Archive for February, 2014


I dissolve the last of my homemade rusks into my morning cup of tea. Delicious! I love the crunch of the sunflower seeds and the sweetness of the honey. There is something to be said for a morning ritual. The hot drink glides down my throat and warms me as I look out over the back garden. There is a pile of ice and snow that has built up over the last few months. It looks like a growing mine dump! The temperatures have slipped below zero again. It is time for the fur trimmed coat yet again.

My clothes lie strewn over my bed. The bright colours pop against the backdrop of the snow scene outside my window. Strappy sandals, white shorts and cotton tops…..I deliberate over what to pack. Somehow I just cannot imagine being in warm temperatures again. The bathing costume is a must and also my khaki sunhat. My suitcase awaits like a giant cavernous hole!

The colours must coordinate so that I don’t have to pack too much ‘stuff.’ Then there is all the Canadian memorabilia. Maple toffees, maple syrup and even a bottle of Maple whiskey! I pack things in my case, rethink and pull things out.Oh how I hate all these decisions!


The Waterfront at night

The Waterfront at night


Tonight I will be winging my way back to South Africa…..floods of memories fill my mind as I listen to the Soweto Choir do their tribute to our great Madiba. What will it feel like to see all those loved ones who I have missed so much? Where will we go? A definite will be a trip out to Stellenbosch and the beautiful wine country. My roots are there as well as my family. Then there will be a ride out to Hout Bay to eat fresh fish out of a newspaper next to the sea. I will take in the ‘fishermen talk’ as they discuss their catch for the day and laugh at their humour. The excitement of spending time with my children and being able to be present at the scan of our new arrivals, makes my heart skip a beat!.  Then back up to the big city and just having time with wonderful and dear friends.

Majestic Table Mountain

Majestic Table Mountain

As I swallow that last rusk I am comforted by the fact that the famous Woolworths rusks will be part of my morning routine back in sunny South Africa!

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The creamy heart floats to the surface in my coffee cup. It is Valentine’s Day and I notice the faces sitting huddled together. They had also come into the restaurant to get away from the cold. There were old friends catching up and couples catching a quick chat during their lunch break ‘without the children.’ There was a stern looking business man who had emails to send. He never once looked up to admire the glamorous blond who was perched on her seat opposite him. In fact he never noticed anyone and just sat with his eyes glued to his computer. Poor man, he was missing all the nuances and the ambiances of the day. He might as well have stayed in his car with a takeout coffee and the heater switched on.  The dark haired man made up for it though as he surveyed the tall brunette who had just swished through the glass doorway. She had the collar of her plaid coat pulled up and her scarf fell casually over her shoulder. She looked like someone who had just walked out of the pages of Country Life. Her eyes met his and she quickly turned and found a seat near the window. She fumbled in her handbag and eventually found what she was looking for…..her cell phone. It appeared as if she had an appointment to keep.


A Valentine's surprise.

A Valentine’s surprise.


 I am fortunate to have the time to ‘people watch’ and I love it! A corner seat in my favourite café and a latte is all I need. It is the ‘me time’ that I savour and my escape.  My observations of others, as they go about their daily lives, teaches me much about life and myself.

I twist my soft scarf around my neck and pull the fur lined hood over my head. It is time to head out into the cold streets…….back to reality.


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Some things will never change…….

The challenge came forth from way down south where the sun beats warmly on the African earth. Oh the memory of that warmth and clear sky, just the medicine to escape from the reality of our Canadian winter!  

We had been house bound for a few days and had clocked up a 25 centimetre drop of snow all in one day! The wind chill bit into the bones as we shoveled and cleared the driveway. It was a never ending job! We had hit the comfort foods and braved the streets to alleviate the cabin fever. Then ‘the dare’ came in and the spirits lifted. It was just too enticing a challenge to ignore and besides it would distract us from an otherwise dreary cold day.


The ramp takes shape....

The ramp takes shape….

But don’t you believe it……

The plan was put in motion. What equipment would be needed? It was obviously going to be a snow setting so all the ski paraphernalia was needed. Then the scene had to be set and this involved the building of a ramp. Some jumping technique would add a bit of flair to the short prescribed video footage. Thank goodness for the house full of engineers and our software ace. It was a case of all hands on deck. The snow shovels and extra garden ones were rounded up and the heaps of snow were reorganized into our very own Winter Olympic ramp. Sochi here we come! Bear in mind that at the bottom of the back garden there was an icy stream and a forest of mature elm trees that had to be avoided at all costs.

Think about it before you break the rules…..

We were finally set up, cameras were poised and the ramp glistened against the backdrop of trees. It was now close to minus 20 C and the breeze had picked up.  We proceeded to the top of the hill. Let’s do this! The thick ski jacket was pulled off to reveal the requirements for the challenge……a bathing costume!  Note this was not a baggy pair of bathing shorts but a speedo! I giggled uncontrollably and was banished to the side of the garden where I would not distract. I was reminded that this was a serious matter. I duly removed myself to a safer vantage point where I could safely chuckle into my coat. The skis were clicked into place, the ski poles dug in and a few warm up stretches were performed. Count down…..3…2….1 ….and my son was off. He slid down the track and flew up into the air over the ramp, twisted and landed perfectly. We all let out a whoop and I ululated from my banished position. He did it! He met the challenge!


Lights, camera, action.....

Lights, camera, action…..

It’s just the way it is……

The cold does strange things to you when you are cooped up for so long. It is similar to being stuck out in the bush for long periods of time. In South Africa it is known as being bosbev…k. So we survive the cold version of this malady by amusing ourselves with ‘many firsts.’  I am grateful that ‘the challenge’ took place in our back garden.  I am sure some of our neighbours might have called in the paramedics and had us rushed off to ‘groen dakkies’ if they had noticed our antics!

Groen dakkies: the asylum in Cape Town

bosbev…k:  bush mad.

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