Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just 3

Just three pages fuelled by a chicken mushroom pie and a short 'te mocha.
Now just pastry flakes and crumbs on the floor.
I wonder where they buried the bones?

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Enter the heat

Basically if you want to become a good writer, you need to do three things. Read a lot, listen well and deeply, and write a lot. And don't think too much. Just enter the heat of words and sounds and coloured sensations and keep your pen moving across the page.

- Writing down the bones, Natalie Goldberg

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TS Eliot again

Here I am, an old man in a dry month, being read to by a boy, waiting for

Monday, September 27, 2010


It's here.
The rain has come. I hear it on the roof, gurgling tinnily in the gutters, splattering against the window. I stick my head into the clouds to unparch my soul.
It's here.

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Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

- TS Eliot
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Land without fat (part 7)

Round trips: Travelling the Cape West Coast - Land ‘Without Fat’

Apparently named after Admiral Antonio de Saldanha who was wounded here as long ago as 1503 by a group of Khoikhoi while collecting supplies, the intriguing port is merely 13km south of Vredenburg. It clings serenely (depending on the weather) to the northern edge of a large bay that reeks, on windy days, of fish because the town hosts many industries, that include crayfish, mussels, oysters and seaweed.

During the Second World War Saldanha Bay was very important because of its strategic location and safe anchorage as a convoy assembly point.  Green wrote that thousands of men in the war saw Saldanha Bay from the decks of troopships.

“For many of them it was their only glimpse of South Africa – just that huge, landlocked bay, the scavenging sea-birds, a fishing village in the northern arm, nothing to linger in the memories of sea-weary soldiers after a long passage. Men in the convoys which assembled there must have steamed on to the Middle East with bleak impressions of Saldanha” he wrote.

Today Saldanha Bay has a huge iron ore quay and is home to a large variety of fishing vessels. It’s also the largest natural bay in South Africa and in the summer transforms into a fishing, boating and water sport paradise. Its sheltered harbour plays an important part in the huge Sishen-Saldanha iron ore project at which Saldanha Steel, a state of the art steel mill, takes centre stage.

According to Saldanha Tourism, between the 1870’s and 1880’s the Bay of Saldanha became a quarantine station. Ships carrying people with contagious diseases had to be removed as far, and as fast as possible, from Cape Town. The name of one of the first ships was the “Celt”... and what better place than the isolated and deserted harbour of Saldanha to banish them to.

At the southern horn of the bay, at Salamander, a large group of tents was spread over the little headland for the victims. Smallpox victims were regularly sent there and the graveyard at Salamander is witness to this. Only after the Anglo Boer War did the bay’s function as a quarantine station end.  

It’s an interesting port and well worth spending time there. The exceptional quality of the sunlight that afternoon, despite the blustery, cold wind straight off the ocean, would have left anyone camera trigger-happy and inspired to explore the French Huguenot Memorial, Doc's Cave, the Breakwater and Cummings Grave, among others. 

The breakwater was built in 1976 and is 1,8 km long. It connects the mainland with Marcus Island. There is also hiking trails for the nature lover at Oranjevlei and at the SAS Saldanha Naval Base.  Fishing trips and boat excursions to the islands in the bay can be organized, weather permitting of course.  

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Land without fat (part 6)

Round trips: Travelling the Cape West Coast - Land ‘Without Fat’

In spring many flower enthusiasts stay in Paternoster to visit the impressive Columbine Nature Reserve 3km away, which incorporates Tietiesbaai, and is a favourite of campers and caravaners, particularly during the summer holidays. It offers hiking, angling, bird-watching, diving, kayaking and a beach campsite.

For those with an understandable fetish for lighthouses, Cape Columbine - the last manned lighthouse built on the South African coast – is well worth visiting. The four million candlepower electric lamp was switched on there in October, 1936. The coastline is rich in maritime history, albeit mostly tragic.

