Monday, 11 June 2018

Nelly

My husband just came back from his boy’s weekend. His best friend is very much at home in the world of exclusive dining and rather knowledgeable in the realms of high end alcohol. He has also taken it upon himself to educate me, so he lets my husband bring things we could never afford. Usually exquisite wine, cognac or Champagne. This time it was two bottles of rare rum....

Now my knowledge of rum only goes as far as adding it to tea in winter, or that it was a staple to a pirate’s diet. Immediately I felt transported back in time, on board a pirate ship called “Golden Nelly”. The captain (obviously. my mate) named the ship after me (think Johnny Depp with less make-up and a parrot on his shoulder, called Admiral Green). He rescued me from the clutches of the awful Captain Red Beard, who abducted me in the middle of a stormy night from my father’s Chalet, and made me scrub the boards of his ship, the “Rotten Anchor”. Naturally there was a duel, Johnny won and we fell in love at first sight.

So now I am elegantly draped on board the “Golden Nelly” over barrels of rum, made comfortable by masses of  (stolen) velvet cushions, and the pirates are entertaining me and the captain with rough pirate songs, and drinking large amounts of rum from tin pitchers. They are actually a nice bunch, when they are not killing each other, or climbing on other ships to steal, and, because I am the captain’s wench, they treat me with respect and their own kind of charm. Only Admiral Green gives me a hard time: whenever I pass by him, he croakes “give us a kiss Nelly love”. Rather irritating. I wonder where he picked that up....

But I digress.... the rum I received is certainly. not meant for tin pitchers. I suppose one serves it in tumblers made out of Waterford Crystal, which sparkles in candle light. Maybe with a single perfect ice cube, after a luxurious dinner.... Or does one serve it as an Apertitive?

The world is full of things to discover, and I am grateful for friends who help open doors to new exeperiences. I will now see whether rum and I will become friends.... And, meanwhile back on board the “Golden Nelly”, the name giver of this friendly pirate ship is wondering whether her  captain and Admiral Green would consent to her having a cat on board...­čśë

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Romance

A few days ago I was searching for some photos, and stumbled across old memories in the process. They ranged from photos of past romances to a pressed (meanwhile antique) red rose. That got me wondering.... With all the digitalization nowadays, what will the young people of today have in 20 years or so? There is nothing like the feel of an old, faded photo with a name and maybe a personal handwritten message on the back to bring back the memory of a long forgotten romance, or the musty scent of a dried flower to re live a special moment.

I also found old cards from my last year at school. Handwritten promises of undying friendship. People long forgotten and some unfortunately no longer with us.... Some sad memories, but all very moving and special. I wonder what became of some of those people, who were part of my every day life back then. And every little message brings things back to me.

What will happen to all of this, in the time of social networks, iPhone cameras which can store a multitude of photos, but where deleting is terribly simple.... How long do the cyber memories last, and who still has the photos from years and years ago?

I am very grateful for all the mementos of the past. Things I can actually hold in my hands, feel and smell. There are not many, but that makes it even more special, and brings a feeling of romance and personalization, which I find sadly missing in this day and age. Maybe one day actual letter writing will become popular again. Who knows...☺️

Meanwhile the cat doesn’t really care. She has discovered the pleasure in refusing her usual food, and insisting on raw meat and fish. Maybe that is her kind of romance, just as real to her as handwritten notes are to me­čśë

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Svetlana

I wonder if other people, for instance my readers of this blog (should there be any) sometimes wish that they could have another person inside them, who is like one secretly would like to be like. Something like a second soul one could turn to for advice. This idea has been with me for quite a while, and now I feel confident enough to share my "other" half with you.... Her name is Svetlana Rohdowskaia, with the accent on the "do" please. Svetlana is a tough east European lady, at home in smart fitted pants suits or slim, knee length, figure hugging dresses. She is completely at home in 12 cm Louboutins.... her feet never hurt. Her hair is a bit darker than mine and immaculately styled. She prefers to wear her hair up. Naturally her make-up is always flawless. She is my height and has a seductively curvy figure which causes heads to turn wherever she appears.

