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We spent 3 nights 4 days very recently at a privately owned non-commercial game farm in the eastern part of our country (a 6 hour drive) at the invitation of a girlfriend who turned 70 the other day. It borders on the Kruger National Park and fancy lodges like Londolozi & Mala Mala, 

We’ve been many times over the years at the family’s kind invitation, from when my boys were small …

Although the drought is severe, the animals looked well and strong. I took photos and even a video with my cell phone. This was on our first landrover drive, in the coolth of the evening –elle_alicecot

On our 2nd evening, I took this photo of the sunset out on the plains – the clouds seemed to be floating –



I spent 10 years travelling between Johannesburg and The Midlands, Natal, to the boarding school my boys attended. A 41/2 drive there and same back. Most times on my own, sometimes with my husband. Beautiful countryside, and those mountains! As my elder son left, so my younger one began high school the following year.

Close to the school is a spa – in my younger son’s last year, about 12 years ago, I thought it was about time to treat myself. 10 years and never going? So I did. Checked in on a Wednesday out on Friday and the weekend to attend son’s sporting activities at the school and to take him out on a one night ‘leave’ i.e. the Sat night after sports.

I was on my own at the spa, knew no-one, didn’t really strike up conversations, read a lot, wrote a lot, ate half a banana for breakfast, a carrot for lunch, a piece of cucumber, half an avocado for supper, maybe with a lettuce leaf, drank water or herbal tea* (I brought my own coffee to make in my private room), did a bit of exercise – a walk or two in the mists, a group meditation I recall, I don’t remember if I had a beauty treatment, I don’t think so but maybe I had a reflexology treatment or a 20 min shoulder massage if it was on offer and included in the price.

I saw the advertisement within the gilded chambers for the flotation tank … I was intrigued. It was not included in the cost. It was fairly costly to spend an hour in total darkness, on one’s own, with the lid closed over one – naked as the day being born

I’m going to have to find what I wrote about it – it’s in one of my ridiculously many notebooks and journals. It would take a great search, but I will when time permits.

If I cast my mind back, it was a profound experience. I think I was skeptical at the beginning – nothing happened. 

All I remember now is a feeling of timelessness and weightlessness, I can’t even say suspended – just weightless. In that weightless state thoughts passed my mind – I remember becoming more and more light, perhaps a sense of suspension, and floating – while traversing – at peace –

I’ll have to find my journal writing – I’m intriguing myself –

As I write the clouds are gathering. I looked out while drafting this post earlier and took the picture below from just outside my study. Five seconds later the heart wasn’t there …

heart_in_cloudsWe’ve had good and much needed rains the last few days. A blessing.

All is still in turmoil – ‘still in turmoil’, a contradiction if ever i heard one but maybe it’s a paradox. Stillness in turmoil. May we all find that quiet place in amongst it all – 

Thank you for listening and may the Force be with us all

*not as severe as I say but almost

Susan Scott on video ‘Aging & Becoming’

Video – ‘Aging & Becoming’

It is 2.10 minutes long. I talk about Susan Schwartz’s and my collaboration on our book ‘Aging & Becoming’. It went up on youtube yesterday and onto my Face Book author page. So far – this is as far as I’ve got in ‘going public’. I am in the throes of putting out enquiries to potential traditional publishers although it will be available sooner as an ebook.

My thanks to son Mike in Plettenberg Bay and my sister Debora Irish in Cape Town for their patience in making this video possible. (I’m unsure of the ‘gleam’ in one eye).

Thank you for listening!

We continue to live on the knife-edge here in South Africa. Protests and violence everywhere by university students: #feesmustfall,  #futuremustfall, #sciencemustfall, #Zuma (our president)must fall –

I’d be happy for a ‘rain must fall’ campaign – or a rain dance – anything to encourage the rain to fall. I’ve watered my little garden in the light of the moon over the last few nights. We have water restrictions – no watering between 6.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. But my garden seems to be doing ok though definitely thirsty. I have put a whole lot of compost around the plants in the garden and potting soil into the pots. This helps retain the moisture of tap or rain water.

*Rilke’s poem:

All of us are falling. See this hand now fall.

And now see the others; it is part of us all.

And still there is one who in his hands gently

holds this falling endlessly.

So, in these troubled times, may we all find our centre, our holding place, a place of calm amidst the storm.

*In Flores, trans and ed., Anthology of German Poetry, p.390

this and that and everything –

‘I am not an optimist. I am a prisoner of hope’.

