Shopping

Shopping List

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I won’t be around tomorrow. I doubt that any sensible words will be written by me until Wednesday at least, as will probably be illustrated if you read on. Really. I do mean that. There are important things on my mind. It’s epic monthly shop day again tomorrow, and today is pretty much gone with preparations for this vital venture. Essential mental preparation also has to be undertaken for the possible things that I could be doing wrong, but I think that this time no fault can be found to warrant handing over all my cash in fines. My nemesis. The fire extinguisher that came with the car was the wrong colour and replaced, but I can’t remember which colour that was, so both red and blue are nicely tucked in now, just in case. Said car is gleaming to within an inch of its life, and the long sand road to the tar will be inched over, to avoid a $20 fine for driving a dirty vehicle. The weather forecast has been checked. The newly, and gleefully acquired list of spot fine values has been deeply studied and tucked into the console.

I’m not paying a penny more than I have to this time. I see now also that I will have to refrain from spitting in or out of the vehicle, and thereby avoid a fine of $5. It’s never occurred to me before to spit anywhere, least of all in or out of a car window, but gross as it is, now that I know I’m not allowed to… Well… I imagine that at some point somebody must have actually spat inside their car and been seen by an appalled officer somewhere, or there wouldn’t really be any point to making it a fineable offence. Not wearing your seat belt is also $5, so, right up there with the gobbing as far as danger is concerned. Probably if you aimed it at the driver’s eyeball, and hit your target, it could very well be very dangerous. If I was that driver you would indeed be in quite a substantial amount of danger at that point. And Lord knows what could happen if you aimed such a ghastly missile into moving traffic, or at an innocent pedestrian ambling along, unknowing of the bitter fate that awaits him, to the corner store to buy a bag of chips.

I wish I could stop thinking about this now, but like one of those horrible songs you hear in elevators, and then can’t stop humming all day, the possibilities as a result of such a truly diabolical, terrible deed just keep coming. I might write a book. A tale so wondrous and literary, while at the same time down to Earth enough to impassion lovers of Archie comics, and tastefully flecked with romance, that I will instantly be shot to superstardom, riches, and adulation the world over. Well. I did say. So….

Till next time friends. xxx

Truck

The Bad Old Days

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A few months ago we had a glut of radishes from the garden. Not being fond of waste, I peeled a pile and pickled them. This morning, after realising that I had run out of gherkin slices for my cheese pancake, I added several of these instead. I tell you this only to let you know that the pickling of radishes should never be contemplated, and if you are ever confronted with such a thing, don’t eat it. The problem is that they really are very nice. The larger problem is that they appear to be dangerous. I don’t think I’ve ever had a worse bellyache. These radishes have got me thinking though.
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When Zimbabwe’s economy totally melted down a couple of years ago, the country got to the point where nothing was available to buy. People starved. We were a lot more fortunate than most. I’ve spoken about how horrible this was before, but this morning’s pickle peccadillo had me remembering how inventive we all got. Zimbabweans are an especially canny nation. They’re known not only for their friendliness, but also for their ability to generally make a plan. When we first realised that it was actually happening – we were living in the middle of an absolute economic collapse, we all dithered a little, and for quite a while went without most things that we generally now take for granted. Towards the end of the hard years, a group of us used to shop online from a South African supermarket, and everything would be trucked up once a month. Before that we had “runners”. These beloved intrepids would hop on board some fairly hazardous buses and taxis, zoom over the border to neighbouring South Africa, sleep on benches in parks, buy your groceries, pop them on top of more terrifying buses and taxis and deliver them right to your door. I remember my runner very fondly. We’re still firm friends, and she now has a thriving business from her personal shopping days. This didn’t work so well with things that had to be kept cold though. After several months without essentials such as cheese and bacon, experimentation begun in earnest. Life without cheese is no life at all.
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Living in a farming community, milk and meat were a lot easier for us to get hold of than for those poor souls living in the bleak cities. Panir or soft cheese, made by stirring lemon juice into simmering milk and then straining, was learned first. Inserting a tablespoon of pepper and a triangle of processed cheese (if you could lay your hands on one) into the middle of it, then leaving it in the fridge to mature for a week produced a rather lovely result. Thinly sliced belly pork sprinkled with salt, brown sugar, allspice and cloves left to soak for a few days produces something that quite a few people still make, even though you can buy pretty much anything you like here now. My favourite fish shop has cheese and seafood flown in from all over the world every week, so I don’t often think about those crazy food experiments. A couple of people became totally self-sufficient, making everything themselves apart from loo rolls, and still pretty much are that way. We are so used to living with solar power and generators that we probably wouldn’t suffer too much if the zombie apocalypse really did happen. The zombies wouldn’t get to eat anyone here either before some clever Zimbo discovered the joy of undead pie, or something to that effect. I learnt a lot from those days though. I never waste anything if I can help it. Apart maybe from radishes from now on. I’ve learnt that people are much more resilient than they think they are. And also that amazing friends can be found in very unexpected places.
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Tomorrow Zimbabweans vote for their new constitution, and I really hope that all goes well from there. It would be a fine thing indeed if this country could forget all about the terrible hardships they’ve endured, and move forward to happiness and health. They deserve it. One thing that stands out for me is that no matter how bad things got, I never came across many people here who lost their smiles. Thinking of those hungry days also got me thinking of how people banded together then. We helped each other in all sorts of ways, we got to know each other in ways that we never would have in times of plenty, and I for one, fell further in love with the people of this great continent. Here’s hoping for peace and prosperity for Zimbabwe from now on.

Till next time friends. xxx

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