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PEOPLE & PHOTOGRAPHY https://www.investeccapetownartfair.co.za/


Part of the fun of attending a big exhibition is the opportunity to people-watch. I’ve noticed that visitors  often wear extravagant, eye-catching outfits and jewellery to this event. Whether they’re wannabe Trendies, art critics, fashionistas, or plain old exhibitionists I have no idea. I doubt very much that they’re artists. The days of flamboyant artists – think Salvador Dali with his sharp suits, hats and waxed moustache, – are over. My artist friends usually adopt the casual/scruffy/work clothes style. They’re way too busy working in their studios to be messing around with fashion statements.

Some people are working, and having a chat during a  rare quiet moment.

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Others are also standing around, but stuck on the wall:

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I spotted Mondrian socks. I want some!

 

IMG_20200214_131023_resized_20200214_040544267 (2)Delightful Minnie Mouse bows:

 

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And stunning jewellery. Or is it wearable art?

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I don’t recall seeing any hats other than these ones on the wall:

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I was admiring the  pin-striped suited gent’s textured pink socks  when I realised  the painting on the opposite wall  offered a mirror image, with the   pensive woman in an almost identical, abstracted  posture.

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Next I saw this man, working on an exhibition stand – he presented an almost ecclesiastical  image,  don’t you agree?  I think it was the thin white rim of tee-shirt at his neck, together with is clothing, lanyards around the neck, monkish haircut, and clasped hands that reminded me of a cleric.

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Then I discovered this quirky series of pics, a sort of strange amalgam of botanical illustrations and old sepia portraits by  Alida Rodrigues “The Secret History of Plants.”

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I was blown away by  a wonderful black and white series of figures, executed by  Sungi Mlengeya.  The brilliant use of negative space was dazzling.

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Tucked away in a corner I spotted these this lovely little blue retro radio. I particularly liked the knitting needle antennae – or are they ears? I’ve been a radio fan all my life, so I was enchanted by this exhibit. I have a feeling the little radio’s name is probably Max.  Whatever it is, top marks for inanimate personality!
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The next photo is a marvelous study in movement by Manuel Braun Alexandria on Stage II.
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Lastly I loved this quiet photograph of an offering of two walnuts, it exuded generosity and dignity.

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WATCH THIS SPACE, I’M NOT DONE YET! MORE TO FOLLOW .It was a very big art exhibition  and I was clicking away merrily.

P.S.  If I haven’t mentioned the artists names in some of the pics above, its because I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a pic of the display card alongside the work; in some cases I  looked but couldn’t find the card.

 

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MY FAVOURITES at Investec 2020 https://www.investeccapetownartfair.co.za/


This year, the textured items and the very colourful items were top of my list.

When it comes to colour, who could resist this vibrant display put up by Kwa Zulu Natal artists. The juxtaposition of the hot curry reds, oranges and yellows offset by the contrasting tropical greens and sky blues, screamed DURBAN at me. For northern hemisphere readers, Durban has a huge Indian population and is renowned for being Curry Central!

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And how about this Marion Arnold wool tapestry, Untitled, 265 x 377 cm, Rich colours somewhat reminiscent of a Pierneef landscape .

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And I would be remiss if I didn’t include this stunning display of traditional artist EstherMahlangu’s traditional Ndebele art work. Would you believe she uses a chicken feather as a brush?  My pic is a poor one, because so many viewers were constantly blocking my shot, but it’s the best I managed to get. Take a moment to follow the link: what a fascinating story.

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I enjoyed the next  work : textile wrapped fighting sticks and spears – I don’t know the title or artist, but I enjoyed the colours and textures

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Then I found this bold orange and yellow and black work, which ticked the colours & textures boxes very neatly. It was executed in leather and, I think, fabric; I was so enchanted by the colours and shapes, I forgot to take a pic of the signage It had a sort of snakes-and-ladders feel to it.

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A charming crocheted gecko caught my eye. I don’t want it on a wall in my house, but I thought it was fun.

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Appearances can be very deceiving. I thought the next exhibit  was a woven fibre work, but not so. Paper beads, mounted on bark cloth. What a surprise! Usage of very Africa materials.
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I enjoyed this set of 8 pictures, executed by a woman from West Africa, using natural fibres and seeds to create the textured effects.

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Artists come up with the most innovative ideas. Here’s a work, executed on graph paper, in crossstitch. The shadowy images in the work caught my eye.

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I’ve saved the best until last. Just look at the texture in this work. It had a lush, rich texture, akin to velvet turned into shag carpeting. I was fascinated. When I drew closer to the work I was stunned to discover it was composed of … wait for it … “toothpicks in polyeurethane sealant in pine wood frames” by Chris Soal. Talk about appearances being deceptive!
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Watch this space: more pix in a day or two. We’re not done yet – it was a big exhibition!

