Thursday, 26 August 2010


I will share two coincidences that have happened to me...

We (from Joburg) booked a self catering stay in Kenilworth (Cape Town) in the early 90s for a holiday.. only to discover upon chatting to our Gruncle (great uncle in England) that he had booked a holiday to Cape Town too.. at the same establishment... over the same period less one day...!!! We were neighbours too it turned out when we both arrived!!!

Another one...

My mum remarried and had a different surname to us (O'Connor)... and we had a man knock on the door, saying he was doing the O'Connor family tree... could we add our family bits to it...?

So he hauled out the family tree and we saw my paternal grandmother there! Her maiden name was O'Connor too, she had died of cancer when my dad was 17 yrs old, so we'd never met her... and we found out through this that HER mother (our great grandmother) lived in Blairgowrie (about a 10 minute drive away!!!) from us!!! The paternal family were all in CT - not the greatest of communicators - we never knew of a great grandmother, nor that she was living on our doorstep!

We contacted them, she was living with a cousin... and met up with her at her home... she was 93, as deaf as anything and quite a character. Was weird, I never met her daughter (my gran), hardly knew her grandson (my dad).. and here she sat! She died about a month afterwards too... so it was extra poignant we met her :)

What coincidences have you ever had that were just amazing?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Unanswered questions finally answered!

It's SO reassuring having the heart/lung specialists' support, for so long now I have put up with the judgement of people who look at me and assume I have problems I do not (eating problem/depression etc.) and I have thought I was going crazy at times, as I KNOW my diet is fine and yet the weight was climbing (and asthma worsening). It has in no way changed since I was a svelte 62kgs in my twenties.

Yesterday I got my lung function and breathing test results, as well as my sleep apnoea test results and I have mild sleep apnoea which does not need treatment prior to surgery which is great, and my lungs, for a severe asthmatic, are looking good... they always are loads better in summer.

Seeing these professionals who just want to help me and don't judge me and make assumptions is so refreshing and new. I cannot tell you how many nurses/doctors have told me 'you know Jen, you really need to look at your diet, and lose some weight'. They knew no better, neither did I at the time, now I do, and I feel empowered. I bariatric nutritionist told me I actually don't eat enough food.

The two heart/lung specialists who run the respiratory clinic at C&W Hospital have a fantastic Asthma Clinic at Brompton Hospital and when they sign me out as an outpatient at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital (in 6 wks time hopefully), they will take me on as a patient at Brompton and re-evaluate everything for me, put me on totally different meds (they've already changed my inhalers)... meds that work but don't have the side effects I currently battle with.

They're fabulous these two, masters in their field, and for someone who has only been under the care of a GP for my asthma for so many years, this is just the thing I need. There's physio etc. I need to have too, which will help my lungs, which I never knew about! GPs are limited (obviously) in their respiratory knowledge.

I was at interested to hear from the bariatric specialist that 10-15% of bariatric patients are the size they are due to medication... I am not as alone as I thought I was :)

I have had loads of tests done for respiratory and bariatric stuff... cholestoral, lung function, breathing, sleep apnoea, depression etc. etc. I have seen quite a few people involved in the surgery already, including the surgeon himself.. have yet to see the anaesthesiologist.

Being a severe asthmatic... next stage is critical care asthmatic.. and many of them are awaiting heart and/or lung transplants... I do NOT want to get there... and they say I'll be there within 10 years if things go on as they are. The respiratory team think I need the surgery urgently (before winter kicks in as my lungs are at their strongest now for the anaesthetic... its FAR riskier for me in the colder months), I hope the bariatric team recognise the urgency too and bring me to/near the top of the 6 month waiting list for surgery! The heart/lung specialist is writing a report stating the urgency, I am onto them too.

My faith in God and knowing He won't give me more than I can handle is something that sees me through the darkest hour. I have had incredible pain and discomfort for some time now, I've also had some upsetting occasions (living as an obese person here is not easy, I am scorned and vilified, I cannot begin to tell you the nasty comments/jibes aimed toward me here... this does not happen in SA) and even with that, I still count my blessings, am grateful for my Lance, my family, my close friends, my home, my job... all of which I love and value.

