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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Keys Me Quick

Some travellers perceive Saffers as a thieving lot, and Terrylin had a problem with the keys.

Mom and Dad, waiting outside for collection, felt they needed to check their luggage.

All. The. Time.

"Geoffrey, ask Joy for the key, and see if our things are still ok."

"Sabrina, ask Joy for the key, and check if everything is still there."

Lock. Unlock. Lock. Unlock. Slam. Bang.

Also, worthy of a mention, were the bathroom doors. The keys were twisted, left and right, up and down, back and forth, in and out, falling on the floor, until we were driven batty.

So, Steven replaced the handles with the vacant/engaged gadgets, and made the following discoveries:

1. A tampon, in one handle. To discourage the Peeping Toms?

2. A pound coin, in the other. One thought one had to pay. What. What.

On a roll, Steven also replaced the sign on the front wall, with a light inside. So powerful, one can read Terrylin for Travellers - Budget Accommodation - from the airport.

But, of course, a couple, had to ring the bell:

"Is Terrylin for Travellers, also Terrylin Backpackers? Are we at the right place? We are going out again, and need a key for the front gate."

Japie, an Afrikaner, was asked to set the light switch - on, from 6:30 pm and off, at 11:30pm, but, what with the half ses and six thirty, ditto, 11:30, spent days here trying to sort out the problem.

I ran ragged, back and forth, with the keys.

Another time, Terrylin was full and on their departure, I discovered EVERY door key missing.

Saysa: "I will be back in three days time, so can I take the key with me?"

Blake, A Big Boy Now

Blake, is now three and a half, years old.

Last week, my family spent the morning at the Crafter's Market, and when I whooshed Blake into my arms, I said:

"Hello, my big man,"

To be told: "I am not a man. I am still a boy. That is a man." (Nodding at AJ).

So, now I know.

"Blake," I continued, "You know what I found in the garden this morning? A real, live, bunny."

"If you don't want him, Guppy, I'll have him. Oh, no, the dogs!"

Hoisted on AJ's shoulders, we wandered about, our separate ways, and there was an update on our whereabouts:

"Where are you, Guppy? Oh, there you are. Where, are you now, Mommy? And, Aimee?"

Then: "You know, AJ. I keep on finding one, and then losing another one."

At lunch, the waitron said: "You know, this is the best behaved three year old, I have ever seen in this restaurant."

Three and a half...

Later that evening, we returned to Emporers Palace to view the Festival of Lights, and Blake found Santa Claus:

"I know you. You are the real Santa Claus! You were at my house last year."

Blake was rewarded with a sucker:

"Thank you, but I will also need one for my Mommy. I'll keep it for her."

After a delightful day, Misty drove me home, and Blake, near to tears, said:

"I will not cry. Like the last time. I am a big boy now."

At Terrylin, I kissed Blake goodbye, and noticed Misty, looking over her shoulder.

Blake was making a kissing face. And, I saw him.

"You may close the door now, Guppy. Goodbye."

Misty called, the following morning.

Blake: "Why do you guys get to sleep together, when I have to sleep alone?"

Nick: "You have all your toys to sleep with."

Blake: "Ok, tomorrow night, I bring them with me..."

Blake asked Misty to explain the meaning of Christmas. Misty replied that this was to celebrate Jesus' birthday and that's why children receive presents.

Blake: "I love Jesus. He is like a big brother to me."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Check My Dimmers

A backpacker binned a posh pair of sunnies, which I gave to Gideon, the gardener.

One would think they were diamond encrusted the way he carried on.

I heard the weed-eater, full throttle and then silence. I peered over the gate as Madam is wont to do.

Gideon did not see me as he was busy impressing the passers by who had skidded in their tracks in admiration.

"Where did you get those dimmers?"

"Can I also work for your madam?"

"How cool, hey? Those are the real deal."

A cacophony of shrieks of laughter, eishing and backslapping ensued.

"Gideon!" I screeched, and the admirers scattered. "Give me those sunglasses. You can have them back, when you have finished your work."

"Good idea, Madam." he said. A tsotsi asked me if he could try them on. But, he would have run off with them. Now I have a sore head. A cold beer would go down nicely."

I placed them on the coffee table where they promptly disappeared.

Steven strutted through, sunnies aloft: "Who left these? I'll have them."

"They are Gideon's," I wearily replied.

"Really? How much do you pay him?"

Gideon later: "Madam, those dimmers are fake. You can keep them. My friend sells them on the streets. And, he knows these things."

Sitting in the garden one evening, I told Steven that Warren Buffet said: "I am sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree."

Steven then decided to have a ginormous one felled to make space for a carport. A quotation from Patrick for R1 800 sealed the deal.

