Solstice inter alia

The Solstice is upon us tomorrow. It always gives me cause for pause signifying as it does the tilt of the earth in relation to the sun. There is a brief ‘standing still’ as gears change and new seasons beckon in both northern and southern hemispheres.

What happens when a solstice occurs? It’s an event that occurs when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21, when the Earth’s axis is pointed directly towards the Sun (wikipedia)

Image result for does the earth tilt at solstice

For you in the northern hemisphere summer really begins. For those of in us the southern hemisphere winter takes hold.

The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with seasons, harvests and livelihood.

I’m back home as of last week Saturday 11th June, the day before my birthday.

This is the sunrise that greeted me on Sunday June 12. I took it from my bedroom balcony. Those are the Tsitsikama mountains. There was snow on them last week and snow around the country.

It was a lovely 10 days or so up on the highveld. Of course the greatest joy was seeing Sam my grandson. For my sister Debora who accompanied me on this road trip up to Johannesburg this was her first time meeting him. Enchanted from the word go.

Sam, wondering if he was seeing double.

I could wax lyrical about this little baby. But I would get carried away. Dave & Jüte sent this photo of him on Father’s Day, yesterday.

His smiles that reached his bright blue beautiful eyes made me feel like a million dollars. And anyone really – each and every one in his orbit on whom he bestowed a smile felt the beauty of him and their hearts uplifted.

A photo from last week, all bundled up for a walk in the park –

Sam in the pram

I had a lovely time up on the Highveld, bright blue skies during the day, freezing cold at night. I saw a few special friends, but did not dash hither and thither as is my wont. I had injured my leg on the first day of being away, and am still feeling the repercussions. Especially in my toes on my right foot at night. My husband, retired ear nose and throat specialist, is now my ear nose and toes go-to person. Dear Lord, I am praying that this resolves itself … the pain is terrible, at night.

It’s lovely being at home, over a week already. Our newly planted garden is doing well and all seems to have rooted and taken. We had professionals come in early May. Much new soil, a thorough turning over of old soil, some plants transplanted and many newly planted. A 4 day exercise. Already there is colour and come Spring it’s bound to be a riot.

Towards the end of April, we motored to Wellington and embarked on the Wellington Wine Walk, a 3 night 4 day hike in this beautiful part of the world in the western cape. At times fairly arduous, especially on one of the days that was seriously hot. Wine and olive oil tastings along the way, magnificent scenery, lovely lunches provided, very comfortable night time accommodations.

The whales are in the Bay I’ve heard. Yesterday afternoon I thought I saw something very far away fairly close to the horizon of the sea. Only some white that came and went. Even with binoculars it was hard to determine. Not birds, not waves, not dolphins …

The governing party of my country is facing a huge backlash. There is so much that is so wrong. They’ve gotten away with criminal activity on a gigantic scale. The impact of this has affected us all, the poorest of the poor in particular. State owned Enterprises have failed on a grand scale. Assassinations are the order of the day. Anyone who is seen as a whistle blower or who does not agree with the party line (ANC – African National Congress) is done away with. Loadshedding (electricity blackouts) are the order of the day in these cold cold nights. Much else but this is not meant to be a rant post. I think the tide is turning and many, once staunch supporters of the ANC, have lost hope in the Mandela dream. They need to be voted out asap –

Dave, Jüte & Sam, along with Pablo the pooch and Naomi (Meowmi) the cat will be here in Plett fairly soon. They’ve been busy packing up for long weeks now. It was my pleasure to ‘look after’ Sam when he was awake so that they could continue with sorting and packing. My elder son Mike arrived in New York on Saturday. He has a big 4 day NFT meeting starting tomorrow. He’s based right there at Times Square in a Hilton hotel and is pretty buzzed about it all.

I’ve been AWOL a long time. Probably will continue so. My energy levels are down. The below photo is of a sunset from outside balcony and the one after it is today’s photo, without that very large palm tree in our neighbour’s garden which was severely trimmed the other day.

no palm tree detracting from view
4 yrs ago Einseideln, Switzerland The Black Madonna which we saw on the Solstice

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well in these troubling times. May the Force be with you as the wheel keeps turning.

be the light in the shadows

Name change or not, noting Easter, Passover and Ramadan

Monday – and we’re into April … I suppose stranger things have happened, but seriously, how did we get here so fast?

Not so long ago I was wondering about a name change for my blog – but what I will do is headline any blog post I may put up with what I thought could be potential name changes. For example, ‘Chop Wood, Carry Water’. ‘Halfway up the Mountain’ was another thought. These last two are titles of books I’ve had for a long while (over 25 years at a guess) and were highly influential for me. ‘This and That’ also came to mind – which reminded me of the word ‘neti’. if I was seriously thinking of a name change, I may have chosen that. But I think I would make a blog post about that – ‘neti, neti’ Which means: ‘not this, not that’. ‘There’s a crack, a crack, in everything’ was also a possibility in my radar –

But I’ve decided to keep my blog name and its image (whew!). I like that there is an acorn growing from the cracked stone and the graphic is simple. I like the image of there’s a crack, a crack, in everything, that’s how the light gets in. Who can forget Leonard Cohen singing this song, The Anthem, live in London. The lyrics are heart-rending, beautiful. The chorus and the band are beautiful, and Leonard – sigh –

Leonard Cohen – Anthem (Live in London) – YouTube

I listened and read a 2015 interview with Krista Tippet of ‘On Being” with Mary Oliver. It’s very profound. It’s worth saving for some later stage (transcript and audio) –

https://onbeing.org/programs/mary-oliver-i-got-saved-by-the-beauty-of-the-world/

I’m out on my balcony in the coolth of the day. The weather has turned – it is now chilly. Even this turn has come upon us fairly suddenly. I suppose there were signs.

