Friday, August 21, 2009

Road trip with mom

My mother's been visiting for a week now, probably - ironically - one of the most chaotic I've had in a while. At short notice this afternoon we decided to pack one bag between us and to hit the road. Malaga Hotel, 20km from Waterval Boven into the Lowveld and eastwards along the N4, is our first stop for lunch. Tonight we'll be sleeping in the Berlin Forest 10km outside Kaapsehoop village. Our aim is to gulp in fresh mountain air and to enjoy, unhindered, the Milky Way.

It's a magnificent spring day and I've picked a sprig of Jasmine. I'm glad this harsh winter is almost behind us.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Spring has sprung in the Cape...

This, below, wrote my friend and fellow journalist Andrew October from the fairest Cape. He took the photographs at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town:
"Yesterday was truly the first day of spring - the sky was blue, the sun warm and the air a buzz with the sounds of birds and bees, while butterflies fluttered from flower to flower. Kids laughing, couples strolling through the park holding hands, tourists smiling... and me, the silly old monkey, sniffing daisies. Spring!"


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Waxing lyrical

Everything is in blossom, even my apricot tree that's never borne fruit since I moved here. There's a balminess in the air, there's an excited anctipation of long days and an endless summer, as one can only experience here. And, of course, my favourite scent of all - the smell of freshly wet African soil that's baked all day in the sun.

My lettuce, spinach and cabbage plants are thriving despite being ravaged from an unexpected quarter - I have never seen so many lady birds! Even though they're ravenous, I welcome these good omens - there's always been more than enough for us all; there always will be. (My cup runneth over and over.)

Monday, August 10, 2009


"Above all else, Bombay was free - exhiliratingly free. I saw the liberated, unconstrained spirit wherever I looked, and I found myself responding to it with the whole of my heart. Even the flare of shame I'd felt when I first saw the slums and the street beggars dissolved in the understanding that they were free, those men and women. No-one drove the beggars from the streets. No-one banished the slum-dwellers, painful as their lives were, they were free to live them in the same gardens and avenues as the rich and powerful. They were free. The city was free. I loved it."

Anne-Marie my apologies for taking so long to reply to your message of a few weeks ago, but which I so appreciated. I've been so busy these last few weeks that to even think of blogging (the few times I have, has been directly from my Nokia E90, which no direct interaction with the blog site itself) has been a luxury. Even this minute I'm blogging in the bath, my most favourite personal space of all.

Neverthless as soon as I got to Jozi on Friday afternoon I was, upon your reccomendation, straight into Exclusive Books to get myself a copy of Shantaram...and I've not put it down since. So thank you! And thank you for taking the time to read Beautiful Mind, also to comment. Please tell me more about you, and where you live.

For the record it's the third magnificent day in a row in Johannesburg. As usual, but after the coldest winter in my living memory (there was even frost all the way down to Ngodwana in the Lowveld), spring has come early. And I thank God. Last year the Jasmine - always the very first flowers to blossom after bleak, scentless winters - flowered on 7 July. This year I saw the very first blossoms last Wednesday, the 5th of August.

Jozi Book Fair

This morning I attended the last day of the Jozi Book Fair held at Museum Afrika in Newtown, Johannesburg. There I met up with Zimbabwean activist-writer Ike Dube - author of 'The Road to Lindela'.
We dived deep into others intellects and passionately, breathlessly realised we were (please, please pardon the pun) on the same page. We had been in telephonic contact for a while, but the physical meeting was a baked-in-the-African-sun teeming termite-heap of one 100-million ideas, thoughts, incomplete questions and jumbled, random answers.
Our incomplete business will see me return next week.
It's 27 years since I was first drawn to the fantastically colourful 'grey area' intellectualism of Newtown and the Market Theatre precinct; you'll be glad to know it still oozes out of the cracks between the paving stones.
It still teems with the ghosts of Kippies and the Yard of Ale, the characters from the countless protest theatre productions that fought apartheid on the stage: it's here that I met John Kani, Athol Fugard, Evita Besuidenhout and Pieter Dirk Uys to mention but a few.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Come to the edge

Took a walk at dusk yesterday from Kaapsehoop village to the edge of the escarpment. Staring over the forested Barbeton valley below while the chill wind whipped my clothes, my breath was again snatched away at the magnificent God-view.
Then it was back to the village for dark malt Mozambican beer, 'slap' salted chips still in their skins (like only Salvador's makes them); and slices of delicious thin-base pizza.
Heading home, but not far from the village, just around the road's bend through the forest - and where I can no longer see it's lights - I always stop, turn off the engine and headlamps. Standing in the darkness - depending, of course, on where the moon is on his rounds! - I fall into the Milky Way's net and listen for the soft spoken susurrus of the mountain wind through the pines.
The Holy Qur'an teaches that it is not the excess of material objects that determines wealth, but that rather true wealth is 'contentment' (BUKARHRI).