New Wife and I were chatting the other day about men and women — and specifically, how in the “old days” (in our case, the 1950s and -60s) men went out to work, and women stayed at home, managed the household and raised the children.  The roles were clearly defined, and because of that, there seemed to be little angst, the way there is today, about “women’s roles” and all that.  Most especially, the traditional role of the “stay-at-home mom” has been belittled, and worse still, seen as some kind of oppression.  Even uglier is the attitude which said that women, having got the kids off to school in the morning, sat around and ate bonbons all day, maybe (and reluctantly) doing housework and preparing the evening meal, in the Donna Reed manner.

That was not the case for our mothers, and I’m going to talk about mine (because I don’t know that much about New Wife’s mother — who, it should be said, disliked me for obvious reasons).

My Mom was always working.  Far from being lazy and lounging about on the couch, she was so busy that, in retrospect, I have no idea how she got through the day without passing out exhausted at the end.  Here are some of the things she did.

She went to England with my father on one of his business trips, but he was going all over the place — to Liverpool, Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle — and she, stuck in London, got bored on Day Two, with another two weeks to go.  So she found a beautician school somewhere in Soho, enrolled, and was able to get a certificate in those two weeks which took other students over a month.  When she came back, she started a cottage job, giving facials and nail treatments at first to her friends, and then to a much larger clientele.

But that wasn’t enough.  She took up yoga for exercise, and got so good that she was invited by her teacher to become a teacher herself.  So for over a decade, she taught yoga to women, two lessons a day each workday week.  (It started off as a single class for the neighborhood women, and by the end, she had a waiting list of over a hundred.  My father had to build her a studio on our property because she outgrew our living room in a couple of months.)

Like in Britain, South Africa had branches of the Women’s Institute all over the place.  My mom joined the local branch, and after a couple of years she became the chairlady, a position she held for nearly twenty years.  (For more about the WI, here’s the story.)  Under her leadership, that branch went from a recipe-swapping club to an institution which created sub-branches that taught traditional (but forgotten) household skills such as gardening, flower-arranging, household decoration and, outside the house, public speaking and bookkeeping.  Also under her auspices, her WI provided caregivers for a daycare center for severely-handicapped children under age 5, and she was in charge of its annual fundraising drive — which after two years enabled the center to move from someone’s house into their own building (incidentally built by my father’s engineering company, gratis ).

Mom was also an indefatigable rose-gardener.  While we had a live-in gardener to take care of the main (two-acre) garden, the forty-odd rose bush garden was her own fiercely-guarded domain, and she watered, pruned, dug out and weeded the beds daily.  (The ever-present smell of fresh roses in our house stays with me to this day.)

In addition, she was in charge of family entertainment.  As a senior business executive (and later owner of his own engineering company), my father hosted formal dinners at least twice a month;  and when there wasn’t a business dinner, it was a dinner party for their huge circle of friends — dinners which invariably ended up with everyone dancing in my mother’s yoga studio.  (My job was to take out the yoga mats and clean the place, and to restore it to its proper function after the party.)

And the meals.  Good grief, the meals.  Dinner was a sit-down affair every night, and Sunday lunch was a State occasion.  Mom designed and planned out every single meal — needless to say, she also did the supermarket shopping once a month.  She was also a peerless baker, to the point where my sister Teresa and I, spoiled brats that we were, could not only identify a store-bought cake, but would refuse to eat it.  The only variation to this was confectioneries — Napoleons (custard slices), petit-fours and donuts — which were bought from Gallagher’s Bakery in the city (the only one which met Mom’s exacting standards), where she would take us every Saturday morning, as a treat.

Granted, we also had a live-in maid to help with the cleaning and laundry work — my Black mommy Mary Madipe, who carried me around on her back as a baby in the African manner, and who alone could discipline me with a single word — but all the time that Mom saved from those chores was not spent in idleness and indolence, as can be seen above.

Of course, there were the kids to look after.  Fortunately (for her), at age 11 I went off to boarding school, but before that, while waiting for my lift to primary school, I remember that each Monday Mom would give me a manicure before going to school.  (I’ve looked after my nails in similar fashion ever since: emery boards, cuticle clippers, the lot.)  From Mom, I learned about being a gentleman:  table manners, etiquette, proper dressing, the lot — all rigorously drilled into me for as long as I can remember.  (I recall, at age eight, holding the door open for one of my mother’s friends, and her astonishment at what was, for me, everyday behavior.)

So yeah, those were the days of the stay-at-home mom that I remember.  This was not a life as portrayed in the sneering manner of today:  it was a time when “housewife” carried all the responsibilities of home management — and in those days, microwave ovens, TV dinners (and in South Africa, TV at all) were as yet unknown.  Everything was made from scratch, and an “out” meal was perhaps a monthly trip to the roadhouse or fish ‘n chip shop, all treated with the greatest excitement by us kids.

