Never Alone.

It’s strangely hard, sleeping out for work. You find yourself in a strange place, with strange people – normally locked away in some desolate spot with almost no internet connection, too friendly B&B keepers and store bought food that you can’t cook (or take aways). If you’re like me, your day probably started at 4am, you’ve travelled over 220 miles, you’ve seen several farmers and in a sales kind of way begged them to try your products and you had bad coffee at McDonalds. All in all, it becomes very bleak and, when you find yourself stuck in a B&B where a turkey sleeps on your car…

You can’t make yourself feel very positive about the whole escapade.

But, of course, things are not quite that bad.

I find that, despite the fact that I’m here in the middle of nowhere, stuck next to a highway between elsewhere and somewhere in a room filled with spiders, I’m not alone.

Because tonight – I have about six kittens on my bed. Playing with my computer wires, messing up my clothes for the next day and jumping on me every now and again to remind me that I am allergic to cats. And, I’m happy. Content. I have animals around me (even if they are cats) and that makes me happy.

So, I can’t complain – though I’m not writing nearly as much as I should be at this stage – or planning my script frenzy project.

I’m playing with kittens and that’s enough to make me feel at home.

Sort of – if I don’t think about the empty bed beside me.

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Cricket. Not for South Africa apparently.

I love cricket.

I’m not a sports fan in general but I have to admit, that cricket is among my favorite things to watch. I like one day matches, 5 day matches, 20.20 matches. I like provincial cricket, international cricket and even school cricket if it’s shown on television. But, lately – I’m starting to dislike South African cricket.
On Friday, our boys lost again in a match that they should (in my honest opinion) have won. If this happened occasionally, that would be fine but lately – it’s been happening quite a lot.
I don’t know what’s wrong with our boys. Is it politics? Their too high salary? Their age? Experience? Egos? Non existing egos? What?!
How is it that they can’t handle the pressure? They are professional sportsmen! They are supposed to be able to handle the pressure. They are certainly paid enough to handle the pressure. Yet, they make silly and stupid mistakes. I don’t even know why we have first batsman in the game that can actually bat because they almost always get struck out for under 10 balls, leaving it up to the end bowlers to chase the high totals. Hello. They are bowlers. They can’t do centuries. They can’t even reach 50 more often than not and they are not supposed to.
Because they are bowlers.
Breathe boys, breathe. Don’t try to hit a 6 on the first ball. Get your eye in. Don’t take chances. Pace yourself! Yes, it might be ‘one day matches’ but there won’t be any more if you blow it. Especially not if you blow it in the quarter final of the World Cup.
The worst thing is – the world is starting to notice. I found this on a website called http://www.sify.com. It’s an american run website and they are actually talking about a sport that isn’t american.
That is something to comment on…
Here is a perfectly good list of all the times our boys have not made it. Bizarely. Stupidly. Accidentally. But, still – they haven’t made it.

I ask you – will we ever have a world cup trophy in my favorite sport?

From http://www.sify.com:

Dhaka, March 26 (IANS) South Africa’s worst fears came true Friday as they once again failed to win a World Cup knock-out match since making their debut in the mega event in 1992.

It was rain in 1992, the brilliance of Brian Lara in 1996, a moment of madness in 1999, rain and madness in 2003 and Thursday at the Sher-e-Bangla they again succumbed to pressure. They were the losing semi-finalists in 1992, 1999 and 2007, and got eliminated in the quarter-finals in 1996.

The following is the list of South Africa’s bizarre losses in the World Cup knock out stage:

1992 World Cup (semi-final): Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, March 22

England 252/6 (45 overs) vs. South Africa 232/6 (43 overs). Result: England won by 19 runs (rain rule).

The match ended in a controversial fashion as rain interruption in the last ball of the 43rd over left South Africa with an impossible target of 21 runs from one ball. The scoreboard and the TV coverage incorrectly displayed South Africa needing 22 off 7 balls, then the actual requirement of 21 off one ball. Chris Lewis bowled the last ball with slow medium pace and Brian McMillan took a single with a push to midwicket.

1996 World Cup (quarterfinal): National Stadium, Karachi, March 11

West Indies 264/8 in 50 overs. South Africa 245 all out in 49.3 overs. Result: West Indies won

Brian Lara stirred a controversy after their shocking loss to debutant Kenya saying he was happier to have lost to a team of blacks than a team of whites. The remarks were directed at the South Africans and in the match he talked to the Proteas in the language he knows best, an innings of 111 off 94 balls that dashed the South African hopes again.

1999 World Cup (semi-final): Edgbaston, Brimingham, June 17

Australia 213 in 49.2 overs. South Africa 213 in 49.4 overs. Match tied but eventual champions Australia progressed to the final because they finished higher in the super six table than South Africa.

South Africa needed nine off the final over and Lance Klusener belted the first two deliveries for four. South Africa now needed one to win. The third ball went straight to a fielder, Allan Donald was already half way down and would have been run out if Darren Lehmann had hit the stumps. The fourth wasn’t much of a shot either, but Klusener said ‘yes’. Donald disagreed and didn’t move, but as Klusener passed him, Donald realised he had to go, but it was too late.