We were planning on going home next September (2011), but now we have prioritised the surgery, and the year after surgery it is important I am here for follow up checks, as infection chances are higher the first year.

We can always come back to the UK in the future if we want to, being British citizens... but Africa is where our heart is, our family are (mostly) there, we can adopt, we can become involved again with children's outreach in the settlements. I am also keen to get my product design business going again (under a new name and not as big as before though), using recycled materials etc. as before.

It's good to make plans for the future and dream... but I am taking things one day at a time. Healthwise I can have a brilliant day the one day, and the next a terrible one, so am taking it easy, have lessened my work hours, don't go out much, rest my back on the wkends.

I have only just started letting friends know about the impending surgery, as it's taken them this long to ensure I am well enough to actually have it.

I have answers FINALLY ... that have gone unanswered for too long.

Saturday, 14 August 2010


Today has been a day of reminiscing.

I have been looking at loads of photos and videos.. of holidays, renovations, fun times with family and friends. It's amazing how much one forgets... and it's one of the reasons I so enjoy documenting my life with the camera.

I have loaded 3 links to webshots... with slideshows of...

(1) Our old home in Fish Hoek (Cape Town, South Africa). My mum's place, I stayed here with my brother for a couple of years, and then a further year of married life... prior to us moving to London. Mum then let the place out to holiday makers for a few years and has since sold it.

(2) Our first buy. Wimbledon (London, England), 2004. We bought a flea pit of a one bedroomed flat and gutted it and did it up over two years, and sold it for a decent profit in 2006. We worked all day at our full-time jobs, then spent every evening and weekend working on the flat.

Good thing hubby has the skills and technical experience and know-how.. and I have the creative eye... and we both had the passion. Living in a building site aint fun though, so we were happy when we sold it.

(3) Our second buy. An investment home... a 2 bed/2 bath townhouse in Randburg (Johannesburg, South Africa). Well located and in a lovely complex, it's easily let and was a good investment.

Our old home in Cape Town - pics of it as a holiday let.

Ithaca - Fish Hoek, Cape Town

Our Joburg investment property ~ bought in 2006

Gleneagles, Johannesburg

Reminiscing about our 1st home renovations in Wimbledon, London (2004-2006)

Our Wombles home diary

Friday, 13 August 2010

Thank you and Siyabonga

Thank you and Siyabonga


Worked on my blog (yes, this!) till 3:30am this morning, got into bed and got a deep voiced 'Good afternoon' which emanated from this shadowy mass in the bed... am having a paperwork day today plus have some grapes to seed. Forgot to send Joy lamb chops (sorry hon), and am researching for our Saffa holiday in December... Kruger Park, Joburg and Cape Town sorted, currently looking at houses to rent on the KZN wild coast, with a private pool close to the beach.

My old design was with the image above on a pristine white background... this black elephant background is new.... not sure if I like it yet. Will see how I feel in a week or so's time ;)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Busy and productive week thus far! Apart from usual busy work day, am proofreading a website for an English photographer friend moving to Cape Town in December (and may have helped him get his first wedding client tonight woohoo!). Helped sister with some stuff for her trip to the States tomorrow. Looking at Umhlanga Rocks on Google Earth at the mo (one of our Dec holiday destinations). Nope, cannot see any sharks.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Beadz2pleaz ~ what a beady find!

These are the personalised spoons that creative Chery Beadz2Pleaz made for my nephew and nieces :)

Cheryl is Cape Town born and bred, and now lives in Texas, USA.... and makes superbly crafted beaded ware... for weddings, personal gifts, the kitchen etc. I am delighted that my nephew and nieces love their little spoons.. and am having (shhh... don't tell my brother and SIL in Joburg) more made as we speak. Plus a couple of items for moi. I will post pictures here as I receive them.

Creativity and innovation rock!

Friday, 6 August 2010

British Citizenship - 4 August 2010

Taxi home!

Jazz singers in the back ground of the Moroccan Restaurant.

We got it!!! Finally.

There was a rainbow in the sky last night, which was fitting. A new dawn :) We have lived in the UK since 2002, and paid many thousands of £ to live and work here and it'll be a relief that this can now end. Even though we have full ancestry immigration rights, it has taken a while. We could have got it a year ago already, but preferred to wait till my sister also qualified for it, so us 3 could do it together.

