Category Archives: miscellaneous

time out

I am here: on a farm just outside Ladismith, in the Klein Karoo.

Klein Karoo 3

Klein Karoo 2

Klein Karoo 1

It’s hot and dry, as you can see, but there is no shortage of water because there’s a private dam and a windpump system set up to pump water straight from the surrounding mountains. So, YES, I can run a deep bath without guilt and even extend shower time from 45 seconds to any length of time I feel like….. The exact opposite of what it is like in Cape Town now, as we get closer to DAY ZERO. Level 6 water restrictions will be implemented from next week and we will all be paying a drought levy from February 2018 onwards (based on the value of one’s property). I have mixed feelings about this – on the one hand, Capetonians are all in this together and have to do the best we can to save water, and on the other, 66% of residents are clearly not doing their bit and don’t care that there’s extra cost involved because they are wealthy enough not to feel the impact. The arrogance! I’ll be very amused to see some of those high-and-mighties impatiently queuing at the nearest mountain spring to fill their empty containers along with the rest of the hoi polloi.

In the meantime, from a cool cottage in the Karoo (about 4 hours out of Cape Town), where you must keep your eyes open for cobras and boomslangs when you go for a walk and the doors bolted when you go out because the baboons are way ahead of things like locks and keys, where the loudest sound is the silence of this extraordinary mountain country punctuated by bird calls, and where I am finding some wonderful peacefulness both within me and without, I hope you are all having happy holiday times.

Taking stock in September

Inspired by Rachel, inspired by Pip

Making : two patchwork cushions for an order for Lindi

Cooking : there’s a photocopied recipe for Julie Sahni’s green bean curry on the kitchen counter, but so far no actual shopping has been done with the making of it in mind

julie sahni

Drinking : coffee. without sweetener because I forgot to put any in and I can’t be bothered to leave my desk now and go back to the kitchen

Reading: The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks

Wanting: my unsorted boxes from the house move last year to disappear into thin air

Looking: through the French doors at the sparrows outside on the patio

Wishing: that my unsorted boxes from the house move last year would disappear into thin air

Enjoying: the spring days and the cool nights

Waiting: for Thursday, when Karen and I get on the train for the long trip to Johannesburg and switch off from our normal lives completely

Liking: my slowly improving sense of well-being

Wondering: how long the Guptas will be allowed to run our country, and where all the good guys are


Loving: my garden and how much everything has grown in the last 16 months

Pondering: quantum physics. I read In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat by John Gibson, really slowly, and still can’t understand any of it

Listening: Jim Croce (in the car only)

Considering: whether or not I deserve/can afford to splurge on new cosmetics from Mac

Watching: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (on youtube, in bed, on my phone, late at night)

Hoping: for a lucrative 2017/2018 market season – my bank manager is also hoping for that, on my behalf

Marvelling: at how fat both my cats have become, despite being given the correct amount of Dr Hill’s Science Food at meals

Needing: already have everything I really need

Smelling: being a smoker, not that much!

Wearing: old jeans and an old hoodie of Rob’s with black and white skulls on it

Knowing: that first I have to be content with myself before I can find happiness in a relationship with anyone else

Bookmarking: hair tutorials on putting my hair up

Feeling: optimistic

Dreaming: of independence

Hearing: yes, it’s occurred to me that I should go for a hearing test but, in general, selective hearing makes for a more harmonious home life. A lesson I learned from my ex-husband :)

Anyone else out there taking stock today?

the Jill Goldberg Award for Political Incorrectness #2

I have finally found someone worthy enough to receive the second Jill Goldberg Award for Political Incorrectness* (apart from Mr Trump, of course, but he’s just too easy, plus he already holds the emeritus position).

toilet paper award

Today’s winner is a woman who saw my couch throws at a market and asked if I could make one for her to fit her couch exactly the way she wanted it. She’d had a throw specially made before (by someone else), but it turned out to be way too big and, when she asked them to make it smaller, it turned out to be way too small. Clearly she wasn’t good with a tape measure, so I suggested I pop in at her house and measure the thing myself. Which I did. We talked about colours and textures and got along just fine, until it was time for me to leave.

She walked me outside to my car. There was a buzz of activity at the huge house across the road – construction vehicles, piles of bricks, painters, men in safety hats huddled in groups, armed guards, etc. So I said, Ah, looks like they’re having some changes made to their house – but what’s with the four armed guards?

Customer: Yes, so noisy, it drives us all crazy. They’re having a third floor built, so we’re going to lose our sea view altogether. No-one knows what they do, probably drugs, there’s a permanent team of four guards, sometimes with dogs.

Me: Wow, sounds serious. Maybe they’re diamond merchants or politicians or something?

Customer: Could be. But they’re Jews, of course, so they could be involved in anything. And that’s how they got the planning permission to build so high right in front of us – the rest of the road is also full of Jews so they all band together. They said, don’t use our names but here’s money towards legal costs if you need it. Real Jews, you know.

Me: Real Jews? As opposed to, what, fake Jews?

Customer: Ja, real Jews, so there’s nothing we can do. They’ve got everything all stitched up. People with money can make happen whatever they want.