Lawrence G. Green in his So Few Are Free (1946) wrote that amid the sand and reefs of Cape Columbine lie the bones of Dutch East India ships and the steel plates of modern passenger liners. Columbine takes its name from the barque Columbine, wrecked there in 1829. Not far away is Soldier’s Reef (close to Paternoster), a name which speaks for itself when you know that in 1876 the troopship St. Lawrence was lost there.

Soldier’s Reef claimed another victim on 23 October 1910 when the Lisboa also ran aground there. This was to be the first time on the South African coast that radio telegraphy was used to call for help by a ship in distress.

Green wrote that there were bulls on board the Lisboa, destined for the ring at Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), and a cargo of red wine in barrels down below. For three weeks the ship remained firmly on the rocks, looking as though she was at anchor. Salvage vessels saved the bulls, and the crew.

Apparently many of the wheat farmers in the St. Helena Bay district gained rich souvenirs of the Lisboa.

“They have fine sets of silver plate, trays and sugar bowls, all stamped with the ship’s name. When the Lisboa broke up in a gale at last the sea was stained for miles with her wine,” wrote Green.

On a magnificent afternoon like this one, with the wind just starting to whip off the ocean, many are understandably lured to the tables and chairs baking in the sun outside the famous and character-full Paternoster hotel (you’ve got to take a look into the bar!). It’s more than 100 years old, and has been a hotel since 1940.

From here you can just stare through the trees for a glimpse of the Atlantic, or watch the antics of the local folk, while waiting for a tankard of ice cold draft and a juicy, sizzling slab of fresh-caught Dorado. This is as good a time as any to contemplate the return journey to Cape Town via Saldanha.

(To continue...)

I am

Last light. Sprinklers on, one in the front garden, one at the back. A refreshing spring breeze with, faintly, the smell of dust on it, also carrying the aroma of freshly wet African earth.
Having a cup of coffee in the dark while watching the cat play games with itself.
It's the most content I've been in weeks.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just human

I have had to fight off waves of negativity this morning. Everything seems so dry and tinderbox-like. Menacing.
I long for the closed-in thick, swirling mist of a place on the Long Tom Pass I visit often.
I seek silence. Also moisture. Also inner peace, inner joy.
I'm alone here, and glad. I would not want to put anyone through me.
(Looking up, at last, I wonder now if today might be when the rain finally comes.)

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Land without fat (part 5)

Round trips: Travelling the Cape West Coast - Land ‘Without Fat’

Paternoster, a picturesque fishing town well worth the additional 15km there and back from Vredenburg, is probably one of the oldest West Coast towns. It’s famous for its crayfish. Here countless white-washed fishermen's cottages are sprinkled along the wide-curved bay – it’s the last white-sand bite out of the coast before Stompneus Bay.

Paternoster, incidentally, was the setting for the internationally acclaimed film Forgiveness, which was shot on location both in Paternoster and Cape Town. It starred South African actor Arnold Vosloo in the lead role of Tertius Coetzee, a former apartheid cop whose journey into Paternoster is the catalyst for a harrowing series of events.

Wonderfully quaint, some of the atmosphere of a fishing community of a bygone era is still preserved despite the ‘for sale’ and ‘B&B’ signs that litter the town.

But not all is necessarily as it appears to the fleeting explorer here on a first visit, and one whose attention is entranced by the rugged beauty.

Helen Moffett, in her Lovely Beyond Any Singing - Landscapes in South African Writing, says that although this region has its own sparse beauty, “sadly, much of its once pristine coastline has been gobbled up by developers, and turned into a chain of gated communities and water-grabbing golf estates”.

Karena du Plessis says it would be naive to imagine that the West Coast is devoid of troubles. She writes that, on the other hand, unemployment, poverty and alcohol abuse are enormous problems up the coast. They’re not isolated to these areas, but at times communities seemed quite ravaged.

“Perhaps it’s the raw sun, wind and rain that made them appear that much more vulnerable,” she writes.

There is also a huge disparity between the old folks and the younger generation.

