Sunday best.

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As a child growing up, ‘Sunday Best’ usually referred
to our church clothes, all the smartest favourites
that came out of the cupboard with anticipation and glee.
I loved the dresses and frills, they made my heart sing, even
louder than my church voice.

These days, Sunday best has modified, now it is my running apparel
that I pull on in the dark, before bouncing out of the house
with just as much glee as that little girl did,
clad in all her frilly dresses, best shoes and high hopes.

Sunday runs are special for a few reasons, the company is always wonderful,
conversations stimulating, generally lighthearted, and invariably with those
who have shared more than just running tales, these are rich friendships.
These are people I love, a lot. IMG_6524

We run all over the peninsular, watch the sunrise in Seapoint,
the waves pound in Muizenberg and the clouds swirl and twist
around the mountain that acts as my anchor and compass,
Table mountain.
From Constantia greenbelt to Newlands forest, all our runs are extraordinary, memorable and addictive, who wouldn’t want to start the week this way?IMG_6371

So today, as we rubbed the sleep dust from our eyes
and bravely launched into the early morning rain showers,
we made our way around the most uncommon of commons,
an area steeped in heritage and history, wild flowers and wildlife,
Stone pines and grasses.P1030733
Known fondly as ‘The Common’ to those fortunate enough to live within it’s reaches,
it is today dotted with vast puddles, little clusters of early blooms
and not too many early adventurers.P1030751

As we traveled through Mowbray, Observatory
and then back to Rondebosch Common, our finery started to come off
and was tied around our waists, the rain had stopped and we were warming up.

 

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On this quiet Sunday morning in a ‘church’ of a different kind,
I said a little gratitude prayer,
for the rich beauty all around us, the legs to run and eyes to see,
the company which as ever was inspiring,
and for the mother city and her extraordinary inhabitants,
her ever changing mountain,
and her ability to never looks the same twice
but always to startle us with her Sunday Best.

Like a fly.

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P1020819It has been a lifetime,
(sorry I am prone to exaggeration!)
since I added a snippet, but life has been full.

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Full and fabulous, teaching in Cape Town, wedding in Wales and going back
to the place I feel the most creative, my studio at home. Making a new range, Bottled in the Cape!

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I realised yesterday that teaching drawing is a bit like being a fly
with compound eyes, I can show people how to look, and how to put their
‘looking’ onto paper but I am always so excited to see things through
the eyes and in turn the pencils of those people courageous enough to
explore their visual worlds.
Many interpretations and so many different approaches.
I love teaching….

I love weddings too, and my nephew was getting married to the love of his life,
in an ancient church, hidden from view, in the middle of Wales,

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lost in the clefts of many green and rolling hills
dotted with bleating sheep dressed in silver,
dressed to match the silver gray clouds. Our mother was dancing in heaven!

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An extraordinary farmhouse, ‘Foelortho’
where we stayed and celebrated, where friends and family
met for the first time, and some became family,
where we laughed, and cried from too much laughing,
where our hosts played wonderful live Jazz on a grand piano with various shiny percussion instruments holding court.

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They played just for us in their home attached to the farmstead,
a private concert
where we sipped
on excellent whisky,
entertained in an astoundingly creative space…by 2 wonderful people.

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I expected gnomes, goblins, fairies and trolls
to happily parade in this garden. Maybe next time.

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This is a homestead
where secret bedrooms,P1030039
miniature villages and enchanted gardens rule,
filled to the brim with follies and fun,P1020751
fires, fantastic architecture,
and passionate owners.P1020825
How lucky were we all?

Time away is invaluable.
The mental shifts are extraordinary
when we do not have to be concerned with routines
and daily must-do’s, a time of expansion and growth
light and love, seriousness and silliness.P1030196
As life should be.
I hold it lightly, but for a deep breath moment.
I see and feel.
Because I can, like a fly, with a compound eye.

Changes.

