• the “v” word

    I’ve spent a lot of time this year, and the year before, pondering and writing about the problems which humans, and South African humans, in particular, face. I’ve written about race and child sexual abuse and women’s rights and prostitutes and I’ve celebrated great people and I’ve been on healing journeys and I’ve been on(…)

  • a poet called erin hanson

    You’ve probably pinned her words on Pinterest before. Perhaps you’ve wondered who this e.h. is. I know I have. You most certainly will have come across her most famous lines: There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask, “What if I fall?”  Oh, but my darling, What if you(…)

  • how to survive christmas

    I know that you know that we all know that this time of the year can be painfully, maddeningly and dangerously stressful. I think it’s the enforced family time and the overrated fun-level expectations – always a recipe for disaster. Here are my tips for a stress-free Christmas. Gifts I begin every new year thinking(…)

  • where i’m at

    How do you say you’ve been lost to someone? And that perhaps you’ve been lost for a very long time? Sometimes you get glimpses of home and shards of yellow light shine back onto the places you’ve been and the things that have happened to you and just for a moment you understand the beginning(…)

  • it may not always be so

    Sometimes one needs a long walk and a little poetry to begin the day. it may not always be so; and I say that if your lips,which I have loved, should touch another’s, and your dear strong fingers clutch his heart, as mine in time not far away; if on another’s face your sweet hair(…)

  • crystal barn

    I’ve been meaning to pop into Crystal Barn, situated a mere 2kms down the road from our farm, for a while now. The beautiful old vintage car in the driveway sparked my curiosity a few months ago and on Saturday morning, I decided to stop in for a quick breakfast on my way into town.(…)

  • for now

    I have been so QUIET. My apologies, but the loud noises and skittish brain activity in my head have not been translating well onto the keyboard and screen lately. I guess I could tell you news – about settling back into life in the real world after the trip of our lifetime; about having to(…)

  • travel diaries – barcelona

    Ahhh… Barcelona. Our little unexpected surprise. Our laat lammetjie. About two months before we due to leave for Europe, my very clever and scheming husband discovered that if we changed our return flights home from Heathrow to Barcelona (but still laying over in Heathrow) we would save enough money on airport taxes to afford an(…)

  • letters with flick – a(nother) post note to “how do we fix this”?

    So a while ago, I wrote this post (How Are We Going To Fix This?) about our situation in this beautiful country of ours and how we need to address and chat about that big blue elephant in the room: RACE and PREJUDICE. I emailed my friend, Felicity, in Zimbabwe, to ask her opinion on the(…)

  • studio ellessi

    I’m not one for buying souvenirs… Eiffel Tower key rings and snow balls just don’t do it for me and the only souvenir I have in my home is a shell from Mauritius with our names engraved on it… which we mostly bought just to get the haggler to leave us in sunbathing peace. When(…)

the “v” word

I’ve spent a lot of time this year, and the year before, pondering and writing about the problems which humans, and South African humans, in particular, face. I’ve written about race and child sexual abuse and women’s rights and prostitutes and I’ve celebrated great people and I’ve been on healing journeys and I’ve been on intense physical journeys. While I’ve been trying to scratch below the surface of how and why humans are so unkind to each other, I’ve also been sidestepping the biggest and pinkest elephant in the proverbial room.

As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. 

– Leo Tolstoy

To say I’ve been putting off this post, despite no lack of encouragement, is an understatement. For some reason, in this world of ours, compassion to animals, compassion to our planet and compassion to our children’s future seems to not be of popular concern. It’s almost considered weak and undesirable. Vegetarianism is a dirty word and Veganism is a crazy cult. I have never been met with so much resistance and opposition to what I thought would be a rather simple, not to mention personal, decision to not put animal products into my body. It seems everyone is taking my little dietary choice rather personally – which is something to think about all on its own. And what’s worse is that when I explain that it’s not actually because of any allergies or ill-health, but because I simply don’t want to be a part of the senseless slaughter of animals anymore, I’m looked upon like I’ve done gone and lost my marbles.

Let’s get real. I’m a farm girl. I grew up around headless chickens running around the garden as they were slaughtered for dinner; I’ve hugged piglets, I’ve bottle-fed calves and lambs and I’ve seen my parents raise and fatten two oxen every year (usually named “Deep” and “Freeze”) for our consumption. I’ve collected eggs, I’ve watched cows and horses mate and give birth since I was a little girl (most farm kids figure out the birds and the bees pretty early on in life); I’ve had pet cats and dogs and hamsters and rabbits and birds and snakes. I understood where our meat came from and I knew that animals were put through pain for me to eat. I’ve seen that pain. You see, growing up on a farm also makes you realise that animals do actually have a comprehension of pain; animals do feel suffering. You can see fear and sadness in their eyes, just like you can with any human being. And you can hear them scream or cry or whinny when they are hurt. Their sense of smell and their instincts are far more intense than ours – just yesterday morning Andrew weaned ten calves and we arrived home in the afternoon to find that their mothers had broken through FOUR sets of fences and run across the entire farm to get back to their crying babies. I don’t know about you, but that signals to me some sort of emotional and mental presence similar to humans. The thought of slaughterhouses and killing farm animals for food never really sat well with me if I let myself think about it too much – but like we all do, I just didn’t. I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind, reminded myself that animals were dumb and humans were better than them, and continued eating steak and burgers and wors rolls and roast chickens and salmon and cheese and eggs and milk and everything under the sun. I’m married to a chef – let’s just say Meatless Monday was never a thing in our house.

Last year, we reared a little black Brahman calf whose mother had died when he was a couple of days old. He was so tiny that you could pick him up in your arms and carry him.  From the beginning, Marmite was doomed because he was male – and we already have four bulls on the farm. We bottle-fed him and he lived in a spare stable with the horses as his neighbours and with the red-light on for warmth. When he was strong enough, he wandered around the stable yard, chased the dogs, sniffed Abby Cat and followed Victor the tractor-driver around like he was his mom. He also obsessively licked a drain pipe for hours on end (probably a sign of stress – cows are herd animals and  not only had he lost his mom but he had also been separated from the herd and made to socialise with a bunch of beings who didn’t speak his own language – can you just imagine how frustrating that must be?) and I remember saying to a friend how stupid he was. YES, I SAID THAT. Bearing in mind that Marmite used to run to you when you called him. Quite smart for a cow to recognise his own name, right? Almost dog-like.
As soon as Marmite was strong enough, he was put into the weaner herd with calves his own age. For a couple of weeks, he’d still turn his head when we called his name, but soon he integrated completely. It was nice to know he was on the farm and happy with his mates. Fast forward to two weeks ago and we were out for dinner with my dad when Andrew casually slipped into the conversation that he had sold a bunch of weaners to the feedlot, including Marmite.

