Tuesday, 30 October 2012

One year of blogging - ''for what?''

For the past month I've been experiencing what feels like a never-ending bout of PMS.

I swing from being sad to grumpy to agitated and then back to sad. Yes, I've spent much of my time feeling sad.

But it's been the effort of masking my feelings - appearing happy and chatty while feeling like crap - that has been really draining.

A month ago, the kids were on school holiday for about a week. During that time we went to Goudini for a few days, they went to the beach with their grandmother and aunt (leaving me with a grumpy Aisha (2), we visited my mum so that they could play with their cousins and they also spent one day playing right here at home with Mo's nieces. That left 2 days of them staying home with nothing to do, poor things.

During that time I often chatted to someone who kept asking me when I'd be taking the kids out to have some fun. Had I taken them to the movies yet? Or to Macdonalds? Or to roam about in Canal Walk? But why? Shame, the poor things had been nowhere fun. But I had a car at home - why was I not using it to provide the kids with entertainment?

I explained that the kids had been occupied almost every day of the holiday. Having fun did not necessarily mean going out and spending money - they actually really enjoyed the time they'd spent playing with their cousins right here at home.

In fact, the holiday had been so busy that I just needed to take an hour or two for myself. I needed them to keep Aisha occupied for just a while so that I could do a blog post.

And then came his sneering question, which devastated me.

''But why? For what?''

I know that the reason for my sadness may not be apparent to most of you, so let me put it in context. Apart from being a wife and mommy, this blog has pretty much given me purpose during the past year. It is what provides me with a sense of accomplishment. Completing a post of which I am proud, leaves me feeling as if I've achieved something.

Now please don't judge me. I know that being a wife and mommy are my primary roles, but you must admit, that both are often thankless. There are no rewards or words of acknowledgment for keeping my family healthy with wholesome meals, or for ensuring that the kids get good results at school. As a mother, I am the behind-the-scenes player - providing the kids with a sound basis to tackle the outside world.

Blogging has changed my outlook on everything. It am constantly looking for beauty and inspiration to share on my blog. And when I do a post with which I am pleased, I go to bed feeling contented. Instead of feeling like I'm having the life sucked out of me by the mindnumbing repetitiveness of my days, blogging has made me feel purposeful. And yes, the feedback I get (on Facebook, by email and occasionally on the blog), from kind readers telling me how much they enjoy reading the blog makes me feel useful for bringing even the tiniest iota of pleasure to others.

I don't have an amazing career - I forfeited that path by choice and have no regrets about my decision to be a stay-at-home mum. Although I do hope to change this in the near future, being a wife, mommy and yes, a blogger are pretty much what defines me at this moment.

So this person's words ''For what?'', although not intended to be hurtful, really hurt me to the core. The fact that something, which had become so important to me and to who I am, was so insignificant and worthless to others, really hurt.

In response I mumbled an embarrassed explanation that I needed to do a post for the Spar supermarket competition in which I had been invited to participate. I had to make my blogging sound purposeful to this person, i.e. as if it would provide some monetary gain (as opposed to just being an means of expression, which at that moment seemed like such a lame and futile way to spend one's time).

This person nodded slowly, saying ''Ohhh,'' as if relieved that the reason for my seemingly worthless pursuit had finally become apparent. I felt embarrassed and stupid and, as the days passed, more and more worthless. If my blog was purposeless, then what contribution did I really have to make to anyone (other than being a wife and mommy).

Mo reminded me that this particular person was very worldly and had very different values to ours. But, alas, even understanding this has not made me feel any better. I started to read the blogs of other women, all of whose opinions and contributions suddenly seemed to have value and substance compared to my silly ramblings.

I started to write many posts, but then froze - unable to complete them. I racked my brain, trying to think of something USEFUL to write; something with purpose, but more importantly, something that will make my contribution valuable. But in the end, it all sounded like worthless rubbish to me.

Then I read this post by talented blogger, Kathryn over at Becoming you. It reminded me of the reason I'd started to blog. The purpose of my ramblings had never been to entertain/obtain the approval of others (despite how lovely it is to hear that people enjoy them). My blog had been started as a way to express myself, providing me with my own little space to formulate thoughts, express feelings and capture lovely (often seemingly insignificant) memories, which would otherwise be lost with the passage of time.

