Thursday, April 30, 2015


Minutes after these pictures were taken this fierce warrior stomped off to her room, outraged by some perceived slight, and cried herself to sleep.
At 6pm.

We had a quiet evening with just her sister and some blessed silence.

Near midnight, as I was chastising myself for not having gone to bed yet, she re-appeared - dressed and smiling.
'I had my nap Mum,' she smiled, 'I feel much happier now.'

Er ...

So she had supper, and a bowl of cereal for good measure. She sat at the table and asked over and over, 'Is it the middle of the night Mum?'
A marshmallow for 'pudding', a clean face (I consciously ignored the arms), pyjamas and back to bed.
And straight back to sleep.

This morning it has the quality of a distant dream, and the taste of an exotic adventure. She couldn't wait to tell her sister.
'I was awake in the middle of the night Frieda! I had a marshmallow.'
'Oooo,' says Frieda, 'you were awake in the witching hour!'
'Yes,' she replies breathlessly, her eyes widening a little, 'I was.'

Thursday, April 23, 2015

what the what actually was that??

I was convinced I'd written a post about this, but I can't find it anywhere on the blog or in drafts so I guess that is just another sign of how stupidly out of it I've been these last ... shew, 6 weeks!

I find the phrase 'burnout' faintly embarrassing. The last time I really truly burnt out I was 25 (or thereabouts) working flat-out in the film industry, dealing with a really demanding boss and a super crazy job.
Burnout at 25 was vaguely impressive, I thought.
And as a result of it I did a lot of introspection and changed the whole direction of my career.

Burnout at nearly-40 just sounds old.

Things have been a little crazy around here right? A short (full!) break for Christmas and then on with the madness , two more shorter jobs straight after that one and then an epic birthday party and then guess what?
I got sick.


I soldiered on for the wedding, sensibly getting myself on to proper drugs and feeling like a grown-up. But I was back at the doctor for more drugs 10 days later, still with glands like golf balls.
This time she gave me a Vitamin B shot too, to absolutely no affect.

3 days later, limp as a twice-dunked biscuit, I drove myself back one more time. I sat in the waiting room with my head resting against the wall, twice the receptionist asked if I'd like to lie down.

Blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, anemia, glandular fever, thyroid, pregnancy etc etc etc - all results came back negative, fine, healthy.
I felt like shit.

And so the last few weeks have been. No energy, no brains, overwhelming thirst, short term memory loss, rubber limbs and sore head.
No real diagnosis except just ... fucked. And did I mention old?

I'm horrified that I haven't been able to keep the pace, somewhat ashamed that all that hard work - which I found so invigorating and energising - left me shattered and inert.

There has been some introspection (I've decided to blame the children) and some resolutions (I do need to get serious about my general health and fitness), but I refuse to contemplate a career change just yet.
I love what I do and I'm looking forward to doing a lot more of it soon.

And some more of this too!

Stronger every day - hurrah!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

dear girl friends,

I've had some big plans ...

... the house party - catered of course - inviting everyone I know and hiring the guesthouse up the road to accommodate the out-of-towners ...

... the debauched weekend away with no kids, heaps of food and booze (a lot like this) ...

... the even more debauched weekend away with mind-altering substances and trance music ...

... the morantic getaway for two to an exotic and luxurious location ...

... the adrenalin-fueled destination experience ...

... but actually I want none of that, not right now at least.

Actually I want to celebrate my 40th with you.

I want this:

Plus more wine than pictured, red lippie, screeching laughter and the best girl friends this nearly-40 year old could wish for.

I know you girls are good for it, expect details in an email ... soon.

*all pictures shamelessly stolen from the internet.

wedding in paradise: part three

Look at these sweet little angels in white.

You'd never think they'd just put their mothers through the ringer would you? There's no hint in this picture of the snapping, snarling hot mess we'd all been in just moments before?
Compliance is not my daughters' strong point at the best of times, but pulled from the river and scrubbed up and forced to have their hair brushed and their toes cleaned somehow made them extra surly and horrendous.
Fancy that.

When the bride pulled up to the cottage where we were dressing the girls, 15 minutes earlier than expected, the Landrover brimming with bridesmaids and flowers and parasols, we were horrified.
We still had two plaits to go, a bunch of silver tattoos to adhere, at least one child in tears and I'd just discovered I'd only packed a hot pink bra to wear under my cream and black dress!