Marmite

I KNEW all the rules as a farm child. I knew cows were not supposed to be pets. I knew they were supposed to be dumb. I knew they were bred to be eaten. I knew deep, deep down that Marmite was never going to a prize bull and live out his days in the meadows flirting with heifers. But still, something in me clicked when I imagined him being loaded up onto the cattle truck – scared and alone and uncertain of his doomed future. It was like the line between pet and food had officially been erased out for me. I no longer saw a difference between not eating Lulu and not eating Marmite. I could no longer justify it and I could no longer call myself an animal-lover if I continued to eat them. It was that easy. Black and white, no grey lines. The very next day, I got in touch with my friend, Rose, who sent me an initial reading and viewing list of information about giving up meat (thank you Rosie – eternally grateful). At first, I intended to just cut out red meat. But the more I watched and the more I read, the more I realised that chickens and fish and dairy cows are just as vulnerable as the animals killed in slaughterhouses. I watched Earthlings first (because it was for free on YouTube) and it blew my mind to smithereens. The screams those little pigs made as they were “thumped” (thumping is when small or deformed pigs are held by their legs and their heads are smashed onto a concrete floor, sometimes repeatedly, until they die) were the exact same screams I heard every morning on my daily walk when I made my way past the piggery next door. The way the cows were treated in Earthlings – the way they were branded and their horns cut off without anaesthetic –  I have seen farmers do that with my own eyes; I have seen cattle crying out and getting stuck in the crush. I couldn’t fool myself any longer that just because I lived in a farming community in South Africa, that our methods and facilities were any different than the atrocious ones displayed in Earthlings. Guys, when you see stuff in supermarkets marked “free-range” or “organic” or “grass-fed” – this doesn’t mean the animals didn’t experience pain as they were transformed into your food. It in no way should make you feel any better about your food or that it reached your plate cruelty-free. Trust me. Farming livestock is kak. It is brutal and selective and harsh and it takes no prisoners. The kindest farmer will still cause pain and even that prize breeding bull will one day, after fourteen years of mating and supplying you with healthy calves, be sent to slaughter and end up on your plate. Farm animals are commodities and if they’re not making money anymore, they’re got rid of.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I often post pastoral pictures of our farmlife – pretty landscapes, dogs swimming in the dam and calves frolicking. Yesterday, for the first time, I posted two videos of the newly weaned calves mentioned above running nervously around the crush as they began to realise they were separated from their mothers. These calves will be sold to feedlots as weanlings and then fattened up for slaughterhouses. It’s the truth and I know I took a big risk posting it – either I would be met with a host of heartbreaking comments like: “wow, that hamburger will look great on my plate” or a mass unfollowing – because people don’t want to see what’s going on. Sure enough, I got a bunch of un-followings and that’s okay. I know people don’t want to think about how their yummy burger at Hudsons was once a little calf separated from its mother or how that Nandos drumstick was once a chicken reared in it own faeces in a shoe-box sized cage. I used to be that person.

There is a massive “foodie” culture about at the moment, and I am a huge part of it. Chefs are celebrities, restaurants have replaced pubs as hangouts, and it’s cool to know your chenin blanc from your pinot noir. Meat errrryday – bacon for breakfast, chicken for lunch, steak for dinner and junior cheeseburgers inbetween. We are eating more meat then we ever have. Unfortunately, the greedier we have got with our palates, the more animals are suffering. Everyone’s a Jamie or a Nigella, everyone’s instagramming their fancy pork belly, everyone’s eating, eating, eating. And we forget that we’re consuming sentient beings – we’re eating their fear, their adrenaline, their hormones, their antibiotics and their diseases (did you know that massive amounts of cortisol and adrenaline are flooded into an animal’s body when it is killed – no matter how “humane” the slaughter?).  Is it any wonder that we’re the sickest, the fattest and the most stressed we’ve ever been?

Anyway, this is not my place to tell you what to do with your body and your life – this is a place to tell my story. So after watching Earthlings, I immediately cut out all meat – even chicken and fish. I continued to eat cheese and milk as usual until I watched this amazing lecture, where I learnt that dairy cows have it far worse off than beef cattle (if we want to draw comparisons). For ten days now, the only animal protein I have allowed into my body is the odd egg from my own happy little chickens who run around the stable yard and lay eggs in the roost Andrew built them. So I’m not entirely vegan, but I’m comfortable with my choices and happy in the knowledge that my eggs come from a happy source and that no chickens were injured in its making. Although slowly, I will admit, the idea of eating a chicken’s period stuffed full of cholesterol is starting to disturb me. We will work with this one. I also want to say out-right that my decision was not “brave” or “risky” and I don’t feel like I’ve made a massive commitment to an impossibly hard thing. It’s honestly the easiest and best decision I’ve ever made; I’m so happy about it and in no way do I feel deprived – there are so many alternative options and meat replacements out there. I’m eating more than ever and it’s entirely guilt-free! I have a feeling that I will end up on a completely plant-based diet and I have no qualms with that – I intend to make this an exciting foodie journey and I look forward to treating my tastebuds to new tastes and adventures. Without getting into all the environmental factors (you can research those below in the links provided), let’s just say that I firmly believe that not eating meat will significantly lessen my carbon footprint. Also, I’m not sure that I could call myself an environmentalist anymore if I was still a consumer of animal products.

I was afraid to write this post too soon, as I’m still learning and exploring and finding my way around this new way of life and it seems that people who haven’t yet made the connection like to attack vegans and “catch them out” on any little thing. I’m two weeks in and feel the pressure already – I feel that anything I say or feel or write needs to be defended and it is a little exhausting – but totally worth it. I will tell you one thing though - I feel lighter and more healthy than I ever have. My digestive system has improved, my skin feels firmer and I have so much energy. I feel like I need less and less sleep and I’ve found out that this is because your body uses so much less energy digesting plants than it does digesting hunks of flesh. You know that feeling you get after a heavy Sunday roast – that feeling that you need to lie about on the couch like a fat python? All gone. It’s no wonder so many athletes are turning towards a vegan diet –  I honestly wake up feeling like I could run 10kms every morning.  The best thing about this entire change – because it was not about health for me in the beginning – is that I can look at myself in the mirror and be at peace with the path I’m walking on this planet. If I ever have children, I will know that I’m trying my best at attempting to provide them with the best possible future they can have on this earth and I know that no animal will ever die senselessly for my own greed. I can cuddle my dogs and cats without having to push aside any guilt regarding other animals –  I love them all equally and enough to respect all of their lives on this planet.