During the day, an over excited Steven decided to go the whole hog, adding one tree after the other, verbal quotations going to and fro with Patrick 'phoning for additional staff.

At R5 000, I asked Steven to settle down.

"This is going to cost you," said Colin, a retiree from SARS, sticking his head over the wall and wagging his finger.

When Patrick presented the invoice, Steven, ever the comedian, inspected it and said: "What's this? R5 000! I thought we had agreed on R500. Tell you what, I can give you a nice pair of dimmers in exchange."

Patrick's face was a picture.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blake, the Busybody.

Every gran's grandchild is the grandest.

We moan about our children, but boast about our grandchildren. Or so, I've heard.

Before my daughters were born, I dreamed of a mischievous, ginger son, with a frog in his pocket.

I have been blessed with Blake.

Blake's best cuddly animal, is his Woofie. Before he sleeps, Woofie is suffocated with hugs and kisses.

One night, a dog barked outside. Blake was in his element - Woofie was alive.

Blake likes to help around the house. Everything has a place, and he always parks his bika in the bedroom.

If I ask to speak to Blake, over the 'phone, and say: "Hello Blake," he points to himself. Ditto, if he sees a photo of himself, he points to his face, and smiles and kisses the 'photo.

After using the loo, he uses the brush to clean, scrubbing and laughing.

Misty unpacked a melted cooldrink cup from the dishwasher. Blake threw back his head, held his tummy and laughed.

He was also thrilled to he bones, flicking light switches on and off. He nearly flew out of our arms, giggling.

On one of Blake's memorable visits I heard my hair dryer full throttle, and then feet scuttling down the passage.

Blake was nowhere to be found.

Panic. "Blake, Blake, Blaake, BLAKE," No reply.

I discover a curled-up, giggling bundle under the bed.

Silence. Blake is hanging my jewellery on the door handles.

As a treat, Steven takes Blake to see some real bika's.

Blake went bananas - "Bika's! Bikaa's! Bikaaa's!", and pointed to the posters.

Even the mechanics walked in to witness the commotion.

Steven told me that Blake was offered a beer.

He can tell such porkies sometimes.

Friday, September 28, 2012


After nearly eight years, with no incidents, The Campbells decide to install an alarm.

Misty memorised the code, and nagged Nick to do so.

With Blake's assistance, the eyes were pointed out, and panic buttons stored in a safe place.

Nick confirmed that he now understood.

It had to happen.

The following morning, Nick entered the kitchen, to make a cuppa, and the household, not to mention, the neighbourhood, was awakened.

Pee-Paap. Pee-Paap. Pee-Paap.

Blake skidded into the marital bed, and pulled a pillow over his head.

Misty's mobile rings, with Nick shouting:

"What's the code? What's the damn code?"

"It's 12345, Daddy."

Blake, with minimal mishaps, has now graduated to the loo.

Nick: "Come on my boy, you must go and wee."

Blake enjoys this, saying: "Shake it. Shake it."

Blake's instructions to mommy are to bring Syd and a potty.

As Blake leans over the loo, Syd is seated on the potty.

"Are you finished now, Blake?"

"Yes, Daddy, but please leave Syd. He is busy with a pooh."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

High Fives

Blake is now 18 months old, throws a ball, and kicks it.

Real Madrid must be notified asap.

Nick and Blake also watch WWE Raw, and the fun begins.

Nick swings Blake over his shoulder, throws him up, catches him, and they fall onto the floor.

Nick then leaves the lounge, and Blake runs to his toy box, retrieves a large monkey, and waits for Nick to return.

Blake then pummels the monkey to an inch of its stuffed life, complete with sound effects.

Nick walks away again, and Blake peers down the passage.

He then hugs, kisses and pats the monkey: "There, there."

On Nick's return, the monkey is, once again, flying around the room.

One evening, a very sad Blake said : "Jay-Jay hit me at school today."

No nonsense Nick, was having none of this:

"Come here, my boy. I'll show you how to doesch-doesch."

The following day, the result.

Misty: "How was school today?"

Blake: "Good."

Misty: "Did Jay-Jay doesch you?"

Blake : "Yip."

Misty: "Did you cry?"

Blake : "Noooo!"

Misty: "Did you doesch him back?"

Blake: "Yip."

Misty: "Did you make him cry?"

Blake : "Yip. Two times."

And, up go Blake hands for a high-five.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Connecting with Friends and Family

"Do you have a code for the wee-fee?" ask many as they enter the front door.

Indeed we do and this is free, for up to an hour.

You may 'phone your mom, to say that you are safe, and update your 200 friends on Facebook.

There is also a call box and World Call cards for purchase. No, I do not earn a commission.

