Category Archives: people

A picture of grief


As many know, I work in a charity shop. It goes without saying, that we get many very interesting donations coming in needing to be checked for quality and pricing. Just before Christmas, a bag of books came in. As I was checking the books for resale value, this note fell out. It had me choking back the tears. Such heartbreak! To me, it came as a grim reminder that not all who are alone have comfort, that loneliness is very real. Not all are as lucky as I am to have people who care enough to call. It’s a call to reach out to those who are alone and hurting.

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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in people


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Call me Monty

I do love my job. No one day is the same as any other. I love the fabrics I work with and the people… oh, the people!


Because I work for a company that has a concession inside another company, I wear a badge that differentiates me from the host’s staff. What surprised me is how many people assume that my name is Montgomery. I’ve taken to introducing some humour over it to save people getting embarrassed. "Call me Monty for short," I suggest with a laugh before explaining that my name is Corrianne, "like the spice, coriander." One customer admitted that they did think Montgomery was a very unusual name for a lady.

Recently, my humor backfired – that wouldn’t be a first either, but this occasion was rather….special.

A lady came in and wanted me to do a home consultation. After going through the whole name-humor business, I took her details and arranged the time and date. It was all very congenial indeed. We chatted about her love for early mornings, which she shared with my husband who will tell you that I do definitely not share that love. All was well. We made our little play-date and away she went.

I had the next two days off. Ah, that was lovely! I returned to work to find the world somewhat on its head, as often happens while I’m gone. My ‘early mornings’ friend had apparently called and wanted to speak to Montgomery. "Oh! You’d like to speak to Corrianne? I’m afraid she isn’t here right now."

"What are you afraid of?" asked the customer.

"Why nothing. It’s just an expression."

The customer declared that this was all highly suspicious and that she no longer wanted me in her home if I was going under an assumed identity (Montgomery) if my real name was something else. She’d never be able to trust me in her home!

Now I’ve had my fair share of identity issues in the past, all of them blogged to the hilt, but I think this one rather takes the cake.

For the record, I now wear a name badge below my "Call me Monty" badge ;)


Posted by on May 25, 2014 in life, people, work


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Posies and ringlets

I love my job! I get to meet the most fascinating people all day every day. Yesterday, it was a little old lady with a halo of perfectly (and I mean perfectly) coiffed ringlets. She must have spent hours on her hair. Picture young Shirley Temple as an eighty-plus lady…. same hair.


Sharp as a button, she was, in her woven green coat. She looked like she had stepped straight out of a 50’s magazine. But this pint-sized dame showed me a thing or two! She’d been sewing all her life and wanted to know if she could buy the fabric instead of having the curtains made up for her. She knew what she wanted and brought samples of her sofa cover in to match the fabric.

Needless to say, she spouted feet and inches to me. My metric ‘everything-in-multiples-of-10’ brain objected in a scramble of numbers that spun dizzily. Not a problem to the genius I was talking to. She was never taught metric, but converted the measurements for me without skipping a beat! That was when she told me she’d retired 15 years ago from My Job! Yes… the very job I was doing! Back when Montgomery had concessions in the Co-op. I’d like to bet she could still do it and sweep me under the rug too. She turned down the offer to replace me, though, as she had a ‘little boy’, aged 90, back home she needed to care for.

I can only hope that I have a fraction of this lady’s spunk and wits when I’m her age. Grow old gracefully? That’s for dull folk!


Posted by on April 20, 2014 in people


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It takes all kinds

Meet Maeve…


She leaned up against me today, cat style. I had to grab for support. She almost toppled me! She was being affectionate. She loves a tickle behind the ears. She knows me.

I had finished my working day and was going back to harvest a leek or two to go with dinner. Close to the pigs, one of the moms stopped to chat. I was pointing out the pigs and was about to suggest she goes around the side to see them better when I saw an odd-coloured pig. I looked more carefully. There were children in the pig pen!

