Monthly Archives: April 2011

Marriage & Romance

How wonderful to watch some of the Royal Wedding yesterday, so many years after Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s. Teenagers then, we crowded into our school hall for most of that day, savouring the moment, not to mention the opportunity to skip classes. Even in South Africa, we felt strangely included, similarly to yesterday.

Thanks to the massive scale world media of course, but perhaps also in part because of our British ancestry. At least, that would figure according to Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating book, Outliers. As for the present, though, Prince William looked dashing, what a beautiful bride Catherine Middleton made . . . and what a gorgeous dress Sarah Burton (for Alexander McQueen) made. I whole-heartedly endorse the fashionistas’ praise 🙂

On the subject of weddings, we recently attended one in Botriver, near Cape Town. I mentioned our pending trip in a previous post, promising some photo’s, but to be honest I took pitifully few – feeling rather too social. Instead, I’d like to share a link to the official photographer’s beautiful blog, which showcases a stunning celebration: Tasha Seccombe Photography. There are four posts altogether, if you feel like a leisurely browse.

It took place on a wine farm in the wildest wind, lending a wintry, Highlands feel. Being partly Scottish, I loved the bagpipes, along with the kilt worn by Warren (the groom) – and the bride, Jen, was simply lovely. Apart from plenty of traditional delights, technology played a role too. Jen’s parents were in England, unable to travel for health reasons, so they shared the experience via Skype. Isn’t that cool?

Our sincerest wishes go to both couples for a magic married life, filled with romance. Being a chik-lit/romance novelist, that’s significant to me 😀 While in Cape Town, I did take the following pic of Foresters Arms (“Forries” to the locals) because this restaurant and pub features in my first novel, Out of Air, and I wanted a photo for the book’s website. We had a fabulous Friday lunch there, finding it as vibrant today as in 1994, when the story is set:


FORESTERS ARMS restaurant & pub – Cape Town, South Africa

So if you happen to take a trip to the Mother City – and fancy a British feel – put it on your list of places to eat . . . drink . . . and be merry! Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Messages, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Time to say goodbye”

As prepared as we may try to be, we never are entirely. That just seems to be the way of it. We bid farewell to Tex yesterday, shedding tears for the fourteen years of unconditional love that’s so unique to dogs. Despite dealing repeatedly with death, it’s still somehow inconceivable that one moment he’s with us . . .


TEX AT HOME – Johannesburg, South Africa

. . . and the next he’s not.


HOME WITHOUT TEX – Johannesburg, South Africa

There’s comfort in the peace of his passing, which mirrors the overwhelming majority of his life – apart from the terrors of our Highveld storms. Here’s a pic taken some months ago, before the rapid acceleration of old age, showing the gentle soul we’ll always treasure:


TEX – older

For the record, here’s another in younger years:


TEX – younger

R.I.P. beautiful boy. Our love goes with you, like in this haunting song by the brilliant Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman:
Continue reading

Posted in Messages, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Easter eggs and bunny slippers

HAPPY EASTER to all who celebrate it 🙂


EASTER EGGS in a basket – http://www.ovpstudio.com

Apart from Easter messages, masses of chocolate and public holidays, this time of year tends to be marked by media warnings about road safety, lending some sobriety to the pending long weekend.

With that in mind, I’d like to spare a thought for a special project which is underway at the Children’s Hospital Trust. Managed by my wonderful sister-in-law, this is the fundraising arm of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.

The objective is to equip four METRO Emergency Medical Services ambulances with specialist paediatric equipment, facilitating a hugely positive impact on the prognosis for small patients. A total of R2,000,000 is required for this purpose, every cent of which goes directly to the project. Looking at images of the proposed ambulances (Bugs Bunny pics and all) is really moving, prompting this mention.

Should you, or someone you know, be in a position to help, please follow this link for more information or to make a donation: www.childrenshospitaltrust.org.za

Either way, enjoy a delicious Easter and appreciate the bunnies because . . .

“You can’t get a swelled head if you wear bunny slippers.” – Dean Koontz

Continue reading

Posted in Messages | Tagged , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Move over BFF, we’re talking MBF

Mind you, “Best Friends Forever” is in many ways synonymous with “Man’s Best Friend”, at least as it applies to doggie years. It’s just the lifespan discrepancy that causes heartache. Still, the joy supercedes, so we come back for more of the same magic. As our beloved old boy, Tex, gradually prepares for a graceful parting with this world, our whirlwind puppy, Quest, is developing his inborn flair for the successor role.

