Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Archive for the category “home”

That was the weekend that was

It was the Western Easter weekend, but for us today was the second Sunday in Lent, when we recall St Gregory Palamas. Friday was the Feast of the Annunciation, and perhaps an opportunity to go to the Divine Liturgy on a public holiday, when traffic was lighter, but we had been invited to join our hosts at Atteridgeville, the African Orthodox Church at their Good Friday service, so we did. We contributed the singing of the Third Stsis of the Lamentation, which are part of Holy Saturday Matins in the Orthodox Church (sung on Goof Friday evening by anticipation).

And on Sunday we joined the Malahlela family in Mamelodi, where half the people were away for the weekend.

We go there every second Sunday, and it occurred to me that the Malahlela family are the people we see most outside the home, apart from our immediate family. Most other contact with people is via the Internet, rather than face to face, and that was one of the things we talked about. In Mamelodi you can go outside in the street, and you will see people. People are walking around, and you can see and meet your neighbours. In Kilner Park, where we live, you can walk all the way round the block and not see a soul, just hear different dogs barking as you pass the houses where they live. This came up in converstion because they asked when our daughter Bridget might come home from Greece. And we said there wouldn’t be much for her to do here. Athens is more like Mamelodi, where you can see people, and has a good public transport system, so there are places to go.

The Malahlela family and visitors, Mamelodi /east, Sunday 27 March 2016

The Malahlela family and visitors, Mamelodi /east, Sunday 27 March 2016

While we were having tea Grace Malahlela’s sister arrived, and then daughter Hellen and her children came back from wherever they had been, with loads of luggage. Since all sorts of people were there now, it was time to take a picture.

During the service there had been lots of noise from the next-door neighbours. They had a tent and lots of visitors, and periodical beating of drums and much noise. Grace sang louder than usual, perhaps to ward off the competition. Afterwards I asked what it was, a funeral perhaps, or a memorial for the dead. No, Grace said that the daughter of the house, who was about 15, was becoming a sangoma.

We come home and resume out everday occupations, family history research, and , in my case, also editing a doctoral thesis. Simon ios composing computer games, and Jethro is relaxing after a busy week at work, as a service advisor for LandRover.

That was the weekend that was. Tomorrow is also a public holiday, but it probably won’t be much  different, and, now that Val and I are both retired, neither will the rest of the week. The lawn needs cutting.

Spring is early this year

In our garden the first sign of spring is the budding of new leaves on our mulberry tree. They usually make their first appearance on 20th August, but they are early this year. They first appeared about a week ago, and now they are quite big.

When we first moved to this house, nearly 30 years ago, there was no mulberry tree. There was one over the road by the railway line, and when the children kept silkworms, they used to collect the leaves to feed them, and the fruit as well. One of the seeds must have germinated, and the tree is now far larger than its parent. The fruit comes in October, but we rarely get any. The birds eat most of it while it is still green, and what drops on the ground the dogs eat avidly.

Spring is here. Our raised garden is gradually taking shape, and leaves have already appeared on the mulberry tree

Spring is here. Our raised garden is gradually taking shape, and leaves have already appeared on the mulberry tree

Meanwhile, the other trees are still bare, except for the jacarandas, which haven’t lost their leaves yet.

Red pylons in the sunset

A rainy Friday evening. Rain stopped play at the Centurion cricket ground on the other side of town, and then it came over here. Thunder and lightning, but not much rain.

Rain brings out weird behaviour in our dog Squiffylugs. When it’s warm and dry, she lies in a corner of the carport, like this.

Squiffylugs in her sheltered dry-weather corner

Squiffylugs in her sheltered dry-weather corner

When it rains, however, she lies in a much more exposed position, where she can get wet. She’s a strange dog. Maybe she thinks she’s a duck.

Then there is the electricity pylon over the road.

Most of the time it is, like most pylons, grey and dull. But this afternoon the sun broke through the clouds on the west, and lit it up with a red light.

Red pylon in the sunset

Red pylon in the sunset

And the same light that lit up the pylon lit up the gum tree over the road.

Dog with a problem

Val was moving bricks from one side of our ruin to the other, but our dog Samwise kept making things difficult by trying to bite the wheelbarrow wheel.

Then he dropped his ball into the wheelbarrow.

“There it is, throw it for me.”

Val ignored it and kept loading the bricks, and Samwise got more and more agitated as his ball disappeared under a pile of bricks.

Eventually Samwise could take it no more, and started moving the bricks to retrieve his ball. Once he had it, he retired to a safe distance and looked repoachfully at those who would not throw his ball, but hid it under brioks.

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