Of course Svetlana plays the violin like a goddess. Everyone is in awe of her and she is not afraid of anything. She has very expressive eyes, and one pointed look of hers can have an entire army of men literally shake in their shoes. No one dares to cross Svetlana. But to her friends she is loyal and helpful and always ready to come when there is a crisis. Naturally she also has a cat.... A beautiful black cat with green eyes. 

Even though she is the essence of femininity, there is nothing girly about Svetlana. She simply is there and commands admiration and of course some jealousy from those around her.

I wonder what you would say if you actually met her...if she were actually real... Those of you who know me might be surprised. After all, I seem to have a lifelong contract with the "being cute" department. I do own those Louboutins, but boy, do they make my feet hurt.... I play the violin okay- ish, but goddess is entirely another category.... Yes, I have a cat and I love her, but she is just a cat... Not at all magical. Yes, I am curvy, but possibly too much so in certain areas.... As to being noticed and generating respect..... Well... It is rather easy to step all over me and I'm far too much of a softie.... Look at me with sad eyes and I'll do anything to make you feel better;-) Radiating confidence looks different.

But still....somewhere inside me, there lives Svetlana. Maybe I should pay more attention to her. Maybe I should consider how Svetlana might react in some situations. Maybe I should learn from her. And maybe I might grow up into a splendid Svetlana one day. She is there....just waiting to be let loose.

Get ready world for a change. Sonja might just leave and you now belong to the marvelous Svetlana RohDOwskaia.....one day....when I grow up... But Svetlana will keep Thomas and the cat ;-)

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Black Ilsland

Our holiday this year was in Lanzarote, which I call "the black island", because it is mainly black due to a six year volcano eruption a few centuries ago. Large parts of the island are covered in black lava rocks and the gardens are still made in black gravel. Grass is quite rare, no lawns, no trees other than palm trees, the odd Bougainville, no herbs, hardly any flowers, some Aloe, a couple of cactuses and no cows, sheep or goats.... We did see some cocks and hens in a farm museum, but we did not even come across a donkey. It doesn't really rain there, except of course when Mr and Mrs L. go there once in their lives. Then it rains. In August. The locals were stunned. It is always windy, and although the island is fairly small, there seems to be a different weather in every town. I got really cold on one or two occasions.

They do grow wine on Lanzarote, and in the oddest way: the vineyards consist of large stretches of black rubble with semi circle lava stone walls, which looks rather eerie, especially when the sky is overcast. First one sees nothing, but on closer inspection one can notice that little wells are dug into the gravel, inside which wine plants creep around the floor. Apparently the gravel soaks up the morning dew and supplies the plants with necessary moisture. The grapes have to be hand picked, because no vehicle can drive there. Actually the wine tastes quite good.

Lanzarote had a hard time during its history.... Either the volcanos did their thing, or pirates came and ransacked the island, killing as they pleased, and selling the captives they took as slaves. It must have been a horrid time for the inhabitants. The side effect of all this pain is now a huge tourist attraction: one can find most splendid lava caves, where the people went to hide and seek protection. We even saw a magical underground concert hall where regular chamber music concerts are performed. Apparently the acoustic is awesome. A local artist, Cesar Manrique, who did lots for the island, built himself a spectacular home in the caves.

But, amongst all the barrenness of Lanzarote, one can find things of great beauty. For one, the lovely sandy beaches, in colors varying from black over orange, yellow, golden to white. And in some parts where the coastline is a bit ragged, the power of the Atlantic Ocean is quite overwhelming. There is a tiny lagoon behind an orange sandstone riff, which has a bright emerald green color, thanks to an abundance of algae and then a black sand beach, followed by the stormy grey color of the sea. Now that was an unreal sight.

My personal highlight was the house of the late Omar Sharif, which he lost to a friend during a poker game. It is built into a series of caves, decorated by Manrique, with a lovely pool and cleverly placed plants. The place radiated perfect harmony and it was so beautifully calm, I could have stayed there forever. Naturally we found the only friendly cat of the island there. She was the shop cat (a shop specialising in Aloe Vera products). Her name was Michi and she played with me for a long time.