My husband’s been away for a while, back home Wednesday evening. I’ve enjoyed this time on my own, but I’ll be pleased when he’s back. Some serious decisions to be made about the garden – I want a complete overhaul. A garden man is coming to see me on Wednesday morning –

Davey, Jüte, my grandson Sam and Pablo the puppy (Boston Terrier) left Plettenberg Bay yesterday morning to return to Johannesburg. They’ve been here for a while, a little over a month. They’ve been staying with Jüte’s parents for much of the time. I’ve seen them a fair bit. They were very generous in sharing baby Sam with me. There was a spot a few weeks back when I had bronchitis and a hacking cough so there was no visiting with Sam. But we more than made up with it. It was so wonderful to interact with this little baby and be rewarded with smiles. He’s 3 months old. Wonderful too to witness my son and daughter-in-law in their roles as parents.

A few photos below – on the Robberg Beach with the Robberg Peninsula in the background. One with me holding this little one.

Mike with Sam setting off for walk from his house
on the Robberg beach

Dave & Jüte have seen their dream home here in Plettenberg Bay. My husband has not seen it as he’s away. The price of the house is probably fair (prices are rising at the rate of knots) but somewhat beyond their budget. But it ticks all the boxes and it is really lovely and spacious. They’ve put in an offer and have until this evening for first dibs at any bidding going on – which I believe has begun. It is a most desirable home and environs …

I’ve been getting in some much needed walking. We’re doing the Wellington Wine Walk towards the end of this month. We walk and wander for several days, staying at lovely places overnight, sampling wines and olive oils along the way, delicious lunches at a winery, stretching those muscles in wondrous scenery – impressive mountains in the background. Neil and I walked it some years ago, in a different group maybe 6 or 7 years ago. I remember it being a wonderful adventure. A meandering, in beauty. I need to get my walking muscles into gear. I don’t think I have the proper hiking shoes. Hopefully I’ve got something that ‘will do’ for sauntering through these sublime surroundings –

Some photos of flowers just because they’re pretty, the yellow flowers on a late afternoon walk, the impatiens are in pots in my garden

Easter is nigh and so is Passover. Ramadan began either last Friday or Saturday on the first sighting of the new moon. It is a meaningful month where they fast during the day, and get in touch with the feeling of hunger and thus of those around the world and do much charity in this regard and in other ways. Each three hold a deeply religious orientation in way and deed.

I chose this Easter image mainly because of the dove, the bird of peace. Which we all yearn for. For Christians and others alike, this time of Easter is deeply religious. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus (Good Friday – April 15th) and in particular, three days later, the Risen Christ which falls on Easter Sunday, April 17th.

This is a Raphael painting of ‘The Risen Christ’ –

Passover, also one of the most important moments in Jewish history, commemorates the Exodus from Egypt & slavery and the birth of Israel as a nation. At the initial Seder 4 questions are asked as if the person asking them is telling a story to another, so the other is incorporated in the story. The dates of Passover are April 15 to April 23, 2022.

It’s a much longer post than usual. Thank you for reading. Have a blessed Easter, Pesach and Ramadan. May The Force be with you and may Peace prevail.

#WATWB

This will be the last ‘We are the World Blogfest post’. There was a growing sense among the creators and co-hosts that we were all just too busy to continue to meet the deadline for the last Friday of each month and other issues in these troubled times are taking priority. WATWB has served its purpose well, bringing in a little light among the ever increasing darkness of our people and planet. More and more stories continue to emerge of courage among the bleakest of circumstances, exemplified by the people of Ukraine, inspired by their president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

A blog or two back I posted about thekiffness and his re-mix along with the head of the Boombox band, a Ukrainian living in the USA who returned to Ukraine – raising funds for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. That is still going strong and monies from across the world continue from revenue gained by streaming over various platforms.

Our own Gift of the Givers provides aid across the world irrespective of nationality, race or creed. They are the true heroes of my country. I wish we could have Dr Imtiaz Sooliman as our president. He deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for all that he is, and does. His teams are extraordinary.

Already, logistics are in place for humanitarian aid for the Ukraine from Gift of the Givers based here in South Africa. Apart from food, medical supplies and support teams, petrol, clothing, Gift of the Givers is also helping to ensure the safe return of SA students in the Ukraine. The link is below –

https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2022-03-06-gift-of-the-givers-to-provide-aid-to-ukraine-bring-sa-students-home/

To all our co-hosts of the remarkable and inspiring ‘We are the World Blogfest’, our thanks and deep gratitude for this effort. Damyanti Biswas and Belinda Witzenhausen started this 5 years ago. Ashlynn Waterstone has helped enormously in doing work behind the scenes. We are proud to have been a part of this effort.

Co-hosts this month are Sylvia McGrath and Belinda Witzenhausen –
Sylvia McGrath
(https://www.professorowlsbookcorner.com ) (https://www.BelindaWitzenhausen.com/)

Below are the links for #WATWB FaceBook and twitter

https://www.facebook.com/Blogfest-Community-We-Are-The-World-watwb-1340888285958297 and Twitter account https://twitter.com/watwb

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you, and thank you for your support over the years for #WATWB

In darkness, be light.

Equinox Human Rights Day and everything else

Equinox – yesterday

I always like to acknowledge the Equinox – a time when things stand still for a moment and the Earth’s axis is neither away from nor towards the Sun, but is rather perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness as conventional wisdom decrees. For those in the northern hemisphere you’ll be welcoming Spring and judging from photographs on various media, Mother Nature is greening and showing off her newness and freshness. Here in the southern hemisphere I can feel the change of season – it remains hot during the day here in Plettenberg Bay, though there’s a distinct nip in the air as evening approaches.