“The elderly people were amazing – hard working, God-fearing and independent. But there were so many households headed up by women in their 60s and 70s who were tasked with raising a squad of grandchildren. Many of their own children had died – of HIV/AIDS-related illnesses or violence – while others had just fallen through the cracks and were drinking themselves to death.”

However everything, even the bleakness, is transformed by the spring.

“But together with Namaqualand towards the northern interior, this bleak territory comes into its own every spring, summoning brilliant floral colour from the dry blanched earth,” Moffett writes.

(To continue..)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Land without fat (part 4)

Land ‘Without Fat’ is an article I wrote for a local leisure magazine exactly 3 years ago this month. For the hell of it I thought I’d take a look at it again....


Round trips: Travelling the Cape West Coast - Land ‘Without Fat’

Driving through Moorreesburg and Hopefield to Vredenburg you’ll notice that the prominent colours – of emerald green and wheat field gold – are slowly leaching out of the landscape as it becomes sparser, as the glare of white, especially as the day advances, becomes prominent. Sand, sea and sky meet here in a sometimes disorientating haziness. It’s also wilder and much more desolate than inland.

Although the Cape West Coast is at times alienating and foreign - emphasised by the dry Mediterranean climate and landscape - it’s typically off-beat South African and up until relatively recently, has remained devoid of crowds and the commercialism characteristic of South Africa’s urban areas and popular coasts.

And the pace here is much slower. Psychiatrist C. G. Jung once remarked, “Hurry is not of the Devil, it is the Devil.” If that’s the case, the Devil certainly doesn’t live on the West Coast...!

Here pervades a sense that life is more real (probably because along long this coast the seasons are hard and dramatic), that you’re somehow moving beyond the superficialities of our instant gratification culture. This is probably why the busy people of the world crave the open roads that take them to the heart of the country, or to its distant, most remote coastlines. In this case a far more arid, even desolate coastline.

Just Blue, the tunicate taxonomy and marine invertebrate research website, explains that the distribution of fauna and flora around the southern African coast is a direct result of the influence of the different water masses that flow on the west and east coasts of the southern tip of Africa.

The powerful Agulhas current (one of the most powerful in the world) flows from the Mozambique channel down the east coast of Africa bringing warm water from the sub-tropics. North of East London the continental shelf is narrow and the warm water of the Agulhas current flows close inshore. The current is steadily pushed away from the coast as the continental shelf widens and the coastal waters become slightly cooler from East London to Port Elizabeth.

The Agulhas current then swings back some 300km offshore south of Cape Agulhas where the continental shelf is at its widest. The west coast of South Africa is influenced by north drifting cold water. Events of up-welling take place when surface waters is blown offshore and cold deep water moves to the surface near the coast.

This water is rich in nutrients and enables microscopic algae (phytoplankton) and macroscopic algae (seaweed) to grow and flourish. The west coast is thus characterised by its productivity and sustains large fisheries, in comparison to the less productive but more diverse east coast.

(To continue...)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wendy comments on God in the detail

On 31 August Wendy left a new comment on my post "God in the detail":

"Aaargh - I was to be forward and ask you so many questions about your later posts, but I won't. However, I'm glad you found God in the details, because that's where I believe He resides. I read your blog often, but this is my first post. Have a stunning evening."

Wendy thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, also to give me feedback. I often forget that there's human beings on the 'other side'. Again, thank you. And you have a stunning evening. (Oh yes, be forward, and ask questions... I'll do  my best to answer them.)

Land without fat (part 3)

Land 'Without Fat' is an article I wrote for a local leisure magazine exactly 3 years ago this month. For the hell of it I thought I'd take a look at it again....


Round trips: Travelling the Cape West Coast - Land 'Without Fat'

After leaving the town [Malmesbury] make a concerted effort to get off the N7 and take the remote, much less travelled R46 through the magnificent scenery of the Swartland - where extraordinarily fertile soil produces bountiful grapes, grain and olives - to the Riebeek Valley. 