It turned out to be so much more than I'd initially imagined it would - I'd sit down at my computer feeling frustrated/sad and then, through the process of putting my thoughts and feelings in writing, I would often, by the end of a post, feel a million times better. Very often I made sense of my emotions as I was writing the post, which made blogging the therepeutic activity I'd needed.

So I didn't end up writing the deep profound piece I'd been planning for my first Blogversary on 20 October. And I've been struggling to write much of anything since the September holidays. This is the first post that I've written since then, during which I hadn't had to delete or backspace a million times - second-guessing everything I typed. Once again, the process of writing has helped me to understand and make sense of my emotions / insanity.

So, no, blogging does not bring in money. Nor am I providing life-saving valuable information to the world. But it has an important purpose in my life. It makes me happy (and less grumpy), which in turn allows me to be a better wife and mother. That, in itself, makes it extremely valuable, doesn't it?



Monday, 22 October 2012

Inspiring passion in my child (to combat the ''I'm bored'' syndrome)

On Saturday morning while the kids were in karate classes, Mo and I were discussing Shakeel (13)'s recent lack of passion for anything (other than his Playstation). He had loved hand-rearing his birds, but after two of them died recently, he seems to be afraid to get to close to the others, so tries to remain uninvolved.

But then I remembered the times he'd google his favourite cake recipes and bake them. Or invent food recipes to serve his dad and me on special days (like our birthdays, Mothers and Fathers Day). So I decided to rope him into cooking duties since he seems to show both the interest in and flair for cooking and baking.

My mum, sis-in-law, brothers and their kids were coming for supper on Saturday night and I had been planning to serve butter chicken. Shakeel was so excited when I told him that he'd be making supper. But then, as I should have anticipated, came ten year old Tharaa 's whiny accusation, '' Mommy, you just want to spend time with Shakeel. You don't care about me. Why can't I help?''

I considered it for a moment. I had really wanted Shakeel to complete the dish by himself from start to finish. I'd wanted him to experience that sense of accomplishment, which would hopefully further fuel his passion for cooking. So, cleverly I suggested that she make any dessert of her choice.

Or, I'd only thought that I was being clever, for immediately upon hearing that her sister had been commissioned to bake a chocolate cake for dessert, Nuha (7) started to grumble, '' What about me? Why can't I help? Why must I always spend time with boring old Aisha (2) so that the rest of you can have fun? It's not fair!''

Shakeel must have sensed my exasperation and probably fearing that I was about to call everything off and cook supper myself, he exclaimed excitedly, '' You should make the rice! I don't have time to make rice and it is the most important part of the meal''. Clever boy.

With a feeling of importance and purpose, Nuha headed to fetch a chair to get the tub of Basmati rice from the top shelf. When - yes, you guessed it - we heard another (more terrifying) nagging voice - that of Aisha (2), '' I want to help! I want to help!''

Oh crap. The involvement of our drama/tantrum queen had the potential to ruin our plans before we even got started. Luckily the kids jumped to the rescue by fetching the flour.

''Yay, I make roti!'' she squealed gleefully. That simply meant that she wanted to mess with flour and water. But, since everything seemed to be riding on her non-interference and compliance, I happily allowed it.

I assisted Shakeel with some of the cooking, simply because I do not work from a recipe, which meant that I guided him with instructions like '' Add a little bit of this'' or '' a dash of that''.

With Tharaa, I oversaw the melting of the chocolate for the ganache - this simply to avoid her from devouring all the chocolate before it reached the cake.

Nuha obviously needed me to handle the boiling water for the rice. Surprisingly, she remembered the proportions of water:rice: salt from all the times I had issued the instructions to Elizabeth, the domestic worker.

The only one who proceeded from start to finish without my help, was Aisha. Her 'dish' was perfect - a perfect mess. She delighted in the sticky mess she'd created and earnestly stirred and prodded the gooey dough.

The kids' meal was hugely successful. Shakeel's butter chicken was creamy; flavoured with a perfect balance of spiciness and tomato. Tharaa's chocolate cake slab - which was filled with fresh cream in the centre and topped with a chocolate ganache - was light and moist. Nuha's rice was light and fluffy, much to my mother's excitement, since my mum always complains that her own rice is too sticky. Aisha's ''roti'' served its purpose, i.e. it kept her occupied and out of the way so that the rest of them could get on with their culinary masterpieces. Later she and my little nephew delighted in messing her ''roti'' all over their hands and clothes.

