Monday, November 8, 2010

Flaming Roosters

I realise this title may be misleading to some. Since I am a pescetarian (one who eats fish), the idea of roosters spontaneously combusting is not exactly something I would relish talking about. Especially in such a light hearted manner. What I mean by the title is more of a curse at roosters, similar to "those bloody roosters". On writing that however, I realise that bloody roosters are just as bad as flaming roosters.

The point of this tale is not to discuss the best curse word to describe the rooster, rather it is about an event; an event which caused much laguhter and possibly a bit of hysteria. When we were in South Africa, Mom, Kyle and I went to tea with Nan and Grandad. We went to a place called Second Cup, which whilst very charming and quaint (etc, etc), was home to a dozen or so roosters. Why they all chose to live together is somewhat of a mystery, as I'm sure they outnumbered the hens at least 3 to 1.

We were shown to a lovely table in the middle of the garden, cool and shaded, and surrounded by towering trees and colourful flowers. Oh, we were also surrounded by roosters, lots of roosters. Despite the fact that it was about 10 in the morning, the roosters still felt it necassary to crow every few minutes. Needless to say this did rather disrupt the quiet calm of the area in which we were seated. Mom thought that shouting at these roosters would help our case, they simply ignored her. Or I imagined they would have ignored her had they the brain capacity to perform the act of ignoring. Rather they just kept on cock-a-doodle-dooing. Very annoying.

Out of sheer desperation mom vehemently told the roosters that if they didn't stop shouting she would make sure they were turned into the day's chicken mayo mix. The roosters were not pleased. With a sudden flurry of wings and claws the roosters descended on our little table. Two of them landed on mom; one on her head, the other on her back, flapping wildy and sending feathers flying. Mom was now screeching (much louder than the roosters ever had) as another one landed on her plate, chicken mayo what? As these three dare devil roosters took off once again they stole Nan's cake decorations and serviette right from under her nose. Grandad seemed unflappable, Kyle found it highly amusing, Mom was in a state of rooster shock, Nan just seemed mildy surprised to find her serviette missing whilst I pretended that I hadn't in fact screeched and dived under the table. I swear, I really didn't.

The manager promptly arrived to apologize, his excuse being that the roosters had seen a rather attractive hen flaunting her feathers. I know the truth however, the roosters were quite obviously angered by mom's statement regarding the chicken mayo. We however had the last laugh. The manager informed us that the roosters would be in today's chicken mayo following this incident. We laughed nervously, not entirely sure if he was just joking. I'd like to think he was, those roosters looked much to tough to make a tasty chicken mayo mix.

*No roosters were harmed in the making of this tale*

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Trains of Life

With the time for me to be going back to the UK getting ever closer, people are continually asking me whether I will be getting dropped off at the airport, or if I will indulge in the Gautrain.  My answer is, and always will be, I use the train enough in England, why would I want to use it here.  Especially when I have a perfectly good car, and for that matter, chauffeur, who will drive me right to the airport doors.  From this answer, I'm sure you can gather, that I am not the fondest of trains, or buses, or in fact taxis (English ones, we all know everyone loathes South African ones).

 The reason you see, is an overindulgence in trains (and buses).  The first time I was on a train it was very exciting, new and somewhat fun.  You stare out the window and watch the scenery whizzing past, it's peaceful and quiet in your safe little earphoned world.  Yes, what a change to back in SA.  Fast forward a year down the line, trains, why they're just not so much fun anymore.

When I lived in Cornwall I endured a lot of 7 hour train journeys.  These journeys were far from the exciting ones I had once experienced.  Firstly, they were a good few hours longer, then there was the cramped noisy undelightfully smelling cabins.  Airplanes I can endure, but trains, not so much.  I recall one occasion when someone nearby was eating something that smelled like a mixture of sweat and something that had died (remember, no open windows!) then, despite my subtle glares at anyone who tried to sit next to me, a rather large man decided to invade my little sanctum regardless.  Not only did I have to squash myself against the window, but his sweaty arm still kept bumping mine.  He smelt funny, like old people and sweat, and he just sat staring at the back of the chair.  Just a bit freaky deaky.

But endured I did, I breathed in fresh clean train fumes when I stumbled out from that trip.  Fortunately I didn't have to take a bus anywhere.  Buses are even more of a "least favourite" for me.  One either has to sit squashed next to blank looking mothers with their screeching children, or stand in the aisle, and endure occasionally bumping into another passenger in a very uncomfortable way.  Not only is the journey car sickening, one still has to wait for wasted minutes hanging around bus stop on the sides of roads.  In the rain, sometimes even the snow.  Oh what fun.

My worst bus journey was a late night trip back from work.  I somehow managed to find myself seated in front of a very inebriated old man.  He was sitting right forward, so that he was almost breathing down the back of my neck, leaving me to crane awkwardly forward without looking too obvious.  Then he kept tapping me on the shoulder, I tried my best to ignore him, but he was relentless.  I turned around slightly with what I hoped was an unimpressed look on my face, he wanted to know what the time was.  First off, my watch was beneath many layers of sleeves and gloves, and second off, his watch was winking at me from his wrist.  I gave him a vague answer and turned away, twisting myself even further away (and no I couldn't have moved, the bus was full... of drunk old men).  It was then that my ipod decided to give up, so now I was stuck with no way to ignore him.  He was still tapping my shoulder.  I stubbornly kept my earphones in, leaned forward, and spent a very uncomfortable, very car sick hour back home.

Another incident occurred on my way to college.  I was sitting near the front, on one of the fold down seats, and sitting across from me was a chavvy man with his child bride and bratty children.  Not to be rude or anything.  As the bus lurched to the side, this man fell forwards, right towards me.  I'm not sure who was more surprised, him or me, when he grabbed my leg in an attempt to stop falling.  I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head, and I watched him apologize silently for a second before I realized I couldn't hear anything with my earphones in.  I simply did a somewhat scared smile and turned away to stare out the window, which incidentally was also very uncomfortable, what with the window being directly behind me.

So, with those journeys being the cherry on top of my dislike for public transport, my reasoning for not wanting to take the Gautrain is, I think, perfectly sound.  On to the airport, on to the plane.  Oh my, don't even get me started on flights.