Posts Tagged ‘London’

Mom will always be young and strong in our eyes.




My mom has a special birthday today. She has seen 88 summers! Her voice came through clear and strong as we spoke. She was up on her bed having her ‘hour’s compulsory’ and we were just getting out of ours on the other side of the world. The calls need to be orchestrated when you live in another time zone, so that we don’t catch her napping. “I am 58, no 78….” Her mischievous voice joked with her grandsons.

‘They don’t make them like that anymore’  has been said of the caliber of people like my mom. Is it because they lived through a World War? They learnt to make do and to appreciate the small and important things in life. Whatever it is that has made her this way, she is a star!

She has so many talents …… She can cook a tasty feast to feed the extended family of mainly ravenous boys and men. These culinary skills  appear effortless apart from all the washing up that she generates for us ‘washer uppers!’ But we have to forgive her as the food is so delicious! Her paintings grace the walls in our home and her amazing handwork is known all over Stellenbosch. She puts her hand to everything from quilting to embroidery.

In her quiet moments I know she misses our Dad, her dashing pilot. Hopefully her memories and her children comfort her. I know that her 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren bring her much joy too.

Mom, you have been an example to us all on how to be tenacious, loving and loyal. I can fully understand why Dad chose you as his wife! You have not only been a devoted partner but you have loved all of us so unselfishly.

Happy birthday!

Your loving daughter



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Picadilly Circus


We are having an interlude from our Canadian adventure and are in London walking down Regent Street! I can’t believe it, this is the land of my birth and I feel a strange sense of kinship even though I have lived in the colonies all my life. Maybe it is because my parents kept IT all alive for me with the Enid Blyton books, tales about England, the music and we even wore our tartan. The twinkling spider web of Christmas lights and the bustling traffic bring me back to reality as I am lured into the shops by brightly decorated windows. My Woolies substitute, Marks and Spencer’s, has tempted me into a shopping spree and I succumb to a few sensible buys. It is with some regret that I eventually drag myself out into the drizzly streets, but there is so much to see. I have made a conscious effort not to “do London”, but to savour the sights and to take in just enough.

The Victorian buildings that line the street remind me that the historical side of London beckons me and I make my way down to the Thames. The autumn leaves crunch under my boots as I amble over Lambeth Bridge and I peer over the thick wall to watch a barge as it slips underneath. The Museum of Garden History is closed and I am grateful for the lucky find that morning of a DVD of all the magnificent gardens of England. It is 5 hours of pure viewing bliss which I am sure to pull out when the man cave at home is reverberating with loud cheering from the men in the family.

A crowd of well-wishers had gathered along the embankment around a newly married couple. She shivered in her elegant white gown as he proudly gazed down at her. It had begun to drizzle again but I was not going to let this deter me, as I knew I would have to toughen up to adverse weather conditions now that we had chosen to live in Canada.  The path meandered along the Thames and I parked myself on a bench directly opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. I sat quietly and watched the city go about its daily tasks as tourists and young mothers bustled past me. The whole world seemed to be in a hurry! Big Ben broke the spell as it chimed out across the Thames, it was already 3pm and it would be dark soon. I felt the chilly wind around my feet and decided to make my way back to the hotel.

The doorman of this gracious 150 year old hotel welcomed me as I ran up the broad staircase. I was ushered into the tearoom which is one of the novelties that the hotel offers; indeed they claim to have invested “afternoon tea”. It is a formal tearoom where you can sip your English Breakfast out of dainty porcelain china and you can nibble on the shortbread and the array of scrumptious chocolate cakes. So the Queen never made it for tea but instead I ordered a piece of irresistible cake and made sure  that I finished off her portion too. 

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