I raced up the side yelling to the mom to get her kids out of the pig pen. Two moms, actually. They’d let their little ones, no older than 5, I’d say, climb over the wood and diamond-mesh fence into the pens. About a foot or so away from the fence is the electric fence – two lengths of electrified white ‘ribbon’. So, apart from the fact that the kids could have been belted by the fence, there was the pigs themselves…

Maeve is friendly, but stroppy. Sophie is more laid back, but she has her 8 piglets in there and isn’t very tolerant of strangers. One day I went into the pen dressed differently (I didn’t have work clothes on) and she charged. Luckily, she realised who it was as she came closer. We’re talking serious pig tonnage here! Ever see a bull charge? Same thing, except on a set of very short, very powerful legs. The piglets are no longer tiny. They tend to run, en masse, to see what new food is heading their way.

What on earth was going through the minds of the two moms that they’d let their little girls in polka-dot skirts and tights climb the fence into the pig pen??? The mind boggles! We’re talking here about two hefty adult pigs plus 8 hefty porkers, a vast amount of mud and an electric fence. After yelling to get the kids out, I pointed out that the fence was there for a reason… to keep pigs and kids separate!

Still… what the heck? Really? I wonder if it’s the same mentality that gets kids injured at zoos and the poor animals get blamed.

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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in animals, people


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We’re in daylight savings now, so I get to see the sun rise at a stop. Usually I’m in transit. Still fairly dark when I leave home though. It was only after I saved the photo to my pc that I noticed the rainbow… faint, but it’s there. I have no idea if it was really there or if it was caused somehow by my camera. I like it though.

So much to be grateful for today. Tat had a much better paper-chase experience today – more thanks go out to strangers reaching out. On that note, if you ever want to show random kindness towards a stranger, just know that it is never wasted. It can make all the difference!

My bus disappeared into the early morning semi-dark, so I settled into a stroll thinking I had at least 20 minutes to wait for the next one. Just then, the next bus came. Either the previous one was very late or this one was very early. I flagged the bus from a good distance away. The driver saw me, pulled up at the opposite corner and waited!! What and angel. And… the bus had scads of seating!

Cute… just passed a bridal dressmaking shop – a tortoiseshell and white cat is in the window watching the passing traffic.

There was a girl reading a book (translated) on the metro – Christiane F. – a book about a 14 year old girl who was caught up in a life of drugs and prostitution (true story). It came as recommended reading and viewing – there’s a movie too – when I was a teen. I can’t think of a more depressing book to start a day with.

The Christiane book girl has nodded off and is falling over onto the woman next to her. On the other side sits a girl trying very hard to look like she isn’t crying. I hope her day gets better.

~                          ~                           ~

At the bank building, outside, there is a beautiful old tree with branches that go on forever. Under it was a group of youngsters, their backpacks up against the wall. They were having a really good time. A cloud of smoke hovered over them as they puffed away on the bong. One played guitar off to the side. A few were passing around bottles of booze. The security looked uncomfortable, but did nothing about it. My student and I discussed conspiracy theories and voting (not too much difference between the two).

Afterwards, I went to the shopping centre near my next student. It’s already done up for Christmas!! And the Christmas shops are open! I wandered around there for about half an hour only to be called… my student cancelled… again. She thought changing her times back to her old times would help with cancellations. Uh huh. It helped, all right. So I mooched off home. My evening student has changed his time for Saturday morning. There go the weekends.

C’est la vie… and another week ends…


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Posted by on October 29, 2010 in life, people, transport


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Accidental flying

I take three buses to my first student. Every now and again, the bus drivers run an intensive testing period to see if the passengers are awake.

In short… I hurt… all over.

I was tucked into the window seat just in front of the conductor. The driver had filled up with kangaroo juice and was testing his brakes and steering system to the limit. In peak hour traffic, that takes some doing.

I reached into my bag to get my bus card out just as the driver grew wings to take the last S-bend before my stop.

