There’s a hail stone under the mirror

Juliette Gréco died today. She was an amazing woman with an equally amazing life. Jean-Paul Sartre said: “Gréco has a million poems in her voice. In her mouth, my words become precious stones.” Which is pretty cool. John Lennon and Paul McCartney fancied her like mad. She had many lovers, including Miles Davis. She belonged to a world which, sadly, no longer exists. She has left this one a little more bereft.

But, back in the world of the ordinary…just after lockdown in March, we ordered two pieces of gym equipment. A bike and a treadmill. The bike turned up quite quickly and I’ve been using it a lot rather than going to the gym which was impossible. The treadmill was another matter.

Firstly we had an email saying that the treadmill we’d ordered was out of stock so we’d have to wait a bit. Following the ‘bit’ we were told it was cancelled and our money was paid back. I then ordered, in July, another one which was due to be delivered somewhere between September 2 and 19.

Come September 18 and I’d heard nothing. I had already checked the Amazon policy on third party companies who didn’t deliver and their helpful advice was to wait until the delivery time had elapsed. So, obviously, I was waiting for September 20.

Then, on September 18, I had a message from the company (in China) asking if I was happy with the treadmill. I told them it hadn’t arrived so was unable to express my pleasure or otherwise. This received an almost immediate reply that they would look into it.

It took a couple of hours but the company got back to me and said it would be with us by the following Friday and to let them know.

Now, I have no idea where it was and why but it turned up and I put it together today.

This has now become our Covid Corner Gym. And it was quite handy that it turned up today because the weather was anything but predictable. Blue sky then rain then blue sky then thunder, lightning, hail and rain. It meant Mirinda could go for a walk. Inside.

In fact, the hail was so violent and so sudden that a hail stone managed to shoot in through the bathroom skylight, bounce on the tiles and land at the base of the mirror in the upstairs hallway. This prompted a yell from Mirinda upstairs who had gone to check the windows…which is the title of this post.

As for the walk, she approved, having walked a few miles at a speed of around 3mph, while listening to a podcast.

Emma, on the other hand, was very confused by it. She stood and stared, cocked her head on one side, baffled. She walked back and forth. She was mostly confused because Mirinda was going for a walk without her but while in front of her. Poor puppy brain.

Freya gave it a sniff then went and curled up on a cushion.

Apart from building workout equipment, I was busy tidying the extension ahead of our important guests on Saturday. I was very happy with the finished result and, as usual, wished it would stay that way forever.

Mind you, I love dusting the ornaments on our display shelves and would miss doing it if they somehow remained dust free. Though I do wonder why we didn’t add glass doors over them in the original extension design.

And speaking of design, I am always needlessly entertained by foreign attempts at simple English instructions. Not out of any malice. After all, my Chinese version of how to put together a table would not be very good. Or entertaining.

Step 2 above is a classic.

Today, this happened

Today was once known as Shaka Day in South Africa in honour of a Zulu warrior king. Shaka was responsible for a lot of Zulu tribes coming together and becoming more a nation than warring factions. He died in 1832 and 24 September was a best guess at the day.

People would gather at his grave and pay homage at his great achievement.

Then, in 1996, the new democratic government of South Africa put forward a National Public Holiday Bill but didn’t include Shaka Day. This upset the Zulu strong Inkatha Freedom Party and they voted the Bill down.

Being a democracy, the Bill was amended and presented again, for a vote. This time, the date was included but, rather than being called Shaka Day, it was now South African Heritage Day.

And, being a national holiday, there are lots of celebrations throughout South Africa as the ‘rainbow nation’ declares how great it is having lots of different cultures getting an officially sanctioned day off.

In 2006, it was proposed that Heritage Day should be renamed Barbi Day because everyone had barbecues to celebrate. Okay, being South African, the name was going to be Braai Day but, being Australian, I quite like Barbi Day. The guy proposing it was known as Jan Braai, so I reckon he may have been a bit biased.

In 2007, Desmond Tutu endorsed the National Braai Day idea. He even put on an apron and cooked a sausage over a barbecue. And the debate continues with some commentators suggesting that renaming it after a barbecue waters down the original intention of the day. They say it should be about the South African heritage and history and not so much sizzling steaks and onions.

I don’t know about that, but I kind of like the fact that it was originally called Shaka Day and commemorated a native African who united the previously thought un-unitable Zulu tribes. But maybe that’s just me.

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