My Handbag, My Security Blanket and Yours?

My Security Blanket

The past week I have been thinking  constantly about the significance of handbags in a woman’s life. Strange thing to think about you  might think. Yes I agree, but how many women do you see without some form of handbag? Very few I would say. So why are we so attached to this ( if you look at it critically ) strange looking  appendix hanging from every woman’s arm or shoulder?

As many times before I turned to  researching the origins and history of handbags and learned a few interesting facts. I also came across some very informative opinions about the role of handbags in a woman’s life.

Handbags  have been used as far back as the 14th  and  15th century in the form of a pouch attached to the girdle and worn by both men and women.In the 18th Century ladies started carrying their  handbags in their hands, as it was thought that wearing a purse attached to their clothing would ruin the look of the day’s fashion. This started the handbag’s evolutionary journey from simple pouch to  fashionable necessity and even status symbol such as  the it bag of today and the creations of famous fashion designers.

Then there are the opinions on the symbolic meaning of handbags. These blew my mind!

The handbag as a symbol of identity:  Women have through the ages been the nurturers and and caregivers of the family and people around them. According to the author Ada Faulk this instinct has evolved into women carrying all they and everyone else could possibly need in their designer handbags. Come to think of it I can identify and agree with this statement.

The handbag as symbol of power:  The same author as above sees Magaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth ‘s stuctured handbags and pocketbooks, without which they were never seen as a symbol of female power .

Magaret Thatcher ‘s handbag

In her own words about Margaret Thatcher: Her pocketbooks came to be viewed as veritable munitions depots constructed of polished black leather. They became a synecdoche for the woman herself: conservative, intimidating, feminine. ( Ada Faulk www. the daily           

Now to my own handbag ! To fulfill this excercise I,  for the first time in many months, emptied my handbag on the bed and looked critically at the contents.

I found:

 Car and house keys, symbol of my independence and ability to reach home.

 Cell phone, symbol of being in contact and ability to call for assistance in need.

  Credit card,debit card and cash , symbol of my ability to provide for myself and my family.  

  Many cash slips , symbol of my neglect of admin.  

 Driver’s license and identity document, symbol of me as a person. 

 Tissues , symbol of  caring.

 Comb and lipstick, symbol of being a woman. 

Pen and notebook , symbol of  preparedness.

 Small container containing emergency medication, symbol of being a nurturer.

 Apple, symbol of caring for physical needs.

 Peppermints, symbol of  my sweet tooth.

Do you remember having a security blanket or soft toy without which you wouldn’t go anywhere or couldn’t sleep when you were a child?

When I looked at the motley collection of items on the bed, I realised, my handbag replaced the security blanket of my childhood. With my handbag full of tricks  I feel I can face the world and anything it throws at me!

My conclusion : My handbag is my security blanket!

What about yours ?




Portrait of a Dad

How do I capture the essence of a man who was my father, dad, friend, councilor and role model in a few words? I don’t think I can, but nevertheless I will try.

He was tall and  handsome with bright blue eyes which always twinkled with merriment and mischief. His eyes shone with intelligence and his heart was filled with love and joy of living. He could find pleasure in the smallest things and seemed to enjoy every aspect of life. Professionally, he was a businessman, intellectual and farmer, but  his real passion was farming.He loved his vegetable garden, fruit trees and above all his stud of Brahman cattle. He was a people person and was equally at home in the circles of highly placed people and in the homes of his farmworkers whom he visited regularly.

This picture shows the essence of the man loving and full of fun! 

What did his life teach me?

He taught me the meaning of  love. When asked what he would like for a birthday present, he brought me an old fashioned empty match box and    said: ” only this box filled with love!”

He taught me to reason without becoming too emotionally involved as emotions cloud our ability to think clearly.

He taught me the importance of  family and good relationships.

He taught me to have goals and actively strive to reach these goals.

He taught me that success only follows hard work and that no work is beneath  my dignity.

He taught me to have fun and find joy in small things.

He taught me never to look back, but to persevere and try new avenues if I reached a dead end.

He taught me never to stop learning new skills.

He taught me to live life fully every day.

He taught me respect for other people, their beliefs and way of living.

He lived for 95 years of which the last 14 was as an invalid. He died and we buried him yesterday, knowing that the most important relationship in his life that with Jesus Christ was intact and that he will spend eternity in the presence of God.I will miss him terribly but know  we will meet again.

Maybe he has more to teach me, this time about eternal life.

The Way we were in the 70’s

Like the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were

This song by Barbra Streisand, (1974 ) brings back memories of the way we were in the 70’s. Some of the memories have indeed become misty through the passing years, but with the assistance of old photos I can still share some of them.

We were carefree students experiencing the freedom of student life and on the brink of adulthood

First year student

We were addicted to late night coffee and visits with friends in res at university

Late night coffee

We were attending every and any social, dancing the nights away wearing mini’s and flowers  tied to  our toes with raffia instead of shoes.

We were wearing bellbottom jeans, mini’s, maxi’s and midi’s with platform shoes.

Typical 1970’s student style

We were girls with sleek and shiny long hair waiting for romance to happen

We were listening to the music of The Bee Gees, Carpenters, Simon and Garfunkel, ABBA, Barbra Streisand, Charles Aznavour, Nana Moscouri  and Niel  Diamond

Nana Moskouri a firm favourite

We were graduates ready for our first formal employment and excited but scared of entering the real world.