I firmly believe that God, whoever she may be, gifted us with our intelligence and made us guardians of all life on this planet – including, if not most importantly, the animals. And yes, many years ago, we used primitive tools to hunt down an animal which would feed a starving clan of people for weeks. We don’t need to do what we’re doing anymore – not on the levels we’re doing it, at least. We’re greedy and arrogant and selfish and the worst thing is that we’re hiding behind a veil of secrecy and lies, we’re denying the truth and even more heart wrenching, is that we’re still somehow, in some sick way, justifying it.  There is never a justification for taking the life of another being for your food – not when you’re living in your nice little apartment in Sea Point with access to a supermarket stocked full of healthy veggies, beans, breads and everything else you may need. I can honestly say right now that humans and animals are the same thing to me and roasting and eating a suckling pig is pretty much the same as roasting and eating a suckling human baby.

The way I see it: every single individual should be made to kill their own meat if you really want to consume it. If you want to eat beef or chicken, or pork, or lamb, you should be made to go to a slaughter house, pick out your desired live animal from its little pen, stun gun it yourself, hang it up by its feet with your own arms and then slit it’s own throat with your bare hands. I don’t think many people would be cool with doing that every time they fancied stocking up their freezer. I have a feeling we’d all be consuming a lot less meat if we were faced with how that steak really gets to your plate. And at least then we wouldn’t need to lie about our “humaneness” and wonder about how things have got so bad; why we are raping our children, killing our brothers and sisters and stealing from each other. I think that if we all look deep, deep down inside yourself, we know the truth. We all do. And the simple act of honouring our guardianship of the earth and our animals, replacing our greed and addiction for meat with love and compassion and remembering our place on this planet, will go a long way in stopping the inhumanity amongst ourselves. And that’s just my humble opinion.

On a more personal front (like I could get any more personal with this post), for years I have been on a spiritual journey of sorts. I’ve been to kinesiologists, I’ve taken up yoga, I’ve cut out alcohol, I’ve meditated, I’ve become an exercise freak and you’ve all read about my amazing healing sessions with the amazing Colleen of Midlands House of Healing. All of these experiences have been completely wonderful and I believe that they have all lead me down this road and enabled me to make this decision so easily. This is the missing puzzle piece. I finally feel like I can practise the kindness and compassion that I  preach through what I put into my body. This deep respect for my fellow beings has given me the peace to be fully present in every moment, completely guilt-free and completely conscious. I can now understand why most of the greatest spiritual leaders did not consume animals. Taking on the energy and emotions of another being, feeding on their pain and fear, has a massive effect on your own energy. I feel calmer and more in tune with myself than ever before. Kumba-yaaa mother fuckers!

In the end, we all live in the present moment. You can make a difference to your life, the lives of millions of animals, the planet and your fellow human beings with a simple decision you make three times a day. It’s as simple as that –  it starts with YOU and the choices YOU make to show that you’re a conscious member of this human race.

If you are going to ask me any of the following questions in the comment sections, I urge you to please watch the videos below before you do – all the answers you seek are there.

Where are you going to get your protein/calcium/iron/vitamin B12 from?

Aren’t you going to get fat eating all those carbs?

What’s going to happen to all the farm animals if we stop eating them – are they going to become extinct?

Are the farmers all going to become bankrupt?

Are you still going to buy leather? (NO!)

What do I feed my pets if I’m vegan?

Would you eat an animal that was dead already if you found it lying around?

Isn’t it really expensive to eat vegan?

Earthlings – free on YouTube

Best Speech You Will Ever Hear – free on YouTube

Debate: Should Everyone Go Vegan – free on You Tube

Don’t Eat Anything With A Face – free on YouTube

Food, Inc – free on YouTube

Making the Connection, Why Vegan – Part 1 and Part 2 – both free on YouTube

Forks Over Knives // Cowspiracy // The Ghosts in our Machine

Some of these videos are intense – but I urge you to please educate yourself before you judge. And remember, remember, remember that we are all innately compassionate, lovely beings. Don’t let this get you too down – because it’s simple – we can change the way animals, and ultimately humans  are treated, simply by by creating a new demand in the market; if we demand that our food, clothing and products are cruelty-free, big corporations will have to pander to our demands to stay afloat. Protest with your mouth and your wallet. Yes, there is a lot of bad happening in the world, but there is also soooo much good happening too. But you won’t be able to help and make a change unless you allow yourself to acknowledge the bad.

As for other resources, so far I’ve found Pinterest and Easy Peasy Alchemy really great for vegan recipes. Vegan SA is a helpful website for searching for Vegan products and meat and dairy alternatives (also they list all the vegan wines in SA – very important!) and I’ve also downloaded the Cruelty Cutter app which enables you to scan the bar codes of products with your phone while you’re shopping to check that they are cruelty-free. I’ve also recently purchased The Kind Diet by celebrity vegan, Alicia Silverstone, which is so far a great read. There is still so much more for me to learn, but I’m so happy to do it – in fact I haven’t felt this motivated and excited about waking up every day for a while. It’s like I can see clearly now the meat fog is gone! Ha.

Note: I have noticed how much abuse animal lovers and vegans get online (see image below – really ridiculous comments I saw posted on a recent image of a veggie burger on Vegan’s instagram profile… the sad thing is that they are so common), so if you’re so inclined to comment something nasty or sarcastic at the end of this post, please remember that I reserve the right to delete any malicious or hateful comments made on this blog.

photo.jpeg copy

This will probably be my last post for the year – so I hope you all have a wonderful and present festive season with your family and friends. See you in the New Year, I’m sure, with that mandatory post of appropriate goals for 2015 or something to that effect! Thank you so much to all my wonderful friends and followers who have been so supportive during this time, it really means so much.

Big love, Kez xxx

The beautiful image of Marmite used in this post was taken by Lauren Setterberg of Glossary – original source here.

Share Button

a poet called erin hanson

You’ve probably pinned her words on Pinterest before. Perhaps you’ve wondered who this e.h. is. I know I have. You most certainly will have come across her most famous lines:

There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask, “What if I fall?” 

Oh, but my darling,

What if you fly?

erinhansonHer name is Erin Hanson and she is nineteen years old. The young Australian’s poems are all over the inter-webs thanks to the wonder that is social media. Through Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest, e.h. has made herself quite the cult following. Scrolling through her blog feed you’ll notice declarations of love for both the poet and her poems from readers all around the world. I spent a good hour or so reading her work – and I could go all English literature teacher on your ass and start analysing form and structure, but who cares? She may not always rhyme, she may lose rhythm at times, but man, the way this girl uses imagery speaks straight to my little writer heart. The poems below are some of my favourite so far – and I’ve only read a blip of her work. Take a read. If you like what her words make you feel, hop on over to her blog, the poetic underground or her Instagram, @thepoeticunderground to read more. If you fall further in love, you can buy her books here too.