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What is it about the seasonal changes that makes me go on the rampage?
Spring cleaning but in Autumn?
Does that make sense, or is it something to do with the Autumn Equinox
(or Spring in the Northern hemisphere) and a time of cleansing?IMG_6149

Do the changes in the moon/sun/earth relationship affect our moods
in the most primal and life changing way?
It is quite radical this year, I have a mountain of bagged and boxed bits,photo 1 photo 2
crafty, arty, linen and kitchen contents, that are bound
for a charitable institution not yet decided upon, and the pile gets bigger daily.

Not surprisingly I feel lighter and more breezy the more I let things go.

Funny isn’t it… we spend half our live acquiring “stuff”
and then the other half parcelling it up to move it on.

We really are almost as strange as the Bowerbird, making nests
and then letting them go.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Any idea why?

I am not sure I know.

Not old enough.

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image-1This week I had a little incident which had me wishing for mum…
Understandable given the circumstances,
except that I am closer to 60 than 50!

Anyhow, it got me thinking about this strange
and complex age thing.
Why do I never really feel very much older
than about 18 (if that even!)
Scampering through life from day to day,
seldom processing the annual celebration, or bothering to
account for the extra candle added to the cake?

I have tempered my dress code, no shorts, bikini’s
or anything tight, but sometimes I think I am stuck
in the bewitching world of childhood,
with the occasional scary moments
when I have to behave properly.
(‘Act your age mom!’ I can almost hear my offspring say)
(it would be an act probably, too!)IMG_1794

I think secretly, the Peter Pan principal applies to a lot of us,
knowing there is someone in the wings watching quietly is comforting,
maybe we just don’t want to be reminded of the passage of time?
The ticking clock inside the crocodile.

I certainly seek out older, wiser mentors when things get tough,
replacing the maternal or paternal figures after they depart this world,
letting that person help to  tease out thoughts, options and ideas,
maybe a role similar to a modern day village elder.DSC08622 DSC01532

Ironically though, my adult children are equally great council,
bringing their logical and well controlled minds to my aid also.
(Some are admirably not stuck on the 18 button like their mother!)

But on this particular occasion,
I just wanted mum.

Eye spy Cape Town.

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IMG_6956This week has been extraordinary.
We moved back into our pristine shop on Monday
and were trading instantly, out of the boxes!
So for 2 days we moved back in, selling our wares as we unpacked!
It was a bit surreal but a good feeling
having been closed for a week for a clean coat of paint.
‘Imagine on Belvedere’ is back!IMG_7076

We have had an English friend visiting for the week
and so between work shifts I got to re visit our city,
once again seeing it through fresh eyes.IMG_1692

What a treat to be reminded of that day
35 years ago when I too visited the mother city
for the first time and almost immediately
went back to the big smoke to resign from my job
and leave my apartment, piling my few belongings
into my little yellow mini
and heading for the tip of Africa.IMG_6365 IMG_6464

We have been to Hout Bay, where we sat and soothed away the heat wave
with delicious local beers!

Our Englishman coped with 37 degrees better than we did!

Kirstenbosch, as ever delivered her special vistas and colours,
enthralling Jonathan.
Newlands forest, another favourite for a cool early morning walk, IMG_7277Moille Point and the promenade,P1020067P1020071
where we watched in awe as hang gliders
with tandem riders wafted down, landing perfectly on the narrow lawns
that lie between roads and rocks, high-rises and sea.
Hold your breath viewing!

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We were drawn to Big bay to watch the kite surfers perform miracles
metres up, also ‘take a deep breath’ viewing.

We watched as the sun set over beaches whipped by warm winds
that drive the same kites skidding across the vast skies.

With vineyards done and compulsory Chapman’s peak driven,
It is good to reflect on this extraordinary and diverse city.P1020094
I am sad that our guest was unable to join me
on a visit to Nyanga on Saturday morning. P1020061
Woman Zone popped up for the second of the 13woman series, and yet another inspirational woman told her tale, Asanda Msuthu you blew me away,
so young and so very wise.P1020038
You can read more about this exciting initiative at http://www.womanzonect.com

A remarkable and emotional morning of story telling
topped off a spectacular week in our mother city,
not easily forgotten.

