A RE-POST FROM JULY 2017: SLOW BLOGGING


*JAP:  SLOW BLOGGING

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Today I discovered a new literary blog  on WordPress – dolcebellezza  thanks to the industrious blogger on bookertalk.wordpress.com  who is a marvellous source of info on literary topics.  Anyway, when I was reading the About  section on dolcebellezza,  she made an interesting remark on the topic of Slow Blogging, saying that having reached her 10th Blogging Anniversary (I’m impressed) she’s come to realise the  satisfaction of Slow Blogging. The capitalisation is mine, not hers. In essence it’s about  no longer being driven, or feeling you have to blog daily – or weekly – or instantly – whatever crazy targets you have set for yourself. Instead you blog whenever you have the inclination  and take time to enjoy the process. Kind of like the  Slow Food movement  I suppose? Things that take a long time to cook, whether prose or pumpkin, generally taste much nicer when you get to savour that deep flavour.

Theoretically I have a target of one blog per week, for each of my two blogs * but it doesn’t always turn out that way. Does it matter? Hell no. I blog because I enjoy it, so  less of the whip and treadmill technique can only be good news.

*(Just a Paragraph:  when I’m short of time and/or inspiration, I keep my blog ticking over with ‘just a paragraph’: random thoughts, reflections, comments, ideas … little snippets)

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JOLLY HOLLY TO ALL


 

 

IMG_20191111_090310_resized_20191111_053834643 (002)I was hunting in my desk for my address book, because I need to send out three Christmas cards – yes, readers, those antique objects : Christmas cards. Remember them? The glitter? The snowy scenes, the holly, the robins. All wildly inappropriate seeing my Christmases are hot, sunny and dry, but never mind, tradition is tradition!
Inside my address book I found old lists dating back to 2004, listing the names of people who annually received cards from me in December. Some of the names mean nothing to me now, pen friends of yore I suspect; some folk have died, others have moved out of my life. Every year I receive fewer and fewer cards but I stick them up and enjoy the green and red cheer.

 
Many cards only arrive at the end of January and sometimes February or March, due to the vagaries of our postal service. So I tuck them away for the year ahead and enjoy them a year later. And why not? In these difficult times, we need all the good cheer we can get! Don’t you agree?

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FRIDAY FLOWER


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Inspired by the Monday in a Vase posts from DigwithDoris https://digwithdorris.wordpress.com/ and Cathy at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/
I offer this pic of Isidingo, in full bloom, given to me on Tuesday as two neat buds but now open and sweetly perfumed. Nothing like roses – one of my favourite flowers.
Wishing us all a Fabulous Friday.

P.S. Isidingo, by the way, is the title of a much loved and long running South African TV soapie.

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RENAMING WEEKDAYS


 

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The slogan ought to read: Take this OFF your calendar!!

I wrote this piece last year after the Friday Frenzy, and kept it, to publish prior to the next awful retail event. It’s a lighthearted piece about consumerism, greed, shopping – but, seriously, I think we need to change our approach to consumerism, it ain’t helping our poor battered planet. I, for one, will not be buying one damn thing on 29 November 2019, Black Friday and encourage the rest of you to do likewise.
Okay, so we’ve had the frenzy of BLACK FRIDAY, followed by CYBER MONDAY and finally (very welcome) GIVE IT BACK TUESDAY. All of which are driven by retail sales marketing and rampant consumerism. How about: CELEBRATION SATURDAY followed by SLOPPY SUNDAY? Monday, of course, offers limitless possibilities. The first option springing to my mind is: MOPEY MONDAY. Wednesday is HUMP DAY – because it’s in the middle of the week , and not the other meaning! Get your mind above your waistband, for goodness sake! Visualise camels. There. That should calm you down.

 
Which brings us to Thursday. Hmm. THUPER THURSDAY ? I can lisp if I want to! It’s my blog. Maybe you have other suggestions? Feel free to make them in the comments section. And: I’m not even offering a prize for the most inventive. You’ll just have to make do with the glory.

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OCTOBER 2019 CAPE TOWN ROUND-UP


 

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NATIONALLY
The spotlight is on Rugby Fever, of course. The 2019 World Cup taking place in Japan. I’m that rare creature – I’m not a sports fan. In a nation of sports fanatics I’m the odd woman out. I keep a low profile. I don’t want to be lynched! Because SA has made it into the finals, Rugby Fever is rampant. Good luck to the Bokke! See: even I know what to shout at the appropriate time!