Although I had a chest pain after the entire experience (yelling instructions and warnings while trying to prevent dishes from splattering all over the floor, is anxious work), I will definitely do it again. Maybe not soon - I first need the chest pain to subside before my next attempt at hosting Masterchef.

But I shall persevere in the hopes that their success could spell the end of my time in front of the stove. One can but hope.



Friday, 19 October 2012

Weight loss woes

I'm trying to lose some weight. Not much - just a few kilo's. I am getting really tired of having to force my belly roll into my body shaper before getting dressed.

Like this...

Image obtained here

The problem is that I don't have much time to spend at the gym, so I was really pleased one day when, while I was plodding along on the treadmill for what seemed like forever, one of the tyrants fitness instructors approached me, saying that I would be far less bored if I varied the intensity of my workout. This interval training worked
''by repeating a pattern of a high-speed period followed by a short recovery period throughout your workout''.

Read more:

According to the instructor, this yielded much better results than simply trudging along slowly at a low intensity for hours on end. It was absolutely torturous as he stood next to me checking that I was not cheating. His drill sergeant routine, though very useful, convinced me that I will hate to work with a personal trainer. As a people-pleaser, I was more focused on not disappointing him than on results. Although, come to think of it, that may not be such a bad thing if it gets me to perform at my best and, in the end, yields better results than I would have achieved by myself. But, right now, that is a moot point since a personal trainer falls out of our budget. (waaay out).

Anyway, I generally only get to spend 30 -40 minutes at gym. That means spending 20 minutes on the treadmill doing interval training. I only cover about 2,5 km in those 20 minutes, but then I am doing some of that distance on an incline of above 4.0. Am I right to assume that that time is not too bad for a very unfit beginner?

I then spend the other 10 -20 minutes on other equipment doing the same type of varied intensity training.

A few days ago I had covered more than my usual distance within the allotted time. Though sweating like a pig, I felt awesome. I was convinced that I had lost a ton of weight. I even felt lighter. I was sure that I was as skinny as the toned blonde girl I'd been admiring for the entire 20 minutes.

Until I walked past a mirror. Blasted mirror - snuffing out my short-lived fantasy so cruelly.

I've also adjusted my eating habits, incorporating more fresh fruits and veg, wholegrains and some protein. But more importantly, I have reduced my portion sizes. It was while chatting to the guy who signed me up at the gym a few months back that I realised that I eat way too much. Seriously, I eat much more than what I need to survive. I eat when I'm stressed, nervous, depressed or unhappy. I eat when I'm bored or when Aisha (2) is in the middle of a tantrum with which I cannot cope. I use food as a crutch; especially sweet unhealthy snacks.

Cutting back on sugar has been really difficult. In fact, to be really honest, I'm not doing too well in that regard. Yes, I eat less chocolate at night, but that's not really saying much - it simply means that I've cut down from three quarter slab to about six blocks of a Cadbury slab per night. Still way too much, I know.

But at least now I have the decency to feel bad when I pig out. (Surely that counts for something?)

I was really stoked last week when I noticed my jeans fitting more loosely. Even my panty, which had been starting to fit like a G-string, was once again fitting like normal pair of briefs (which it actually is). I was on a high when I got to the gym; overcome with a tremendous sense of achievement. I was even brave enough to step onto the scale.

The damned thing showed that I have actually gained a kilo since starting gym. (Whaaat!!!)

But I'm not giving up. I choose to believe that the scale is in fact faulty (useless piece of crap). Or that muscle does indeed weigh more than fat (despite articles I just read stating that this is a myth).

So, as I'm sitting here, sipping a mug of green tea and munching on a blasted eat-sum-more biscuit (Aisha waved the darned thing in my face - what was I supposed to do?), I am psyching myself up for an energetic workout at gym tonight. I'm actually really looking forward to it.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Spar competition winner

I'm happy to announce that the winner of the R300 Spar voucher is mogispie (Do check out her blog- she's awesome).
Please email me an address to which I can send your voucher. My email address is zubeidagrd@gmail.com
Thanks so much for participating - I really do appreciate it.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Enjoying the classics

I remember my 7th birthday party. I had been so excited to share my latest obsession with my friends and cousins- the movie The Sound of Music. I didn't even care when everyone got up and started to play hide-and-seek while I sat alone and watched the movie alone for about the 100th time.

