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Boom or Bust

Boom or Bust ..

Much is happening at a lickety-split pace. Not just on the political front here, there and everywhere but also on my own home ground, i.e. in myself, in part because of epic sagas both near and far.

Our newly elected president, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, has agreed to land expropriation without compensation. It will be implemented according to the Constitution, to return land to the previously dispossessed. He has stated – I heard him say it – that it is an original sin, the historical possession of land by ‘others’ enabling dispossession of original land dwellers. Obviously this is a highly complex and delicate matter. But it gave me pause when he said about original sin and therefore the urgency to address this wound and make compensation.

Dispossession of persons of ancestral land is a grave sin indeed – 

Many are very disturbed about this. There’s been a bit of a panicked knee-jerk reaction. I am hopeful that ALL come to the table (including those whining about it) as Mr. Ramaphosa has requested, to start finding workable solutions. Many feel extremely threatened. Sadly, there’s already been some grabbing of land, illegally, even by violent means by the thuggery that is part of our landscape. The state actually owns a high percentage of the land; many of our indigenous people own land and the ‘white’ landowner represents a small percentage by comparison ..

I sit between shaky faith and doubt.  We have a sound justice system, sound constitution, a free press, intelligent observers and political analysts and activists from all sides. We know that the world has its eye on us. That’s not an inflated comment. Those that matter and have influence in the wider world are watching us very keenly. But more significantly, we as South Africans know somewhere in our bones, that this is Boom or Bust time … 

We had a very serious listeria bacteria outbreak here that caused the deaths of approximately 180 people out of over 4000 cases of  reported cases. Its source was recently detected to a local food plant where the bacteria was found in cold meats, salamis, viennas, polony and such like – processed foods. This is a form of cheap protein and is eaten by the less economically advantaged, the poor. It has affected mainly small children and the elderly whose immunity system is compromised. I read somewhere that 4 people recently died from listeria infected melons in Australia ..  

Death has been a part of my particular landscape this last little while. A few funerals in the last two weeks. Hearing of people who I know, dying suddenly, in spite of being in good health. Not from listeria, from other causes.

This was my younger son’s recent Facebook post in a store. I don’t know what to call it – satire?  It appeared unexpectedly on a day that I was thinking this very same thing about life and death and the necessity for keeping death alive on one’s left shoulder. Soft cheeses are also implicated in this outbreak.

”I feel so alive.

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Our health department was under fire, not only for this, but also for a tragedy that should never have happened i.e. the removal of psychiatric patients from their places of safety to other places where they were not adequately cared for, nor their families notified, and many died because of terrible management. It is a stain on our country. Heads rolled.

As I write, heads are rolling in many state departments. Ministers and minions are finally being called to account as the evidence of State Capture (read corruption) is being exposed for what it is. Billions lining the pockets of thieves in State Owned Enterprises.

The water crisis situation in Cape Town & surrounds is a 1000 times less dire than it was in January, when Day Zero was looming and overshadowing everything. People are more water-wise and plans are afoot to redress not only the incompetence by the Department of Water but also to effect desalination, already underway. There’s been a little recent rain in Cape Town! Dams are still dangerously low though –

The firing of Rex Tillerson US; Theresa May, UK prime minister firing Russian diplomats because of the nerve agent recently seriously disabling 2 Russians in Salisbury UK, and more recently, a police officer; and the firing of incompetent ministers here in SA, brings to mind being ‘in the line of fire’. Which, while it strictly means the bullet being fired and aimed at one, can be stretched into a metaphor. The dice are loaded, like guns are, there are triggers all over the world, we get triggered by personal and impersonal situations.

With thoughts of so many innocent and injured people dispossessed in ongoing war-torn countries, dispossession of people from their rightful lands historically, I can only keep a candle alight within …

“Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Thank you for reading. Today is the Ides of March. Autumn (Fall) is approaching here in the southern hemisphere, Spring in the northern hemisphere. Betwixt and between – changing seasons – May the Force be with you all.


In Limbo

In Limbo

The president of South Africa, mr. jacob zuma, was due to give his State of the Nation Address (SONA) tomorrow night in the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town. But, for a few weeks already, there’ve been protests about this as he is seen as not fit to address Parliament and the nation. He has about 780 criminal charges against him and he has not yet seen his day in court. He is wily. And has friends in high places. For the last few years, there have been fisticuffs and blood on the floor during jacob zuma’s annual SONA and only when the EFF (Economic Freedom Front) has been thrown out for protesting and other opposition parties have walked out in disgust at behaviour unbecoming, has some sort of order been restored and he was able to proceed in his egoistic waffle.

He is NOT fit to address the nation. It seems that many in his inner circle also feel this way. Yesterday, it was announced that the SONA has been postponed. And, it was noted yesterday, there would an urgent meeting of the NEC (National Executive Committee) today to decide the way forward, given the postponement of SONA.  We took this to mean that zuma would be urged to step down and measures would be taken to ensure a smooth transition. Today, it was announced that the NEC had decided it was NOT going to meet and that the deputy president, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa (also ANC president) and zuma were in meetings today in ‘constructive talks’.

 We do not know what is going on. We do NOT want zuma to go the way of Mugabe (ex pres of Zimbabwe) who has retained much of his ill gotten wealth and creature comforts. Plus pension etc etc etc – Zuma must face his charges or face impeachment – which is also on the cards. He has NOT upheld our constitution. He must NOT get amnesty. He must NOT avoid prosecution. He has brought our country to the brink. Zillions of Rands (our currency) has left the country illegally, lining the purses of criminals.

So we wait, for the next stage of the unfolding ongoing drama. Hence feeling in limbo. A vacuum –

I can’t help but reflect that what is happening in our country is happening just about everywhere else. We have to keep standing up against the rotten apples, the snakes in the grass who believe that because they hold high office, are above the law.

