Saturday, 31 December 2016

Take a slow dance

Rather than making a new year's resolution take a slow dance.
Russell Brand posted this poem on Facebook and I thought it very beautiful so I copied it for you. Enjoy.

SLOW DANCE: David L. Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask "How are you?", do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.

Ever told your child, we'll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
'cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
time is short, the music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it's like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn't a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.


Wishing you all a year filled with love, happiness and adventure.
The map is from the book: The Atlas of Experience. Map 18.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

As seen on Instagram this month

Strawberry ice-cream. As soon as it's summer I make ice-cream. Although I try out all sorts of variations the strawberry remains the firm favourite with everyone.

After a storm, the next morning our table appears to carry the remnants of a great party.

Pretty. Every morning, on the way to work I pass this tree that has dropped its flowers, like a juggler learning his skill, more on the floor than on the tree it seems.

Still more rain. It been wonderful, all this rain, after they predicted the drought would last until April 2017.

Out before dark. In the afternoon the moon is already high in the sky. It is trying to blend in with some clouds, as thin and whispy as them but cannot hide its round shape.

More of the same. Rain. And how beautiful the drops look on my new frangipani.

Flying out to have breakfast

For the past six years I have been assisting a group of aviators with their annual awards dinner. A group of men and women who are passionate about vintage aircraft. I design the menu, certificates etc. As a extravagant gesture of thanks they arranged a Saturday morning excursion to Mongena for me. We flew from Fly-Inn to Mongena, where we had breakfast. We flew over Cullinan on the way there. Wow. The mining area looks like the scorced earth, beyond it a clearing with the geometrically  constructed town and then it returns to wilderness, although the roads cuts an infinite scar through it. Saw zebra, eland, wildebeest, giraffe, hartebeest and all sorts of game. Soon after we flew out from Mongena we saw golden wildebeest. I have never seen them before and to be honest, I didn't even know they existed. It was exciting, it felt as though I had discovered a new species. I know, I am being dramatic. We stopped of at Kitty Hawk on and errand, about 10 minutes, then back to Fly-Inn. Ah no, over already. On the drive home Karl continued to tell me the most amazing stories. All-in-all a delightful experience.

The last time I had flown in a small aircraft was in Namibia, in the late 1970s, it was still South West Africa then. This flight brought back so many memories of the adventures and shenanigans we had there. Good and wicked times.

Plate of stars

I am making stars as part of my Christmas table decorations. Looking at them now I think the 5-point star would look neater. If I get time I think I will recut them all.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

So much rain

There has been so much rain since October. The garden is loving it but my ground cover is now the same height as my lavender bush. Can you still see it?

Wine spill

I tie-dyed a sheet of calico with this gorgeous burgundy. I couldn't wait to share it. I haven't hemmed the edging/border yet, it is just pinned into place. For the border I used a remnant of linen I bought on sale at Biggie Best that I was going to use to make PrettyUglys. It is the perfect fabric. In the flowers there is a speck of the burgundy and the cream balances the centre strip of calico that was not dyed. To keep it or to gift it, that is the question.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Back in the real world

Gosh, at our end-of-the-year bash I won the Mike Tyson Award. Are you crazy?
I am a marshmallow. Please compare the image my niece drew of me, all heart, and correct, this is the real me.
That my colleagues would think I am a fighter. I am crushed ;-)

Monday, 12 December 2016

From the heart

I am making hearts for Christmas. I cannot make them without the quote by E. E. Cummings running around in my head.

MH signage recycled

About 3 years ago they changed the logo of the company, so all the signage was replaced. I couldn't bear the thought of the large sign that had been in reception lying on a landfill, disregarded and rejected, so I took it home. OMW, it lay in the ground for a while like a pimple on the earth, then it was propped up against the wall. Spiders spun undetected webs and mice hid from the dogs behind it. It was a great size for a fire pit, but the wrong material, certainly more of a melting pit should you start the fire. Eventually it was just annoying me and I thought it would be delivered to a rubbish dump after all, but I turned it over, filled it with soil and asked my nieces to transplant whatever they liked from the garden into it. Ta-da! I think they did a great job. They even added rose quartz for the finishing touch.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Just words, no pictures

The morning starts with burchell coucals calling one another, or calling the rain but mostly I think they talk about the weather. It's still dark but you can sense the sky is a blanket of clouds. We wonder how much the vegetables have grown while I have slept. I only put out the light just before 3 am. A book I have been battling to get into suddenly got exciting on page 241 and then I didn't want to stop reading. Exhaustion closed the book and switched off the light. Despite that we woke early.

