Wednesday, August 20, 2014

the daily commute

Frieda goes to school 6 suburbs over, right round the coast in a whole different climate zone. Not ideal, but it is a super little school (emphasis on little in a time when all our urban schools are getting bigger and bigger), and well, this is the drive ...

Whales, surfers, dolphins, weather, ships, boats, a working harbour, waterfalls, rock slides, tides and once, a submarine. It's a lucky kid who gets an education such as this to and from school.

And lucky parents who have to 'endure' such gloriousness twice a day.

(How lovely is that house? With its garage at the end of the road, a shady walk up to the door and the mountain in the backyard?)

There's another route down below, which winds along right at the coast, the sea on one side and rows of beautiful houses on the other. But that has been closed for 2 weeks for road repairs, making Boyes Drive the only (and very slow) option.
The advantage of all the traffic has been the chance to linger over the views, take note of the vegetation and mountain streams more closely, and sneak these camera phone pics.

I get as hassled and impatient with the school run as the next commuter-parent, but I never once do the drive without a deep appreciation for its beauty, and how lucky we are to be able to experience it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

hello sun

To be honest, it's not like we have a serious dearth of sunshine in winter here. Every year I'm reminded that it is in fact winter which has the perfect days ... still, warm, golden. Such a magical quality to the light.

But it does pass low on the horizon in the winter months, and just this weekend, in a later, longer sunset then we've been used to, I noticed the light creeping into parts of our home which have been shady and cool (if not outright cold) all season.

Here comes the sun da da da da ...

Welcome back.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


You know, just another magnificent rainbow. Le sigh.

Two years ago, when this house was flirting with us and we were hanging around down this end of the world a lot and hoping and hoping everything would work out, it was during the season of rainbows.

And each time I saw one I chose to think of it as a sign, a new beginning, a pledge, a promise of magic and dreams come true.

It is this time of year, indecisive and restless, which brings them.
The days can't decide if they're sunny or rainy, winter or spring with sudden bursts of full summer, catching us unawares and flushed in wintery layers.

The world feels restless, and so do I.

That big job has spoiled me for this more sedate life. I loved my break at the end of it, the winter holidays with the girls and friends and home projects - the general catching up.
But now they're back at school, the money is spent (mostly all wisely - I'm such a grown up, yawn) and I'm ... restless.

This morning I decided to do something about it. So I scrubbed the shower. And the inside of the bathroom cabinet. And sorted out my shoe cupboard. And you know, I can't stand to admit it, but I feel better.

The heavens herald the sunshine after the gloom with a mystical arc of light and energy. I heralded mine with a scourer and some elbow grease.
Same intention, less impressive execution.

We do what we can right?

Thursday, August 07, 2014

email from Frieda

My first!

Sent from my Mum's house. I added the 'y' for clarity.

I thanked her for it and then had a message in return:

Love you Frieda but you are too cheeky but I still love you Frieda

I look forward to a long and constructive correspondence with her.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

it's not about the dinosaur

Who gives a 4 yr old a glass jar to walk around with anyway?, I asked myself as I picked up broken glass from the parking lot in the rain outside the pizza restaurant on Monday evening.

But as we'd raced out the door (perpetually late we are) she'd insisted on bringing her Grow-in-Water Dinosaur and as I'm all about encouraging paleontology but not as interested in soggy car seats, I'd acquiesced on condition that it be decanted from the plastic cup it was 'growing' in to the handiest seal-able container - an empty glass jar.

You know what happened next.

What's awesome about parenting for a while though, is that one feels no qualms about walking into a restaurant with a handful of broken glass, asking for a bin and also a glass of water please.
No ice, it's for the dinosaur.

He watched us eat pizza and then got carried carefully home in the palm of her hand to be returned, slightly fuzzy, to the cup from whence he came.

Yesterday I noticed Frieda scooping lake water with the same cup, and had a pang - all hell would break loose if that dinosaur was dehydrating somewhere.

I underestimated that big sister though - she's clearly as committed to paleontology, respecting each others interests, science and keeping her younger sibling from freaking the fuck out, as we all are.

Pity that cheap-ass dinosaur, tended so well and so long, refuses to actually get any bigger.

Nevermind, I think the whole experience moved way beyond him anyhow.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

I believe in rainbows

Science, logic, meteorological fact. But actually - magic, hope, mystery and just 100% awe-inspiring beauty.

From my bedroom window this morning.

Monday, August 04, 2014


It's pouring rain outside, no surprise I've been pinning soup recipes for the last few minutes.

Life goes on.

My Mum's older sister turned 70 last week.

She was born in 1944 London, in the middle of an air raid. I can't begin to imagine how my grandmother felt, bringing her first child into that world.

Life goes on.

I cried in my car on the highway when I heard about the Gaza ceasefire. Actual tears. Because I knew it wouldn't hold. I think it lasted all of an hour, if that.

But apparently, for some, life goes on.

A full, beautiful, life full of little girls and home improvements and lovely times with friends. Crafty afternoons and colourful homes and beloved's birthdays. Dragon costumes and puppy antics, half price pizza and wine while the children play. Inspired ideas and clean bed linen and snuggling with cats and movies in bed.