The protests of the ordinary people is what is needed, at all times. It is thanks to them as well as our judiciary system and the constitution, that many in high office are falling like dominoes and being held accountable for their crimes. It is refreshing to see –

There is never a dull moment in our country. I feel hopeful, and inspired that right is might and will ultimately be victorious. The day zuma leaves office is the day I believe the rain will fall where it is needed, bringing relief to the drought not only to the land but also to where we’ve felt the drought in our hearts, minds and souls.  

Thank you for reading. Do you feel hopeful, in spite of all to the contrary, that right will ultimately prevail?


This, That and the Next

This, That & the Next –

Happy New Year to you All. Let’s hope that 2018 brings its gentle wings of change for the betterment of all. The new moon is always a time of new beginnings, time to plant seeds in the soil, in the garden and in the heart.

We’re so aware of all that is happening at all times on our shared planet. We’re all doing our small bit, turning hope into action, whether picking up trash, being mindful of plastic water bottles and our use of them, plastic straws no longer for our drinks, a smile to a stranger, being helpful when we can, conservation and gratitude of all that is good and beautiful, including family and friends –

 We set off tomorrow morning from Plettenberg Bay in the early hours for the long trek back to Johannesburg with our cat Angie in tow. Packing still has to be done and a few tasks still to be completed. It has been very special indeed to spend time with our sons and daughter-in-law. The weather has mostly been very kind, any rain always welcome. I’ve had a few walks on the beach, a few swims in the sea. I wondered the other day whether the water in Plettenberg Bay shrinks clothes after being in the washing machine – fortunately though, after obsessing about this for several days, I came to realise I was engaging in classic avoidance behaviour and avoiding more essential concerns, i.e. the year ahead. 

My husband and I both turn 70 this year. I’ve hardly given this a thought but it’s time I did. There are plans afoot to meet with my husband’s sister and her husband, maybe their adult children and their children (who all live in California), and our sons and daughter-in-law somewhere exotic in June. 

I guess that’s the frill of the matter.

On a more urgent note, I was recently asked to give a talk at the end of February on ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’, the book I co-authored with Susan E. Schwartz Ph.D. This time I’ll be on my own. So, I’ve been thinking about that and making some notes and what with turning 70, several friends fairly suddenly being unwell, or experiencing difficulties in grave ways, and death, brought me up short in terms of my own life and what I plan to do with it, given the limit of time now more apparent. And, my dreams have been somewhat alarming. I’m paying attention. Been brought up short. Catching a wake-up call …


I will always remember my dear friend Lyndy who died in March last year and her emphasising the importance of doing and not delaying – of which I am a past mistress. 

What I did do this morning was to book a flight from Johannesburg next week to Cape Town on Thursday returning home a week later. I’ve thought a huge lot about this over the last several weeks. There are plans to meet an old friend (from more than 40 years ago and who lives in England) who is already sailing on the seas with her partner and who docks in Cape Town next week Friday. Lunch on Friday with other old friends. And a plan for a city bus tour on Saturday. I am not sure who I will know or recognise besides Wendy. I also hope to see some friends in Cape Town who I didn’t manage to see when last in Cape Town in November (for a school re-union), and one or two who I did see, but I want to see them again, including my sister.

I also have a yearning to go to Norway to seek out my paternal grandmother’s place of birth. I’ve been doing a bit of detective work and a few recent synchronistic happenings have enforced my wish to go, even if I go alone, this year.

I said in a post or so back about precipitation – how it means rain but it also means prayer. My note book in which I’ve written prayers for specific people and for our planet over the last months is constantly being added to. I’m taking my globe back to Johannesburg with me and will say prayers for the planet and all living in and on it.

I used this photograph from an atlas a while back – useful for making prayers for the world –

Praying … I’m still a newbie at this, but I’m learning and practising. As a dear friend of mine said recently on the phone when we were talking about one of her ill family members, it helps maybe for the one praying to feel a little better and to know that we are doing what we can for the other – even from a long long distance. I think she’s right. Does one pray for one’s self I wonder …? Something I’m thinking about – something that someone said –


There was very real physical labour in planting a newly purchased hibiscus. Getting the roots out of a previously planted creeper (which was here when we purchased our Plett holiday home 10 years ago) from its container took us a few hours last evening. Digging, digging, digging – back breaking work but so worthwhile. Re-planting of other in another place – geraniums. Soil in my fingers. (I don’t wear gloves). More work, taking out old roots in order to plant new ones by my husband and son today (while I was having acupuncture to be balanced for the year ahead and to be more disciplined and mindful of my health) and this is the photo of it. It’s sort of near the entrance surrounded by stones.

We plan to make the move to Plettenberg Bay sometime this year. The uncertainty is very real as to when this will actually happen. Who knows what will happen this year?

T. S. Eliot, East Coker

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well and in good spirits. Here’s to 2018. May the fates be kind to you and may the Force be with you.

 I won’t be able to respond to any comments for a day or so because of travelling although perhaps I can use my phone. It’s always a thrill to see comments!