Now I’m not gravity-challenged and I’m definitely no feather-weight. It takes a lot to part me with gravity. When I sit, I’m firmly planted. Not this time. As he took the corner, I sailed across, out of my seat, across the neighbouring seat, and into the aisle, landing in a heap on the opposite side of the the bus against the other seats. Gravity remembered me… with a vengeance! As I said, I hurt *hobbles off into the sunset… make that ‘sunrise’*

This picture makes me very, very grateful that I wear pants to work!

Great way to start the day!

I tend to stop and talk to the animals along my way and passing dog walkers are easy game. One dog came up to sniff and I patted him and chatted to him. His owner launched into an account of how she’s going to complain about the bank she was just at because they wouldn’t let her dog (slightly bigger than a fox terrier) in even though he’s her ‘bengala’. Now ‘bengala’ is a walking stick. How on earth can a dog on a soft leather leash be a walking stick for someone, who, incidentally, was walking just fine. I suggested, hesitantly, that perhaps if she carried a document saying he is exempt from the usual rules banning animals in banks, she may avoid problems in future. Apparently she has a document and they refused to acknowledge it. Now I’m an ardent defender of the sick, the lame and the helpless, but I couldn’t help thinking this time that I wasn’t very surprised that they raised an eyebrow at her claim.

Eh…. what a week it’s been. I’m glad tomorrow is Friday. I’ll go in, teach, then pay the rent and get my butt home to unwind.


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Posted by on August 20, 2010 in life, people, transport


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Photos in my mind


*A note to those who’re new to my blog…
My blogs are written on paper while I’m out teaching,
in the ‘dead’ time between students or on the bus…
just in case you find it doesn’t make much sense*

Oh look! Today’s Friday the 13th! So far, it’s promising to be peachy in spite of my horrorscope promising doom ‘n gloom. I think I’ll actually take a lottery ticket today. In fairness, the lottery place should be empty barring a few other souls as odd as me.

It’s Friday! : )

An old black man got on the bus – his most notable features were his work-worn hands. I looked up at his creased brown skin and my thoughts went back to old Joe. Joe was part of the landscape of my childhood, a short man, his face a map of ebony wrinkles. I’m not sure what his actual job was, but I remember him mostly on his knees alongside my gran as they lovingly tended pansies, dahlias and roses.

He was a quiet man. The only time I remember him actually saying something was when, during some controversial political upheaval in the country ~ “Ek’s ‘n kaffir. Ek sal altyd ‘n kaffir wees.” (Translates to “I’m a kaffir and will always be a kaffir”) He wasn’t being humble or downtrodden when he said that. He said it with an odd pride. I actually think that he had found the equality everyone else was crying for kneeling in the dirt next to a white woman, tending the flower beds they both loved. I was taught to respect him and who could do otherwise? I think he was old before time began.

Another short man from my past comes to mind, Oom de Vos. I can picture him clearly. Actually, I can smell him clearly too. He carried a musty old-man smell about him that made me imagine him carrying mothballs in the pockets of his equally old black suit that he probably dug out especially for these visits. I wish I knew more about him though. He’d known my gran for many, many years. Apparently, he had been a manager on the family farm. He always spoke to my gran with warm deference. I suspect that he could have filled in a lot of the gaps I have in the family history. I’d look his family up, but, sadly, De Vos is a fairly common name in South Africa and I know absolutely nothing else about him. For the lack of photos, I wish I were an artist. I’d paint a picture. The memories are crystal clear.

A young girl, a student, got onto the bus and stood next to my seat. I offered to hold her bags, but she put them on the floor at her feet. She did, however, allow me to hold her book, a thick tome on Clinical Anatomy. Have you ever held a book and wished you could just absorb all the information in it through the covers… osmosis-style? I did. I wonder if she’d have thought me odd or presumptuous if I’d started flipping through the book.

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Posted by on August 13, 2010 in life, memories, people, thought


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