departures and arrivals

I departed Johannesburg this past Thursday, waking at 4.00 a.m. leaving at 5.05 a.m. I stopped in at the local petrol station a short drive away from my home. My car just needed a top up before I set off. The skies were already lightening.

A long drive, 1273 kms to be precise. Nearly 800 miles. I arrived in Plettenberg Bay at 8.05 p.m. It was only the last half hour or so that I drove in darkness. My husband and son were there to let me in and welcome me with open arms and unload the bags. My car was pretty well packed to the hilt.

I am very grateful that I arrived without incident on the roads. There was a lot of traffic, huge trucks going in both directions plus other travellers off to somewhere. Our roads are very good. My little Honda Brio is a real champ. She holds only 30 litres of petrol which is really not much. On long distance travel she can easily clock 400 kms, that’s 250 miles on a full tank. I would check the reading every now and then and sometimes I was getting 16 km to the litre. That’s a real energy saver. I’ve stretched it to 430 or 440 kms on a full tank on occasion in times past and it’s taken me 14 hours to arrive in Plettenberg Bay. This time 15 hours.

Travelling tip for summer driving – I packed a wet face cloth into a zip lock bag and used it a few times to wipe across my face and neck. It was very refreshing. The heat outside was extreme – 38 degrees C. Plus my food for the road was light – sliced apple, cucumber and broccoli. I bought a small packet of salted chips the one time I stopped to fill up – I felt I needed the salt.

Sadly we have a terrible record for accidents and death on our roads much of it due to dangerous, sometimes drunk driving. Every year at this time there is a huge drive for awareness on the roads. I know that I have to be a responsible driver yet be aware that others may not be. Accidents, pile-ups – it takes a split second. Or even less, a nano second. The truck drivers were good. Other travellers drove very large cars, with roof racks and bicycles on a rack attached to the rear end bumper, 4, 5 bikes.  Or large cars with trailers. They were mostly good. Maybe the drive for awareness is catching on – though we think and hope this each year.

My husband who had arrived a few days before me, and I tackled some of the boxes the next day, yesterday, which had been delivered to the house some weeks before by a removal company. I totally organised my bedroom cupboards and wardrobe and bathroom. The sideboard in the dining room is mostly organised, though the dining room still needs to be sorted.

My study-to-be is on the upmost level. I went upstairs for the first time today to have a look and worked pretty hard on cleaning bookshelves, picking boxes off from the floor onto smooth surfaces, ripping tape off sealed boxes. Serious exercise. Tomorrow I will decide how the furniture is to be arranged to my satisfaction and start unpacking boxes of books and other things. Shall I place my desk facing the wide glass windows overlooking the sea, or position it differently taking into account where there are electrical outlets, while still having the view if I turn my head. The cover for a sofa looked grubby so I ripped that off and stuck it in the washing machine with bleach. It’s hanging out on the line – it may take ages to dry. The sofa will face the view ..

Below are some ‘before’ photos

I changed the sitting room that is the living area where we mostly gather re-arranging cushions and one or two other things. It’s looking calm, fresh, tidy.

My sister and I spoke on the phone this morning. She was setting off with her husband to Du Toit’s Kloof about an hours drive from Cape Town where she lives to attend the wedding of her brother-in-law’s son. She did say on the phone that she planned to go walking in the area. It was such a lovely surprise when I received this little video of her surrounds mid afternoon today … it’s only about 34 secs long and is truly lovely.

 As I went about my tasks today I wasn’t thinking about anything very much – I did think of connecting my music box in my study and listening to something while working, but somehow I didn’t get around to it. It’s satisfying sometimes to work in silence – and keep focused on the task at hand while imagining the later positioning of furniture –

Yesterday morning my husband called me down into the garden. I photographed this little tortoise nibbling at the wild strawberries. Neil offered it lettuce and water but it declined. 

I checked the photo I took on 31st December last year also in the garden – it was a larger tortoise – I wonder if the smaller above one is a baby of the older below but what is striking to me are the etchings on their shells. Similar but very different and so striking – something rather ancient about the designs –

I hope this finds you all in good cheer. I sense that amongst all the troubling things happening around the world, that we’re on the brink of something. Who knows what that something is … maybe we have to reach rock bottom before we can begin to ascend. That’s my thought and I’m holding onto it. There’s so much good in the world and I am ever hopeful that good will triumph ultimately. The boils are being lanced – readying themselves for healing –

Photo below is from my garden back home in Johannesburg – may the solar lamp remind you of the light in the darkness –

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

Sunday: Photo below of baby tortoise not bigger than my hand and extended fingers this morning in a different part of the garden – again, please note the lovely and different markings!