21 March – acknowledging the Sharpeville riots in 1960 –

A stain on the history of South Africa – commemorating the unprovoked shooting by the apartheid police of unarmed men and women attending a peaceful protest of the infamous pass laws. 69 people were shot dead, many more wounded. It is a public holiday today. We were saying earlier today that this day would be better named Sharpeville Massacre Day. Call it what it is …

It’s been a ridiculously busy month one way or the other. I was trying too hard to accommodate to others’ change of plans that had me in a tizz, so much so that a week or so back I lost my voice for several days which developed into bronchitis. Which meant several nights of a hacking cough, which meant my husband slept downstairs and which meant a course of antibiotics, the last of which I took this morning. Several days of not moving from my home and feeling poorly. No seeing of my son, daughter-in-law and grandson, though they gifted me with photos of baby Sam every now and then.

Sam at 7 weeks

This morning David called and said they were off to the Keurbooms Strand for a walk. He picked me up and we met the others at the beach. It was a bit of a hike on the boardwalk but I managed it just fine. The scent of fynbos is a smell like no other and always lifts my spirits. It’s a childhood memory.

fynbos

Jüte’s mother was there with her dogs. Mikhael, Jüte’s brother visited for the long weekend and to meet his little nephew. Pablo, Dave & Jüte’s dog, still a puppy but such a clever little pooch. Oh it was lovely to walk on the beach, watching Pablo catching the frisbee, the other dogs going after a branch thrown into the sea.

I carried baby Sam for a good while, well covered because of the sun, snoozing peacefully, snug as a bug in a rug, and this grandmother’s heart filled with joy at holding my grandson.

Keurbooms
Picasso:Guernica, an anti-war painting, portraying the suffering of innocent individuals.

Here the Ukrainian flag

The National Flag of Ukraine features two equal horizontal bands of azure/blue (top) and golden yellow.
blue sky, yellow wheatfields

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you in these uncertain times.

catching up

We travelled to Price Albert a village in the Karoo last weekend to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Son Mike came with us – he was after all the reason we got married! He’d been to Prince Albert a few times in years past and at one stage was seriously thinking of buying a house there as a sort of retreat. This photo was en route to Prince Albert at Meiringspoort. We clambered up the steps and rocks and saw the beautiful waterfall and on the way down, Neil and I posed for the above photo taken by MIke. The tree looks as if it is growing out of the pole, but it is not.

Meiringspoort

It was a wonderful weekend, hot as Hades, 37 degrees centigrade, but with not much humidity so it was bearable. It is an artists’ paradise and steeped in history. We used the swimming pool frequently in between our visiting places of interest here and there. We visited a cheese farm, art galleries, The Museum, and a fig farm a little way out of Prince Albert where we had a delightful lunch with a fig tart to share as a treat. We brought a box of figs, large, plump and ripening, a few jams and marmalades and I took away 4 fig tarts as well (tarts all gone). We had lunches, coffees, suppers at delightful places in the town. A ginnery, a beer brewery …

This is a photo of figs drying in the sun after they’d been cleaned and peeled, to be sold as dried figs –

Today I cut a fig in half – it tasted as delicious as it looks, rich in colour, succulent, a fruit of the gods and symbolic too if I think of Adam & Eve covering their nakedness with fig leaves after they’d eaten the apple and had been exiled from the Garden of Eden –

fig from Weltevreden
picture in art gallery in Prince Albert
clambered up rocks to get a bird’s eye view of Prince Albert

There was no TV in the cottage we stayed at for 3 nights though we were able to keep up with the ongoing news of Russia’s invasion into the Ukraine. Each evening we stood out in the garden beyond the porch with all lights turned off and looked up at the stars. There was no moon to be seen. Those stars were so bright, the Milky Way translucent, Orion’s Belt was glittering as was the Southern Cross. O my goodness, we saw three shooting stars! I felt and saw the skies turning a few times …

We entered Price Albert (named after Queen Victoria’s husband) one way and exited on our return another way, this time through the Swartberg Pass. It’s grandeur has to be seen to be believed. At one time I looked back to see where we had been and saw the windy snaky gravel road we’d been on. I wanted to stop the car and photograph it. It reminded me of the ongoing sharp turns and windy roads we’re on on this ongoing journey through life especially at this time when we don’t know what will happen next.

But we did stop a little later – the photo doesn’t do justice to those sharp turns and bends in the road –

Swartberg Pass

So, we’re already into March. In mid January we motored from Plettenberg Bay up to Johannesburg (in my husband’s new 2nd hand car with only 6000km on the clock). That was a trip and a half! The rain was ongoing through the Karoo. Everything was so green. We invariably stay overnight at a working farm in one of their delightful cottages when we drive up to Johannesburg. We take a gravel road off the highway to get to Prior Grange and this time round we almost got stuck in the mud. The trick is to drive in the middle of the road where the mud is not so dense as we were advised by Blackie Swart, our host. My husband’s anxiety levels were sky high – and through the night as he was worried we wouldn’t be able to leave the next morning – brand new car (2nd hand) –

Joy of all joys, we met our grandson Sam, born to David & Jüte on Saturday 8th Jan, a week earlier than planned. He was 8 days old when we first met him. Love at first sight!

Speaking of sight, I had my two cataract ops, one on the first Tuesday we were in Johannesburg, the other eye, the next week. All good –

We’ve had visitors left right and centre since early January before we left for Johannesburg mid-Jan and since we’ve been back early February. Which is always lovely. Friends from the UK are coming on Monday for a night or two, a good friend on Friday next week.

