Not a big boxing fan

I have to admit to not understanding all the hype surrounding “The Fight”.  I have never been a big boxing fan and find the amount of money spent on watching the supposed entertainment of 2 men beating each other to a pulp a tad on the obscene side.

This fight is no different – this is my opinion.  It was only yesterday that I actually learnt about why there was this hype – a cage fighter squaring up against a “pure” boxer. This was explained to me by my one daughter, who I was surprised to hear would be following the fight.

For info – definition of the word fight. “Fight – verb – take part in a violent struggle involving the exchange of physical blows or the use of weapons. Noun – a violent confrontation or struggle”.  Isn’t there enough violence in this world without making it into entertainment.

Listening to the media the last few days, promoting this barbaric exercise, encouraging people to get up and come together and watch, with lots of money passing hands with the bookies.  Mr Mayweather is now retiring one extremely wealthy man.

People argue it is sport and that the participants have to train really hard to be physically fit enough to take on their opponent.  Regardless of how fit they may have to get, willingly wanting to beat up another human being in the name of sport, I find difficult to understand and come to terms with. I compare it to hunters who say they go out and shoot animals for sport and enjoyment, but you don’t need me to start on this sensitive issue.

I did get up early this morning, but not to watch 2 men beating each other up, but to witness a truly beautiful morning out on the road, and got this as a reward.  Have a wonderful Sunday – signing off as lover of life and detester of all things violent.

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I came, I saw – I was conquered and humbled!

Sitting at Heathrow waiting for my flight home.  Home to my family, my friends, my comfort zone, my home ……… my life.

The last few days have seen me vacillating from one extreme to the other and the decision to be sitting here in the hustle and bustle of Heathrow Airport was not an easy one.  I do not see myself as a quitter and this feeling of disappointment in myself for not being able to see this venture to its end, is weighing on my heavily.  I really believed in my heart that I would be able to do this and I have come up wanting.

A motto in life that I try my best to live by and my children know it off by heart,  is “If you are going to do a job, do it properly, or don’t do it at all.”  I have done this job properly and have given it my best, and the care I have given has been exemplary. It has also truly humbled me to learn that I am not up to the task.  In the past when I have heard that someone has taken up caring, my initial thought was, quite a cushy job and anyone can do that – how wrong could I have been, this requires true dedication and a selflessness that I do not have – but in saying that it does not make me a bad person.

However I may be conquered, but I am not defeated, it has just made me more determined to succeed elsewhere.  This journey over the past month has taught me so much, about my self and that I can still use my brain with the intense training we had to undergo.  I am having to cut my losses which is costing a bit financially, but I am coming out of the experience richer in so many ways and some amazing people have crossed my path who I know I will be able to call friends for life.

I do feel like I am running home with my tail between my legs and actually feel embarrassed by admitting defeat … but its back to my home to Plan B and we only learn by our mistakes.  Counting the hours till I see my family again and back to the craziness of South Africa – a place that I call home.


Converting, comparing and jalapenos

When travelling words of advice given freely by all around is never convert, especially as a travelling South African, where our Rand can fluctuate off the scale just depending on what our “esteemed” president has for breakfast, and don’t compare.

Day 1 – draw 100 pounds and receive an sms to say I have just withdrawn R 1700 of my hard earned cash, day 2 and 100 pounds equated to R 1850 – ouch!!!! And so the converting continues – it is really hard not to, when you know you can buy a really decent bottle of Merlot back home for about R 60 and that is what you get charged for a glass, and a half full one at that. But enough about that depressing subject and onto comparing.

As South Africans, we tend to complain a lot about our beautiful country, how things don’t work, the litter, the lack of public transport – the crime …. don’t forget about the crime, though I have to say I have heard more police sirens whilst here in the UK than I do back at home, though some may say that is because our police maybe don’t have as many vehicles or they are not that committed to chasing the criminals. And we oft tend to forget all the good, the wildness, the beauty, the people and sounds – on all my travels I have found nothing to compare to the noises of an African night in the bush, the cicada beetles on a hot summers day, the crickets, the frogs and those dreaded Hadadas* at 5 am on a Sunday morning.  Even the abundance of the Indian Mynas* in Natal sound like home.

The idea for this post however was not formulated to compare one country’s pros against the cons of another, but was after going to movies in the UK for the first time with my sister yesterday.

I thought it was expensive back home, costs 3 x the amount here, service is exactly the same.  You can book your tickets on line and collect from the totally unmanned ticket office, queues for the popcorn – identical – with lines forming and only 2 people serving.  I can never understand why it takes some people so long to decided what they need to eat whilst watching a 2 hour movie! BUT – its is what is on offer that I hope South Africa never follows suit, you can buy a bottle of wine, which maybe depending on what show you are going to watch, could be a civilized option…….. but the plate of nachos and salsa and jalapenos that the fellow movie goer sitting next to me had ordered I really draw the line at.  The lingering odor of the meal stayed throughout the show, give me crunching popcorn and slurpy slurpys any day.

* Hadada – the loudest bird in Africa

*Indian Myna – one of the top 100 invasive species in the world


Caring is not for the fainthearted

I may just be jumping the gun here, as I am only 4 days into my first ever caring position. Before starting this journey, I had romanticized how I would be caring and helping friendly people, (in my mind if you are friendly to someone they will be friendly back), sitting together chatting, watching TV, making lovely meals for people who would appreciate your help and expertise in the kitchen, sharing life stories etc etc – you get the picture. I was going to get paid, for caring and looking after people, at the same time travelling and seeing different places and meeting new people.

Hmmm – have I got that wrong. I know it must be hard having a stranger come into your home and do things for you that previously you could manage doing all by yourself, I get that.  I also get that obviously each placing will be different with different requirements.

