Monday, May 09, 2005

Moving on 

Having just moved into this house last week – OK, April – we are now in the process of moving again. The main reason is financial. We need a year or so of not living here so we can afford to come back and live in it. You’d think someone as smart and savvy as me would have figured out that we couldn’t afford the house before building it, wouldn’t you? The main concern about moving is not the kids, or the dogs, or where to park the car, but visitors.

One of the things that we promised ourselves when we came out here is that we would always do our best to make any visitors feel as welcome as possible, and to make sure that they enjoyed their time here as much as possible. The motives for this are purely selfish – we can’t fly back to the UK as often as we’d like, and even when we do, there are too many friends and family to see for us to spend enough time with everyone. The perfect solution is to get them to spend on the air fare, and we put them up for a week or two. It seems to work well, and the boss is a great host. I just open wine bottles at regular intervals. Seems to work.

What’s interesting to me is the reactions that the move elicits in other people. Some are almost shocked to pity, while others think it is a great thing to do. These two groups split pretty neatly into those who lives are enriched by material possessions and status, and those who couldn’t give a shit. I find myself drawn, perhaps by circumstances, to the ones who don’t care. There’s no correlation with income, by the way.

To draw a really tenuous analogy, I find myself like a company beginning to understand what it’s strategy is. One of the key things in strategy is to decide what you don’t do as much as what you do. You can’t do everything well. So it is with friends – you work out what type of people you cannot spend too much time with, and then hope there are some people left over when you have drawn your dividing lines. Then you hope that they can afford fairly regular flights to South Africa

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Self preservation 

We decided to take our clients out to dinner. So we don’t have to talk to them too much, we went to a very smart local hotel that has a small 16 seat cinema. The invitation, rather swakily put together by yours truly, offered a choice of three movies: Butch & Sundance, Groundhog Day, and Rear Window. Picking the movies was a very long and not very democratic process, within the constraints of no sex or violence. You don’t want to be watching movie stars doing the wild thing whilst seated in the dark next to your client’s wife. Anyway, to my surprise, most people chose Rear Window.

At this point, I got on the phone to the video store to reserve it on DVD. You’d think I would have done that first, wouldn’t you? “Sorry sir, we don’t have that one.” Different store, specialising in old movies. Nope. Local Amazon wannabe websites. Nope and nope. At this point I’m wondering if it has even been released on DVD. Off to Amazon, where I find it, and order it. While I was there, I bought a copy of the Italian Job too – the proper one, obviously. Got them shipped to my brother in law, and delivered here by him just in time. So now I own two DVDs. And no DVD player. I am the only white man in South Africa in my income band who does not have a DVD player or satellite TV. Bet I wouldn’t have been able to find the original Italian Job in local shops either. Sometimes I miss civilisation.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?