 

LOCALLY
ON 1ST October the Army arrived in Dunoon, a crowded low-income area about 6 kms away from where I live. It’s a transport hub, both for the mini-bus taxis and the MyCiti busses. The Army arrived to restore law and order, because the taxi drivers (notorious for behaving exactly as they please, ignoring traffic laws blatantly) rioted when the local Traffic Police conducted a blitz against unlicenced and unroadworthy vehicles, and outstanding traffic fines. The taxi industry was outraged that they were “not consulted first” – oh please! The law applies to them just as it does to us, the law abiding motorists. Tyre burning, trashing of MyCiti passenger bus stations, road closures, violence, a taxi strike : it was chaos . Roads in and out of this area, including the major N7 highway, had to be closed due to protests.

 

Can you believe that between April 2018 and March 2019 4 000 murders – yes, that’s right, this is not a typo – were committed in the Western Cape? The figure is beyond staggering. We are in a crisis in this country.

 

To finish off the month, see below. https://www.capetownetc.com/news/snowfall-surprise on October 28th : Snow-forecast.com, the snowfall reached 4cm around the area of the Matroosberg Nature Reserve. Not in my area, but in our  Province.

 

PERSONALLY
We’ve had unexpected late Winter rains. 40mm last Friday, and another 40mm over the weekend – rain, glorious rain. After the 2018 drought, I will never complain about rain again. Every drop is a blessing. My garden is sodden. Venerable oldster friends are saying things like: proper winter rain! This is how it always used to be , 30 or 40 years ago , days of heavy rain. Unfortunately the rain has encouraged the snails to come out of their hidey-holes. They mowed down my lovely strong bean seedlings that were doing so well. I could just scream! But I sighed and planted more seeds. Fingers crossed. So it’s the Dawn Snail Patrol for me. They come out to feed in the early hours. They will regret it. My Snail Jail awaits!

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SEPTEMBER 2019 CAPE TOWN ROUND UP


 

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LOCAL
Early in September The World Economic Forum Africa met at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTIC). Whether anything useful was accomplished is debatable. There was high level security around the CTIC, because during the same period there were protests and demonstrations in the CBD about violence against women. Heaven forbid a visiting head of state, or talking head pundit be injured during a visit to the international -hot air talk show. Pardon my cynicism, but all we ever seem to have is talks, investigations, enquiries, committees, but little seems to be done as a result.

 
Our city has a large, modern Convention Centre in the downtown CBD; it hosts a variety of events, changing every week. I’ve attended Book Expos, Décor Expo, Art Shows and once – as an experiment – a Gaming Expo. See my post Granny goes Gaming on this blog: https://wordpress.com/post/despatchesfromtimbuktu.wordpress.com/1927

 

 

Heritage Day – 24 September – is it wrong that the popular title for this PubHol is “Braai Day” ? All South Africans love to braai, don’t they? Radio host Afrika Melane was jumping up and down (in SA someone is always jumping up and down about something) about the focus on braais instead of our National Heritage. In such a multi-cultural nation such as ours, which is still riven by old racial and political turmoil, what is our National Heritage? Do we even have such thing? Perhaps Braai Day is a much safer idea. What do you think?

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Notwithstanding the debate, on Heritage Day at my local Parklands SPAR store, all the female staff were decked out in traditional Xhosa dress, the headwraps, colourful skirts and tops, and white patterns painted on the faces. They looked terrific!

The Junior Royals, Harry, Megan and baby Archie visit Cape Town this month. Mercifully the visit went off well, without incident, The Sussexes focused on UK charity NGO organisations, and made a carefully curated visit to the colourful Bo-Kaap Malay area in the CBD. Here’s the link to the 12 best pix:
https://www.iol.co.za/entertainment/royals/12-best-pics-from-day-2-of-prince-harry-and-meghans-visit-to-cape-town-33513715

 

There have been Protests, tyre burning, stone throwing and road blockades in my general area – about 6kms from my house. The result is major traffic snarl up as people take alternative routes to avoid the hotspots. The Community is protesting but I’m not quite sure why; it’s usually about housing shortages and lack of jobs. The sad thing is these protest events usually end in violence and little seems to be accomplished.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS
The Open Book Festival is an annual event, every September, organized by local Indie bookstore, the Book Lounge. This year the Book Lounge invited submissions from Capetonians   to the Writing my City Project, and launched an anthology of the best writing to coincide with the Festival in September. During the winter, I ran four workshops at the Milnerton and Edgemead Libraries, to assist writers prepare their entries for submission, so it was a thrill to visit the Festival, and buy the newly published anthology and recognize names in the book.