2003 World Cup: Playing hosts, South Africa failed to get past the group stage.

2007 World Cup (semi-final): Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, St.Lucia, March 25

South Africa 149 all out in 43.5 overs. Australia 153/3 in 31.3 overs. Result: Australia won by seven wickets.

South Africa collapsed to 27/5 inside 10 overs and never recovered from that. They failed to cope with the pace of Glenn McGrath (3/18) and Shaun Tait (4/39). It turned out to be an easy win for the Australians.

The Price of Love

There is a price to horseback riding. More than the price of their stabling, more than the price of their feed, their maintenance and their upkeep. More than all the gold in the world.

It’s a small price at first. A wish here, a dream there. The need to touch a horse. Then, without warning, like an aggressive, malignant cancer it spreads and consumes you. Your soul, your being, your life suddenly belongs to them. To their rhythm, to their touch and their strange, quiet love which they give you in return for your heart.

I saw a piece of my friend die today. Her stallion, the golden stallion, died from a terrible disease called African Horse Sickness. It is a virus that kills horses here in Africa. You can vaccinate and pray but, inevitably, it will strike and you will be left to the mercy of fate. Your horse will die or your horse will live.

If he lives, you know you’re safe for another year but if he dies, you die and the world ends. For second, for a minute and in a sense for the lifetime that you were with him.

I lost my first horse years ago, and carry that sorrow with me to this day, like parcel of pain, wrapped up to try and conceal the impact of it. I was aware of it tonight, as I listened to my friend sob in a way nobody else could understand. It’s what it sounds like when someone has lost a part of themselves which they will never get back. A heart beat, a spark of love, a piece of soul – forever gone.

11!

A piece of information I didn’t share with the blog was that I’ve recently acquired yet another fish tank. I was given an old tank by a client of mine (let’s say customer rather, client sounds too kinky) who had found it in his garage and was considering to throw it away. The tank was in good shape and, unable to resist, I decided to fill it up with fish.

Cause that’s what you do with a fish tank.

I was at a mind to get another Betta, but the tank was too big and I couldn’t help but feel that my Betta Lan wanted to remain a single child. So, I settled on guppies for two reasons.
1) They were good beginner tropical fish. I’ve never actually kept a large tank of tropical fish (having been a gold fish keeper all my life) and I felt that they would be excellent fish to practice on.
2) They bred very easily. Why does this matter? Well – I want to start breeding Bettas at some point and figured that guppy fry were excellent to practice on.

I popped 4 into the tank – 1 male and 3 females along with a pleco to keep the algae under control. When I got back home with the 4 I realized immediately that my one female was already pregnant. Whoopee do!

I jumped online, did my research and had to deal with her giving birth that very same weekend. I managed to get 22 baby fry, which did alright the first week but then, over a weekend, 20 died. Epic failure for a first try and I was so irritated with it that I almost sold all of the guppies and just put in more gold fish.

But, I did my research, made better plans and just 3 days after the majority of my babies died, I was rewarded by 9 more from another female. This time, I played it smart, changed my rearing tactics and now the babies are 2 weeks old and doing fine. When they were born, they were about 6mm but now, they’ve already grown to 12mm. The only problem that I have now is that the more adventurous of the babies keep sneaking out of their breeding tank to join the other bigger fish.

And get eaten for their trouble.

When I got back home over the weekend (after spending it with my Other Half and charging my visiting mother with taking care of my babies) I realized to my disappointment that 2 of my fry had escaped. I managed to find one but the other (one of only 2 left over from my first batch) was nowhere to be found. I said a little prayer for fish heaven and resumed to taking care of the remaining 10. Two days passed and I had all but forgotten about the little fry when quite suddenly this morning, I found a dark fry swimming around happily on the surface of my tank. At first, I thought it was the other fry but when I looked into the breeder box he was still there. Amazingly, my baby fry had survived in the tank for 3 days without being eaten and returned to the nest!

I was (and still am) overjoyed.

Now, I’m back to having 11 fry and I have to say, they are looking great!

Project Update: Chapter 8 already?!

Originally – I had started a writing project, intending to write about 1000 words per week on it, giving me a workable story line of about 52,000 words by the end of the year. It took me a month to get started, but then – when I got into it, the story flowed – as did the words.

Now, I’m standing on Chapter 8 with about 37,000 words under my belt. Needless to say – I’m pretty pleased with myself, especially if you take into consideration that I had to rewrite about half of it (okay, so I’m not so proud with the rewrite…). I’m well ahead of schedule and, I feel that I’m making progress. I’ve come to realize that I have a very specific style when it comes to writing my own stuff. I’ve also realized how important it is to do proper character development.

And, I have to start planning. I’m starting to wonder if my heroine already has everything at her disposal that she needs – without my dialogue becoming too narrative. I don’t like narrative dialogue.

It’s about finding balance, not just in my story – but in my life as well. I have steadily incorporated working on this with my job.

It feels good, even though it now feels a bit like work. Good work though – so I can’t complain. And, work for myself, so technically I’m my own boss in this… 😉 Which is what the network marketing people from the week before last wanted me to be.

So, I’m pleased with my progress and pleased with that of my heroine. I’m starting to learn a little bit more about her and of those people around her. J The most exciting knowledge?

There’s most probably more than 3x the amount of chapters till to come…