Words said by our (ex) Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu –

quoted by a journalist in a recent Daily Maverick opinion piece.


All of this and that and everything feels extreme. I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post on e.g. ‘Clash of Civilisations’ or ‘On the Edge’ or some such, because it does feel to me that the container is no longer there, no firm support to catch our falling star – no container anymore  – somehow, the centre seems not to be holding. And it is anxious making as everything seems to be extra hyped up. And destruction is the name of the game. Here in South Africa, universities are being torched and set alight, buses too, police vehicles turned over and torched, tear gas, bullets, 1000’s of students country-wide protesting about the #feesmustfall campaign and disallowing student attendance and in last few hours a new campaign ‘thefuturemustfall’. In the midst of this, our Minister of Finance who has kept us so far from being downgraded to junk status, has to appear early next month in court on charges. This is trumped up – and a political nasty –

Is this level of destruction part of a necessary process? This is what makes me ponder – and reminds me of a question I asked a Jungian analyst a long time ago – do we have to put our hand in the frying pan to know we will be burned? To which he said Yes.

But also, on an inner level – Joseph Rubin’s death this last Monday, a sudden shock to me – and his daughter Marilyn letting me know by email yesterday and my putting up a post on his death and so many of you responding to her and for all of us who are saddened.

And more on an inner level – my dear friend Lyndy, my oldest friend (though she’s a year younger than I), who I saw in hospital before I left to go away at the end of September. So lovely to see her then – her son had come from the US to be with his Mum. I tried from yesterday to contact her, the morning after the previous night’s flight … to see her, to say I’m back, at your command .. I was getting fairly anxious about no response from her. Until today when her son Richard called me. I was amazed. I thought he was back in the US. He got here last Sunday. He’s now back for the long haul – She has carcinomas which have returned. She is gravely ill …  I will have to digest this and acknowledge this, her illness … he has asked me to be strong when I see her – I feel wretched –

And my Jane my housekeeper – in tears midday because one of the gardeners had screamed and shouted and ranted at her. We talked when she was more composed and ready to talk. And then later she said she and one of the other gardeners had had a talk about the ranting gardener, and that there was consensus that he was not well, he looked not well also, and to encourage him to have an Aids test – which, if he has it, may be part cause of his unwarranted, uncharacteristic outburst.

My husband was returning last night from an Old Boys dinner downtown at a swish restaurant, stopped at a red traffic light, his friend was driving, and 5 men jumped out of the shadows and they thought they were window washers – they weren’t – they were attackers, who tried to smash the windows – a man pointed a gun at my husband’s friend the driver, and another man at my husband in the passenger seat –

they shot the lights knocking aside one or two

Everything feels on tenterhooks – is there reason to think about WW3 being unleashed? Am I being overly morbid? In a way I see what is happening all over the world as the manifestation of that which has been repressed for a long time, bubbling up to the fore. We see mysogyny upfront, the destruction by weapons on people and places, corruption in high places, political battles for the highest stakes and to Hell with the consequences, the rise of extreme rightwing parties – i.e. nationalism, the desecration of Mother Nature, all of this is upfront, we cannot fail to see it. …

Is anarchy being loosed upon the world? Are we slouching towards Bethlehem?

Desmond Tutu’s words again:

I am not an optimist. I am a prisoner of hope.

The picture at the top – I found this when I was in Botswana in April this year. I wanted to lay it on my brother’s burial place in Maun in his garden. But I couldn’t find it at the time I was at his family home. I placed a flower instead. But I did find it at a later stage – it was so beautiful and really quite extraordinary to the touch. Velvety .. 

This is the underside of it –


I took it with me on my travels thinking maybe to put it into the sea at the end of the jetty in Gordon’s Bay where we used to live as teenagers for a while. Where my sister and I tossed our parents’ ashes so many years ago on 2 different occasions. This past Monday, the day of my return ex Cape Town where I was for few days, we motored out to Gordon’s Bay, a good 3/4 hour from where my sister lives. We walked the jetty to the end and said our greetings to our parents and wished them well, and said a prayer and I threw this little stone onto the rocks in the sea .. it was about as big or small as when you make a circle with your thumb and forefinger …

The photo below is of my sister ahead of me. You can see the end of the jetty –  jetty_-g-bayThank you for listening – may peace prevail wherever we are –

