Thursday, 3 September 2015


I wonder if other people, for instance my readers of this blog (should there be any) sometimes wish that they could have another person inside them, who is like one secretly would like to be like. Something like a second soul one could turn to for advice. This idea has been with me for quite a while, and now I feel confident enough to share my "other" half with you.... Her name is Svetlana Rohdowskaia, with the accent on the "do" please. Svetlana is a tough east European lady, at home in smart fitted pants suits or slim, knee length, figure hugging dresses. She is completely at home in 12 cm Louboutins.... her feet never hurt. Her hair is a bit darker than mine and immaculately styled. She prefers to wear her hair up. Naturally her make-up is always flawless. She is my height and has a seductively curvy figure which causes heads to turn wherever she appears.

Of course Svetlana plays the violin like a goddess. Everyone is in awe of her and she is not afraid of anything. She has very expressive eyes, and one pointed look of hers can have an entire army of men literally shake in their shoes. No one dares to cross Svetlana. But to her friends she is loyal and helpful and always ready to come when there is a crisis. Naturally she also has a cat.... A beautiful black cat with green eyes. 

Even though she is the essence of femininity, there is nothing girly about Svetlana. She simply is there and commands admiration and of course some jealousy from those around her.

I wonder what you would say if you actually met her...if she were actually real... Those of you who know me might be surprised. After all, I seem to have a lifelong contract with the "being cute" department. I do own those Louboutins, but boy, do they make my feet hurt.... I play the violin okay- ish, but goddess is entirely another category.... Yes, I have a cat and I love her, but she is just a cat... Not at all magical. Yes, I am curvy, but possibly too much so in certain areas.... As to being noticed and generating respect..... Well... It is rather easy to step all over me and I'm far too much of a softie.... Look at me with sad eyes and I'll do anything to make you feel better;-) Radiating confidence looks different.

But still....somewhere inside me, there lives Svetlana. Maybe I should pay more attention to her. Maybe I should consider how Svetlana might react in some situations. Maybe I should learn from her. And maybe I might grow up into a splendid Svetlana one day. She is there....just waiting to be let loose.

Get ready world for a change. Sonja might just leave and you now belong to the marvelous Svetlana day....when I grow up... But Svetlana will keep Thomas and the cat ;-)

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Black Ilsland

Our holiday this year was in Lanzarote, which I call "the black island", because it is mainly black due to a six year volcano eruption a few centuries ago. Large parts of the island are covered in black lava rocks and the gardens are still made in black gravel. Grass is quite rare, no lawns, no trees other than palm trees, the odd Bougainville, no herbs, hardly any flowers, some Aloe, a couple of cactuses and no cows, sheep or goats.... We did see some cocks and hens in a farm museum, but we did not even come across a donkey. It doesn't really rain there, except of course when Mr and Mrs L. go there once in their lives. Then it rains. In August. The locals were stunned. It is always windy, and although the island is fairly small, there seems to be a different weather in every town. I got really cold on one or two occasions.

They do grow wine on Lanzarote, and in the oddest way: the vineyards consist of large stretches of black rubble with semi circle lava stone walls, which looks rather eerie, especially when the sky is overcast. First one sees nothing, but on closer inspection one can notice that little wells are dug into the gravel, inside which wine plants creep around the floor. Apparently the gravel soaks up the morning dew and supplies the plants with necessary moisture. The grapes have to be hand picked, because no vehicle can drive there. Actually the wine tastes quite good.

Lanzarote had a hard time during its history.... Either the volcanos did their thing, or pirates came and ransacked the island, killing as they pleased, and selling the captives they took as slaves. It must have been a horrid time for the inhabitants. The side effect of all this pain is now a huge tourist attraction: one can find most splendid lava caves, where the people went to hide and seek protection. We even saw a magical underground concert hall where regular chamber music concerts are performed. Apparently the acoustic is awesome. A local artist, Cesar Manrique, who did lots for the island, built himself a spectacular home in the caves.

But, amongst all the barrenness of Lanzarote, one can find things of great beauty. For one, the lovely sandy beaches, in colors varying from black over orange, yellow, golden to white. And in some parts where the coastline is a bit ragged, the power of the Atlantic Ocean is quite overwhelming. There is a tiny lagoon behind an orange sandstone riff, which has a bright emerald green color, thanks to an abundance of algae and then a black sand beach, followed by the stormy grey color of the sea. Now that was an unreal sight.