I don't know how much it will cost you. Where are you 'phoning? How long will you speak?

"I dunno. A minute, maybe."

Card inserted. Number dialled.

"Yo, mon, it's yo bitch. Whadya mean, which one?"

Next call from the queue.

"Hi Mom. Yes, I'm safe. Where's dad? Please put him on."

Minutes later.

"Oh, hi, Dad. Yes, I am safe. I'm here in Joh'burg, remember. Where's Sal?"

More minutes later.

"In the bathroom? OK. Tell her I say hi. Is Jeremy there? Don't worry, I'll hold.

Even more minutes.

"When, he gets back, tell him I say hi. Is that Rover barking in the background?
Please put him on."

"Hello, Rove, how are you, my big boy? I miss you loads. Woof Woof."

"Oh, hello Sal, what were you doing? That's disgusting!"

"Hello, Helloo, Hellooo."

I am given the evil eye: "Phone calls here are so expensive. I only spoke for a minute."

Ding Dong Dementia

"Helloo," say I, from the gate bell receiver.

No reply.

As I have other things to attend to, I begin cleaning the furthest bedroom.

Ding Dong. Same scenario.

So I march into the garden, and discover six little bored buggers, fingers poised.

"Do that again," I bellow, "And, I will beat you with my broomstick."

Twelve eyes, shot out on stalks.

"It wasn't me, ma'am. It was my brother. I've only just got here," grins the leader of the pack.

Then, a big belly protrudes from around the corner.

Octomom : "You can't shout at my kids. It's against the law."

Silence prevails.

Ding Dong x 3.

Out I go again.

There stands a local bag lady. Sipping from a half jack.

"I have rung this bell three times."

"Yes, I heard."

"I need you to put me up. My husband has been beating me up. My car is broken. I will pay you when I get a job. Why do all the places say they are fully booked? Are you going to leave me out here on the street?"

Then the cops arrive and bundle her into the back of the van. I am cursed to hell.

I unplug the bell.

Later, tapping on the gate.

I plug in the bell. "Hello!"

"Your bell does not work. I am looking for Job."

"Well, let me know when you find him."

And, the bell does work, believe me.

Aah Tishoo

Steven hates Winter. Full Stop.

"Why is it so cold?" he'll moan, on a mild Fall day. "Don't you ever get cold?"

The Afrikaner's say it best - "Fock, dis Koud!" and, "In die Vrystaat, nou dra die manne twee kortbroeke."

And, then it snowed.

I had a call, from someone, still not sure who:

"It's snowing in Sandton." Here, too, in Rhodesfield.

Steven has had enough, and hurtles to Builders Warehouse, and returns, followed by a delivery truck.

Two gentlemen, amid much cussing, erect the largest gas heater I have ever seen, in the sitting room.

It touches the ceiling.

This is an outdoor heater, designed for the daft, who braai in the snow.

(A barbeque in South Africa is a flavour of chips.)

All set up, Steven turns on the heater, and within seconds Terrylin is the devils den.

"Please return that," I beg Steven. "I feel as though I am going through the Change."

Of course, Steven nearly takes the chair with him, as he falls out of it laughing.

Mike and Penny arrived, with Penny having a sneezing fit. All over the guest register, as well.

Penny : "Aah Tishoo!"

Mike : "Bless You."

Penny : "Thank You. Aah Tishoo!"

Penny went to the bathroom, and sneezed three times in succession.

Mike, very concerned, knocked on the door.

"Is that you, Pen?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blake's Bad Day

While Misty was looking for her missing mobile, she found Blake on his bed, ankles crossed.

Still too small to dial, but not to speak.

"Hello, hello, Guppy, are you there?"

"Where's Guppy?" asks Misty.

"Guppy's Gone", sighs Blake.

"Oupa, Oupa, where are you? Your 'phones broken, mommy."

He then puts his palms together: "Let us Pray."

Later, "Golf, Daddy, golf. Please Daddy."

"We can't, my boy. It's raining."

"Well then, just give me a hug."

Misty left to do the groceries, and returned to find a little boy she did not recognise sitting in the garden.

Nick had crew-cut Blake's hair, which resembled a porcupine, and left a pumpkin fritter fringe which was promptly gelled.

Blake was not amused and Misty attempted to rectify the situation. But the slipped scissor, left Blake with a bald patch.

He now resembled Dennis the Menace.

But, Blake's day did get better.

The family discovered a spider ogling them from the curtains.

Not an insy winsy one, but a big, fat hairy one resembling Rasputin. This was the size of Nick's hand according to Blake.

Nick trapped the spider with a bowl, and let it loose in the garden.

I would have smacked it with a spade.

