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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mark, J. J. (2018, December 17). ThorWorld History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from 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.

46 Comments on February 2023

  1. Hi Susan – good to know your news – that lightning strike is pretty amazing! Also love the picture of the family – that cake looks just beautiful!! Life …we need to live in our own moments – but that outside world is not easy and keeps encroaching. So pleased your arm/hand is so much improved … take care and enjoy the rain as too the sun – cheers Hilary

    • So lovely to see you here Hilary thank you for coming by. Yes, the outside world is – well, troubling I suppose is the only word I can think of right now. We have to learn to steer our own ship through these troubled waters –

      I hope you’re well? I’m spending the weekend with my sister Debora who lives in Wilderness. She had an op on Wednesday and her husband is away. I arrived here this afternoon – muggy. Storms are anticipated over the garden route this weekend. Are the daffs and other signs of spring showing themselves? I hope so and that you’re some sun and warmth. Have a lovely weekend Susan

      • Hi Susan – oh enjoy yourself pampering your sister as she recovers – all the best to you both. Muggy – I remember those days! We’re about to go into a cold snap – I just hope it’s not like the Beast from the East, which fortunately for me happened when I was in Canada. We never know what the weather holds – or how cold my toes will be!! I have to admit Spring will be lovely … but yes the daffs, and crocuses, jasmine, magnolias … are all starting to appear. Take care and enjoy your warmth – cheers Hilary

  2. Hi Susan, We were on the mainland visiting friends and family when your post arrived. I wanted to make sure to catch up on your news. Your first sentence made me smile, since it is the exact opposite of hot right now for us. Lovely how your family lives close to you now. Especially little Sam. Great photos of the clouds and lightning! I don’t think I saw this photo on Instagram? Yes, epic and awesome!

    Your information about Thor also made me smile. My daughter’s family and her little boys were all ‘Thor’ for Halloween last October. They each had a ‘magical’ hammer. Wow, about the synchronicity.

    Yes, I agree, many pressing concerns. Thank you for sharing the family photo with Sam. Children always shine a light into our lives. Take care, Susan. 💕🦋

    • Hi Erica, lovely to see you here 🙂 That is amazing re the boys wearing Halloween costumes of Thor and the magical hammer! I love it when these sorts of synchronicities pop up. Thank you for saying about it!

      We’re still having summer weather. I hear about the snow and ice and storms in your neck of the woods. Though your lovely photos on Instagram belie this. And, so true about children shining and being the light. Every encounter with Sam makes my heart smile and sing. Be well and thank you for coming by xx 🙂

  3. Wow, Susan, what a capture. Should send it to a photo magazine as submission. Nice to see you back, life sure is busy. And the older we get (me, not you) the more there seems to be to do and worry about. Thanks for sharing your beautiful family photo as well – put a smile on my face. Also enjoyed reading through your comments above, wether pertaining to your post or not, LOL. It seems sometimes a comment section is more about venting. Oh, well. Have a wonderful season Susan, stay cool.

    • Hi Silvia lovely to see you here! The weekend is upon us. Earthquakes of a political kind are happening here in SA. I think we’ve gone beyond the point of no return. However – the weekend is here. A chance to take deeper breaths. Have a wonderful weekend. And thanks for coming by 😀

  4. Susan, this is a great catch up post– I missed it but now that I’m back on my blog feed, I enjoyed your news and the lovely picture of Jute, Sam and your son. That lightning capture is stunning. I love that idea of an unstructured writing group–it would be so lovely to be part of one–just to meet everyday and write.

