Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cherry Cake

Mike's Bakery: Cherry cake for seven, then the afternoon in someone else's garden. Soil on feet and hands, sun on my back and face. Pro-creation and abundance.
Today I rested and recharged, this week will require me pacing myself.
Out of the ordinary day so far. Wonderfully, humbly, simply so.

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Friday, February 19, 2010


Welcome to Mordor.

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The edge

I'm sitting having tea and quiet time while watching a cloud bank slowly ponder down the edge of the escarpment towards the back of my house. I'm savouring the Friday morning moodiness.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Last light

I took these in the last light of today, but also in the first sunshine we've had in three days.
Even as we head towards dusk, thick cloud is enveloping Imemeza, the mountain behind the house. It has most likely come this far inland from the Indian Ocean, then Mozambique and the Lowveld.
My favourite weather.
I type these words on the couch under the 'afdak' at the back of the house.
I'm just back from a stroll around the garden, while eating grapes and strawberries. Pesticide-free grapes and strawberries out of my own garden.
I head inside with the scent of crushed pineapple sage and mint on my fingers... .
Here comes the rain.

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A note to my friend Angela

It's another of my most perfect days..soft constant rain and mist, also perfect peace. Even in my heart.
Right now I'm sitting at my window taking a break from my deadline week, drinking coffee and listening to the rain gurgling in the gutters.
I'd love to be devouring an entire chocolate cake with you and the girls.. but a special chocolate cake like the one you once visited me here with.
You'll be glad to know this house is being transformed into a home: as of last week I have a wood stove in the kitchen, a chimney on the roof, a functioning fireplace in my studio and..wait for it..the 40 year-old (no jokes) shower is finally repaired and working like a bomb.
As I said in my text to you earlier, I desperately need a healing dose of you & the kids...desperately. A bit of Harry Potter time... Love you. (And a hug for Paul.) Come visit...

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Preparing for winter

I'm adamant to have some colour in my garden this winter.
I sowed these seeds on Saturday, half/ half into a huge seed tray. Thus exactly half of the tray had already come up by Monday; the other half must be slower to germinate? Or require autumn cold.
Excitement. Anticipation. (My joy's are simple ones.)
And I'm no longer alone...

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Oh so succulent

I love this plant. Eschoveria Black. I've had it for a year now. It's hardy, likes sun or semi-shade and needs to be watered well when it's dry. Not unlike a child it needs to be fed; 232 every 4 to 6 weeks will do it wonders. (And use compost when planting it in the garden.)

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Outside of a dog

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Morning has broken

It's a magnificent dawn. They come much later now, especially as it's only - roughly - one and a half months until winter's here. But judging by the stark contrast between the very hot days and the chilly mornings, winter might be arriving earlier this year. Especially here on the very edge of the escarpment.
I'm also sitting at my favourite window, facing east, watching as the world wakes..or doesn't. Normally I'd be outside at this time, facing west. But its too chilly for that now.
Yesterday my new chimney was completed. At its completion joy did a little jig in my heart. The fireplace in my studio's 'unused status' is about to come to an end.
The wood stove in the kitchen has finally also got a chimney sprouted through the ceiling and roof. One chilly rainy night this weekend would see both hearth and chunky iron stove tested; so I'd better start collecting wood during my forest walks, so as to stock compile enough for a possibly long winter.
I bet you're thinking that I'm anally winter obsessed, you might be right. But anyone that's subtly 'intuitioned' will sense the great annual change of the millennia's is happening in a flurry of activity right this minute.
SPLAT! The mosquito on my leg is still there, except that it's dead in a smudged former blob of my blood. Don't scratch, don't scratch....

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

11 February 1990


"...Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way. Universal suffrage on a common voters' role in a united democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.
In conclusion I wish to quote my own words during my trial in 1964. They are true today as they were then:

'I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.'"