In all the excitement, with Misty and Nick screaming like nervous Idols Contestants, Blake was bouncing about, screaming with laughter.

Wooden Eye

A couple arrived late last night, and settled into the double room, which has an en-suite shower.

They appeared to be satisfied: "This is all we need."

I decided on some 'shut-eye.'

"Hello, hello," I hear, in the distance.

"So, sorry, to wake you up. But, we would prefer to bath."

After having perused the premises, that cannot find one of the three available.

Back to sleep at 2am, after being asked for a 9am wake-up call.

"Hello, hello,"

It is now 5.15.

"Could we Skype and iron a shirt? Where do we do this?"

I thought this had been discussed at 2am.

Back to sleep at 6am. Bad move, as I need to be polite and perky at 7am.

But, even if I could locate matchsticks, these would not keep my eyes open.

Around 7.30, Tim leaves. He calls at 8.

"I left my 'phone behind. I am on my way. Please don't bath or anything. I'll be there now-now."

Around 9am, Tim arrives: "I see you are still in your pyjama."

Also at 9am, I knock on the double room door. No answer. I tap on the window. Still, no answer.


"Please wake us up at 10am. We have arranged to be collected at 11. And, please open the gate to let us out."

Now, why wooden I?"

Saturday, August 4, 2012

BnB = But No Breakfast

Alas, Terrylin no longer serves a light breakfast.

No, this is not due to the recession and rising costs.

There a small dining area, which can seat six guests at a time, and breakfast was served from 7am.

Up at 6h30, I laid out the trays, with coffee, tea, sugar, yoghurt, fruit, cereal, bread, juice and jams.

While in progress, people would fly out of their beds, from said 6h30 with a "What time is breakfast served?", and pull out a chair, while I work around them.

They then, cosy up, with maps, and tablets, giving me a major headache, to discuss their further journeys, for up to an hour.

I politely asked, a harassed father with two toddlers, if I could clear the table, and he wrote a rotten review, 'the other guests had to wait patiently!'

Then, there was a Scotsman with a lassie, who insisted the taxi wait for her, as she was busy, with her breakfast.

Scott, cottoned on, with a: "Oh, I see why you want me to move. Other people would like to have breakfast."

As the breakfast was included in the rate, therein lay the problem.

"I am leaving before 7 am. Could I have an early breakfast?" - "Could I have breakfast tonight?" -"Could I exchange breakfast as a takeaway?" - "Could you add cheese?" - "Could you fry me eggs and bacon, as a favour?"

So, I got down to business and had breakfast deleted from my website, and all other booking sites. All went well, until...

On one site, I sent two requests.

1.) Please delete the 'breakfast included', FROM all the room types.

2.) Please delete, from the Information Page -'breakfast is served from 7am.'

Confused Candy, e-mailed me to confirm that she had altered the breakfast to a full English and deleted all the room types.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Off With My Head

Blake, celebrated his third birthday with a party at Terrylin. Thoroughly enjoyed by all, thanks for asking.

As he is Cancerian, Blake is very house-proud, and if he spills his juice he will find a cloth, and wiping eagerly, will inform all:

"Look, I messed!"

On our last weekly get-together, Aimee brought her puppy to show Blake, whom he wanted to exchange with any teddy bear, and not wanting to miss anything, became belligerent at bath time.

While being led away by Misty, he implored:

"Guppy, Aimee, Puppy, anybody! Save me, Save me!!"

Once Blake was in bed, we were absorbed watching 'Desperate Housewives'. One of them began throwing a bowl of fruit about and we heard a voice from the passage:

"Look, look, she messed!"

The other afternoon, Misty and Blake, popped in to fetch magazines and marshmellow bunnies, and on leaving:

"Bye, bye, love you, love you," we shout together, with me sticking my head through the car window kissing Blake and 'last touching.'

While this was happening Blake decided to wind-up the window with my head still sticking through!

I grinning like a goon am unaware of this, until a sixth sense kicks in, and I am certain my head is about to be sliced off and fall into his lap!

"Save me, save me," I shout to a puzzled Blake, who appears to be wondering why no-one saves him at bath time. He eventually removes his finger from the lever.

Misty, of course, found the whole incident hilarious.

I suppose it was funny. In a way.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just Another Day

Saffa's have a TV Channel, e-tv, and for reasons only known to them an additional aerial needs to be installed.

An appointment is confirmed with George to install said aerial, for yesterday evening @ 18h00, as Joshua is using the ladder to paint the gutters and clocks off at 16h00.

With no prior warning George hoots at the gate at 13h00.

After a heated exchange - George: "I need the ladder to get up into the ceiling!" and Joshua: "I need the ladder to finish my job!", George, enquires as to whether I have another ladder.