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HELDERBERG NATURE RESERVE


Early in the New Year, Nina & I drove to Somerset West and enjoyed a stroll and a picnic in the Helderberg Nature Reserve. What a lovely day we had ! Refreshing green lawns, plenty of benches under shady trees.

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A stroll through shady woodland, efficiently equipped with yet another green bench, where we sat enjoying the play of sunlight on the foliage, and listened to the birds calling. Very soothing indeed.IMG_4593P (003)

 

The reserve also offers a pretty lake, covered in blue and white water lilies. We admired the scene, walking a short distance along the circular boardwalk. By now it was a hot afternoon, not ideal for long walks.

 

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After our picnic lunch, we ambled around and discovered an enormous tortoise stomping across the lawn, systematically grazing on what was obviously its favourite, a low growing weed or herb.

 
Excited little kids spotted the animal, and rushed up to tentatively pat its shell, but the tortie didn’t bat an eyelid, didn’t shoot back into its shell, just kept on grazing in a determined fashion, stomping forward on a clearly pre-determined route. Ultimately it reached a bed of agapanthus, lumbered into the plants and disappeared. I reckon it’s a permanent resident, and the agapanthus bed was home base.

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That wasn’t the end of the wildlife. The next piece of excitement was the arrival of a red duiker that emerged from the long grass around the hiking trail, and streaked across the lawns at speed. I half expected to see a predator (there are leopards in the area) or at least a runaway dog in pursuit, but nothing else burst into view before our surprised eyes. Enough excitement for one afternoon.

 

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After a quick caffeine refuel stop in the reserve’s quaint little restaurant, we navigated cautiously through the maze of suburban streets until we stumbled upon the highway exit. One advantage of this slow exit was that I had plenty of time to admire the brilliant cerise bougainvillea tumbling over garden walls, in between  glimpses of deep blue plumbago bushes and luxuriant gardens. The soil in Somerset West must be excellent, because we passed magnificent gardens. The main road to the town is lined with white, pink and red oleander bushes, all blooming profusely, despite the hot, windy summer weather.
As we left the area, we were treated to the spectacle of waterfalls of white clouds cascading down the distant blue mountain ranges. Nina’s dramatic picture captures the unusual sight. Usually clouds fall over the top of Table Mountain in a solid white drape, hence their nickname “the tablecloth” so the waterfall effect was very different.IMG_4641s (002)

All in all: a wonderful outing!

NB: pics courtesy of Nina Ganci, except for bench pic.

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NEW YEAR EXPERIMENT #1


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One of my sort-of-rezzes that are not actually resolutions, you understand, just vague plans, misty promises, wavering pledges, is to tackle unfinished projects and finish them. I’m a brilliant starter, filled with energy, enthusiasm and vuma*, but as a finisher – not in the same league. We won’t even mention the outstanding 30+ year tapestry hanging in my cupboard, about half done. In my defense, it’s a very long tapestry. But I’m rambling.

 

So I haul out the brand new waffle iron, that’s been languishing at the back of a kitchen cupboard for over a year. I adore waffles, and the waffle irons were on sale. Fantastic price. What more can I say?

 

I dusted off the gleaming red appliance, dug up a recipe and looked forward to waffles for supper.

 

The results, I have to say, were not good. The iron works well on the one side, but unevenly on the other. Sort of toasty brown on the right, and patchily brown on the left. The texture, I am sorry to report, was akin to a soggy doormat … nowhere near to the light, airy, crisp golden waffles I was hoping for.

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Clearly I need a lot more practice. And possibly another recipe. Any offers?

  • vuma – energy, get up & go

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MOTHER YOGESH’s APOLOGY TO TECHNOLOGY


This year I officially made no new year rezzes but I did have a few half-formed promises lurking in my mind. Promises to myself, you understand. One of them was to spend less time on social media, and more time meeting more friends face to face.
With this in mind, this morning I came across the following apposite poem written by the most delightful, saintly old yogi it has ever been my privilege to meet :
With Apology to Technology
It seems to be the modern trend
That with one’s family or friend
Communicating heart to heart
Has been completely split apart
As iPhones take away the space
Of relating face to face.

Fascinating they may be
But do they recognize or see
The truth revealed within the eyes,
Anxiety, or stifled cries?

When the heart is tightly sealed
There’s no chance of being healed.
Technology and technicality
Should not remove us from reality.

