Brexit, Frexit, Grexit … and in true African time, Zexit!

“[South Africans] are on friendly terms with time, and the plan of beguiling or killing it does not come into their heads. In fact the more time you can give them, the happier they are, and if you commission a [South African] to hold your horse while you make a visit, you can see by his face that he hopes you will be a long, long time about it. He does not try to pass the time then, but sits down and lives.”

Out of Africa (with a bit of poetic licence) by Karen Blixen

Z-DayBreaking news this morning was that the ANC has officially decided to recall Jacob Zuma. Journalists are calling it Zexit (thanks David Cameron) and Z-Day (thanks WW2).

My poor South Africa, sunny and bright though she is, has been on a rollercoaster ride of drought and water shortages, Finance Minister hiring and firing, Gupta-leaks and Bell Pottinger-Gates, and the most politically volatile currency in the world. Are things finally looking up for SA? Continue reading Brexit, Frexit, Grexit … and in true African time, Zexit!

2018, tell me all your secrets

“If you can look into the seeds of time. And say which grain will grow and which will not; Speak, then, to me.”

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

“I believe we can rule out anything sinister,” said the radiologist. “Only … there is something rather unusual. You have right-sided hemiagenesis of the thyroid.”

I wiped the gel off my neck and sat up. I leaned in closer to the ultrasound screen. Continue reading 2018, tell me all your secrets

I would send you a bouquet of rain if I could

“Mna Ramotswe cleared her throat. ‘I’m hoping there’ll be some more rain soon,’ she said. ‘The cattle will like it.’ In Botswana, that was the most uncontroversial of comments. Nobody would disagree with any sentiment in favour of rain, nor could they express anything but sympathy for cattle. Cattle had no vote, nor words to express a view, but their feelings ranked above just about everything else in the country.”

The House of Unexpected Sisters (No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Book 17) by Alexander McCall Smith

I wonder if you’ve ever seen a ghost?

On Sunday Hubby flew to Estonia at 5am. BBC Radio 4 woke me 2hrs later. As Zebedee Soanes burbled about Brexit, I hauled myself out of bed. I padded across the room in the darkness. Suddenly, a movement caught my eye in the large mirror beside me.

I stopped walking. I stopped breathing. I forced my eyes to focus. Continue reading I would send you a bouquet of rain if I could

Building Castles in the Sky

Chutzpa, chutspa, chutzpadik – Pronounced KHOOTS-PAH; rattle that kh around with fervour; rhymes with ‘Foot spa’. Do not pronounce the ch as in ‘choo-choo’ or ‘Chippewa’, but as the German ch in Ach! or the Scottish in ‘loch’. Hebrew: ‘insolence’, ‘audacity’. Gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts’; presumption-plus-arrogance such as no other word, and no other language can do justice to.

The Joys of Yiddish By Leo Rosten

Seaside 'cottage' ideasOn Sunday morning I lead prayers at church. It had been an emotionally charged week in London. I dreaded standing in front of the congregation. Over 70 people had recently died in the Grenfell Tower fire not far from where I live, fires raged in Portugal and the news was still full of recent terror attacks.

I now dread my 7am wake-up with BBC Radio 4.

In May I’d readily volunteered to do prayers, but as my turn drew near, I wondered if I really had it in me. What would I say? How would I create the right balance between silence and words? Continue reading Building Castles in the Sky


“Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary that we all carry about with us.”

Says Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

Dr Zeuss

My father-in-law is writing his memoirs and I can’t wait to read them!

“How do you remember all the places and names and details?” I asked him.

“You’d be surprised what comes to mind when you start digging around in the past. You open a drawer, look through a photo album, talk to an old friend, read a letter…” he replied.

Now I know what he means. Continue reading Memories


“Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien 

Today we said goodbye to you.

You grew up on a farm,
Fashioned clay oxen with mud and thorns for horns,
Shot a catty,
‘Rescued’ baby birds, Continue reading Goodbyes

Our short interlude into the lives of 12 walkers

“It is always hard to see the purpose in wilderness wanderings until after they are over.”

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

wild coastBy popular demand, I give you our 12 fellow travellers on our South African #roadtrip:

‘Petrol Man’: outside Bloemfontein:
We took a country road towards the Lesotho mountains. TomTom was not pleased. Petrol Man explained that his car had run out of petrol. In parts of the Free State you get the feeling that you’re driving from the middle of nowhere to the middle of nowhere. So we drove on. Eventually we came to a juncture. There was’t even a tiny pin-prick of a suggestion of a village, but with nothing else to suggest we turned down the dust track. What materialised eventually was a twilight-zone-like-derelict-one-stop-hamlet consisting of a road, 6 dwellings, a couple of people and a petrol station! Continue reading Our short interlude into the lives of 12 walkers