first times...


I am now over 60 years old. I don't feel it, but my decline is there if I ruthlessly examine cold, brutal facts.


My chess rating is declining, my weight is increasing, my eyesight is dimming and I now have hearing aids.

Yet I want to do new things, even if doing them badly.

I am proud to report that I worked with mixing cement and I built some stairs at the back where the french doors are at the kitchen. Wow, no wonder the guys who work with this stuff on a daily basis have such incredible bodies. Concrete is HEAVY. I spent a lot of time discussing my little project with guys who are experienced in estimating volumes required, etc. I had to borrow some tools and finished the project; if any professional did that job they would be fired but my wife was filled with admiration at my effort (I hope she was not being patronising :))

Now a few months into the South African lockdown (well over 100 days), I have not been able to play squash for months now and my weight has ballooned. So I decided with much trepidation to do a DIET, for the very first time. I started last week on Monday on the "28 day diet". It is going to be a bit longer for my family as payday is a week later, so we will do it for about 35 days. So the whole household is on the diet, me versus the girls.

You surely know that men lose weight quicker than women and so it is proving. My weight loss is roughly 3 times what they have lost. I am astonished in a pleased sort of way. I wonder what I will lose by the end of the programme? Surely the rate of loss cannot continue, we shall see. Anyway, to lose 4.2 kgs in a week is very pleasing I must say.

My friend also showed my Duolingo just over a year ago. So I have been learning a new language. Mandarin. What an interesting language. I love the characters and the fact that it is so different from the English language. Maybe I can be an interpreter when the Chinese take over South Africa? This is another first for me, to learn another language. I have generally suffered from the arrogant attitude of most English speakers that because the language is universal, why bother learning another language.

In the last few months I needed to trim the excessive growth of trees in my yard, so I learned how to use a chainsaw, very intimidating for me. Wood is terrifyingly heavy, to say nothing of the weight of the chainsaw. I used it without injuring myself or breaking the chainsaw itself. Not any fun.


Talking about over growth in my garden brings me to another first, growing a "bokkie" ( a beard only on the chin, an Afrikaans word - maybe the English word is "goatee"?), my family hate it and also hate the grey colour. Regardless of their criticism, I am continuing through the itch and hoping it will stop someday. I think it makes me look wise and I twirl it as I ponder things with stern gravity.


Another thing that I am really proud of is that I can start donating blood again. Five years ago I had my medical drama with the spinal tumour and because I underwent intense radiation, I have had to wait 5 full years before I could donate blood again. Well in July 2020 I was able to donate my 125th pint of blood.


When I was younger and still living at home with my siblings, my one brother became an expert in aquariums. I used to catch grass hoppers for his fish and was impressed at how the fish gulped them in. Now I have started my own aquarium. After a few disasters, the tank is now stable and I enjoy looking at them in the lounge.


Now with the world being in the grip of the Corona virus, things have completely changed. Work, play, social interaction - all is changed. Hopefully things will revert to normalcy once a vaccine is found.

Until then try some new thing, it will help you to keep your sanity.

Keep safe everyone and observe social distancing and follow the proper masking procedures!!

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