    • Thanks muchly for coming by Damyanti – much appreciated. Hope you’re managing some R & R and all continued success for The Blue Bar, such a great read. 😀

  5. Susan, it seems everyone has commented here but me. I had intended to some days ago but then got involved with a project I am working on and need to finish asap. I love your storm photos, and I was about to say that one thing I missed when I lived in Southern California was the storms that I had grown up with on the U.S. East Coast — until I read Gwynn’s post. At that time she writes about, we lived right down the street from one another and never met until I started that LinkedIn group 12 years ago, when by then we were living on opposite coasts. Yes, we had thunderstorms in SoCal, but very rarely, and when we did, everyone ran outside to see the lightning. Being from the East Coast I thought that was frivolous and dangerous, tempting Thor to strike them down, wildly wielding cloud-to-ground lightning like that. Gwynn and I lived just blocks from the Pacific Ocean, up a hill, and, so, witnessed dramatic views of the storms.

    Otherwise, such a beautiful family you have. I love the cake — how creative Jutë is. I have difficulty penciling stick men on flat paper let alone icing them on the side of a cake and in color. And, Sam does bear a bit of resemblance to you. How fun to teach him the abacus.

    Great to hear you are hands free. As I re-read my typing, I see I seem to be repeating a lot of what Deborah said. Nevertheless, I do enjoy your catch-ups. It’s so good to hear from you. Do keep them coming. Glad about your writing group and hope you are making good progress on your novel. –Love and light, Carol

    • So wonderful to come by your comment this afternoon Carol! It’s a little past my bedtime but I wanted to respond before the morning and day gets away with me tomorrow.

      That is sooo amazing about you and and Gwynn living close by each other, yet had never met. But similar views about lightning and its power. Imagine harnessing that energy, stealing it like Prometheus stole fire – and Thor ‘..wildly wielding strikes from cloud to ground..’. Lovely image!

      She’s a very creative lass is Jüte- a cordon blue chef. She’s so enamoured with Sam that she doesn’t know when she’ll get into it professionally. I think she will at some stage. I am more like you re creating stick men on paper. I do not bake. I do quick and simple.

      It’s nice to be hands free I must say. I meant to ask hand therapist if ok to go back to pottery – I forgot. But I went yesterday for the first time in months. Wrist not up to kneading/wedging the clay, so my teacher did that for me. I made a few things – will be interesting to see how they come out. There’ll still be work to be done on what I fashioned yesterday.

      Carol, I tried to respond to your last post – I tried a few times – I think I let you know – but it didn’t take. It was a lovely post.

      On we go. Thank you dear friend for coming by. So special. Love & light to you too. Susan

  6. Thank you for this wonderful newsletter, Susan! I loved the range of topics you covered, and yes, the photo of the lightning is magnificent! From a beautifully loved baby to Thor, to the pomp(ous) pageantry of your presidential address, you convey the marvelous complexity of an area of the world that is so far away from mine (near Toronto), yet in many ways, has many similar elements. And I love the idea of an abacus for your grandson’s birthday!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by Andrea! Yes, I can imagine the similarities in the frustrations we have with our governing party. I remember the trucking story. Canada incidentally has many of our professionals, people who left SA to find a less fractious country with more opportunity. Especially with growing children. Cry the Beloved Country, a refrain in the background of our hearts and minds and the title of a well known book by Alan Paton from about the 1940’s I think. Maybe the 60’s. ….

      I looked up how to teach the abacus – every post seemed awfully long, an hour or so to get to grips with it. In the meantime I guess I’ll just move the different coloured beads along, naming the colours and the number.

      I hope signs of Spring are being felt Andrea!

  7. Hi Susan, this is a great catch up post, I enjoyed your news and the delightful picture of Jute, Sam and your son. The photograph of the lightening is stunning. I love thunderstorms although not if they kill my birds. The SONA seemed to go a bit better than usual but there was no plan to solve this electricity crisis. I really can’t see what a Minister of Electricity is going to do in the short to medium terms.

    • Thanks for coming by Robbie. As we know, lightning can actually stun and kill. It is not infrequent here in SA. Sorry about the birds who get struck 🙁
      I did NOT like the SONA. A new (sinister) Minister of Electrickery? The president and his lackeys are delusional if they think sweet sounding words can fool us. The sad thing is that they can and do …
      Eish, I hope the rain stops already in Johannesburg. Please send some of it this way. We could do with it.