And now next time you come across a beautiful piece of writing on Pinterest or Instagram with only “e.h.” scrawled at the bottom, you will know that young Erin Hanson wrote those words. And that in doing so, word by word, she is bringing a little bit of light and wonder into the world. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dig out an old notebook and write something beautiful.

dfaf575a986bfa5bb60f96513dc47184

tumblr_ndirng7jPs1r0r0vvo1_r1_500 tumblr_nc8o1f3tNM1r0r0vvo1_r1_500 tumblr_nbejgpre181r0r0vvo1_500 tumblr_n8qo10sdoI1r0r0vvo1_r3_500 Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

All images and poetry property of Erin Hanson – www.thepoeticunderground.com

Share Button

how to survive christmas

I know that you know that we all know that this time of the year can be painfully, maddeningly and dangerously stressful. I think it’s the enforced family time and the overrated fun-level expectations – always a recipe for disaster. Here are my tips for a stress-free Christmas.

Gifts

I begin every new year thinking that I’m going to purchase individual and thoughtful gifts for my loved ones during the course of the year, but then come then 23rd of December and I’m stuck in a queue at Pick ‘n Pay buying everyone I know iTune vouchers. On this note, iTune vouchers are NEVER a bad idea. Everyone likes new music and fun apps for their phone. What we don’t like is time spent in shopping malls, wondering aimlessly for hours between shops and then panic-buying ugly mugs from Cardies just before closing time. ONLINE SHOPPING PEOPLE. If you get most of your orders in before the 5-10th Decemebr, I’m pretty sure you will be good to go. Also, the post office strike is finally over, so lets all breathe a sigh of collective relief. Takealot is my all time favourite virtual shop at the moment, primarily because they have just launched their brand new Fashion department housing labels such as Zoom, Adidas, Nike, G Couture and All About Eve – just to name a few. You can use and collect eBucks on Takeloat, as well as earn Discovery points and air miles. Winning. Other great sites to try are SuperbalistKalahari, Netflorist, Macaroon and Hello Pretty. I’m also thinking of perhaps making up a “Made in the Midlands” package for my parents and filling a box with local Midlands produce such as a bottle of Abingdon Wine, cheeses, jams and curated hams. You could do the same for whatever area you’re in – just pop in to your nearest deli and see what local produce is on offer. Also, while we’re talking about wine and Abingdon, Laurie Smorthwaite at the newly established KZN School of Wine is now offering WEST accredited wine courses – an awesome gift for all wine-enthusiasts. Hint hint.

Your favourite thing

Now there are a lot of things about Christmas that we all hate – overcrowded malls, awkward conversations with your second-cousin-twice-removed and cheap Beacon chocolates, just to name a few. But usually, there is at least one thing about Christmas that warms your heart – whether it be carols, decorating the Christmas tree, setting the table, making mulled wine, drinking mulled wine, cooking, wrapping presents or hand making beautiful cards. My best thing about Christmas is finding a carol playlist on YouTube and playing it on repeat whilst singing along and chugging back a bottle of champers. My mom bought this killer CD from England back in the day of little kids singing carols, and listening to it always takes me straight back to the wonder of a childhood Christmas. The thing is, Christmas is something that we all have to endure, so unless you’re married to a Jew, we’re all in it together. Find something you love about Christmas and do it. Repeatedly. 

me time

By God, if the whole world doesn’t wants to descend upon your home during the festive season. Cape Towners and anyone with a beach house – I’m sympathising with you here especially. If you’re anything like me, it is vitally important that you carve out some me-time during this endless guest-insanity.  Obviously, I’m talking spas and massages. A couple of days ago, I went for a four-handed massage at Midlands House of Healing with Colleen and her lovely intern, Richard. Yep, you read right – two people, four hands, one body – YOUR body. It’s like a threesome that you don’t have to put any effort into. Wonderlik! Reiki is also great for relaxation and ensuring that your energy field is ready and able to tackle all the fun that comes with Christmas – nagging relatives, screaming kids, and my absolute favourite: questions of “when are you getting married?”, “are you trying for a baby?” and “how’s the love life?” that you will be sure to be dodging. Smile and wave, boys and girls, smile and wave.

exercise

You KNOW you’re going to be eating and drinking a lot. It’s an inevitable and totally unavoidable part of the season. Counteract the bulge with a run/walk/cycle every morning. Wake up early and try squeeze in some yoga if you can – if only for your sanity. Make it fun and get the whole family involved in activities such as pool cricket or lawn bowls (she says lying poolside, sipping her gin and tonic). But seriously, try to work up a sweat in any way you can at least once a day for a good twenty to thirty minutes. Holiday sex, anyone?

kids

If, at any stage of the season, you feel yourself slipping into complete and utter chaos, find some kids and spend time with them. Let them re-awaken the joy of Christmas for you and let them remind you of what it’s all really about. You see, Christmas is not only about wine and Nigella-perfect gammon and endless queues at the mall. Come on people, Christmas is about Santa! Reindeer! Presents! Mistletoe! Sleighs! I’m talking making advent calendars, spray-painting pine cones, writing letters to the elves, watching old Christmas movies, decorating trees and baking biscuits to replenish old St Nick on Christmas Eve. There is nothing like Christmas seen through a child’s eyes, so borrow a niece or smuggle a baby sister and spend some time with the little blighters. Let them help you re-discover that season sparkle before you turn into a cynical old hag. Wait, what? 

And if all else fails, give everyone IOU notes in their cards and book a solo meditation trip to a Tibetan monastery.

Share Button

where i’m at

How do you say you’ve been lost to someone? And that perhaps you’ve been lost for a very long time? Sometimes you get glimpses of home and shards of yellow light shine back onto the places you’ve been and the things that have happened to you and just for a moment you understand the beginning and the end and your heart sees that this silly middle is just a part of the journey and then you know… you know so very, very well that you will return there.

But then it’s gone.

And the tears fall because you can’t bring that glimpse back. You can’t bring back the peace that makes everything, all at once, so lovely and so certain and so safe.