My personal highlight was the house of the late Omar Sharif, which he lost to a friend during a poker game. It is built into a series of caves, decorated by Manrique, with a lovely pool and cleverly placed plants. The place radiated perfect harmony and it was so beautifully calm, I could have stayed there forever. Naturally we found the only friendly cat of the island there. She was the shop cat (a shop specialising in Aloe Vera products). Her name was Michi and she played with me for a long time.

Actually animals always seem to bring about good feelings. Thomas' climax was our ride on a camel through a part of the desert also due to the volcano. He is still raving about the camel's feet... They look so soft and least from the back, and camels do have lovely eyes. The camel behind us took a liking to us and alternatively nuzzled either Thomas' back or my arm. But as sweet as their feet might look, they are not exactly graceful animals, and after a bit I started feeling slightly queasy from all the shaking ;-)

On our hotel balcony we were visited by a pair of lovely doves every evening at 7pm. They pecked bread and oats from my hand, and I was even able to stroke them...

Sadly my cat did not appreciate the fact that we went away for a week, even though my parents came and lived with her in the house. She was ailing for a week after we got back, but now she is more like herself again, and she has LOTS to say all through the day and in the wee small hours of the morning ;-) 

It certainly was an interesting week on the black island, but nothing is better than our little house, my purring, and still slightly disapproving cat, and especially my own bed... But if someone would offer me Mr Sharif's house....not sure that I could resist :-)

Sunday, 12 July 2015

An interesting night

;-)Last night I came back from work just before midnight. Our concert started late, it was an Italian Gala where the audience gets served a three course dinner during an hour long interval. We were restricted to the servant's quarters during this time, apparently we should rather not mingle with the public, especially when food is concerned... But we did not go hungry: we all pitched in and had our own buffet (and probably lots more fun than the audience).

When I arrived hom, I aired my unimportant thoughts on Facebook, had a brandy and checked my news and read a little. It was after 1.00 am by the time the cat and I decided to retire to bed. When I hit the switch for the bathroom light, I heard a noise and part of the house was shrouded in darkness. Normally this would be the time for me to utter a cry of "Thomas!!!!!", but he is spending some boy time with his friends in the Black Forest, in what must be the only place in Germany without handy reception. So I could not even text him in a vague hope that he might still be awake (actually he was). So the cat and I had to solve this problem by ourselves.

In the basement we have a large grey contraption on the wall with a multitude of switches inside. Once I managed to open it, I looked at the switches and they looked at me. We continued this game for a bit, until the cat, who came along for moral support, demanded that I make some kind of decision. Eventually I found one switch which was positioned differently from the others. I heroically turned it up and then the cat and I ventured back upstairs and I gingerly tried the bathroom lights again. One of them worked, but the big lightbulb had died. So now I had to find the light bulbs in the basement. In our household these things are "man tasks", but what are a girl and a cat to do if no man is present? Well, I found the lightbulb and now I had to bring a chair into the bathroom and exchange the bulbs, and was reminded once again that dusting is not one of my superior qualities....

By the time I removed my face and stored it in a safe place, it was getting close to 2.00 am. The cat was already sleeping on her chair, and I just snuggled into my empty bed when I heard rather loud music. Apparently someone in the neighborhood, whose musical taste is not at all in accordance with mine, felt the urge to share the fact that he or she were still awake and loved this particular CD, with the entire suburb. The sharing went on until about 3.00 am. At 5.00 am the cat came to check up on me and tell me her dreams....

On getting up this morning, the cat just opened one eye and sent me down to fix breakfast. She joined me when everything was ready, but when one looks closely, one can see dark rings under her eyes. Now we are both eagerly awaiting the return of Thomas, who warned me that he is rather sleep deprived. However I will insist that he makes my new iPhone get into our wifi, and I will probably talk his ears off... After all communication at home these past days was restricted to several versions of "meow" and "brrrrrr" and other kitty sounds...;-)

Monday, 18 May 2015

A little something

On Saturday evening I cooked my favourite dinner, Jamabalaya, a gorgeous tumble of chicken, chorizo, prawns, veggies, rice and Cajun spice. The recipe calls for 6 prawns and I diligently divide them between Thomas and myself. Somehow I got distracted when filling the plates, but I checked to see that we both got our three prawns, and it seemed right. After I savoured my three, I noticed that there was still one left on my plate, and I asked Thomas, who also still had one, how many he had eaten, to which he answered that he had two. Naturally I offered to share the extra prawn, but Thomas said I could have it. I was a bit puzzled, but came to the conclusion that the nice man at the counter must have given me an extra prawn, and silently decided that he was my new best friend.

