Category: uncategorised

Equinox Hope Beauty

The equinox is a day when there is a moment of balance. The sun is directly above the equator and consequently the length of daylight and night light hours are equal. This momentary balance occurs just before the earth tilts and leans in to a different season in the northern and southern hemispheres. This year the Equinox occurs on Monday 20th March. We’ll be tilting towards Winter; in the northern hemisphere, towards Spring – always a wonderful manifestation of Hope!

I have a troubled relationship with hope. I know I’ve written about this before. I’ve questioned whether faith and hope are strongly correlated – yes they are – here in my country, South Africa, hope springs eternal, especially amongst the poorest of the poor. I quoted T.S. Eliot’s poem in that long ago blog post. Here, I’ve excerpted a portion from East Coker, the 2nd of his Quartets.

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.

The last time I felt a pure surge of Hope was 27th April 1994 when Mr Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa. The long wait for the walk to freedom was worthwhile. The glow and euphoria lasted a long while and I felt the pride of patriotism. It is now thoroughly evaporated. And still we wait – for a miracle that can turn this country around and fulfil its wondrous potential? Is it at all possible? I don’t know – there is no certainty – is there ever? Except for the changing of seasons and that night follows day – and that miracles do happen –

The other day while wandering and walking and seeing spots of beauty here and there, I got to thinking about beauty and it’s link to hope because, when I see something of beauty, a pleasurable sense arises in me. And then a spark of gratitude and – is this joy? And I wonder if this is hope stirring, hope that there will always be beauty. That Mother Nature will always deliver, while knowing that her destructive side is ever present –

My eyes see the beauty of colour, the markings, the sturdy stem, the unfurling of the bloom, the pattern on the leaf, shades of green, shadows –

I hear the twittering and the chattering of the birds or a piece of music that moves me –

I touch my grandson’s angelic head –

I taste a sweet grape, and get a whiff of the fragrance of fynbos wafting by on the wisp of a breeze every now and then in certain parts of Plett and surrounds –

The moonlight, clouds, the shadows, the sea, mountains, a piece of writing, music, family, a stranger’s smile, a kindness shown, a shell, a stone, a soul connection, organisations such as the Gift of The Givers bringing aid and relief to any part of the world – even the remotest – where it is needed. Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder, is born and bred here in South Africa. His stated philosophy: ‘… the solid belief in the common humanity that unites us’. We are so pleased, proud and privileged to call him one of our own. His vision is a beacon of light – for me and many – his story is remarkable –

There is beauty everywhere. In the blessings of friendships, in real life and via stratosphere connections. The value of all these and more than I’ve mentioned. And Hope, that goodness and beauty will always prevail. A real and strong antidote to Despair, even if it continues to hover in the wings as it must, for it is the other side of Hope –

A card from halfway around the world, sent to me 6 months ago arrived just recently. I’d almost given up hope that it would arrive, our postal service being what it is. But it did! So much beauty in this card. Not just in the card but in the person who sent it to me. I wonder if I could paint it. I see the stepping stones, a bird on a branch, another on the wing, a woman in red shawl in repose, branches, dark and light, is that a sunrise or sunset with the moon fully present –

indigenous collection by CAP ‘Migration’ copyright Betty Albert

A book sent to me from half way around the world last year, also arrived 6 months later. Treasured.

Which makes me think about hope being lost and then found … maybe hope needs to be truly lost for it to be found –

Hope: the last item from Pandora’s box. From Wikipedia –Hope is the only good god remaining among mankind; the others have left and gone to Olympus. 

If she’s in the box, may she be released and if she’s already out the box may she spread far and wide … may hope prevail –

A woman from the valley of the Omo river in southern Ethiopia 600 miles near Addis Ababa. This Suri tribe ‘…use their bodies and hairstyles of flowers and leaves to express with ancestral artistic sensitivity their constant search for beauty’.
Australian artist and photographer Giovanna Aryafara

I have a neck that is causing me gyp, and my teeth as per recent x ray need specialist treatment which will be lengthy – and the big question is where will I have this treatment. Unfortunately while Plett has excellent dentists there are no specialists. We’ve been given recommendations. Port Elizabeth, 240 kms away, where I was born – maybe there I will be where my roots are – while having some root treatment and other stuff – 🙂 or Cape Town, only 550 kms away where I can get excellent no doubt costly treatment and can go to and fro from home every now and then … what’s there not to like. Overnight enroute at my sister’s in Wilderness which cuts the journey by 100 kms. Or even in Johannesburg – to make a road trip, on my own – 1228 kms away – through the Karoo – the driving not without its dangers, especially in Johannesburg where large potholes and other deceptive ones are everywhere … I would have to be extra cautious and hyper vigilant at all times and everywhere. In spite of this I’m leaning towards a road trip, tout sole through the wide open spaces of the Karoo – the stars at night – being on my own – but I have to make decisions and they have to be made soon – driving to Johannesburg may be chancing it although I would stay overnight. I remain grateful that I can afford the big costs coming up. We are not insured for dental work.

Thank you for reading. I so appreciate this. I hope this finds you all well and in good cheer, weathering the storms yet having a firm mast. May the Force be with you. Happy Weekend, Happy Equinox.

February 2023

February in South Africa can often be the hottest month of the year. Down in the south of SA rain comes in winter; up north on the highveld they have thunderstorms during summer. Occasionally we have unexpected rain down here in Plettenberg Bay. Believe me, it’s a relief and a blessing. I usually walk in the coolth of the day around 6.00 p.m. or so and I can feel that it’s cooling down in the evenings.

Last Saturday late afternoon I visited my son, daughter-in-law and grandson Sam for tea. It was a sweltering day. The clouds were building. I stopped in at my elder son Mike who lives pretty near to them. We agreed to go for a quick walk. Mike was pretty certain that in spite of the deep rumbles of thunder, we would escape the rain. So, a quick much needed walk – the drops started as we reached his home. The clouds were a sight to see. I took a few photos from his home.

I hot-footed back home and watched the unfolding storm from my balcony. Yikes, I’ve never seen anything like it. And the noise. Crash, bang, boom. It may have been wise to switch everything off, but in the excitement of it all it was the furthest thing from my mind. (Not that I’ve ever done that. My husband has at times I think). Unbelievably I got a shot on my phone.

Even though I say so myself, it’s a darn good photo. I was lucky to capture it. I was captive to Thor’s thundering and his display of lightning that swept across the skies in a wide swathe. Close by and far out. In flashes like this one, also many of them simultaneously. The skies were alight just about all the time, flashes lasting for several seconds. It may look as if the tree has been struck but the strike is out to sea …

I sent a copy of the photo straightaway to both my sons. Their responses were very similar, awesome, epic, amazing. Both said to post it on FB on Plett in Stereo. So I did: ‘From my balcony this evening’ – it had many many hits, comments much the same as my sons. One of the comments mentioned Thor – most apt. And then there was another mention of Thor somewhere and elsewhere – which sent me almost down a rabbit hole.

Thor (from Old Norse: Þórr) is a prominent god in Germanic paganism. In Norse mythology, he is a hammer-wielding god associated with lightning, thunder, storms, sacred groves and trees, strength, the protection of humankind, hallowing, and fertility. from Wikipedia

He wields his magical hammer in iron-clad gloves and summons thunder and lightning and can split mountains in half. I like what the above excerpt says ‘…the protection of humankind, hallowing, and fertility.’

He is also the son of the One-Eyed All-Father Odin …

He dies, as doomed, when at long last, he fights his enemy, the Midgard Serpent, Jörmungand, and slays him with his powerful hammer Mjollnir. The serpent’s poison kills him, at Ragnarök, ‘…the end of the world and the twilight of the gods…’*

I skim-read about Thor on World History Encyclopedia and have bookmarked it – now is not the time, but Thor was known to also be temperamental and given to violence before considering alternatives. He is usually portrayed as winning every battle no matter how extreme; yet the article tells a lengthy and fascinating story of how Thor actually did NOT win some of his battles.


Mark, J. J. (2018, December 17). ThorWorld History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from *Much of the material above comes from this source. I like that last part: Even Thor could have bad days. He was also the husband of the fertility goddess, Sif.

And, an extraordinary bit of timing, or synchronicity or call it what you will, but it certainly stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. I started this blog yesterday morning and in the afternoon I came across this. SAAJA (South African Association of Jungian Analysts) is hosting an online lecture next week on Thor “The day the mighty Thor lost his hammer” – The Day the Mighty Thor Lost His Hammer | Online Lecture by Dr Deon van Zyl. It is worthwhile just reading what this link says … yes, I’ve booked.

All is well in my neck of the woods. I saw my occupational hand therapist yesterday morning, my 3rd and last consultation. She was very impressed with my progress and I am now hands free! No construction to wear at night and the little glove during the day is also not a necessity.

A friend from Cape Town stayed for several days here with me in January here in Plett. That was very pleasant. I so enjoyed showing her around.

Baby Sam is not such a baby anymore. He walks and runs, makes funny noises, laughs and smiles a lot, enjoys life enormously and as my daughter in law says, living his best life. Curious about everything. They are such good parents and get such a kick out of him. He is attentive. Clearly very bright – I plan to teach him the abacus… I bought him one for his 1st birthday in January … 🙂

cake made by Jüte, Sam made by them both –

The Monday writing group (unstructured) continues. I enjoy it. We were 5 last Monday. We just get on with it, from 10 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. It is a good start to the week. I continue with my novel … pantsing it mostly.

We have the SONA – State of the Nation Address – by the president this evening. It will be at the City Hall in Cape Town and not at the usual Houses of Parliament which caught fire last year in January. Arson suspected and not yet rebuilt. It’s the most important event of the year in which inter alia the president sets out the ANC goals for the year. It’s preceded by a ceremonial Military Guard of Honour, a military band, a 21 gun salute, and a South African Air Force fly by while the president takes the national salute. And of course, the national anthem. Also preceded by an ongoing procession of every one attending dressed in their finery. Pomp and Ceremony. It’s Show Time people! Two weeks later we’ll have the Minister of Finance introducing the budget speech based on the government’s priorities set out by the president in his SONA address tonight.

I doubt it will go smoothly. The EFF (the red beret faction, one of the (militant) opposition parties) has threatened to disrupt it all. This has happened on all the previous annual SONA’s. It’s a circus. This country is feeling and reeling under the trauma of the last several years of corruption by the governing party on a grand scale. Electricity blackouts galore. Water shortages, flooding, businesses closing, rising unemployment, GBV, crime … the list is endless. We’ll be watching it all from about 4.00 pm onwards. The president’s speech is on at 7. He WILL be hugely heckled. Both inside and outside the City Hall. Activists of all shapes and stripes are probably gathering as I write. The police force is on standby –

The earthquakes and the aftermath is terrible. The Gift of the Givers of whom we South Africans are so proud, are there in Turkey and Syria with their professional team to help out. They will be of great assistance this we know. It’s hard to say anything – Nature does what she will. She is both creative and destructive. The tragedy is hard to bear –

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you well and in good cheer despite the pressing concerns of the day/week/month/year.

May the Force be with you.

Life –

December, Plettenberg Bay

I’m typing this mostly with my right hand. My left arm and wrist is in a cast, thankfully removable as in eg taking a shower. It is a clever piece of engineering, fashioned by the hand therapist at the Vincent Palotti hospital in Cape Town this past Wednesday morning. This after we’d seen a hand specialist in those rooms. All of the staff were so nice and friendly. I am sure this aids healing ~

Sunday a week back we joined Cape Town friends on a hike on Silvermine.

It was so beautiful – we started walking at 9.00 in the morning. There were times that I was a little unsteady on my feet but Neil was there to offer a helping hand over rocky terrain. Golly, it was so beautiful. The weather was perfect. We completed the hike at midday, 8.3 kms on my phone app. Amazing and wondrous, news that I knew would please my vascular surgeon who were seeing two days hence for follow up from September op in Cape Town.

We were staying in an airbnb in Constantia, a suburb of Cape Town. So comfortable, beautifully appointed, with the Alphen Trails on our doorstep and wine estates and coffee shops left right and centre.

There was beauty everywhere I looked. All was so lush and green, spots of colour here and there. Trees so large, overhanging the road on both sides on windy windy roads. Magical. Enchanted.

We visited Kirstenbosch Gardens ~ a true delight. Neil had never been before. I’ve been a few times. He was totally in awe. Indigenous. Some lovely scents –

We trekked out to Gordon’s Bay where we used to live many years ago (50, 60 years ago). My sister and I tossed our parents ashes into the sea 20 odd years ago. It’s been a tradition to walk the pier and say a prayer.

It was an eventful several days. We trekked out to Kalk Bay, especially to see Kudzi and Raite, the women who prayed so hard for me when we were in Cape Town for my vascular op in sept. So lovely to see them.

Monday a week back we trekked out to BloubergStrand, on the other side, to meet with a very dear friend who now lives in Holland. We got there early so we were walking around the shopping centre with its shops and restaurants. I tripped, fell flat forwards, and the next thing I knew, Neil and a very nice man were helping me up from the ground. Neil bought a strapping plaster and cotton wool from the store and strapped my wrist. We met with Carly, had a lovely lunch. Bloubergstrand is known internationally as a kite surfers paradise. Table Mountain is clearly visible in all her glory as is Robben Island, where Mr Nelson Mandela was held captive for 27 years.

My hand was getting progressively more painful on the drive back to Constantia. Long story short: 4 hours in the emergency clinic (the same hospital I was coming to in the morning for my post op appointment with vascular specialist) with x-rays and cat scan. A ring cutter was eventually found and used to remove my two rings, and a ‘back slab’ of plaster of paris was put on my left arm and hand. We were given the name of the orthopaedic specialist to see in next day or so. They were all so sweet, the attending staff and the Dr. in charge, Dr Bangani, a tall, large woman with twinkly eyes.

I saw my vascular surgeon the following morning, who of course was surprised! But all is well on vascular side, and can now stop one of the nightly medicines.

Neil sourced a hand specialist who we saw this past Wednesday as I wrote at the beginning of this post. We left Cape Town a day or so early and were back in Plett later on that evening.

I felt a bit bleak for a few days. Mooched. Sulked. The wind knocked out of my sails. But this didn’t last. How could it when seeing Mike and Dave blowing bubbles for Sam in the bath. I observed from the doorway. Endless fascination – Mike took the photo.

My son had told me of a writing group that meets Mondays at a restaurant from 10 to 1.00. What a pleasure. It was my first. We were 4 women. I started this blog and did some writing on my novel.

writing group

We’ve had very serious loadshedding, electricity blackouts. The CEO of Eskom resigned yesterday. The knives have been out for him. He’s had no support from his board, nor from the President when for example he was accused recently by the Minister of Energy Affairs of deliberately causing electricity breakdowns so as to sabotage Eskom and therefore South Africa and this was a treasonous act. Scapegoating, gas lighting, call it what you will. Snakes in the grass. Breath taking. Political wrangling going on at break neck speed. Unbelievable storms causing much damage across the country. Hail, flooding – and yet civil society is very active and the helpers are many –

The lights went out last evening at 10.00 as they have been doing for last long while. (Various load sheds during the day and evening every day). We were at a dinner party. Candles and lanterns were brought out. When we left a little later, the skies were so beautiful. The stars so bright, the Milky Way, Orion’s Belt, the Southern Cross bright bright and glowing. Again, I thought of how there is so much beauty everywhere. Up there down here –

And while there is so much anxiety around the world on all sorts of levels, there is still beauty. Whether it be the stars or a rock pool. A sunrise, a sunset, a smile from a stranger. A shared laugh, a shared meal. A sense that we are living in historic times (I’m sure all generations say that). A Jacaranda tree outside Plett and an amaryllis on my patio that was a complete surprise. Which reminds me how things can be dormant for so long – but its expression will ultimately find its way out. And when its a thing of beauty, the heart can only smile –

The year is drawing to an end. The Summer & Winter Solstice is nigh. For many, the birth of Christ is a celebration. The lighting of the candles of the Menorah is around the same time. I’m not sure what happens in the Muslim faith. But the birth of the new year is on the horizon and it is this that I want to say – may your new year be healthy and light-filled in all ways. And a huge thank you for your support over these years. I appreciate this more than you could know.


September Equinox Wikipedia

I was hoping to get up a post on Friday evening but it was not to be. Happy Equinox everyone, North and South, East and West. A changing of seasons – always meaningful. The outer changes in Mother Nature as she’s engaged in different functions often mirrors an inner sense in us as humans.

O my goodness, these last several months have been extraordinary, trying, difficult, painful –

But, the medical intervention that happened on Tuesday 20th September at a hospital in Cape Town, performed by a vascular specialist and his merry team, under spinal anaesthetic did the trick. Praise be – praise be to all that is –

It’s going to take me a while to digest all of this; the lead up to it and the aftermath. And now I must put on my thinking and feeling cap and be brief and concise without compromising on what I have felt to be life-changing ~

I was fairly secretive about my dreadful physical condition. Exacerbated almost 4 months ago from a fall at a bnb in the Karoo en route from Plettenberg Bay to Johannesburg. My close family certainly knew that walking 50 paces resulted in a painful leg and I had to stop for a minute or so before proceeding. They also knew that I was completely sleep deprived due to the extreme pain in my toes in my right foot that woke me without fail several times at night starting in the early hours.

My retired ent doctor husband (ear nose & toes specialist) early on diagnosed a blocked femoral artery in my right leg. As did doppler x rays (non invasive x rays); as did a vascular specialist in George. No blood reaching my leg and foot and toes. (Horrible gash on shin from the fall – the blood was working overtime there on the gash to heal it.) My husband did a lot of detective work on my behalf and, truth be told, his connections were of great help in seeking the best person to attend to me.

Friday 16th week before last Friday, we kept our appointment with a specialist in Cape Town. Eight inches from top of my knee going upwards, the blockage inside my leg was total. Thick black line. Atheroma (sort of like plaque I think). Scheduled for Tuesday 20th. 60% chance said he … but that there was a plan B, which would have to be scheduled for another time, should plan A not work.