Share Button

it may not always be so

Sometimes one needs a long walk and a little poetry to begin the day.

it may not always be so; and I say
that if your lips,which I have loved, should touch
another’s, and your dear strong fingers clutch
his heart, as mine in time not far away;
if on another’s face your sweet hair lay
in such silence as I know, or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, I say if this should be—
you of my heart, send me a little word;
that I may go unto him, and take his hands,
saying, Accept all happiness from me.
then shall I turn my face, and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.

ee cummings

onelonebird

Share Button

crystal barn

I’ve been meaning to pop into Crystal Barn, situated a mere 2kms down the road from our farm, for a while now. The beautiful old vintage car in the driveway sparked my curiosity a few months ago and on Saturday morning, I decided to stop in for a quick breakfast on my way into town. I fell in love almost immediately  – from the tree-lined avenue to the gorgeous gardens and the bulging-at-the-seams antique shop. Modelled on the famous Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Crystal Barn is a delightful assault on the senses. Multiple rooms in a renovated farm barn lead on from one another as you make your way through the shop to the cafe and courtyard. Every room is filled with colourful antiques, textiles, furniture, cutlery, crockery and countless other treasures. The decor is a mixture of Indian and French Country – and beautiful sari fabric has been transferred onto the walls and floors, a refreshing and clever alternative to wallpaper and mats. I fell in love with a blue quilt and some amazing light fittings in the shop – my entire Christmas list may just be ticked off at Crystal Barn!

After meeting and chatting with the lovely owner, Sarah, and exploring every possible nook and cranny – each one more captivating than the last, I settled in for some delicious breakfast in the cosy restaurant. I munched on some nom-tastic creamed egg and salmon served with corn fritters and I cannot wait to return for a slice of one of their flour-less cakes – they looked amazing! In fact, I almost returned on Sunday to taste their legendary carrot cake, but thought I would save myself for next weekend when Andrew and my cousin will be joining me. I could hear almost hear cousin Noo swooning all the way in Durban when I sent her my snaps of the shop decor. After breakfast, I had a little wander around the accommodation, and fell even deeper in love. Each room has it’s own unique, massive Balinese-type wooden door, treated in different shades of distressed green and blue. If I didn’t live two minutes away, I would seriously consider a little sneaky escape away! And, and, AND – even more exciting than cake and coffee and pretty bric-a-brac right on my doorstep is that Crystal Barn is in the process of building their very own wedding venue! Judging by the exquisite taste which Sarah rather clearly possesses, I have a feeling that it’s really going to be something special!

Crystal Barn is situated down the Fort Nottingham Road on the D290 and is a must-visit next time you’re in the Midlands. The shop is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 4:30pm, so make sure you pencil it is your diary. I’m definitely there first thing this weekend, where I will be not-so-subtly pointing out some items on my Christmas wish list! Beyond excited for this little gem and the renewed sense of faith its given in the place we live in. Funny how a touch of colourful creative genius can do that.

Processed with VSCOcam with h4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with h4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with h4 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with h4 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with h4 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with h4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with h4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with h4 preset

Share Button

for now

I have been so QUIET.

My apologies, but the loud noises and skittish brain activity in my head have not been translating well onto the keyboard and screen lately.

I guess I could tell you news – about settling back into life in the real world after the trip of our lifetime; about having to tighten the purse strings and turn down invites as we start paying off those euro debts (woooorth it);

I could try and explain the strange lovely shock of my landscape as it turned suddenly from ancient buildings seeped in history to fields of luminous green and massive gum trees;

I could tell you about the miserable weather we’ve been having up here, the days on end of constant drizzle and cold followed by howling winds which sweep over the earth and suck her bones brittle;

I could tell you that the farm is on the market and that our lives might be forever changed in a couple of months time or that we could be right here, business as usual, and I don’t think I need to explain to you how unnerving that can be;

I could tell you that we have a new orphan calf – her mother had to be put down after her uterus pro-lapsed for the fourth time in as many weeks… I could tell you that I refuse to name this baby or feed her myself, as I know that I will become too attached, and that farm life has made me a little weary of falling in love with sweet young things which will only grow into steaks and chops to satiate our endless human appetites;

I could tell you how frustrated I’ve been with life and the mindset of so many people in this area and I could tell you exactly how many times I’ve wanted to blast myself in a rocket right out of this small town hell…

… but then I catch the African sunset on a drive home and as I watch the crimson orb sink below the ragged and noble line of the Drakensburg mountains, my head shakes hands with my heart again and I know deep down in the toe-tips of my soul that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

For now.

Processed with VSCOcam with lv03 presetphoto 2

Share Button

travel diaries – barcelona

Ahhh… Barcelona. Our little unexpected surprise. Our laat lammetjie.

About two months before we due to leave for Europe, my very clever and scheming husband discovered that if we changed our return flights home from Heathrow to Barcelona (but still laying over in Heathrow) we would save enough money on airport taxes to afford an extra three days in Europe. So we booked a Ryan Air flight from Rome to Barcelona, where we would spend the twilight of our European trip. I’m so glad he discovered this, because Barcelona was probably my most favourite city in Europe (okay maybe a very, very close second to Amsterdam). Barcelona is friendly and green and pretty and much cheaper than anywhere else we had visited. The buildings and architecture and street style made me fall head over heels in love with design and fashion and art and the delight of an artisan item of clothing all over gain. And TAPAS! And SANGRIA! And sexy Spanish men and women! To be honest, Barcelona was never been on my bucket list, but I am so, so, so very glad we met.

Barcelona Grid

The People

Um… how do I put this eloquently (insert creepy wide-eyed, tongue-out emojicon)… the Spanish are incredibly yummy. Both the men and women ooze sexiness. Olive skin, dark curls, brooding looks, big perfect smiles… you gets me? They do not, however, speak English. Not in a nasty, unfriendly I-can-speak-English-but-I’m-not-going-to-speak-English-to-you-because-you’re-a-tourist way, but a I-literally-can’t-speak-English-way. Hand signs become very important! It would probably serve you well to learn some basic Spanish phrases before you get to Barcelona. The people are friendly with a wonderful sense of humour and are super helpful (if they can make out what you’re actually asking of them). We’ve heard since we’ve been back from friends who have visited Barcelona that pickpocketing is rife in the city. We never saw any thing of the sort or any shenanigans at all, in fact. We rode the notorious Yellow Line on the Underground without incident. As in any major city in the world, keep your stuff close to you. And don’t hobble around in stilettos carrying a Chanel bag and rocking Versace glasses and expensive jewellery. You will be targeted. It’s just common sense. We also were probably unlikely to be bothered because we resembled stinky hobos in our unwashed clothing as we neared the end of our trip!

