fire and destruction

Bereft.
Table Mountain and surrounding areas in flames, large parts of the University of Cape Town and Rhodes Memorial and Mostert’s Mill burned to the ground. All students were evacuated and there are no fatalities, although four firefighters had to be hospitalised.
The air was already thick with smoke by 11h00 yesterday morning over the entire southern suburbs.
I never expected to experience grief at the loss of buildings, but as a student at UCT for over six years and a member of staff for five, I find myself in tears.

Cape Town’s firefighters are incredible, by the way, and, while many people have exhorted those to pray to whomever they choose to believe is in control of things for the fire to stop, I didn’t see anyone resembling god or Jesus or Mohammed or whoever on the back of a fire engine rushing to the scene to help.

ScrapHappy April 2021

I’m having difficulty dragging myself away from beads and shiny threads these days: I think in large part because my sewing room is in such chaos that I can’t bring myself to face it, but also because I find it therapeutic to make an entire item by hand while listening to one or other calming or thought-provoking podcast, or some lovely music. Unfortunately, this renders me more sedentary than usual – not good for the old bones!! [Note to self: make time to go for a walk down to the park occasionally, panic button in one hand and taser in the other].

But in the meantime, I have produced an entirely ScrapHappy piece of jewellery: three small pieces of a silky polyester fabric handstitched together, a mix of beads salvaged from bits and pieces that were either broken or part of an impulse purchase, some broken necklaces/chains from a friend who had no use for them, and a bit of old gold crochet thread from the year dot that turned up at the bottom of a box of kitchen utensils.

Apologies for the quality of the above pics, they were all taken late last night at my desk, no natural light involved. Pics of the finished piece below were taken about half an hour ago, at the start of another exquisite autumn day in Cape Town. I’m being taken out for dinner tonight, think I’ll wear this and wow the crowds :)

I’ve been inspired to take part in the ScrapHappy concept by Kate, Tall Tales from Chiconia. On the fifteenth of every month lots of other people often publish a ScrapHappy post, do check them out:
KateGun, EvaSue,Lynn,Lynda, Birthe,Turid,Susan,Cathy, Tracy, Claire,JanMoira,SandraChrisAlys, KerryClaireJeanJon,HayleyDawn,
Gwen,Bekki,Sue L,Sunny,Kjerstin, Vera,NanetteAnn,NancyDawn 2,Noreen,
Bear,Carol,Preeti and Edith

April at last!

I think it’s mainly children who wish time would pass more quickly – until their next birthday, until the first day of school, until Christmas, that kind of thing. Adults less so (especially when it comes to birthdays.) But for me, for once, and very selfishly, I am utterly thrilled that March is over. It was an unpleasantly challengingly month for a number of reasons and they are now all behind me – and I seem to have survived with all mental faculties intact! (No rude comments from friends, please.)

My health caused a few problems, and consequently there was lots of admin and discussion with my medical aid. It’s all sorted now and Discovery Health has covered all hospital, medication and covid testing costs in full. I’m deeply relieved, it was a very large amount of money! The health issue is being resolved with help from beloved friends and, of course, dear Andrew.
My GP switched me to a different medication for hypertension (it’s been one of my chronic conditions for over 20 years) and after two days my feet and ankles swelled to the size of adult puffer fish, just like when I was pregnant 28 years ago. I wasn’t best pleased, and now have to take a diuretic daily on top of all the other goodies in my morning pharmaceutical smoothie.
Then there was the seemingly silly incident with Choccie, my cat: it is now her habit in the morning around 5h00 to approach my head on my pillow and pat my face with her paw. I’m usually half-awake already and, since her patting becomes less gentle and a lot firmer quite quickly, in order to make me get up and feed her, I sometimes cover my face and head with the blankets. She managed to catch me right in the middle of my open left eye on Sunday morning with all claws out – she was in a more impatient mood than usual.

Bad cat!

The pain was excruciating but I thought it was probably normal and would just stop eventually. Three hours later, it had not and I’d patched it up with some cotton wool and masking tape to keep it closed. Even with only one eye, I was online (!) and was emailing my friend Kathryn in the US, who made me aware that this could well be more serious than I’d thought. My GP, an amazing man who never stops working (his rooms are open 7 days a week, every week, and he treats homeless patients at no charge), told me to get to him immediately. Andrew drove me there and I am extremely fortunate to have had no serious corneal damage whatsoever, just a “mild corneal abrasion”. Well, all I can say is that, if that was mild, other people who have eye accidents have all my sympathy.