I didn't have a car for a few days last week so I Ubered to work and back. I listened to a variety of radio stations on these trips and found it very interesting but when I got my car back I didn't explore any of them but stayed tuned to the preset station in my car. Hmm.
We drove with the windows down and a breeze accompanied us on the journey. I felt as though I were going on a road trip. It was great to look around and see things that you don't see when you're looking ahead, or looking in the rear view mirror hoping that guy will also slow and stop at the red light.
They train the drivers well. They know when to chat and when you prefer silence. It's great.

They said we would have a heatwave this week and no chance of rain. Yet the heavens darkened and water fell from the sky. The wind was fierce and raced through the house wanting to get outside again, while the trees moved in a frenzied dance to music I couldn't hear. The wind makes no sound really, just creates sounds in everything it moves, sometimes a gentle rustle, so soft you think you imagined it, sometimes with such force the strongest tree has to obey.

My vegetables are coming along very nicely. But growing from seed, although rewarding, is also a measure of patience. The butternut plants are getting taller everyday, the leaves bigger but still no butternut. Will we be able to harvest the tomatoes for Christmas salad, and how long does it take before a head of cauliflower becomes a meal? Did I plant sunflowers or mielies there? I guess we will have to wait and see. My dogs go directly to the vegetable garden in the mornings now, having adapted my pattern. They are not sure what I am looking for every day but they know it's this first before I will play with them.

It 02:41 now. In 2 hours my dogs will wake me to go out for a pee. Well, I am hoping to falls asleep before then; but who knows. I fall asleep on the couch in the evening but when I go to bed I cannot doze off again. So I swot mosquitoes and read a book until weariness suggests it's time to sleep.

Dogs and children prevent you from getting attached to material things.

Christmas colour palette

Getting so excited for Christmas. Have decided on this colour scheme, with lots of white. added the two green baubles just so 'it pops', as our clients would say.

Failed fudge

I wanted to make fudge with the girls. They said it was boring to stand there the whole time stirring. They went out to play and I was trapped in the hot kitchen. Sigh!
When the fudge had cooled only the centre was fudge and the rest was sugary somethingorother. How does that happen? I ate the fudge bit and cut the rest up into block, took it to work and they loved it. All gone in 20 minutes although there was a health warning attached: 99% sugar. No one seemed to care.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The sky is blue

Bowl of rain

We have had good rain after a great dry season, the garden has enjoyed it.

Vibrant African square

I would like to believe I am going to make all the Christmas presents and not gift any store bought items, so this is the start. A little square quilted cushion. I would love to keep it but will give it away or I won't have gifts to give. 

Long service

R has retired after 42 years at the company, 42! Wow! What a lady, loved and admired by all. We had a wonderful farewell lunch on the patio at the Palazzo Hotel. A great afternoon. I normally don't stay long at these work functions but I throughly enjoyed this and left with the last group of people.

Separated at birth

I couldn't resist doing this post for a colleague of mine.

See how our greens grow

We cleared a little plot in the garden and prepared it so we could grow our own vegetables. Every morning I would stand at the edge and pray for the seeds to crack the soil, peep through and meet the sun. On the fourth day, our first breakthrough, radishes. Can not wait to add it to a salad. And so every day something new would appear. And even though we planted it and knew it would grow we are still amazed at the wonder of it all. The thunderstorms we have had recently have been unkind to some, the beetroot seemed to have drowned, but kind the others, the butternut and gem squash are flourishing. From time to time we add another seed, at the edges we have planted sunflower and borage and mielies and beans...

Saturday, 12 November 2016

And my voice be still

For thirty years I have been listening to his music, over and over again. The most beautiful words.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

A hop, skip and a jump

A hop, skip and a jump from September to November, it's almost as though October never was. So here is just a short recap for October. If there are any typos in the text please forgive me. No need to highlight them and send me a message, like all good mistakes, I cannot go back and undo them.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Worshipping the sun

Anton Smit has a sculpture park in Bronkhorstspruit, which is on my to-do list. But I saw on his Facebook page that he was invited to do installations of his artwork at the new Menlyn Maine mall, so I went there instead. I loved his work but wished I could remove the building and cars so they could be viewed against the magnificent sky. It was difficult to photograph them without the clutter of the surroundings.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Turning Point Foundation Open Day at Mulligatawny Farm

Support a charity and have an absolutely beautiful experience!

They supplied a map with 25 sights you could see, then tick off the list. We went to every one of them and I photographed it all. I have spared you the journey of 432 photographs and have selected only a few here.