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice Day

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice Day

We’re in Plettenberg Bay on the southern coast of South Africa – we motored down from Johannesburg last week at midnight with Angie the cat in tow. Both sons are here, Davey & his wife Jüte arrived from Cape Town this past Monday night. Angie has settled in very well indeed – maybe not surprising since she comes from Plett and lived for a while in this house quite a long time ago. He was my son Mike’s rescue cat –

I went for a walk on my own on the Robberg beach midday yesterday – such a gorgeous day, bright, sunny, not too hot …

That is not a shark fin! (If it was I would have left the country). It is a boat the body of which is obscured by the uprising wave … the Tsitsikama mountains in the background … the tide was out …

The results of the recent 5 day elective conference of the ANC (African National Congress) for their chosen president to lead the ANC has yielded the ANC president we hoped for i.e. Cyril Ramaphosa. Jacob Zuma has had his two 5 year terms and they were pretty disastrous for our country. Zuma remains president of South Africa until elections in 2019. Ramaphosa’s deputy and a few of his newly elected inner circle (not chosen by him, but by votes from the NEC – National Executive Council – of which there are about 4750) leaves much to be desired and have allegations of corruption and much else against them. Gangsters. Nevertheless, some new brooms – At least Zuma is no longer the ANC president – though he remains president of South Africa until the 2019 elections.  Although he may now face the many charges brought against him and have his day in court even while president of SA. (He always said he wanted to but so far has cleverly and manipulatively managed to avoid this). He faces impeachment charges inter alia. There is bound to be investor confidence. Ramaphosa is a savvy business man. It is hoped that he will investigate state capture which has been endemic. The Council of Churches spoke to CR in June this year – an unprecedented step for the Church to take – and urged him then to stop the rot as swiftly as possible. I hope and think CR has taken this to heart. The rand strengthened against all currencies as from Monday, though today it is yo-yo-ing. 

We are all hopeful that a new direction for our beloved country in which the fat cats no longer feed at the trough is underway and that all that is broken and ineffectual is not beyond repair. 

 CR gave his maiden speech in the early hours this morning as president of the ANC of which I watched a bit during today. He’s saying all the right things so far. Though I don’t think all is hunky-dory by any stretch of the imagination. There are too many gangsters in the inner circle. We’re still pretty vulnerable –

But enough of that …I feel for all of us in these extraordinary times of political upheaval; it feels to me as if the boil is being lanced little by little and when the pus is slowly, slowly all removed, then may the healing begin.

Solstice (from the Latin, sol:sun; sistere:to stand still), a twice a year happening when the earth stands still for a nano-second and then begins its tilt in the opposite direction towards a new season. In the northern hemisphere where the night is the longest, there is a promise of warmth to come after the bitterness of cold. In the southern hemisphere and the longest day, we’re aware that the days will shorten and the nights imperceptibly longer. A day worthy of reverence from ancient times …

 How this year has flown, one season blending into another, timelessly, sometimes forcefully, reflecting perhaps inner seasonal changes. So much has happened world wide. The new year always brings with it hope that things will be better on many levels. Change is always occurring, on all levels –

Thanks to son Mike for the greeting card!

Thank you for your participation in my blog over this year. I so appreciate it! I’ve enjoyed the meaningful connection and feel I’ve learned much as well as from your posts, many times a softening of my heart. What more could a gal want? Wishing you all peace and joy, good health and strength, happy family and relaxing times. And may our prayers for all that we ask, become a reality. May the Force be with you.

Camus: In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.




Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry

‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’

co-authored by Susan Scott & Susan E. Schwartz Ph.D

Susan Schwartz in Paradise Valley, Az. and I are promoting for our book for a week in which we offer it at a reduced price for the paper back. T’is the season for gifting and for readers there’s nothing nicer than an book! Or a gift for one’s self. Or for book club? From $12.99 to $6.55 for the paper back.  It’s the lowest price that Amazon would accept. Other currencies eg the British pound, Euro etc. also show lowered prices. The kindle deal is another story – it will take a while.

We address much in our letters to each other and offer our personal in-depth psychological reflections on this stage of life. The issues women face are similar to those of men – life, death, body issues, health, psyche/soul. We explore the unsaid and also challenge the view that the aging woman has little to offer. Rather, aging is an opportunity to express a more rounded out personalty. Growing older one feels the pull to be more authentic, finding freedom and a widening of the lens.

A few selected Amazon reviews:

 Elaine : ‘…The authors approach difficult issues with honesty, clarity, and insight, leading the reader into a more meaningful relationship with growing older… The book also helps clarify the benefits and insights gained in the aging process… I especially enjoyed the excellent sections on grief and loss which are commonly experienced by the aging, but rarely discussed with such honesty and hope’.

JF: ‘The thoughts and musings of two intelligent and articulate women on the problems of aging. And, even more critically, on the notion of being. One read is not enough, once more, but slowly this time’.

Daniela: ‘There are some books that catch us unawares, as they open up to us in unexpected ways …The territory explored … in this book…is about the process of the beginning and the end of life and what happens in the middle, but the way this process is described is very original and fresh…I highly recommend it for people who want to experience this stage in life in a deeper way, and learn how to find and appreciate the gifts it offers.’

Deon: ‘…The kind of book that is filled with wisdom and deep insight on such a wide variety of fascinating topics. I like the combination of personal sharing with theoretical acumen, astuteness and understanding of Depth Psychology – a winning blend indeed’.

I plan to put up a blog post in the next little while. We motor down to Plettenberg Bay on Thursday morning for our Christmas break. In the meantime all good festive greetings to you all. In these strange times in which we live, may your centre hold –


Thank you for reading.




Petrichor – Earth’s perfume ..

It is only yesterday that I read the link that Norah Colvin supplied some days ago in response to my previous post on Precipitation.

It is truly lovely and so worth a read – petrichor: earth’s perfume.

‘petra’ – stone; ‘ichor’ – from Greek mythology – the ethereal blood of the goods.

