Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

Love is …………..

Love is giving her a red rose. 

love 5

When I was a young adult during the mid 1970’s and early 1980’s, the comic strip, Love is….. by New Zealand cartoonist Kim Casali (Nee Grove) was very popular. These cartoons originated from a series of love notes that Kim drew for her future husband. To me these cartoons symbolized love and to this day I have this cup bought and given to me  in 1974 on a trip to the Netherlands.

love 1

love 2

Corny I know, but very real to a 20 something in the 1970’s

Life According to The Size of a Picnic Basket

On Saturday the last of our three children moved out of the house to pursue her career and start her life as young adult living on her own.

As I was packing lunch for everyone who was helping with the move, I was struck by the thought that life can be defined by the size of your picnic basket.

The Small Picnic Basket
The Small Picnic Basket

As a young married couple we start out with a small picnic basket. After all there are only two people who have to eat and drink from the contents of the basket. This is the time when the picnic basket is filled with exotic and new things. There are new tastes to explore, new experiences to enjoy and new places to visit.

Untill ……..

The first child is born and the contents of the basket changes completely. Life is now filled with wonder, love, excitement and above all hard work. If a picnic is even contemplated, it usually is a hurried and simple affair as there is another focus in life.


One day the baby is big enough to join the picnic and the size of the basket, as well as the contents grow and grow and grow according to the number of children. Instead of exotic, the contents become practical, healthy and numerous. The experience however, is filled with laughter, fun, games and the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

As the years pass and the family grows, so does the size of the picnic basket. It has to expand to accommodate not only the children of the family, but also friends and friends of friends, maybe necessitating even two baskets.

Big Enough for Many People
Big Enough for Many People


The day dawns that the children leave home to live their own lives as adults. Then the picnic basket becomes small again, big enough for only two mugs, two sandwiches or biscuits. Maybe this is the time to revisit old memories or explore new places and experiences, a time to sit back and reflect on life and plan for the new phase that is starting now.

I am thankful for the years gone by, for three children who grew up and became productive and well-adjusted adults.

But most of all I am thankful that I am not alone and still have my husband to walk this new path with me and to enjoy the contents of our small picnic basket with.

My Heart is Raining Tears.

Friday 18 January 2013

Yesterday I threw away the last of my mother’s funeral flowers.

Today it is raining and dismally grey outside and so is my heart.

I have to go to my parents’ house, to face the difficult task of sorting through their personal documents deciding what to keep and what to discard.

I reach their house in the retirement village, open the door and quickly lock it behind me, not wanting to see any of the well meaning neighbours.

I need to be alone to feel their presence, to say goodbye, to mourn two lives which have come and gone leaving imprints in my life which will last forever. For at least an hour I just sit there, unable to start the task before me feeling emotionally numb and paralysed.

Then at last I force myself to open the first drawer and I am instantly captivated by memories.

In the drawer hidden away under a stack of old papers I find a little creamy yellow box . When I open it,  I am greeted by beautiful vintage costume jewellery and I immediately see my mother wearing it.

jew 2

I must have been two or three years old and they were going to a dance. She was wearing a light yellow dress  tight fitting in the middle, with a  wide puffy skirt. She looked like a princess with her dark curly hair, fifties style dress and the glittering crystals around her neck and in her ears.My sister and I stayed home that night dreaming of one day going dancing and being princesses too.

The memory lifts my heart and the rain doesn’t sound so dismal anymore.

Then I find a piece of wood, lovingly varnished by my father and kept for many years on the top shelf of his bookcase. It embodies the memories of his beloved  farm in the  bushveld and brings back vivid pictures of evenings sitting around the campfire and days spent in the veld tracking the wild animals he loved so much.

Wood 1

The rain is beginning to sound like music.

There is a newspaper clipping, yellow with age announcing:

” Horselovers From Our Community Come Together for Endurance Race.”

There we are, my sister,me and a friend smiling at the camera with the assurance of our youth. Now many years later I still remember my aching muscles after the long and gruelling endurance ride.


Memory after memory emerge from the files and drawers in the study and as the day progresses my mood lifts and the sun starts shining again in my aching heart.

At the end of the day I realise there is healing in unpacking and sorting through the memories. Some are discarded, some are filed away while others will be cherished forever.

Although it is still raining when I drive home, my heart is not raining tears anymore.

My Family and Other Creatures

Family: Is it a group of people  belonging to the same parents and grandparents, sometimes without  “goodness of fit” which causes many conflicts,  or a closely knitted group of people who, love being together or a  mixture of both?

Who were they?
Who were they?

My extended family seems to be a bit of both, with some members of the family getting along famously and others finding one another to be creatures from such different worlds that there is no common ground.

The word family is defined as follows :

Family: First referred to the servants of a household and then to both the servants and the descendants of a common ancestor. It comes from Latin familia, “household; household servants,” which came from another Latin term, famulus, “servant.” It was not until 1667 that the term was used specifically for parents and their children.


Recently we had two funerals in our family and  there they were , far away family members some whose names I found it hard to recall, but nevertheless connected to me and my parents by genetics. Genetics which were clearly visible in physical traits such as facial features, mannerisms, physical build, eye  and hair colour. I was amazed , touched and delighted by their appearance and long to make their acquaintance, to pick up the  threads of old relationships  and reminisce about childhood get togethers, when our parents were still all alive and visited each other on a Sunday afternoon.

Now, many years later, we live in different parts of the country, our city or province, leading divergent lives  and yet we are connected by invisible threads, woven and interconnected through our shared parents and grandparents.  With some we can pick up the threads of old relationships easily, while others feel like alien creatures from a far away land.

I can’t help but wonder about the lives of those who came before us. How did they live, who were their parents, what did they look like, what were their favourite  passtimes, places, music, colours? In short who were they, those people whose  DNA and genetics has made me who I am?

In the light of these questions I resolved to try and solve this puzzle, not only for my sake, but also for my children and their children for we all need to know what our origins are.

A sign of age? Maybe yes,but then I am getting older and as I become older the need to find answers to these questions become stronger.

Do you know who came before you?


Weekly photo Challenge: Illumination

Although man has learnt to produce, maintain and control fire for use in everyday life, it still is one of the most destructive and fear inducing natural disasters which we have to contend with.

As we live in the country where the veld becomes very dry in winter, we are often awakened at night by the sound and smell of veld fires. The sight  of a veld fire illuminating the night sky is both beautiful and  scary as illustrated in these photos taken during such an event.

Brand 1

Fire 4



Fun With The Button Tin

Buttons 2

When we visited Clarens in December I saw something in one of the craft shops which I just had to try!

The Inspiration Button Rings
The inspiration, button rings

So here goes with a DIY project to start the year. As I prefer wearing a brooch on a jacket, I decided to attempt making brooches with buttons.

You will need :

4-5  Buttons ranging in size from big to small in colours of your choice.

Needle and thread in a matching colour.

Brooch back ( available at sewing and craft stores ).

Glue to attach the brooch back to the buttons.

Sew the buttons onto one another, starting with the biggest and ending with the smallest.

Glue the brooch back onto the finished product, wait to dry and wear on a jacket.