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.

36 Comments on Solstice, Hannukah & Christmas –

  1. Hi Susan, I think I read how Whoopi Goldberg requested a meeting with your son, Dave. Both of your sons are amazing! Priceless to spend some time with them. Sorry to read about your illness. Warmth and kindness is always a salve.

    I will search for Mike’s series. I was also following the Iceland news closely since we were in that area a few years ago. One of our favourite adventures. You mention “apt metaphor” … giving me goosebumps… I try to not go down a dark road…I want to leave a thriving planet for our children/grandchildren…

    Much love in your direction, Susan. xoxo Erica

    • Thanks so much Erica for coming by. ‘Warmth and kindness is always a salve’ … how true is that, thank you for saying.

      I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and that the year brings joy to you all and your lovely family. Health and prosperity, wonder at all that Nature offers us and your joy and wonder at seeing it all not only through your own receptive eye but those of your grandchildren. That is also my wish, to leave a thriving planet for all …

      Here’s to Peace in this fractured world.

      Love to you Erica xxx Susan

  2. Wow Susan what a beautiful and inspiring post, glad to hear about your holidays and your surprises visit to Prague, sorry to hear about your health,hopefully you are better now, sending you some healing prayers, loved every picture and your sharing too. Thanks for sharing, may you and your family be blessed, wishing you health and harmony this new year 2024. May God bless all of you, enjoy your time and keep smiling:)

    • So lovely to hear from you Genevive thank you. All is well and I hope for you and family too ❤️ all best wishes to you and family, for good health & prosperity, joy and peace xx

  3. What a time you’ve had, Susan. So much of it good, so much of it not so good, like the death of a friend and long covid. I hope you don’t suffer too badly from it, or too long. Be well soon.
    I wish you, and our world, all the blessings and joys of the holiday season, whichever tradition you celebrate. Happy Christmas!

  4. Thank you, Susan, for keeping in touch with us with all the news of your adventures and thoughts. So sad to hear of SA’s political conditions — but yes, hope, hope; a potential means there is hope — for SA and for the end to the needless devastation of humanity (and women’s rights) in these awful wars around the world. On a most happy note, Kellie and I were so delighted to meet Davey when he performed here in Phila., a highlight of my year. What a great guy he is and excellent musician and performer. I’m still smiling. Both your “boys” are so talented — comes from having talented and wise parents that you and Neil are. I’m glad to hear you are recovered from covid. That is such a scary disease. A friend here got rebound covid in Vienna. She thinks she caught it on the tour bus. Well, I could go on. Yes, light those candles, the world needs light, but not from fires around Cape Town. I hope they’ve got them under control. Happy Soltice, Christmas — and light, love and unexpected special joys in 2024. Hi to Davey. 😊 Be well. Much love. –Carol

    • Hello Carol, thank you for coming by. I’ll see Davey tomorrow and will pass on your message to him. So pleased you and he met! We’re having a family lunch at their home; it will be a cold lunch. But now that I think about it they were talking about roasting a leg of lamb on the spit. I’m taking a cold roast salmon, and a bocconcini (cheese balls) salad, added to roast tomatoes. Never done that before .. I offered a potato salad but Jüte said something about roast potatoes now that I remember.
      Yes, light, love, laughter is so much needed. And ‘unexpected special joys’ .. My wish to you Carol. Have a blessed Christmas and a joyous 2024. Love to you, Susan xx

  5. Hi Susan, it is lovely to read an update from you. I am sorry you had Covid. I’ve had it three times and the first time it took me three months before I felt largely normal again. I don’t expect much to change in the forthcoming elections. Hope fully, government won’t get worse. That could happen and African countries usually have to hit rock bottom before any winds of change start blowing.

    • Hi Robbie, yes this covid story is something else. Sorry you had it three times and three months to recover from the first. (All those threes.)
      The winds of change … Harold MacMillan British PM spoke of this when visiting Cape Town in 1960. It’s an interesting bit of info that I’ve just had the quickest squizz at, but the ‘winds of change’ reminded me of something. Are those winds in the air? Maybe.
      A blessed Christmas to you and family and all the best for 2024, and thank you for coming by ..