      • Hi Susan, there was absolutely nothing offered at SONA in the way of a solution to the crisis. We have to make our own plans and many already have. Unfortunately, this will greatly widen the poverty gap. I’ve got to a point where I feel I can’t worry about that any more. If the majority keep voting in a corrupt and incapable government, then they have to live with the consequences. There is nothing we can do about it.

        • Not all the sweet sounding words of the president had any basis of reality in them. We’ve heard it all before. I agree, we have to and already have, make our own plans. The opposition parties could educate the public many of whom believe we whites were given our cars and houses by the national party govt.
          Have a lovely week Robbie🦋

  8. Your photo is amazing. I’m in awe of the power of nature and your ability to capture it with a camera. I also like the idea that Thor could have a bad day. There’s something comforting in that idea.

    • Hi Ally Bean, thanks for coming by. It’s a nice little phone camera. And really, I got lucky! Even Thor can have a bad day, I like that too …

  9. Your lightning photo is amazing, Susan! What a storm that must have been.
    It’s exciting to see, but also scares me now since we’ve had tornados in our region.
    Your grandson is adorable–getting so big!

    Our State of the Union address was a spectacle as well. President Biden handled the MAGA clowns well though.

    • Yes I’ve read about tornadoes in your region Merril. You always write so poetically and evocatively about Nature and her moods; your photographs are always a delight to my eye. Your words to my heart. Clearly, Spring is on her way.

      Sam is such a darling! A solid little chap. A rugby player maybe. (Heaven forfend).

      Thanks for coming by Merril. Have a lovely weekend.

  10. Awesome lightning photo, Susan! The disruption in your neck of the woods sounds similar to what’s going on here. Alas, will we ever be free of all the in-fighting. On a high note, my sis and her South African husband are going to visit his family in March 2024 and I think my family might tag along for the trip. He was a big game safari guide before he emigrated to the U.S. to marry my sister and I’m excited to see your country through the eyes of a native. You’ll have to tell me some of your favorite places to visit.
    Also glad to hear you are continuing on the mend! xox

    • I can hardly believe that 2 years have passed since Jan 6 insurrection.

      Pam, fantastic news about possibility of your family coming to SA in March next year! I would not be surprised if your brother in law knows my Safari family in Botswana – surname Sandenbergh. Whatever, I’ll certainly offer info re SA and you’re VERY welcome to come and stay here in Plettenberg Bay. Have space etc and it would be a pleasure. March is a lovely month – xx

  11. You are such a risk-taker, Susan. Your risk during the storm paid off with stunning shots of lightning and (implied) thunderbolts. You mentioned Thor, and it occurs to me that the day of the week, Thursday, may have been named for the god of Thunder.

    Your grandson is adorable. I wish I could reach through the ether and give him a hug. Our grandchildren are all teenagers. I guess I’ll have to wait for great grand-children, not any time soon, I’m guessing.

    Your blog posts are always entertaining, a great record of recent happenings. Thank you!

    • Hi Marian, thanks for coming by and your lovely comment. I have a sneaky feeling I put up a blog post every now and then in the hopes of receiving from you and others a little ego stroke.

      Donder is thunder in German, our Thursday in Afrikaans is Donderdag. I meant to mention this but I forgot.

      I will give Sam a hug from you and tell him it’s from you all the way from America (Joan Armatrading song, it’s lovely). He was grizzly today, a bit pale and wan. Teething maybe, growing pains? Poor little lamb. Davey sent me a photo later on after he’d had a good sleep and he looked much better and smiling.

      It’s bed time here – the weekend looms. Have a wonderful one! Caught any more typos?

  12. Susan your picture of the lightning is totally amazing. When I lived at the beach in California we would have lightning storms that looked as if the Gods were at war with one another. As a teenager, I felt the storms were scary AND beautiful. I miss not seeing the storms any longer. Thanks for your post! It is delightful and educational.

