Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Wow, it's been a while.
My last post was almost a year ago and this was supposed to be a diary? Let me catch up on myself a little.
'Forever Plaid' was successful and I think that we managed to entertain about 600 odd people during the short run and also make a tidy sum of money. We were asked to revive it, but the unavailability of a couple of cast members made that impossible. Reviving a show isn't always entirely satisfying. You've built a team spirit once you've got into the swing of rehearsals and enjoyed the fun ride right through to the last show and I'm not sure that you can recapture the same joy of the creative process the second time around. Maybe you can, but that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
Here are the boys: Richard, John, Chris & Simon
CATA (Cape Amateur Theatre Awards) gave the show three nominations for Richard, John and myself. However the show is competing against some big musicals staged last year and I doubt we'll win anything. Nice to be nominated though.
After the show closed I committed myself to doing the costumes for the next musical, 'Honk!'. An offer I was to regret, the process took months and only finished a few weeks before Christmas. The 'brief' changed on a weekly basis. I'd hoped to finish with 3 weeks to spare. Costuming a show in the past wasn't easy - and then I'd had three rooms I could spread out in! This time, living in an apartment and having my entire living space taken over, was pretty awful. It was a huge cast and each person had 4 - 5 costumes. I've received a nomination for the comment on that. the upside was that the cast were lovely and a pleasure to deal with.
Have been asked if I'd be willing to do the costumes for the next show - guess what my answer was?
However I suppose I achieved my aim, which was to keep busy. That I did, but working alone with only a sewing machine for company leaves lots of space for the mind to wander free - not so good.
Which brings me to how I'm coping now that Chris has been gone for a year and a half. Well I've finally got past the point of expecting him to walk in the door and shout 'Is the kettle on?' - that's pretty big because it does mean that I've reached another point in the grieving process: acceptance. I still miss him of course, every day. How could you not miss someone who has been part of your life for 48 years? And I'm still finding it odd being completely alone here. I love it when friends come over, but they probably think I'm very clingy because I don't want them to leave! I'm not lonely, just miss having someone around all the time. That sounds like a contradiction, but it's true. For the most part I enjoy my own company, but I've been spoilt in knowing there was always someone there. Okay, so its hard to explain.
A couple of days after the costumes were completed, my great niece arrived from Johannesburg for a visit. Just 11 years old but Jocelyn has had to cope with more grief than any little girl should. She was extremely close to her gran (Chris' sister), who died very unexpectedly a year before Chris. And the day after she arrived here, her nanny who was with her since her birth also died. We managed to distract ourselves though and had a lot of fun together. She's one very special little girl.
On Christmas day last year, I was on a plane to Sydney. This year I was invited to spend the day with friends, and what a lovely day it was. I ate far too much of course. Ingrid and Keith are great hosts even with about 15 guests to cope with, they were totally relaxed about it  - it was fun. Got to know Ingrid & Keith some years back through Ben and found there was another connection through Geoff & Pearl.
New year's eve 2010 was spent with Mands & Scott on a deck overlooking the Sydney harbour and watching the magical firework display on the Sydney harbour bridge. In complete contrast, NYE 2011 was spent in Kenton on Sea (137 km after P.E.) watching God's own amazing display of stars, undimmed by city lights.
I'd been invited some months before by Ben's daughter, Debra & her husband Johan, to join the family for a 12 day stay with them in the house they'd rented. Ben's other daughter, Chantal kindly lent us her car for the trip - a very luxurious BMW. Along with Debra's eldest daughter, 14 year old Taylor, we started the long trip at 5 a.m. At Riviersonderend we got a flat tyre and when changing it, discovered the other tyres were pretty worn as well. After a slow trip to Swellendam to fit new tyres, it took 13 hours to reach our destination and I think Ben was taking the strain in the last two hours! But I was buggered if I was going to offer to drive that fancy car, I can wreck a toaster quicker than wink, so the poor man had to carry on.

The stay at Kenton on Sea was wonderful; I really was made to feel part of the family and not just a hanger-on. Besides Ben, Taylor, Deb & Johan, there were the three-year old twins Jaimee & Jadin - and endless source of amusement in the antics they got up to. We met some real characters in the local pub, a couple of them reminded me of the mountain men in 'Deliverence'. But Ben befriended them, seeing them more as Daryl and the other brother Daryl from the Bob Newhart Show..........
Ben (centre) & his new friends
what do you think, 'Deliverence' or 'Bob Newhart'?
and we found a monster - or at least Taylor did. A strange looking little creature that we'd never seen before. We took pics and then Taylor & Debs released it back into the sea. I contacted African Geographic who couldn't help but said they'd pass the query on to UCT. Anyway, Mandy (after only 10 minutes) had done some research - it was a Glaucus Atlanticus a sea slug. Look it up if you will, it is quite beautiful but very poisonous. Luckily it couldn't have eaten any bluebottles recently, so the 'wranglers' escaped unscathed.
Johan, Taylor, self and Ben at Kariega Game Park
We also went on a game drive at the Kariega Game Park; this was quite an adventure for Taylor and myself as we were perched high up, right at the back of the jeep. There were no roads, just tracks and the guide/driver often took little forays into the bush. T and I had to hang on for dear life as our butts lifted off the seats and we teetered in the air, coming back with a thud on the hard seats. We saw so much game, including elephants, lions, rhino & hippos. It was great and the buffet lunch in the lovely cool 'boma' dining room afterwards was delicious.
All in all a lovely holiday. It took me a while to get used to not having 'people noises' around me!
Mandy and Scott bought me an iPod and docking station for Christmas - WOW! They even sent me the adaptor - hopefully this morning Mandy will call me on Skype and talk me through setting this all up, including registration on iTunes. I will then be surrounded by music all day, bliss!
Have booked to see Michael Buble in May with Brian - can't wait. Hope its as good as his first show which I saw with Mands.
Am baby-sitting my goddaughter today - she's a small black and white beauty, cross between a peke & maltese. I've just taken her out for a walk and she's nagging for another, not yet Panda it's damned hot outside.
Yesterday, in the heatwave, took Doug & Noreen out to Blouberg (Ons Huisie) for lunch. I think I got slightly cooked in the car. In my next lifetime my car will have aircon!
So that's all the catching up. I'm going to try and be a bit more regular with this 'diary' in future. So until next time
Batty signing out..................


