well, to give you something of a prelude for a post that could turn out to be pretty long, how do you stand on omens? you know, warning signs, things like that? bear this in mind as you read on for an account of a curious Sunday!
first up, though, a picture i took last week of the boys. it's not often we catch them together with both prepared to look more or less at the camera, but here you go!
smart, in particular as there is not the usual tell-tale hand of Michele or i holding on to William! William's balance is getting a good deal better, James is listening and not pulling and shoving William too much!
right, on to Sunday, then. as Michele had not yet had the chance to meet the newest member of our family, Ruby Lee Valentine, we decided to take a trip up to tropical Middelburg to see everyone. this was particularly brave for those who know me reasonably well - whereas Michele is quite good with them, my sense of direction is poor, and i am prone to panic and worry when heading somewhere that i am not quite sure of.
which is where the omen/signs thing comes in, really. Richard sent us through excellent directions, and Michele was confident that she could navigate. however, we had an odd circumstance where i had to point out the right way! that's a first, and probably last! more on how this could have been an omen later....
we had an absolutely ace time up in Middelburg, thanks to Richard, Erika, Lyla and Ruby Lee! Richard, who has asked me not to mention that he was, or show any pictures of him, drinking shandy, knows that his brother really loves ribs, and thus he was happy to oblige with a vast quantity of ribs to eat!
Richard was concerned because he inadvertently picked up a back of beef ribs with pork ribs. i said fear not, for ribs are ribs, and thus i ate as many as possible!
now, as far as one of the main reasons for a visit, Michele did indeed get to meet Ruby Lee at last! it did occur to me as we got there what if Ruby Lee decided to just sleep the whole afternoon? she does like her sleep (which is something she gets from her Dad, no question), so it was a possibility!
Ruby Lee did wake up for a bit, i am happy to say, and thus Michele and Erika did a bit of a "baby swap" thing for a little while!
needless to say, Michele has been as taken and impressed with Ruby Lee as all who have met her are! glad the two got to meet in the end! oh, for the record, Michele didn't go up with us the last time as she had something called (i think) conjunctivitis, which basically made it seem like she had met Joe Bugner and had somehow conspired to offend him a great deal.
fear not, those of you who might have thought that the baby swap was some sort of formal thing, for William was soon back with Mummy and, with some help from James, rather keen to show off how close he is getting to walking about on his own!
William is getting rather independent, in so much as he wishes to do everything he can for himself - walking, deciding what to eat, feeding himself and so on. you are eleven months old, son! slow down!
on Sunday, it has to be said, he was getting as hot as he was independent. oh dear! just as well that Lyla had her most excellent swimming pool up so that William could dip his toes and try and cool down a bit!
that helped a bit, but it was clearly not just the splendid Middelburg weather making him feel warm. when we (eventually) got home, his temperature really spiked, and he started bringing up. oh dear.
a trip to the doctor today revealed that William is at the threshold of a case of tonsillitis. James suffered with this a great deal between 1 and 3, and with some good fortune seems to be "over it". fingers crossed that he remains that way, and that indeed William is not a regular visitor to this terrible infection. his temperature remains high, but not as high as it was getting on Sunday, if that makes sense. i will be staying at home with him tomorrow to try and keep it down and hopefully help him feel better.
now then, to go back a bit, the trip home was certainly something else. it was all going ever so well until we got some 10 or 20 kms away from home. then my car, bless it, just decided to stop. in the middle lane of one of the most insane stretches of highway in the world, where everyone drives like a total lunatic. the N1 from Centurion, just after the Old Jhb turnoff for those in this area - you know, the one with nothing but blind curves and spots caused by the hill, where everyone seems to break the speed limit in the hope of avoiding something.
as it turns out, there is something called a "cam belt", which i am led to believe has an alternative name in the form of a "timing belt", in the car's engine, and mine had decided it was tired of life. it looks quite simple :
but by all accounts is rather expensive and time consuming to replace. oh dear.
now, my apologies if this next bit rambles on. perhaps it's intended to be cathartic or theraputic, i don't know. we were really stuck. no one had any interest in stopping and helping, let alone just stopping so that i could push the car to the safety of the emergency lane - or rather the lane that has been closed off for "road works". it was terrifying watching cars fly at us and past us, since all four of us were in the car and it was getting darker and darker.
indeed, one total lunatic was really flying. travelling at high speeds, we got to watch one of the worst idiots on the road ever head at full speed towards a lot of stopped cards a kilometer or so in front of us, slam breaks, swerve around a few times, go up and embankment and eventually land on its roof. a very large number of the predators of the road, tow trucks, turned up to see if they could cash in there. no matter how much i signalled that we needed assistance, they were not interested in turning around or crossing over to help us - i guess just a "normal" breakdown doesn't mean you get to rip off dazed accident victims and insurance companies, does it?
i was thrilled when eventually a pick up truck from the road works stopped behind us, figuring they would give us a hand. alas, not. they for some reason decided to shout at me for stopping in the middle of the highway (!) and couldn't understand, when i explained to them that we had more broken down than stopped, we hadn't pushed the car to the side. when i showed them the large number of cars flying past either side of us, they eventually - with some reluctance - agreed to stop the traffic so we could push it to one side. they then promptly f****d off without a word or offering to do anything to help.
it's also worth noting that, despite their promises of an "increased presence" on the highways, there was not one visible police car anywhere near this stretch of highway, a stretch notorious for accidents. nope, they didn't come past and see us, and nor did any turn up for the horror accident we saw. the fire bridage, for some reason, were left to be responsible for the reports and checking of the accident. they probably had some urgent, top level burgers to inspect at the service station over the hill from where we were, or otherwise were no doubt making sure speed limits were enforced to the full on some empty stretch of road. oh hang on! of course, the police were probably off closing down "twitter", google and the internet in general on the instructions of one of the most curious politicians the world has ever seen....
thankfully, Mum & Dad came to our rescue - Mum took the boys and Michele home, Dad managed to succeed where i failed and persuaded one of the tow truck drivers to come and pull the car away to a garage. nice one Mum & Dad, we would have been really stuck without your help!
well, there you have it! an experience, certainly! whereas i would be delighted to visit Middelburg again in the near future, James needless to say is quite concerned about going on any long trips ever again!
with some luck i will get to report that William is much better in the next day or so. fingers crossed that i can, at the least. as for the car, well, once again, veyr big thanks to Mum and Dad for helping!
thanks for reading! hope your Sunday reflected the more enjoyable parts of mine!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!