#WorldGinAndTonicDay

So, today is #WorldGinAndTonicDay…

What is your favourite G&T infusion?

Life in the Garden Route of South Africa has its perks. There are quite a few gin distilleries close to my hometown. There is even a school in town where you can make and infuse your own bottle of gin as a keepsake to enjoy in the comfort of your favourite chair at home.

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Time in a Bottle

So, Charlie, knowing that I was saving for a bottle of perfume I’ve wanted ever since Granny fell of the bus, gave me money for my upcoming birthday before he left to go back to work.  The notes were safely packed away in my underwear drawer.  I also told all my friends that if they wanted to get me something, money or a gift certificate from the perfume stockist would be much appreciated.  During this week, I found out the stockist had all beauty products, including their perfume range on a 20% discount, so I charged there as quickly as I could after work, only to be told, Sorry Ma’am, but we are sold out and have not reordered.  I left there, deflated and irritable.  I’ve wanted this perfume for almost twenty years – that’s how long it hasn’t been available in South Africa!  Yes, I searched online during that time too, and found many perfumes by the designer, but not the one.

Turns out that thing about one door closing means another one opens is sometimes true.  In this case, I found the same perfume (in a smaller size) online.  Placed the order and received it the very next day.  I haven’t been so excited to receive a parcel in ages; I nearly tackled the delivery man.

The instant I saw the box, I smiled and the moment I retrieved the bottle from the box and removed the top and smelled the familiar scent, my olfactory sense took me back in time to some happy memories.

I received the bottle of perfume as a Christmas gift from The Toppie’s stepfather the Christmas before my final year of high school.  I often wore it on a Friday or Saturday night when Cousin Lara and I would go dancing at the local haunt.  I also wore it for my first formal red-carpet event: my matric farewell/senior prom.  I remember feeling so grown up in my black evening dress.  My shoes were slightly scuffed; already well worn-in from the weekly langarm’ing*, which was a blessing, because the last thing I wanted on that Magic Arabian Night, was aching feet.

Matric

I used the last droplets on my 21st birthday, which was a fun event in its own right, because it was a whole weekend of celebration.  The Friday night, my at-the-time-boyfriend, Joe, drove me home and hit a bump, which claimed my car’s exhaust as a trophy.  The next morning when we started it, it sounded like a John Deere on steroids.

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I think it’s only fitting that as the dawn of a new decade awaits, with much of it unknown, unfamiliar and a little scary, I have something familiar to keep me company and take me time-travelling when things are a little daunting to deal with.

Thank you Charlie, and thank you, Oscar de la Renta!

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Not Even Death can Kill a Forever Love

I’m in a philosophical mood, a little melancholy too.  Chalk it down to conversations I’ve been having-, or the books I’ve been reading of late, being a little tired again, the chill of winter, or simply because my brain needs something to think about.

I saw Harriet on Friday after work.  We spoke about a few things and somehow Paul came up.  I haven’t spoken about him in a very long time, literally years.  It was bittersweet to reminisce about the memories I had made with him. I still listen to Leonard Cohen’s music, Hallelujah in particular, and a memory will escape from my eyes down my cheek.  I know we would never have ended up together, but as I spoke, I wondered what he’d be doing now if Death hadn’t come to take him.

I went to the farm on Saturday to spend some time with Shayla-Rae, her husband (who is jokingly referred to as my skelmpie – which loosely translated implies that we’re having an affair), my precious Godchild, Lily-Rose, and SR’s mum.  SR’s dad exchanged this world for Another four years ago, yet when here mum talks about him, it’s clear that her heart aches still for him.  They were together for forty-seven years. That’s longer than I’ve been alive!

SR’s grandmother, Granny Wood, who turns 100 in October this year (yes, she will be a centenarian!) also remembers her late husband with fond tears and smiles.  She regales tales of their time together with crystal clarity, despite her mind being addled by dementia that is setting in.

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Now, in SR’s mum and Gran’s case, they married young (as was custom) so I’m not sure if they’d had the opportunities to meet more than the one or two men they did before they settled down into marriage if they would have said they experienced love more than once.  For them it was a case of One Great Love, their Forever Love.

I’ve not dated many blokes either (my track record with the opposite sex has been nothing short of disastrous!), but I’ve loved more than once, and I mean greatly loved.  The sad thing though is that as boundless as I can love, it never seems to be enough.

