When Imar and Tamara recently jetted off to England, Scotland and Spain for a blissful two week trip I have to admit, I was ragingly kind of jealous. Not only were they going on holiday for two weeks, they were going OVERSEAS! Something I haven’t done in yonks, and have been rearing to do for ages… if only I could stop dipping into my savings account, dammit!
Well, they must’ve had some inkling into my dangerous state of mind, because they brought gifts a-plenty to appease the slumbering dragon. And not just postcards and snow globes (although Imar did once bring me a rad snow globe from Stonehenge), but really awesome and meaningful surprises.
First up – A bone china mug from Edinburgh
A Clan MacPherson mug to be more specific!
So, with a surname like Krige, I didn’t strike you as much of a patriotic Scot? Well, I’m downright offended! (Freeeeedoooom – see, I can do it too)
Okay, not really. You see, this is the interesting thing about being South African, particularly if you’re from colonial descent (the term doesn’t exist, so what?!). Our bloodlines are complex, our heritages mixed and our passports – well, plain old green South African. Take me, for instance, with German, Irish, French, Dutch… and, yes, also Scottish ancestors, I am a terrifying mix of Saxon, Gaul and Celt, sadly lacking the sexy and sanguine latino spirit… But that’s neither here nor there.
Let’s get back to the mug… So, the thing is my great grandmother (Ouma Leen, a pet name derived from Aileen) was of Scottish descent and had the maiden name of Gillespie. Along with about 76 other families, the Gillespies form part of the famed Highland Clan MacPherson… which, in part (a very small part, like about 10 % according to my dodgy calculations), makes me a MacPherson. That’s right!
What makes this even cooler is the fact that the MacPherson clan is a leading member of the Chattan Confederation aka THE CAT CONFEDERATION… and, well, we all know how I feel about cats. So, although I’m not entirely sure what the full extent of its meaning is, I’m pretty certain there can be no better clan for me!
The clan motto, “Touch not the cat bot a glove”(don’t touch the cat without a glove, okay?) also says a lot, as Wikipedia explains: “It is a reference to the historically violent nature of the clan and serves as a metaphorical warning to other clans that they should think twice before interfering with Macpherson business. ”
There you have it! Watch out!
Quixote Y Sancho figurine
As a little girl I had a lot of favourite TV programmes with sword-wielding animals in the lead roles. There was Brakenjan the doggy musketeer, Sandokan the tiger pirate/sailor… and Don Coyote, the noble – yes you guessed it – coyote always on a quest to save some or other damsel in distress with his faithful servant, Sancho Panda, by his side.
If you didn’t notice it yet, the quirky Hanna-Barbera cartoon is loosely based on Miguel de Cervantes’ classic Spanish novel, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, with Don Quixote and his faithful servant Sancho Panza as the main characters. I actually have a stunning second-hand copy of the book, but have never gotten further than the first page because of the incredibly high and old-fashioned English.
Despite this, Don Quixote has come to be a rather important figure in my family’s collective consciousness. The TV programme can take some of the blame, as both my brother and I watched it and so did a lot of our cousins, but there are two more important factors:
- My mother used to have an audio tape of the very dramatic Broadway musical production, called Man of La Mancha and we would sometimes have to listen to it on long holiday journeys. Not altogether bad, except for the part where Quixote dies and his female consort sings him a tragic, high-pitched farewell.
- “The Quest/Impossible Dream,” is the main song from the play, and something of an extended family anthem. You see, it was one of my late grandmother’s favourites songs and one we often sing in honour of her memory when we all get together. (Yes, we are the sort of family that breaks into song given half a chance). In case you were wondering, it really is an incredibly beautiful song, with lyrics that encourage a striving for excellence no matter what. The very essence of Don Quixote’s life philosophy.
So, when Imar and them got to Madrid, located just north of the historical region of La Mancha, they instantly knew that something quixotic would tickle my fancy, and this is what they got.
Finally – A lovely leather bag
No complex explanations of family history needed for this one, just a beautiful leather sling bag from a market in Madrid.
Thank you Imar and Tamara for being particularly awesome givers of gifts. 🙂