Actually animals always seem to bring about good feelings. Thomas' climax was our ride on a camel through a part of the desert also due to the volcano. He is still raving about the camel's feet... They look so soft and velvety....at least from the back, and camels do have lovely eyes. The camel behind us took a liking to us and alternatively nuzzled either Thomas' back or my arm. But as sweet as their feet might look, they are not exactly graceful animals, and after a bit I started feeling slightly queasy from all the shaking ;-)

On our hotel balcony we were visited by a pair of lovely doves every evening at 7pm. They pecked bread and oats from my hand, and I was even able to stroke them...

Sadly my cat did not appreciate the fact that we went away for a week, even though my parents came and lived with her in the house. She was ailing for a week after we got back, but now she is more like herself again, and she has LOTS to say all through the day and in the wee small hours of the morning ;-) 

It certainly was an interesting week on the black island, but nothing is better than our little house, my purring, and still slightly disapproving cat, and especially my own bed... But if someone would offer me Mr Sharif's house....not sure that I could resist :-)

Sunday, 12 July 2015

An interesting night

;-)Last night I came back from work just before midnight. Our concert started late, it was an Italian Gala where the audience gets served a three course dinner during an hour long interval. We were restricted to the servant's quarters during this time, apparently we should rather not mingle with the public, especially when food is concerned... But we did not go hungry: we all pitched in and had our own buffet (and probably lots more fun than the audience).

When I arrived hom, I aired my unimportant thoughts on Facebook, had a brandy and checked my news and read a little. It was after 1.00 am by the time the cat and I decided to retire to bed. When I hit the switch for the bathroom light, I heard a noise and part of the house was shrouded in darkness. Normally this would be the time for me to utter a cry of "Thomas!!!!!", but he is spending some boy time with his friends in the Black Forest, in what must be the only place in Germany without handy reception. So I could not even text him in a vague hope that he might still be awake (actually he was). So the cat and I had to solve this problem by ourselves.

In the basement we have a large grey contraption on the wall with a multitude of switches inside. Once I managed to open it, I looked at the switches and they looked at me. We continued this game for a bit, until the cat, who came along for moral support, demanded that I make some kind of decision. Eventually I found one switch which was positioned differently from the others. I heroically turned it up and then the cat and I ventured back upstairs and I gingerly tried the bathroom lights again. One of them worked, but the big lightbulb had died. So now I had to find the light bulbs in the basement. In our household these things are "man tasks", but what are a girl and a cat to do if no man is present? Well, I found the lightbulb and now I had to bring a chair into the bathroom and exchange the bulbs, and was reminded once again that dusting is not one of my superior qualities....

By the time I removed my face and stored it in a safe place, it was getting close to 2.00 am. The cat was already sleeping on her chair, and I just snuggled into my empty bed when I heard rather loud music. Apparently someone in the neighborhood, whose musical taste is not at all in accordance with mine, felt the urge to share the fact that he or she were still awake and loved this particular CD, with the entire suburb. The sharing went on until about 3.00 am. At 5.00 am the cat came to check up on me and tell me her dreams....

On getting up this morning, the cat just opened one eye and sent me down to fix breakfast. She joined me when everything was ready, but when one looks closely, one can see dark rings under her eyes. Now we are both eagerly awaiting the return of Thomas, who warned me that he is rather sleep deprived. However I will insist that he makes my new iPhone get into our wifi, and I will probably talk his ears off... After all communication at home these past days was restricted to several versions of "meow" and "brrrrrr" and other kitty sounds...;-)

Monday, 18 May 2015

A little something

On Saturday evening I cooked my favourite dinner, Jamabalaya, a gorgeous tumble of chicken, chorizo, prawns, veggies, rice and Cajun spice. The recipe calls for 6 prawns and I diligently divide them between Thomas and myself. Somehow I got distracted when filling the plates, but I checked to see that we both got our three prawns, and it seemed right. After I savoured my three, I noticed that there was still one left on my plate, and I asked Thomas, who also still had one, how many he had eaten, to which he answered that he had two. Naturally I offered to share the extra prawn, but Thomas said I could have it. I was a bit puzzled, but came to the conclusion that the nice man at the counter must have given me an extra prawn, and silently decided that he was my new best friend.