They had an open air church in the garden and it made me think of my dad. He always said: My garden is my church.

1 The Sulking Pond, 2 Garden Entrance, 3 The Tower, 4a Manor House, 4b Farm Stall, 5 Herb Garden, 6 Lily Pond, 7 The Brooke, 8 Look-out Point, 9 Bamboo Forest, 10 River Walk, 11 Potager, 12 The New Orchard, 13 The Fountain Garden, 14 Wetlands, 15 The Boat House, 16 Toilets, 17 The Grand Lawn, 18 Skeerpoort River, 19 Aviary, 20 Apiary, 21 St-Michael-in-the-Fields, 22 Grotto, 23 The Poultry Palace, 24 Kingfisher Cottage, 25 Toilets.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Delicious carrot cake

I found a recipe in the WW Taste magazine (page 70, October 2016) but it's pointless reproducing their recipe on my blog so I adapt it a little to make it my own. In the Taste recipe they take care care in mixing things up separately and then combining but I just put everything in one whole and whip it together. Ha, ha, you may prefer to rather the original method.

I wanted to add cranberries but dried cranberries are always too hard when everything else is soft so I heat them up in a little red wine. I decided to leave the sugar out of the batter and add a cream cream and honey topping.

Honestly, I  thought two carrots wouldn't be enough but it's plenty. Also I don't peel the carrots.
In the original recipe it instructs to preheat oven to 175° but I always use 180°. My mother baked everything at 180° and I am sticking to that too. Everything she baked was fantastic.

I think if she had written a cookbook its title would have been 180degrees.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Finding sanctuary

For so many years I have been wanting to go to Mountain Sanctuary Park. Friends that went and raved about it have divorced while I am still getting my shit together to book and go. It's not even that far, I don't understand what the delay was other than procrastination.

Of course as soon as we check in and they say: It's a bit of a steep climb I know that I have been dazzled with pictures of water pools and streams and failed to realise it was in the mountains, despite the name Mountain Sanctuary Park, duh! Pay attention, sweet thing. 
They also tell us that because there has been the drought there is no water in the pools. What? We just passed the Buffelspoort Dam and it sure was full. Okay, so I am not going to see any of those amazing sights you have on your website, hmmm. I don't really care. The quiet is so wonderful - die stilte. 

As soon as our things are in the cabin we take the hike to the rapids, it's just after noon and it is very hot, I am grateful I brought a hat. The only sound I hear are my shoes dislodging the stones on the gravel as I walk. When we stop I can hear the birds, insects, baboons calling and my stomach rumbling. We don't see another person. Even when we go to the West Pool there is no one. We only see the soles their shoes imprinted in the sand. We sit in the shade on a rock and enjoy where we are. A deep breath and a prayer of thanks.

The baboons are getting closer and their grunts are intimidating enough to make me want to move on. We go across the rocks, up above the pool and on the way back we see the baboons in the tree we had been sitting under. Yes, your territory, I understand. 

The swimming pool at Mountain Sanctuary Park is an oasis, a beautiful spot and with the sun going down it is a remarkably romantic setting. 

Although there is electricity in the cabin we don't switch on any lights. We sit outside and watch as more and more stars are revealed in the darkness. Wonderful. I cannot imagine the sky able to support the weight of all those stars. It takes one's breath away. 

Next morning we are up early, we had planned on being out before the sun crept over the mountain but really what's the rush? So then to the pools (with no water) in the east. Yes, one can imagine how magnificent it must be when each hollow is filled with water. Imagine how the river splashes from pool to pool, the water clean, clear, cool and refreshing. Exactly as per the photographs on the website. Sigh.

After that, past the reservoir and climbing, climbing (not that steep really). I keep thinking I can't go any further, it's too hot and we still have to go back but I want to see want is beyond that ledge, and the next and the next. Until we peer over one and discover water. Not like the discover of water, duh. The grotto, the water source, that has trickled down the narrow crack between the rocks and cut itself a groove across the stones, that followed the easiest path down the hill. Refreshing. Sat here for awhile, and ate our breakfast. Cheese, biltong and nuts. 

On the way back, we didn't want to rush it, so we climbed up onto a rock and wondered why we were alone, where is everyone? The sun on your face and clean air, really, who needs anything else.

But back we must go, and back home too.

Met a couple going up as we were going down, the girl looked happy, the guy looked grumpy, and sunburnt.

Baboons never the camp, gosh, but they are big. Apparently there are two groups that often have a territorial fight, tearing trees down and scaring the campers.

Ai, on the dirt road driving out thinking we should have booked for longer. So lucky to have these moments and experiences.