[The photo was taken by my Cape Town-based friend, and journalist, Andrew October: "Lightning storm lights the night sky over Llandudno, near Hout Bay, around 4am yesterday morning." ]

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Junk food

I'm on the run, there's not enough hours in the day. As I wrote earlier this week, this is my MAKE month (BREAK is not even an option); I'm adamant to take the Highlands Herald, and myself, through the frustrating Catch22 glass ceiling I've been blooding my scalp, my cranium against.
I'm finding it difficult to eat properly; I'm sustaining myself on coffee (but good coffee!) and junk food; I haven't invested in my vegetable patch like last year this time. Yet despite all I'm roaring on adrenalin.
And I have to give massive thanks for the support team I have around me, mostly connected only by the spindliest (world wide) web.
I'd be sunk (most of them probably wouldn't even realise it) without them: Adri, Alex, Alwyn, Amos, Angel, Christo, my dad, Gretha, Gustav, Harem, Iris, Lien, Linda, Lyndsay, Louis, Mathe, my mother, Norma, Pat, Oom Piet, Silvia, Trina, humble, happy and loving heart in Jozi (without don't even want to think about it).
Most of all - yes most of all - I give thanks (with all my heart) to my living, loving and omniscient God. There's no middle man that separates us; I live perpetually in a space of endless miracles...and endless kindness, compassion, forgiveness, love and grace. (He is here, right by my face, right now.)
Tonight, though, I've taken out Charles time. I've pottered in the garden at dusk amongst vengeful mosquitoes; I've labelled keys (have you any idea how satisfying that is?); and right now I'm lying on the couch by an open window listening to crickets. Faith is on my lap, Mika at my feet.
I'm about to run a hot, foam bath and lie reading the remainder of Coehlo's biography. Then its up at 5h30 and at it again.
Good night and good luck (do you remember that movie?).
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This season's office wear

"Do add this to the blog to show how we townies dress for and arrive at appointments with serijas clients," said motoring editor Alwyn yesterday afternoon, just before we took the Nissan Nevara for a test drive - for the newspaper - up and down the nearby mountains, and past the ancient stone circles and ancient roads.

Alwyn Viljoen: +27 82 458 9332 +words on wheels that work, on air and in ink+

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Green tea & morning pages

It's morning pages and green tea time. Sitting on the couch, on the patio, watching the morning mist evaporate off the foothills behind the house, I can feel the impending winter brush past.
Despite scorching hot days like yesterday, the mornings are chilly.
Last night, on my way back from Nelspruit, the car was occasionally filled with the wonderfully cloying reek of the first veld fire, a winter smell.
As the long grass continues to go to seed, transforming from emerald green to lion tawniness, the fires will become more regular, then at winter's height, ferocious. Nevertheless, for me, it's the smell of winter, of Africa, of my youth.
Mika, the African Blackfoot Cross, who -literally - arrived on my doorstep in the final thunderstorm of last summer, has curled up on my lap. I sense she will be spending more and more time there in the coming months, despite that a wood stove is now installed in the kitchen.
The bowl of green tea was piping hot, now it's almost insipidly cold. It's time to write my morning pages, to reflect on the passing seasons, life's passing seasons too. Although one day my tree must too be bare and winter stark, I'm aware, right now, of being at my prime.
Even so, I fear not death, in fact I relish it with joy and wonderment. Often, when I'm worn out, I smile and excitedly look so forward to going home.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

National skyline: The Crane

While our national bird is the blue crane, our national skyline is the crane, especially in the light of massive investment in infrastructure because of the soccer world cup here later this year.
These photos were taken from Sandton City shopping centre's roof parking.

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Harem's place

Friday saw me visit my friend Harem's home in Parkhurst, Jozi. Again I left his presence centred, energised and with fresh perspective.
He left his home in the forest towards the end of 2008 after it burnt to the ground in one if the harshest forest fires in years.
But, like the phoenix he has risen.
He inspired me to gardening again, this a week after I purchased a South African gardening book at Exclusive Books in Mandela Square, Sandton.

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To the woods..

"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die discover that I had not lived." - Henry David Thoreau

Berlin Forest, Kaapsehoop: Dusk. I'm living deliberately. This is 'the' month, my turning point. Time is of the essence.

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Friday, February 05, 2010


"Living in an age of advertisement, we are perpetually disillusioned. The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch." - J. B. Priestley

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