AKB

The Architecture

Burning eyes and sore necks and happy hearts and inspired spirits. This is how you will feel after a wander around the streets of Barcelona. The city pays homage to famous architect, Gaudí, who designed much of the architecture during the latter part of the nineteenth century. His work is unlike anything you’ve ever seen and if you see one attraction in Barcelona, make it the Sagrada Familia. Don’t wait in the ridiculously long queue – prebook your ticket and timeslot online and go in the entrance on the Career de Provença side – much better! The church is amazing and totally worth the visit – if you can afford to, hire audio guides. And go as early as possible to avoid the masses. And be prepared to be gobsmacked by the impressive pillars and stained glass windows and decorative statues. I can’t even explain. Here are a few of the gazillion pictures I took in there:

photo 4-1 photo 1-3 photo 2-3

Just a little way up from the Sagrada Familai is the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista Barcelona, a hospital first built in 1401. In the late nineteenth century, renovations to the hospital (sponsored by Catalan banker, Pau Gil i Serra) began to accommodate a booming Barcelona population. It was eventually completed in 193o and features a whole network of underground tunnels linking the separate buildings which were used to wheel patients between buildings safely and undercover. After another eighty years of medical service, the hospital was declared a World Heritage Site and after some extensive renovations, the lovely gardens and certain buildings are open for the public viewings. It’s like a little city within a city and wandering around the different blocks was quite the experience. So much mosaic work, so much beauty. It really was a great last minute stumble-upon. Also, you get a massive discount if you’re 29 and under and they don’t check ID. Just saying. That’s a lot of leeway. Use it. Lose it. Up to you.

photo 5-2 photo 2-4 photo 4-2 photo 3-2 photo 1-4 Processed with VSCOcam with lv03 preset

Picasso

I actually get a lump in my throat remembering our morning at the Picasso Museum. Not because it was a particularly out of this world amazing museum or gallery (which it is, actually) or because I got to see so many of his amazing paintings in real life (which was also mind-blowing, actually), but because it made me fall in love with art again. And I suppose “art” is a loose term – what I mean is I fell back in love with drawing again. When I was about fourteen, I went through a bit of a rough patch and with the help of our very talented art teacher, Miss Beatty, I learnt how to draw. Drawing with pencil and pastel and charcoal and chalk was my absolute favourite and it provided a great source of comfort to me during a tough time. I have no freaking clue as to why, but I dropped Art in standard eight. I really should have continued with the subject – I think perhaps my life would be completely different to what it is now. Seeing Picasso’s paintings and his range of styles and his obvious love for his work made me wonder back to that little girl with the big, sore heart who used to spent hours drawing in her sketch pad. Needless to say, back home, I’ve bought a sketchpad and started (rather tentatively) to draw again. I’m getting my eye back in and I’m messing around with patterns and I’m loving it.

As for the museum – get there really early to avoid queues (especially if it’s raining) and book tickets online. You are not allowed to take pictures of any of the artwork and they have cameras everywhere, so don’t even try sneaky it (like my husband did). There are also audio guides, which are really useful – especially if you have no clue about Picasso.

photo

Food

After a bit of a disappointing culinary adventure in Italy, we were not expecting much of Barcelona. It’s amazing what happens when you are not placing expectations on people/places/events, because we were pleasantly surprised! Bar for a disgusting brown “paella” glop at a place right next to the Arc de Triomf (yes, there’s one in Barcelona too), everything else we had was delicious. Tapas! Oh, the tapas! I have a new found love for aubergine, and even Andrew who always professed his hatred for the poor purple plant, has bought and fried up some aubergine chips since we’ve been home. The drinks are much cheaper in Barcelona and if you tip and flirt with the HAWT  nice barmen, they’ll often fill your wine glass way past that nasty little line which usually ensures your five euro glass is finished in three sips. We stayed on a street just off Las Rambla and all the restaurants we tried served decent to freaking-amazing tasting tapas and dishes were priced from about 2 to 7 euros each.  As you can imagine, we ordered lots of the two euro dishes and a couple of the seven euro dishes! Our favourite place in Barcelona was hands down (and a BIG thank you to Emma for the recommendation) a dingy little champagne and carvery bar called La Champañeria. There is no sign over the door, but it’s down a little street called de la Reina Cristina – you’ll know you’re there by the massive wooden door, legs of meat hanging everywhere, serviettes strewn all over the floor and happy people spilling out of the crowded bar onto the street. We tried to go there on our first (and only sunny) day in Barcelona and arrived at about 3pm. It was far too packed and we weren’t in the mood for jostling to the bar, and so we decided to come back the next day. The next day was grey and drizzling and we headed on over to the bar after we had been at the Picasso Museum. We arrived at about 11am and stayed until 3pm – it was empty when we arrived and by the time we left we could barely make it to the door for the masses of people (and slight  inebriation). So, do you want to know the consumption count?

Four bottles of cava (champagne) – at 6.50 euros a bottle, it was cheaper than a draught beer at any Italian restaurant we’d been to. We took advantage! If you’re not as piggy as we are – a glass of champagne was about 1.20 euro – the rosè is delicious!

Two Hot Chorizo Bocadillo (another recommendation from Emma – kinda like a small roll with meat)

Two Plates of Cheese 

Two Plates of more Hot Chorizo – they gave us free black pudding with this one

One plate of Parma Ham

All in all, our end bill came to about 37 euros – not bad for a day of decadent eating and drinking. It was probably THE most fun we had in Europe in terms of drinking and eating out. Amazing how not feeling completely ripped off makes everything feel so much more fun! The barmen were friendly (totally not English-speaking though, but great at guessing), everyone around was in a great mood and it was just wonderfully festive. There were no tables or chairs – the vibe is to stand at the bar and drink and eat to your heart’s content. As mentioned before, the floor is littered with serviettes and crumbs, but it all adds to the ambiance! So delightful. We took many drunken selfies and sent them to all our foodie friends – and that is the true sign of a good hangout.

photo 1

I so wished we had stayed in Barcelona for longer than two days. My little heart fell so in love and I’m dying to return again, to see more Gaudi, to drink more cava and eat more tapas and explore the Spanish countryside. Not to mention the beach. I didn’t even know Barcelona had a beach until we got there! Luckily we have return tickets next July… :0

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a3 preset photo6 photo3 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with a2 presetbarc8

Share Button

letters with flick – a(nother) post note to “how do we fix this”?

So a while ago, I wrote this post (How Are We Going To Fix This?) about our situation in this beautiful country of ours and how we need to address and chat about that big blue elephant in the room: RACE and PREJUDICE. I emailed my friend, Felicity, in Zimbabwe, to ask her opinion on the subject and to perhaps write a post for me and this blog on her views on the whole Africa/Colonistaion/Where Do We Go From Here? situation. I asked Felicity because, hey, we’re being honest here – she is one of the few black friends I know who I have a history with – we have sat and chatted at length about the way the world works, we have marched together and drunk together and she is just a lovely person whom although I haven’t seen for years, I trust with my life and soul. I also know I can trust her to be honest and straight with me.

To cut a long story short, Flick never wrote me that post. She reckons my post (and my asking of her opinion) has set off a massive undertaking of ideas and thoughts that she reckons she’d need a book to explain (I’m waiting. Patiently).