When I wanted to clear the dishes, I noticed that there were only two tail ends on Thomas' plate compared to my four. So I scolded Thomas for not telling me the truth and felt pretty bad about my prawn related greed. Thomas just looked at me when I asked him why he did not claim his prawn and said that he left it for me happily because he loves me and knows that I have a weakness for I ask you: who needs diamonds if you have a Thomas :-) Although of course I would be the last person to refuse a nice solitaire on a gold chain to wear around my neck ;-)

The cat loves it when I make Jambalaya. She gets a few morsels of organic raw chicken filet, which , I suppose, is the equivalent of a diamond pendant for her :-) 

On that note I shall now resume my cleaning duties.... A Thomas like mine deserves to come back to a sparkling fresh home after a hard day's teaching.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Bel Canto Cat

Those of you (if any) who follow this blog will know that I am owned by a cat who is quite communicative. She has an opinion on nearly everything and is not at all shy to express it. We have "little" conversations like just now: the cat was outside and wanted to come in. When I opened the door she inmediately told me that she was out in the wilds (garden), that no enemies were in sight and that the silly mice refused to come and play and that I must come and pet her inmediately, which of course I did. Or we have the "Sonja comes back home from work" conversation: THERE you are! I was alone ALL evening (never mind that Thomas was practicing in his room in the basement). No one cuddled me (she tends to hiss at Thomas when he tries) and I am absolutely STARVED (Thomas only let her snack twice or so). And then she continues meowing and stepping on my feet until I have cuddled her and saved her from imminent starvation. And then there is the pitiful "little kitten" meow, when we go off somewhere, accompanied by an attack of weakness, causing the "poor" cat to collapse in front of the front door.( the capitals indicated her perfected use of crescendo)

And then there are her arias....mostly brought to kitty perfection somewhere between 5 and 6 am. We have quite a repertoire of arias. For instance the "Look, I brought you a present" aria. It is an accompanied version, uttered by cat with mouse in mouth, mouse squeaking sadly, and me calling "Thomas....MOUSE" and the hasty footsteps of Thomas, trying to rescue the poor mouse. This is more of an afternoon aria. We also have the "get out of my garden now" number, which is usually sung by the cat behind the living room window (safely inside), in a very convincing fortissimo, sometimes accompanied by hissing, spitting and jumping against window and directed against another kitty intruder. Once we chased the bad guy away, the aria still continues, cat now under the chair, and the tone changes to a low dangerous yowl. It is wise not to touch the cat during this aria. Once that is over, we have the dramatic soprano cat aria, in which she tells how she bravely fought the enemy just to protect us. This aria can occur at any time of day or night. Then the cat also feels inspired to sing when I practice during the the mornings she stays quiet... These arias are naturally also of the accompanied sort, with me and the violin, and the cat sometimes throwing herself at my music room door. When I open the door, she drops on the floor half on top of me and starts purring furiously. Once I did not give in, and our Duo continued for a whole hour. This aria is also sometimes sung by the cat when I teach, but the tone is a lot more desperate.

Lately there have not been any early morning serenades by the cat. I somehow hoped that she had grown out of them. But this morning we were treated to a whole new version. Usually the cat is more of a soprano, but in this new version she has definately transformed into a solid mezzo. The sounds she uttered were rather dark, lots of "o's" involved. She started on the stairs from the living room, then she took a short break, probably in my music room, and then sat on the stairs up to the bedroom. The aria was rather long, it had a different variation on every stair... There are 15 between the levels....First I thought she might stop, then we got slightly annoyed and tried to get her to keep quiet and then Thomas, who is even less of a morning person than me, began to laugh. It was 6.30 am and the alarm clock was due to go off in an hour... Finally the cat arrived in the bedroom and we thought that we could still sleep for a bit, but the cat had other plans. She sat down next to my side of the bed and sang yet another song, a less dramatic one and a lot shorter, and then she finally hopped into my arm in bed for her morning cuddle. Now of course, she is quite exhausted after all the singing and is sleeping on one of her many chairs.

