Posts Tagged ‘rugby’

You walk a lonely road; oh so far you are from home…….


The bustle of the airport was overpowering and I felt the nausea rise in my throat. My swollen arm ached and I cursed myself for my stupidity at my uncoordinated crash from the ski lift. These journeys back to South Africa are long and lonely. Mixed feelings and longings fill my head as I try to rise above my pounding head and sore body.

“Hello, I heard you speak, you must be South African!” A bright cheerful face looked down on me. Those kind words quickly washed away my self pity and wallowing. We chatted and connected with the similar threads that had been part of our lives. My new friend was further down the road of the ‘Trans- Atlantic Living’ and I valued the tips and similar experiences that we shared. Too soon it was time to board and the conversations would have to continue once we were back in Canada.

The view from Loonshadow.

Morning coffee on the deck at  Loonshadow


May it be that you journey on to light the day…..


Many months later we joined the weekend exodus of Canadians up to Cottage Country. We were to reconnect with our fellow South Africans. The spring colours burst forth as we travelled up east deep into the Kawartha Highlands. The name ‘Kawartha’ means “the Land of Reflections.’ The name did not disappoint as we indulged our eyes on the ice- melt rivers and the glistening dark waters.  You do know that there is more lake area in Canada than any other country in the world! I digested that thought while the road meandered on through the hills and dark forests. We had been on the road for almost 3 hours and a cup of coffee and a rusk would certainly would have gone down well! The car rounded one last corner and in the clearing, a cottage nestled amongst the trees. We were finally at “Loonshadow.’


A walk in the forest

A walk in the forest

Believe and you will find your way……..


The front door opened and our South African hosts were there to greet us. There was that same hospitality that I had experienced at Amsterdam Airport. The weekend had begun….

The men tried their hand at fishing but they could only tell us about ‘the one that got away.’ Besides, who needs fish when you have loads of steak and boerewors! The women ambled through the dense forest, while the boys ventured out on the quad bike. There was much to talk about and we covered a range of topics, like only women can. Everything from ‘what hair product works best in Canada’ to ‘the best places to shop.’ What can I say? I am sure that the men’s conversation was a far cry from this, especially being that their favourite rugby team had just been defeated! The sounds of our voices were like a whisper as the forest floor echoed under our feet. It was time to see to the evening meal.


There is nothing quite like staring into a fire.....

There is nothing quite like staring into a fire…..

May it be an evening star shines down upon you…..


A roaring fire was made and we gathered round as the light disappeared from the mirrored lake. The sad howl of the loon duck faded and the shrill call of the osprey broke the silence of the night. It was perfect and even the bite of the black flies could not spoil it for us. There is always a bit of pain with the pleasure…….




Read Full Post »

I expect all the bells and whistles on Sunday! After all it is Mothers’ Day! I would like to start off with my tea in bed and a whole grain rusk. I like the ones from Ouma with cranberries inside. So that’s a huge call being that we are on the other side of the world! Thank goodness for the South African shop nearby. I have stocked up so all they will have to do, is have a dig in the capacious cupboard. Then a gloriously full bath will go down well if it is run with heaps of bubble bath.  As long as my day starts like this, I will be happy just to spend some time with my boys. On second thoughts…..a little back rub and a list of ‘I promise to do the following’…. that would also go down well!

As I am the MOTHER in this household of men, I give myself permission to celebrate and marvel at my 3 sons. Thank goodness they are all so different, as this gives me the opportunity to enjoy their varied interests. These differences have also proven to be rather challenging at times. I refer to the handling of the ‘teenager stage.’ Just when you think that you have this whole stage waxed, you have to rethink your strategy.  It kept me on my toes! What am I saying? It still does! As David, my youngest, is still there.



 So David keeps me young. Well hopefully, or else I will crumple up in a heap from exhaustion. As I charge from one rugby match to the next, I lap up the fact that I am still part of the ‘rugby moms.’ The fact that I am nearing the big six, this is quite a feat!

David has a peaceful soul and is happy with his own company. I marvel at how easily he has made the transition into this new country of ours. I can’t imagine how daunting it must have been to have walked into the High School of over a thousand kids. He did not know a soul! That takes guts! He is a strong lad too and is my right hand man in the garden. He has dug many a deep hole for the copious plants that arrive each week in the summer. But with all this strength, there is also a gentle side. It becomes apparent when Dave cares for his animals.



Bryan is the passionate one. What can I say? ‘Die appeltjie het nie ver van die boompie geval nie.’ He attacks whatever he does with fervor. He involves me by discussing his day at a busy pharmaceutical plant. Bryan has a good eye for design and often helps me with projects around the house. This artistic streak is also noted in his photography. He has documented in photographs much of our new life here in Canada. He is our ‘outdoor kid’ and drags us out over weekends to try all sorts of new Canadian activities. This enthusiasm is infectious, although it does get us into trouble at times. A broken wrist or just a case of sunburn and sore muscles is often the result of our escapades into the unknown. I admire the way Bryan has kept up this enthusiasm even through the winter when our spirits were low.