Joseph Rubin –

Joseph Rubin – may his soul rest in peace –


I came home last night, and this afternoon I received a letter from Marilyn Rubin, daughter of Joseph Rubin. Those of you who read my blog will have noticed Joseph’s comments on my blog, always supportive and encouraging. I’m unsure how long he’s been a follower of my blog, at a guess about 3 years. I also know that he popped over to others’ blog and followed them too and made supportive comments. I had personal emails from him too, and loved to hear about Anita his wife, his daughters, the cat that came to visit, the squirrels, the changing seasons …

This is Marilyn’s letter –

 Sunday morning, my father was having difficulty breathing, and was brought to the hospital. The ambulance took a long time to come, and by the time they arrived at his house, he had stopped breathing and had little or no pulse. They were able to resuscitate him, and he remained in the hospital until this morning, about 6:40 AM Detroit time, when he passed away.

 I am about to go to the hospital to console my mother, and be with the rest of my family. But first, I wanted to write to you. I feel there was a very special section of his life that he shared with you, and the writers community associated with your blog and other related blogs. So I feel that you are as close to him as family. You all were very special to him.

 The writers community that you and he were part of was very important to him. He constantly spoke of how much he admired your talent. But it was more than that – I think there was a special connection that he felt in this community. A funny thing is that I used to exclaim that sometimes, I would write a comment on your blog, and you would then find a way to repeat it, rephrased in a way that better expressed what I was trying to say. So, as I feel my words are not adequate here to express how much you and the writers community added to his life, and therefore mine, I know you will find a way.

 Please also pass on this news to other readers and posters on your blog, as you see fit.

Dear Joseph Rubin – may your dear soul rest in peace. Your life was well lived. We mourn the deep loss. To the family, a long life. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May G.d grant you comfort and peace in this sorrowful time.

I’m reminded of Oscar Wilde’s words ‘Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground’.


Hair, Youtube and Amaryllis

Hair, Youtube & Amaryllis 


Sunrise from my bedroom balcony in Plettenberg Bay last Sat morning, the day after I arrived –

Hair and youtube – is there anything that links them? Yes, in my instance there is ..

Where to start?

My elder son Mike, did a youtube thingamy of me this past Tuesday. A 5 minute promo of me speaking about ‘Aging & Becoming’ a book in collaboration with Susan Schwartz (Phoenix Az.) and myself, soon to be ‘launched’.  We did many takes. I was down in Plettenberg Bay for this purpose; also to be there for his birthday on Wednesday, and also because my younger son David was visiting from Cape Town with his lovely bride (whose parents and family live in Plett). And also to wrap up the mansuscript that my son is formatting into an e-book ~ ‘Aging & Becoming’ ~

It was fairly stressful being filmed while talking about the book. They were many takes. I did NOT like that my lipstick was too dark, my hair very peculiar and that I blinked like a crazy woman at the beginning. And I think I did not sound like myself – I sounded like a Rhodesian. We lived there for 6 years a very long time ago in my formative years. We all spoke the Queen’s English.  I received a message on my computer that evening that my you-tube was now live. I got such a fright. Dave fortunately was there, Mike was out. Dave was able to have it deleted IMMEDIATELY.

So, I’ve been worrying a wee bit as is my wont with regard to matters such as this ~

We left Plett yesterday midday after a birthday breakfast with Mike – Dave & his lovely bride brought me to my sister’s home in Cape Town last evening. It’s about a 6 hour drive.

It’s cold and wet here in Cape Town – strange weather about in South Africa. My sister took me to her hairdresser Nicole at midday today. I said I wanted a short-long trim. The long and the short of it is that my hair is now really short. It’s an excellent cut of that there is no doubt.  Does it flatter me? They, Nicole and my sister said I ‘don’t look my age’. That kind of statement always make me feel strange.  I know it’s meant as a compliment but –

I think in a week’s time I will like it better.

I asked my sister if she could film me talking a bit about the book, ‘Aging & Becoming’ while I’m here for a few days. We are going to give it a go, and the other part of the ‘promo’ of the book that Mike did, he can hopefully incorporate into the youtube thingamy. I’ll think about it being even shorter (like my hair) – from 5 mins to 3 mins max. Mike did a very good job of it on Tuesday, Dave gave him some suggestions for post production, but I am not happy with it. Clearly it is myself I am not happy with. Maybe a part of it is a sort of a fear of putting myself out there … for all to see. It’s a big step – for me at least.