A snake’s tale.

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Hidden in the depths of a densly forested area, surrounded by freshly spun
Golden orb spider webs (and no less complex), Guinea fowl with their week old chicks and Cape Robins scratching in amongst the fallen leaves that make up the forest floor,
there is something growing unusually fast in this, my all time
favourite Kirstenbosch Gardens.

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This extraordinary development is getting more exciting by the day,
reaching heights never before reached in this part
of the enchanted garden, puncturing the skyline at it highest point.
It is not a Wild Almond, nor is it a Cape Saffron,
a Keurboom, nor is it a Tree Fuchsia.

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It is none of these beautiful trees which inhabit this
“garden within a garden.”
This is something that is fondly referred to as “The Boomslang”
or literally translated the tree snake, and snake it does
high into the canopy, visually appearing as the skeletal
structure of this African snake.P1000993 P1000999 P1010927

It is made of steel and wood and is now being painted
a subtle green with wooden slats being laid underfoot.
This is a structure designed and created
to meander through the tree canopy and soon
hundreds of visitors daily will be able to enjoy the vistas.

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People in wheelchairs  babies in pushchairs,
everyone will be able to glimpse the spectacular views into the tree tops,
bird watch or count waterfalls cascading off Table mountain
(one of the modern wonders of the world)
or gaze out towards Table Bay and the mountains that envelop and surround us.

It will give visitors a new perspective and understanding
of this previously seldom explored area of the garden and
soon the “Enchanted garden” will be a special whisper on every visitors lips.P1010924

Specialist teams are now putting the finishing touches
to this huge and exciting engineering marathon,
gently and carefully working around the treasure that
grows on the sloping ground below.IMG_0711
Although built as part of the Garden’s centennial celebrations in 2013,
the walkway will be completed in April 2014.

Cape Town was elected Design Capital of the world 2014,
and with this creative achievement, it is apparent why, we have some exceptional talent and visionaries in this mother city.P1010005

It has been planned with meticulous precision,
with virtually no changes to the pre-existing and hugely sensitive environment
but with such foresight that generations to come will
benefit from this amazing addition
to my favourite garden.

Wired up!

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What a brief!

To create 16 wire worked baobab trees, as centre pieces
for a fund-raising function in Singapore.
Half a meter high, half a meter wide, adorned with roughly
150 double hanging crystals on each tree, candelabra style.
In roughly 6 weeks.
Fun times…

I have made these trees over the years but always at my pace.
Now I needed to find someone who could interpret my concept,
doing the heavy duty wire work meticulously,
keeping within the tight proportions and bringing in the creativity
req(wired) (sorry, just had to!) to create the look.TheTrEE-small

And so I set about looking for the right person to work with
and after 3 rather disastrous attempts, Voila! I found him.
John, the wire whizz with the wonderful smile and even more fabulous artistry.

Previously I have worked with a middle-man Richard, who hired someone, always
to remain anonymous to me, but a miracle worker.
Anon made the best trees, or so I thought.
Sadly, a few years ago Richard absconded with my hefty deposit,
never to be seen again and never to respond to my calls.
This is sometimes the way in Africa.
I often wonder what happened to Anon.
He made good trees.new flower baobabs 053

And so it was with excitement and a smattering of trepidation
that John was appointed to make the first 5.
And then the next 10.
Always they were delivered at the appointed time and place,
always meeting my brief-within-a-brief.

When I collected the first order, John thanked me
for creating work in our country, employing people who need employment.
Each time I met with him he thanked me, with a warm handshake and a huge smile.

