Monday, February 28, 2011


There's something about trying to keep on your bicycle as you wind home through the village from a dinner soaked in good wine. I'm sure it happens all of the time, all over the world. En route home I was still able to dive into the milky way and breathe in deeply the fresh, grass-and-herb scented escarpment air.
I'm happy to live where I do, also knowing it's not everyone's cup of tea.

The unlived life

Back home from the city, with the March newspaper printed (so old fashioned), I'm sitting at the back of the house having a strong cup of coffee, watching the sun set.
I'm facing incredible resistance at the start of my new (personal) chapter; when I'm about to to take a quantum leap out of the crab bucket I meet, as always, my own worst enemy: me.
Steven Pressfield, in his The War of Art, one of my favourites books of all time (and a more or less constant companion since 2004) simply introduces the resistance concept in a short chapter titled The Unlived Life:
"Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance."
The phone rings. It's 'French' Alex who lives in the main road: "Wine isss served," she says. "I'm on my way," I say.
Now to pump my bike's tyres, as the sun sets behind the mountain.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


So I made the first right choice of today, which was to drag myself to gym. Just being here and berating in the air of exercise has made me feel better. Despite a melancholic 'autumn's approaching' feeling clutching at my gut...
The next good choice was to order bowl of steaming power oats and a power smoothie. It beat the McDonalds breakfast I could have turned off for just up the road.


Yesterday I was at uni; progress on the last part of my MA is positive, I'm pleased.
This morning I'm still in bed, but I know that, right now, the choice is mine - am I going to plant nettles or corn today? What will be the legacy of my actions this quiet Saturday, which hints of autumn? The choice is mine, in me lies the power.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New world

A writer builds a new world with words: A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words.
- Orhan Pamuk

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Joburg: After putting the paper to bed last night I filled up the cat's bowls, topped up their water, switched on the relevant outside lights, then drive to Joburg. The paper should've printed this afternoon, but today's hassles were contrary to my philosophy of refusing to swim against the tide. There's something particularly liberating about the moment you shrug your shoulders, press the clutch in and take your day out of gear.
I'm no longer the rat in the race.
It's a decision I have to remind myself, on a smaller scale, to take every day. A lot smaller scale than when four years ago, around about this time, when I resigned my lucrative ad world/pr/tv-related job from hell.
And, on that same day, chucked a going-nowhere-fast relationship, then put my brothel-converted-to-funky-monkey-loft apartment on the market, and hightailed it to the countryside.
But tonight I'm enjoying the city. I've just twittered and tweeted my way through an epic Highveld thunderstorm, and now I'm staring at the ceiling listening to the numbing, endless CLICK of a short circuiting electric fence.
And being less than lured by the things that go bump in the night in the city; there's everything on offer here. Everything.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday nite

In the city for my studies, my eyes are so tired I can't stop blinking, I keep scrunching them up, which isn't nice.
It's dusk, which in the south is coming earlier and earlier every night.
There's a great Friday early-evening vibe rising up from the very pavements.
We're on our way to dinner, then movies: The girl who kicked the hornet's nest.
Happy Friday, whatever you're doing...

Full moon rising 4

Full moon rising 3

Full moon rising 2

Full moon rising 1

Last night's full moon rising took my breath away, and again graciously reminded me of my insignificance.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Green tea

The dusk has enfolded me in it's arms as I've sat outside drinking a bowl of green tea and watched - in thanksgiving and awe - as another day ends. Today I've grappled, not altogether successfully, with the mystery of life, of my life. Right now it feels that I serve no purpose, that my contribution is naught. Nevertheless I'm committed to striving towards becoming a better person, and to somewhere along the line making a difference...even if it's just by one smile at a time, if that's all that I'm able to muster right then.
I look up to the evening star just above the horizon and I'm reminded not to give up. This life thing is not easy, and sometimes I feel very alone. But only sometimes.
My lesson, again, is that freedom's in writing; so don't ever stop writing.


This view from my back porch is one of the reasons I bought this particular house. Also for the peace and quiet that comes with it. I have owned this home for exactly four years at the beginning of February. It's my home and has brought me great peace and joy. Also from this garden came my two cats, just when I needed the company. I am also very fortunate to have a welcome, home space - filled with love - in the West too, three hours away in Johannesburg. It's good for balance, also for grounding, and it wraps all of it's arms around me when I suffer, here, from cabin fever. I'm also eternally grateful to the space, and love, my mother provides me with in London. She has made her home there for the past seventeen years.


This is the homemade table under the porch, at the back of the house, where I spent most of today. My home is on the very southern edge of town, sitting here I'm safe from view and live privately.