Amazingly, Dave, Jüte, Sam and their puppy Pablo are here in Plett! They’re not staying with us .. they’re in Mike’s house, and Mike is here with us. They arrived last Tuesday. This is Sam on my shoulder looking out to the sea on that day –

looking out to sea – he’s about 7 weeks old –
Uncle Mike, meeting his nephew for the first time

Jüte’s parents live in Plettenberg Bay. They’ve been seeing a good deal of baby Sam; Jüte is thrilled to have her mum on hand, her father too. Jüte knows she can call on me any time. I’m 4 minutes away –

Well, I could go on and on and on … in amongst everything, the war in Ukraine & Russia is alarming, complex as anything. My younger son David (thekiffness) put up a remix with Andriy Khlyvnuk x The Kiffness, link below …

a few pops of colour
Sunday – tea at Jüte’s parents home after the dedication to Sam in their church

Thank you for reading. Have a lovely weekend. May the Force be with you. Peace.

Solstice, Christmas, New Year

summer solstice in the southern hemisphere

The days get shorter, the nights longer, infinitesimally it seems until all of a sudden it is noticeable. For you in the northern hemisphere, it is a welcome of the light and shorter nights, longer days. A change of seasons, a change of attention, perhaps one of intention, a change of attitude – assured at least of the certainty of the changing seasons –

The birth, heralding a change –

Jesus, a carpenter, a man who’s message was love for one’s neighbour, compassion for the beggar and the blind, removal of the log in one’s own eye. A man caught between the collective of his time and his own individuation. A man who’s message lives on. His birth is celebrated at Christmas, in churches, or in homes, or quietly by one’s self. And then a few days later, the new year …

I looked for suitable images for the New Year but they were mostly with fireworks and glasses of champagne. Instead I’m using one I’ve used before: profiles of two women leaning towards each other, heads bowed, hands together and fingers pointing upwards, in silent meditative prayer –

And hands again, covering the earth in love.

What a year it’s been … This is not the time to write about all that’s been happening since last I blogged. In brief, we were up in Johannesburg for two weeks towards the end of November. Those thunderstorms! The rain, running like a river on the road. Those jacarandas in full purple bloom. A dear friend had a tea party for me one Sunday afternoon so that was a lovely and catch up with old friends. I saw a few others individually, for a coffee, a lunch, a dinner. A few medical specialists as well – in for a cataract op next month so another trip to Johannesburg mid January, which is about the time that my daughter-in-law gives birth. Son Davey and Jüte are the proud and loving owners of a puppy, Pablo, a Boston terrier. The photos below shows me at the town house in Morningside with the jacarandas in the background, the other a friend’s garden in Johannesburg, another a rainbow here from the balcony in Plett.

Pablo & jacarandas

Omicron is fairly rife here in SA but not as dire as the last wave. The holiday makers are out in full force enjoying all that Plett has to offer. The weather has been tricky, cold sometimes, the last few days it feels like summer.

There’s not much else to say, except to wish you all a blessed Christmas and a happy, safe, peaceful and healthy festive season. For those of you going through difficult times, may these be eased soon. I so appreciate your friendship over the years and your reading my blogs. I’ve so enjoyed yours. My contact with you means much to me.

a night light with its ripples from the garden at our Morningside townhouse.

The RainMaker

#WATWB – We Are The World Blogfest

Unbelievable – the end of the month. This We Are The World Blogfest post is the last one for the year. We will re-group in the new year. I did not post last month, I sent my apologies to the team …

It’s hard to know what to write about … the aim of the #WATWB is to bring a little lightness into the darkness as an ongoing reminder of all that is good in the world – all that is beautiful, and kind, and gentle, and compassionate in people in their words and deeds. An ongoing reminder of Nature and her beauty – and our appreciation of her …

I fretted over what to write … and the following came to mind. See below further down.

As we all know, there is great concern over the latest covid variant – Omicron, while battling at the same time with the rising covid 19 concerns in various parts of the world. Just to put the record straight, South Africa detected the strain, it did not necessarily ’emerge’ from here as I heard Dr. A. Fauci proclaim. My husband assures me though that at some point Dr A. Fauci acknowledged this leading role that our scientists and virologists have played, detecting it. I believe we have 4 cases of this Omicron in SA, a few in Botswana, a few in Zimbabwe and one or two other neighbouring countries, and who knows where it is in all other parts of the world. Rapid mutations ..

Flights to various parts of the world from South Africa are banned. We’re a bit pissed off about that – it feels as we are being punished for sounding the alarm. There has been talk that maybe we should have withheld this for a while without sounding the alarm and putting things into a tailspin; and proceeded rather with caution before announcing it. I know of a few who’s flights to various parts of the world to spend with family is no longer possible, and the heartache that many are feeling. Those coming to our country from near and far afield to experience the beauty that this country has to offer, provides a well needed boost to the economy. Already I hear of bookings being cancelled …. the impact will be huge if things grind to a halt. We await news with bated breath …

If this government declares no inter-provincial travel as well over the festive season, then I can think no further than my nose of what may happen if that were to be enforced. We’ll all be spitting .. everyone, not just those who live in a bubble, including myself who can at least claim a roof over her head, food on the table, the usual comforts.

So, not a ‘usual’ good news story, but one that speaks to me and I hope to you. May you find the calm and peace within you to ride this storm and help bring peace and calm to those around you –

The Rain Maker

Rainmaker Media Group, LLC - Photos | Facebook
appearance of the Rain Maker

There was a great drought where [Richard] Wilhelm lived; for months there had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.

Finally the Chinese said, ‘We will fetch the rain-maker.’ And from another province a dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days.
On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow-storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumours about the wonderful rain-maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.

In true European fashion he said: ‘They call you the rain-maker; will you tell me how you made the snow?’

And the little Chinese said: ‘I did not make the snow; I am not responsible.’

‘But what have you done these three days?’

‘Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order; they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country.

So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came.’”


p. 419-20 Mysterium Coniunctionis: an Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy, vol 14 Bollingen Series XX: The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, 2d edition, trans by R.F.C. Hull, Princeton University Press 1976.

 Eric Lahti(https://ericlahti.wordpress.com) and Sylvia Stein (https://sylviasteinswritingcorner.blogspot.com) will be co-hosting, our thanks to them. Do pop round to see what they’ve posted. Do comment and share via social media. We call all do with a boost.

