5 Weeks ‘Into Africa’

“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across the these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up, near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen)

Karen Blixen Out of Africa“We paid £3 for a haircut in South Africa,” we told our flamboyant, full-of-opinions, Irish hairdresser in London some years ago.

[This, when he quoted Hubby £45 for a men’s short back and sides.]

“WELL! … I don’t exactly live in a frickin mud hut, do I?” he pointed out.

[He had a point.]

“So, are we cutting today or not?” he asked us, waving the scissors around. Continue reading 5 Weeks ‘Into Africa’

Cats ‘n dogs ‘n floods

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”

The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

“Good morning! Thank you. We are all settled in amidst the pouring rain.”

This is the email we received from our tenants on Sunday 21st April – Easter morning.

We have a couple from Johannesburg and their 3 small children, a granny and two aunties renting our Morgan Bay home. They booked for 6 nights and are our first paying tenants.

Hubby and I were nervous-excited to get our first let. I’d put together a welcome pack filled with info about what to do and see in our idyllic South African seaside village. It promised to be a wonderful holiday!

Little did we (or they) knowContinue reading Cats ‘n dogs ‘n floods

Pigeons, Pantomime and Christmas vibes

“Good-bye,” said Michael to the Bird Woman. “Feed the Birds,” she replied, smiling. “Good-bye,” said Jane. “Tuppence a Bag!” said the Bird Woman and waved her hand.”

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

pantomimeI stood in the warmth of the church after the service sipping a hot tea in a paper cup. Outside a small boy, puffer-jacketed, gloved and woolly-hatted ran back and forth on the lawn chasing pigeons. They settled. He charged. They flew up into the chilled air and swirled around him for some seconds. Then they settled again on the other side of the lawn. He squealed and charged again. They took flight. He waved his pudgy coated arms around. They swirled. It was mesmerising, this game. Continue reading Pigeons, Pantomime and Christmas vibes

Profiling a villain

“I hadn’t been driving long when I felt what I thought was a bug fluttering around my left leg and ankle. I tried to brush it away, but it persisted. With my eyes on the road , I leaned down again to shoo it away, only to feel something much larger than an insect against my hand. Looking down, I saw the head and about 10 to 15 centimetres, of a snake. We had somehow picked up a passenger.”

‘The Biyamati Stowaway’ by Gordon Parratt, from ‘101 Kruger Tales’

Kruger National Park BaboonA shriek came from a nearby cottage. Then we heard the crash of crockery shattering on a stone floor. A man shouted and swore in German.

Within seconds a large male baboon bounded onto the lawn in front of our cottage. He looked back a few times towards the last shouts of the angry German, then settled down on the grass. Continue reading Profiling a villain

Lists and lists of lists

“If it was my business, I wouldn’t talk about it. It is very vulgar to talk about one’s business. Only people like stockbroker’s do that, and then merely at dinner parties.”

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

Steel trunk check-in luggageWhen my father-in-law was at the helm, he banned a few words and phrases in the office. We weren’t allowed to say ‘cool’, ‘see ya!’, ‘mate’, ‘gotten’ and ‘it’s on my list’.

I’m afraid I just cannot do without my lists. Continue reading Lists and lists of lists

Practicing reinvention

“One thing I’ve learned in my brief career: It’s the side projects that really take off. By side projects I mean the stuff that you thought was just messing around. Stuff that’s just play. That’s actually the good stuff. That’s when the magic happens.”

Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon 

Floor plans My English ancestors sailed on the HMS Weymouth from Portsmouth to Algoa Bay in 1820. They were from Burton-in-Kendal, Evlestoke and Guildford. An out of work labourer, a weaver, a wife. It took them 6 months to get there. Their hope: to reinvent themselves in a new country.

Many births, deaths and marriages later, I turned up.

I had a privileged, colonial upbringing. Good schools. Good manners. Good books. My English accent was corrected by my maternal grandmother. Summers were spent at the sea, winters in the game reserve.

Mother England I’m sure, was proud of her colonial child.

Ah, the colonial life (you might say) … wide open spaces, sun, land and opportunity!

True. But. Continue reading Practicing reinvention

May

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Dad and daughter
L-R: My Dutch granny, Dad, little me, Mamma circa 1974.

On 1 May 2018 it was cold and raining in London, but in Morgan Bay the sun shone as my Mamma and Little Sis walked the 4km length of white beach in remembrance of my dear Dad. It’s been one whole year without him and we have all felt the loss in different ways.

For my part, I’ve learnt that some of my grief is wrapped up in guilt. Continue reading May