We’ve just come back from a very brisk walk in her suburb with her poodles – it was lovely and refreshing –

I took this photo last week of my amaryllis before I left Johannesburg –amaryllis_2

I asked my husband to please photograph the same, this week, in my absence, so I could see, which he did on Tuesday and sent it to me from his Ipad to my email –


Check out those other buds still to bloom –

Thank you for reading. Be safe. I know that Hurricane Michael is approaching the east coast of the US – my thoughts are with you all. A blessed Yom Kippur to all, the Day of At-One-Ment. 

Peace –

Brief Encounters

 Brief Encounters


I took my car to the dealer for an overdue service on Tuesday morning and was lifted home by Joseph a driver. A whole day without a car? No problem, much at home that needed my attention.

On the way home, I wanted to engage with him while we spent 20 minutes in traffic. I enquired of Joseph what he thought of the state of our nation given all that has happened recently. Well, it was interesting to say the least. The man in the back seat who Joseph was delivering to work after dropping me, also engaged. How they ranted at raved at our people in government. No, no longer were they going to vote for the ANC (the African National Congress of which Mr. Nelson Mandela was our first democratically elected president in 1994). They could not believe that their own people in power had done so much wrong. They felt totally betrayed. Unbelievably, they said they would NEVER vote for the ANC again.

The same Joseph fetched me this morning to return to the car dealer to fetch my car and pay – his radio was on. Xhosa or Zula I asked him (we have 11 official languages). No, Pedi, he said. The discussion on the radio he said was the issue of women who, once married, got fat. And that it was no wonder that their men ran off with other women when their wives got fat! Well, blow me down with a feather. So I gave my view – and we had a lively talk. He switched the radio off, but as he said it was good that the issue was being talked about and all sides of the story were being heard!

On Monday night, 10.30 or so, I was driving home from my Jung study group (every other Monday night). A traffic cop flashed me down. He said, good evening, where are you going? Home I said. Aren’t you afraid of driving alone at night he asked me. No, I said. Have you had a glass of wine he asked. No, I said. Oh he said, well, drive carefully. Thanks Officer I said, and for doing a good job. A 2 minute encounter.

I had much to do once I got my car back midday today. I stopped in at the pharmacy, and wished the woman pharmacist Shana Tovah for the New Year beginning 2nd October. Please God, she said, peace for all. 

I went for a walk this evening in the coolth of it. I saw Gideon who looks just like I imagine Gideon from the Bible. Grey head of hair, shaggy grey beard, a few teeth missing, the widest smile. Oh ho he said booming. I think mebbe you dead. I not see you for long time. We chatted a bit, I told him of my broken toes. And a few minutes later, I saw another gardener, in his red T-shirt, walking up the road. A Malawian. High pitched voice, the blackest skin, the whitest teeth, and always so friendly. Hello ma’am, I think you been overseas I haven’t seen you for long time. At least he didn’t think I was dead –

And the best encounter was seeing my friend Lyndy in high care this afternoon. Her son had arrived from the US. I’ve known Lyndy forever, she really is my oldest friend from my school days. Lyndy’s op was major, she’ll be in high care for a long while still and her recuperation will be long. Her hair was being washed, her head leaning back into a basin, and the nurse washing her hair so gently. I had the privilege of drying it. She’s doing well, praise be –

I took photos this morning of my amayrillis and a bottle brush tree. Already by late this afternoon the amaryllis was budding even more. I’m going away on Friday back 10 days later – I can hardly imagine how beauteous this amaryllis will be on my return!amaryllis_2


Peace to all – and Happy New Year to my Jewish friends!






I am so sorry that those of you who came by my post last night (South Africa time) and wanted to leave comments were unable to do so. I was alerted by three people who said that they’d made a comment and it disappeared. One person said they were asked if they wanted to post from an insecure site which she accepted and their comment disappeared. I tried to make a comment on my own post and up came ‘ please enable referrers in your browser’.

In the normal course of events I would have phoned Mike my son who lives in Plettenberg Bay but he is hiking the Otter Trail along the Garden Route. I tried to investigate this on my own – made enquiries via Google etc – and late last night I what’s-apped Mike with profuse apologies for asking for help, but he has not picked up on it. He may have switched off communication entirely while on the trail. I remember he said he was going to do that.

So, in I went to the Apple Mac store in Sandton City this morning. Sandla is always so welcoming and so helpful, and Doron a technician behind the desk was so obliging. They tried everything – they think it may be WordPress itself, or possibly Mike’s site – he hosts me on his site  – (which is doubtful because he is extra security conscious).