By the next day, I could remove the patch and put in antibiotic drops to prevent infection, and I was able to drive. Choccie was in the dog box for a few days, even though I know she didn’t deliberately mean to hurt me.

My mother developed some covid-like symptoms and went to be tested yesterday. It took over 24 hours to get the results, which is absurd in my opinion, especially for someone who is 84, but she has tested negative – so great relief there!
The other big hurdle this month was emptying my house of Philip’s furniture and appliances, so kindly left in situ for my use by his children (but only because they were forced to under instruction from the executor!)
The reason for this is that my mother is moving into a retirement village and there isn’t room for everything she has. A lot of tables and chairs and other things were made by my dad and my grandfather, both carpenters, and I am certainly not ready to see the back of them just yet. I know my mother is pleased that I will be able to accommodate them, but I was filled with sadness at seeing Philip’s possessions being loaded into the back of a truck. Also, in sorting through cupboards and drawers, I found a few small things of his that I’d forgotten about. Spectacles, his old leather wallet, his bow-ties, that kind of thing. It seems that the feeling of missing someone never really goes away. I’ve turned one of his bow-ties into a brooch.


Shirts and blouses with collars aren’t my style at all, but I do have a loose white cotton blouse that I think this will work with. I couldn’t bear to have the elastic round my neck so that got chopped off and I stitched a brooch pin to the back of it. I’ve had the shirt for over a year, ordered online from a clothing shop I like very much that was having a sale, but I still haven’t yet worn it! I’ve come across quite a few items of clothing that I’ve bought and never ever worn, so perhaps now is the time to be ruthless and pass on what I clearly don’t need.

I was also obliged to fit in a trip to a dermatologist because my GP didn’t like the look of a mole on my back. I’m fair-skinned and have many moles here and there (have had at least three removed in the past), but I’m at an age where it’s not a good idea to put things off indefinitely so I had to wait a couple of weeks for an appointment with someone who has apparently has an excellent reputation. His diagnosis – seborrheic keratosis or, as lay people refer to it, a “senile wart”. How charming. Senile wart indeed!

My two closest friends have been having a terribly hard time with their health lately, which also affects their mental health. It’s a vicious cycle. One friend, whom I’ve known for over 38 years, has moved temporarily to Cape Town for eight weeks of radiation and chemotherapy at a highly respected cancer care clinic. Unfortunately for her, things aren’t going quite according to plan. At 57, she is two years younger than me, and it is a very distressing situation.

Some of you will be going into spring, and those of us in the southern hemisphere are going into autumn. Autumn really is my favourite season because Cape Town starts getting rain again and the garden just thrives. I usually get the urge to knit something at this time of year but that hasn’t happened yet. I seem to be hooked on beads, so I’m just going with the flow — and grateful that there is any flow at all :)


for all the single earrings

The phrase “single earrings” naturally got stuck in my head as “single ladies”, so it seems reasonable to end this post with a youtube clip from Beyoncè and some dancers. (Yes, I am generously sharing my earworm with you!)
In the meantime, someone’s granny died and I was given a bag of extremely interesting bits and pieces. Included were some of these:

And, coincidentally, I’d been going through drawers and boxes and cupboards over the weekend sorting various things out. I had found seven lonely earrings, all of which were once half of a pair and had had some meaning for me.

I got out my topstitching thread and a suitably sturdy needle and set to work. I didn’t really plan on how best it might be done and I did a sort of weavy, in-and-out thing with the thread and then dabbed a bit of glue on the back and left it to dry overnight.

The result is clearly a bit of a jumble, but (a) it’s an improvement on having seven half-earrings, (b) I have nothing against a good jumble, (c) it looks just fine on my old denim jacket, and (d) there is no (d). It is what it is.

and it’s a wrap, folks

I happened upon this bracelet in a recent purchase of a random bag of beads from someone on Facebook. In between the silver bands it had a big horrible metal sticky-up thing with a plastic pearl stuck on top. I asked Andrew to remove it, knowing he’d have some sort of tool perfect for the job (his double garage is more of a workshop, it’s fabulous).

The cream fake-snake stuff was coming apart on the inside but I liked the shape and I really liked the metal clasp. I decided Something Could Be Done With It.

And so – after some wrapping using craft glue, strands of DMC embroidery cotton and some silver Madeira ribbon, and with the clever manipulation of a toothpick (so as not to get glue all over my hands and the desk – I have something rather attractive and wearable. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. #colourmehappy
Stay safe and sane out there, everyone :)