When I wanted to clear the dishes, I noticed that there were only two tail ends on Thomas' plate compared to my four. So I scolded Thomas for not telling me the truth and felt pretty bad about my prawn related greed. Thomas just looked at me when I asked him why he did not claim his prawn and said that he left it for me happily because he loves me and knows that I have a weakness for prawns...now I ask you: who needs diamonds if you have a Thomas :-) Although of course I would be the last person to refuse a nice solitaire on a gold chain to wear around my neck ;-)

The cat loves it when I make Jambalaya. She gets a few morsels of organic raw chicken filet, which , I suppose, is the equivalent of a diamond pendant for her :-) 

On that note I shall now resume my cleaning duties.... A Thomas like mine deserves to come back to a sparkling fresh home after a hard day's teaching.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Bel Canto Cat


Those of you (if any) who follow this blog will know that I am owned by a cat who is quite communicative. She has an opinion on nearly everything and is not at all shy to express it. We have "little" conversations like just now: the cat was outside and wanted to come in. When I opened the door she inmediately told me that she was out in the wilds (garden), that no enemies were in sight and that the silly mice refused to come and play and that I must come and pet her inmediately, which of course I did. Or we have the "Sonja comes back home from work" conversation: THERE you are! I was alone ALL evening (never mind that Thomas was practicing in his room in the basement). No one cuddled me (she tends to hiss at Thomas when he tries) and I am absolutely STARVED (Thomas only let her snack twice or so). And then she continues meowing and stepping on my feet until I have cuddled her and saved her from imminent starvation. And then there is the pitiful "little kitten" meow, when we go off somewhere, accompanied by an attack of weakness, causing the "poor" cat to collapse in front of the front door.( the capitals indicated her perfected use of crescendo)

And then there are her arias....mostly brought to kitty perfection somewhere between 5 and 6 am. We have quite a repertoire of arias. For instance the "Look, I brought you a present" aria. It is an accompanied version, uttered by cat with mouse in mouth, mouse squeaking sadly, and me calling "Thomas....MOUSE" and the hasty footsteps of Thomas, trying to rescue the poor mouse. This is more of an afternoon aria. We also have the "get out of my garden now" number, which is usually sung by the cat behind the living room window (safely inside), in a very convincing fortissimo, sometimes accompanied by hissing, spitting and jumping against window and directed against another kitty intruder. Once we chased the bad guy away, the aria still continues, cat now under the chair, and the tone changes to a low dangerous yowl. It is wise not to touch the cat during this aria. Once that is over, we have the dramatic soprano cat aria, in which she tells how she bravely fought the enemy just to protect us. This aria can occur at any time of day or night. Then the cat also feels inspired to sing when I practice during the afternoon...in the mornings she stays quiet... These arias are naturally also of the accompanied sort, with me and the violin, and the cat sometimes throwing herself at my music room door. When I open the door, she drops on the floor half on top of me and starts purring furiously. Once I did not give in, and our Duo continued for a whole hour. This aria is also sometimes sung by the cat when I teach, but the tone is a lot more desperate.

Lately there have not been any early morning serenades by the cat. I somehow hoped that she had grown out of them. But this morning we were treated to a whole new version. Usually the cat is more of a soprano, but in this new version she has definately transformed into a solid mezzo. The sounds she uttered were rather dark, lots of "o's" involved. She started on the stairs from the living room, then she took a short break, probably in my music room, and then sat on the stairs up to the bedroom. The aria was rather long, it had a different variation on every stair... There are 15 between the levels....First I thought she might stop, then we got slightly annoyed and tried to get her to keep quiet and then Thomas, who is even less of a morning person than me, began to laugh. It was 6.30 am and the alarm clock was due to go off in an hour... Finally the cat arrived in the bedroom and we thought that we could still sleep for a bit, but the cat had other plans. She sat down next to my side of the bed and sang yet another song, a less dramatic one and a lot shorter, and then she finally hopped into my arm in bed for her morning cuddle. Now of course, she is quite exhausted after all the singing and is sleeping on one of her many chairs.

I really do not claim to know much about rebirth and former existences, but somehow I have a feeling that the cat either must have been a famous singer in another existence, or that she will be one in a future life. And Thomas and I were able to be part of her practicing sessions. We feel honored ;-)