So, that’s the story for the moment. I may try to e-mail WP support this afternoon and see if they have any clue what’s going on. Or I may just leave it for the moment until Mike gets back to Plett. Which I think is the most likely – perhaps I’ll go and have my hair cut. 

Thank you to those who came by. I would have LOVED to have seen your comments! And again I’m really sorry for any aggro.

While at the Apple Mac store, my oldest girlfriend called me – she’s a year younger than I, but she is my only friend from school days and a precious friend. She has to go into hospital today, for op tomorrow, and 2 weeks in hospital for treatment. She’d triumphed over a rare form of cancer about 2 years ago. Hair loss, the whole bang shoot. I can only hope and pray that this is not a recurrence. Doron at the Apple store saw my distress and I told him – he said he’ll pray to G.d she’ll be ok – it was hard holding back my tears.


 These are outside my study – I’ve just taken the photo.

And Happy Equinox day today! I’ve scheduled my post to come up at 16.21 (SA time) which is when the momentary balance occurs.

World Peace Day and the Equinox

World Peace Day & the Equinox

yinimages (1)

 22nd September is the Equinox when or where the length of day is equal to the length of night. That one nano-second of perfect balance when the earth’s axis reaches a momentary still point.. Balance – a moment before it turns on its axis and we in the southern hemisphere tilt towards summer and the northern hemisphere tilts towards Fall (Autumn). Fall in the north, Spring in the south. One inward looking, the other more outward looking – both beautiful and significant. A transition – 

The below photo is what was on the beach at Keurbooms Strand when we were there last week.. A beautiful piece with those crystals centre-piece –


The below photo was from the balcony at Plettenberg Bay, last Thursday, 2 nights after the Full Moon .. 


Beach sand art – on the Beacon Island beach at Plettenberg Bay.


We returned home from Plettenberg Bay last night and it was wonderful to see the plants, flowers and trees this morning and to note how they’ve fared over the last week or so in our absence. I really ‘should’ have taken these photos earlier this afternoon.and not in shadow as I have but still, these are a glimpse –

Below is a treasured hanging orchid from a branch of a tree, gifted to us a few years ago – it was not showing buds when we left 10 days or so ago –


This last one below I am very excited about – s’truth those amaryllis bloom so abundantly and vibrantly. I’m watching it like a hawk. I was so excited to see the buds this morning –


World Peace Day today –

I have to pause – 

I lit a candle – it was the least I could do. Photo below –


And we must pray, and keep on praying, and keep on praying some more. Hard work is what is required of us, each and individually. Whether to a deity or not is our choice or belief or profound faith. In thought, word and deed is what matters. Atheists, non believers, all of each stripe and persuasion to join in the fight for peace. Men, women, all. Bring up all that is underground. Fight for our planet and all that is abundant in it and worth saving, for future generations and for ourselves and because it’s the right thing to do. That we do not pollute in any shape or form. That we do not desecrate Mother Earth and we will fight for her.  For us to hear her battle-cry and answer to it. Such a crazy paradox – Fight for Peace. But perhaps we do have to go into the battle-ground, and fight for peace – fight by praying, fight by saying no to what is not right, fight for standing up with what you believe in. We cannot stand by while all about is just totally crazy. I don’t know – madness has its own allure – maybe that extreme has to be reached – but maybe every now and then we can in any way, be a candle unto the darkness –

World Peace Day – one day, maybe one day, it will be every day –


The world is pretty frightful everywhere. I pray for the Syrians, I pray for the families of shooting victims; I pray for those in sorrow and despair; I pray for Planet Earth and her survival; I pray that the emerging feminine energies will continue to be heard, from women and men alike –

‘Where is sorrow, there is Holy ground’. Oscar Wilde, de Profundis.

And the Equinox – a changing of energies – a tilt of our planet Earth – and balance for one brief moment. It’s real. We can each bring that tiny bit of balance into our everyday lives, every now and then; it will always have ripple effects. We can each be kind in whatever way and do no harm –

While in Plett I did some serious editing on the mss: ‘Reflections ~ Aging & Becoming’. A fair bit of going backwards and forwards with Susan Schwartz in Phoenix, Az. Believe it or not I think we are ‘getting there’ – it’s been a long while ‘getting there’. My son in Plett helped a lot but now wants to use an Indesign program to format etc. Which he can do by remote. He’s hiking the Otter Trail right now so this won’t get his attention for a while. Meanwhile I am pondering the next baby steps … to e or not to e (e.g).-  I heard it is dead simple to hijack one’s e-book and ‘get it for free’ –

No whales to be seen in Plettenberg Bay sad to say – I think Amanda when she called for them, saw the only one to be seen – my last post – we had a lovely time – and it is lovely to be home.