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But the highlight of my month was meeting a Postcrossing member in the flesh, as opposed to the usual  brief message on a postcard. This is the first time I’ve met another member, local or foreign; other than locals I’ve recruited to join the club. Nels lives in Santa Monica USA, and came out with his Cactus Club’s Flower Tour of Namaqualand, ending his visit in Cape Town at a local Blouberg guest house. We managed to squeeze in a morning visit – such a lot to talk about : life in our respective countries, his flower tour; our respective writing careers; our membership of Postcrossing.com and a great deal more besides! Viva Postcrossing!

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AUGUST 2019 CAPE TOWN ROUND-UP


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I’m taking a break from the usual catalogue of Cape Town events this month, partly because I left Cape Town for ten days on a family visit to another province, followed directly thereafter by a houseguest for nearly a week. But a few paragraphs about the better August events follow.

LOCAL
My local highlight was a visit to the Postberg Flower Reserve, in the West Coast National Park, to see early Spring flowers. Because we went in early August, the flowers were not up to 100% Flower Power, but there were sufficient to make our visit worthwhile. We managed to hit a clear day, when the sky was blue, the sun shone, and there was no wind. It was idyllic. The traffic was minimal, so we could drive slowly admiring vistas of flowers, sea and sky.

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The variety of wild flowers is dazzling. At one point we stood still, looked down at our feet, and counted the number of different flowers we could see directly around our feet, perhaps to a radius of 1.5/ 2 metres. We spotted ten, ranging from bright yellow star shaped flowers, tiny lemon yellow flowers, succulent bushes with teeny white knobby flower heads, white orchid like flowers on faux asparagus stems , plus others which I now don’t recall. Some of the wildflowers grow at ground level and require hands and knees grovelling or very keen eyesight; neither of which applied to us.
An added bonus were the animals we spotted en route: two pretty little Steenbok, a number of solemn bontebok, groups of Cape Mountain zebra, striped-back mice, and a massive tortoise, roughly the size of a rugby ball. And sighting of the endangered  black tail harriers hovering over the scrub on the exit road to the gate. On the lookout no doubt for a hapless mouse. In the bush, its eat or be eaten.

 
Wishing us all a peaceful and productive September.

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JULY 2019 CAPE TOWN ROUND UP


 

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Winter in Cape Town

 

NATIONAL
Much loved musician Johnny Clegg dies. The man who bridged the national cultural gap by making Zulu music his own. The French gave him the fitting soubriquet of Le Zoulou Blanc. The entire nation mourned his passing. Hamba Kahle, Johnny.
http://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/355022/may-we-repeat-asimbonan

 

Former President Jacob Zuma finally attends the Zondo Commission of Enquiry into State Capture. Why he bothered I don’t know, because he displayed wall-to-wall amnesia about everything.

 

What a mensch! Not strictly a Cape Town story, but I did hear it on Cape Talk Radio Station. It’s such a good news story, I have to share it. A recently qualified medical doctor, Dr Paolo de Valdoleiros , living in Bloemfontein, has taken the radical step of telling patients they should pay what they can afford for a consultation. Now that’s a real doctor, in my book! He says he’s not interested in the luxe lifestyle, expressing disinterest in acquiring a Merc – how very refreshing.
The background to his story is even more astonishing: at the age of 46, paraphrasing his words : I woke up one morning and decided: that’s it – I’m going to be a doctor. Inspired by a lifesaving stint as a patient in hospital in Beira, Mozambique, when he was ten years old,  suffering from hepatitis. His recovery made him realise, at this early age, he wanted to help people. However, it wasn’t until he reached middle age, when he changed career path and he succeeded. What a story.

LOCALLY
At last, at long last, after literally years of formal requests, the Army is deployed to assist the SA Police in the gang-ravaged areas of the Cape Flats. The difference thus far is minimal, from what I’m hearing. Last weekend only – note only – six murders on the Cape Flats. Clearly better than the double figures reported after every weekend, week after week. The mind just reels.