 

Mother Yogesh has a talent for writing verse, and her latest collection – see cover below – if full of charming little verses, some devotional, others not, often sparkling with that quiet little nugget of humour. If you’re interested in learning more about Mother Yogesh, or getting hold of her collection of poems, the Ashram website is http://www.anandakutir.org.za. Emails to: info@anandakutir.org.za

 

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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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APRIL 2019 ROUND UP FROM CAPE TOWN


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Mountains en route to Ceres, Western Cape.  Prime leopard territory.

 

 

My Northern Hemisphere readers are enthusing about Spring, sunshine, and budding trees. But we’re doing the reverse, enjoying cooler Autumn days and showery weather – harbinger of our winter rains. Fingers crossed. My garden is still struggling to recover after our punitive drought.

 
Fortunately the weather smiled when our Two Oceans Marathon was staged on Easter Saturday. The race has been run annually on Easter Saturday in Cape Town since 1970. . Due to the mountainous terrain, it’s a tough race over a course of 56 km/35 miles; the field is limited to 13 000 runners. The Sowetan reported: There was double joy for SA in yesterday’s Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town, with three-time Comrades Marathon champion Bongumusa Mthembu winning the ultra leg of the men’s race and Gerda Steyn claiming honours in the women’s section.
April is the month prior to our five yearly National and Provincial Elections on 8th May. So we’re in for endless April Foolery, unconnected with the actual date of 1 April. The day itself turned out to be very low-key this year, in terms of public pranks. But not to worry, our political parties filled the vacuum with gusto. See details below of the Dagga (Cannabis) Party.

 
For openers: 33 political parties have registered to fight (probably going to be a very appropriate word) the elections. Local radio announcer, Pippa Hudson, gave us her criteria for selecting who to vote for:
• What is their track record?
• What is the quality of their leadership?
• What does their manifesto have to say?

Using these criteria to review the parties, via, gave me a headache, especially Point #2 : leadership quality.

 

However, I did crack a smile when I heard about a colourful Party entering the race : The Dagga Party. Apparently one of their major policy points is that hemp provides a viable alternative to fossil fuel. Yes: hemp seeds produce Biodiesel. News to me.  Clearly there’s more to hemp than I realised. Others thought so too, because the first Cannabis Expo took place at Cape Town ‘s Grand West venue in early April. It was punted as “– displaying medicinal, agricultural, construction and lifestyle etc. ” Unfortunately the entry tickets fell outside my budget, but hey! A sign of the times, no?

 

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Another happy event this month : popular blind singer, Andrea Bocelli gave a concert in Paarl, at the22 April at Val de Vie Estate, Paarl. Not my cup of tea, but he’s an extremely popular Performer.

 
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April was a bad month for Taxi troubles. When I say ‘taxi’ I’m referring to public transport, mini bus taxis, used by thousands. On the other side of the mountain in Hout Bay, Taxi violence on 1 April saw the bullets flying, three killed right outside the Cop Shop*; others were wounded. Local law enforcement is seemingly unable to deal with ongoing taxi violence , which is usually sparked by disputes over taxi routes. Unlike Joburg where the non-nonsense Mayor brought out the Casspirs  and the taxis came to heel. I thank my lucky stars I’m not dependent on public transport!

 

 

And, of course, the usual public holiday mayhem on our roads , caused chiefly by drunken driving, drunken pedestrians, and speeding. This year’s fatality total in our Province: 22. As radio host Africa Melane observed: effectively, we are a nation of functioning alcoholics … when are we going to stop drinking so much? Good question.

 
Followed by more arson at Cape Town station on Easter Monday: rolling stock set alight at the station, damage amounting to millions, and resulting in yet more woes for Cape Towns rail passengers. Three years down the line, little progress is being made to solve the mystery. Speculation is rife: who is behind the ongoing sabotage of our rail network? Who benefits? The Taxi industry? The coach-building industry? The ANC  by causing public disenchantment with our Province’s DA majority government? We are the only Province that is not run by the ruling ANC party. Oh: and statistically the best run Province, which is an embarrassment to the ruling party. Life in South Africa: challenging!

 

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Leaving urban troubles behind, and turning to Nature. 200 kms from Cape Town lies the mountainous Cedarberg region PIC , perfect habitat for the rare Cape Leopard . They like the rocky environment, populated by baboons, a handy food source for them. Estimates put the Cedarberg leopard population at a mere 350 animals. So sad to learn that a mature female was knocked down and killed by a vehicle on the N1 this month. The accident happened at night, when the leopard was crossing the road. Wild life vs cars seldom has a happy outcome, because the animals appear quickly, seemingly out of nowhere, become dazzled by the vehicle lights, and then its collision time.
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One of the Cape Honeysuckle hedges bordering my garden

Wildlife in my garden has been on a much smaller, safer scale: birds feasting on the nectar in the Cape Honeysuckle hedge, a late Autumn flowering. Snails reappearing with the arrival of rain showers. On which more peaceful note, I will leave you – see you in May.