I remember tagging along with my dad when he visited Videorite in Wynberg - just so that I could convince him to hire the movie yet again. I don't know how many times I watched it, but it was enough for me to memorise most of the lyrics of all the songs.

I was ecstatic when our strict scary music teacher introduced the songs of this movie's soundtrack as part of music classes. Despite her tendency to beat the living daylights out of us if we set a foot wrong (or sang out of tune), I still have fond memories of those classes.

I even watched Mary Poppins in the hopes of seeing more of Maria, since Julie Andrews plays the lead in both movies. But alas, Mary Poppins was nothing like Maria - she did not even look much like her! I was disappointed - I spent years hoping that they'd make a sequel (like Rocky kept doing).

Now, decades later, my kids are completely obsessed with both movies. One knows that the kids are home from school as soon as the sounds of ''The hills are alive'', ''My favourite things'', ''Eidelweiss'' (from The Sound of Music) and ''A Spoonful of Sugar'', 'Chim Chim Cheree'' and ''Feed the Birds'' from Mary Poppins can be heard floating down the passage. 
The only problem is that my kids are even more sensitive than I was and worry even more than I did. So Nuha (7), although she enjoys The Sound of Music, became very concerned when she saw the end of the movie and bombarded us with an unending stream of worried questions.What is war? Who was Hitler? What if the Von Trapp family didn't make it to safety? How can we be sure?

And this is why they do not really enjoy Annie much. The thought of orphans in an orphanage being ill-treated by the awful Miss Hannigan (played by the inimitable Carol Burnett) is just too much to bear. Not even the catchy tunes and agile dances detract from the sadness and misery which they associate with the fate of the poor orphans. Not to mention how paranoid the movie makes them by awakening their deep-seated fear of losing their parents. It's much too depressing to watch that movie with them.

Right now, I am listening to the kids playing inside and every few minutes one of them will break into song (singing a song from these movies). I wonder if these movies will still have appeal in another 20 years time when my kids, themselves, could possibly be sharing them with their kids. I'd like to think so.


Ever wonder what curly red-haired Annie looks like today?

Image obtained from here

Monday, 8 October 2012

Mum-in-law's strawberry and banana pudding; a R300 Spar voucher up for grabs

Recently the lovely people over at Spar sent me a few vouchers to try out a few products from their Freshline range.
This included a few items from their Fresh Produce section and a few from their bakery.

So off we headed to Spar (Parow) yesterday afternoon. Since we had already had lunch, I decided to purchase some ingredients for a Sunday afternoon dessert, as well as tonight's supper (among other purchases, of course).

At the kids' insistence, I had initially been planning to bake cupcakes to combat their day-before-school-reopens blues (and my own left-alone-with-tantrum-throwing Aisha depression). Now anyone who knows me will tell you how hard I try to maintain some semblance of control over my kids' eating habits. And how miserably I'm failing - as attested to by the sweet and chips packets that come pouring out of their school bags).

So, while I accept that I cannot keep them away from sugar and unhealthy snacks completely, the best I can probably do is to see that I incorporate as much fruit and veg in their diet (among all the other junk).

And that was my excuse to make my Mum-in-law's special strawberry and banana pudding, which is always a huge hit when she makes them for family functions.

She was kind enough to share her recipe:


400g punnet of Freshline strawberries
1-2 (approximately) tablespoons of sugar
4 large ripe (not over-ripe) bananas, sliced into rings
1 tin of Nestle dessert cream
condensed milk (to taste) - I used between 120ml - 130ml

1) Slice strawberries

2) Sprinkle enough sugar to coat. Leave to stand for about a while - it will start to become syrupy.
( I forgot to photograph this step)

3) Add sliced bananas.

4) Add Nestle cream
5) Add condensed milk. Yesterday I only added 120ml of condensed milk because the strawberries were lovely and sweet, but I have, in the past, had to add a bit more when using slightly more sour strawberries. But then, I have a really sweet tooth.

The kids polished it off in no time, while I convinced myself that I had just provided my family with a really nutritious fruity dessert.

Tonight I shall be incorporating some of the Freshline vegetables I purchased, into our dinner (I still haven't decided what it will be, but I'm craving a cheesy veggie bake...yum!).