What is this - Builders Hardware?

Steven returns from there with paintbrushes and thinners only to discover, that Joshua is painting the newly installed gutters with enamel paint.

Another heated exchange - Steven: "What the ****, is the matter with you?" Joshua: "Sorry, I must have lost my mind," and off he goes.

George then climbs up the ladder into the ceiling with a request, that Steven remains still i.e. in one spot,(a tall order) to confirm the picture clarity.

The bellowing begins.

George: "What is happening now?"

Steven: "Nothing!"

George: "And, now?"

Steven: "Still, nothing!"

George: "What do you mean?"

Steven: "It's still fuzzy. Wait, now it's clear. No, it's fuzzy again."

After an hour of this, George stomps down the ladder.

"**** this!!!", they both say in unison. Steven pours a beer each, and they ponder this way and that, cursing e-tv.

It later transpires that George was sold the incorrect aerial.

This morning Joshua arrives to re-scrape the gutters, and George arrives gazing longingly at the ladder, to install the new aerial.

"Where is Steven? I need him again."

"Maybe, I can help," I offer.

In thirty minutes - e-tv. In three hours - sparkling gutters.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Then There are Those

When Terrylin opened its doors Steven and I were rather ignorant about certain folk.

During a 'phone call, it was arranged that Steven would collect a gentleman and his wife from the airport.

"We are here, waiting outside Terminal B," with a detailed description of how Steven was to recognise them.

They returned an hour and a half later after Steven located them waiting for their meal at Mugg and Bean.

Their explanation. "We didn't think you'd be here in ten minutes as you said."

Steven also had to plead with Security not to clamp the car tyres and had to pay a hefty parking fee, which took care of the price for the accommodation.

This couple onward to Livingstone asked if they could leave one suitcase here,(which turned out to be three) as they would return within four days, and would like to re-book the room.

His wife, left a review - The owner was a real sweaty.

Four days later they re-appear via a taxi in a flap.

"We are here to collect our luggage. Please hurry. The taxi driver has the meter on!"

Andre calls to be collected from Park Station: "The price is a real bargain. The taxi wanted to charge double that. Could you also take me to the airport to collect my friend?"

Later: "So sorry, Steve, but my friend has found another place, much cheaper. Could you offer me discount, for collecting me from the station?"

Last night, Lara, requested a quiet, private room with the lights switched off and a taxi at 4h30.

"What time is your flight?" I ask.

"Oh, only at midday. I just wanted to get there early, so that I can read my book."

Be a real sweaty now, I remind myself.

"Oh, I forgot to ask you," continues Lara. "I am going to the bush. Please may I take your hairdryer? I will return it when I come back, but I don't know when that will be?"

"No," I say, "the other guests may need it."

"Just need the loo." Lara runs off carrying her backpack, which she then flings into the taxi, telling the driver to 'hurry, hurry.'

I hope there is electricity in the bush, Lara, so you may use my hairdryer.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What Would You Do?

As I was re-checking the rooms for late arrivals, tring-tring...

"Hel...", say I.

"I have missed my flight."

"Oh no - who am I speaking to?"

"Gaskalada Konomipolous. (I think I heard correctly.) And don't you dare take the payment from my credit card! Don't you dare, you hear me!!"

"Could you please spell your name for me?" I asked.


"You card has already been debited," I explain. "You have to give at least a days notice. It's all there on your booking form."

"I am giving a days notice. My booking is for tomorrow."

"No, it's for tonight - Wednesday, 30th May. I am reading it, right here."

"I would like to speak to your Manager, right now!"

"You may speak to me."

"Do you realise that I am 'phoning from my cell 'phone, here in Memphis? Now, why would I make a booking for tonight, if I am still here in Memphis"

Yesterday morning, an e-mail.

I am flying in from the USA next week. I would like to book a dorm bed. I would also like discount as I am bringing in food for the orphans in Swaziland. I do not have much money. I would also like you to contact the bus to Swaziland leaving the following morning, and ask them to pop by at your place so that I can save the fare to the terminal B at OR Tambo.

I would also like a physical description of the driver. As you can understand I am very nervous about landing at your airport in the middle of Johannesburg. Also, what would it cost me for a taxi driver to bring me to your place at midnight?"

R100, I mail back.

That is much too expensive. I have contacted another driver at the airport and he will only charge me R150. Which is not bad considering it is so late at night. For the life of me, I cannot think why I booked this flight so late.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flora and Dora

I received a call from two ladies whom I will name, Flora and Dora.

F: "On your website, we see that you have twin rooms with a shared bathroom."

D: "Are you sure, sure?"

F: "Ok, we will book a twin room on condition, that there are no other guests tonight. We do not like backpackers."