42 Comments on departures and arrivals

  1. Hello Susan. I found your blog through a comment you made on Donna’s Retirement Reflections. I’m impressed that you made that long drive by yourself and happy to hear that you navigated it successfully. Good luck in your new home. Thank you for sharing the tortoise photos. They are beautiful creatures. Thank you mostly for sharing your hope for our future. I like the analogy that the boils are being lanced to prepare for the healing. I live in the U.S., and we are definitely in turmoil. I am ready for more kindness, more peace, and am doing my best to be exactly that. Have a lovely day.

    • Hello Christie, this is a nice surprise thanks so much for coming by! I’ll pop by yours ‘just now’ as we say in South Africa!

      I’m so pleased you like the tortoise photos. I’m completely taken with them. Because tomorrow is the solstice, I’ll be putting up a post in that regard plus a few other things. But this morning en route to walk on the beach – my first since being here – I spied a baby tortoise, even smaller than the previous baby. It’s in my drafts post – and you’ll see the amazing markings! Truly a beaut!

      I hope also to get up a few photos of my newly organised study …

      I share your concerns about the world we live in. One the one hand it is good that US troops are coming back from the Middle East; on the other – well, we’ll see.

      The news of dreadful accidents on our roads is terrible to say the least. I heard on the radio in my car just now that the increase is already 16 percent for this period …

      May more peace and kindness come your way. I’m delighted to meet you.

    • Thanks Anne for coming by. I love driving and also being on my own so that helps a lot! I am in gratitude that it all went well and my little car did me proud! Best Christmas and holiday wishes to you all!

  2. Glad to hear you arrived safely. That last tortoise’s shell looks like it has paw prints on it.

    Merry Christmas, Susan. I hope you’re right about good things being around the corner. I wish this every year. The dawning of a new year brings renewed optimism along for the ride.

    • Thanks Holli! I agree re the paw prints – it’s what I thought.

      All best Christmas wishes to you and family and friends. May 2019 see continued success with your books and may creativity, peace and joy be your constant companions.

  3. Blessed Summer Solstice to you from the land of snow. Winter and cold began early this season. My dog and another I’m caring for today are snuggled on dog beds close to the wood stove. Your new view is incredible–lush and blue. My view is also incredible, with sunsets, but without water. I hope my son who lives nearby and I will soon finish our plan to build me a new small place up the hill so he can have this house. It’s been a busy time for both of us and the cochlear implant is now coming in February along with months of adjustment and a workshop to lead in May. So I won’t be thinking about my new residence until Summer Solstice. Is the time ever right for a big move or do we just take a leap? (Last year, I decided I can no longer drive 11 hours to my elder son’s home in North Carolina. When I visit there in the spring, I’ll fly. I can do the drive, but it’s exhausting and I need to make concessions to this deafness–at least for now. The whole small gang will be here for Solstice.

    As in the Native American legend, you’re creating a world on a turtle’s back. Blessings to you and your new writing space.

    • Hi Elaine and thank you for coming by! Right now I’m out on the balcony overlooking the sea … it’s blowy and humid and I’ve yet to walk on the beach! I was up very early this morning unpacking books in my uppermost study – the furniture was re-arranged last night and it is looking pleasing. There is still much to do in my study … and much else besides.

      We were moving an old garden table a half hour ago to put it elsewhere under a tree, and while the 3 of us were carrying it, I saw the tiniest baby tortoise no larger than the palm of my hand. My cell phone was in my pocket and I would have taken a photo but the phone made a large shadow and it wouldn’t have been a ‘good’ photo and baby was scuttling into the bushes. There must be a family around … those ancient markings …

      A very blessed solstice to you and family. May this be a turning point for us all. May 2019 see your new home built up on the hill and the cochlear implant bring you joy! Thank you for your blessings for my new writing place and I’m sending blessings to you and the tortoises from you and me.

  4. Well done with that long drive, Susan! Good luck with settling in in your new home. From what I could tell, the setting looks lovely. Your sister’s video showed a beautiful landscape. Your words about sensing something coming gave me goosebumps–I hope it’s good. Enjoy your summer weather!