The good news is that the kind people at Spar also want to give you, my readers, a R300 Spar voucher.
All you have to do is:
Share the name (not necessarily the recipe) of a dish/dessert you'd make, using Freshline products (bakery or fresh produce) in the comments box below. Don't forget to include your email address as well.
Who can enter:
South African residents only (sorry)

Closing date
18 October 2012

 A winner will be chosen from the list of respondents using a randomised selection program and the lucky recipient of the R300 Spar voucher will be contacted via email. If the selected winner doesn’t respond in 48 hours, then I will have to redraw. I will announce the winner as soon as possible on my blog.

Good luck!

This competition is now closed.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A magical weekend at Goudini (including a trip to Birds Paradise)

We spent the first weekend of the school holidays at Goudini Spa.

Yes, we have been to this resort before - in fact we, as a family, have been rather unadventurous when it comes to choosing our holiday destinations - always exploring various options, yet always ending up preferring this one.

On Friday evening we arrived late-ish so, surprisingly, the kids preferred not to swim. I was glad - Aisha (2) and Shakeel (13) were showing the early signs of getting a cold. Mo braaied (barbequed) while we sat around the fire. Annoyingly, the kids kept running to spend time in front of the Disney channel, since we don't have DSTV at home (precisely for this reason).

Our villa was quite secluded, so we spent the evening enjoying the peace and quiet (not counting Aisha (2)'s constant nagging).

It was only the next morning that we could truly appreciate the absolute beauty of our surroundings. We had never stayed in one of the villas before and I had never wanted to, since they are quite a distance from the pool in which we prefer to swim.

But the morning light revealed the absolutely magnificent location of our villa, which was one of many dotting the foothills of one of the mountains surrounding Goudini. Since ours was situated right at the end of a little 'road', we only had an (empty) neighbouring villa on our right hand side, with nothing but mountainous rock and shrubs to our left.


The kids and I explore the rocky terrain

Standing over the basin, washing a heap of Saturday morning dishes (ugh!), I stared out of the kitchen window marvelling at the splendour of the other mountain right in front of me. I gazed, mesmerised by the beauty of the varying greens, yellows and browns, as well as their assortment of textures - so much so that I was done with my dreaded task before I knew it.

Later the cleaning staff came in to wash the morning dishes and make the beds - if I had but known that earlier.

Mo had to head back into town for a few hours, so the kids and I decided to embark upon the dreaded trek down to the pool. And what an incredible walk it turned out to be! We raced, chased, marvelled and okay - pacified Aisha when she nagged to be carried. But it actually turned out to be wonderfully invigorating and I enjoyed these walks/jogs immensely.

Upon Mo's return a few hours later, we headed to Robertson. Mo had heard about a place called Bird's Paradise, which boasted a variety of beautiful exotic birds. Mo also wanted to check it out as a possible future holiday destination, since they do have accomodation and other attractions available.

Firstly we headed to Worcester for lunch. Although not far away, we took a while to arrive at our destination, since we drove slowly and often stopped along the way to gawk at and photograph the spectacular scenery, the most impressive of which were the snow-capped mountains (especially since, as Capetonians, we had never been so close to snow before).

Since KFC was the only Halal food establishment of which we knew, we headed there immediately, but the long and winding queues sent us back on the road to Robertson instead - we preferred to suffer our hunger pangs a little while longer instead of wasting a minute queuing in that heat.

On the way, we ''ooh'ed'' and ''aah'ed'' at the beauty of our surroundings. I tried, in vain, to express to Mo how being in small towns, which appear to be almost timeless, evokes a sense of longing, sadness and nostalgia in me, which I just cannot explain. After all, can one feel nostalgic for a time and place of which one was not a part or to which one has no link or ties?

The sight of the old farmhouses had me picturing what life in those areas had been like a century ago. In many cases, though, it truly appeared as if time had stood still.

After purchasing our lunch at KFC in Robertson, we found our way to the Bird's Paradise.

And that is where Mo was in his element, all the while trying to convince me to fall in love with one of the beautiful birds, so that we could purchase one for a pet. (We already own 2 love birds [our breeding pair], their baby, a ring neck, a cockatiel and Titan, our quaker parrot). Seriously, does it really seem as if we need another bird?

I was very impressed with the non-avian creatures whom Mo, on the other hand, barely gave a second glance.


But I have developed a deeper appreciation for feathered creatures than I'd had before (although I still prefer a cuddly bunny any day). So I truly enjoyed our tour of the impressive aviaries and their clever inhabitants.

Recognise this guy? It is a hyacinth macaw, which is the same type of bird as the main character in the movie ''Rio" - apparently it costs about R80 000!!!