On perfume, I’ve been looking for a new fragrance. I came across this in a FB post yesterday – it’s about perfume being made right here on our doorstep here in Johannesburg. The perfumier is Marie Aoun Founder of Saint d’Ici. The below is an excerpt from the interview. I’m intrigued and hope to see them on the shelves at some stage. And experiment –

“The name, Saint d’Ici, comes from my earliest olfactive memories. I spent a great deal of time growing up at my grandparents’ house near the small village of Saint Jeannet in Provence. I distinctly remember rosemary, lavender and laurel when I think back to that time. It was these beautiful, classic, natural scents that first drew me to natural perfumery. However, as I started to explore African perfume materials, a whole new world of smells opened up to me. Rich, dusty, sweet-herbaceous, animalic and deep scents. Saint Jeannet was updated, it became Saint d’Ici (of here), a blend of both worlds.”

I’m re-fashioning by blog site starting with the picture. I can’t decide. My son is helping me. I’m using the tools I have here at home. The lovely ouroborous or the meaningful yin yang symbol which I would have liked to use is too generic according to my son who is here for several days. I’ll be using pretty tiles as tools I bought some years ago, I think in Crete or maybe Istanbul. I’ve always liked my picture of the stone with an acorn on it – it suits my psychological leanings. But I think I must let the stone and acorn go and try something new – hopefully it will be up soon – 

I’m also fashioning something from papier mache so help me in prep for our last art circle meet this coming Saturday morning. It’s a once a month meet. This time we have to bring something we created ourselves to put into the gift basket and we each choose something from it blindfold …

All good Thanksgiving wishes for those who are celebrating!

Thank you for reading – as I write, it is headline news, Mugabe of Zimbabwe has JUST announced his resignation as president. At the 11th hour …



This is not precipitation of the ‘rain’ kind – it is of a different kind –

It’s been a day of being at home after being away for several days and settling in and attending to my study. I was scratching in a desk drawer for something and pulled out a scrap of paper, undated ..

It was/is a precipitation in my writing – on the back of a torn envelope –


for Christopher to know that he can return to who he essentially is, a good and caring doctor. And if not in the way he was before, then in some other way.

I pray that he regains his self-regard.

I pray that he does not hide behind depression.

I pray that he pays real soulful attention to himself.

                                                                                             x x x x x x x x x x x x

Many many years ago, at a guess I would say 20 years, my good friend who knows Christopher said about precipitation and that she had used it effectively on occasion, for her father if I remember correctly who was unwell. It was the first I’d heard of it. She is a science prof, so not in any way ‘woo woo’.  She did one for Christopher at that time. I’ve done a few over the years. And now I find myself taking this up again.

This one appears to be the only one I’ve retained. I’m paying attention to the timing of finding this old one with regard to other friends, not necessarily those with depression or with Christopher’s particular afflictions. I bought a pretty note book at a fair in the suburbs of Cape Town earlier this month and I’m using a separate page for each of those I know who are in some sort of crisis, soul and/or body wise. My sister for her ankle that is taking a long time healing and is painful. My neighbour who had a hip operation last week; my friend from Cape Town who had surgery recently here in Johannesburg to remove a basal carcinoma very close/behind her eye; another friend in Cape Town who is recovering from a hip operation; a friend here in Johannesburg whose husband committed suicide 2 years ago – the anniversary is this Sunday; another local, dear friend who is in the depths of despair and feels her soul is no longer alive. There are a few more – I’m writing out precipitations for them each. I saw on a google search that it is a form of intercession. Or prayer if you will … on behalf of another –

There’s something about putting my ‘precipitations’ down on paper and reading them daily or nightly or whenever as a prayer – into the atmosphere –

I am home, back from my Somerset West school re-union held near Stellenbosch/Somerset West (outside of Cape Town) in a lovely restaurant earlier this month. I had my hair cut and bleached while there – the day after I arrived – in parts (strand by strand) to begin the process of going au naturel – going grey naturally (hopefully gracefully). If this first step is anything to go by, I like it a lot. It’s an excellent cut and I like the grey/silver with the brown. Others who’ve seen it like it too. A few with fulsome praises – I enjoy an ego stroke every now and then, even if transient!

My Cape Town visit was very special on many levels. I saw 4 precious friends, 3 of whom schlepped a fair distance to come and visit me in the suburbs at my sister’s home for which I was and am very grateful. The school re-union was lovely – people I have not seen for 50 years! People came from far and wide, Australia, Canada, UK, Namibia and locally of course. Being with my sister was very special. She faithfully and arduously conserves water because of the severe drought and water shortage in Cape Town. All water is recycled. I got a shower down to 2 mins max. Water from the shower into the loo .. not a drop is wasted. Dishwashing water, much else. My sister’s daughter’s small sons are a delight. I feel privileged to be great aunt to them. Last Tuesday night my younger son and his wife came for dinner, as did my niece and her sons, my sister’s son and my brother’s son – 

We visited ZeitzMOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) last week the day before I flew home.  It is an extraordinary structure at the Cape Town Waterfront (the link  will show a few pictures under ‘Exhibition’). It’s hailed as The Tate of Africa. It is a refurbishment of silos and turbines and is now a magnificent architectural delight with 6 stories of enormous rooms containing art from all parts of Africa. It was officially opened in October. My sister and I met Robert there last Wednesday. He’s a classmate of mine from 50 years ago. He lives in Sydney where he is a forensic psychiatrist. Here we’re having an iced coffee after roaming the museum.