This last photo is of me in Plett last week; I’d snitched a few twigs of bougainvillea from a very abundant tree on the outside. My hair was terrible, in dire need of a cut, and I was wearing no lipstick. Nevertheless it is a lovely photo of the bouganvillea and I was clearly in a happy mood (probably from having snitched the blooms); that’s my husband in the background and the photo of me is representative though I do wish I’d been wearing lipstick – and had the haircut.

So, the flowers are from me to you, on World Peace Day and in honour of the Equinox. 


Thank you for reading – Peace to you all, and may the Force be with us all –

My Friend the Wall and Hearing the Call

My Friend the Wall and Hearing the Call


 This morning I attended yoga, the first time I’d been to a Thursday morning class. The teacher was new to me. Her class had been with her for about 8 years she told me so they were ‘advanced’. I was to go at my own pace. It was amazing to watch her go so gracefully into various poses and hold them. And the pupils too. 

Then it was the headstand. My late mother was a yoga teacher and I remembered that it was her policy that no pupil attempt the headstand until had they’d several years of training. So I sat and watched. The teacher’s execution was a delight. Grace in slow motion, balance and stillness. And most of the pupils did it effortlessly.

A pupil walked to the wall. ‘My friend the wall’, she said and performed the head stand balancing her legs against the wall. Of course being me I made all sorts of associations. Hitting our heads against brick walls we seemingly can’t get through. A wall of pain and grief. Walling ourselves in and not allowing our vulnerability to show. Building walls instead of bridges. On and on went my associations while I sat on my yoga mat watching others. 

Can a wall become a friend as it did for the yoga pupil who used the wall for balance? Can I break down walls and build bridges in myself and in the world? Can I befriend the wall and see it as an aspirational metaphor, using it as a stepping stone to break down my inner walls that keep me from my fullness of being?

On ‘Hearing the Call‘ : My son who was visiting for several days last week took back with him to Plettenberg Bay a small gift from me to his girlfriend. She called me yesterday to thank me. I asked whether there had been any sightings of whales in the bay. We’re flying down to Plett this coming Sunday. No, she said, she hadn’t seen or heard. Call them to come I said to her. She said she would when next running on the beach.

I checked my cell phone I’d left behind to charge when I returned home  after yoga for an urgent cup of coffee. The first message was from Amanda. She’d seen whales in the bay this morning while running! My heart did a little leap –

Am I suggesting that the whales heard Amanda’s call? No, not really.

What it did suggest to me so soon after my yoga class, was my need to break down the inner wall in order to better hear the call. To make a friend of it and invite it in. Use it for clambering and climbing. Paint those walls with my own inner deep recesses. See, sniff through the walls. Knock down those inner walls that keep me bound. 

Could the obstacle be the path?

I tried to find some photos of whales I’d taken a few years back but no luck. Hopefully I’ll be able to put up a photo or two next week.

Those leviathans of the deep always stir something deep inside me. I like to think that I hear better the call of the deep – 

Thank you for coming by and all good wishes. May the Force be with you.





Tomorrow the 1st of September is the official day of Spring! It certainly looks like it here up on the highveld in South Africa. Jasmine is showing her jewels everywhere and her scent is sublime. Yesterday Today & Tomorrow (brunfelsia – I had to look it up; aka Oxford & Cambridge) is beginning to bloom, its fragrance  and colour a delight and the clivias are gorgeous. I took the above photo yesterday morning of a strelitzia, also known as ‘bird of paradise’ and indigenous to South Africa. The top right hand corner probably had my thumb over my phone – but somehow that doesn’t matter. You can see another bloom about to burst behind the glowing flower. 

My garden is showing winter snow drops. It’s always a lovely surprise to see them pop up. They’re so pretty and delicate. My orchids continue to bloom in their pots on the patio; they’re a real wonder to me. My rose bushes are sprouting, as are my bougainvilleas in their large pots, their green leaves shooting. My azaleas – today I saw tiny buds! The jacaranda trees don’t seem to know what to do – they’re half in process of shedding many leaves and looking bare while others look as if they’re about to bloom. A friend of mine in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal says they’re showing in all their purple-mauvey-bluey glory.

