Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Archive for family

Grumpy old men

…grrr! I have a grumpy old dad, and I am really struggling to get him to listen to reason.

Since Dawny passed away, the old man is lost and lonely. Depressed, but that generation that adopts stiff upper lips, and pulls themselves together, (unsuccessfully) and refuses help. He’s conceded that he is lonely, and wouldn’t mind some company, but now that the option of an apartment at the local retirement village has come up (he’s only been on the waiting list for 8 years!) he says he doesn’t want to go! It’s awful, and full of old buggers (bearing in mind he’s older than many of them) and he’d die there (well, he’s got to die somewhere?).

But for my brothers and I – it’s the answer to so many of our prayers – a meal a day, delivered to his door, if he’d like it, company, if he’d like it. The most beautiful gardens to take a walk in and sit in. Amazing views across the city. A frail care if he ever needs it.

I’m trying to arrange a chat with some old friends of his who are moving in to an apartment there next week,  I’m hoping that it may allow him to see reason. Because that’s the thing – outside of the offer, he promised me he’d have a look, he said he’d make the move; but now that the offer is there, he’s forgetting everything he told me.

I really don’t know how Dawny got him to do things, the stubborn old man, who we adore;  I wish she was here to help me now…

Just too

… short, the weekend that was. Flip. In the spirit of past week’s post I knew I needed more than 2 days. Oh well. It was what I got, so I enjoyed it.

Friday night saw Thandi at a slumber party. Her first! Because all the other girls were older than her (2 years older) and since we were the helper parents at the party, we gave her the option of sleeping over or coming home with us. To her credit, she was appropriate nervous, but after all the fun and games, she chose to sleep over. And she loved it! Needless to say she was exhausted on Saturday and her and I had a killer afternoon nap, just the best.

On Saturday I had a good long run. Well, good is a strong description, I was feeling shattered! But I got 19km in, had a divine and refreshing Spring day dip in the ocean and then headed home. After a quick shower and wash we fetched the girl, and then we headed off to a nearby (80km near) seaside village to visit one of the projects we, as Wild Women, support, Busfare Babies. It was super special. The midwife had invited some of her newest deliveries to meet us. Holding those little sweethearts was special. BB really do incredible work with very limited resources. The dream is for a birthing home closer to the village and school. Currently they’re on top of a hill with the most amazing view; but are a little walk from the village.

The village really is one of those weirdly South African ones. Luxurious houses on the river with rondavels behind them. Massive white elephant art centers which are dilapidated and locked up with enormous weeds growing in the gardens. Such a wasted investment. Such a slap in the face for the community in need.

So I am going to see what I can do to try to get them the things they need to keep things running smoothly for now. And when the time comes for a build, then we will jump in!

Sunday was a day to recoup my sleep deficit, although we know that never really happens, watch a marathon and cheer my friends along. We feasted on chilli con carne for supper after watching a great little animated flick, Valiant. A good one.

Now about that 7 day weekend I need…

The button tin

Starting a craft project this weekend, I realized I needed some of my Dawny’s sewing supplies. I haven’t walked into her craft room for an age, the smell – a mixture of baby powder, new material and Dawny – brought an instant eye watering lump to my throat. I took a deep breath and gathered the things I wanted – importantly her button tin.

I took my treasure home and as I spread those buttons over my work station, looking for just the right ones I needed for my project, I was swamped by memories. The tinkling of those buttons against each other as Dawny and I looked through them. There was the one she sewed onto a cardigan for me; another from my brother’s blazer; and another that came with a story about my grandparents… and my heart sang, but oh it ached.

Thandi wandered over and she ran her fingers through those buttons too – they feel smooth and cool, and are tinkly and shiny, which for a magpie, like her, is irresistible. I will concede to being a magpie as a child – stealing a certain Christmas bauble off the tree and hiding it in my cupboard because I couldn’t bear to pack it away it’s sparkles for 50 weeks again. I could see her curious mind wondering as she explored that tin – I love that she will one day hold it in her hands too – and maybe be share with her daughter, and so our generational button tin will outlive me, as it outlived Dawny, but it will forever tether us together…

God, I miss my Dawny.