 
Winter rains continue falling, to the relief of those watching our dam levels, now around 70% capacity. Counterbalanced by the annual misery of flooding amongst shack dwellers living in low lying areas, plus yet another fire in Masi in Hout Bay. Imagine being homeless in the pouring rain ….

 

PERSONALLY
I’ve had some lovely beach walks, read a pile of books, drunk plenty cocoa. My garden has provided the annual smorgasbord of tasty shrubs to hordes of hungry black and orange furry caterpillars busily munching their way towards their cocoons, and ultimately glorious wings. Meanwhile, they’re hairy, ugly, prickly and to be avoided. Much like South Africa. I wish our country could quickly pass through this painful, difficult period of clearing out the mess and corruption, and move on to butterfly status.

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NOSTALGIA AT DUNN’S CASTLE


Another February travel piece belatedly staggers into print  …
If  live in the Western Cape and  have ever wondered where our bread comes from, wonder no more, because we drove through huge areas planted with wheat, rolling wheatfields as far as the eye could see, in the Swartland area.

Helen and I drove around this area in February, exploring small towns en route, notably Piketberg and Porterville. I think my favourite discovery in Piketberg was a small garage on the outskirts of the town, named Voortrekker Garage.

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The faded wall picture of a 1930s type car, said it all. There was no plate glass, no fancy cars parked outside, this was strictly about fixing broken down cars. I found the name amusing, because the doughty Voortrekkers owned no cars, their was an era of ox wagons, a pre-car agricultural age.

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The other Piketberg building that I loved, because of its colour, was the old Synagogue painted a pretty baby pink colour. I loved the pink colour contrasted with the bright blue sky above the hilltops. As my bad photo shows, synagogue on the left.  In actuality the pink colour is more pronounced than in  my photo, despite my efforts to tinker with it.  Now the building serves as a Museum, but in its heyday it served the immigrant European  Jewish farming population.

Our overnight stop was at Dunn’s Castle . If you follow the link you’ll find a splendid night-shot of the imposing frontage. https://www.kwathabeng.co.za/go/dunnscastle.html
What the website doesn’t show you is the narrow, torturous road that wound up a very sizeable hill to the castle.

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We opted to stay inside the castle itself, and not in the modern conference block. As my pics show, it was a nostalgia trip of note. Both of us kept saying: look at this! And pointing to an antique sewing machine, or a 1950s style radiogram – most Rhodesian homes had a radiogram, in the late ‘50s.

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My vast bedroom‘s bow-fronted window looked out onto the rolling hills and wheatfields.

 

IMG_20190214_073807.jpgThe wooden strip flooring creaked gently, and the prettily carved wooden wardrobe smelled deliciously of mothballs – of course it did.

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Best of all, hiding behind a wooden screen was a ball and claw enamel bathtub, and alongside was a lavatory with a de rigeur pull chain flush from the wall mounted cistern. What memories these evoked! Farm bathrooms and toilets, back in the early 1950/60s. All lavatories had wall mounted cisterns with a dangling chain, usually much too high for kids to reach, and in some cases, short adults, i.e. me.

We loved our trip back in time. The food and service at Dunns Castle : not so much. Lets leave it at that and focus on the nostalgia.

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OH, I DO LIKE TO BE BESIDES THE SEASIDE ¶♫♫


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Indeed I do, even if it’s a partly overcast, mid-winter  Sunday. Melkbos is  always  lovely whatever the  day or season.  Look at those clouds, the play of light on the water.

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The sun gleamed and vanished, but it made no difference to the walkers, the dog walkers and the Dads playing footie with their kids.

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Did I see dogs? Oh yeah – and of course, my cellphone camera was not to hand, so you‘ll have to take it on trust that I saw twin beagles, many Pavement Specials, a curly poodle, two extraordinarily well behaved Jack Russells, Labs both black and cream, three tiny Yorkies manically towing along an elderly lady who was forced to tilt herself backwards at an angle of 120 degrees to maintain stable forward progression, otherwise she’d be ploughing a furrow in the sand with her nose!

 

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The  mid-pic group wearing red are the junior trainee lifesavers, going through drills. You need your wet suit in these icy Atlantic waters!

The jet skis howled and whined offshore, above the sound of the incoming breakers. But the racket didn’t spoil my morning. And even though my little Yaris was boxed in by two behemoth 4x4sfrom which I extricated myself with difficulty on departure, even this did not dispel my seaside euphoria.

Oh! I do love to be beside the sea side!

 

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