    • Thanks Merril! I’m recovering! The weather has turned cooler and a bit blowy. Maybe it will rain. I hope so.

      Another tortoise, this time a baby, this morning. No larger than my hand. Photo up just now on my post. More ancient symbols!

  5. Happy visiting, Susan. Glad you made it without incident. I saw a sign yesterday that said, “who knew rock bottom had a basement.” :0)
    Have a wonderful holiday season! oxo

  6. Dear Susan, Like Beth, I felt like I was moving home with you! How wonderful! Your long anticipated relocation feels like perfect timing to me with the sacred Summer/Winter Solstice just days away. I’ve only just discovered these days leading up this year’s full moon Solstice are known as “halcyon days” drawn from the ancient myth of Alcyone.

    What an incredible drive you took! I’ve only ever driven 350 miles maximum in one go in my entire life and I found that totally exhausting and swore never to do it again … let alone take your 800 mile trip on roads where not all the drivers are so careful! Then to have to concentrate, stay alert (and awake!) that must’ve been extremely challenging!

    It’s wonderful to see your new rooms, boxes, book shelves and views. How very exciting! I sense that life will be much more relaxed at the beautiful Plettenberg Bay. Moving (above and below!) is such hard work yet somehow, and from somewhere, we seem to access the energy reserves needed to accomplish the task. Yes, a calming video indeed!

    Tortoises are deeply symbolic! I agree, it does feel as though the world is on the brink of something where (one of my friends would say!) “all souls (are needed) on deck during these stormy times!” Yes, love and light will always find their way through. Have a wonderful Sunday unpacking and taking it all in! Warm and wild blessings, Deborah

    • Dear Deborah, I love that you say about moving above and below! And now that I think about it, from the highveld, Johannesburg, 2000 mtrs above sea sea level, down to sea level!

      This very Sunday morning, we were setting off to have breakfast uptown and what did I see (I was alerted to it) – a baby tortoise, photo put in the post a moment ago. I hope you access it. All these tortoises, probably different generations, which makes me think again of the symbolism of it. Maybe a re-birth, who knows, with the weight of its protective shell and ancient markings.

      All souls (are needed) on deck during these stormy times. Thank you for this via your friend. I hear there’s has been wild weather back home (other) on the highveld – wild. Hail a foot high –

      No work today on upstairs – though just now I’m going to put the sofa cover on. Neil will help I hope. Warm and peaceful blessings to you Deborah! 🙂

  7. Good to hear your trip was without incidence. It is a long haul. Brave lady. The view from your window is beautiful, as I am sure your home will be when you have finally unpacked. New adventures – wishing you all good things.

    • Thanks Sheila for coming by! It’s going to take a while I guess and it will be interesting to see the changes as they happen! One step or one room at a time … All good things to you too.

  8. I enjoyed hearing of your move. I do get confused with your various homes and vacation spots. A friend recently visited South Africa and posted stunning pictures of your area. It is so beautiful there. I felt like I was visiting you when I saw my friend’s pictures.

    Your turtle is fascinating. I too wonder if it is a relative of the previous turtle that visited you. Today I found a dragon fly piece of jewelry and for some reason it gave me the hope that 2019 will be a great year.

    Additionally, years ago, I LOVED to drive long distances and thought nothing of it. But, now-a-days driving long distances exhausts me, so I totally take my hat off to you for making that long drive by yourself. GREAT JOB! Now you have the joy of settling into your new home!! Have fun!

    • Hi Gwynn, I love your dragon fly story. Yesterday Neil found a lovely pewter piece of an angel ..

      Where were the photos that you saw – Cape Town and the Garden Route? I am looking forward to seeing more of our lovely land.

      I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I arrived in one piece! The main reason for driving down in my own car was that I wanted to have own wheels while here. Thank you for coming by 😉

      • Will you be driving your car back and forth between your two homes? YIKES!

        My friend was in Cape Town, Johannesburg. Plettenburg Bay, and all over! We saw many pictures of animals too. You have a LOVELY area and country.

  9. I applaud you for the courage to drive such a long distance by yourself. But I suppose the motivation is the move – with husband and son on the other end to help with the unpacking.

    Your video was calming. Your dip in the waters must have been refreshing. I just posted the happy, babbling brook near our house after a day of rain. Thank you for sharing the good, and for the beam of light at the end. I send the same back to you, Susan. 🙂

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