Riebeek-Kasteel, on the R311 about 75km NNE of Cape Town, is on the slopes of the Kasteelberg (Castle Mountain). This 946m high solitary rock of Table Mountain sandstone is a sentinel amidst the rolling wheat fields and vineyards of the Swartland. It's a beautiful, tranquil village - particularly when framed in the soft hues of pink and white during spring when the peach orchards are blossoming. Or in autumn when this picturesque valley is transformed by the unbelievable oranges and reds of the vines.

Named after both Jan van Riebeeck and the Kasteelberg, its name appears for the first time in the journal of the surgeon Pieter van Meerhof as far back as 1661 while he was on a discovery expedition.

Restaurants and bistros pepper the village.   It's well worth stopping to enjoy a meal and a glass or two of Swartland wine while soaking in the silence of this peaceful, albeit sophisticated rural setting. The serenity is broken only by the crowing of cocks, birdsong and the odd barking dog.

Riebeek-Wes is merely 4kms away. You're now travelling towards the West Coast on the R311 Moorreesburg/Hopefield road. Take the time to stop and, literally, smell the roses, as well as anything else in bloom at the time. Park, walk and stare into the gardens and homes – this is how other people live. Both hamlets are increasingly popular with city dwellers that have discovered Cape Town is an easily commutable hour's drive away.

There's a monthly market in the valley and the increasingly popular Ribeek Valley Olive Festival in June is a draw card. The PPC – Berg River marathon happens in August and the Riebeek-Kasteel half marathon in September.

This is also where two of South Africa's major political figures were coincidentally born and raised: Jan Christiaan Smuts on the farm Bovenplaas in 1870, and Daniёl François Malan on Allesverloren in 1874.

(To continue...)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Land without fat (part 2)

Land ‘Without Fat’ is an article I wrote for a local leisure magazine exactly 3 years ago this month. For the hell of it I thought I’d take a look at it again....


Round trips: Travelling the Cape West Coast - Land ‘Without Fat’ (part 2)


Malmesbury. Just 65km north of Cape Town (it’s on the N7, slip across from the R27 at Melkbosstrand) and the home of the famous ‘bry’, which Karena du Plessis expands on in some detail (there’s even bry-variants, whether Sandveld, Overberg or Southern Free State brys!) in her marvellous book West Coast – Cederburg to Sea (Struik).

“The bry”, she writes, “gives a warm lilt to country speech and illustrates just how rich and textured the Afrikaans language is”.

Malmesbury, the largest town in the Swartland, is renowned for its grain and wine cultivation, as well as for sheep and poultry farming. It originated around a tepid sulphur spring as far back as 1703 when the first farms were allocated. Then known as "het Zwarteland" (Black Land) probably because of the rhinoceros bush (it turns black in the winter with the rain), it became known as “het Zwartelandskerk”. After being renamed Malmesbury in 1829 – by Cape governor Sir Lowry Cole in honour of his father-in-law Sir James Harris, First Earl of Malmesbury - the town acquired municipal status in 1860.

Although it has developed rapidly over the last few years it’s still a peaceful town with a rural atmosphere. And the Malmesbury folk appear to be a robust, healthy lot obviously reared on Bokomo, sunshine and orange juice (this is, after all, the HQ of Bokomo Mills, the oldest milling company – established 1919 - in South Africa).

The beautiful Swartland Dutch Reformed Church, founded in 1745, is surrounded by a series of wells (collectively known as The Communion Well) dating back to 1750. They supplied water to the members of this congregation (at that time a mere 24 people were living in vicinity to the mineral spring) who gathered for Holy Communion on Sundays. Two of the three remaining wells can still be seen, one in Lewis Stores (during shop hours) in Piet Retief Street and the other in the parking area behind Geard Pharmacy in Voortrekker Road.

Malmesbury Museum (formerly the Old Jewish Synagogue) houses a photographic history of the town, as well as an interesting display on its Jewish history. The local tourism office provides, via email because it’s out of print, the highly recommended Malmesbury Historic Walkabout Route, which is well worth walking and gives a great historical perspective to this town.

(To continue...)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Land without fat (part 1)

Land ‘Without Fat’ is an article I wrote for a local leisure magazine exactly 3 years ago this month. For the hell of it I thought I’d take a look at it again....

Round trips: Travelling the Cape West Coast - Land ‘Without Fat’
 Are you in Cape Town on business, with a day or two to spare? Instead of moping in your hotel room, or hanging around the very expensive Waterfront shops, why not grab a car and a map and explore for a day? Here are some suggestions...
The infamous, shrieking southeaster ripping Camps Bay that morning would have encouraged anyone to get out of Cape Town. With it gale-force and screeching under the doors the decision to head up the rugged West Coast - to explore a landscape known for its sparse beauty - was easily made.
The arrow straight R27 that skims past Milnerton is one of the roads heading off into the Cape hinterland that has lured countless pioneers and travellers before. It’s one of the wide-open roads out of Cape Town visible from countless glinting and sterile hotel room windows. It promises escape from the anthill busyness and claustrophobia of the city, especially when summer sets in.
Follow the Malmesbury signs and don’t for a minute stop looking back... because Table Mountain is undoubtedly the eighth wonder of the world.
Going north and passing Koeberg (the only nuclear power station in Africa, with an estimated further lifespan of between 30 - 40 years) on your left, there’s an immediate and dramatic sense of difference. You’re rewarded by shimmering fields of wild flowers and emerald green grass. This inspires deep gulps of tangy sea air. It’s fragrant with the fynbos straddling the no-man’s land between the Atlantic and the coast road.
(To continue...)

CA568413 / The Power of Social Media

Not only has the vendor got a name, but she's also got her dignity back:

BigIssueSA has tweeted that Florence Godonwana, the Big Issue vendor who was
doused with water in Cape Town yesterday, was interviewed for SA's eTV and
will be on air at 7pm tonight.
They are also happy to confirm that Florence will be laying a charge of
crimen injuria tomorrow morning.

BigIssueSA's tweets relating to this are to found at #CapeShame on Twitter.

Dear CA568413 - The Power of Twitter/Social Media

Dear CA568413

Yes you guys in the white bakkie.

You okes are so cool. And you're funny! I bet you get told that all the time. Let me guess? Every girl wants you and every guy wants to be you right? It must be so tough.
Gee,  I just can't believe I'm lucky enough to live in the same city as you. All of you.
Gosh I can die happy now!
Exactly what kind of morons are you? You thought it was funny to strip a woman of her dignity like that?
The internet has considerably larger reach than 4 lanes of town traffic on a Saturday afternoon. My heart will sing when it finds out your names.
Cruising around, looking cool in the back of your bakkie with your apparent god complexes; you're all exactly the type of people I cannot stand.
For those of you who weren't in the back of the bakkie or in nearby cars. These charming individuals apparently called over a Big Issue vendor in traffic, threw water all over her and then laughed about it.
If you date or even worse gave birth to one of them (shame), I am embarrassed for you.
I have met elastic bands with higher levels of intellectual capacity and paper cups with better wit.
I hope someone inserts a vuvuzela into you.

Kind Regards

Ps Thanks to VampyreJourno and hurricaneanatom for snapping the pic and breaking this story.

The above - Dear CA568413 - was posted here:
(From original tweet by @robynhobson)

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday night

An unexpected turn in the spring weather meant that it has been a
wonderfully cold and elephant-grey day. At dusk I lit the wood stove in the
kitchen, piled books and magazines on the table to read, dumped myself on
the couch.

End of winter

In stark contrast to the low-hanging, moody cloud and cold, this was the
backyard fire started just after dusk, to burn dried refuse from the garden.
In preparation for the new, for green.
Waiting for rain. Maybe tonight...?