I had my first walk in ages this late afternoon. I broke my two middle toes several weeks ago when I banged them against the dressing table as I was rushing to find my shoes to attend an evening meeting. I had my injured toes strapped together for a few weeks. I didn’t think it worth an x-ray. They were either broken or badly sprained. They were sore, bruised and plumped up like pork sausages. So, I haven’t walked for a long while, though I’ve been attending yoga and pilates since the beginning of this month, doing what I can. No rising up or bending down on tippy toes – all quite flat footed thank you.

For the last two mornings I’ve arrived at school earlier than usual where I volunteer to help poor readers. Instead of checking for emails and reading the news on my phone in the car before fetching the first pupil from class, I decided to walk briskly around the soccer field in the bright still early-ish morning. I was so pleased – my toes seemed to manage. This gave me the impetus to walk this evening. It was so lovely – and, since my elder son is up here in Johannesburg for a few days from Plettenberg Bay, he and my husband also came for a walk! Joy indeed! And most unusual!

While we welcome the arrival of Spring here in the southern hemisphere (although it’s been known to snow in October), those of you in northern climes have your Fall approaching. Always, the change of seasons brings about inner changes. May these in-between times bring good constructive changes and may peace, goodwill, justice and freedom prevail.

“When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can’t make up their minds. Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again.”
Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot




I tried to find the quote which has always stayed with me ~ I can’t ~ but to paraphrase  as I remember it, ‘a healthy democracy is dependant on its opposition’.

This is evident by the outcome of our recent national municipal elections held every 5 years this past August 3rd. Although there wasn’t a huge voter turn out, our ruling* party the ANC~ the African National Congress ~ was severely trumped in 3 major metros and elsewhere in previously held ANC strongholds. The opposition leader of the DA ~ Democratic Alliance ~ Mmusi Maimane ~ led a clean and inspiring challenge to the ANC.

We’re hopeful that the Democratic Alliance will bring back values enshrined in our Constitution, drawn up by Mr. Nelson Mandela and many other worthies. We’re hopeful that those who remain in the ANC will be similarly inspired. There are/were many within the ANC who did sterling jobs but there were far too many who were feeding at the trough. We’re hopeful that money for education & schools, health clinics, housing, water and electricity will be properly allocated and implemented; tenders will follow proper transparent procedures; councillors will be accountable; people who are qualified for the job will be given the job and no more positions for pals; and that tax payers money will no longer be used to line the pockets of those in the ‘inner circle’ ~ the sycophants.

The lead up to these municipal elections was seriously rough. Racism reared its ugly head at every turn. Dirt on candidates was unearthed; 20 potential candidates were murdered, perpetrators still to be found.

At long last, we can hope that our country can pull together in spite of the challenges ahead. That there will be more job opportunities for our youth who find fulfilment in their work and can foresee a future for themselves and future generations. That women and girls rise up from their position of subservience and disallow a firmly entrenched culture of patriarchy ~ and that men and boys do not feel threatened by the natural feminine.

It really does seem to me that we’re in a process of transformation in my neck of the woods ~ a slow one as worthy ones are ~ and while there opportunities for all in our beloved country, there are also dangers. There always are as the old gives way to the new, as a new consciousness and a new vision is born. Waking from sleeping is never easy ~

I think this is true for the world at large as well ~ the soul of the world is calling out for recognition of pervasive social malaise and a re-dressing of serious imbalances. We’re all being called to be in opposition that does not serve ourselves or our planet.

There are many seismic shifts worldwide. Locally we’re still in winter here in South Africa but I am heartened to see buds on plants that looked very tired. A bougainvillea pot plant looked quite dead yesterday but I today I can see the shoots! The below photo of orchids I took this afternoon. Snowdrops in the background. Opposition is healthy ~


May The Force be with you, and thank you for reading.


*I wish they’d do away with ‘ruling party’ and-rather call it the ‘serving’ party ~

To Hunt A Sub

To Hunt A Sub


Jacqui Murray’s debut novel ‘To Hunt a Sub‘ is out. I read an excerpted chapter which I enjoyed so much that I’ve ordered it on my Kindle. There is no guarantee as to when I will read it but I will and follow up with a review.

I’m really happy to put this up as a blog post. It’s the first time I’ve done so. It’s a small token of appreciation for her ongoing support and comments to my infrequent blogs. I’d be happy to do likewise for any of you.