While Tex’s tired legs can no longer match the eagerness of his spirit, Quest’s energy is boundless. Nothing delights him more than a super social, team walk. We often indulge him at a beautiful local park, which also forms part of our morning cycle route. Here are some glimpses of this favourite playground:


Dam at Marks Park, Johannesburg


Men with their dogs – Marks Park, Johannesburg

Now for some serious opposition to the theory of dogs looking like their owners: the miniature, airborne ball of fluff (in the middle) is Max, the Pekinese who belongs to Simon, the big tattooed, tough guy! Or the other way around, depending on your perspective, as so eloquently expressed in the movie Babe – where the animals speak and their respective people belong to them 😀

Already the bond between Dave and his dog is unbreakable. Quest would forego his food in favour of a car ride, to anywhere and everywhere Dave has to go. Aside from being a tough guy (and closet softie), Simon is a talented photographer as you can see on his blog, GotMilk Photography. He took this telling pic of Dave and Quest together:


Dave & Quest – Marks Park, Johannesburg

Although Quest excels as MBF, he still has time for his own BFF, and it seems there’s some truth to the saying that “opposites attract”. You guessed it: the German Shepherd and the Pekinese are best of friends. During a break from Quest tumbling Max like a dishwasher on full speed, Simon snapped this shot of them panting under a tree:


Max & Quest – Marks Park, Johannesburg

All told, however, I’d say Quest’s priorities are pretty clear. Dave is number one. They love hanging out together, engaged in male bonding, like watching sport on TV:


Dave & Quest hanging out together

In case you’re thinking I feel left out, not to worry. I have a personal WBF, in the form our gorgeous Norwegian Forest Cat, Jina. What could be cosier than a pre-dawn cuddle under the covers, with her gentle purr vibrating beside me?

Finally, an aside, following my last post: Dave is cycling above because an old lower-back injury from his pro racing days continues to haunt him, making walking any distance extremely painful. Recent intensifying of the pain, together with loss of feeling in his foot, necessitates a spinal fusion, which is scheduled for the first week of May.

This means that I won’t be posting a host of enduro articles, since he’ll be off his motorbike for about three months. We’re still going to Cape Town for a wedding and to visit family, though, so I’ll certainly share some photo’s from the Mother City. Have a wonderful few days in the meantime, everyone! Continue reading

Posted in Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Playing catch-up

OUCH! Eleven days offline following a severe lightning strike – that was frustrating. Our iPhones helped, but let’s face it, they’re not a satisfactory substitute. What a relief to be fully connected again!

In the meantime, the 2011 enduro season is well underway. It kicked off with the Enduro World Cross Country held a few weeks ago at Hartebeespoort Dam near Johannesburg. Regular readers may remember this venue from last year, but here’s a pic to set the scene:


Nomadik Tents at Enduro World Cross Country, Hartebeespoort Dam

and another to put things in perspective:


Extreme Action from the EWXC Extreme Event – Feb 2011

Fortunately, the rider was fine. Tumbles aside, it’s a great sport – one that draws an awesome crowd together amid some of Southern Africa’s rural splendour. A case in point was the recent Enduro World training tour to Swaziland. We were hosted at the lodge overlooking the magnificent Maguga Dam:


A view from Maguga Lodge – Maguga Dam, Swaziland, Southern Africa

While the guys (and one gorgeous girl – Kirsten Landman, SA’s top lady enduro racer) sweated on their bikes, the rest of us relaxed,


Maguga Lodge deck, overlooking Maguga Dam, Swaziland

enjoyed a sunset cruise,


Sunset over Maguga Dam – Swaziland, Southern Africa

and explored the local arts and crafts centre, including the phenomenal Coral Stephens Handweaving industry:


Arts & Crafts centre – Piggs Peak, Swaziland


Coral Stephens Handweaving shop – Piggs Peak, Swaziland

The recent Lesotho Enduro was the first national race of the season. It took no prisoners; unanimously rated as hard core. Way to go, Dave, finishing 5th in the Masters Class and mere seconds off the podium – despite “youngsters” sneaking in from Seniors, while he’s another year older with nowhere else to go 🙂

In between pit stops, we crew kicked back and took in the scenery:


Mealie field in the early morning – Lesotho, Southern Africa


Herder with goats and enduro pits in the background – Lesotho

Although there’s always the tension that accompanies extreme sport, enduro is far less demanding on us than the riders. Still, tough as it can be, I reckon this smile tells a story:


Dave Estment – Maguga Dam, Swaziland

It’s the reason we’re preparing for the Enduro World Cross Country this weekend, and the Montagu national the next – another perfect excuse for a few days in Cape Town . . .

Continue reading

Posted in Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments