Category: uncategorised

Solstice, Hannukah & Christmas –

It’s hard to believe that the Solstice & Christmas is around the corner. Hannukah has been and gone but may we always remember that a candle brings light into this dark world.

So much has been happening and continues to happen in the world and mine. My month-long European trip with my son Mike was fantastic. Mid September to mid October. We surprised David my younger son in Prague for his second last concert which was epic.

a mid afternoon feast in Prague – we ate the lot, with gusto and relish! The last photo is the inside of the lift of where we were staying –

Prior to that we were in Paris for several days, and o my word, did we feast everywhere. We saw galleries galore. After Prague we spent several days in Rome and Todi. Todi to see my bridesmaid Inki and her husband in their gorgeous home in this medieval town.

overlooking the town of Todi

Thereafter to Santorini and then to Paros. A week in each place.

Swimming in the Aegean Sea. Trains and boats and planes, Ubers, undergrounds, car hires, hikes … plenty of walking on foot. Up stairs, down stairs. Mike was a wonderful companion on this trip.

Return – always wonderful. The garden was bursting with spring colour. Dave was due to travel to the US and Canada for yet another tour soon after our return. So a family breakfast here in Plett to see him off.

I got ill soon after, unconfirmed long covid. O my goodness, that was a thing. Coughing so badly my husband slept downstairs for two weeks. Ribs were so sore. Physiotherapy helped, pummelling the chest. Every now and then I thought I’d turned the corner, but it was not to be. In the depths of it all. How could I get so ill. The covid jab? Compounded by aging? Barely any reading, no writing, slouch, TV. Dreadful news on all fronts. A friend to stay for a week, and then another for several days. Warmth and kindness from them both – from my family too –

One day, in my study, I daubed with some acrylics and a kitchen sponge. Another day, I splodged on an A3 piece of art paper. I cut it up and have used as cards for various. I can probably make another 4 cards from the remainder –

I felt a bit better.

A dear friend died recently. We travelled from Plettenberg Bay last week to Simonstown (near Cape Town) for his memorial. It was such a celebration of Paul’s life. A legend in many ways. ALS – he died peacefully and his illness had not reached the awful stage of difficulty in breathing. My husband was their best man almost 50 years ago and gave the best speech of them all.

Driving home we stopped in at a petrol station for refreshments. Worst coffee ever. But pretty pink roses on the verge which reminded me of a dream a few nights back in which pink roses featured.

On Wednesday evening we had supper at son Mike’s home.

Stuart brought fresh oysters that he had chiselled off the rocks. Never in my life have I see such huge beauties that tasted out of this world.

My son Mike co-created and directed the pilot of this series which is now on Showmax –

Fissures everywhere it seems. Heartbreaking wars with no end in sight. I see the recent explosive volcano in Iceland as an apt metaphor for what is happening in the world. Spewing fire and brimstone. Magnificent to behold …

We have elections next year in April. Electioneering has started. Who knows what lies in store for us all. Violence in all shape and form is everywhere. GBV, assassinations, kidnappings – it’s the Wild West on all levels –

I wonder about hope – but what else is there? Can we hope for re-birth and renewal? Surely the potential is there and if there is potential there is possibility. Our SA rugby players (The Springboks) won the World Cup Rugby earlier this year – o what a feeling that was. United, proud, winning against the odds, all races jubilant. Can we get ‘that’ back again? Can we get this rotten corrupt thieving government out of power once and for all and rebuild this beautiful country?

To not end on too much of a heavy note, soon on Christmas Day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, a child born to Joseph and Mary, a humble carpenter in his youth, who preached love and forgiveness, peace, kindness, do unto others as you would have done unto yourselves.

a few mornings back – from my bedroom verandah –

May Peace and Goodwill be uppermost in our hearts minds and souls, for ourselves and everyone. Solstice is on Friday, 5.27 am South African time, a momentary pause before the wheel turns. A time for reflection –

Thank you for reading and may the Force be with you.

Equinox

I’m writing in Prague. It’s the autumnal equinox here in the northern hemisphere and spring equinox back home in South Africa. Length of day and night are momentarily equal. Each hemisphere swings slowly into different seasons, each with different emphases – one going into retreat and downward, the other rising and outward –

My older son Mike and I surprised younger son and brother in the hotel lobby here in Prague on Tuesday. Mike was in constant phone contact with Dave’s manager so we knew the exact moment he was upon us. Yes, he was absolutely, thoroughly, happily surprised to see us. His show that evening was epic.

We spent the day on Wednesday wandering the streets of Prague, Old Town – beautiful cathedrals, gargoyles, open spaces, gardens. Dave and crew left after breakfast on Thursday for Vienna for his last concert and is as I write driving from Cape Town back to Plettenberg Bay. He’s been missing home, his wife and son. 17 concerts in 20 days. Back in good time to watch the SA vs Ireland World Cup rugby match. Go Bokke GO!!!!