Somerset Maugham on imagination

Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young.

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The Marginal Safari

I'm still busy, in the midst of my life's busyness, reading Justin Fox's The Marginal Safari, which I bought in Johannesburg last Saturday. I paged back a few chapters:

At Struisbaai, the sea was lime green and boats lay snug behind a harbour wall. Further on, the shore was fringed with serrated rocks: nowhere to land a boat, even in perfect calm, without ripping out its bottom. Fisherman in oilskins, their backs to the wind, cast from ledges into the surf. Then came the sad architecture of L'Agulhas, a dorp making a living off its 'southernmost' status. Cashing in were superettes and B&BS, German-style restaurants and the South Point Launderette. A pebble road on the far side of town led to the spot where Africa ends. I pulled off and got out of the car (pp 29-30).

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I finish typing my last blog entry to find this tweet at the top of my Twitter list:

Life is a tapestry: We are the warp; angels, the weft; God, the weaver. Only the Weaver sees the whole design -Eileen Freeman

What is left for me to say?

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Welcome to Struisbaai
Struisbaai is a coastal village boasting the longest continuous stretch of white sand coastline in the Southern Hemisphere. Struisbaai, together with its neighbouring communities of Hotagterklip and Molshoop makes up a sizeable collection of holiday homes spread along the sandy shore north-east of Cape Aghulhas.
There is some debate as to the origin of the name Struisbaai. Some authorities believe that it means 'strawbay' and it earned this name by the fishermen's cottages that were originally built of straw. Others claim the name Struisbaai is derived from the Dutch vogelstruijs or 'ostrich'. The low shrub-covered terrain bordering the sandy coast is certainly ostrich country and you will still see a good number of these giant birds sharing the land with dairy cattle and Marino sheep. According to legend, Struisbaai is named for the size of its beach - an old Nederland word for "huge".
The fishermen's cottages at Hotagterklip (left rear stone) have been declared national monuments. They are often featured in the paintings of many South African artists. The unusual name of this little place comes from the days of the first wagon track, when a stone out crop imposed a sharp detour upon all travellers. Most of the old cottages were allowed to fall into ruin, until recently when the original cottages have been expertly restored.
A tarmac road continues along the coast beyond Struisbaai for 8 km and then ends at the village, holiday resort and lighthouse at the most southerly point of Africa …L' Aghulhas.
* I was last in Struisbaai exactly 3 years ago this month. I was travelling the Southern Cape coast for a travel article I was writing for a national leisure magazine. It was one of my first freelance travel journalism opportunities after leaving PR, advertising and my city life (and moving to Waterval Boven and plunging back into journalism). At the time the trip was a disaster. Only in retrospect was I able to see, and enjoy the inherent lessons. They were exceptionally painful and alienating at the time.

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Oceanic blue

A friend - another Charles - that I've never physically met (we 'met' on the 'Net about over two years ago), keeps in pretty good communication with me via text messages. Through him, with him, I travel to places just on the edge of my radar screen. Places that fill me with longing, and contentment. Like the Southern Cape Coast, and in stark contrast, the Klein Karoo. Both of which I never tire of returning to.
He is, right now, down at Struisbaai on the Southern Cape coast. This was his text message to me at just after 6am this morning:

"Last night was lovely,with constant laughter with my friend Jay. We're going to look for bones and shells. And there is this place, just outside Struisbaai, with the most majestic magnificent white sand dunes. I love early mornings here. I'm still lying in bed, feeling Pantoufle's kittens move inside her stomach. Oh my wow. Have a blessed day¤"

Pantoufle is Charles' very pregnant cat. He's adamant to be with her when she gives birth.
I have a longing to be drawing upon the mighty Ocean's energy, also to imbibe deep breaths of salt-laden fresh air, to gulp in the wind, to feel sea sand massage and even the skin of my feet.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Sweet wisdom. Again.