So it was on this Tuesday past, that I checked in at the hospital, my husband beside me.

But now to get to the nuts and bolts of my story.

Of course I did let some friends know that I was going in for surgery. They knew about the considerable pain I’d been in for the last 4 months.

I cannot tell you how buoyed I was and still am by the kindness and care and concern of my friends. I truly believe that their love and care helped me enormously in this.

From far and wide – each connection a deepening of my heart. Sheila in Scotland, Peta in Ireland, Inki in Italy, Susan in the US, Jeanne currently in the UK, Nicki abroad at the the time. And close to home those who know me and whose friendship I value enormously, sent me messages of love and encouragement.

We stayed with a friend of mine Lisa in Muizenberg (about 20 mins outside Cape Town). Her beautiful home has a comfortable cottage attached to it, which is where we bunked down. It is such a pretty part of the world – further along the road is St. James and Kalk Bay with their pretty tidal pools, railway line, lovely shops that I would have liked to have spent more time in … Fish Hoek further up, Simonstown –

It must have been Saturday. Gorgeous little shop – Lisa and I are looking, Neil is sitting outside at a coffee shop next door. I bought two small things … the sweet lady behind the counter gave me 2 vouchers for cappucinos next door! That was very nice, and very nice coffee it was. Now, it must have been Monday, the day before my op. I thought I would like to get this sweet lady something from the deli where we had our coffee. So, we stopped in there – for lunch. Delicious it was. Idyllic, overlooking the sea and surfers, mountains in sight. `

I arranged for a treat to be sent to the lady in the shop. I thought the Deli would do this later. We popped into the shop after we’d settled the bill, now to to do some more serious shopping. The treat was brought over while I was chatting to the lady. So excited about the treats, she was so chuffed, and there were 2 of the treats, an extra for the other lady. I do not know how it was that I told them I was going in for surgery on my right leg the next day.

I do not know how long it was, 10 mins? 15 mins? They prayed over me. In broad daylight, each of us holding onto the other. Right there inside the shop next to the till. I was oblivious of any other shoppers. Rati is the woman on the right, Kudzi is the lass in the yellow jersey. Rati knelt down on the floor and held my leg and prayed over it – she said she felt G.d there – she felt something move …

Rati & Kudzi ~ Kalk Bay, outside shop.

Rati emphasised a few times that she was the messenger only. When we separated and said our farewells I was on a complete high. Floating, buoyed, too out there or in here to think or feel – very strangely moved.

I continue to feel this way, buoyed – a sort of floating, uplifted by that which is uplifting – which I am still trying to determine … I nearly wrote ‘define’ but as I thought it, I thought it was one of those indefinable somethings. Though I now simply say and know ‘G.d moves in mysterious ways’.

In fact there were a few extraordinary serendipities to support my ‘knowing’ – but I’d still be writing come the December solstice if I started telling ~

I’ve ‘dodged the bullet’ as a friend of mine said. Another said she hoped I “…can enjoy and receive from all those who care about you. This is often more tangible when you are unwell or more vulnerable”. Another said about chance encounters. All sent healing thoughts and prayers –

We had some fabulous meetups with a few friends pre op. Those first few days of being in Muizenberg/Cape Town were lovely – Cape Town and surrounds is just lovely. Every sight a delight. That beautiful part of the world will always be so special to me, because of the association of the success of op, the people, the power of prayer, chance encounters, the sense that I had of me needing to trust. And then the op on Tuesday – discharged on Wednesday and we started wending our way home on Thursday, arriving Friday just a few days ago.

I liked my surgeon from initial meeting. Nice looking too. He emphasised the 60% chance of success. I know that he was very pleased indeed at the outcome. I will still write to him to thank him … I wonder if I will say anything about my ‘experiences’ to him. I doubt it .. but I think I will say something about my being grateful for the guidance he had in his surgery.

orchid stem in reception of surgeon’s rooms
Muizenberg & surfers
Canola fields on our way home
the most delicious lunch of avo and salmon at a farm stall in Houw Hoek – creme fraiche on top.
view from my study balcony this afternoon

I’ve yet to go walking – beginning tomorrow. Get appraised for Pilates classes with a view to joining and get my strength and bounce back.

And Rosh Hashana beginning this evening!

Happy New Year to All!

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well. Strange times indeed. May the Force & Peace be with you.

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) –

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.

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.


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.

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.


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 brings in shorter days, longer nights. 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.

#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 ( and Susan Scott (

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!!!

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, 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 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

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.

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