*SA slang for Police Station

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VISITING THE 2019 INVESTEC ART FAIR


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Overall impressions: more exhibits this year;  a  far more International array of work – Angola, Kenya, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, and from Europe France, Italy, Germany, Britain – I even spotted one Australian  Art Gallery’s stand! I watched dapper little men with neat van Dyk beards, clad in seersucker suits, excitedly waving their hands  and explaining the finer points of displayed works in heavily foreign accents …. No doubt about it, much more international this year.

The inventive use of mundane objects for art projects was typically African : the humble clothes peg, metal bottle tops, fabrics, woven  fibre ropes, plasticised hessian bag fabric , plus others that I ‘m sure I missed in the huge exhibition.

Last year’s centre piece was the pink polar bear wearing its blue tutu. Nothing so frivolous this time. There was centrally displayed  Teddy Bear, giant sized, in pale terracotta ceramic, in a seated position and but I didn’t take a pic – I  found the deconstructed bear showing its plastic exo skeleton very off-putting.However, I did spot this mixed media (beads and artificial flowers)  Albino   bust which  was an unusual  item. Albinism in Africa is often the subject of superstition and persecution.

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I was conscious of so much texture this time around. Some notably prickly works. I can imagine what a traffic hazard these protruding rigid wires would be in a confined space.

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I loved the vivid colours of the  plastic snake-y coils a sort of wild reinvention of mating pythons. One of my favourite pieces.

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And what looks like fabric or yarn, but is in fact a heavily textured plastic paint .

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And beautiful work crated out of coiled sisal strips – I really liked this.

 

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Not many  ceramics . but I spotted this, and pray none of my friends decide it would make a lovely gift for me!

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But I did like these little ceramic  objets d’art:

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Plenty of fabric of one sort and another :

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This quirky bicycle caught my eye
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The Feet – striking – if only I could read Arabic.

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I loved the 8 portrait series of (presumably) Toureg men .

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And the 12 small Cubist works

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Finally: a dash of colour from Angola:

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There was so much more to see and enjoy, but I couldn’t take pics of everything. For info on the Prize Winners  and other details, please go to :https://www.investeccapetownartfair.co.za/

Had I won the Lotto I would have gone mad at the Print stands.  But I went home empty handed, replete with colour, texture and adventure. The annual Investec February Art Fair is one of my favourite events – I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

 

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MARCH CAPE TOWN ROUND UP


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The big headlines in March are: Eskom and more load shedding. That’s the South African euphemism for rolling power blackouts.
Oh: maybe I should mention our Public Enterprise power producing company, Eskom, is billions of Rands in the red, and unable to cope. Just a tiny little detail. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns, or rather: does not burn. Eskom can’t keep the turbines turning. Sigh. AND, as the cherry on top: a 9.4% increase in the price of electricity coming next month. Our corrupt, incompetent national power supplier Eskom kicking us, and the poor old abused tax cash cow, in the ribs again.
A load-shedding parallel story from the gang-ridden Cape Flats area of our city. A caller to Cape Talk Radio station reported how, during load shedding, crime rises exponentially in their areas. Residents are not even safe within their own homes, due to ricocheting bullets. How his teenage son crawled up the stairs to his own bedroom, to study with a LED lantern; the kid crawled because he was terrified of being struck by a stray bullet on his way upstairs. Words fail me. How can we expect people to live like this?

 
South Africa has but one nuclear Power station, and I happen to live quite close to it. Our wonderful government cooked up a scheme to build three more nuclear power stations, to augment our coal fired plants, despite the glaringly obvious fact that solar energy blasts us daily and is a renewable energy source. Whichever way you slice it and dice it, solar energy is the way to go, but unfortunately it seems there’s insufficient kickback opportunities for our crooked politicians along the solar road, so our desperate need to divorce ourselves from coal is mired in inaction and controversy. One tiny crumb of comfort: the nuclear scheme, via Russian suppliers, was blocked and remains in limbo.
February/ March is the date for the annual Koeberg Nuclear Power Station Siren Test. It always gives me the heebie jeebies. The booming, disembodied voice droning : This is only a test. No action is required. This is only a test. Followed by the banshee wailing of an alarm siren. Supposedly, if Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, 15 kms to the north of my area, has an oopsie – think Chernoybl – theoretically the warning system will alert us to immediately vacate the area and congregate at designated gathering points. Personally,I think if Koeberg blows we will all be toast before anybody can press the broadcast system button.