D: "They make too much noise."

As it so happened, Terrylin had six but Flora and Dora arrived anyway.

F: "We normally stay in 5* hotels, but I guess this is ok, hey Dora?"

D: "Do you mind if we use the kitchen to make a cup of decaf? We won't use your coffee."

F: (bellowing down the passage) "Dora, where is your tin of decaf?"

As the evening wore on the backpackers appointed a leader to enquire whether I could ask the two ladies, to quieten down as they were making too much noise.

The following morning, Flora and Dora while sipping their decaf in the front garden, the bleary-eyed backpackers packed their camper van and left.

A black gentleman guest packed his luggage into his car, and said goodbye to Flora and Dora.

D: "Are you a taxi driver?"

F: "No? We thought you were the driver for the backpackers."

Flora and Dora, then decide to allocate an hour for breakfast.

D: "Do we absolutely, definitely, have to leave by 10? Sure. Sure."

F: "Could we have at least, another 15 minutes please? You can clean around us. We won't bother you at all."

Five minutes later, and more...

D: "You may clean the breakfast table now."

F: "Do you have a scale to weigh our luggage?"

D: "Your wi-fi isn't working."

F: "I am from Holland, but I flew in on Air France. Do you know why this is?"

D: "Do you know today's temperature and tomorrow's?"

F: "Do you have a refuse bag?"

D: "We are still hungry. We are used to more substantial breakfasts. Could you fry us eggs and bacon?"

F: "We will also have a last cup of decaf. We can't drink your coffee. We also need the milk boiled."

D: "Do you polish your floors regularly? I can recommend something."

F: "Do you have an iron? We are off to a business meeting."

D: "I nearly forgot. I will be leaving a bag of soil for your garden. It will do it the world of good. We asked for a soil sample in Mozambique and the guy gave us a whole bag."

As I am opening the gate,

F: "It is still two hours before our meeting. We are thinking of coming back. Could we have a quick look around?"

Now, where did I leave my Calmettes?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Oh, No, Not Again!

Over the Easter weekend, the Campbells visited their Italian families, to savour a variety of pasta dishes.

Pasta with seafood, pasta with chicken, pasta with vegetables, pasta with salads; actually, any pasta you please.

The last port of call, was Nonna, who deposited a huge bowl of pasta, on the table.

Blake, throwing up his arms in despair, and covering his eyes, with his hands, said:

"Oh, no, Nonna, not pasta again!"

Nonna and Guppy were sitting side-by-side, when Blake threw his arms around us saying, very solemnly:

"I love you both two times."

Every pre-school morning there is a chorus of: "Bye-bye sweetheart." "I'll see you later." "Love you lots", and the little uns hug and kiss their parents, before hopping and skipping, to their classrooms.

Blake: "Bye, bye, Mommy, see you later..."

Misty: "I want to walk, with you, to your classroom."

Blake: "Oh, No, Mommy! Not Again!!"

That same afternoon, Misty arrived, and the new teacher, wearily, exclaimed:

"Thank goodness! Saved by the bell!!"

There stood Blake with his buddy in the corner, pointing at each other, and rubbing their bottoms.

Misty: "What happened, Blake?"

Blake: "I won't talk about it."

At home, Blake: "Mommy, if I am naughty, you must smack me on my bottom, OK."

Misty: "No, I won't smack you. You must smack your own bottom."

Blake, ponders this, bends over, lifts his arm, and....

Smack. Smack. Smack.

Blake: "Oh, No, Not Again..."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Are You Obsessed?

Have you ever cornered someone and rambled on about the topic of your obsession?

Are you unaware that their eyes are glazing over while staring into the distance.

If (s)he manage to make a getaway, do you follow them or then target the next unsuspecting individual?

My guests exhausted after an 18 hour flight and studying the pizza menu were subjected to Ralf as soon as he made his entrance.

His passion was Saving the Rhino.

While some people couldn't care less, most of us are sickened by the torture ignorant and greedy savages inflict on the rhinos which are being hunted to extinction.

While we admire the dedication and determination to stop this barbarism, Ralf's obsession drove my hapless guests batty.

As they were from Asia and had difficulty communicating in English, Ralf's questions and comments left them bored and bewildered.

"Do you know that Mozambican poachers have killed the last remaining rhino in the entire country?"

"According to eastern medicine their horns are believed to be a cure for cancer. Can you believe that? Also, as a hangover cure and an aphrodisiac in Asia. People are so stupid over there.

"Their horns are made of keratin, the same material as human hair and finger nails. So why slaughter them?"

"The rhino horn is more expensive than cocaine, gold and platinum at over R600 000 per kilogram."