We celebrated with a lovely Moroccan dinner last night and will be celebrating with our English family soon. Doesn't feel too odd tbh, we have such a strong British heritage and the bond has always been there. It fits.

My lineage is 100% British... my mum just happened to be born on Saffa soil, then moved back to Cheltenham, then she and grand-parents returned to SA.

I'm still a mad Saffa chick... just with a larny accent now ;)

Do any of you have
dual citizenships? Care to share your story?

Odd call...

'Oh hello, I am sending xyz over to you this afternoon, she'll be there at 3pm'

(baby tries to grab phone cord)

Erm... 'sorry, who are you?'

(shuffles baby to other hip)

'Oh, it's Olivia'

(baby starts squeeking for attention)

'From where?'

(baby stuffs gob-soaked hand down my blouse)


(wondering what Reed is... rescues baby's hand)

'And what is this in connection with?'

(stops baby from eating my hair)

'You are Jennifer, aren't you?'

(baby starts getting niggly)

'Yes I am. But I have no idea who you are..?'

(baby getting more niggly...)

After a good few mins it was ascertained she was trying to get hold of Jennifer xyz from abc company who were recruiting. How she didn't acknowledge there was a child with me is beyond me.. who takes their baby to the office...?

Now... if she had told me at the start who she was I could have told her straight off she had the wrong number...


It's been a productive week with the kids, I am a SaffaBrit now, looking forward to tonight's massage and pedicure session with the girls, and then some fishing with the hub tomorrow - I am chief beer-passer.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

A tough couple of years

In October 2008 we were told we could never have a child together, and for Lance, who is a born daddy, and me, who always wanted 4 kids, this came as a HUGE shock. I had a severe asthma attack a week later, I believe due to the stress of it all.

Thankfully I was at the doctor at the time as my breathing had been labouring for some time, and the ambulance came quickly. I was on breathing apparatus for 5 days in hospital. So within a week, we were told we could never medically have a child together, plus I nearly died. This hit Lance extra hard, and he withdrew.... from friends, church et al. I followed suit soon after.

Friends and family were worried about us, but we were had each other and wanted no-one else. We clung to each other during those dark days. Cried out to God a lot. After about 6 months of this, we saw my sister occasionally but no-one else.... I started reading some good books written by Christian women re their infertility struggle with their partners, and how they got through it all.. and I realised what I was feeling... anger, grief etc. were perfectly normal. This helped me loads... and I started looking for a new church.

Our old church - whereas the teaching was spot on, there was a continual baby boom there and it was VERY hard to pretend we were happy for other couples all the time, when they were having their 4th or 5th or 6th child!. The senior pastor of our old church was on the Israel trip with us in February and I had a chance to quietly chat with him re why we left and he appreciated it... and understood. They have baptisms every week practically... it's just crazy! Great for everyone BUT not great for an infertile couple who have to put this frozen grin on their faces.

So I found a new local church and started going. On my own. For 6 months. Lance wanted nothing to do with church still. I think he felt more anger and took it harder as (a) the fertility problem was his and he felt much guilt, and (b) he had nearly lost me.

When my family came for the month over Christmas it was wonderful in so many ways.. the best being that Lance joined us all at the Christmas Eve service.. first time he set foot in a church for a year. He has been going since and then we had Israel, which has sparked so much more biblical interest (biblical archaeology)... and we're on track again. The hurt is still there, but the anger is much abated.

We have only in the last 8 months started opening up and sharing with out friends what we have been through re trying to have a child etc. One goes through a grieving process, and I don't think we'll ever be over it, till perhaps we have adopted/had a miracle child. We will see. Thankfully this has only made me and Lance love and appreciate each other all the more the past 10 years.

I await results and it is nerve wracking and frustrating. But I must say that I do believe God will not give us more than we can handle. I am amazed we have come through thus far as we have.

I pray the results are clear and a surgery date is set soon... we can then start planning our month long holiday in December to South Africa!!!

AKULUMA BANI - my old high school's war cry!! :)