Author: Lois Nicholls

Passport Photos

There’s nothing like new middle-aged passport photos to bring on a bucket load of self-doubt. In earlier years, a new passport photograph elicited excitement—there was international travel pending! But with age, the excitement is momentarily marred by the stark reminder that photoshopping and soft lighting is a valuable and most necessary tool. Instead, you are left in the questionable photographic hands of anyone who happens to be behind the post office counter. Admittedly, you could have looked slightly better enlisting the help of a more sympathetic photographer. But who has the vanity or time? So, there you are in all your glory, planted in front of a wonky white screen, totally at the mercy of ‘Barry’ brandishing a camera and trying to aim in your general direction. He is of course, totally unaware that you may well need counselling after the passport photo reveal. No, far more concerned is he that your ears and eyebrows are exposed because these are apparently telling. You know way before he’s even finished that the end result is not …

Lost for Words

Words I fear, are dearly departing. Not permanently in a sinister, deeply sad early-onset Alzheimer’s sort of way. I mean temporarily. Going AWOL for a few minutes then reappearing with wanton abandon, casually, as though they hadn’t disappeared in the first place. Their nonchalant “Gotcha!” reappearance can be while I’m in the shower, driving or performing some random task. They’ve been known to pop up while eating chocolate or while seeking out another word entirely. It’s that random – a game of hide and seek where they’re always doing the hiding. It hasn’t always been like this. Words would momentarily disappear for long enough to say, “Ummm …” and back they’d pop. With dependable regularity. But now? They get lost in transit. They worm their way to the back of my brain and have a fat party before deciding to return. In the writing game, this does not bode well. It’s not as though any old word will do. Sometimes it’s the elusive one that I want, not a stand-in imposter. So I increasingly turn …

A Bone to Pick with Paleo

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — The beleaguered Pete Evans of paleo persuasion might just have an ally on the far-flung side of the world. His name is Professor Tim Noakes and I truly believe he and Pete should chew the cud, so to speak. The renowned Cape Town based professor you see, is also under public scrutiny for his dietary views. He is a great protagonist of the Banting diet (very similar to Paleo but says yes to a little dairy). Sugar is pure evil. He’s also the author of The Real Meal Revolution. His original notoriety, however, was gained from a heavyweight book he once wrote, The Lore of Running. Noakes’ recent media scrutiny stems from his complete backflip when it comes to his former high carb teachings. He’s been pretty vocal about his new high fat, low carb diet. He, like Pete has been publicly bashed by dieticians and worse, fellow Cape Town University academics. The public is also fed up, judging by a reliable source of scandal, Facebook. Years ago, every running enthusiast I …

Drop ‘organic’ for one Elle of a 50th

There’s been a lot written lately about Elle turning 50 next year. I take an interest because I am almost the same vintage and so, share a particular affinity with the magnificently proportioned and ageless model known as The Body. In case you’re wondering, the tag mentioned above justifiably stuck after her five cover appearances on the iconic Sports Illustrated magazine. I was born in July ‘63 – my friend Elle in March ’64 – which makes us a mere eight months apart. We both finished school in ‘81 so could, theoretically, have been classmates. We could have enjoyed the same movies – For Your Eyes Only, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Raiders of the Lost Ark … remember those? We probably listened to the same music, boogied on the disco floor to Blondie’s Call Me and went through a phase of schoolgirl anarchy with Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall. We could well have slow-danced to Captain and Tennille’s Do That to Me One More Time … aah, the memories. The similarity, I …

Let us grow old without the guilt

IN MY MOTHER’S ERA, middle-aged women were content to be middle-aged women. They wouldn’t dream of trying to fit into their teenage daughter’s jeans or befriend their friends on Facebook, if there was such a thing back then. I remember whispered concern about a particular woman who would walk miles to maintain a stick-like figure but, mostly, women had a healthy approach to life. Manic walker aside, I don’t remember anyone looking like a whippet unless born that way and there was no power walking with weights or hiring a personal trainer to work on “abs”. Cross-fit? That would be exercising with a bad attitude. There were no gym junkies because there were no gyms and a weekly game of tennis was the sociable exercise of choice. My mother had a friend called Lorna Jane but she wasn’t a gym clothing icon, her surname was Smith, not Clarkson. The more adventurous souls took up yoga when the fad hit my little country town and I recall my nicely rounded mum proudly showing us how she …

Happy Campers

Camping is a bit like childbirth, you forget the pain until you go through it all again. The main problem with our family is that no matter how organised we think we are when embarking on a camping expedition, we’re very soon proved otherwise. This is a fact I have come to not only expect but accept. Our latest mission did, however, have all the potential for a smooth operation. This lay mainly in the recent acquisition of a second-hand box trailer so no-one had to endure a two-hour journey enveloped in bedding and the occasional cooking pot. Yes, we were well and truly ready for Fraser Island. So we thought. The truth is, our camping is too sporadic to be truly organised. Years may elapse before we say yes to the pleas of friends and our children who are now old enough to toss around guilt-inducing comments such as: “We never do anything exciting”. So, the preparation began. Probably not soon enough, now that I think about it. I did Google a camping list, having …