It's been a scorcher of a day, I've not liked it! But the sun is about to set behind the mountain at the back of the house, so it's getting cooler. I've got two sprinklers on because the garden is parched. Like me.
My two cats have kept me company the whole day, so I've just rewarded them with a huge tinned pilchard, which they love.
The temperature has dropped with the sun's exit backstage, nevertheless I'm still sitting outside bare chested.
To the west there's  a large bank of ominous looking cloud, I pray it's coming this way.

Friday, February 11, 2011


My favorite weekday morning, Friday. I'm on way home to 2
Waterval Boven after a week in Johannesburg. Half way is cappuccino time at the Middelburg Shell Ultra City, and damn good it was. It's a magnificent morning, not a cloud in the cobalt sky, and just a hint of the perfect autumnal days still to come. Happy Friday...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Namibia's seal hunt gets more exposure

By Dorine Reinstein
Despite attempts of the Namibian government to keep its annual seal hunt as secret as possible, social media such as Facebook and Twitter are spreading the news quickly. The increasing number of people aware of the seal hunt may seriously start to impact on tourism. Various organisations have already called for a boycott of tourism to Namibia.
Up to this date, the seal hunt hasn’t had a big influence on tourism according to Cardboard Box Travel Shop in Namibia. A tour operator at the Travel Shop said: “Wildlife is heavily utilised in Namibia and it does not seem to affect tourism.”
The Namibian seal hunt, held every year from July to November, is the world’s second largest commercial seal hunt and the only one in the southern hemisphere. Last year, the Namibian government gave hunters a quota of about 85 000 pups and 6 000 bulls to be clubbed to death.
In August last year, the EU implemented a ban on all commercially hunted seal products. With the ban, a total of 30 countries announced they would refuse to allow the sale of seal products. Europe strongly spoke out against the seal hunt in Namibia, slating the practice as cruel and wasteful. In the 1970s the US had already deemed the way of clubbing seals in Namibia inhumane and cruel.
The ban doesn’t hold much weight however, according to Francois Hugo, Spokesperson for Seal Alert. The sealskin industry is not extremely popular and one sealskin will sell for about $2 (R14). Last year, one Australian buyer of cape fur sealskins, Hatem Yavuz, proposed to buy up all the sealskins from Namibia for $7 (R50) each, thus creating a monopoly over the market. Thanks to Hatem Yavuz, the Namibian sealskin industry is earning the government $14m (R101m). This has prompted Seal Alert to gather money to buy Yavuz out and pay the government $14m (R101m) in order to prevent the slaughter.
The Namibian government is refusing to divulge any information on the seal hunt. Tourism Update tried to reach the government for comment on several occasions, but none of the spokespeople were available. In 2009, the government even banned all newspapers from covering the seal hunt. Frans Tsheehama, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, was quoted in a Namibian newspaper as saying:  "Under no circumstances will film activities take place during the harvesting of seals. If the government decides for the coverage by the media, such a project will be awarded to state media institutions of which terms and conditions will be drafted and agreed upon in writing". This statement followed the arrest of two journalists who clandestinely taped the seal hunt.
On the few occasions the government agreed to talk to the press, they claimed seals were consuming 900 000 tons of fish a year, more than a third of the fishing industry's catch. With the seal hunt, they say to be protecting the fishing industry.
Furthermore, the government wants to protect the150 jobs created by the seal hunt.
Hugo however claims clubbing baby seals will not positively impact on the fish production. He says the Namibian government doesn’t seem to understand that by clubbing baby seals, they are obtaining the reverse effect and are increasing the seal population. He explains that when monitoring offshore seals, Seal Alert found that the seal population isn’t growing. Offshore, the seals reproduce every third year only. When researching seal population on land, where the clubbing takes place, one notices the seals reproduce once a year. When one removes a pup from its mother, she will immediately start producing more pups.
Hugo explains the government capitalises on the seals at Cape Cross, where the seals are one of the biggest tourism attractions and yield about NAD6.3m (R6.3m). A sign at the entrance to Cape Cross states: ‘Please help us protect the seals’. Tourists are also assured that the NAD90 (R90) they pay to get access to Cape Cross is used for conservation. However, from July to November, before tourists enter Cape Cross to admire the seals at 09h00, seal clubbers enter the reserve around 06h00, round up the pups and beat them to death says Hugo. Before the seal colony opens to the public, the blood is quickly swept up he adds.
To watch a video on the seal clubbing, click here. Please be aware that this video does contain footage that may upset sensitive viewers.

By Dorine Reinstein, South African Tourism Update Online:  

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


There's magic that exists in getting up early with the sun in the morning. Your runs differently thereafter. You are in touch with creation. That memory remains with you throughout the day, no matter what might befall you.
Gulp in deeply air fresh with aromatic grasses and herb scents from the veld.
And then coffee of course...