“Newcomers are welcome to browse through our page. We encourage everyone passing through to share this post on Facebook with their friends and family. If you are on Twitter we now have a perch there – WATWB – https://twitter.com/watwb.The idea is to spread #positivity and #light to counterbalance the #negativity and #darkness in #socialmedia these days. If you wish to see more posts like this, then like our page while you’re here”. From Ashlynn Waterstone who is our able administrator and for whom our grateful thanks are also due.


“Come join us next year, the last Friday of each month. Find an inspiring article and share it for WATWB, then just add the link to our group post on our Facebook WATWB group page so others can share and read”. (Thanks to Debby Gies.)

I wish you all a very merry festive season. A safe and healthy one for you, family and friends. May 2022 bring joy and peace.

In Darkness, be Light

#WATWB – 14 reasons to be happy

The last Friday of the month has rolled around again, at an alarming speed it seems to me. It’s the day on which bloggers from around the world post uplifting stories that put a smile on their faces and recognise that in spite of the anxiety on all fronts that we’re confronted with 24/7, there is much good in the world. This is the purpose of #WATWB – We Are The World Blogfest – to highlight humanity in action for the greater good.

If you would like to join in with posting for #WATWB or simply spread some joy on Facebook or Twitter, please click HERE for more information, guidelines and the hosts for this month’s event. You can go HERE to be part of the #WATWB Community Facebook page, where monthly posts congregate for your reading pleasure. Hosts for this month’s WATWB are: co-hosts are Eric Lahti (https://ericlahti.wordpress.com/) and Susan Scott (https://www.gardenofedenblog.com/

Brett Lindeque is our good to go to guy here in South Africa. This appeared the other day on social media. His energy and love for South Africans is palpable. The links give fuller stories for you to check out whenever you can or wish to. Of course, since I live here in South Africa, I’m more than happy to showcase these briefs. I’ve highlighted in colour and/or bold in the post the salient points.


14 Feel-Good Things Happening in South Africa Right Now!

BY BRENT LINDEQUE@BRENTLINDEQUESEP 22, 2021 385 1Photo Cred: On File | Supplied 

“Since we only have 14 Fridays left of 2021, I thought I would give you 14 feel-good reasons to be happy right now!

Johannesburg, South Africa (22 September 2021) –

It’s nearly Heritage day, which means we have a really short week to look forward to… I mean, tomorrow is kind of fake Friday, and that means the weekend is even closer, and there are only 14 of those left for this year.

Yup 14! Just 14 Fridays, Weekends and Sunday Fundays left of 2021!

We can sometimes get overwhelmed with sadness, but I want to remind you that good things are still happening right now. Even during this tragic time.

And since we have 14 Fridays left, I thought I would give you 14 reasons to be happy right now!

14 reasons to Feel-Good:

14. The regulations have changed, and our favourite locals can trade for longer, which is great news for them as a business…, but the really good news here is how South Africans have started seeing “support local” as more than just a catchy phrase. We are realising that by helping each other, we are able to rise. Flip, that’s beautiful!

13. Katherine Heigl – that incredibly famous actress from 27 dresses and Greys – shared a South African Vet’s campaign and helped her reach her crowdfunding target in 48 hours! What is the money for? To pay for sterilisations, vaccinations and de-worming for communities who can’t afford it. The target hasn’t since increased, but the public just keeps giving. Big love for this story!!!

12. We found out that Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation weigh their rescued Turtle hatchlings every Monday – to make sure they are growing and healthy, and making their way to eventually being released into the wild (when they are old enough). It is possibly the cutest thing and a reminder that Mondays are truly what you make of them!

11. We finally have Britbox in SA; Disney+ is set to launch next year, Dear Evan Hansen comes out this weekend, after almost 3 years of waiting, the new Bond is being released in a couple of days and the Matrix is back this December (after 22 years). Oh, and we’re in Marvel Phase 4!!! Lekker vibes!

10. A group of South Africans spotted an exhausted dog in the middle of Harties Dam and rallied together to save him. Guys, a whole bunch of humans, collectively worked together to save a little pup from drowning. That is humanity in action!

9. The country started the vaccination roll-out on the 18th of February 2021, and to date, over 8 million South Africans have been fully vaccinated!!! Whatever side you are on when it comes to the vaccine, there is no question that they are bringing a huge slice of normal to parts of the world that have a higher percentage… yes, I’m looking at you, UK, and I’m hoping you’ll take us off the damn red list!

8. People shared the most hopeful messages after asking what some of their post-covid goals are”. The most common… hugs. Just lots of hugs. And it’s already happening. It feels like we are moving forward. It feels like we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and good grief, it’s like a breath of fresh air right now.

7. 109 South African Firefighters have just arrived back in the country after spending weeks helping Canada with the wildfires. The Canadian government cannot stop speaking about how professional and brave they were. So proud of all the men and women who flew our flag soo high!

6. It’s exactly 70 days to the 1st of December, but realistically it’s already started. Summer is here, and no one does December vibes like South Africans… even in a global pandemic. I would actually pay to watch a Documentary about our December culture. It is fascinating!!!

5. A story about Djo BaNkuna (also known as the Cabbage Bandit) has garnered so much traction that City By-Laws have come into question, and soon, we could all be planting veggies for our communities on our pavements… legally! Imagine looking back a year from now and finding our country in a position where we are helping feed the nation by using a square meter of our pavements to grow food. THAT WOULD BE EPIC!!!

Support
Photo Credit: Djo BaNkuna – Facebook

4. Chaeli Mycroft has just released an inspiring book about her life… and it’s a beautiful read. I got my copy yesterday and cannot put it down. From summiting Mount Kilimanjaro to being the first athlete in a wheelchair to complete the Comrades Marathon, winning the International Children’s Peace Prize, to founding the Chaeli Campaign to champion a more ability-focused and inclusive world. Such a lekker feel-good book!

