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The intrepid traveler gazes out into the grey morning over the tarmac at Heathrow….Terminal 2…the Queen’s Terminal. The first leg of the journey is over. Thank goodness! I survived a snoring old soul, a fractious baby and an over active gentleman in the seat in front of me. The writing was on the wall when I sat down in my seat. I was just getting settled….book positioned glasses near at hand and earphones in my pocket. Suddenly the chair in front of me surged back into my face. The plane had not even moved onto the runway and he was in relaxation mode! I debated whether to say something to this over zealous passenger as I envisaged eating my dinner lying on my back. There was another concern….. I shuddered at the thought of his rather oiled hairdo slipping into my delectable airline food. Thank goodness that I had recently acquired the status of ’advanced years’ and it had magically transformed me into a patient and tolerant  human being. I decided to wait and contemplated the result of such an intervention. Would revenge set in from the vantage  position of the front seat as a result of me meddling? Instead I would pull out my much practiced teacher’s voice.

“Young man, would you be so kind as to raise your seat?’

My squashed legs ached and I would far rather have just taken a swing at him with my handbag but I am sure that the civil aviation rules would just not allow that sort of  behaviour.  Pity! As this course of action would have gone a long way at assuaging my pent up frustration. All that was behind me now and thank goodness my ‘dark side’ did not get the better of me!

The bag lady......

The bag lady……


So here I was sitting back people watching for the next 10 hours.
There was the obvious ‘not so young’ honeymoon couple off to Portugal. They gazed into each other’s eyes and whispered to each other.

 A pair of over anxious parents were next with their clearly genius son…..the questions were enough to make any brain ache! But the wonder and curiosity in that little face was precious. Pity we cannot harness that energy. I am sure it could provide enough fuel for a plane to take off!


I must have been a soft target as I then got nailed to take part in a survey. You know the kind….. What do you like about this place? What would you improve? I tried to take it seriously as I realised I was representing a carefully chosen group which would affect their statistics.
There were many positives in this recently overhauled terminal 2. But I don’t think the surveyer expected the replies that she got from her carefully selected person.
“I like the chairs without arms as you can sleep across them when you have a long delay like mine. The extra length allows you to have a place for your makeshift cushion and there is space for my feet to curl up too.”
I would love to be able to have access to a shower. One for the ‘common man’ that does not cost £60! All my earlier research drew a blank and even the sweet talking of the gentleman at the rather elegant public lounge came to no avail.
So I will continue to ‘slum it’ and sit right at the back of the plane.

 It is all part of it……the pain with the pleasure. The intrepid traveler is getting to see the world.

Nothing quite like a coffee to wake one up....

Safely at my destination………

 

No matter where you are, no matter where you go in the world, you will need someone to stand by you.

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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……

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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!

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