Queen Elizabeth the Second or Queue Ee Two?


It’s natural to assume that the QE2 ocean liner was named after the reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II. But this isn’t the case.

At the time of the launching of what came to be known as the QE2, Cunard, the company that owned the liner, renamed ships after the ones they replaced – in other words, in the late 1960s, the old HMS Queen Elizabeth was to be retired and its name simply reused for the new Queen Elizabeth ship.

Cunard never revealed the names of its ships until the official launch day, so in 1968 dignitaries were invited to ‘the launch of Cunard liner No 736’. The Queen, who did the honours, was given a sealed envelope containing its official name, but apparently never opened it, and went ahead and christened the ship ‘the Queen Elizabeth the Second’ after herself. Tactfully, when Cunard had the name of the ship painted on its prow and stern, they added the Arabic numeral 2 (rather than the Roman II used by the Queen), thereby satisfying everyone and insulting no-one.

So who was the first QE named after?

The first Queen Elizabeth ocean liner, which operated from 1939 to 1969, was named after the Queen Mum, Elizabeth, who was the wife of the reigning monarch of the time, King George VI.

Queen Elizabeth I, or ‘Good Queen Bess’, was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who was later executed; she ruled England and Ireland from 1559 to 1603.

blue cover

Plenty more fascinating facts about the QE2 can be found in Life on a Permanent Wave: Hair-raising Stories from a Shipboard Stylist, available from amazon for Kindle, Kindle for PC (after you’ve downloaded the free app) and in paperback. Go here for more info.

• If you live in the Western Cape, please speak to Richard about ordering your copy (R160) directly from him at Just Gorgeous. Please pay him upfront – he’s not made of money, you know.



‘Life on a Permanent Wave’ now available in paperback!

For those of you who don’t have a kindle and have wanted to buy Richard’s and my book, Life on a Permanent Wave: Hair-raising Stories from a Shipboard Stylist, there’s good news: it’s now available through amazon in paperback. For more details, click here.

paperback cover


It’s unfortunately expensive for South Africans because of our dismal exchange rate (and the hefty shipping fee makes it even more so) but for you guys with somewhat more stable national currencies it’s a good read for about $13. And if you buy goods worth more than $35 (another couple of books, say, or a CD or DVD – go on, you know you want to), then you get shipping free.

Also, don’t be put off by what seem like very long shipping times – the books we ordered arrived a month earlier than forecast.

* If you live in the Western Cape and want a copy of the paperback, please speak to Richard – he’s taking orders at Just Gorgeous (R180 R160 per copy). We’ll then put in a bulk order to amazon so we can get around the shipping fees.

Highly recommended: Lazanou Organic Vineyards ‘open day’


My friend Peter Boshuijzen and I had such a good time at Lazanou’s last open day (which was actually an ‘open evening’, on a night when there was a full moon). For R250 a person, you get a really delicious dinner (or lunch) in the most beautiful setting, plus lots of wine-tasting in the actual vineyard where each wine is grown accompanied by a very informative chat by the farmer himself.


It’s a working farm, complete with a farmyard of animals (used for food) – while we were across the dam tasting wine, the cow and one of the sheep (above) decided to amble over to have a closer look at the festivities and had to be encouraged back to their quarters.



Tracey Peter Lazanou 2


The farm is on the outskirts of Wellington.


There are lots of pics of the open days here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lazanou-Organic-Vineyards/117044281678464

Go here for info about the farm and the next open day: http://www.lazanou.co.za/lazopenday.htm

Bye Flossie

It hasn’t been a good stretch for our animals, and the latest to go to pet heaven was Floss, our sturdy little 10-year-old calico cat.

Flossie poses

She was partially blind and very timid, and felt safest when she was tucked away up a tree (where she spent most days) or in the back of a cupboard.



Floss came from the Wellington SPCA along with a sister, Georgie, who was killed on the road within a few months, and Flossie never really recovered. She was always a loner, but most nights she’d come in, jump up onto my bed and sleep curled up against me.

RIP Flossie.

Carpet-washing week

I was a stung by the comment by Koosie on my post about my disintegrating moemfies (here) that accuses me of laziness – ‘Net lui vrouens gooi so iets van waarde in ’n masjien!’ (‘Only lazy women throw something like this of value in a machine’) she writes, the exclamation mark conveying her derision.

Now, I have dozens – hundreds – of personality failings, but being lazy isn’t one of them. So, for Koosie’s edification, I’ve decided to post my pics of my carpet-cleaning efforts. I wash – by hand, in the bath – every carpet in the house every year, usually around New Year when the weather is hot enough to dry them, which can take several days for some of the heavier ones. This year, over a period of about five days, I hand-washed 12 carpets.


This beautiful butterfly came to inspect my handiwork.


The worst neighbours in the world

During the 12 years I’ve had the same over-the-road neighbours, I’ve had to put up with the most amazing crap from them.

They’ve run various businesses out of their garage, with concomitant vehicle traffic and people noise, but that hasn’t been their only ‘fuck-you-neighbours’ move – not by a long way.

Some years ago, the wife started a crèche in her front garden, literally metres from my study window, resulting in my having to put up with not only the maddening noise of mobs of screaming children, but also the exhaust and noise pollution of mothers arriving in their cars to drop off their little darlings, and returning a few hours later to pick them up.

And they’ve gone through several batches of dogs – when the dogs became too problematic (and some drove not only me but everyone in the immediate surrounds plus all passersby completely crazy, by continuously escaping from the garden, often getting into my garden and several times into my house, attacking other dogs – and my cats and chickens – and barking incessantly from early in the morning to late at night) they simply disappeared, but always to be replaced, in very short order, by another dog or batch or dogs.

They have three children, all under 10, and a couple of years ago put a swimming pool in their front garden (again, metres from my study, where I work every day) – so during the school holidays, the screaming of children is a constant disturbance. They’re not a peaceful family generally, so early mornings are also often a screaming match, usually with the mother leading the pack.

The father – who’s a plain-clothes policeman, and often struts around with a highly visible weapon strapped to his hip – makes no secret of how much he hates me. Once, when one of the problematic dogs had got into my house for the gazillionth time and terrorised my animals, I took the dog back over to him and begged him to please please PLEASE find a way to ensure that his dogs stayed in his property. He simply reverted to the same tactics as his wife and offspring, and screamed at me in Afrikaans while his kids looked on. And he ignored the issue of the dogs, choosing instead to pass scathing comment on my physical appearance.

After years – literally, years – of problems with their dogs, these horrendous neighbours finally came up with a solution. They built a vibracrete wall around their property. It’s so hideous I would almost – almost – prefer the dog problems.

This, now, is their latest foray into ‘fuck-you-neighbours’ territory. The policeman has, it seems invested in two massive cabs and one double trailer, which frequently park on the pavement overnight – so this is the current view from my kitchen…


… and this is the view from my study.


(Usually, although I have no option but to stare at a grey vibracrete wall as well, the view encompasses the upper slopes of the Kasteelberg and some trees, plus the lovely leafy properties on either side of the central eyesore.)

Often, a cab and trailer will come back late at night and leave early in the morning, so all the houses around this one have to put up with the very loud noise – during what should be the quiet hours – of a huge truck trying to park on a narrow suburban pavement; and, occasionally, when both cabs are at the house at the same time, the din of one of them going backwards and forwards numerous times in order to ease its gigantic self into the policeman’s driveway.

(The policeman often siphons petrol out of the cabs’ giant petrol tanks and decants it into his and his wife’s cars. This may very well be completely legitimate but it seems dodgy to me.)

If these aren’t the worst neighbours in the world, they’re pretty close.