  6. What a wonderful POST of family, joy, friends, and the world – the sad part. Here in the states the elections are coming up next November and there is already the political squabbles. What a horrible time! I’m praying that we find some decent people to elect. I’m sad about the violence around the world. Maybe the world is going to explode. Oh well, I am looking forward to a Happy New Year. I wish you and your family a loving Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks Gwynn for coming by! Yes, I follow the electioneering going on, Nicky Haley, De Santis, Trump – Marianne Williamson maybe? The Kennedy contender … here in SA we will have more than 200 (you heard me right) parties contesting for positions. The ballot paper is going to be longer than a toilet roll! The world is already exploding – let’s hope that out of the detritus the gold emerges.
      To you Gywnn and happy and blessed Christmas and 2024.

    • You will know Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light to all who are in the house. Thanks Marian for coming by and all good and blessed wishes for Christmas and 2024.

    • Thanks Donna so much! I’m definitely feeling better. Yes, let’s hope for peace in our embattled world. It’s been a roller coaster for the last 3, or is it 4 years taking covid into account. All best wishes for 2024.

  7. Such a luscious, generous, honest, open-hearted and celebratory newsletter, Susan! I loved every bit of it, including the tough crunchy bits! Much love to you at this turning time, Andrea

    • Thank you Andrea! ‘The tough crunchy bits’ – I love it, and I’m smiling! Love to you at this time too Andrea. As I’m responding to the comments on my post, I’m reminded how fortunate I am to have such wonderful, creative and loving friends. Artists all … so needed, so necessary.

  8. What a year you have had Susan, such wonderful highs with your family and your travels juxtaposed by the sadness of loss, the pain of violence and conflict in the world and frustrations of illness. I do hope that the symptoms of long covid have eased and that you are on the road to a full recovery.

    I hold on to the hope and belief that the darkness the world is experiencing will be balanced out by the light – I hope that this time comes in 2024. So wishing you and yours warm blessings for the season and a peaceful, happy, healthy New Year.

    • Thank you Lin so much. I know that you’ve been recovering from the lurgy and I hope that you are fully restored to good health.

      Yes, darkness balanced out by the light – but my goodness, the light is a long time coming. May 2024 see the turning.

      All warm wishes to you for this festive season and a wonderful 2024.

    • Thank you Susan, I am definitely improved healthwise. All best wishes for 2024, may it be one of joy, good health and happiness. Susan

  9. I hope you are feeling better now, Susan. My you had a wonderful trip traveling through Europe.
    Wishing you a very happy holiday, and I will join you in wishing for peace in the new year. I hope you are able to get rid of your corrupt government, and I hope we can maintain our democracy.
    Happy holidays!

  10. Dear Susan, thank you for sharing your solstice update and wonderful photos with us. What a rollercoaster of a year it’s been for you with so many ups, downs and surprising twists along the way. Whether you’re drinking from a cup of sorrow or one of joy, I always enjoy hearing your news.

    Here in the UK, covid and other viruses are spreading like wild fire, so much so that we’re contemplating wearing masks again. I truly hope your possible, long covid, symptoms have eased off considerably, now. Sending you much love, light and laughter across the oceans between us, Deborah.

    • Thank you dear Deborah for your lovely warm response. It’s been a year for sure, last year too and the few years before that with covid rampaging across the world and the deaths and lockdowns and closures of businesses … may 2024 see the turning of the wheel towards the light from the darkness. It’s true, there is joy among the sorrows as you aptly wrote in one of your beautiful blog posts.

      It is hard to comprehend the mass shooting in Prague. The continuing devastation in the ME. I was in Simonstown last week for Paul’s memorial and it is now on fire aided by strong winds, the firefighters doing their best to contain it. It has spread to Fishoek and Scarborough with Simonstown in between & people are evacuating. Friends are holidaying in Scarborough.

      Sorry to hear about covid spreading (like wild fire) in the UK. Winter is not the best time to contain it. Take all precautions dear Deborah.

      I’m feeling much better thank you. All best Yuletide blessings to you. May the longer days bring warmth and comfort. Love to you across the oceans. Susan

  11. Sending you warm thoughts across the miles that your health recovers speedily and completely and that you remain COVID-free.

    May Peace and Goodwill be uppermost in our hearts minds and souls and guide our every thought, word and action.

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