Humbling indeed to deal with such a man.
John is training people to wire-work with the discipline of time,
creativity and controlled briefs… He is up-skilling people
in the most positive way.
So, the trees are completed with roughly 2400 crystals
distributed throughout the ‘forest’.
(Thank you Sofi and Silje for your wonderful and unrivalled help)
Branches have been shaped and vases installed.
Now, the finished articles are boxed up and awaiting departure,
How exciting is this?Image 1
Nobody must ask me for my finger prints just now, I have none left.
My hands are raw but my creative soul replenished,
the house has been filled with rainbows,
on walls and tables wherever the finished trees settled.IMG_0821
This is a good feeling indeed.

I wish for more people like John in this country,
with such a positive attitude, attention to detail and teaching skills,
we as a country will start to sparkle like the crystals in the trees.P1010901
Who knows where it can lead us?

Lovely chaos!

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I am a granny!

Or maybe it is more accurate to say I am grandma to a puppy,
though I have to add that it is just as much work and
just as much of a commitment of love
and hard work either way!

Skyla is a Siberian husky, has blond hair and blue eyes,
loves water, table tennis balls and anything else that bounces.
She has learned about gardening, plumbing and electrical work
in the short time with us,  and  a very patient John has been teaching her
all manner of skills and loving it…
lets face it, who wouldn’t love to have such an inquisitive apprentice?

Yesterday I gave her a quick lesson in flower arranging and she loved
all the stems as they fell from the table!

She bounces and bounds around the house and garden
chasing leaves, butterflies and heels.P1010563
She loves toes, company, high pitched voices, mirrors
and dark places to collapse in utter exhaustion into very regularly…
after all, she is only 10 weeks old, and weight in at a slight 3.1 kg.

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Miles will be home this week to claim his sweet heart
and the house will once again be calm, tidy(ish)
with not a toy, plastic frog, ball or bone in sight.
Just two rather exhausted but happy and smitten ‘grand parents’.

Into the wilds…

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What better way to kick off the new year
than in the African bush?IMG_4959IMG_0196_1
iMfolozi Game reserve, paradise on earth,
This is our amazing good fortune and a wonderful way
to show in the new year,
amongst our animal friends and family.IMG_3359

I wish for all a peace-filled, family orientated and
fulfilling new year.
May your 2014 be overflowing with all that is wonderful,
May your health happiness and well-being
come out of the top drawerIMG_3501
and may you find the strength to deal with all
that comes out of the drawers below.natal 10 049

Roll on 2014, I think it is going to be a memorable one!

Recipe for the new year.

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This is a work in progress, a recipe that changes daily weekly and monthly,
as the ingredients vary with each passing moment.
These are the new year recipe re-solutions and ingredients.
Greet and smile.
Loads, liberally sprinkled all over.
This main ingredient shaped the new Recipe.
Whilst on a walk the other day I decided to up the game,
everyone I pass gets a smile and a greeting.
Sadly the surprise is often huge in this city,
but the responses  and reactions are always wonderful!

A pair of arms.
Use liberally to hug.
(They are as rare as truffles.)

An ear or two.
It is said that the greatest gift you can give
is the ability to listen.

A pair of eyes.
Drink in our beautiful world.
(if you have a camera on hand, share our world.)

Kindness.
Handfuls.
It mixes well with all the other ingredients.

A touch of voice.
(Maybe a bit more than a touch!)
Singing. Preferably, belting it out shamelessly.
(Do NOT limit it to the shower, no matter who objects!)

Gratitude.
Plenty.
Add while stirring all of the above.

Broccoli.
Lots.
(Because this is a recipe after all and it is green,
great and very good for you.)

Rainbows.
All the colours.
Sprinkle over everything for a feeling of well being.
These make the warmest, most colourful decorations.

Humour.
Genuine.
Undiluted truckloads of it.

Mix the above with love, great care and thoughtfulness
and share it with all, family, friends, neighbours,
and creatures great and small.
Share liberally.
(even spiders!)

Lastly, the most important platters to serve this dish of life on,
humility and discretion.
These platters are fragile and are often in short supply in this fast moving world.
Dig deep into your cupboard to find them.

This is my recipe for change and re-solution in 2014,
if I can even half succeed I will pack away my broomstick for a while.IMG_0674

It isn’t a Magimix.

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