Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Has 2014 started yet???

It certainly had at Gilroy's Irish bar last Sunday afternoon! Here's Beverley with the man himself giving a traditional 'Gilroy message', which is often followed by a heart felt, "Up yours!" Sincerity by the bucket!

I couldn't handle Gilroy's more than once a month, there's nothing like it anywhere I know. About 300 diners/drinkers all there for the same reason, to have a bloody good time before it closes at 5pm. Gilroy moved over here from Liverpool as a young man and just never went back. I can't count the times I've heard that now! The music is mainly 60's  and Gilroy joins in himself, what a voice, they love him. He teases, insults, degrades, lifts, jokes and sleazes his way through the afternoon, and if you're easily offended, stay at home.


We sat by a party of 'Hells Angels' from Pretoria, and this very BIG guy, George explained that his son had bought him this shirt in Dublin last year. He said he'd love to go to Dublin one day, but I assured him that the better party was here, and now.
There were mainly family parties and bunches of friends like ours, and with good home cooking and 'Gilroys' own beer from the onsite brewery, you couldn't go far wrong. You are warned at about 4pm that you will be breathalysed on the way out, and  if you're not over the limit, you will be sent back to the bar!

A more sobering visit was to Constitution Hill in the city centre, the site of the old prison until as late as 1984. You could get picked up by the police for just being 'dressed smart' or for 'speaking out of turn'. You'd be taken to this place and banged up for whatever they decided, then deprived of your dignity for years. 95% of the folk were black and less than 5% white, asian and other colours, but both men and women who were brutalised in the most unimaginable way. The worrying thing for me is that the guards who worked there are now living as older people in the community, and after the shocking way they treated other human beings, I wonder how they are handling life now? Can they just forget?  

Tim has come over from Bridlington to stay with us for 3 weeks, and so far he's loving it. This photo of him with Julie and Allan was taken at a garden centre where we found a really eccentric women called Sue. Again, she had moved over here when very young and was to never return. She made our drinks with freshly squeezed fruit and herbs and then some home cooked food with salad picked from her garden. The best bit for me was when she came around with a fist full of other herbs and squeezed them while chopping with a scissors, so the juices ran through her rough fingers and drizzled onto our food.

It was on that day I bought Buddha! I've always wanted one. My Dad kept several when we were kids and it's a happy memory. I try to live my life in line with the teachings of Buddha, but I fail miserably. 

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment". That's how I try and walk my path but it's not easy. Buddha enjoyed the trip home and now sits comfortably in our dining room between two candles.



Nelson Mandela, still very much in the thoughts of people here, but for how long? We had lunch at the 'Nelson Mandela Shopping Centre' last week and there's Tim beside the great man. I met an artist called Ian and yes, he had come over here for 6 weeks in his early twenties and never returned. He knows Tselani Tambo, daughter of the ex-president, she is big in the arts and museums so hoping to make some more contacts. It was the pigeons under our lunchtime table that stick in my mind that day. When I tried to waft one away with a piece of paper, it just didn't move. I then reluctantly, but gently kicked it, to which it just pecked my shoe and stared me out. I guess you have to be a slightly tougher pigeon to live in a hard city like Johannesburg.

I had the opportunity to photograph an entire art exhibition last Saturday, and here's me with Tim and the local artist, Benn Nsusha at Museum Africa. We had a few obstacles to overcome before we started, like there were no power points, but we managed all 137 exhibits in a full day and very pleased with the results. I've never seen art like it, so different, so much colour and use of unexpected materials. Here's one of my many favourites, what do you think?
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Since buying the new vehicle we feel much safer driving in town, though I had to build a car port as we had to use the garage to store all the ammunition.
On the down side it does 3 miles to the gallon, but the saving on tyres more than makes up for that. 


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