I know that just because it’s what I feel, doesn’t make it true, but it’s on my mind and I’m getting it out because topping (overthinking) about my worth to others (which is a huge thing for me) is not going to do me any good in this state of mind.

In the meantime, I’ll console myself that not even death’s sting can conquer forever love.

Oh, and just a side note, my brain is getting food tonight… Elena and I are going for sushi!

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Who knows what this Misfit’s fed brain will come up with next?

I guess y’all just have to wait and see 😉

Inspiration to Travel Down Memory Lane

Last night I was reading The Brain Bleacher, the final short story in the second Sticky Fingers anthology by JT Lawrence, with whom I was at school with for a short time before moving to Mossel Bay.

I was chatting with Charlie after I’d finished the book, and said to him that one day I will write like that – as in short stories, because while I know I have a writing gift, I do not possess the mad skills to weave a tale in a limited amount of words that grabs you from the word go.  JTL just has it.

One quote in the story above really resonated with me: “While a memory is a mental snapshot of a moment, it carries with it layers of emotion and texture and scent.

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It reminded me of quite a few mental snapshots and something my colleague, Carla and I discussed when we spent a girls’ night away at a local lodge about three years ago one November weekend.  She said when she looks back in time,  she doesn’t necessary remember the things that were around her at a time, but she does remember the smell of the air, or the warmth of the sun on her skin, or the song in the breeze; most importantly she remembers how she felt in that moment. Thinking about that outing, I remember being stretched out on a long wooden deck chair, with a book listening to the trickle of the stream nearby.  While I don’t remember the title of the book, I remember the feel of the parchment between my fingers and the smell of the ink.  I remember feeling completely content, even if only for a few fleeting moments.

Another memory that popped into my mind was our visits to Mossel Bay when I was a child.  The Bean and I would catch the train from Johannesburg and travel to visit my matriarchal grandparents and all the aunts, uncles and cousins.  The one olfactory memory I have of these journeys is pulling into the station and smelling the oceanic saltiness in the air – a world removed from the Johannesburg smog that enveloped us during our time in that concrete jungle.  I remember loving the feel of the sea sand between my toes and being bribed out of the freezing cold water with what was probably an even colder ice-cream cone.

I recalled other memories too – and with focus on the emotions, texture and scent, I was transported back to those moments in time, and it felt as if I was there again.

In one, I felt the gooseflesh rise at the receipt of a gentle touch in a tender moment, even though my heart was racing with uncertainty and angst and flaming desire at the same time.

In another, I felt the dread and horrific realization induced by the smell of burnt chicken (I won’t live it down either, I promise!)

In another I was warmed by the soft heat of a gas heater with the fairy-tale lights of a Cape Town Waterfront Christmas display to illuminate my friend, Andrew’s face as we caught up five years’ worth of news over a chocolate-berry-spiced red wine and lekker South African fare.  I also remember the indigestion that followed shortly after seeing the bill.

In another I remember sitting against the trunk of a tree, after a particularly trying parkrun.  My hair was plastered to my forehead with glue-au-de-perspiration and my breathing was laboured, so much so I’m sure I could have given The Big Bad Wolf a run for his money (bacon, anyone?). A woman approached me asking about Herbalife (yes, I was branded for the walk – not my finest advertising moment) and we got chatting.  Eighteen months later, that woman, Harriet, is one of my closest friends.  I haven’t been able to do our routed parkrun since though because of my bum knee.

I could reminisce like this for hours, and I think each day I shall get in my time machine and take myself back to at least one happy (or funny) memory – where I can relieve the sensation, feel the grain, and inhale the fragrance of times gone by.  And sure, sometimes it’s necessary to revisit the sad and bad memories, to remind oneself how far you’ve come, but for the most part, I want to simply revisit the happy times, filled with laughter, hope, friendship, family and most importantly the love that surrounds all those things.

So, here’s to joyous recollections, all inspired by a single line, from an incredible book.

Cheers to you JTL!  I aspire to be an author like you.  You are a creative genius and an absolute legend.

The Trip Continues…

…the trip down Memory Lane, that is.

Here is another repost from my old blog…

and another.

Those two are the last reposts with reference to Memory Lane that I will post for some time.  I am working on a reminiscent post, which I hope to have up by tomorrow morning at the latest.  If not, then I’ll post it at a later stage when the nostalgia strikes again.

In the meantime, work awaits…