The part that I am really battling with is the total isolation as an individual (maybe being incredibly homesick isn’t helping).  The lifestyle of a carer is not a healthy one.  You are on call 22 hours a day (and yes we were told this in training, but in training and listening and imagining is totally different to real life scenarios).  You are demanded of and obviously need to be pleasant and helpful with every demand – because you are being paid to do this.  Communication on a daily basis is what is taking place on Emmerdale * and what the weather is like.  Not the most stimulating conversations day in and day out.  So that rules out one of my purposes of taking this on – meeting people.  I enjoy my alone time, but also thrive on interaction.  For these first two weeks my sole company is 1.

Purpose 2 – care for people – all well and good, but it is really hard to keep positive when the person you are caring for, resents the fact that you are there caring for them.

Purpose 3 – travel and see places I wouldn’t normally see. With only 2 hours off a day, when all you actually want to do is curl up in a ball and tell the world to leave you alone, as all your positive energy gets drained trying to erase the negativity around you, not much time to experience and soak up the atmosphere of the little towns you may be visiting.  You cannot go and visit a local pub over a glass of wine and enjoy the camaraderie.  Its the isolation that is killing me and I have only been doing this for 4 days, how am I going to survive 3 months.

I have been bending my family’s and friend’s ears and really don’t like to complain, which I feel that is all I am doing – trying hard to find good here, but this job is for a totally selfless individual and I am realizing, especially with all the self talk going on in my head (and wow is it noisy) that I am a selfish person and though I care deeply for people, this walk in life may just not be for me.  I enjoy my freedom, of being able to pop into a restaurant for a bite with friends, not be dictated to that I can only make personal calls during my 2 hour break every day, go for a run, eat the food that I like/want to eat, not have to tiptoe around all day without the fear of disturbing anyone, basically just live a normal healthy life and as I said in an early paragraph, the lifestyle of a carer is not a healthy one.

Yep I am selfish – this does not change the fact that I will still care for other people, but that I also need to care for myself and even though the money is really good, it is not good enough for me to give up my freedom.  Have to admit that writing this blog post has helped clear my mind and get things into perspective a bit, so thank you for your indulgence.  So going to get through my commitments, but it is back to the drawing board.

And now have to sign off … being summoned ……

* British soapie

Why Lowestoft? I find myself asking!

This was the question in my mind whilst exploring this town this morning.  It is not the most picturesque places I have ever been too, but I suppose my being located quite close to the docks also doesn’t help. But it is just the name doesn’t sound like music to my ears – the town looks like the name sounds – just a little awkward.  I also try and tell myself not to judge a book by its cover and the people here might make up for what the town lacks, sadly I haven’t experienced that.  However to give them the benefit of the doubt, it is school holidays and the people I have encountered may not all be Lowestoftians, but in general, and I have to admit to generalizing as I have also met some lovely people here, but I have found the folk around just a little unpolished and at times quite uncouth. Trying hard not to sound like my late father who was well known for his intolerance of the masses, but I am finding out more and more I am my fathers daughter.

I am sure from a British perspective, this place is a perfect seaside holiday town.  The beaches are long and and have the ratio of 50/50 beachsand/stones.  I think for sailors it is a perfect little mecca with flattish water and nice fresh winds.  A regatta has been taking place the whole time I have been here and has helped alleviate the boredom of this town.  There is not much to do here so again I ask myself the question why Lowestoft? My answer – it was the closest little seaside town from Saxmundham and thought it would be a pleasant break before I started work in earnest this week – I can cross it off as a town I have visited but don’t think I will add it to my must do again list.  But I have also made it my mission to find some beauty every where I go.  Sunrises over the ocean in the morning are very pretty and I find the little 2 up houses with all their chimneys quite quaint.



I can cross start a blog off my to do list

Here I am sitting in the bustling lunch lounge of the Hotel Hatfield in Lowestoft, on my second glass of white wine, trying to deaden the sound of the mundane British summer holidaymakers conversations taking place around me with easy listening music on in my ears.  Don’t get me wrong, not because I am not interested in what they are saying, but just so I can concentrate is trying to set up the wordpress blog page.  I consider myself to be pretty technologically minded, but I have to admit that it van be challenging at times.  I keep on looking down at my laptop battery and kick myself for not having brought my charger with me, I am really comfortable and don’t want to have to lose this perfect table.

I have the perfect spot, behind the glass windows, which I saw this morning get cleaned every day, watching the bustling summer holiday crowd meandering down the esplanade in front of me, even though it is a really blustery day, with lots of white horses in the churned up very brown looking sea, nothing like the ocean back home, with waves crashing – this is just brown water lapping.  But to be kind, it is high tide and this morning on my run the water was a beautiful blue with no wind.  If it was a crystal clear day, I wonder if you could see the shores of Holland over the North Sea.  I read that where I am right now, is the most eastern point of the United Kingdom.  Just seen a Dart catamaran come sailing back into the shore, I saw them going out this morning at about 7am, so they have been out at sea all day.  I used to sail on a Dart catamaran, but that’s another story for another day.

Starting to feel a little uncomfortable, you know that feeling you get when someone is watching you, and you look up and make eye contact with someone who is intrigued by what you are doing.  Have to admit that I feel like an anomaly here.  Every where there are families and couples, all out for their Sunday afternoon “tea”.

A British term I am battling to come to terms with.  Tea is not dinner – it is tea!!!  Ah well might as well have another glass of wine, but the battery on my laptop is not going to play the game so going to sign off on my first every blog – who says you cant teach an old dog new tricks 🙂unnamed

This was when the sea was looking very inviting this morning – have found you can have 4 different seasons in one day here in the UK.