Monthly Archives: June 2014

Remember my Name

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ImageI have always had a bad memory for names and it’s even worse now I live somewhere where the names are not familiar and have no point of reference for me.  Following a visit to Israel I telephoned the house that my Husband-To-Be was staying at and spoke to one of my now very good friends, I had met her and spent time with her only a week earlier but I called her Hagar, her name is Gali.  No they are not similar in any way but the week I had been visiting Israel I had met a lot of H-T-B’s friend’s girlfriends and there was Hadas, Hagar, Gali, Tali, Michal and Michal.  It was very confusing for someone who knew a host of Clares, Rachels, Sarahs and Helens.  You would have thought 10 years on I would have got better.  Not so.  Of course I no longer call my friends by the wrong name but a couple of weeks I made what the French would call a faux pas, the Israelis call a fedeekha and what us Brits would call a balls up.

I was on my daily power walk (yes I am old and I don’t jog) and my phone rang. The name Noa came up.  Noa is a very popular girls name here – not to be confused with Noah with a kh sound at the end which is a boy’s name.  I don’t know anyone called Noa but she was saved in my phone and when I spoke to her it turned out she was one of the Mothers from the twins’ nursery inviting us all over for dinner.  How lovely.  I said great, made a note of the date and kept walking.  A few day’s before the date I asked her to pick the twins from the nursery and I would get there as soon as poss with no. 1 son because I had double booked something.  All good so far, she was sweet enough to deal with my two 3 year olds plus hers and a baby alone for half an hour.  One hour in to our date I received a text message ‘are you on your way?’.  I was so confused.  I am here.  What on earth.  Oh bugger.  I am at the wrong house with all my children and now how do I explain inviting ourselves over, asking for the favour and who on earth really invited us?  Uh oh. I wondered why there was no sign of dinner.

To cut a very confusing story short Noa is the name of the girl whose house we had all invaded and the mother who had invited us was also Noa.  Oops. I eventually explained the predicament and  went to dinner at the other Noa’s house (whose daughter has the same name as my daughter) and all was well. Must remember people’s names, must remember people’s names.

Luckily my name also causes problems for Israelis.  There is no ay sound in the Hebrew language so Katie is often pronounced Ketie or Kitty.  As I am sure I have mentioned before, the Israelis love coffee shops.  The local coffee shop is to an Israeli what the local pub is to a Brit.  Many of the coffee shop chains have a name system whereby they call your name over the microphone when your order is ready.  I have been called Hattie, Kaley, Kitty, Ettie and my personal favourite Titty.  Yes someone called me Titty once.  Go figure. Thank goodness for Katy Perry, I now say Katie, as in Perry.

At a meeting in the early days here a receptionist asked me (in English) who she should say was here and I said, its Katie.  She promptly picked up the phone and said Skatie is here.  My Brit friends still call me Skatie to this day. So you see it’s not just me mispronouncing, messing up, not remembering names but if everyone had pronounceable Anglo name I am sure I would fare a lot better – Chen is an old school friend of my husbands, pronounced Khhhhhhkhhhen.  I really don’t stand a chance.

Is this just me or do any of you have the same problem?

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They’re Back

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As the days heat up, the sun begins to really burn and the nights become stuffy we once again welcome the critters that dwell in these parts.  I say welcome but actually what I really mean is dread.

Since this time last year and my post When the Night Comes Falling there have been some changes in my garden, namely the chopping down of too many ficking ficus bushes and a very short haircut for the banana plant.  All in the name of keeping them roaches away.  Duh.  Nothing keeps them away.  Although we haven’t had a repeat performance of the infestation we have previously experienced (yet) there is a certain amount of unmistakable rustling in the leaves come nightfall and we have had some visitors to the house.  7 to be exact.  I think someone may have been feeding them kriptonite as they are getting bigger.

In the months of quiet we have had a couple of hedgehogs hanging out in the back garden, a few preying mantis and a lot of bats.  These I can handle.  Even welcome.  The roaches, no, just no.  When they manage to squeeze under the screen door and make a dash across the floor in front of where I am sitting, when they jump out of the kids towel at bath time and scuttle behind the toilet and worst of all when they run across the bedroom floor I am not ashamed to admit that my deep throated yelp of shock is as forthcoming as ever.

From the early days of my roach encounters I have figured out a way to stun them or at least slow them before they run and hide (and I ain’t going to bed with a known roach monster lurking in my boudoir).  My trick?  Hairspray.  In fact it is the same hairspray can that I have had for around 10 years, because lets face it who uses hairspray? (except my mum).  This handy tin gets sprayed at the offending critter who either a) falls on its back and therefore is easy to bat with a flip flop (flip flops are the method of choice because they are malleable and make a good crack as you whack) b) the smell/stickiness slows the high speed hiding and once again make them easier prey for the flip flop.  So far this year I have killed 3.  Husband wins the tally with 4, he also has to clean up the bodies.  I do wish he’d stop flushing them down the toilet though because they don’t always flush away, think about it….ugh.

I think we have to get the roach killer back to spray the house to ensure a less stressful summer but the idea of poisoning us in order to poison them isn’t ideal.  Someone told me recently that the answer is a cat.  They like to play with them, paw at them and ultimately crunch on them.  Sounds ideal.  There are plenty of cats to take our pick from, Israel like many Mediterranean countries is inundated with street cats.  The problem is that I hate cats only a little less than I hate roaches.  Sorry cat lovers but the moggies just don’t like me and as a result I don’t like them.  Even the most gentle, friendliest cat will attack me.  Once a cat pounced on me as I walked down the street (unprovoked I might add) and clung to my leg with its very sharp claws as I tried to run away (yes people were pointing and laughing but I didn’t find it very funny).  Cats now know I am scared of them and in their spooky, intelligent, sly way they pretend to be mates by purring and nudging my hand with their heads only to out the claws or go for a quick bite.  I now have to decide which is worse, the odd cockroach or a permanent house cat.

Hmmm, which makes a better housemate?

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Here are some snaps from the garden.