and flung it into the air, the squirrel's eyes out on stalks as it came down with a thud back onto the grass, where it lay winded on its back trying to catch its breath.  The cat, now preempting the end of the party, decides to give it one last chance and goes back to flicking the poor little thing from side to side.  

Finally, the squirrel having decided that he'd humoured the cat for long enough, rolls over limply, after which the cat puts him into this mouth and dives into the bushes and wasn't seen again for the rest of the afternoon.

Tea, anyone?

Thursday, 16 May 2013


I am finally back and writing again!  Time sort of took a hold of itself what with trips to New York, visits from family and me generally being unfocused and a little all over the place.  But fear not, things are now back on track.

Yesterday I had my first experience at Matilda Hospital.  After years of hearing people (well, women) saying  "Oh yes, I delivered at Matilda" and seeing the silent nods of appreciation and approval around the room, I finally get it.  

Sort of.  

So it's true that the building is majestically balanced on the Peak and is designed not unlike the Mount Nelson  hotel in Cape Town, with art deco tiles and sky-high ceilings.  

But as the cab wound me up and up and up to the Peak, it got mistier and mistier, and what had been a sunny day at the office (which is on the sunny side of the island) had now become something not dissimilar to a foggy afternoon somewhere you'd rather not be alone at night.  

Through the mist

Austrian Psyche Ward, anyone?

This then got thinking about a) all those weird movies that Michael Fassbender has been (I digress) and b) all the hospitals I've been to.  

There's the Barcelona Teknon which looks like an Investment Bank (and where I fainted upon seeing my father all wired up and had to be resuscitated by all the various strangers waiting for their loved ones to be wheeled out) but then there's of course the New York hospitals which take the cake for dirty green walls, smelly cushioned blue waiting room seats and broken light bulbs.

I suppose in the end, you're not supposed to be checking in for life, but rather just for lunch.