Her posts are so worthwhile – there are so many excellent tips for writers, technical shortcuts on the computer and much much more, all written in her clear and concise style and always a pleasure to read. For checking out and subscribing to her posts:

blog :-

link to her Tech Tips for Writers column: 

link to her Writer’s Tips column:

She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 The link below is to the Kindle version of her new book. I wish her great success!

Never Again

 Never Again

My younger son David met Mr. Nelson Mandela (South Africa’s ex- president) about 12 years ago just before his high school jazz band was about to go on a performing trip abroad. The school band performed for Mr. Nelson Mandela at his home in Houghton Johannesburg. David knows that he was enormously privileged to have met him.

In the intervening years, David read music and philosophy at Rhodes University in Grahamstown (eastern Cape), and has been a musician for some years. I’m not sure when David produced this song, but they use the words of Mr. Mandela himself. He must have excerpted them from Mr. Mandela’s many speeches and put this particular one to music. Drawing is courtesy of elder son, Mike. The music composition and trumpet is David’s.

Never, never and never again

shall it be

that this beautiful land

will again experience 

the oppression of one by another

July 18th is the late Mr. Mandela’s birthday and every year on this day is Mandela Day where citizens world wide are encouraged to spend 67 minutes of this day in helping the less fortunate in some way. Mr. Mandela gave 67 years of his life to public service and we are encouraged to give a mere 67 minutes of our time on this day.

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King

Viva Mandela, Viva!



awareness quote

I’m happily back at home from my trek/road trip to Plettenberg Bay on my own in my little car, and feeling gratitude for my safe trip. I’m also pleased that my son Mike willingly spent several hours formatting the WIP after I had worked at even more editing while in Plett. I think it is almost ready for the next step. 

Some weeks ago, here at home in Morningside, Johannesburg, I walked to my friend’s home one Saturday afternoon to play bridge (a newly revived interest). It was unusual to make the walk – it wasn’t just around the corner – it was quite a fair way. While walking I thought of doing at least one unusual thing each week. Which helped in my making the decision to drive to Plett the following week – two weeks ago today. This fell into the category of unusual.

I left home  2 Thursdays ago around 6.00 a.m., overnighted in Graaff Reinet, left about 9.00 in the morning, had breakfast some hours later in Willowmore, omelettedrove through the mist of the Outeniqua Pass,


stopped in at my sister in the Wilderness for tea and got to Plett about 5.00 p.m.  Rain on Saturday. I rested though started fashioning something from egg cartons soaked in boiling water and flour. I went with my son and lady friend to Harkerville for a hike on Sunday. Below is a view point.

me mike harkerville

The week was unusual, come Monday. Always I would wake early and step onto the bedroom balcony to check the sunrise. I went to bed fairly early and woke early, made tea and from my bed in utter comfort I worked on the WIP. I would make coffee a little while later, and would continue working from my bed. 


The week flew by. I saw a few people. I walked on the Robberg Beach with my sister who came through from the Wilderness about an hour away.plett

Mostly I worked on the manuscript. Made some walks into town to have my car cleaned, another time to have my hair cut – up hill and down dale, necessary exercise.

I left Plett on Friday afternoon to overnight at my sister an hour away. Such a lovely evening with her grandsons and Elizabeth my niece and her husband. liam

That’s my sister’s husband on the sofa – with TV control where it always is –

I left the Wilderness on Saturday morning, around 9.00. Earlier sunrise from the  Wilderness balcony. That’s the mist that accompanied me for the next several hours.

sunrise sisI overnighted in Springfontein, in a charming garden cottage on a farm. Golly those stars at night; I can’t remember when I last saw such a night sky. That Milky Way. Those bright glowing stars. I wish I’d attempted a photo –

I left really early on Sunday – my windscreen was thoroughly iced. Several jugs of water from the tap to de-ice in the complete dark. It was totally freezing. I arrived home at 1.00, tired but very happy to be home and sweetly looked after by my husband.

I thought some more on the road trip of aiming to do something unusual each week. I have already. I walked to the gym close-ish by me earlier this week to enquire about yoga classes. It makes more economic sense to sign up for the gym and attend yoga classes included in the ‘deal’. My husband and I are seeing Zanele tomorrow late afternoon to discuss it all. He also wants to join! Not for yoga, but you never know! So, if we join, believe me, this will be extremely unusual. And my unusual something for the week.

Thanks for reading! Hope this finds you all well & safe. May the Force be with you.

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