While I was overseas, far away from home and the problems we face on a daily basis, a friend sent me this post called Dear White South Africans, written by Ntsiki Mazwai, which spread like wildfire and which was (in a very small nutshell) about Heritage Day and how re-naming it National Braai Day is a slap in the face for black Africans. To be honest, when I first read this post, I completely agreed with the author –  she has some very valid points, especially regarding the language part. While I grew up on a farm and was rather fluent in Zulu as a child, I lost this skill as soon as I started attended public school. I regret this to this day and I am determined to learn Zulu again. The more I re-read the post (and I read it a lot) though, the more I became a little frightened by the aggressive undertone of the piece. So I sent it to Flick. This is our Facebook conversation following said article.

Listen, I’m not saying what either of us have said is right or wrong, but we began speaking about race and Africa and we engaged in a no-holds-barred conversation about how both of us felt. I want you to read this and I want you to participate in this conversation because talking about where are IS THE ONLY WAY WE’RE GOING TO FIX THIS. So don’t be scared about how you feel – it’s how you feel! – it’s the world we’ve born into, it’s the prejudices we’ve packed into our little life backpack since the moment we took a breath in this place we call home. Read our conversation, leave a comment, leave an opinion, engage or not, but seriously, it’s time to talk. Let’s express what we’re all feeling, with no judgement or hatred. What’s done is done. It’s time to fix it.

Keri Bainborough:

http://ntsikimazwai.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/dear-white-south-africans/

Hey Flick – what do you think of this? Just been sent it. Xxx

Felicity Sibindi:
I read it.. then re-read it. As a black person, I can fully understand what she is talking about…. just last Friday I was ranting at how white Zimbabweans look down on black Zimbabweans who speak with an indigenous accent not realising themselves that the Zimbabwean white person English accent is weird on its own anyways. And it is so easy to get mad at a group of people who sit across from me in a restaurant and look down their nose at me for being the only black person there…. it grinds.. it pisses on my batteries and I can feel where Ntsiki’s anger is coming from. HOWEVER, I don’t think her delivery is useful at all. This is something I have noticed about the whole race rhetoric in SA, it is very aggressive… the anger is so close to the surface that it makes it impossible to have a calm and reasonable dialogue. Ntsiki’s piece is a put-down-smack-down that is not useful. She makes valid points, but they stop meaning anything when the motive is to slap back so to speak. She needs a little more Mandela and a little less Julius. We need to be able to look past our own hurts and speak to the bigger picture.

And this argument that white people are European… ughh… it is annoying… and complex. I believe white Africans are African… there is a HUGE distinction between white people who grew up in Africa and those who grew up in Europe. The history is centuries old and so legitimately it is difficult for the ordinary white African to trace their steps back to wherever their ancestors came from, and they shouldn’t have to. After all.. Africa is a continent made of movement. I am Ndebele living in Zimbabwe, for example, but my people are originally Zulu and Sotho… we moved.. historically… the movements of the Bantu are a clear case… no-one in the world “belongs” anywhere… the Americans are immigrants, the Scandinavian countries are rich in histories of movement, Asia, Eastern Europe.. everywhere.. we all moved.. at some stage.. at some time… sometimes for good.. .. most times for bad. So illegitimising white Africans is unnecessary and petty in my opinion. It’s the Julius rhetoric.. this is not constructive.. its just made to instigate violence and anger.  That being said however… the refusal to learn indigenous languages for example, because they aren’t “important enough” is wrong… and that is non-African (or anti-African) behaviour. So as a white African… it would be, and should be, normal to speak a local language. This is not to deny learning English or Afrikaans, however if you live and grew up in an area – the local language should be what you speak. The duality of claiming to be African as a white person, and at the same time looking down on local languages, is unacceptable and pisses off black Africans. That is quite straight forward. The same applies to dual citizenship… claiming to be African and holding an ancestral British passport as a lot of my friends here do.. its just plain annoying, man. It says, “I’ll be African so long as its fun.. then when things get rough.. I’m gone.” So (*big heavy sigh) these are the things that inspire Nstiki-ites. Thing is… people still haven’t dealt with their emotionsthe forced rainbow nation was psychologically damaging to South Africans.
A REAL Truth and Reconcialiation Commission needs to be held, not the fiasco Tutu did in the ambiance that was Mandela-time.
Otherwise the bickering will continue.
Hugging you!!!

Keri Bainborough: (having just arrived home from Europe)
Agreed! With everything you have said. Thanks for that Flick. Sorry for the late reply.
I agreed with a lot of her points, but I thought she executed it very aggressively, and to be honest it made me feel that I don’t want to live here anymore. Too many people – quite obviously – don’t want me here. I feel uncomfortable in my skin and in the country of my birth. And I’m tired. I want to live somewhere where I can contribute to society and be appreciated for it. Ugh. Maybe I’m having a bad day… post travel blues.
Lots of love xxx

