Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘flags’

 

 

I’m 15 for a moment

Caught in between 10 and 20……

My gaze followed the shape of the giant Stellenbosch Mountain that etched itself against the clear blue sky. It stood out in front of me as I walked up through the vineyards close to my house.

I often wandered there in those teenage years as I contemplated my future. Some of these thoughts were not profound as I would often merely dream about the weekend that lay ahead. It was a wonderful place to grow up! There were trips to the beach with friends, gatherings on the local farms and often a ‘braaivleis’ in the backyard. Whatever the activity, it was always sociable and usually outdoors. The breeze rustled the pine trees close by as my feet echoed over the sodden earth. I do remember those Cape winters with all that rain!

Camping 'hippie' style

Camping ‘hippie’ style

I’m 22 for a moment

And she feels better than ever….

The giant Table Mountain towers above me as I drive my mini along De Waal Drive. I am adept at taking those corners at quite a speed. My little car hugs the edges while I gaze across Table Bay. Huge ships from far away places dwarf our Table Bay basin. The flags of Norway, the United States and Great Britain flutter in the South Easter and I envisage myself visiting these places one day…….one day.

 Life was careering along at quite a pace. The years of studying were complete and I became involved in the demands of a teaching post. There was seldom a free moment but that did not take away any of the joy of imparting knowledge and hopefully teaching some life skills to eager faces along the way. There was much abundance in so many areas of my life. But we learnt to cope with less and had to wait for ‘things.’  Still don’t know how I managed to rent, eat and live on a teacher’s salary! But we did it…..life was simple and we were happy to entertain ourselves.  There was time for a long walk along the beach at Kommetjie and there were sunsets across Sea Point to enjoy……usually with a glass of red wine.

A new teacher.....

A new teacher…..

I’m 33 for a moment

Still the man, (woman) but you see I’m a ‘they’……

The Pilanesburg Mountains stood silhouetted against the morning Highveld sky. There are plenty of happy thoughts that fill my head.

The joy of parenthood has certainly been a highlight in my life. The wonder of watching a little being develop into an adult fills me with awe. I take ownership and delight in their strengths and their weaknesses. They are manifestations of one of my purposes here on this earth…… ‘Go forth and multiply.’ My 3 beautiful sons chose me as their mom.

While all this growing up was going on, I was also trying to establish my career as a teacher. It was a busy time with us flying down the William Nicoll Highway to school. The little blond heads bobbed at the back of the car complete with a mobile breakfast. Sometimes one was still dressed in pajamas! The world had moved just a bit too fast for the brain that morning! On reflection, the world was spinning just a tad too quickly for me as well. But it still brought me joy, intrigue and a feeling of accomplishment.

A new mom....

A new mom….

I’m 45 for a moment
The sea is high…….

 The ‘Koppie’ stands proud as our bastion.

 It grounded us for many years in Lonehill as we walked up to the top and gazed out across ‘our world.’ This is when life got interesting! We juggled 2 sons actively involved in their senior years while we still had one just starting out. Waterpolo games, cricket matches and a band rehearsal were all part of the day. Somewhere in between I had to fit in my after school commitments! We adjusted after school meetings and rushed from one side of Johannesburg to the other. Life was busy but so productive. There were times when I felt stretched but I loved it! There was purpose and I felt like I made a contribution to the lives of my pupils. It was a hugely satisfying time.

'Our Koppie' in Lonehill

‘Our Koppie’ in Lonehill

 

Half time goes by

Suddenly you’re wise……

Our Koppie still stands steadfast as we enjoy the wonders that live and grow beneath it.

This was a time to question where we were at and where we were going. There were bumps and falls but we got up and carried on. We kept our family close and learnt many lessons. Forever changed by the events of our 50’s we savoured the gift of wisdom and forgiveness. But our journey was by no means over, we still had a new adventure which lay ahead….. the GROOT TREK to Canada was about to begin.

Another blink of an eye

67 is gone…….

I see no mountain! Instead we have the immense and fascinating Ontario Lake. It stretches on into the distance like a sea. It is fickle with huge waves that crash against the lighthouse and breakwater. Other days it is like a pond, still and mirror like. I watch the reflection of the Canadian geese as they fly down south for the winter. Is the lack of mountain indicative of the ‘no more mountains to climb?’

One thing is for sure….there is still so much to discover and learn.

A new country to explore...

