Category Archives: DAILY LIFE IN CAPE TOWN

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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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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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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*JAP* SO WHO’S AN ACHING LITTLE GARDENER?


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Me, that’s who!
But the glow of satisfaction is warming my sore hands and aching lower back. Oh! The aged bod.
Mid-winter is the time to oil my secateurs and lay waste to the straggling fuschia, the lanky geraniums and the snail munched canary creeper. Snip, Snip, and off they come. Pausing constantly to yank out the indigenous foxglove which is the most persistent plant on the planet, so far as I’m concerned. I use it as ground cover, but somehow the plant didn’t get the message, because it has rooted itself into every pot and tub on my patio with gusto. I’ve seen pics of the rioting vegetation swarming over the deserted area area around Chernobyl in Russia, so if Koeberg ever blows its lid, a mere fifteen kays away from my house, I am quite confident that the good old foxglove will shake off the radiation in no time, and proceed to envelop everything within a ten kay radius. Plant power versus nuclear power. You’d better believe it.

*JAP* Just a Paragraph to keep my blog ticking over whilst I’m working on longer writing projects.

 

 

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*JAP* BEATING THE WINTER BLUES INSTALMENT 2


 

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Drag out those old LPs, dust them off, and crank up the turntable.

 

Here come the 50s, 60s, 70s . Those singalong tunes, the cheesy lyrics, the falsetto yodelling of Slim Whitman, the brassy trumpets and the salsa music. The heart broken cowboys lamenting lost loves, accompanied by mournful guitar twanging. You no longer own a turntable? Chucked out the old records? Not to worry. Just turn the radio dial to LM Radio, which is pumping out pretty much non-stop music of our youth. Reprising a few of the old dance steps will your blood flowing, and warm you up. Dancing not your thing? Then go & sit in the sun. Bask a little. Turn up the radio. Enjoy!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LM_Radio
http://www.radio-south-africa.co.za/lm-radio

*JAP = just a paragraph to keep my blog ticking over, whilst I’m busy with longer posts.

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JUNE 2019 CAPE TOWN ROUND UP


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Mid-year finds me depressed by crime and politics. Crime I’m going to skip over, relating the catalogue of recent mind-blowing events will not help or change anything, and a rehash will depress me even further.
Mid-month, to preserve my sanity, I turned off my trusty little red radio and limited local news to a 5 minute bulletin at breakfast time. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the tide of crime and politics, none of the news in these categories is good. I remembered the advice of American Dr Weil, way back in the early 1990s, who advocated a 6 week news fast, exercise, an anti-inflammatory diet, and his cherry on top was: buy flowers once a week for your home. Pretty good advice in my opinion. To which I would add: sit in the sun, whenever possible. It eases my arthritis if nothing else.

Seems I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed by the current global political climate, and ex-Saffer- now -Aussie Joanne Fedler’s recent post on the 100th Monkey story came timeously. Here’s the link: https://mailchi.mp/88b499636593/you-could-make-this-place-beautiful?e https://joannefedler.com/
On the political front, we had the Prez’ State of the Nation address/SONA , which evoked a torrent of ridicule, scorn and derision because the man had the temerity to dream a little, and speak of a bright future for South Africa, featuring a brand new mega-city (a la China) and a Bullet Train. Well – why not? What a refreshing change to think of the country in bright positive terms instead of wallowing in the dark muddy mire of the present.

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Cathy and the Trolley Dollies in Cape Town were the DA’s special guests for the 2019 Sona on 20 June 2019. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN
One SONA linked event cheered me enormously. Don’t ask me why, but the Democratic Alliance ( the official opposition) invited the Trolley Dollies to the SONA event. These people are female impersonators aka drag queens . SA pays due politically correct attitudes to all shades and variants of gender. Think SA athlete Caster Semenya. As you can see from the above  pic, the Trolley Dollies are a splendid trio.

Speaking of  women , Gerda Steyn, a South African runner, broke the record for the Up Run Race in the 94th Comrades Marathon that took place on 9th June 2019. For some years the Womens’ race at the annual Comrades was dominated by a pair of Russian twins, which always irked me.

Another Comrades’ story, of which I caught the tale end on the radio, about a domestic worker in Johannesburg, who regularly runs to work, from Soweto to Rivonia, a distance somewhere between 44 kms and 58 kms, saying “ I don’t run for the money – I run to be part of Comrades”. The human spirit can be extraordinary.
In similar vein, the following anecdote: you were casting about for some good news, Alison, why not mention that lovely story about that petrol attendant who paid the R100 for the girl who left her credit card at home? And when she put this good deed up on Facebook, everyone was so cheered up by his generosity that they have collected R495,000 for him – and still counting, nice . Thanks to my friend Ginny, for reminding me not all is doom and gloom.

So: ending on a lighter note. My friend Vanessa and I had a fabulous girly morning at the Charity Luxury Vintage fashion event, held at the Waterfront, in the Cruise Ship Passenger Terminal. I stood on the balcony, looking out over Table Bay, and dreamed of cruising for the rest of my life, as a permanent passenger on the QEII. I believe an elderly British lady did just that. Apparently it was economically viable option for her. I wish!
At the sale I drooled and oohed and aahed over Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuiton handbags; they’re one of my many weaknesses. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any more handbags, but as you can see from the pic below, who was I kidding? I salved my conscience with the thought that I was supporting a charity working for literacy and children’s reading. So I’m enjoying my handbags and polishing my halo.
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