This is my photo of a bronze entitled ‘Zeus’ in the museum –

It’s raining as I write late-ish this Tuesday night – crashing thunder and lightning about. I hope it’s going to be a jolly good downpour. The distinct smell of rain in the air is called ‘petrichor’ and/or it’s the earthy smell after rains have soaked the dry earth. It’s hot here up on the high veld in Johannesburg. May rains come wherever they are needed.  I’ve added that to my precipitation list especially for where the drought is dire –

Thank you for reading. May this find you well. I pray for peace in this troubled world of ours and pray also that we each somehow manage to manoeuvre these trying times. May The Force be with you all.





spin doctoring and Faith and Doubt

Spin Doctoring & Faith & Doubt

I was listening to the Minister of Finance give his maiden speech of the midterm budget speech in the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town this afternoon. This country has been on tenterhooks to hear what he has to say and if and how he will use spin to the highest degree to ‘justify’ the economic wreck he and his ilk have imposed upon us – all – in the last several months. Spin doctors … what an exhausting and dizzying job it must be, until maybe the spin doctors begin to believe their own lies. It is an ongoing worry, at least on my part, that whoever it is, begins to believe their own lies. And more, expect/hope/wish that we the people believe them. Which sadly, many of us do.  We are in grave danger of believing those lies, and we all begin to believe our own lies and we deny what we hear see touch taste and smell with our senses and the web gets ever more spidery – and still we deny. In spite of the facts of history. Denial: insidious and perfidious, Janus-faced –

I know that everywhere in the world there are huge and worrying issues – issues of gigantic import. So much and so many are dying –  threats are everywhere –

I try hard to keep myself one step removed from it all, but it is not really possible for me. When I think on these things, I acknowledge, partly, the deep sorrow I feel about the world and its inhabitants and our planet. My tummy gets into a knot and I feel a pain in my groin. That’s my visceral response. I force myself to try to bring a different attitude to this enervation and despair I feel. I don’t want to feel the full weight of the world because I would immediately collapse under the burden. And it is not my place to feel the full weight of the world. I feel some of it nevertheless. I am glad that I have my own useful defence mechanisms to ward off the full weight but then I must find something else to take its place that is hopefully constructive.

So, I try to expand my cold crimped numbed heart in some way … I took paint to paper these last few days, something I had started in Plettenberg Bay about three weeks ago. An image from quite a long while ago which has come more and more to the fore in recent times. I painted it. I like what C.G. Jung said about using the hands to express what the head cannot (paraphrased). I think my ego or the overly critical part of myself took a bit of a back seat while my hands were doing what they did.  It was very hard. I’m pleased with myself that I have worked on it after great resistance – I feel I have done some justice to my psyche. The painting is still a bit incomplete.

The challenges we face here in South Africa are very daunting. All of us are in a state of shock and confusion and some denial at the corruption that goes on, notably but not exclusively at State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) which are in the dwang financially and forever being rescued. We’re very well aware of our dire economic situation, very high unemployment for one (and very little potential for economic growth) and the rotten apples at the top. This too I try to keep a step removed from. I have a bit of faith in the strength of our politically active organisations that call out unethical actions within the government or wherever it may occur; and in the public persons who speak out and say no.

Which makes me think on other things such as my son and daughter-in-law’s visit from Cape Town this weekend, so we’re looking forward to the few nights they’ll be with us (they have a wedding to attend) and my upcoming visit to Cape Town next week. I’ll be flying down on Wed 1st November for just over a week. Water is very scarce there and is impacting on people’s lives in a major way. My sister lives there; I’ll see her re-fashioned garden. She uprooted most of her lovingly tended garden and plants to replace with paving, stones and gravel. I know I won’t be able to indulge in a bath, part of my usual evening ritual at home. A quick shower and conserving falling water in a bucket to be re-used.

I’ve asked her to make an appointment for me with the woman who cut my hair in Cape Town just over a year ago when I was there. I want a cut and also for my hair to be highlighted so that I can start the process of going grey or whatever my natural colour is. If it doesn’t suit me because of my skin tone or whatever, I will revert to another plan. I’ve been thinking about this for several months already. The time feels right. Maybe a tiny protest on my part against ageism which is getting a good and healthy airing these days and a curiosity on my side to be ‘au naturel’ –

My husband and I will be relocating from Johannesburg at some stage to live permanently in Plettenberg Bay where we’ve had a lovely holiday home for the last long while. I do not know when exactly this will be but it is on the horizon. Maybe by June next year. I sincerely hope not sooner. But this is something that I think about in fits and starts, a new life, different to the one I’ve had here in Johannesburg for the last very long while. I hope to meet the unknown challenges – my husband too – I am trying to have faith in the process however it unfolds.

 I’ve been wondering about faith and doubt for the last several months, the strangest bedfellows if ever there were. I did a blog post on this in February 2015. Uncertainty and synchronicity were part of it. I went back to it re-read the responses which were so heartening and melted my heart all over again. Does doubt strengthen faith? Is doubt a necessary process? Is it a terrible thing? I excerpted the poem that Elaine posted on the comments:

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith,
but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
― T.S. Eliot

I like my painting and the image it expresses about my personal challenge of faith and doubt. And also, maybe synchronistically, as in the February 2015 post, the last few days have brought up the discussion of Faith and Doubt on a thread I follow on FB. Which has demonstrated to me again, the necessity of exercising my faith muscle, in my psyche, in spite of being besieged by doubt, about much.

Walking out in nature is always a balm to my soul. I’m keeping to my Blisters for Bread initiative and noting on my cell phone the number of steps I walk on any given day and putting an amount of money into the jar I have on my table. I haven’t asked anyone to join me …

The rand to the dollar exchange rate has shot through the roof after the finance minister’s speech – I’ve been half heartedly listening to a summary of it all this evening. One of the analysts called it a dip in the rand – it’s not a dip, it’s a huge dive, southwards. So maybe it’s not through the roof but downwards to the murky depths. To give our new-ish minister his due, he did note the enormous challenges we face, but he has neatly avoided some fundamental issues. (Russia is behind a nuclear power deal with South Africa – we don’t need it, we already have a functioning power station, we don’t need a new one, we have an over-supply of renewable energies and coal and apart from other major concerns eg nuclear waste and its storage, we do not have the HUGE amount of money required – at least a trillion projected at this stage but no doubt this will climb. We are already in huge debt).

