Back to the Ant House


A Tiny Detail

by Michelle Dennison / Julianne Alcott

“I saw a guy who is just your type,” a sales rep friend of mine said one Monday evening. “You must come and check him out.”

It was during a five second break between tracks at our weekly Zumba session at gym. Understandably, I didn’t have much breath to object with.

2013 has been a hard year on my heart, and I’m on a voluntary man-break at the moment. I’m trying to edit a novel, and learn for exams; I don’t need even a whiff of a relationship to complicate things.

But in the end, I agreed to go with her, mostly for the fun of a mini road trip with a friend than anything else.

I spent a few minutes considering what I would wear. What does one wear to a mini check-out session? I didn’t want to put too much effort into it, but I obviously wanted to look decent, just in  case…

Jeans and a T-shirt would be suitable, I decided, and not my new dress. But on the morning of the reconnaissance mission, I had a 5am plumbing emergency and was late for work and had to drive in the pouring rain, so I decided to wear my new dress, just to cheer myself up.

And the guy was my type.

Cute, sweet, funny, good morals. I learned quite a bit about him as we chatted in the workshop. I also learned quite a bit about the uses of metal detectors in the export business. Did you know that you can’t export anything to do with foodstuffs unless they have passed a metal detector test? Companies like Ouma Rusks use them in their factories to make their biscuits safe for consumers.

I also had a lesson in Rare Earth magnets from China. They are very strong, and I dutifully prised one of them off a metal cupboard as instructed by the cute, sweet mister.

All in all, I had a pleasant time. My friend really can spot my type of man.

There was just one tiny detail that I told her as we were reversing out the factory parking lot to go home.

Next time she did this, it would be advisable to check if the man was wearing a wedding ring before we went all the way there to check him out!


Image courtesy of


By Penny M
Having scuffed my heels towards retirement at sixty, I find myself flying down the moving carpet in the departure lounge. Yes, it’s early, but I’m wearing different shoes these days and can’t wait to kick them off.

I doubt they will fit anybody else. When a would-be successor discovers what size my feet were, how many toes were crossed inside, they might choose a different pair. The leather caps are sucked to perishing from getting them in my mouth. Nobody else would lick them; I wasn’t far enough up the food chain. The heels are worn from the dragging and the backs bear the marks of the many times I’ve had to change gear during my journey. I could go on about the colour, style and smell etcetera, but I’m sure you’ve got the picture.

I am so excited!

No, my pockets aren’t overflowing, and I will have to earn my keep so that I don’t have to live in my shoe when I become an older woman. It’s time to turn dreams into action and spend precious moments with the family and friends who are most important in my life.


P.S. If by any chance Prince Charming turns up at your door with a slipper,  you know where to find me.

Please turn off your electronic devices … yes you!

By Sue Trollip

As a child my horizon consisted of home, school, holidays to the beach to visit Gran and holidays to  the Karoo to visit Gran and Grandad. Small or not that small, depending on your point of view.

Things exploded when I turned twenty-one and climbed aboard a flight to NYC. My eyes bulged, my pulse raced, I felt like I was living in a movie. Since then I have been fortunate to travel often and I’ve loved every second of it, even the bits I wasn’t loving quite so much at the time. Like being stranded at the airport because there were technological problems with the plane, or missing a flight or racing for a flight (which brings out all sorts of nefarious driving skills), or arriving three days before your luggage. There are passengers with BO, those who don’t know how to control their intake of free drinks and even those who use the ‘barf’ bag.

Even airports give me a kick, my heartbeat accelerates as I board the plane, fold myself into that tiny seat then, and this is my favourite part, we speed along the runway, thrust backwards in our seats and lift off – the huge bird takes flight. It blows my hair back, well it would if I were on the wing.

Lately I’ve been on a series of short domestic flights, literally a hop, there’s little cruising time. We’re
ascending, then descending as in drink your tea fast, and for the first time in my flying life I’ve been afraid to fly.

It’s not the aircraft, nor any of the crew, it’s my delightful fellow passengers. When you land or take off there are a set of specific instructions, repeated several times. Fasten your seatbelts, make sure your seat backs are in an upright position, lock away your tray tables and switch off all your electronic devices, even those that operate in airplane mode. Now I’m not sure about that last instruction, some people believe it is to do with satellite interference or some such scientific thing, others declare the crew simply want you to pay attention. It’s irrelevant. The point is you are asked to do 4 things for a maximum period of 5 minutes and yet when I look around all I see are blinking cell phone screens. The owners are vaguely furtive but they cannot not check on that final Facebook status or send that quick, ‘I’m landing’ message to their loved ones.

On the last flight I took and from what I could see, if we were to crash, there would be three people on the plane who knew how to follow instructions. And if survival depended on our ability to follow orders: Would we get out alive?