"Would you be willing to give a donation to save these magnificent creatures?"

As the guests left the room Ralf followed them and continued with a theatrical rendering of the sound of adult rhinos and then those of their babies, as he explained each in turn.

Ralf then went off the topic but subjected the Asians to an African general knowledge quiz: "Are there tigers in Africa?" and "Do you know what a warthog is?"

"Some people are so thick," Ralf told me later.

I then told him that I needed to sleep as the guests were leaving at 4am for a flight to Cape Town.

"Why?" he asked. "I am far from finished. We can continue the conversation tomorrow. I only have a flight at midnight."

When Ralf heard the guests leaving, he jumped out of bed nearly knocking them over, to hand out magazines entitled: The Plight of the Rhino.

I had to strictly enforce the 10h00 check-out time to save my sanity. As Ralf was walking away the rhino sounds reached fever pitch.

My gardener asked me 'if that man was mad?'

Later that evening another group decided to braai in the backyard.

Aaron ran out of his room as though it was on fire: "Terry, Terry, I smell smoke. Is there a bush fire nearby? I wanted to speak to you anyway. I heard that they kill rhinos at your Kruger Park. Is this open to the public?"

"No," I replied.

"Well, that's a pity," said Aaron, "now I have come here all for nothing."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Clown Council

Some time ago, I received the Council's monthly newsletter, confirming that they supply clean and safe tap water.

One less question to answer, I assumed, from the guests: "Is your water safe to drink?" so I made copies, and prestiked them above the taps.

From a local: "I have never seen notices like this. Are you sure, sure, the water is safe to drink? Find this hard to believe."

From an American: "I was told that African's put stuff in the water to make us foreigners ill. So, I'll just drink tea and coffee."

In February, we also receive the annual refuse removal calendar. All the areas are colour coded, apparently, for our benefit. In April, we receive another one, confirming that the previous calendar was a misprint.

As we are all aware, if a public holiday, and there are many of them, falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is also a day off.

During April and May, many of the householders do not know their arses from their elbows, especially if their calendars have been mangled in the spin cycle.

Others, are vigilant and confirm the removal days on the website, and place their refuse on the pavement the night before.

Sadly, the council workers are also confused with this turn of events, and do not arrive at all, or over the weekends.

Early, one Sunday morning, amid much hooting and hollering, the driver whistles to confirm he is on his way.

"Wait, wait, stop, stop," I bellow, flinging bags onto the pavement. "What is today? Wednesday or Thursday?"

"After numerous complaints, marram, we are now back on track. Do you have a 2litre coke for us?"

On the previous nights, the cats and dogs have had bun fights, ripping refuse, all asunder, which the frustrated residents or gardeners have to clean up, while others don't bother.

If we present a certified, signed affidavit to the Council stating that we had disposed of our own refuse at the tip and request a refund, we would be told, with rolling eyeballs, that 'things happen beyond our control.'

And, that's not all. For four months Ekurhuleni ratepayers have now been additionally debited with - Refuse: Area Cleansing Levy. R5 plus VAT of 70 cents.

DA Finance Councillor, Eddie Taylor, bless him, has tried in vain to have this reversed,
and the MMC Moses Makwakwa, indicated that this 'item had been gazetted in error,' the charges would be removed and our accounts credited, in September. Yay. But, we are now approaching December.

And, the innocent Ekurhuleni ratepayers are also liable for Robert McBride's R7 million legal fees.

We assume the Cleansing Levy will be refunded just before the next Municipal Elections.

A week before the previous elections, I noticed eight workers, in the street where I live, one filling a pothole, while the others leant on their spades and supervised.

"What's happening here?" I asked.

"We're filling the holes."


"Haven't you heard, Marram, there's a Council election next week?"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I am a Tourist (3)

I step into the shower, turn on the taps and begin lathering my hair.

"Joy, Joy, I need to leave now!"

"Please could you wait ten minutes?"

"No, I need to leave now!!" And, what time is my doctor's appointment? Your shampoo smells nice. Is it the herbal, that I ordered?"

I give Maya directions to the hospital. You can see this from Terrylin. Walk to the corner, down the road, and turn right.

Arms flapping. "Your right or my right?"

"Maya," I ask: "Would you like me to clean your room, and wash the towels?"

"No. I have many items of value in there."

Later that afternoon. "I had to wait for the doctor to see me. Then, I got lost. I am a tourist and I am ill. I also bought some food. If I leave it in the fridge, will anyone else eat it?"

"I have decided to stay another night. Is there discount?"

Jim and Jenni arrive that afternoon.

"Where are all the towels? On your website, it says, that you supply towels."

Maya: "I have them. Joy, you didn't tell me that you were expecting other guests."

