Category Archives: Cape Town

Cape of Storms

That’s the name given to Cape Town, in the late 1400s, by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias: Cabo das Tormentas.  4 million people live here and, while many of us know it by different names in various languages, this epithet has particular resonance right now.

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Our winters are usually wet, wild and stormy – but we had very low rainfall during this past winter, and the dams were low to start with. The result is a severe water shortage. Fingers are being pointed at politicians and administrators and, if some experts are to be believed, we will have run out of water by March 2018. If you are planning to holiday in South Africa this Christmas season, especially down here on the coast, you’re going to be constantly reminded not to waste a drop. The City of Cape Town municipality is urging us all not to flush toilets unless absolutely essential, and to shower only once in every two or three days, among other things. A dirty car is now a sign that you are “doing your bit”, and grey (water) is the new black.

I came across this clip by Chronicle Digital via The Daily Maverick, which I’m posting here for any South African readers who may have missed it, but also because it presents some images of this country that do not usually feature in travel commercials and tourist advertisements. I hope you find them interesting.

PS. The water that you see people filling the 5-litre bottles with is coming straight off Table Mountain from a natural stream. It is marvellous and free – but again, a privilege for only those of us who have (a) a car, (b) money for petrol, (c) the time to collect it. And even then, I have witnessed fights break out in the queues to get to the spring’s openings! 

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and wine not?

An old friend asked me to accompany him yesterday to Simonsvlei, the wine farm in Paarl where he collects his weekly monthly quantum of red wine. This blackboard caught my eye, and I have to admit that #3 is beginning to strike quite a chord with me :)

Simonsberg

Happy Monday, everyone xxx

crossing the lino

They say you should try everything once. Whoever “they” are. So, here we go wiiiiiiiith…..PRINTMAKING with LINO 101 !!!

There’s this brilliant (and patient) Cape Town artist called Judy Woodborne who offers classes for beginners, so Rob and I signed up.  I forgot to take a pic of his first print, which was actually a really lovely and unusual design. Mine, less so:

lino 1  Lino 3

I know what you’re thinking, it’s okay, you don’t all have to laugh at once. This was the first “design” I managed to scrape up off the top of my head – a tulip-y thing with leaves inside a very squonky box. But, hey, everyone has to start somewhere. And I have a whole week to practice before the next workshop.

Judy’s studio, Intaglio, is in the old, previously-abandoned Bijou Cinema in Observatory, and her space has been converted from what was once the projection room. Interesting in itself: curved walls with little windows at intervals for the projectors, and loads of exquisite etchings and extraordinary works of art on display.

PS. We also got freshly-brewed coffee and orange cake. It was a really lovely evening, well-spent in practicing patience and quiet thought.

back to business :)

It looks like the most disruptive part of that messy business is behind me, so I’m back home and getting back into a productive work routine.

I’ve found knitting has helped me keep calm, especially since I am really really slow at it….  I’ve been trying out different hat patterns so my knitting ladies have samples to work from.  (I have another one on board now, and I didn’t even have to look for her, she found me!).

knitted hats

I also fitted in a pair of shark slippers for the girlfriend of a customer’s son, who is having a birthday today and is mad about sharks. Her boyfriend is treating her to a shark cage diving expedition… some people are craaaaazzzy.

shark slip 2     shark slip 1

Apparently they were all ecstatic about the slippers, but I have to say I wouldn’t make them again in a hurry. Too fiddly for my liking!!! I like more instant gratification.

I have also been sewing, which is fast becoming my preferred activity right now. I have boxes and boxes of leftover bits of fabric from Suzette (who makes cushions) and decided to make them up into patchwork bags.  I love mixing different colours and textures, but what I love most is making something useful out of someone else’s discards.

patchwork 3   patchwork 1 patchwork 2

They’ll get a lining and a bit of velcro to close but nothing fancy because I’d like to keep the price as low as possible. They’ll be coming to the Rondebosch Market with me on Saturday, so we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for another sunny winter’s day.

dare I use the f word?

I was a trader at a big event in Cape Town in February. In advance of the event, I read through the list of stallholders. Two other people would be selling hats, one as a reseller of mass-produced straw hats and fedoras, and one as a crafter selling her own makes.

During setting-up time, I introduced myself to the crafter and said I’d looked for her website or facebook page to view her stuff, but couldn’t find anything. She said she doesn’t advertise at all because she’s already so swamped with orders that she wouldn’t be able to cope if more people saw her products. Knowing the kinds of difficulties that a small hand-made production business faces, as I do, I was amazed and impressed by this. I couldn’t wait to see her hats, and thought perhaps I could even learn something from her.

The event opened, and I beetled off to ‘network’ as soon as I could. As I approached the row of stalls on the other side of the park, I saw a display of animal novelty hats and hoodies that I recognised from a school event last year, which stood out for their uniformity and unmistakable mass-produced nature and low prices. They are also readily available at various pavement stalls around Cape Town and in the Chinese shops.  So, no problem – you can buy and sell what you like. Good for you (and you’ll see below, I do it myself sometimes). — but it turns out that this was my fellow crafter! I greeted her and said something along the lines of wow, you’ve got quite a range here – are these the ones you make yourself? And she said Yes. And looked away.

I’m so mad that someone does this. Claiming cheap imports as your own work is – what? fraud? or just a big fat stupid insulting lie? And I don’t understand why someone would do this. There’s nothing illegal in being a reseller of hats, after all.  For a big event, working on my own, I’m not able to produce enough stock by my own hand.  I buy in about 30% of my stock, and either modify it by adding handmade flowers or a band or a crochet trim, or resell it as it is. If I haven’t made an entire item myself, I don’t put my label on it and pretend to have made it. I don’t not put a label on an item and pretend it’s my own work.  I point out which my own handmade items are, and which are not – and, frankly, the difference is very evident !!

I wrote this post a good few weeks ago, and was going through draft posts when I came across it and got all riled up again and decided to publish it. I’m trying to work out why I actually care about this – presumably Imported-Animal-Hat Woman wants people to think she is a creative genius, and what do I care if she is or isn’t?  People are still buying my hats and asking for special orders. There’s enough work to go around. Am I so morally above reproach that someone else’s lie rocks and jolts the foundations of my innately faultless nature? Um….no, hardly!!  hahaha    Is it because she’s just stupid and thinks everyone else is as well? Aha, could be that.

Okay, rant over. F is for fraud, by the way, not the four-letter word beginning with F and ending with K. But that too.

hotting up

We are helpless in the heat here — the temperature is soaring and many of us are helplessly lethargic in its sick clammy grip.

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Tragically, our mountains are in flames as well. They’ve been on fire for over three days, and the firefighters and emergency services are doing incredible work.

fire

Right now, there isn’t much I wouldn’t give for some snow.