I could add so many photos. Here’s one of me having lunch at a recommended Czech restaurant. Duck pate, fried Camembert, duck, ham… with all sorts of pickles. It was a huge meal for the two of us and not a scrap was left. Mike has a healthy appetite; as his mother, I try to keep up with him.

We’ve walked a lot, averaging 10 km a day. Again, as his mother, I need to keep up! The roads are curvy, the trams and buses are silent, the drivers respectful, tourists are in awe. There is art wherever your eye sees. The one below is the inside of the lift in my hotel.

Prior to Prague, Mike & I spent 3 days in Paris, 7th arrondissement, St Germain. Ooooo, it was so nice. Pretty central to everything. We bused, boated, walked, ate at restaurants, savoured coffees here there and everywhere. Golly, lightness has taken on a new meaning for me. Patisseries soft, delicate, melt in the mouth.

The Norte Dame Cathedral is still undergoing reconstruction from that dreadful fire 3 years ago.

We spent hours in the Louvre Museum.

Everything in Paris was a delight to my eye. Everything works, traffic, traffic lights, pedestrian walkways, plenty of parks. I would have loved to get on one of those scooters and zoomed around, but it was pedals of the human kind that I used.

We fly from Prague on Monday to Rome, from where we take a bus to my bridesmaid about 2 hours north of Rome. I can’t wait! We’ll be with her for a few days, and then further adventures await.

In an hour or so I’ll be meeting Marlon at my hotel … we’ve never met but have been in contact over the years. I always wondered if we’d meet and now we will! In a real way he’s been a meaningful presence.

I hope this finds you all well and in good spirits.

May the Force be with you.

Solstice

Happy Solstice Day to all in the northern and summer hemispheres. Longest night, shortest day for the southern hemisphere; longest day shortest night in the northern hemisphere. A moment of balance. I acknowledged this, this morning, when I took a tube of paint and covered a blank canvas that’s been staring at me a long time in my study. I’ll continue with it during the week –

A friend sent me this today.

Solstice June 2003

And yes we climbed it. My husband came along, a few others as well. Susan (from the US), Vonn and I ventured into the Amazon while the others returned home. (We had to be rescued by helicopter because of the flooding.) We must have done this in 2004.

Vonn/Voon was here in Plett for several days at the end of May. She’d been attending the BirdLife Africa conference in Wilderness. She was made the chairperson, a worthy achievement. While she was here I took her to The Birds of Eden, a half-hour outside Plett. The largest of its kind in the world. It really is a lovely place. The day was overcast so colours were not truly seen in all their glory. An upside down bat, a parrot –

and a black swan – which reminds me of Black Swan referring to events that turn the world upside down –

Towards the end of March, I drove on my own to Johannesburg and overnighted in the Karoo. People were a bit horrified that I was doing this on my own. Fly, rent a car, it’s too dangerous etc etc etc. But, part of me wanted ‘own time’ and I didn’t want to hire a car. The stars at night and the cosmos when I stopped the car closer to Johannesburg were some of my pleasures.

Prior Grange: Springfontein Karoo
Cosmos: they always make me smile

Johannesburg was lovely. I stayed with my friends Linda & Ron in the most comfortable and private suite imaginable. We had lovely chats, delicious food. She’s something of a connoisseur and whipped up treats in a flash in her very fancy kitchen. The photo below shows the entrance to my suite.

my private patio had hundreds of succulents –

I saw a few friends for coffee or lunch, one on one. A few gatherings of girlfriends.

A beautiful day on Easter Sunday with my friend Susan at the Emmarentia Gardens – a picnic. I saw my 2 dental specialists which was the main purpose of my trip – but because it’s quite extensive treatment, it makes more sense that I have it done closer to home, which is Port Elizabeth.

We travelled to PE a few weekends back to see the first dental specialist and stopped in at the address where I had spent the first 6 years of my life. Obviously greatly changed, and my home is no longer there though the address is.

We motored on to the Addo Elephant Park for 2 nights. O it was bliss. I’ve chosen this photo because of the starkness of its white tusk –

It’s bitterly cold here in Plettenberg Bay. We’ve had lots of rain. There’s been flooding all over the place, especially in the Western Cape. Politically? Up the shute and down the drain –

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

this morning’s sunrise on the Solstice

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 giovannaphotography.com

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.

A NORSE AUDIENCE BEING ENTERTAINED BY THE STORIES IN WHICH THOR IS DECEIVED & BETRAYED WOULD HAVE DERIVED A COMFORTING MESSAGE: EVEN THOR COULD HAVE BAD DAYS.

Mark, J. J. (2018, December 17). ThorWorld History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/Thor/ *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.

EQUINOX

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) –

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.

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 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 (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.

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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.