Don't be afraid to take big steps. You can't cross a chasm in two small steps.

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On the road out of Johannesburg, which is looking pretty bleak after the dry winter. Like the city, I'm parched and longing for the first summer rains and for my eyes to have the chance to look out on greenness.
I could not but smile at this broken open soccer ball in Marlboro drive... While many are reminiscing over the world cup that's gone, I'm so glad it's over. But I'm shocked at what has rocked SA since...
I've been away from home for over a week now; got my new vision today, and looking forward to home. And the cats.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010


I love nothing more than coming around a corner and having my breath taken away by an unexpected view. Like this one from the Sandton Sun in Johannesburg.

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Bomb the barbaric lot already (The "moral clarity to act"?)

Ivo Vegter’s latest column for The Daily Maverick is attracting a lot of controversy. While I absolutely agree with him that the time for sitting back and sipping on a tea cup of complacency is well over, bombing Iran is going a bit far. But I’m not quite sure it means it that way...literally that is.
He writes:
When a recognised government stoops to medieval barbarity, the civilised world should have the moral clarity to act. Iran has ordered a woman to be whipped, 99 times, on mere suspicion of "spreading corruption and indecency" by not wearing a headscarf. Clear enough?
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani may well face death by stoning for the crime of adultery, as soon as Ramadaan is over. However, while the sentence is reportedly under review, the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced her to an additional punishment of 99 lashes, because it believes a picture in a British newspaper shows her without her prescribed headgear.
I could hold up photos of the bloodied and bruised victims of such extreme forms of punishment. I could quote harrowing descriptions of the pain and suffering flogging entails. I could show videos of screaming girls, beaten by bearded men who claim to be religious leaders and moral guardians of society. You really don't want to see them, and I really don't want to. They make me sick.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Sunday afternoon. Eating home baked lemon meringue while reading on the bed. The sun is shining on my legs and feet.

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Early evening

My early evening is so far way better than my late afternoon was. My melancholic mood has lifted a tad. It's warmer than I expected, there's not even a faint breeze, nor hardly a sound.
I sat outside grilling fillets, then smothered them in pepper sauce.
Now we're on our way to an 8pm show of Mao's Last Dancer in Rosebank. It's a perfect spring evening in Johannesburg.
I'm looking forward to a tall box of popcorn.

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Late afternoon

It's late afternoon. Although a bright spring afternoon, I'm sad. As though I have nothing to look forward to. Even though we're going to movies later. My life's great, but feels bereft of excitement. We'd need to discuss my definition of excitement of course...
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I'm reading the book with unease. Its not just that the author's uneasy, because of embarking upon a journey as his father faces a battle against cancer, but because I'm intimidated. By so many words. Because I cannot but myself in his shoes. What an enormous task. I'm intimidated. By the challenge of writing, to completion, a book. The thought is insecure making. It's something that every insecurity shies away from. Then, but with not much ease, I'm reminded that like any journey of a 1000 miles, it's undertaken one step, one word at a time.
I'm lying on the bed shirt less.
The afternoon shadows are lengthening.
I'm restless.
By the end of 2010 I want to walk the Camino dos Santiago.
I'm going to go to gym now, despite huge resistance. I'm honing my self discipline. For the last week I've also chosen not to take alcohol. That's important for me. Also difficult.
Also, as usual, I think too much, I'm too self analytical. Dangerously so.

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Sunny Saturday afternoon

Yesterday I perved* a copy of travel writer Justin Fox's just-published The Marginal Safari (Scouting the Edge of South Africa). I turned the book over once, twice, then put it down.
Today, over coffee and cake, I perved it again, bought it.
This beautiful and sunny Saturday afternoon I'm thinking there's nothing nicer than to begin reading, and thus the journey with Justin... then, eventually, to doze off.
* 'perved', I suppose, is slang for 'lusted'. (Googled it, ha-ha, and it turns out it's Australian slang and means to give a person an erotic look.)

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Dullstroom Dam