John is my eldest son and my old soul too. He has an innate wisdom as if he has lived for a very long time. He knows a lot about everything and I can talk to him for hours. John enjoys his work as a software engineer and I marvel at his commitment. His hours are long and he is often called upon in the middle of the night. This is because the US is just waking up when the day in South Africa is drawing to a close. His American counterparts were obviously not strong contenders for the geography prize at school!

Where is South Africa? We share a love for music and I enjoy watching him sing. He comes alive when he plays the guitar. I miss him now that we are so far away. I am grateful for the regular contact that we have and the for the man who invented Skype. Actually I am sure it must have been a woman…….what man would invent software that enabled you to TALK to someone on the other side of the world!

John and Kristen

John and Kristen

 I need to add someone else to my ‘celebration list.’ I am grateful for the lady who calls me mom. Kristen is my daughter in law. She has balanced out our family and has improved the plight of the only woman in the house. Ha! Ha! Kristen is a creative whiz kid and has developed an online textile design business. She produces the most amazing designs and has recently appeared in many of the South African magazines. Some of her designs have made their way over the seas to Canada too. When I need to touch base with my roots, I only have to look over at my Nguni or protea cushions that she made. I enjoy her creativity and her work ethic. Kristen has included me in their lives as a couple and I am eternally grateful for that.

Thank you for allowing me to indulge myself with my thoughts on my children. I feel content and proud today. Although I know that they all have their foibles too, they are my children and therefore my legacy. I rejoice in that!

The Morkel mom

The Morkel mom

Read Full Post »

I am grateful today……..

My constant companion, Josh.


1.For a warm coat, I needed it in my walk around the city of Toronto   today with temperatures and the chill factor of minus 10.

2. For the quick, warm and comfortable ride on the go-train into the city. No sitting in the traffic for me!

3. For the sustenance of a plate of steaming hot butternut soup made from scratch in a lovely restaurant in The Distillery District.

4. For being able to keep walking for so long today in the city without feeling the pain of the sciatica in my leg. Old age is creeping in!

5. For the positive response that Bryan has received with his job interviews in Toronto.

6. For Philip’s energy and drive with his demanding job here.

7. For having the privilege of being able to be a ‘stay at home mom’ for the first time in my life. I now have time to play!

8. For being able to watch David grow into his own person. It is not easy to have 2 brothers precede you.

9. For David making the senior rugby squad, he has worked so hard to be considered for this. Yes, they do play rugby here!

10. For my friends and family, who even with their busy lives, still keep in touch with me on a regular basis. Contact with home makes my heart sing!

11. For the job offer made to me by a school in SA. This made me realize that I am still remembered and considered for my skill as a teacher even though I am no longer there.

12. For the message from a past pupil on Facebook. It is special to know that the connections you made with young people are still relevant.

13. For my furry child, Josh, he is such an enthusiastic companion and has such a zest for life.

14. For my improving vision that allows me to take in the beauty of my surroundings on my daily walks.

15. For the first buds that have appeared on the shrubs in my garden. Spring is on its way!

Read Full Post »

The colourful dresses swished down the sidewalk and sleek black hair was well coiffed into elaborate styles. There were blazes of turquoise, peacock blue, emerald green and vivid oranges as the graceful Bollywood followers made their way to the entrances of the Rogers Centre. We were leaning over the balcony of our condo with our binoculars taking in the parade which had the appearance of a pilgrimage. Even Josh picked up on the excitement and jumped up to see whether a stray dog had not perhaps slipped in with the crowd. This was the annual Bollywood awards which took place right here on our doorstep! The usual Bollywood celebrities were there, like Shahrukh Khan, and even a Hollywood star namely Hilary Swank cracked the nod.The merriment continued well into the night with the party slipping out onto the sidewalk outside our apartment block.

Need I say that we did not get much sleep that night and were suffering from the indulgence into a bit of our SA culture. We had been partaking in the sunny skies, rugby, and biltong at the Oakville rugby club. David has since become a member and we shall be standing on the sidelines for many Saturdays to come and I will be braving the rush hour traffic to get him to his practices twice a week.Driving the car is proving to be quite a challenge as my brain is still trying to get around being on the wrong side of the road. I drove home after the rugby and made both my men promise to just let me be and not to offer any comments.It was bad enough just having to contend with the volume of the cars and the speed at which they travel here. I think I will have to don a hat so that my fellow motorists will surmise that I am just a dear old lady making my way out to my weekly bridge club meeting!

One is constantly reminded of the tolerance of different cultures in Toronto and we look forward to embracing and learning more about the different people that surround us here in the city.

Josh watching the world go by

Read Full Post »