But cheerful and calm they all rolled out the Landie and into the house, picking up hairbrushes and crumpled dresses and tearful children as they went, chatting and laughing and infecting us all with their joy and laughter.
I looked up to see my new sister-in-law, resplendent in white cotton, smiling the biggest smile in the world, as cool and lovely as the simple jewels round her neck ... it was going to be the most beautiful wedding.

It really, really was.

My little brother, the youngest of us three, happy and wed to the most perfect girl in the world for him.
I can think of nothing nicer.

Monday, April 20, 2015

wedding in paradise: part two

part two: setting the scene


Blissful was the rest of the wedding weekend. Husband, in a masterful display of maturity and selflessness, woke on Saturday morning and made a conscious decision not to let the events of the previous day ruin the wedding.
And they didn't. What is a car (or a couple of cars) to stand in the way of true love and kinship under a wide African sky?

Saturday was spent Setting the Scene.
Erecting the stretch tent, decorating the wedding bower, picking flowers, setting up the fire pits, putting up lanterns, practising music (and speeches!), greeting new arrivals and lots and lots of swimming.

All the eager helpers had sensibly been given just one or two tasks, so no one felt over-worked and everything got done calmly and in good time.

Band practise under the stretch tent (made by the mother of the bride!).

Cutest little flower girl (made by me).

Slackers slack-lining while surrounded by slack-jawed beauty.

And then very naturally, when everything was ready and everyone had arrived, we had a wedding ...

to be continued ...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Autumn is so pretty. Awesome even.

Even though I resolved not to use that word in 2015 due to its massive over-exposure and world domination over all kinds of other equally lovely descriptive words.

But I think awetumn sounds kind of nifty and as a season, it's one of my favourites.

The otters have been visiting.
Once in the middle of the afternoon one taunted our dogs just off the shore, popping up and sniffing at them curiously while they barked and jumped.
On Friday night I woke at 1am to a squealing and a splashing outside - and by torchlight watched as two chased each other on a circuit of fighting and and rough-housing, into the water, round the moored boat, up on to the lawn, down the bank, into the water again. Fast and fluid in the water, delightfully snaky and just as fast on the grass.

I flew to Joburg on Saturday, to visit my bestie and take a meeting on Monday, more work for later in the year.

It was good to be a business lady again after a month of wonkiness, a month of not feeling very much part of The World.

And it was good to come home. To do a big grocery shop and clean a bunch of winter shoes, to fix the broken foot on the couch and witness yet another tooth come out, to watch Maya the Bee and order a carpet-cleaner in next week.
To watch the weather change.

There's a shift, and I like it. Time for the next thing.

Monday, April 06, 2015

easter past and present

I quite like Easter.

It's not as frantic as Christmas, but there's still a big focus on family, food and indulgence. What's not to love right?
You can't really go wrong with a 4 day weekend and a free pass to eat as much chocolate as you like.

I have very fond childhood memories of Easter. We didn't get a lot of sweet treats so a pile of chocolate was a big deal, and hunting for eggs in our big fynbos garden with lots of nooks and crannies was an adventure.
We often went away over Easter, or had friends from the city come to us, and I remember dying eggs with tea and drinking hot chocolate in rainy cabins in the woods.
One year we had pink and white cut-out cardboard bunny ears and paws from some far off exotic place (like London!) - in ye olde early 80's this kind of thing was not as commonly available as it is now.
I cringe to recall an Easter morning as I entered adolescence when, thinking I was being droll, I asked if 'anything exciting was going to happen or can I go and shave my legs?'. My mothers face was hurt and her voice sharp when she retorted that my (younger) brothers were going to hunt for Easter eggs but if I thought I was too old for such things I was free to do something else.
I felt awful, and obviously I was not too old for such things. I felt like an Easter ass.

It's also such a good break, after the madness of the first quarter, we're all in need of lazy days come April. And it's traditionally the weekend we get the first real winter rain. This year did not disappoint and Saturday dawned grey and chill.
There is still novelty in that.
Especially when it clears right up again and the weather returned with a beauty unsurpassed by any other time of year.

In April 2011 I wrote:
This time of year, my god it is sublime. It's ... subtle. Subtle in a way that February in Cape Town is utterly not. Clarity, cut, colour - it's like the seemingly endless days of late summer/autumn are each perfect diamonds, most definitely gems, each one handcrafted for perfection.
The temperature is perfect, subtle. The breezes are soothing, subtle. The light is clear and gentle, subtle.
It's marvelous.
 I could've written that about today.

