Editor of the Durban Grapevine home improvements magazine

April 2014 Back Chat

I have been put under a lot of pressure from members of our staff to reintroduce my Back Chat, and as we had the space available this month, I succumbed. I think my writing "skills" are a bit rusty so you will have to excuse that. My last Back Chat, a very short one, was in September 2012 so I should have lots to tell you, but whether I can dredge up anything of interest is another matter!!

The biggest event for me has been the loss of my beloved dog Meg and, ironically, my last Back Chat was also about her. She was then recovering from a ligament operation but this time, about the middle of last year, one Sunday morning, I noticed she was not herself. To cut a long, sad story short, she was diagnosed with either lymphoma or leukemia and was put on heavy doses of Cortisone treatment. (I would not consider chemotherapy - I think it would be unkind and selfish.) She rallied for a while but in January, I knew that she had been through enough and I did the kindest thing for her. It is always such a heartbreaking decision to make but I knew she was suffering, so that made it easier. (I wish we could make those types of decisions for all the people we love that wish to be released from their torment - contentious, I know but that is what I believe.)

I still miss her immensly, but over the years I have become quite philosophical about the loss of my animals. It is a fact of life that they have shorter lives than us and I know that my animals had the best life possible, with lots of love, comfort and care. In return, they rewarded me with unconditional love, loyalty, companionship and protection - we both got the best deal. My Meg is buried in my back garden, so I still "communicate" with her. (If anyone ever digs up my back yard, I think they will be quite concerned that a serial killer inhabited the house before them because there are thirteen darling companions, feline and canine, buried there - each one so special in their own right.)

The other big happening in my life is that I had my second knee replacement (no, not the same leg!) That was in January and I am making a good recovery. I had to have it done then because I am going on holiday at the end of April. One of my oldest (not in age but in time) and dearest friends (I had to say that or she might have retracted the offer) turns fifty this year and instead of throwing a big party, she has decided to take five of her closest friends to the Mediterranean island of Malta for a week!!! "What a friend to have!" I can hear you all saying, and I agree!! This is going to be such a blast and I am, as one of the other lucky girls said, "counting the sleeps!!" My only worry is that I still have so much to organise, including my Shengen visa for which I have to travel to Pretoria. This is one time in my life that I am going to have to be totally organised and disciplined with my time, so please wish me luck.

When the other girls fly back to South Africa, I am going on to the UK and will be spending time with my sister Alex, my daughter Sandra and her family and my niece Gabi. Much excitement and planning going on that side - a trip to Cornwall, a show on the West End etc etc and I am so looking forward to it, my only reservation being the weather. Listen to this... The other day Alex was thrilled because she had brought out her shorts from storage and was getting some beneficial rays on her "lily white legs" (her words not mine) because it was sunny and the temperature was 80s. OMG!!!! I would be muffled up in fleecy clothing and huddling indoors!! So it is going to be quite a challenge packing for sunny Malta AND England in Spring. I have more or less decided that Malta takes priority and if needs be, I can buy warm stuff in England.

Well that is all for now but at least once I am back from my jaunts, I will have plenty to write about in another Back Chat later in the year, space permitting.

Wish me Bon voyage.

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