By Janine Milliken

I have been going back to my memories of Durban which were an absolute hoot at times. I remember getting into a taxi and wondering if I would be abducted. I have a real phobia of being abducted. I know I am too old for that now and I am sure I would drive the abductees crazy but it would make a good story.

I am trying to control what words come out my mouth and the more I try the worse it gets. Or maybe because I am now listening to what I say, it sounds worse. I cannot stop myself though, so have resigned myself to the fact, I am indeed going to say what needs to be said and just deal with the consequences of my words. The trouble is, is that I do not have a problem with what I say out loud it’s the other people who do. I am so happy to be 45 years old and at a stage where I do not care what other people think of me anymore. It is great to get to an age where you do not need other people’s approval and you do not need a fan club.

I paid for my family to use the Segways in Durban for an hour. To go up and down the promenade, which was spectacular. I did forget that my aunt has no sense of balance or direction. We watched her with hilarity and eventually the instructor had to hold her handle bars to direct her in the right direction. When we were stopped for a photo, unknown to us my aunt was going backwards, heading for the sea…. All we heard was ‘help’, looked back and we all packed out laughing. The instructor was horrified with us and went and rescued her and reprimanded us.

My mom was in her element. She had her helmet on sideways, she was going as fast as it would take her and all we saw was a bobbing helmet in front of us, all the way. When we were told to go on the pier we nearly lost my aunt into the sea again, as she could not stop. This again was met with hilarity and none of us could help her launching herself off the pier.

My mom raced us all and won, with her bobbing helmet and would not enter into any conversation as she was having so much fun and concentrating so hard we were not allowed to talk to her. Well actually none of us could catch her. Granny on the run! When we returned the Segway’s my aunts Segway nearly broke the shop window as she just kept going and could not stop. My aunt got off her Segway, said her prayers and vowed to never use one of those again. My mother was so keen on her Segway we had to pry her fingers off it and tell her to leave it behind for another day. Almost like a naughty kid being told to stop playing and then having a little tantrum.

In order to calm my mother down we had to leave her in the casino for a while as she loves the machines, not that she’s a gambler, she’s more like a kid in a toy store and wants to know what every machine does. She gets so excited if a frog dances across her screen or a dragon pops out of nowhere and keeps herself amused for hours on end just watching these machines. My dad and I are very bored of these machines, so we have coffee and wait for my mother to finish her little games and then we go fetch her. Although my dad and I keep ourselves very entertained, in the Mug and Bean, watching everyone and eavesdropping on other people’s conversations.

Our holidays are never dull as I usually end up at the psychologist’s office so I can have a check up and see if my brain has not rolled out my ears, yet. Of course, we make a lot of noise while in there and greet everyone as well as hug them. They are probably relieved when we leave. I have to ask ‘why’ all the time as I do not do anything without knowing the ‘why’. I know the psychometric tests so well now that I know what they are looking for and perform very well on them. Although it can be seen as cheating, I suppose.

Then every shop attendant is spoken to as well as customers. I saw twin boys, in their twenties, walking from jewelry shop to jewelry shop and stopped them. I told them I knew they were looking for an engagement ring and of course I could help. They were amazed I knew but then I told them it was obvious as they were only frequenting the jewelry shops and I was not following them. I told them their fiancée would love a tanzanite – no need to thank me fiancée. I also said I would love a tanzanite so if my information is correct they can reward me with a ring as well, or I could keep following them, stalking them. Depends how you look at it.

Have I told the story of my little boy, Niall when he was 3 years old? Niall had an absolute fascination for breasts. A natural man thing obviously that he was born with. A big busted lady walked past us. My son’s eyes nearly fell out his head and naturally he put his hand up and squeezed one of her breasts. I kept walking, giggling all the way. The poor woman was embarrassed and did not know what to do. My husband was jealous but would not go fetch his son. I hid behind the pot plant and when my son had done his thing I went and took his hand and we kept shopping. I thought it was hilarious and could not give him into trouble for such a natural male thing, my husband was bright red and wished he could do that, my daughter just resigned herself to the fact that that was her brother and he did things like that. End of story.

While shopping with Shannen and Niall, Niall decided he was sick. As I ran into a full bathroom, Niall projectile vomited. He cleared the whole bathroom in seconds. I was impressed and we had the bathroom to ourselves. Niall was so upset he was in the woman’s toilet and not the men’s toilet but I do not think my husband could have handled it as well as I did in those days. Mother’s just get used to things like that. Anyway after vomiting he was fine and had a tantrum that he was in the woman’s toilet and told me he was tired of the woman’s toilet and that he was a man. From then on Dad took him to the toilet and had to deal with all the shenanigans Niall would get up to.

The best was when Niall locked himself and his cousin in the toilet, then he flushed the key down the toilet. I had to talk to him through the window and very calmly ask him to get the key out the toilet and give the key to me. This procedure took the good part of an hour, lots of giggling from the little boys and finally he gave me the key, after he flooded the toilet by stuffing the toilet roll in the toilet. I had to learn to talk my son around situations, an art I still use to this day and Niall taught me well. My daughter, Shannen, would walk away rolling her eyes and resign herself to the fact that this situation would take a while to get results. Such a wise owl that daughter of mine.

My daughter never got annoyed by her brother’s tricks. She would calmly come up to me and say ‘Niall has flooded the toilet again’, off I would rush or ‘Niall has eaten our supper’, off I would rush or ‘Niall got the ladder out and is on the roof’, off I would rush or ‘Niall has emptied a wheelbarrow of mud in the lounge’, off I would rush or ‘Niall has just taken his fish for a walk in his hands and the fish is floating’ and off I would rush. I have to say that after the fish had its walk my son was so upset that it was floating now and not swimming. I now had to explain the angel and heaven story and then ordered plastic fish. Shannen adored her brother, found his behavior very hilarious and would always defend him.

My children were the absolute apple of my eye and still are. As you all know, they are in heaven now after a car accident and when I get up there, for eternity I will hold their hands and never let go and I will probably annoy them tirelessly...... for eternity.


Durban, Segway and my angel children

Beautifully Broken
by Janine Milliken
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