Tag Archives: Old friends

Small Town Girl in London

Everybody knows that I’m a Small Town Girl, despite the fact that I live in the biggest city in South Africa. (This actually came as news to me when I did a quick search on that … Cape Town is the biggest, population-wise, followed by Durban, and then only Jozi! As Joe always used to say¬†Ex Africa¬†semper aliquid novi.) Anyway, back to the point … my Small Townism and its view on London.

Well, my view on London is this: it is an incredible city with the most enormous number of things to do, places to see, people to meet, and my The Weatherman was so kind to me and kept the sky blue and the sun shining, yet my African blood gets nervous and my African heart gets claustrophobic and I find myself thinking that everybody on those streets of London is just having such a hard time of keeping up and it makes me sad and leaves me feeling entirely drained.

Cue: my friends. So many of them that live and love in London, and love it and thrive, which is why on day two in that bustling city I met a bunch of them in Greenwich at The Old Brewery (perfect accessibility), watched over by the huge trees (another thing that will keep me loving London) of the park and side-eyed by the Cutty Sark, and it was wonderful.

Friends from forever ago and friends from more recently and even some new friends, a beautiful hound called Paloma and a surprise pop-in by wonderful family friends made for a day so filled with joy and loveliness and love, that I felt entirely refreshed. Oh, and I met a knight – Sir Ian McKellan, or Gandalf, as I like to think of him – which was pretty bloody marvellous. He was just lovely. Also marvellous – being able to hop on a bus (the right way around, this time) and get home safely and easily.

Gandalf and me, London

The next day we braaied under the hot London sky (yip!) and frolicked in the ‘hot tub’ – set on cool due to extreme heat – with one of my oldest friends (and hostess with the mostest) and her lovely neighbour. Perfect, lazy, Sunday. Then Gogglebox … GOGGLEBOX! It’s brilliant. Voyeurism to the max.

Travelling stories and pics will resume with the next blog – to Sicily we go!

Flashbacks in a Fabric Shop

My mother sews, beautifully. She made all of our clothes as children, much to our chagrin as teenagers, when all I longed for was just one item of clothing with a label (the ingratitude of adolescents!) She still sews for us, only if we are specific about what we want, years of experience having taught her that.

It was with a pair of pants in mind that I found myself, reminiscent of my childhood, in a material shop with my mother this morning. She can spend hours, possibly days, in those places, so I had prepared myself mentally for some people-watching while she ambled about touching, stretching, experienced-seamstressing the hundreds of rolls of material.

My father drove us to the edge of the city where the enormous, warehouse-like material shop lives, two buildings down from the lap-dancing place where young Eastern European beauties trade their ware (apparently) and my mother and I went into the Aladdin-like cave (the fabric place, not the lap-dancing one.) As expected, my mother went into her Material Hunter mode and I sat quietly watching people.

The thing is, though, I had this funny feeling from the moment we walked in. You know that feeling when you meet someone and you feel like you know them, but you don’t know where from? I looked at my mother’s fellow hunters – the elderly sisters dressed in clothes too young for them, trying to find the perfect blue chiffon to go over the pale violet satin they’d chosen; the movie-type blonde wanting metres and metres of white fabric for a set; the gentle Xhosa lady going through the cordurouy for the perfect colour for children’s dungarees (with my mother, momentarily distracted by possible fabrics for dungarees for the fabulous twin grandsons) – nope, none of them seemed familiar (other than my mother, of course.)

Then I suddenly got flashbacks of dark, smokey corners, flashing lights and loud music and I realised that behind me, where there were now shelves and shelves of buttons and zips, there used to be a bar and there, on that huge floor covered in rows of material was a dancefloor and up there, where the material shop owner stood talking on a cellphone, surveying the room, was the DJ box.

This here material shop used to be a club, it was the building that was the familiar person I’d been feeling, having been there once, in it’s previous life as a nightclub, before it had retired into the more sedate phase of fabrics. I sat thinking of the night, the people I’d been with, that time of my life.

It’s always nice to bump into an old friend, isn’t it?