3. A Cape Town Pizzeria has been voted the best in Africa… the awards come from Naples – the home of Pizza and Massimo’s in Hout Bay took first place. And you know what I love even more about this story? Massimo’s is also one of the most charitable restaurants in our country; the owner has just got the biggest heart!

2. Little Mighty Mack is heading into her 3rd round of chemo with the support of a nation behind her. This little human is a miracle in every sense of the word, and every time I read another update, I get more inspired. You got this girl! We are sending you all our love and strength!

Childhood Cancer
Photo Credit: Mighty Mack – Facebook

1. We’re here, and even though we have all faced massive traumas in the 545 days, we are getting through this – somehow – and I kinda feel like we’re moving in the right direction.

Yes, friends! We are here, we are surviving, and even when it might feel like it’s all bad, there are good things happening all around us.

That’s it. Happy 14. I hope you find some good things today.

Okay. Love you. Bye.”

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful weekend. May the Force be with you. May Peace prevail. In Darkness be Light.

Gratitude Full Moon & Equinox

“I truly believe it is time to go in and in and in, finding a level of inner sustenance, a means of being connected to the greater whole, mentally well, physically as adept as possible, emotionally stable and thus increase our capacity to hold the space for the light to shine in every soul.”

Sandra, faeriembassy.wordpress.com in my last post Taking a Break.

All of your comments on that post were so heartwarming and encouraging and my thanks and gratitude are deep. My connections to you all are real and valuable.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sept_moon_IMG_8859-2.jpeg
last night’s full moon
Inspirational Yin Yang Sun Designs | LoveToKnow
wikipedia – imgres – the sun and moon – equinox, the moment of balance –

I’ve spent less time on my phone, more time on writing and re-thinking my painting. I’ll probably go back to my original thought. I made a mock up of it the other day on an A4 black card using oil pastels. Which I never use. The canvas is 10X larger and has been painted over several times.

I’ve been walking a fair bit. The lagoon is about a 15 minute walk away. from my home. At low tide I can walk on the sand banks. The sea is on the other side of the dunes. I often do that walk too. This side of the lagoon I snapped an oyster catcher (I could not get its red beak) and a crane.

snake while out walking with son Mike

One day, I’ll walk the whole Robberg Nature Reserve peninsula again. It’s a 4 to 5 hour hike in total. This last Sunday my husband & I walked a small part of it. Some clambering up rocks and a rest awhile.

So, in honour of the full moon, the Equinox and you the reader, this is a brief post. Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you. Be safe and well, keep your centre.

Taking a Break

I’ve finally made a decision that’s been a long while in coming. I know without a doubt that I spend too much time on social media. I am tracked so I know how many hours I spend on my phone. And the percentage increase. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram has me by the short and curlies. My morning gmail inbox is filled with news, business news local and international. Platforms I follow like academia.edu send me interesting papers that I save to read who knows when. They’re right up my street, psychological, in depth, on point … but the file for them TBR grows and grows. Other platforms I follow I save TBR later … all madly interesting. Brain Pickings, The Literary Hub, articles on Feminism, religion, Jungian psychology – mostly unread except maybe for a quick peek. The books on my kindle remain unread, the promise that I made to myself that I would review them, broken.

The painting on my easel remains unfinished, though I daub at it from time to time. My wardrobe needs decluttering and clothes given away – I’ve been saying this from the beginning of this month.

I’ve had a painful neck for some time now. Occasionally I take a strong anti-inflammatory. I use a heat pad on my neck and shoulders.. I make my own muti using chopped up raw turmeric, garlic, ginger, a few slices lemon, a squirt of apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, powdered turmeric and nutmeg, and a little honey (necessary), steeped in boiling water in a large mug. It helps. I’ve seen a physio a few times for dry needling and massage which helped.

I remember last year when I had a very painful foot in the early days of covid, which I suspect was from using my husband’s gym equipment incorrectly. Eventually, I went to see a GP here in Plett, who requested x-rays, no damage. What was interesting to me, was that no sooner had I made that appointment that the foot pain started to diminish. By the time the x-rays were done, there was no more pain, no treatment necessary. I wondered whether this was because I had made the first step in seeing a doctor, i.e. I was taking care of myself.

I’ve also made a link between sugar and neck pain. I have a very sweet tooth. Plus I have to say there is something rather greedy about my attitude towards food. Anyone who knows me, knows this. Just recently, my husband and I decided not to enable each other by having delicious things like yoghurt covered cashews, and cookies, and nuts and yoghurt covered dates – and almond croissants in the freezer. No more biscotti. No more chips in the pantry. No more delicious rusks (healthy, seeded, wheat free) with early morning tea, in bed.

At pottery classes there are always scrumptious things to eat at coffee break. The other day I took peeled and segmented clementines and sliced apples to the meeting. No doughnuts or chocolate brownies for me. The others also partook of the fruit – and even though the doughnuts and biscotti were staring at me, I wasn’t tempted.

Surprisingly, the neck pain has diminished. I’m stretching a little more, twisting my spine to enliven it. I spend more time in preparing food and enjoying the presentation of it. And the deliciousness of it. Simple. No bread (with oodles of butter) or crackers to go with it, just as is. No snacking in between meals. I’ve been known to demolish a slice of cake just before supper .. and after .. and in between. Snacking all day long …

So, this morning, a new week, a dedication by me to and for me to take a break. I’m sure I will continue reading your blogs, a source of nourishment for me. I’ll have to work out a time set aside for this. Daily? 2 or 3 times weekly? I’m not sure. While I’ve always meditated in the mornings, I can get out of the routine very quickly when the first thing I often do on waking is reach for my phone. Last thing at night too …That’s what I mean when I say I’ve been caught, captivated and captured … I want to break free, buzz like a bee, fly like a butterfly (with apologies to whoever first said this .. I think it was buzz like a butterfly, sting like a bee). There have been too many illnesses and death about and this is something I need to digest. Much saddened by the news today of the recent death of Julian David, Jungian Analyst, founder member of SAAJA (SA Association of Jungian Analysts), peacefully at his home in England and who made a lasting impression on me from a long time ago.