The kids were delighted by the cockatoos who greeted them by saying ''Hello'', ''I love you'' and ''Goodbye'', prompting the birds to show off even more for their admiring spectators.

Admittedly, I truly was impressed by the plethora of gorgeous birds I saw at Birds Paradise. So much so, that I am very tempted to agree to Mo purchasing a macaw as a pet.

We left Robertson late Saturday afternoon and arrived back at Goudini 45 minutes before Maghrib (sunset prayers). Mo and I headed up to prepare supper, while the kids chose to play putt putt until Maghrib.

We spent the evening playing cards - until the electricity went off in our villa. As scary as this had been for the kids, it turned out to be a blessing because they were unable to switch on the television. I kept them entertained with a game of charades, which they later described as one of the highlights of their weekend.

Happily, Mo informed us that he was planning to extend our stay for another day. So Sunday was spent gleaning every second of fun and enjoyment which the place had to offer.


Then, sadly, the morning of our departure arrived. The kids were glum and I was not much better. But Mo had a 10:00 am meeting, so we packed up and said our sad goodbyes to the lovely villa and our magical weekend at Goudini.

Despite our constant search for other possible holiday destinations, I am certain we'll end up back at Goudini (hopefully in the Slanghoek villas) time and time again.


Monday, 1 October 2012

The rescue

This post was written in the car on Friday afternoon on our way to Goudini Spa (where we spent the weekend), but could not be posted then since I was unable to get internet reception all weekend.

So we were all packed and ready to head off on our weekend getaway earlier this afternoon, when Shakeel (13) carried out his little birdies (which he has been hand-rearing for the past few weeks).

Suddenly we heard a shriek, as the baby cockatiel, whom Shakeel has been rearing for the past 2 weeks, suddenly decided to test his wings for the first time.

The bird ended up on the telephone pole nearby. Mo and Shakeel were frantic. They tried everything to get him down. Mo parked the car under the pole and then proceeded to hurl objects near it to get it to fly down, but to no avail. The bird sat dead still, calmly surveying the world beneath him, with a mocking superior air.

Sitting on a wire right at the top of the tall telephone pole


A half hour passed. Ronald, the guy who helps Mo with his vespa restorations, was recruited to the rescue mission. He displayed a powerful throwing arm, as he hurled pieces of wood next to the bird, who started to look as if he was becoming bored of all the shenanigans down below.

But, unfortunately, he was not the only one. We had been dumb enough to tell Aisha (2) about our impending journey and, needless to say, she had been nagging for the entire day;  insisting to know when we were leaving - every 2 minutes.

This untimely delay was the final straw - especially since we had been all packed and had, in fact, been sitting in the car ready to drive when the bird had flown away.

I was grumpy too - I had rushed like a maniac to get everything packed. The meat for the braai has been in the cooler box - in the hot car - for the past 2 hours.

The bird's smug attitude didn't help. Sitting up there, mocking our foolish desperation. Seeming to enjoy the havoc he was causing on the ground. I had to remind myself that he was just a little baby who would surely die if left to fend for himself - as he is still being syringe-fed porridge and does not eat solids properly yet.

So I sat watching Mo, Ronald and Shakeel tossing up pieces of wood against the wire, trying to scare the bird into flying toward them - and also squirting water into the air, hoping to alarm him. Despite the fact that Mo had parked the car under the telephone pole, they were still not able to reach the wire, on which the bird was sitting, with any accuracy. So, as a last resort, Mo got out his pepper-ball gun (now THAT, I think, he rather enjoyed). He fired shots near to the bird, who just looked the other way, visibly bored.

Spraying water with what I assume is a gardening contraption

And all the while I sat there, thinking about my meat rotting in the back of the car. Meat, which was probably worth more than price of the annoying bird.

Mo called the SPCA and the fire department . Both said that we needed to call the electricity department.

But fortunately that was not necessary. The bird, probably satisfied with the extent of the mayhem he had caused, then proceeded to fly onto our roof, where Ronald (our hero), standing on a ladder, scooped him into his hands and back to safety.

Ronald, our hero

I must admit (grudgingly) that I was really happy to have him back safely; the poor thing. I had not wanted to picture what would have become of him had he not come to his senses on time.

So, we have now finally left home (about five minutes ago). The whole ordeal had delayed us by almost two hours. Stupid bird.