We were  children of the Disco Era ,the one that passed me by as it had no appeal.

We were young professionals in a first job and realising how little we knew.

We were the proud owner of a first car and a first own flat even though it was bare and cold.

We were in love.

And then there were two who became one in marriage and a whole new adventure started 

Weekly writing challenge, mail it in: It All Starts With the Start Button Mom! Does It ?

Hi Son,

I trust you are well and keeping up with the latest technological developments so that you can come home and ( allthough somewhat reluctantly ) be your parents’ ” in house tech support”.  

I would not be a mother if I didn’t throw in a few words of caution here, so I ask your forgiveness, but I have to ask you  to please refrain from  spending too many hours playing online computer games and neglecting your studies! Are you eating enough healthy food and sleeping enough? At home we are all well but we miss  you everyday.

Now to the real reason for my e mail.

Do you remember when you taught me to work on a computer? You tried many times to demonstrate the basics of computer literacy to me by typing at lightning speed and click clicking the mouse here and there, magically making things appear and disappear on the screen.  I could however not grasp the concept, as  your fingers moved too fast for my eyes and the steps went by too quickly to process and make it my own.

It all starts wit the start button

Then one day you said with some exasperation in your voice : ” Mom remember it all starts with the start button!! “ Those words were the best advice you could give me.  After that I could always find my way around if I first found the start button  and then logically followed the prompts of the software programme .

Now I have a new problem, which I have to ask you about as I feel too intimidated by the “techies “ at the shop.They might just  think I am totally clueless and wasting their time.

To my surprise and joy I received an e bookreader as a promotional gift, with my new upgraded cellphone. As you can imagine I was very impressed  since an e bookreader has been on my wishlist for a long time. At home, I eagerly opened the package to discover a thin sophisticated looking device with a touch screen. When I switched it on various  little pictures appeared , but I couldn’t find the  start button to send me on my discovery journey.

The e bookreader with touch screen

Add to this the fact that I  find operating the touch screen very challenging! I touch and nothing happens , I touch again and everything changes in such a way that I haven’t the faintest idea what I have done to make it happen, nor do I know how to get back to where I was. I can’t access the books I so eagerly want to read and if I by accident do access it, the screen suddenly goes dark.

I hope you understand my frustration! I have this wonderful new toy but no idea how to operate and enjoy it. Yes I know  you are thinking ” read the manual. ” I tried, however there is so little information it is of no value to me.   I find this new  technology exceedingly exasperating and  desperately need my ” in house techie”  to help!

The ideal, e bookreader and my glasses ready to enjoy!

So my dear son, could you please come home this weekend  and help your  desperate mother to master yet another technological wonder. I promise to cook your favourite meal in return for your assistance.

Waiting  eagerly to hear from you .

Love you lots,


Walking Update 6

This week I managed 8 km again!

I think, no I know there are many out there who would snicker behind their hands at my achievement. Those who run or walk 10km or more per day would not be able to comprehend the mountainous achievement that 8 km is for me.

Anyway I don’t mind what others think of my efforts, I know what it means to me and therefore I will continue on my slow but sure way and have fun too.

Kei River Pont

This week I started out at the Kei River where I travelled with the pont one of only two car ferries  in South Africa  across the mighty Kei River to  the village of Kei Mouth. I the visited the Hazel Jefferies Shell museum as I have always been fascinated by shells of any kind.

Shell at the Museum

Then I walked along the coast line to the Qolora River Mouth. My goal was the wreck of the Jacaranda. On the night of 18 September 1971 the ship Jacaranda stranded here in windy stormy seas when her engines failed. As she was a cargo ship, only the captain, his wife and 14 crew members were on board.   They abandoned ship using a rope ladder which they strung from the ship’s prow to the nearby rocks. I had to pass a few cows relaxing on the beach ( a rare sight indeed) to reach the wreck of which only the bow remains today.

Jacaranda Shipwreck at Qolora
Cows on the Beach

Photos from this link:  Qolora Eastern Cape 

Then it was on to the Trennerys Hotel which I should reach by next week

Those were the Days

My mom and a friend in the 1960’s

Those were the days when ladies dressed in hats and gloves with matching shoes and handbags  to go to a morning ladies tea.

Those were the days when little girls were dressed in short dresses with white socks, patent leather shoes and big bows in their hair.

Those were the days when I was  ten years old  and wished I could grow up quickly so I could dress up too.

Those were the days when even going shopping was an occasion to wear a hat and gloves.

Those were the days when our family went  on a flight with an  airplane for the first time and we dressed accordingly.

Those were the days  when we grew up and became teenagers, of the late 60’s and early 70’s

Those were  the days of  Friday night teenage parties ,wearing swing dresses (hastily sewed during the week ) and boldly coloured earrings.

We used patterns like these to sew dresses for Friday night’s party

Those were the days   of practicing for hours on end with giggling friends to do the twist while playing seven singles on the recordplayer.

Those were the days of dreaming about that first kiss.

Those were the days of listening to the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley,the Beach Boys and many more.

Those were the days  when we wore Midi dresses and  hats when going to church.

The Midi dress

Those were the days we thought would never end, but end they did and life moved on, to new experiences and memories of  which I will share more.