Felicity Sibindi:
Keri, I totally understand post – travel blues and the back to reality feeling. Don’t worry, things will settle, they always do. In terms of not wanting to stay in SA or feeling that there are too many people who don’t want you in SA or Africa in general, well… that, my dear, is entirely up to you. You, you have one life, be true to yourself. Having said that however, I am just going to point out a few things to balance the equation. I hope I don’t offend you, I am just trying to show you the other end of the scale. This is also NOT to make you feel guilty. I think a lot of white people think black people want to make them feel guilty and don’t realise that there is a difference between being conscious of ones privilege and… feeling guilty for something you didn’t personally do. I will debunk the privilege thing. I, for example, am middle class black – I went to private school, I speak the Queen’s English and I easily relate to my white colleagues. This gives me a HUGE edge over my cousins who grew up in the location. As a child, this led to a lot of resentment between us because they felt I was trying to be white and I thought they were just jealous. Thing is, in reality I DO have far more opportunities than them. I get chosen before them in job interviews; I get a better paying job; I get to make enough money to travel for fun; I live in a bigger house; I can afford hobbies like photography. These are situations where I get to enjoy things partly because I work hard for them, but also partly because I sound “whiter” than them and therefore I am more easily employed. A woman who works just as hard as me, who is just as intelligent if not more, but speaks “bad” English would not land the same job. And that is where the anger and resentment comes. Yes, I work hard for my shit, but I do have an advantage and it is not like I chose to be born middle class, as much as my cousins didn’t choose to be born poor. In the same way, we don’t choose to be born black or white – it is not an achievement to be born a certain colour, however the world works in such a way that it appears so. As much as I am “rewarded” for my private school accent, white Africans in general get “rewarded” for a lot of things that they didn’t work for. We still live in a world where white privilege is everywhere and it is to a higher degree in Africa. You just might be so used to it that you don’t realise it. Being a black student at Rhodes, for example, is a completely different ball game to being a white Rhodent, but I bet you didn’t see it (while you were there, in that situation). I am just generalising here. Sometimes when I sit with my white friends at a restaurant and the waiter ignores me, they don’t notice it because he will be super nice to them. When doing my Masters in Germany and I was friends with an Australian girl, I had far better German language skills than her, but everywhere we went people were rude to me for not speaking German, but never once gave her flak for her inability to speak the language. Basically, what I am trying to say is that even though you might feel unappreciated in South Africa, you are living in a country where its still far much easier to be white than black. Also, in order for one to contribute meaningfully anywhere in the world does not require ideal conditions – the best contributions are from difficult spaces. It is not the duty of black South Africans to “want” you – do you “want” them? Living in a nation is co-existing - no-one needs to be grateful to another for being there just as in a family you don’t “want” your brothers and sisters – they just happen to be your brothers and sisters! Finally, coz damn.. this was a messy message… think about your post-travel blues. Now imagine yourself as a maid in a white family household. You go to work in the morning, the house you work in has electricity, nice food, nice cars etc. Then at the end of the day you go home to your one-bedroom shack with no electricity, no water and a gutter for a garden. That post-holiday blue you are feeling, try doing it daily. Okay, I hope that somehow made sense… I wish I could sit down with you over a cup of tea. This stuff is difficult and so many people get hurt for nothing. Keri, you are strong, you are real… you are not the type of African who bails out when the going gets tough… well I don’t think so anyways. I am super proud to have you as a friend and I would be sad if you left…. but at the same time…. one life… do as you Hell…. I might even join you one day… just make sure you are leaving for the right reasons.

Keri Bainborough:

Thanks Flick – I loved reading your reply and I agree with everything you say and of course I appreciate and understand my privilege. I live on a farm so I see the lowest levels of poverty. I see the staff being paid only R2500 a month and having to survive on it (and god knows, it makes me so guilty and I don’t have the power to change it). I see it all every day and I’m not a white girl living in a secluded flat in a big city who only interacts with her black maid once a week and sees a black beggar every now and then at the robot.
I see it and it breaks my heart and I think I want to run away because I can’t see a solution to it. I also see so much fear and anger and hatred here (perhaps I am imagining it?) from both sides (black and white).
You NEED to please write what you have said above for my post because I love what you have said here:
It is not the duty of black South Africans to “want” you – do you “want” them? Living in a nation is co-exisiting, no-one needs to be grateful to another for being there just as in a family you don’t “want” your brothers and sisters, they just happen to be your brothers and sisters.”
THAT IS GROUND BREAKING RIGHT THERE. South Africans need to read this!!! If you don’t write it soon, I may just publish our private message conversation! (which I’ve done)
Thanks for helping me see things with new eyes.
I think Mandela wanted black and white to be friends straight away and to make each other feel wanted, and like you’ve said before, it WAS too soon. One can’t go from hating one another and being taught that the other is inferior, dirty, dumb blah blah (all those ugly racist things) and then the next minute all hold hands and sing kumba-ya. We need to debunk those reasons for hating one another (if that makes sense?) before we can move on.
Ah man, wish you were here next to me chatting right now!!! No tea – gin and tonics please!!! Sending hugs xxxx

Felicity Sibindi:

LOL…yes…GnTs….I NEED one. Go forth and publish love. I should copy paste my whatsapp convos to you yoo . Its such a HUGE topic. But ay..don’t feel bad for the poor. Black or white. Rather do something to help. And I think you are doing it already. You have a voice… a very powerful one. One that the right ears would listen to.

Keri Bainborough:

Thanks sweetheart.

PS: I think that sad message that I sent before came from a place of having really enjoyed being in Europe because for once I didn’t feel guilty about what I had because everyone there is kind of on the same level wealth-wise? But like you said, that’s my baggage. I dunno! Will keep working through it.

But staying here completely for now – I AM African, skin colour and social class aside!
xxx

Yes, this conversation may between a white privileged girl and an educated black middle class Zimbabwean girl (granted this is the dialogue of Rhodes-educated Africans and there are far many more layers of race and social classes to delve into). But at least we’re having it. We were speaking our truths and trying to find a middle ground, a solution. I beg of you to take part – in a non-hateful. constructive way. What do you fear? What do you hate? What do you hope for? What do you wish was different?

Leave a comment below if you will – let’s talk. I refuse to believe that our future is dust and hatred and violence and sadness.

Felicity

Share Button

studio ellessi

I’m not one for buying souvenirs… Eiffel Tower key rings and snow balls just don’t do it for me and the only souvenir I have in my home is a shell from Mauritius with our names engraved on it… which we mostly bought just to get the haggler to leave us in sunbathing peace. When we came across the lovely Elles selling her prints and cushions of Amsterdam at a market on our very first sunny day in Europe, I was smitten. Her style is simple and pretty and so individual and after umming and awwwwing for a good fifteen minutes, we settled on these two black and white ink pieces.

1256871_orig 7089854_origShe signed them for us and then put them in a big brown envelope and then we carried that damn envelope throughout Europe – on trams and trains and planes and taxis in Paris, Milan, Rome, Florence, Amalfi and Barcelona. And they made it through! The plan was to then try and buy something similar in every city we visited, but we couldn’t find any others we liked or that would go well with these trendy two. Also, we started realising just how we weren’t going to be able to stick to our daily budget if we bought anything other than food and transport tickets! As soon as we got home, we took our prints down to Jeff at Cottage Framing in Pietermaritzburg who has been doing my mom’s framing for as long as I can remember. He said he’d be able to iron out any battle wounds from their tour of Europe and we chose a simple black frame with an ivory mat and thin black indent to give the images more depth and emphasis.

photo

Within ten days they were ready and they now take pride of place in our living room. I love them – and not just for their undeniable coolness, but for the journey they took with us and the part they play in our memories of an amazing time. Oh, and because they make me look super grown up. I have framed pictures on my walls, guys!!! Next thing you know I’ll be spending my weekends in BuildIt.

Check out more of Elles’s work by clicking here at Studio Ellessi. If any of these prints tickle your fancy, just pop Ellessi an email and she will send them through. I’m loving these two colourful delights at the moment and I may or may not have ordered a third mate to join the other two already…

7297331_orig5307554_origIllustrations all by Studio Ellessi 

Share Button
Unless otherwise stated, all words and images are copyright to Keri Bainborough and the Midlands Musings blog. Please contact me if you’d like to use any of the text and graphics featured on this blog. Disclaimer