Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf

Whenever I see the Slangkop lighthouse in Kommetjie, on the other side of the Cape peninsula, I'm reminded of my joy at reading Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse'.

For some perspective, and to escape the Table Mountain hunchback that's constantly slouching at my back no matter where I am in Cape Town, we drove to Kommetjie on Sunday, via Chapman's Peak.

For a down-to-earth pub lunch and beer at The Lighthouse Pub & Grill, which I find enormously relaxing and free of the pretentiousness and superficiality of the mother city.

There the long-haired and sunbleached children are barefoot in baggies, on bicycles or skateboards and longboards. And surfboards.

I've been on vacation since Friday and have five weeks of summer ahead.

I've not left my flat since Sunday evening; it's my second day naked and unhindered at my PC and behind the drawn cotton drapes that I sourced a year ago for R15 a metre at a favourite and olde worlde Indian fabric store in Upper Main Road, Woodstock. The drapes are shut against the encroaching summer and the south-easter that's tormenting Windsock (my term for the suburb I've chosen to live in).

I'm heading, with D, to my home in Waterval Boven; it'll be the third time that I've made it to my paradise this year: Can't wait! To sink my hands into the soul of the soil; to wake up to the wonderful screeching of steel-on-steel of the 3am train en route from the big smoke of Gauteng to Maputo on the eastern coast of Mozambique.

It will be time punctuated with intense thunderstorms, also lightning and torrents of rain. Looking forward to gulping in deeply the mountain air, also to the unpolluted night sky like black velvet sprinkled with carats of diamonds, gems; to braaing meat on the fire at the private back of the house while lifting my glass of wine to the setting sun, which goes down a helluva lot earlier than the one that sizzlingly sinks  into western horizon off Camps Bay.

Nights of quiet, the only sound being the nightjar, which haunts me in a way that I want to be haunted.

No WiFi, never TV, not even radio, only piles of books. Many of them gardening and nature related.

It'll be the first time in years that I won't be alone there.

I'm not afraid of Virginia Wolf, or of retreating to my lighthouse.

There will be a deep recharging of batteries.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Notebook scribbles in-between food-wine-conversation from two years' ago

14/11/02: H's flat (no. 8) in Tamboerskloof, Samantha Court it was, I think in Burnside Road.

Slept here again last night. This time it was awesome. Another sumptuous meal. Yup, another one.

Thinking of the poet Roy Campbell and the writers Laurens van der Post and William Plomer in their early days - about what writers they were destined to become. All three deeply influenced me. Also thinking of Richard Rive and other African writers and journalists of their time - I would like now to become my time. 

Also thinking of Kerouac and his Beat poet mate Alan Ginsberg and William Burroughs, whose writing and life stories I adore; have just started reading Douglas Brinkley's 'Jack Kerouac Windblown World (the journals of Jack Kerouac 1947 - 1954).'

And then, crazily, and whom I've not yet begun to properly read, my mind catapults to Charles Bukowski [days later I was to discover and buy his biography at the Globe bookstore in Prague; it held me riveted].

H, over his amazing meal last night, loaned me Haruki Murakami's 'After Dark.'

Have spent most of the weekend with H in the most unsexual sense, from my side at least: his rank breath (halitosis?), rough and cracked heels and ugly feet, the yellow-brown nicotine stains on his lower front teeth freak me out. That's while his gorgeous apartment and incredible style really do it for me - also his kindness, compassion, hospitality and generosity on countless levels. But just not sexually.

He hands me a copy of the visually minimalist and awesome travel and style magazine Cereal. I'm impressed... might be a bit of what my friend Mia is trying to pull off with her mag. I need to take my 'hat' off to her more than, perhaps, I have thus far.

All of this I've procrastinated  with instead of completing my empathy conference paper for Prague; my flight from Cape Town is at 17h00 on Wednesday. Yup, just less than 2.5 days to get my ass into gear. I have no idea what this is about, except to not beat myself up and to acknowledge that I'm severely under pressure and that I'm exhausted, burnt out, done, and that - despite everything - I have done the best that I can with the tools I have at my disposal - or so I like to think.

That I've gone through a small breakdown, and a break up. I also regret my half-hearted attempt at the teaching development programme I partook in as part of my lecturing contract. However, it's too late right now to ponder all of that.

Jardin Majorelle: A Special Shade of Blue in Cereal Vol. 7. in Rue Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakesh. I've been there, was inspired there. Many Decembers ago, while starring in a completely different life movie to this one. December 2006.