My son David happened on my February 2015 post. He made the following comment at the time –

‘I find that when things seem too certain, that’s when I start to worry. Certainty makes your faith weak, and a weak faith makes life stale.“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1: 2 – 4’

Thank you for reading – keep the faith and may the Force be with you in these uncertain times.



I went for a walk earlier this evening/late afternoon – the first two are from just outside my garden wall –

I enjoyed my walk – I usually have to force myself to do this. My innate slothful tendencies are ever present. My younger son David who is visiting, and I went for a walk yesterday late afternoon. I said to him how I have to FORCE myself to walk sometimes. He said how it is that that which you least want to do is the very thing that must be done. That resistance to doing what needs to be done, is a very real something (most often unconscious), and can emphasise or bring to attention that which needs attention – and I have to ask myself what is my resistance and my avoidance really all about. The question of why I do not do what needs be done – reminds me of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans ..

This evening’s walk was also an attempt to keep up my daily walking average as recorded on my cell phone (an app on my phone my elder son showed me how to use when he was here recently, also visiting). I checked it when I thought I had done x amount of steps this evening, but I was still short, so I did some more walking and then walked around the complex where I live. It was now night-time. This yesterday today and tomorrow (Oxford & Cambridge) is on the other side close to my kitchen – there was a lamp in the garden shining on it so I took a photo, admired and sniffed its glorious scent.

Tonight’s moon is resting on her bottom in the night sky peeking and waxing between the branches of the jacaranda tree (soon to bloom) that leans over our garage –

We were in Plett last week  – I photographed this below picture of this very large log from many angles on my phone. I wonder where it came from? Washed up? Put there as a work of art? Land Art?

The below photo was while on a walk on the beach in Plett on a different day – it was rather mystical to see the mist pouring in …

I have a need on my side to put up a post now. The #WATWB post is due this coming Friday. We post on the last Friday of every month. I must go in search of a good news story in the next few days. But these photos I wanted to share in the meantime –


New Moon, Rosh Hashanah and the Equinox


I’m writing this from the balcony of our home in Plettenberg Bay. The sunrise shows part of the bay and the Tsitsikama mountains. I’m hoping to see whales. We arrived here in Plett on Sunday afternoon after flying into George International Airport from Johannesburg. A week’s break –

So far a mixture of busy-ness and not so busy. Right now I’ve got the covers of sitting room and balcony furniture in the washing machine, some already out on the line. I’m wondering whether my need to have clean sofa covers and cushions has something to do with the new moon. Maybe. Maybe in preparation for what the new moon foretells, and along with it the Equinox; Spring Equinox for us in the southern hemisphere, Autumnal/ Fall Equinox for those in northern climes –

and Rosh Hashanah also …

Does each have any meaning to me? And especially all of them altogether?

I’m wondering whether seeing our son’s new home yesterday in his absence to air it but also to look at it anew, has something to do with wanting things to be fresh and clean in our own home. His home is so lovely, pristine, minimalistic (though not overly), contained yet spacious and the garden is a delight. No wonder he loves his home – I’m sure he’s missing it already and can’t wait to be home from Canada where he is at the moment attending an international animation meeting.

I took a couple of photos yesterday of his garden. I wish I could tell you the name of the plants. The golden and orange ones are extraordinary – I think indigenous. All I know is that the red one is a bottle brush.


These personal events that coincide with outer events give me cause for pause. The Equinox holds a fascination for me. A moment when the opposites of day and night come into play and are of equal length. A moment of balance.  A moment before the earth tilts on its axis. It’s representative of so much to me – the never-ending rhythmic cycles of our planet, the shortening or lengthening of the days and nights, my awareness of the passage of time, my self within ‘time’ as I know it and an awareness of its limit in terms of my life left to live –

And this morning a new moon which may be visible tonight.  The moon will be in its waxing phase for the next two weeks. A good time to plant – seeds of whatever kind – love, patience, kindness, joy are a few that come to mind – anything that blossoms in receptive and fertile soil.

This evening, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) begins at sunset and ends at sunset on Friday (although I think there is a prescription that Rosh Hashanah should never begin on a Wednesday?) Apples eaten with honey is symbolic of wishing everyone a sweet and prosperous year. The Shofar announcing Rosh Hashanah is trumpeted at sunset this evening …

For me, these coinciding events have an imaginative meaning – a moment of stillness as the opposites come into play, a forward tilting, a renewal as the soil is continually tilled.

Thank you for reading, a very happy New Year if you are welcoming it in, a blessed new moon, and likewise with the Equinox.





This that and the next thing

This that & the next thing –

Spring is sprung. It’s lovely to see buds beginning to bloom in my small garden. My orchids are flourishing, the azaleas are lovely, the yesterday today and tomorrow (Oxford & Cambridge) are releasing their lovely scent from their violet and white flowers, I see the occasional bee, birds landing in the bird bath, the jacarandas over the wall which I can see from my study are greening, my roses pruned in late July are beginning to shoot, my clivias are joyous, the days are longer and warmer.

My son Dave and his lovely wife Jüte have been here in Johannesburg for the last few days, flying back to Cape Town early tomorrow morning. Jüte put up the link below for me yesterday. Tamara LePine – Williams, the morning radio host of Classic FM, invited us to their studios for an off-air interview with me and Susan Schwartz, when Susan was here in Johannesburg from Paradise Valley Az. The producer of Tamara’s Wednesday book show slot had requested some weeks prior a copy of our co-authored book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ for review.