Sunday’s mothering

…so, I guess I should share some of my thoughts and experiences around that day of mothers. Hmmm…

God, I miss her so much. A physical ache in my heart. I still had so much to learn from her; and prepping for Thandi’s party, I have a small weep every night, because I know how much she would have loved to be involved, how she would have helped me, how much her granddaughter would have loved the interaction. I’ll always remember the first fondant icing cake I made myself, my Dawny day at my kitchen counter helping me every step of the way, rubbing that cake until it was smooth and gleaming. Oh Mommy, I wish this was different.

My day was lovely. Thandi has made me a beautiful tea tray towel, Charlie got me all misty eyed with a sentimental card; and then laughing hysterically with a crazy gift… I present to you…

A can of doom! You see, the long running joke is that Charlie, and now Thandi are trying to drive me mad, using flies, which only I can hear, notice and see; so they’re allowing me to fight back against the craziness! Champs!

I love my precious family, and miss my Dawny always.


…are my call night, but they are also our regular date with another family, the SuperK’s (I nearly called them the SpecialK’s, but realised that could really be misconstrued!) Last night we met at their house for a movie night – they have recently renovated their TV lounge – nice couches and recliners and an enormous TV (I didn’t even have to squint!). What a nice little hump in the week – we ate a curry that Charlie had cooked and watched an ozzie movie, called Red Dog – I really can recommend it – the kids laughed and cried (as they would in an animal movie). Thandi and Alexa (the eldest K kid) loved it, Chelsea, the littlest K was very sad, worrying about the boy and the dog (and no, I’m not going to give more away about the plot), but it was really sweet. It’s nice not to watch another animated flick for a change, not that I don’t love those too!

Back to reality

… it’s been 2 days and reality bites! Yowzer, it’s been a really busy couple of days. So here, finally is my long weekend report back.

So our trip to the Mother City started early on Thursday morning. We hit the road, got going and just outside Port Elizabeth everything ground to a halt! There was a service delivery protest going on – in the day that there was a vote of no confidence scheduled in the DA mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay – coincidence? I think not! Anyway, the N2 was closed, the alternative road was closed, by protesters burning trees, types and trash across the roads. We sat on the side of the road for 2 hours – star jumps, push ups, planks, stories… finally we got going again, but things are still very volatile – teargas and rubber bullets were flying. As a child raised in the 80’s; I was ready – Thandi was made to lie down on the back seat, blanket over her, ready to cover her face if necessary. I was ready to duck down, Charlie was ready for some evasive action. Flip. I was anxious for a bit there. Anyway, the danger evaded, we hit that road with a 3 hour delay at the end, turning our trip into an extremely long one. But we made it, checked into our lovely AirB&B in Newlands and we were ready.

Friday was all about registration, and yes, all the drama you saw on social media was true. Super congested, super slow with agonizingly slow queues. It meant that the expo suffered, because I think we were all just too grumpy to shop properly. Saying that – I did buy 2 new pairs of shoes – road and trail; so I am ready for the next 6 months of running!

Saturday was the day, I ran the half marathon this year – another super congested day. Yoh! There are a lot of runners doing it! When at 10+km you are still forced to walk as you go around corners etc because the crowd dictates it. Hmmm. I ran a very slow time (2:37) but I couldn’t have gone much faster. I was pleased to meet a friend on Southern Cross Drive, and was pleased to have company for the rest of the run. My nieces ran their first half marathon – I think the big may have bitten fir them. My brother was beaming! He was so super chuffed to be there with his daughters! That was pretty special.

Saturday night we celebrated with friends at the Pot Luck Club – divine! As always!

Sunday we spent the day at the Cape Point Vineyards for a picnic, it was really nice, albeit rather disorganized! Food was good, setting incredible and weather perfect.

Monday was a jumbly day, had breakfast at the Olympia cafe with my brother; visited the scratch patch, had lunch with friends, walked in Newlands forest with other friends, and then a quick burger dinner before an early night prior to our trip home. Busy, but good.

The trip home was a whole lot easier, but flip, it’s far; I’m glad to be home and able to shower!


own birthday celebrations better be good, Mom! Hope those sisters of yours have planned a fabulous party, and that there is an awesome cake!

Happy Birthday Mom, we miss you so much and remember all our celebrations together.

Every 27th of February I’ll raise a toast to you, my beautiful mom. I wish more than anything that you could be with us, but even more than that, I’m relieved that you are comfortable, free and not struggling anymore. Love you forever…