A new country to explore…

 

Hey 15, there’s never a wish better than this
When you only got a hundred years to live……

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Brrrrrr! The alarm screamed in my ear and I stumbled over to switch it off.  The sound still evokes ‘a pounding of the heart’ that transports me back to years of responding to the demands of a school bell.  It is strange how the bell symbolizes all the conforming that was required of me during my teaching years. But it is so different now. The alarm now heralds in the start of my new day. I have the choice to do more or less as I please. Wonderful! Once I have all the motherly tasks under my belt, I am free to go out and play!

What can I say? I have become a ‘Lady that Walks.’ I prefer it to the pastime of ‘doing lunch’ although the idea of a spot of lunch would probably also grab me. In fact a dash of shopping would also go down well. But the one that really gets me up and out into the ‘just above zero’ weather is a brisk walk! I don my ‘North Face armour’ and a pair of leg warmers. Then the fur trimmed hooded jacket is thrown on along with a thick scarf and a pair of woolen gloves. It is all I need to face the chill of the north wind across the lake.

The Ladies that walk

The Ladies that Walk.

 

Up until now, walking has been a solitary activity along with Josh, my Jack Russell. We have clocked up some mileage around the suburbs, chased many a squirrel and avoided skirmishes with raccoons and skunks. Other dogs have always been a challenge and Josh certainly does not fall into the category of being a ‘polite Canadian dog.’ So he gets his own private walk at the crack of dawn when there is little canine traffic. Once exercised, he is happy to settle down.  I, however, return to pound the pavements once more.

The group huddles under the town clock as we wait for the last few stragglers. The air is crisp and the steam of our breath wafts up as we greet each other. News is exchanged and the whereabouts of regulars is checked. We are the “Ladies that Walk.’ This does not mean that this is a singular activity, as our chatter can be heard around every corner. There always seems to be so much to talk about! So we live up to our name and the front few set the pace. Hats are pulled down as we brace ourselves against the cold. We always make our way down to the beautiful Ontario Lake. It is changeable and has the unpredictability of the sea. Some days it is serene and still and other times stormy and cold, but always fascinating.

One of the historic homes along the route.

One of the historical homes along the route

We pass along through the historical streets of Old Oakville. The cute cottages and stately homes blend in side by side. The different flags flutter proudly in the wind. They remind us not only of our heritage but of what has brought the group together…. we have a common bond:

We are all embracing change and our new lives here in Canada.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

The majestic Casa Loma suddenly appeared from behind the stone wall. We had traipsed up the long path from the station in the blazing sun and saw this grande dame nestling between the trees with her flags proudly flapping out her heritage. I had poured over the pictures in my guide book but this was her in the flesh, I had to pinch myself!

A piece of Scotland in Canada.

A piece of Scotland in Canada.

Sir Henry Pellatt began the building process in 1906 which included a team of 300 skilled artisans on the job for 3 years. What makes this whole building so amazing is some of the features and its sheer size. It has a typical castle vantage position perched on a ridge that looks out over the city of Toronto. I could see the CN Tower in the distance from the top turret window. We climbed this narrow staircase right to the top! Casa Loma lauds itself over any surrounding houses and even the condos cannot compete with its splendor! The Gothic revival style with the towers and turrets transports the observer back to a forgotten era when time was given to detail and this was reflected in the finishes which were spectacular. There was a free standing shower with 6 additional heads, overhead stained glass windows, wooden carved paneling, gleaming hard wood inlaid flooring to name but a few. A feeling of mystery had also been created with secret passages, hidden staircases and underground tunnels. I felt those chills when we ran through the narrow 800 foot slippery tunnel to get through to the stables. It was a gracious time and guests were taken between floors with an elevator and soothed with the sounds of an organ in the Great Hall.

Beautiful stained glass windows overhead.....

Beautiful stained glass windows overhead…..

 

Sir Henry was larger than life itself and although he had made his fortune in hydroelectric power, he lost his beloved castle after less than 10 years when the government seized it to pay for outstanding property taxes. The Great Depression left its mark on this gracious building and the years eroded away its splendor. The castle then had a chequered life for a while and was run as a hotel and then as a jazz night club. But this stately home was to redeem itself during World War 11, it served to conceal research that was being conducted on sonar. These sonar devices were built way down in the tunnels under the castle and were used to detect U-boats during World War 11. What a claim to fame that was!

But the best I have left for last, the 5 acres of garden with rolling green lawns, formal laid out terraces, sparkling fountains framed with majestic Elm trees. We ambled through the cascades of the soft blues,  purples and pinks  and enjoyed the irises, azaleas and roses. It was music to my soul!

 

The city of Toronto in the distance...

The city of Toronto in the distance…

The bells rang out their dreaded knell and it was time to make our way back. We looked over our shoulders and through the trees and caught a final glimpse of ‘The Hill House.’

It was a day to remember.

Read Full Post »