I was sent the link the day after it was it was broadcast almost two weeks ago. It is only with Jüte’s help that I am able to put it up. It’s just over 13 mins long. It begins with a little music.

Politically, all is still pretty hay-wire here in South Africa. The end of this year sees the governing political party putting forth their candidates for the 2019 elections. The opposition parties will be doing the same. We hope many of them join forces to oust the current trough feeders of the ANC and its leader. Quite a few of the ANC have openly stated that they want the president GONE. Right now, it’s open season with much muck-raking and mud-slinging by those who are fearful of losing their positions of power towards those who are morally stronger than they. Corruption is endemic, billions are lost annually to dysfunctional parastatals, money which could have been used for housing, medical clinics, education. I keep on thinking and feeling and hoping this lawlessness cannot last, surely justice will be served and those who deserve to be put in jail will finally get their come-uppance. But who’s to know – maybe it’s too firmly entrenched already –

I know that we are all troubled by world events and sometimes everything seems hopeless given the floods & fires, people in exile fleeing their war-torn homes, innocent lives lost, droughts & threats of nuclear war. Things are too unstable – 

Faith & Doubt – strange bedfellows. Doubt can strengthen faith though most times I feel like a feather blown in the wind. But holding the tension of these opposites is the essential task I’ve come to realise, for me, even though it is very difficult. Maybe the transcendent will emerge from these two extremes and I, and we, will land and stand on terra firma …

Thank you for reading. Keep safe and keep the faith – may our centre hold. The equinox for both hemispheres is around the corner – may that moment of balance be of lasting value. And may the full moon shine her energetic and healing brightness to all corners of the earth –


Retreats and Reflections

Retreats & Reflections

It’s been a busy few weeks, with little time for reflection. Dr. Susan E. Schwartz, co-author of our book ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ and her husband were here in South Africa for two weeks from the end of July. Susan presented a paper in Cape Town before flying up to Johannesburg which was our base for the next several days.

We took off for the Pilanesberg up in the northwest where we spent 3 nights and 4 days. Our accommodation was extremely comfortable, a mere few minutes away from the entrance to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Our drives were wonderful. There was game viewing a-plenty. I managed to video this rhino – 20 secs.

I love the reflection of the rhino in the crystal clear water –

We returned home on Friday afternoon and Susan & I gave a talk on our book the next afternoon at Bookdealers, a bookshop in Greenside, one of our suburbs. It was well attended & well received, many friends and others, books sold. Chris Reinders read an excerpt (the man in the hat), I’m next to him and Susan Schwartz next to me … my friend Linda took this photo and sent to me …

We left the next morning for Clarens, a lovely artsy town some few hundred kilometres away and close to the Golden Gate National Park. The view from the balcony where we were staying was magnificent overlooking the mountains – the first evening I photographed the full moon rising and later that night noticed a partial eclipse of it!

We spent precious time driving through the Golden Gate National Park – everything seemed golden – the light, the time, the mountains, animals at ease and ourselves at ease. Clarens is a very pretty town with all sorts of shops and cafe’s, lovely places for coffee and croissants – and shopping! Our two retreats into the wilderness were very valuable on many levels –

We were back home on Tuesday last week; my husband left early on Wednesday morning for several days to attend something that had long been in the works, returning only on Sunday evening. Susan, her husband & I – and another Susan, a dear friend – we were 3 Susan’s in my car – motored through to Pretoria on Wednesday for a lunch party held in honour of a visiting Swiss Analyst, an 85 year old man of such grace and wisdom, so present. It was such a special day, rich in conversations and people.

Thursday was busy, meeting with a few friends here and there who were keen to see Susan & Frederic. Thursday night dinner was with Vonn who first met them 18 years ago at the airport when we set off to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro …

Last Friday afternoon, Susan and I were interviewed off-air in the studios of Classic FM by the gracious Tamara LePine-Williams who hosts the morning radio show. She will let me know when it will be aired, and says that we will get a podcast of it. I’ll make a link to it, in a future blog post (if possible).

Susan gave a seminar to psychologists on ‘The Shadow’ on Saturday morning and they flew back to America on Saturday night –

In between all of this, there were lengthy phone calls and what’s app messages about my brother Christopher who lives in Natal and is in hospital following a partial shoulder replacement. The calls and what’s app messages were between my brother’s son who lives in Cape Town but who was with his father for several days, myself and my sister who is also in the Cape. He, and the situation he is in, is dire, beyond words … it is altogether troubling and anxious making for the 3 of us, the two sisters and his son. There is no-one else. And we all live elsewhere. He is currently in the ‘stepdown’ rehabilitation section of the hospital – his ongoing depression is much heightened –

And in among all this, the sun is shining, it is very cold, there is a slight wind. The weather turned overnight, from 24 degrees yesterday to 10 degrees today – we were warned. Parts of the country are blanketed in snow. The last few weeks have been sunny and warm, almost summer like after a spell of winter weather. Now, again, winter is here in full force or so it seems. -1 degrees tonight.

The photos below were taken today. In the first you can see a newly-popped poppy. I’ve been waiting for ages to see what was coming out of this planted tray – and will photograph them no doubt when the tray is is full bloom. On the orchid was a bee, always good to see –

The second is of pots on my patio – it’s a partly cloudy day and ideally I should have waited for full sunlight. There are many orchids still to bud – 

I sometimes feel suspended, between what and what I do not know. We’re all of us going through some sort of transition period, the events of the world are testament to that. Is the macrocosm a reflection of the microcosm I wonder. Each is a reality, and not independent of each other and each exerts its influence on the other …

More than ever, I feel the tension of those apparent opposites, within myself and without. More than ever, I feel the need to steer my ship in these rough seas, and hope to keep my balance as much as possible, to not retreat from anything, much as I would like to. I remind myself and remember the connection we have to each other and to our earth, and view that with as much loving kindness that I can.