    • The summer thunderstorms when I lived in Johannesburg were perfectly terrifying Gwynn – and as you say, beautiful at the same time. As if ‘the Gods were at war with each other’ is a graphic description, thank you for it, and thank you for coming by. I hope all is well and that winter is in retreat?

  13. What a delightful, newsy letter! Your photos are stunning. Really extraordinary. And Sam is such a beautiful child. It’s so good to be reminded of the brightness and goodness of life. They provide a much-needed relief from the darkening world around us that threatens to eclipse them. Wishing you love, joy, and peace. Jeanie

    • Relief is the right word Jeanie … a glimmer of gold among the gross.
      Joy, love and peace to you too, thank you for those wishes.

  14. My response to you did not stack properly Deborah – sorry about that! But it’s there –

  15. Electrickery will come back on around 6.30 this evening so I’m on my phone using wifi c/o inverter. TV also c/o inverter –

    Thanks for your lovely comment Deborah. Pantsing is no plot and planning just going with the flow which can further (so it’s said!) creativity regarding writing.

    I had a message today from my niece with accompanying photo of your book which has arrived for me! She lives in Surrey. I said she must open and see. She’d read up about you and was most intrigued.

    MP’s are arriving in all their finery. Statements are being made left right and centre. No sign yet of disruptions. Unless it’s not being shown.

    Love to you across the oceans. Signs of spring are in the air I believe!

    • Firstly, thank you for helping me understand what ‘pantsing’ means in SA! Ha-Ha! Very different from the UK version! And secondly, oh how exciting (and terrifying!) re my ‘Soror Mystica’. I’m still not sure where they’re shipped from as Blurb is an American company but do remember my first and second book arrived in only four days from Germany. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

      On Saturday, when I was emailing you from the middle of the woods, there were lots of bluebell leaves pushing up and the woodland was full of song, most especially from two drumming woodpeckers, a firecrest, several black caps and two fighting robins, it was heaven. Yes, spring is slowly arriving.

      • I think ‘pantsing’ is an American term Deborah … I also had no idea when I first heard of it. At least it does not mean dropping one’s rods, or mooning!
        Lovely about the faerie glens in your neck of the woods 🙂 …

      • I meant to also say about pantsing – flying by the seat of one’s pants.
        The Pres has just declared a state of disaster – effective immediately (:

  16. I always appreciate an update from you. Times are so tumultuous. We had our State of the Union by our unpopular president (according to polls and life). It was more disruptive than usual, but still civilized. I wonder why our Presidents give it anymore. The law says it can be submitted in writing. That might be a better option.

    So glad you are safe and happy, Susan. Your grandson looks darling!

    • I so appreciate hearing from you Jacqui thank you. Oosh, so many are so duplicitous-am listening to some MP’s make their statements with a straight face. Do we have to have governments?

  17. It’s wonderful to hear your news Susan! I do enjoy these catch ups posts of yours. That’s a ‘cracking’ (sorry I couldn’t resist, pun intended!) photo, wow, and the synchronicities with Thor, more so! You’re right, you couldn’t make this stuff up! And good news re being ‘hands free’.

    What an ab-soul-utely gorgeous family shot, with the not so little Sam and his amazing 1st birthday cake! I love, love, love your description underneath … cake made by Jüte, Sam made by them both – very good! What a beautiful family you have!

    Oh gawd! I do hope the SONA (aka circus and entertainment for the nation!), goes well tonight and that you put your fingers in your ears when he starts to lie and lie and then lie some more! Hmm, your comment, “It’s show time people!” Says it all really.

    I did wonder how your novel was going, so it’s good to hear that you’re still plugging away at it. Don’t laugh but can I ask what pantsing means as in the UK it means ‘pulling down one’s trousers’ … lol, I’m sure it means something completely different in SA. Love and light, Deborah.

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