Me: Ah yes, of course, so many members of our own government are wonderful role models for that! But getting back to the Jews: as my ex-husband, Aaron Rabinowitz**, used to say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I wouldn’t be surprised if they stretch to four floors, actually – sounds like they might need permanent accommodation for the guards.

* Awards are made to whomever I want and whenever I feel like it, and I am the only judge. The results are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

**Name changed to protect my ex-husband, who real name is even more “Jewish” than the made-up one!

in my face

The first time I was at the Made in the Cape artisan market in Cavendish, my stand was positioned in front of Wolf Jewellers. Not only could I not afford a single thing in the shop even if I sold my house, my body and my mother, I had this arrogant son-of-a-gun in my face for four days in a row admonishing me not to crack under pressure. Easy for you to say, dude.


Last week’s one was worse. I had to stare at this woman for four days:


Surely they’d sell more stuff if the models looked like real-life humans, that the rest of us could actually identify with? Oh wait, stupid me – if I buy that bikini, I will look just like her.  I will be her, in fact – young, firm, tanned and sexy with a visible space between my taut thighs, on my way to join the arrogant pointy man from the jewellers for a dry martini at the exclusive bar that overlooks Sydney’s Bondi beach. And I won’t even have to pay for it myself. Which is just as well because the bikini alone wasn’t cheap, let alone the cost of the ticket to Australia….

a walk in the park

If life is like a box of chocolates, I feel like I left my box out in the road and a ten-ton truck drove right over it. I managed to make the effort on Wednesday to spend an hour wandering round Arderne Gardens in Claremont, on my own.  When Alex was little, we often used to go there to feed the ducks and roll around on the grass. She used to call it the Wedding Park, because on Saturday afternoons enormous parties of beautiful brides and grooms and their extended families would disembark from fleets of beribboned limousines for photo time.

This is the first tree you pass on entering the gardens from the main road. Many pixies live in and around it but they are shy, I didn’t see a single one. Or maybe Wednesdays are their shopping days and they were all down the road at Pick n Pay, stocking up on peanut butter and marie biscuits.

fairy tree

I am very ignorant about trees, and as I walked around I jotted down the names of some of them – water pear, blueberry ash, copper beech, Cedar of Lebanon, forest saffron, hoop pine, bunya-bunya, jacaranda, and – my personal favourite – the “Bushman’s poison tree”. I’d like to think I’ll be able to identify them in the future, but it’s unlikely (although you never know when you might need a bit of fresh poison so I’ve made a mental note of exactly where that one is growing).

The littlest pond has all dried up (please please let it rain soon…..) although the elephant ear plants were still managing to grow round the sides. Heart leaves – what’s not to love?

dry 1


a dung beetle walked into a bar…

What’s going on around here? Not a whole lot of anything especially exciting, which is why I haven’t posted for a while. There’s the usual stuff – making patchwork bedspreads, screenprinting this and that, trying to survive the heatwave, etc – and a bit of new stuff – doing some freelance content development for a community upliftment project. I’m enjoying it and it’s forcing me to manage my time better. That can only be a good thing, right?!


So, I feel I should tell you a joke, in lieu of interesting news.

A dung beetle walked into a bar, looked around and said, Is this stool taken?


waiting for rain, and a miracle

They promised us rain today, so I’ve been up since 6.00 holding my breath…so far, four hours later, sweet nothing. Five melon plants have already gone to the Great Garden in the Sky, so I’m left tending just one. My tomato has grown in size – it’s now a whole 0.5 cm larger in diameter than it was a week ago. Talk about failure to launch.


We were talking about little miracles the other day, and I had an experience shortly after that which I have chosen to see, ironically and perversely (because that’s what I do so well), as a miracle. Sitting typing exactly where I am now, I looked up to see a man walking past the window to the patio door. I didn’t know him. I went to the door to ask him who he was, you know, like a total idiot. Excuse me, Mr Burglar, we haven’t met before, is there anything I can help you with? 

It was 6.30am, and I’d already been out in the garden with buckets of ‘grey’ water, trying to save the plants. I had left the French door open, and pulled the security gate closed but hadn’t actually locked it. He opened the door and barged right in. My brain slowly began to realise that this guy was Up To No Good. I backed off down the passage, trying to remember where the nearest wall panic button was. By the time I did, he’d taken the laptop that was on the kitchen counter plus what he thought was a purse (actually my sunglasses case) and shot back out the door.  Power cord and mouse dangling from under his arm, he vaulted over the side gate (6 feet high) and then right over the main gate (8 feet high) and disappeared.

So, obviously, this was not a nice thing to happen. But it was a good thing to happen – because I will be forever more alert to the possibility of this happening again, and will never ever leave any door or gate unlocked. I will also always wear my mobile panic button round my neck.

It was also a lucky thing to happen –  this man wanted something valuable, and nothing else. He had no weapon and wasn’t interested in being violent. I was less than a meter away from him at one point so it would have been easy to get hurt. Not many people get off this lightly. Some victims get stabbed or shot. It happens every day. In South Africa, and all over the world. I don’t know why I was so lucky (although, to be honest, I don’t really know why anything ever happens at all. Does anyone?)

Wishing you all a very very happy holiday season, however you spend it, with your friends and family. xxx