 

 
Maybe Adriaan Nieuwoudt’s scheme to establish an escape haven for beleaguered whites in his new town of Eureka, to hell and gone in the Northern Cape, is not such a bad idea after all. Abundant sunshine, (solar power; Eskom can take a hike), wide open spaces, beautiful Namaqualand spring flowers, plentiful mutton, what’s not to like? And don’t even think about playing that tattered old Race Card. Boo-oooo-rrring.
Fibre Optic cable is being laid in our Village: the 21st Century has officially arrived! Men in hardhats are hauling cable up out of manhole covers in every street and doing technical additions. I won’t be subscribing to it, because I don’t livestream material, and my current ADSL line works just fine, thank you. Additionally, I’m a POP = a Poor Old Pensioner.

 
Despite all the above gloom (pun intended), life goes on. Polo at swish Val de Vie Wine Estate, sponsored by Veuve Cliquot, and organised by SA swimming star, Ryk Neethling who has obviously handled the transition from water to land very successfully. Cape Town is within easy access to dozens of Wine estates, ranging from the ultra-luxurious to the modest but productive smaller ones, that don’t go in for the added-extras like open air concerts, music fests, wedding and conference venues.
Cape Town has hosted an Ed Shieran concert which was packed. What a good thing our 2010 soccer stadium was left standing to serve as a venue. I say this because a few years ago some genius wanted to tear it down and build low cost housing on the site. Other musical excitement this month is the annual Cape Town Jazz festival which always draws huge crowds.

 
The radio promo for the big musical Chicago, which opened mid-March sings : greed , lies, adultery, treachery …. And all that jazz! Sounds suspiciously like the job description for entering South African politics. Sorry: couldn’t resist that one. I’ve had too  much Zondo Commission info this month.

 

Mid-month brought a lovely story about Mufasa, the lion escapee from the Karoo National Park, finally captured in Sutherland, darted and transported by bakkie* back to the park. Apparently during the loading process, locals gathering around the recumbent lion, saying … ssshhhh … don’t make a noise … apparently worried in case he woke up, jumped out and devoured them all! I wish I had a pic to add to this little gem.

 
Finishing on a happier note: here’s a pic of the pink March lilies that bloom annually along the shores of our local Rietvlei Wetland. I had to scrounge a pic online. Thanks to .http://www.everything.co.za/2015/02/march-lily/ . Oddly, they signal the end of summer, not the beginning as one might suppose. Every time I head down the R27 I catch glimpses of them on my left. Luckily it’s a dual carriageway at this point, so I can sneak a peek if the traffic is light. Flowers, along with books, are in prime position on my list of Favourite things.

• Open truck/ute

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THOSE ELDERLY ELECTRONIC LUDDITES!


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Yes: I’ve hauled out my soapbox again for another rant. This time it’s the elderly Luddites, who have incurred my electronic wrath. And I can be a rudely wrathful as I like, as it’s a 100% certainty they will never read this.
It so happens I co-ordinate two social groups, and wishing to make my life as easy as possible, I communicate with the one group via WhatsApp, and the second group via e-mail. What could be quicker, cheaper and easier?

 
Except that in both groups there is one – always just that one person! – who, for whatever unfathomable reason, refuses to use a cellphone, and if perchance they actually own an ancient, brick-sized Nokia, it’s operating system can’t cope with the WhatsApp programme. No, they say vaguely, I don’t have that – whatchcallit? All my grandkids use it, but it’s not for me. Actually, they add, in confessional mode, I usually keep my cellphone switched off.  Then please explain to me why they continue to give out their number?

You are probably reading this and shaking your head in disbelief. But I swear to you, that’s a direct quote from one old dear.

 
And the other group of Luddites refuse to go anywhere near a PC or smartphone, and never, but never ever, communicate by e-mail. They might, very reluctantly, divulge their nearest and dearest’s e-mail address and hesitatingly say: “Well, I suppose you could send me an e-mail to my son’s e-mail address, but he’s so busy, I don’t know …” and of course, any e-mail you do send to Sonny Boy never gets passed on to his dear old Mum. Grrrrrrhhhh.

 
So what? you’re thinking. Where’s the problem? The problem, dear Reader, is that these Luddites constantly complain : But nobody ever told ME the date had changed / the meeting will be two hours later / the venue has changed / our monthly meeting is cancelled . Nobly refraining from leaping up and throttling them, you reply through gritted teeth: Well: if you had WhastApp /email then you’d be up to speed, wouldn’t you?

 
Thanks for reading this. I feel better now I’ve got that off my chest!

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