It was work, I think, which would absolutely devastate the Modern Ms. of today.

If you’re not bored by all this, I invite you to read further.  It’s personal.

Read more


…or at least locked out of my own house.

New Wife does not want me to be present today at the moving of our stuff from the garage back into the apartment because reasons.  (Mostly because I fly into frequent rages at the recalcitrance of furniture to fit through doors etc. and am likely to break things when it doesn’t.  Also, I hate packing stuff away, and she absolutely loves doing it.)

So I’ve supplied the movers (strong young backs) from a company that I’ve used many times before, and that’s all there is to it.

And no, she’s not going to rearrange our stuff so that I’ll never find it again — she is actually more a creature of habit than I am, so when I’m eventually allowed back in, sometime this afternoon, I should find the place almost ready for human habitation.

My sole responsibility is the packing away of guns into safes, and buying the groceries we’ll be needing to resume our former life, such as it was.  And that’s only scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday).

It could be worse.  Like it was back in mid-February.

Disturbing Juxtapositions

Sometimes I wonder if I’m going crazy or if I just see things that aren’t there.

Here’s one example.  I woke up the other day with a song glued into my brain — you know what I mean, right?  Anyway, the song was Pink Floyd at their most wonderfully obscure, i.e.  See Emily Play.

So of course I went onto Ewwwtchoob and watched the thing.  All the way through, though, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that the video was reminiscent of another piece of surreal moviemaking — and then I remembered the final scene  from Antonioni’s Blow Up.

The two scenes are in no way alike, cinematically speaking — one is in black & white and is essentially a music video, while the other is deathly silence played in color.  But both are mimes, and wonderfully executed.  Was it the mimes, or the similar locations in a park which triggered the association?

Or maybe it was just Syd Barrett and Michelangelo Antonionini who were crazy.

Afterthought:  I think Blow-Up was created (1965-66) before See Emily Play was filmed (1967).

And just to drive everybody else crazy (why should I be the only one), Blow Up featured the Yardbirds in the famous (and disturbing) night club scene.  Which is why I sometimes associate Jimmy Page with Antonionini.

Here’s Why

For all those folks who have given me guff about having the Chinkvirus vaccine, here’s the deal:

I want to travel again, and soon.  If having the fucking jab means I get to travel again without having to “self-isolate” or any of that nonsense upon arrival, here’s my arm.  Ditto New Wife, who feels as I do.
Corollary #1:  New Wife is suffering from Extreme Grandchild Deprivation.  By the time she can travel to see and hold them (all for the first time), it will be in June.  Rule #1:  never get in Nana’s way when it comes to grandkids.
Corollary #2:  Somehow, some way, I want to get Over There so I can shoot birds with my friend Mr. Free Market later this year / before I die (whichever is appropriate).  As Britishland is in the grips of profound Chinkvirus hysteria, a vaccination certificate may alleviate their silliness and give me a fighting chance.

I’m sick and tired of having to wear a stupid, ineffective face condom.  Anything that allows me to tell the Mask Stasi Karens to fuck off is welcome in my body.

Given my lifestyle and health, the odds of me dying from Chinkvirus anyway have always been breathtakingly slim.  The vaccine isn’t for me;  it’s for everybody else.

I don’t give any credence to how the vaccination program is just another government trap to do something or other to me.  I heard all those whines when they decided to put fluoride into the public water supply .  Not one of those fears proved to be worth a damn back then, and this one is going to be the same.

All of which says one simple thing:  I’m not telling everyone to get the Chinkvirus shot;  nor am I telling anyone not to get the poxy [sic]  jab.  I’m letting everyone make their own decision, for their own reasons and their own purposes.

Kindly allow me to do the same.  I’ve taken far greater risks with my life before.

And if it ends up killing me rather than saving me, them’s the breaks.


In everyday terms, it’s called “stupidity”, “absentmindedness” or “careless”.

For all the Readers who emailed me to ask if I was okay, following the weekend’s late / non-existent posts, let me reassure you that I’m fine, just an idiot.

You see, the post that appeared on Sunday was actually supposed to appear on Saturday, only Idiot Kim scheduled the wrong date for it — hence the radio silence on Saturday — and yesterday’s post about… well, never mind, it’s too late now and will appear next Sunday.

And today’s New Roundup wasn’t completed, either — it sat completed, but Idiot Kim Pt. II hadn’t hit the “Update” button.   Please go back and see the completed version, which has a bikini pic.

This time, it’s not Hosting Matters’ fault, but mine all mine, I tell ya.

Personally, I blame the Democrats.

Normal blogging service will resume after a gallon of coffee.

Two Down, Lots To Go

Just thought I’d point out that today is New Wife’s second (!) wedding anniversary with Yours Truly.  All commentary about the burden she has to bear and her saintlike patience will be passed on.  (She doesn’t visit this place more than once or so a week, because she’s not interested in guns or politics.)

I am a lucky man.