I plan to spend much more time writing … a novel about Lilith. Ok there I’ve said it. Been in the works for a while.

Thank you for reading. My love to you all. May the Force be with you. May Love be your operational word and your guiding star. May you be well, safe and centred.

Spring Day the first of September

I took this photo late afternoon today at my son’s home here in Plettenberg Bay. Friends here in South Africa have been sending messages as I have to them to celebrate the first official day of Spring! Up north Johannesburg way, they started the day off beautifully – warm and sunny. Here down south and across various parts of South Africa, it’s been cold!

I found a packet of seeds yesterday that a friend had given to me when last I was in Johannesburg. As always I admired her beautiful garden and asked about a bushy and beautiful plant among a setting in her garden. She said it was a flower called ‘Cleome’ and we harvested some seeds which she put into an envelope with instructions – plant in spring, sunny, a little shade is alright. Below is a photo I took that day, end March early April.

So, I sowed them today, first day of Spring! I don’t know how they’ll fare down south in our particular climate and soil. We’ll see!

I also planted some aloe cuttings today that I’d taken from my sister’s home in Cape Town. I was there recently. I wish I’d taken photos of my aloe garden garden today. It’s looking so fulsome. But here’s a fairly recent one. Just a small portion of it. I see I took it on 21st June … the solstice – not so recent after all!

The drive from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town was lovely – I set off Monday two weeks back. The canola fields were out in their full glory. Photos below were taken on the way back, this one last week Wednesday when I stopped the car to get out.

canola fields

I had a lovely time in Cape Town, saw a few friends but it was mostly low-key. My sister’s husband was away for the time I was there.

The one day we drove out to Gordon’s Bay where we used to live as teenagers. We walked the naval base pier to the end as we used to do as youngsters. Our parents’ ashes were tossed into the sea so many years ago and we walked it yet again and said a greeting and a prayer of thanks to them. We walked along the road past our house to the nunnery at the end – a cul-de-sac. Sat on a bench, walked on the beach, Bikini Beach, picked up a stone or two. We drove into Somerset West where we also lived and checked out our townhouse from the outside and then drove up the mountain to try to find our parents’ home. We thought we’d never find it but we did. Picked up a little bit of trash that was lying around. Photographed a pretty bush on the sidewalk. We shared memories … my sister’s memory is far better than mine … she always fills in the gaps.

bush opposite parents’ home
my sister, Gordon’s Bay
me on bench Bikini Beach with pier in background
Pier alongside yacht club and naval base

On the drive back last week I stopped in at a place for coffee where I’d had a breakfast before with my husband some few years ago. I’d done about 2 hours driving. Such a pretty place – those mountains! Here’s a photo of those mountains!

Nuys Valley Farm Stall

I sent a birthday greeting this morning to a dear friend in Johannesburg. Also saying Happy Spring Day! She responded by saying ‘I feel that something changes on Spring Day and will embrace it’. For me, that’s a lovely message – ‘something changes’ –

I sent my daughter-in-law a Happy Spring Day message. Including in it ‘a pinch and a punch for the first of the month’ – I don’t know where that saying comes from. She said ‘a first kick boom pow from the boy for the first of the month’ – and that baby had ‘started kicking with some incredibly powerful kicks a few minutes ago!’ So, even Emilio the embryo is responding to Spring Day ..

All is well here – the wheels of justice are turning slowly, but turning they certainly are. As another Johannesburg friend said today in a Spring Day message, ‘Lovely weather for Spring Day. When the sun and blossoms come out it is so wonderful and that even makes the ANC (our governing party) void look bearable’.

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well in these troubling times. Be safe. Embrace change.

This is a photo from my garden of our townhouse in Johannesburg. A night light made all those pretty circles of light radiating out. I must get one for Plettenberg Bay – In darkness, be light

#WATWB orphan elephant sanctuary


It’s the last Friday of the month – unbelievable, but true. Next month is the equinox, equal day equal night in both northern and southern hemispheres when the earth stands still for a moment before the axis tilts yet again. Just around the corner. Change of season; in the southern hemisphere; winter into spring; in the northern hemisphere, summer into Autumn or Fall.

We are the World Blogfest (#WATWB) is a platform from which bloggers around the world post good news of something happening somewhere in the world, which not only always offsets any negativity or stress we may be feeling in these unsettling times, but also showcases the effect one person, who has an idea and who turns that into reality. And which manifested reality has a profound beneficial effect on the community (or, in this instance, on animals – orphaned baby elephants).

There are so many stories that we don’t know much about, and it’s lovely acknowledge and highlighting them. This platform was started by Belinda Witzenhausen and Damyanti Biswas a few years ago (it’s in its 4th year), and I’m pleased to have been part of it.

This story took my fancy. I know Hoedspruit as a gateway to the Kruger National Park and other game reserves as I’ve been there several times; it’s a gateway to Mocambique as well, but of this orphanage I do not know, perfectly placed right there. There’s a sweet little video of about 1.30 mins.

Mary J. Giese (https://maryjmelange.wordpress.com/ ) Belinda Witzenhausen (https://www.BelindaWitzenhausen.com/) are our co-hosts this month, for which we thank you. If you wish to help spread good news, please share any posts – non-political, non-religious. Under 500 words with a link to your story. Please use the #WATWB hashtag eg  https://twitter.com/watwb

If you would like to join in with posting for #WATWB or simply spread some joy on Facebook or Twitter, please click HERE for more information, guidelines and the hosts for this month’s event. You can go HERE to be part of the #WATWB Community Facebook page, where monthly posts congregate for your reading pleasure.