Easter has not always been so idyllic. Most notably Easter 2010.

And I had fun recalling some failed Easter crafts from 2011, and the time Frieda made my heart explode with love, also 2011.

And of course how could we ever top the excitement last Easter brought?

That teeny-weeny little guy is now double the size of his older sister and a great big lovable stinky brute of a thing, adored by all.

This Easter weekend was low-key and lovely. Friday afternoon with friends, Saturday walks and movies and cuddles ...

Sunday chocolate and colouring and Peter and the Wolf on audio ...

... rounded off with a massively indulgent evening meal - roast lamb etc and a pudding so good (and so not present on the internet I discover while trying to find a link) that I'm going to have to make it again just to blog and photograph. As an act of public service you understand.
All four of us rolled away from the table and out the door, for a necessary wild and windy night walk, laughing together in the moonlight as we walked off our food babies and tumbled home to bed.

This morning we could barely contemplate anymore sweetness but we had a family get-together planned, and we'd promised to bring the cake, so we pulled ourselves together and just managed to produce one.

It was a happy weekend. Here's to Easter!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

wedding in paradise: part one

part one: the getting there

10 is the number of vehicles it took to get the 4 of us and our camping trailer/tent to and from my youngest brothers wedding.

Our Jeep literally blew a gasket 2/3 of the way there. Leaving us hot and pissed off at a small filling station late afternoon Friday. It felt bleak until we realised that the carloads of dread-locked ukulele-playing smiling people pulling in around us were going the same way - to the wedding!

We shared orange ice lollies and break-down stories and 'how do you know so 'n so's' until my middle brother and sister-in-law pulled in - unlikely cavalry in their small red car stuffed full of hired sound gear.

The garage was managed by a small town gem, a friendly guy who seemed to want nothing more than to get us back on the road. He quickly arranged for us to hire a buddy's big Colt bakkie for the rest of the journey and enthusiastically started helping to unhitch the trailer.
When his eagerness resulted in the jockey wheel coming off in his hand, he quickly arranged for another buddy to pop round with his welder, while Husband looked ready to blow a gasket of his own and my brother and I stifled an extremely ill-timed and unadvised fit of the giggles.
This was back when we were still laughing.

We elected to send the girls on ahead with my brother. We knew Granny was waiting at the wedding destination and as it was getting late and we'd been on the road for 4 hours by then we thought it best to get them out of the equation.
Thank god we did.

Having swapped the girls for all the sound gear they set off, the welder got to work and shortly after our back-up vehicle arrived.
It was ... dodgy, to say the least.
Back on the road we wiggled and jiggled, reminding ourselves that we didn't have much further to go, grateful for being back on the road.

The sun was properly setting as we turned off the tar and on to the winding gravel road - a good 45 minutes 'til we got there.
Maybe longer, we thought, as the Colt repeatedly jumped out of gear on the corrugated dirt, the trailer sliding and drifting alarmingly behind us.
Things were tense, and stifling hot in the cab, all the windows closed against the billows of dust, visibility poor and tinged blood-red from the last of the dusk. I was grateful I couldn't really see the immense drop at my side.

Up the last big hill, up and up, gears jumping, engine whining, trailer balking. We knew the Colt could do it but 'can you see the needle for the temp gauge?' Husband shouts above the rattle.
Up and up we push, both his hands on the wheel, mine on the gear stick, eyes jumping between the road and the dash. 'Where the fuck is the fucking needle??'
And then flatly, 'Nevermind' as clouds of steam emit from the bonnet, white and starkly visible against the orange and brown of dust and despair.

The Colt blew a gasket 11 km from our destination.


I hitched a lift in with more wedding guests passing by and a kind uncle and hero brother went back to fetch Husband and the trailer.

My beloved mother had fed and bedded our children. Someone made us cups of tea and silently delivered them to us, pitching our tent in the dark.
Husband went straight to bed, deaf to the djembe drums and reminiscent laughter around the campsite.

I should have done the same, already on my first set of meds for pharyngitis and broken from the days challenges, but I needed to unwind a bit and instead walked softly around the campsite in the dark, gazing up at the stars, enjoying the soft mountain air and getting excited for the real business of the weekend: the wedding!

to be continued ....