I really do not claim to know much about rebirth and former existences, but somehow I have a feeling that the cat either must have been a famous singer in another existence, or that she will be one in a future life. And Thomas and I were able to be part of her practicing sessions. We feel honored ;-)

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A stranger in the Bedroom

On Sunday afternoon I was wondering why the heaters were all cold. In winter my usual place is with my back firmly attached to a heater (that is, if no fire is burning, in which case I would plant myself in front of the fireplace) in order to get warm. Of course I could take up jogging, or walk around with a hot water bottle, but that does seem very unglamorous. I decided to try to thaw out in a hot bath...that usually keeps me warm for a while. So I ran the bath water and gleefully climbed in, just to find that the water was no more than lukewarm. I thought it was time to alert Thomas, my personal "fixer of everything". Knowing that my sense of hot or cold is somewhat different from that of most people, Thomas joined me in the test the temperature of course. For once he agreed with me that the water was rather cool (he now has a cold by the way), and that the heating might be broken somehow. So my capable husband went upstairs to where the actual heater is situated, just to see red lights flashing and the word "defect" on the display. After consulting the manual and my assurances that I know that he can fix EVERYTHING, my knight in shining armor once again most bravely faced the "dragon" and pressed some switches and gave the thing a pat and it worked again after a while. However, Thomas decided that we need a specialist to come look over the thing.

Today was the big day. The specialist was scheduled to come at 12, by which time Thomas would be back from his rehearsal. He had just left, and I had just finished putting my face on, and was planning on spending some quality time with my violin, when the phone rang. It was the specialist, informing me that he would be here within 10 minutes. So I called Thomas to find out what I needed to tell the man, and there he was already. My very brave cat looked at him once and headed for the corner behind the sofa, where she remained for the entire duration of his stay. So much for moral kitty support. I showed the stranger up to the bedroom, inwardly relieved that I had already made the bed, and showed him his patient. I did feel obliged to watch in admiration for a bit, but that grew rather boring. The stranger was ok looking, but he did have a rather loud voice and seemed to take great pleasure in lecturing me on all sorts of things from broken screws to possible gas explosions. He then went to fetch a decompression machine, and I tried to talk my cat into coming out of her corner, but she ignored me. So I fled into my kitchen and vigorously started to clean all,sorts of things, while the most alarming noise erupted from the bedroom. I did consider calling Thomas again, asking him to rescue the cat and me before the whole house would explode, but I reminded myself that I was supposed to be a grown up person with a solid South African backbone....fearless to a fault, and I did not bother him, which made me very proud of myself for a short while.

After an hour and a half, the stranger came downstairs and informed me that he did not really know what the problem was and except for the broken screw things seemed ok. However, in order to fix the screw problem, an entire part needed to be exchanged and that would set us back about 100€. We are also anticipating a rather large fee for the stranger's visit this morning....

He is gone now, and the cat has emerged from behind the sofa. After inspecting her house, she has been singing arias of complaint ever since. She objects vehemently to strangers entering her bedroom. And considering the costs facing us in the near future, I'm not so keen on them either. After all, my Thomas can fix everything :-)

Monday, 26 January 2015

A Poem

Another Monday, cold and grey. 
Even the smell of freshly brewed coffee can't make the cobwebs go away.
The thought of permanent sleep is close to my heart,
But I am a victim of my art. 
I need to play, but that can't be done,
The reasons for this a far more than one...
Why did I end up here in a place that I hate? 
Another reason I can not relate.

Am I a poet? Good heaven's NO
I'm dreaming of somewhere nice to go.
A place all sunny, bright and so gay
That it makes the nightly demons go away
Perhaps with a sparkly beach near by
So that I can sit down on golden sand and cry.
The waves will wash my tears away
And maybe that will be a place where I can stay.
A place of beauty and warmth and no snow
So that my inner self can come back and glow.

I just wish to be happy and have fun and play
And not be surrounded by all this grey.
Yes, I am lonely and I feel sad
In spite of some good things, and that makes me feel bad.
My spirit has left me and my freezing heart.
Where do I look to for rescue? My art?

It's just another Monday, cold and grey
And the coffee did not make the cobwebs go away....