Posts Tagged ‘time’


It crept stealthily around the great elm tree at the bottom of the garden.  It stopped and its graceful form was silhouetted against the undergrowth. Slowly it moved closer and one leg hovered. It hesitated while it kept an eye out for any impending danger. Satisfied, the great blue heron trusted its surroundings enough to stay a while. It began to scout the blades of grass. This beautiful bird was so reminiscent of its familiar African cousins.  It had a different demeanour and was prepared to risk a closer look. It edged forward as it grabbed the sought after delectable grub.


Our graceful visitor

Our graceful visitor


There is something inside of me that just sings out loud when I venture into my garden. The inner child just wants to rush out! My garden is full of surprises and still taps into my sense of wonder. The joy of a spring bulb, the revival of an iced shrub and the scurrying visitors all keep me intrigued. It is a place where I can go to and remember who I am. It does not matter what country I live in. The joy and contentment it provides, remains the same.


The bastions lure you to explore further....

The bastions lure you to explore further….


 There are times in life when you have to dig deep, real deep to find that peace and contentment. Some find it in their chosen career path, others in the things they possess and some simply need to face a challenge. We focus on survival in our concrete jungles but in our gardens we can stop for respite. So I am fortunate that my garden provides that for me! There is something so honest and straight forward about tending a garden. As I wallow about with my plants, it puts all things that I ponder into perspective. It reminds me that there are no short cuts in life. As I begin to cut back the vigorous summer growth, I am also reminded that there is a time for everything in a garden. Each season brings hope and promise.

Some wise man once said: There is no paradise on this earth; it is up to us to create it. I just did!


Summer 2012 018





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Time stood still this week…..


I walked down lanes and peeked over walls...

I walked down lanes and peeked over walls…

I awoke out of my deep sleep and could not work out where I was. It was hardly surprising as I had clocked up four different beds on two continents over the past week! I was definitely home and all the familiar sounds filled my ears as I surfaced from my foggy oblivion. I felt like I had been away for ages, yet it had only been seven days. It must be ‘an age thing’ where time just slows down. My emails and an update on the local news beckoned and I stretched across and grabbed my phone.  


An article bounced out at me. It was written by Professor Richard Friedman from Weill Cornell Medical College. It explained my warped time perception in a nutshell.

‘Studies have shown that the greater the cognitive demands of a task, the longer its duration is perceived to be.’ So I was not going crazy, the intellectuals also ponder such mundane perceptions. In my case a great deal of brain power was needed to find my way backwards and forwards to Heathrow Airport, to make sure I was on the correct underground train and not to lose my passport!

 ‘They also found that repeated stimuli appear briefer in duration than novel stimuli of equal duration.’ This also reinforces my perception of why I appear to do the repetitive task of my weekly ironing in a flash. But gloriously, time stands still when I savour the magnificence of an old cathedral. The brain is a wonderful!


Chichester had much to delight!

Chichester had much to delight!

So with all that explained so eloquently by the good professor, I could safely relive and savour some of the memories that I had added to my store this week. I took a train trip down to Chichester to catch up with some dear friends. The English countryside did not disappoint and the Sussex surrounds were as picturesque as I had imagined them. I peeked over walls into cottage gardens, read gravestones in forgotten graveyards and downed a local beer in a friendly tavern. The highlight had to be my visit to the Chichester Cathedral. It had been functioning as a cathedral for over 900 years. The difference was that this grand dame had moved with the times. There was a fusion of modern tapestries with old 12th century artworks. A modern copper and stone font stood below an exquisive stained glass window. It was an eclectic mix and a work in progress.

The cathedral was alive with people, a real mix of all ages. The reverence that one felt did not disallow the discussions that ensued between the enthusiastic participants. Groups of students debated the different eras of architectures, whilst younger members stared up at the roof and the coloured light that filtered through the stained glass windows. As we wondered round the choir burst into song. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!


Chichester Cathedral is adorned with magnificent  windows.

Chichester Cathedral is adorned with magnificent windows.

The professor concluded…….

‘It is simple: If you want time to slow down, become a student again. Learn something that requires some sustained effort. Do something novel. Take a new route to work, vacation in an unknown spot.’


Here’s to slowing time down a bit!




 The music is also a new choice inspired by my sons. Goldfish is a band from Cape Town, South Africa, and I am told their music type is a mixture of electronic African jazz. 

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It had been a rough day, the icy wind had been blowing, the ironing was piled up in the laundry and the job hunting escapade had not been fruitful. How do I comfort myself in times like this? I reach for the FOOD….. But not just any food, it has to be food that conjures up the comfort of the familiar.


My familiar foods have passed the test of time and have been savoured without boredom coming into play. Now we all know that the concept of time is relative to one’s age. So if I had the urge to comfort myself with a familiar food that had passed the relevant criteria, it would have to hail from South Africa! The comfort of Ouma rusks with a cup of hot tea after a long day of teaching or a packet of salty chips as a meal in a bag when time is of the essence. My mouth just watered at the mere thought of these simple comfort foods.


That was it, I had to satisfy my stomach and calm my jaded being. I reversed out of the garage and chased down the road to my wonderful find of 2 weeks prior…the South African shop. There was no sighing as I pushed this trolley and the memories of trying to do this ‘job’ as fast as I could were in the distant folds of my cortex. I pushed my tiny trolley around the isles and drank in all things familiar…..boerewors,  rusks, Oros juice and Romany Creams to name a few.  The cheerful shopkeeper rang up my goods and as I handed over my dollars I thought about how important it is to keep things constant when one is dealing with change. If it means a 10 kilometer drive for a bottle of mayonnaise and a packet of biltong, so be it. We all cope in different ways and for us as a family, our South African foods and treats put a spring in our step when the going gets tough.


Did you ever think these would be comfort foods?

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