Thinking of the sea evokes a feeling of peace, of reading a book in the shade, feeling the soft white sand under my feet, and eating ice cream with the family.
Pictures taken on the islands Bongoyo and Zanzibar.
Shopping on a Wednesday morning, great fun especially since there are so few people about.
I spot them from afar, the marketing stall with young attractive dark haired men out to sell perfume and miracle creams to gullible old ladies and impressionable young girls.
That is when the side step dance begins. I take two steps to the side and avoid eye contact at all costs, but am still confronted by a long arm stuck in my face waving a free sample about.
“For you madam, try it”, the voice rings out.
“No thank you”, I reply politely,only to be ignored and confronted even more insistently.
Another two side steps from my side, followed by two from his side, and so the side step dance is on.
No matter what I do, he follows me as if following the secret sounds of the sidestep dance music. His voice becomes more and more insistent and mine less polite. Eventually I manage to shake him off, but my relaxed mood is gone, replaced by irritation and anger. I feel harassed, annoyed and cheated of my peace.
Is it only me I wonder, and set out to discreetly observe other shoppers in the same situation.
Here they come two friends out for a leisurely stroll through the shopping mall. They spot the stall and make a wide detour avoiding eye contact and chatting intently with one another. They make it past safely.
The next victim is less fortunate. She is gullible enough to stop when the arm waving the sample comes into her field of vision. Happiness for the seller, pain for the shopper. She tries her best to shake him, but eventually she buys a pot of whatever it is he sells before she can be on her way again.
As I observe I begin to categorise the shoppers.
There are the polite side step- dancers like me, the avoid at all costs-dancers, the downright rude leave me alone-dancers, the lets take another route-dancers , the slip into the nearest shop-dancers, the I will ignore you at all costs-dancers, the oh well lets buy something and get it over with-dancers. Each one dancing to her own inner music albeit not voluntarily in this case.
The one thing they all have in common is the fact that all seem to feel harassed , embarassed, or irritated by the aggressive marketing strategies followed.
Is it fair business practise to sell produce in this way?
I don’t think so. If I need a product, I will find something that suits me, in my own time and my own way.
What do you think and to which music do you dance?
Kamieskroon, Leliesfontein, Karkhams, Paulshoek.
All names of small settlements and towns on the wild flower route in Namaqualand.
These names seem to sing about legends and events of the past. How I would love to know the exact origins and events that gave rise to such colourful names.
This is what I could find.
The town Kamieskroon was initially known as Bowesville named after the district surgeon Dr Henry Bowes. The town was set in a narrow kloof with no place to expand. In 1924 the church council decided to rebuild the town and called it Kamieskroon. Kamies might derive from the Nama word ‘kam’, meaning two – referring to the twin peaks of the mountain. Leliesfontein is Namaqualand’s oldest village and had its origins in a methodist mission community. In 1902 Boer leader Manie Maritz massacred members of the Leliesfontein mission community that were suspected of being British sympathisers. In the present day one can still set your watch to the sundial given to its 19th-century founder, Reverend Barnabas Shaw.
Karkhams and Paulshoek are both very small settlements in the vicinity of Kamieskroon. I could not find much information on their origins, or the origins of these names. Maybe if we visit the area the locals might shed some light on it.
Enough of the dreaming and back to reality.
I can report that I made it to 15 minutes at a stretch on the treadmill this week and my sessions at Pilates are now one hour long. Although my muscles let me know that I have been working I am slowly but surely getting stronger and able to do more at a time.
With pounding heart, racing breath and a dry throat I stumble from the treadmill after only ten minutes.
Ten minutes at a time, that is all I could manage this week,the result of months of inactivity! At least I made it to the treadmill three times during the week.
This said , I felt I deserved a reward for perseverance and so I visited a waterhole in the semi- desert.
Goegap Nature Reserve lies 15km south-east of Springbok in Namaqualand and covers about 15000ha. The name Goegap is derived from the Nama word for waterhole.
Goegap incorporates the Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden, which contains an enormous collection of succulents endemic to the area. Five hundred and eighty one different indigenous plants are found here. Some succulents are so rare they are found nowhere else in the world.
Besides the unbelievable number of floral species, Goegap boasts forty five mammalian species including springbok, gemsbok, the endangered Hartman’s Zebra and the aardwolf.
Form the Goegap Nature Reserve, I went to the Springbok a town which was named after the Springbok gazelle found in this region.
The town of Springbok is the largest in this area of the Northern Cape. It lies in a narrow valley between the high granite domes of the Klein Koperberge ( Small Copper Mountains ).The town’s origins date back to copper mining activities which has since dwindled and today the main income is generated from tourism, commerce and farming.
There are a variety of guest houses and hotels in and around the town. The one place which caught my attention was Naries Namaqua Retreat, a beautiful hideaway on the edge of the Spektakelberg between Springbok and Kleinzee. Naries Retreat is well positioned for exploring the greater Namaqua Region from the Richtersveld in the north to the shipwrecks in the west.Naries Namaqua Retreat offers various types of accommodation,of which the beautiful old Manor House stole my heart.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the stray cat who turned up at our home and eventually became the newest member of our family.
He has now been with us for about six weeks and rules over the dogs, the house and lately in my office too. Yesterday as I wanted to pack my laptop to go to work,he sat on the bag and refused to budge.
His eyes seemed to say :
” You can’t go away and leave me here. “
Although he is still a young cat, about 9 to 12 months old, he never played. Life to him was a serious business and survival was first and foremost. Play was not an option. Lately however, he started becoming playful, trying to catch my knitting needles, stalking me if I walk down the passage and climbing trees for fun.
In the few weeks that he has been with us he became my shadow, following me everywhere I go when I am at home.
If I work in the garden, he plays around in the nearest tree, If I am in the kitchen, he sits and watches me intently as if he is trying to understand what I am doing.If I work on the computer, he lies on my lap, purring contentedly.
I do not regret the day he turned up at our home and became my constant and faithful companion.
I trust he feels the same.