It has to right?

Monday, July 21, 2014

party on wayne

We didn't even unpack the car.

That's how hardcore we were.

We pulled up to the farmhouse late, our friend the Birthday Boy came out to greet us, we grabbed his gift and a bottle of whiskey and were swept inside.
A room full of friends, food, freedom and wine.

The next morning - after the lamb, the champers, the shooters, the laughs, after the speeches and glass breaking, the dancing, the laughing, the remember-when'ing and the ridiculous hugs - the next morning, after the coffee and the warmed-up roti's and the slow patching together of what happened, when and to whom, after we relit the fire and regrouped and rebooted, a couple of explanatory phone calls, surprisingly few (thank god) photos and some promises to Never Mention That Again - we walked back out to the car and drove home.

Those toothbrushes we packed, and night cream and undies and fresh pillowcases and alternative shoes and phone chargers - they spent the night in the car because we didn't need that shit.

It was like children were never even invented.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

50 things about right now

1. It's the winter school holidays.
2. 3 weeks with my babies, my home, my pets, my life. Delicious.

3. Little bits of work in the mornings, then kids, plans, outdoors, friends, food. Slow time.
4. We're reading The BFG.
5. I'm reading Jane Austen.
6. After too many Netflix cartoons I declared a week of pure David Attenborough. They're loving it.
7. I'm watching House of Cards in front of the heater every evening.
8. It's fucking cold.
9. Those microwaveable beanbag goodies are our life-savers.
10. The girls take them to bed, and I reheat them much later when I go to bed.
11. Moments like that I really win at parenting.
12. I wish I was collaging but it's too damn cold in my studio in the evenings.
13. North-facing. It's the only way to build a home.

no filter, no tidying - and no indication at all from this pic how cold it is outside
14. There's a mid-morning sunbeam on my bed that is the most enticing thing I've discovered of late.
15. However, awesome jeans are pretty enticing too ... I've recently discovered some.
16. I may need another pair.
17. I've done one small home improvement every day this holiday.

the girls room - spruced, sorted out and spotless. for now.
18. I'm exceedingly proud of this.
19. Things had really been allowed to slide around here ... 
20. One evening recently husband and I did seven small DIY jobs. Seven.
21. I'd post a pic of my linen cupboard but really, there are limits - even to arbness.

22. As much as I moan about winter, it is a wonderfully subtle season.
23. We really live in a most beautiful place.
24. An old friend, with whom I still connect on Facebook, is totally pro-Israel, posting nasty anti-Palestine stuff.
25. A rare moment when Facebook becomes regrettable, I'd rather not know that about him.
26. As I get older I respect death more. And feel the loss of life more keenly.
27. Being a parent contributes to that, but I think it's a more universal lesson for (just about) 40.
28. Our pup's getting older too.

29. And they're becoming better friends. Lego is still the chew-toy, but she hands him his ass on the lawn every afternoon, running him down 'til he knows who's boss.
30. We're enjoying watching their relationship develop, and his with each of us - there is an uncanny 'little brother' presence he's brought to our house. The errant youngest son we're all raising together.
31. Have I mentioned we're having a wonderful holiday?

32. We planned to try and see lots of friends we struggle to find time for during the crazy school weeks, and we have.
33. Lots of lovely mums and kids time: affirming, warm, supportive, fond afternoons with dear friends.
34. We've got this track on repeat. I think it's our holiday anthem!
35. A 10 foot trampoline has possibly become my best parenting buy EVER. They're on it for hours, and have learnt many lessons about sharing, negotiation, aerodynamics and acrobatics.

36. We're on the hunt for a new mattress. Most Boring Purchase Ever. But long overdue.
37. Apparently futon's went out in the '90's.
38. Hard-as-a-plank futon and all, we've been spending a lot of time in bed lately. Cats, books, bean bags, laptop, tea, bed. Winter has its perks.
39. Coca Cola Double Fudge Cake. Diabolical.
40. I'm working on my next collage pieces and thrumming with inspiration. Now to actually STICK SOMETHING.
41. I've found a Cape Town supplier for Mod Podge. No one but deprived locals will understand the significance of this.
42. Husband and I have discovered our musical tastes are growing apart. I'm okay with this. As long as I don't have to listen to any more Gogol Bordello.
43. Bleeding eardrums.

44. Have I mentioned it's beautiful here?
45.On Saturday I'm attending an all day Learn to Ride motorbiking course.
46. I have 6 months to get my licence before my Learner's expires and I'm determined to do it.
47. On Saturday night we've a raucous party planned.
48. It's very convenient when good friends with more energy for these things have birthdays in the same week as ones husband - we're getting good at piggy-back partying.

49. There's that cake. And the last immediate family birthday for the year. They do come thick and fast round here.
50. Life is good.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

bright star

The greatest poem ever known is one all poets have outgrown: 

The poetry, innate, untold, of being only four years old.

 - Christopher Morley (From "To a Child")

I'd always specialised in non-challenging relationships. Until this girl was born. 
I think she's here to teach me great lessons, she's taught me a few already. 
Namely, love conquers all. It really, really does.
Love you Stella.