I wish the same for you too …

Thank you for reading. May The Force be with you …


Remembering Mr. Nelson Mandela

This photograph always affects me in one way or the other. Today would have been his 99th birthday. This date is now known as Mandela International Day and we’re prompted to give up 67 mins of our time in doing something useful for the community as a way of remembering that he spent 67 years fighting for freedom and 27 of those years in gaol, on Robben Island, off Cape Town. The link below is an interesting read. Thousands will be walking in Cape Town in solidarity led by ‘elders’ including Graça Machel his widow as representatives of Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. The international dignitaries are note-worthy – the link will say –

Memories – they’re hard sometimes to recall – it seems so long ago that South Africa and its peoples were filled with hope. We knew that there was a long road ahead. The wounds of apartheid had to be addressed fore-mostly. Severe wounds, not just skin deep but wounds at the very core of the majority of South Africans.

Would our Madiba be proud of where South Africa is today? Not likely. None of us is proud. We make one step forward, and 3 back, slipping and sliding. Racism keeps on rearing its ugly head, fomented by the spreading of false news by Bell Pottinger, the PR firm in the UK, initiated, it is believed, by the family (resident here but come from elsewhere) who have S.A.’s president and his henchmen in their back pocket. It’s called the Gupta Capture – and our government is mired in the corruption of the capture.

This is not to say that all is gloom and doom. We are proud of innumerable constructive steps taken. On the upside, the Bell Pottinger debacle is being exposed for what it is and the Gupta family and the president will not be able to hide. Government ministers are calling for the president’s resignation as are people on the street. There is very much a determination amongst all our people to keep on walking this long road to freedom and to be free of the shackles, mostly political, that try to keep us back.

Here’s another capture –  of the good kind. It’s an iconic photograph of that day in 1995 when Francois Pienaar the captain of the Springboks, led our team to victory against the New Zealanders at the Ellis Park Stadium. South Africa was host to this worldwide event. Mr. Mandela’s visit to Ellis Park was a surprise, known only to few. The predominantly white crowd erupted as he walked onto the field wearing the Springbok cap and jersey to wish the team good luck and erupted even more when he presented the trophy to Pienaar … Nelson! Nelson! Nelson! they screamed and shouted – The gardeners in the complex where I live take great care in the maintenance of them. They were pruning the roses last week in preparation for winter which is already underway. Nelson, one of the gardeners, brought me these roses … so, to another Nelson … thank you.

Thank you for reading. Happy Mandela International Day! May he continue to inspire ..

Sunrise Sunset


We returned home from being away in Plettenberg Bay this last Sunday. I took this photo on 12th June from the balcony of the bedroom in Plett. It was taken at 8.06 a.m. the morning of my birthday. We’d arrived the previous day. It was a lovely sight to begin the day in spite of the lingering haze from the smoke of the fires in Knysna, Plett and surrounding areas in the recent week.  

I wanted to put up a post on the Winter Solstice, acknowledging this particular time – for us in the southern hemisphere it means a time of going inward, germinating, lying low, the soil resting, cold, frost – for you in the northern hemisphere, a time of warmth and bursts of colour as Nature reveals herself in all her glory. 

But I didn’t put up a post. The 20th June was the anniversary of my severe car accident 4 years ago; yesterday was the anniversary of our moving into our townhouse 4 years ago, the day I was released from hospital. 

Two days ago on the 20th June I was in my car, very aware of the anniversary. A taxi nearly took me out at the traffic lights as I was about to make a right turn. It went through the red lights – a bright blue van. Later on, when I was returning home, there was a terrible car accident at a different set of traffic lights near where I live. Two vehicles were involved. One car was upturned. The officials were doing a good job of directing traffic.  Ambulances and a fire engine were on the scene. Later on that day, I was alerted to an earlier shooting of someone dead in a Bentley in the road much further down – also close to where I live. A ‘hit’ is currently assumed –

The name of the main road which is close to me is South Rd. A car accident at the top of South Rd, and a shooting at the bottom end of it. Top and bottom … it gave me cause for pause …

Not that this is the only matter that gives me cause for pause. I feel a pausing on many levels. I wonder if I’m a pessimist, or an optimist; or a mixture of the two. A pessimistic optimist – or an optimistic pessimist. Or just simply caught in the opposites. Never a comfortable place to be.

Maybe this is the time to pause – as I did today, going through my photographs of the week spent in Plett. Both sons were with us, our elder son Mike in his lovely new home, and younger son David with Jüte his wife visiting from Cape Town. Hence my decision in putting up the sunrise photo and writing a blog while feeling ‘happy’ looking at the pics remembering that special time.

I messaged both of them on Tuesday to thank them for their assistance 4 years ago when they were both in Johannesburg to help with the packing and the move and when I had the car accident.

David responded: “Was a very hectic day – still don’t like thinking about it. But it’s also good to be reminded of it & to ponder the fragility of life. That incident taught me to savour each moment I get to spend with family, and not to take you, dad, Mike or Jüte for granted”. Mike said much the same thing in response. I was also reminded of my dear friend Lyndy, now just 3 months gone, of saying so often to me as she lay dying, don’t postpone doing what you want to do, just do it …

The sunset photo is from a long while ago, in the bush. Though it makes me think of Lyndy and therefore feel sad, I see the beauty in it.

Sunrise-sunset, pessimistic-optimistic, energised-enervated, happy-sad, top-bottom, above-below, life-death, north-south, east-west, new moon-full moon and all the phases and pauses in between. May the new moon in the next night or so bring you renewal and joy.

Thank you for reading.


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