The landline rings. Call for Maya. Chat. Chat. Chat.

"Please would you ask your friends to 'phone you on the call box?" I ask, "I need the landline for business."

"I am a tourist. I am ill. My friends need to know how I am. And, your call box is out of order."

After breakfast, Jim and Jenni, decide to catch the Gautrain to Sandton.

"I'm coming with," shouts Maya. Please wait for me."

But, you can't see Jim and Jenni for dust.

Maya: "Where are they? What happened to them? Some people are so selfish...."

I am a Tourist (2)

Around midnight all is peaceful. Then, a loud rapping on my bedroom door.

"Wake up, it's me, Maya. I am hungry. I haven't eaten all day. I have been ill. Do you have something for me to cook? Where are your pots and pans?"

"Maya! We are all trying to sleep," I say. "Please have some consideration."

"But, I am hungry! I am a tourist. I am ill."

The following morning, Graham: "Who was the prat banging pots and pans about in the kitchen, late last night? And, what happened to the soup and noodles, I left in the fridge?"

Maya: "I know. I know. It often happens to me." I have to make a lot of 'phone calls. Do you have coins for me?"

I show Maya, three times how to use the call box. The Masters University Student, then begins.

"I am a tourist. I am ill. I need to cancel my flight. Why do you need my name?. I also left my luggage in storage. Why is that another number?"

Through to storage: "I am a tourist. I am ill. Why do you need a voucher number? I was never given a voucher. Ok, hold on, I'll go and look for it."

Beep. Beep.

"Hello. I have the voucher. Hello, Hello. Shit! Shit!! Shit!!!"

Maya dials again, and then drops her coins. Another operator answers.

"Joy, I have run out of coins, and need to use your 'phone to call the States."

Later. "I need to go out. Please make an appointment for me with your doctor and escort me. I heard you don't walk in the streets of Jo'burg. I also need to buy food as you don't supply any."

Me: "Do you need to leave now, as I would like to shower?"

Maya: "No, no, take your time. Let me know when you are finished."

See (3)

I am a Tourist (1)

I saw a site - Difficult Guests: Please send us your contributions.

Not demented or destructive, just damn difficult.

I naturally assumed, I had heard and seen it all, until I met Maya.

Maya made a booking with the message - Please be there to collect me when I arrive at the airport.

Flight details would be nice, but I received no response to my mail.

The 'phone rings, and so it begins.

"I have been waiting here for over an hour!"

Steven arranges to meet Maya at Terminal A and confirms her mobile number.

Five minutes later, Maya: "I have now been waiting at Terminal B for another half an hour." Different number.

When Maya arrives she kicks off her shoes and drops her luggage at the entrance.

"I am very ill. Where is my room? Please bring my luggage."

The following morning, I am presented with a list of her requirements.

1. Seed-loaf Bread. 2. Camomile Tea. 3. Herbal Shampoo. 4. Cabernet Cheese. 5. Biltong.

"We don't provide this," I say, aghast.

"Oh, you don't. Well, I am not well. I have decided to book for another night, and I am paying for this."

"Unfortunately, there is another booking for your room tonight. The guests specifically requested the 'Pool View'.

"Pool View. There is no pool here. Come, come, show me."

I open the curtains.

"Oh, there it is. I also booked the room with the pool view. You'll have to make other arrangements with your guests. Remember, I am ill, and I am not moving!"

The other guests, bless them, were understanding and accommodating. As I was searching for the pen Maya, again:

"I am using the pen. You'll just have to find another one. I am sure your guests won't mind waiting. Remember, I am ill!!"

See (2).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What's My Name Again?

While I was sleeping, Steven booked in Anthony and the next morning, I checked the register.

When I trill: "Good Morning (insert name here), I hope you slept well etc", the guests are rather thrilled.

This did not happen with Anthony.

"Good Morning, Anthony," I say.

"My name is Mark," he replies.

"I apologise, but you signed in as Anthony," I continue.

"But, I told you my name is Timothy."

I hope the FBI isn't on his tail.

Late the following night, three arrivals for the dorm, which already had three, including Mark Timothy Anthony.

They insisted that according to my website, each bed cost R25 each and not R150 each. They left in a huff threatening to contact the Tourism Board.

The following night, two German gentlemen arrived, who could not speak a word of English.

Not. A. Word.

They sat on either side of me on the couch, and opened a bag of coins.

"Phula, Dollar, Pound," they repeated, and repeated again, in unison.

I nodded my head nervously, wondering what they were on about.

I finally clicked, that they were re-iterating all the places they had visited.

I have a bottle of stray coins and a board of notes but I've hardly been anywhere.

But, I wasn't about to tell them that.