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well and safe. May the Force be with you all.

This that and the next

I subscribe on Facebook to GBAS – the Good Book Appreciation Society (GBAS.) It has 1000’s of members I believe. Readers post a photograph of the book they’re reading and their review on it. Invariably, there’s a lot of discussion in the comments. It’s a wonderfully engaging link in which I am easily distracted and I occasionally add my two cents worth.

A few weeks ago on GBAS there was a review on Lynn Joffe’s book ‘The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus’. I read all the comments, all wonderful, and because it looked irresistible I added ‘I want, I need, I desire’. Blow me down with a feather, Lynn got hold off me via messenger and the book arrived at my home in Plettenberg Bay, from Johannesburg. A gift! A great big bold bountiful beautiful book.

I thanked Lynn via messenger and said how excited I was. She had mentioned something about Lilith in our previous messenger chats. I requested her kindle address and said I would send her a kindle edition of ‘In Praise of Lilith, Eve & the Serpent in the Garden of Eden & Other Stories’. She already had it. I wanted to gift her something in return so I said I would send her ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ by Susan E. Schwartz & myself. I had no copies of my own I told her, but would buy author copies from Amazon though this would take time. Shipping etc…

Now, when I opened the box that arrived with Lynn’s book we were out on the balcony having a late lunch. Son Mike said he MAY have two paper back copies of Aging & Becoming in a box at his house. Blow me down with a feather, he DID. When I asked him how come, he said he keeps things in a safe place.

The Aging & Becoming book went off to Lynn a few days days later. I confess I wanted to add a few things to the bag, and I could have done, but didn’t. I would have added chocolate, yoghurt covered dates, some nuts, cookies and whatever else took my fancy. (No doubt my tendency towards being a Jewish/shiksa mother.) I did wrap the book in tissue paper and put it in a bubble envelope into the bag.

She sent me a photo of her with my book in hand (so lovely to see!) and requested I do the same with her book and to send to her to put on her timeline with my permission.

Open Photo

I am so enjoying her book. It is Wanda B. Lazarus’ freewheel romp through the ages.. ‘It is a furiously funny feminist take on the myth of the Wandering Jew’ (back cover). On the front cover, Stephen Fry (yes, THAT Stephen Fry) says ‘Just what the world needs now – a novel charged with music, energy, bounce, juice and joy.’

Something else wonderful happened. My son David & Jüte are pregnant! Family knew before they announced it on social media. They wanted to share the good news after the 12 week period had passed. The link below shows the video they made a few days ago. It’s worth watching to the end.

Jacob Zuma, ex president, was imprisoned some days ago by ruling of the Constitutional Court for contempt of court. This is not for all the other charges he is facing. Just for his blatant disregard for the law. This country has exploded since then, especially over the last few days. A few dozen trucks have been burned on the highways, blocking them. Motorists are being stoned. Across the country, looters have trashed shops and shopping malls, brazenly carrying out TV’s, washing machines, goods of all descriptions, either by hand, on their backs or heads, or in the shops’ trolleys. You name it, it’s been stolen. During the day, during the night. Much captured on video, faces clearly seen. Billows of smoke from shopping centres. Businesses destroyed. Complete and utter chaos. Sugar cane plantations set alight. Not enough police, in fact far too few.

This is the tipping point. I do not know what will happen henceforth. Communities are now barricading their own suburbs and neighbourhoods for fear of these marauding crowds. The president addressed the country last night on TV pleading for calm, and now as I write, the SA National Defence Force has purportedly been called in to support the police.

The photo below is one I took from my study yesterday afternoon. Hopefully some sort of sign that peace will reign.

Well, that’s the news from my side. Wimbledon’s been and gone, the Euro soccer also. The Tour de France still happening. Some good news among the not good news. Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well and safe.

May the centre hold.

Work of Art from coffee pods

Heavens above and Lordy me, the last Friday of the month has been and gone. June, gone, up in a puff of smoke. The Solstice has been and gone, the full moon the other night was glorious and now July is around the corner. It’s now Saturday so I am late.

The end of the month on a Friday is a good choice of time to seek out Good News. The timing has its own particular touch. Friday, end of month, a weekend in which to explore others’ offerings on good news around the globe. It’s good to have an injection of good news, like a Vit B 12 one.

So I looked for good news this morning. I was lucky, I didn’t have to overly search. I like this story very much – Cape Town is part of my heritage, it is a beautiful city, works of art and of upcoming artists are frequently exhibited. Further, I like very much that the grounds from the coffee capsules are used for enriching the soil – fertiliser – for the growing of vegetables. Grounds into the ground. So this is altogether a win-win. Circular economy in action. Plus the viewer of Oscar The Seal (Cape Town’s mascot) will enjoy it and hopefully also be inspired in some way to do their bit in terms of recycling – for the planet and all its inhabitants.

Sylvia McGrath (https://www.professorowlsbookcorner.com ) & Belinda Witzehausen (https://www.BelindaWitzenhausen.com/) will be co-hosting. To them our thanks, and to Ashlynn Waterstone who keeps the home fires burning in terms of spreading the good news on social media. Please visit them, and do likewise with other #WATWB posts you may come across. If you retweet, FB or whatever please use the #WATWB hashtag.

If you would like to join in with posting for #WATWB or simply spread some joy on Facebook or Twitter, please click HERE for more information, guidelines and the hosts for this month’s event. You can go HERE to be part of the #WATWB Community Facebook page, where monthly posts congregate for your reading pleasure.

Thank you for reading. Have a lovely and safe weekend. May the Force be with you.

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