Monday, February 21, 2011


After working on my sketch for an audition notice this morning, I was a bit peckish and thought I'd grab a quick brekkie. Old Mother Batty's cupboard was bare. Well, not quite.......there are large containers of cake flour, sugar, pasta & rice; cans of pilchards, tomato soup, sardines & beans. I did give all of them some serious thought, but the image of crispy bran flakes danced in my head and wouldn't give way to a plate of baked beans. I'd have to go to the shops. I detest shopping for one; advertising your status by picking out 1 apple, 2 bananas, 1 onion and 1 tomato. I grabbed my keys and bag, slipped my feet into my sandals and was about to head out of the door when I realised I hadn't combed my hair and was still in my jammies. OMG, 10.30 a.m. - I'm turning into a slob! New resolution: get dressed and brush hair before starting anything in the morning.
I always feel good when I make a resolution. Then weak and pathetic when I don't keep it, which is just about always. I've given up on new year's resolutions altogether - why start the year with a poor self image?
Parking lots: does anyone else wonder why, after you've scraped half of the tread off your tyres to get near enough to the machine, a little man jumps out, grabs the ticket out of your hand and & does it all for you? They pay someone to do that?
I got back, I ate the bran flakes for lunch and finished the sketch:

L, The Plaids
It's been more than three years since I directed a show; time to jump back in. I love directing. I've missed the journey that starts with reading the script and ends with biting my nails in the audience on opening night. The show I'll be doing is 'Forever Plaid' (as in 'glad'). I already have an amazing Musical Director and an experienced Stage Manager, now to find a cast. An abysmal first audition made me realise that you can't rely on Facebook alone to advertise for those rarest of creatures: men who can both sing and act. And I need four of them! Strangely enough, I wasn't devastated - somehow I know I'll find them.
(There are some really great videos on Youtube of various productions of  'Forever Plaid' - if you're interested in having a look, just Google 'Youtube Forever Plaid' and you'll find dozens. The music is really great and the script is hilarious.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

EX-MUSING 22.2.2011

In case this is all too confusing, me having two blogs; let me explain.
I started the original blog under the title 'Mamajoon' in 2008. I enjoy writing, but it took some persuading from one of the Mupersans to go public.
It got a surprisingly good response - although I have to point out that people seem reluctant to leave comments, I got emails from friends instead, telling me to carry on with the blog as they were really enjoying it.

Shortly after writing the last posting under Mamajoon, Chris was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given 6 to 8 months to live. Gone was the dream of Chris retiring in 5 years and us sitting on a porch in our 80's, overlooking the sea or a river. We had a 'sell by' date. Then he had chemo, one especially developed for the type of cancer he had (Mesothelioma) and the dreaded cells were knocked back. Of course I researched everything I could about the disease and started a correspondence with a lady in the U.S. who had been living with the same cancer for 12 years. A glimmer of light at the end of the dark tunnel we were travelling through. So we kept ourselves busy closing down the business, selling the houses and buying an apartment to retire in. Chris looked amazing and had so much fun renovating
No-one enjoyed DIY as much as he did! Dougs, Mons, Chris jnr and Jazzie came out in April last year to spend some time with us. Precious time - they wouldn't see him again. Mandy & Scott booked their holiday for October last year. A holiday that wasn't to be. Chris was hospitalised after having the first of his second series of chemo sessions. Mandy flew out and was able to be with him for his last days. How bitterly ironic that the chemo which we were so sure would give us more time, gave us so much less.
We did have more than 8 months, we had 20. It wasn't enough.
Life is still surreal without him - 7 months later.
This isn't meant to be a depressing blog, honest. But it is the explanation for why I stopped the Mamajoon blog. I couldn't write about what was happening to us, I just couldn't. So during that 20 months I took a 'sabbatical' from everything and we spent precious time together, Chris and I, with the added company of some amazing friends. It was a short retirement, but there were lots of laughs and many jaunts down the happy memory lanes we'd travelled.
So, as they say, life goes on. And difficult as it is sometimes, especially when I'm alone here, I still have those friends who can make me laugh. I still have my kids and grandchildren - and Chris' blood courses strongly through them.
And now the next chapter of my blog life begins.
If you've got a comment, please leave it - good or bad, I'd like to know what you think..................


I was at an AGM today and an old friend apologetically voiced her opinion on a few things - apologetically because these were things she'd said before. Then I spoke up to make a point - also regarding something I'd repeated for a couple of years. I meant to say:
'You might think Shirley & I are a couple of whining old bats, but....'
I actually said:
'I don't want to sound like a whining old bat like Shirley....'
There was a silence.......and I said 'No! I didn't mean to say that, I meant....'
But by now the room had collapsed in laughter. And of course no matter how much I apologised to Shirley, the damage had been done. Hung by the tongue. So I've promised her a dinner instead, and I'm going to follow through on that.
The story of my life.
You'd think one would grow wiser as one grows older, wouldn't you? I've been waiting for wisdom for a long time now. I know it's not supposed to happen overnight. But I'm about to give up and bury myself in a nunnery where I have to take a vow of silence. Do they accept old bats these days?
Then again, think of the laughter at my expense that I'll deprive people of.......