Still dancing…

We were a pair; twins, actually;  mirror twins.  Elegant, black, sleek and with a touch of gold at the toe that showed off her pert, perfectly lacquered toes.  The feature of which she was most fond:  our four-inch stiletto heels.

For her, it had been love at first sight.  A student, on a meagre allowance, she had to buy them – on tick. In those days, there was no application form, no credit check:  just an address – a street address – her parents’.  No phone number was needed, let alone a mobile number or email address.  They’d not been contemplated – that she knew about – then.

Four-inch, leather stiletto heels don’t make for sensible wearing on a campus with steep hills and a gazillion steps, in the days when not only did very few students have cars, but first years were allowed cars only with permission.  Consequently, it was Shanks’s Pony for traversing the campus from one side to the other several-times-a-day.  We did, however, shoe our way into parties, balls and the rare formal occasion and photo opportunities.  Like this one.

Rhodes University 1983 – Arts & Science Festival Committe – we were there

Then there were the formal photo shoots that drove everyone a bit dilly…

Rhodes University Student’s Representative Council 1893 – we were also there

At university, balls were a regular feature of the annual calendar.  Glamorous gowns and elegant shoes went without saying.  We danced all night which meant happy, achy feet the next day.  She’ll tell you a story of one particular night when they formed a chorus line, and a vigorous washing of the dirt on her instep turned out to be a bruise …

Student life gave way to working life, but the dress code for her first job was not much different from university days and we retained our role as party and formal attire.  In that first year, we only hit the deck once – for a wedding.  We were relegated to the back and very bottom of the wardrobe.  We lived in constant envy of the white Brazillian sandals and the perfect pink Hush Puppy pumps.

She needed to wear us more often.

Eventually she did.  Her next job had a very formal dress code:  skirts, stockings and heels.  No trousers or slax.  We kid you not.  We were in our element!  Oh boy, we hit the Johannesburg pavements – supposedly paved with gold – in a big way.

We often had to hurry her to the bus when she was late.  We partied less, worked harder and watched how she came to terms with working in the male-dominated mining industry;  she was oblivious of the fact that we not just lengthened her then slim legs, but made the slit in her long black pencil skirt seem as though it reached all the way up … her thigh …

The dancing didn’t stop – she’s never stopped dancing – but times had changed and her dancing shoes became more comfortable and less elegant.  The Brazillian sandals and the bright pink pumps danced more than we did, but they didn’t get to the formal functions that we revelled in.  We got to mix in circles she never imagined in her student days and in gowns as elegant.

Closed shoes for this formal function:  we sat enviously in the wardrobe while she went to receive an award during 1988.

She’d also found the perfect accessories for her shoes – a couple of little black numbers.  Our favourite:  a versatile silk with a subtle African design in gold print around the mid-calf hem.  We worked well together and made her the belle of several balls.  Alas, there is no photograph of that ensemble.

Then her life took a turn.  She fled the big city and followed her heart; again we were consigned to the bottom of the heep, only to be dredged out on high days and holidays.

All told, she walked and danced us around for more than twenty years:  we graced the boards in seven Johannesburg abodes, one in Queenstown, five in Cape Town and, somehow, we just didn’t get to McGregor.  By then, we all recognised that our time together was done.  We were no longer compatible and our love affair came to a sad, but necessary end:  peep toes, delicate leather and four-inch heels are no match for gravel roads, no pavements, dust and mud.

Foot attire is much more practical and, we’re lead to believe that her new favourite black shoes are agricultural ankle boots!

With no ill feeling, we bade her farewell, giving way to Fit Flops, spotty socks and Sketchers.  Happily, she sill has her lovely lacquered red toes that still tap to any beat.

Oh, and we’re told that she and The Husband are often first on the dance floor, and last to leave it.  Some things don’t change.

So:

I unashamedly love shoes.  It is true that there comes a time when a girl can have too many, and that’s what’s happened to me.  Sadly.  I can still spend hours and hours in a shoe shop looking at beautiful shoes dreaming of when and where I might wear them.  The daydreams leave with me, but the shoes stay on the shelf.  Today’s shoe fashions are probably one of the few reasons I lament the loss of youth:  in my day, shoes were, by comparison, rather dowdy and plain except for the odd button, bow or touch of gold.  How I long for a time I could get away with wearing something like this….

Photo by Bryan Schneider from Canva

Consequently, when fellow Steemian and Powerhouse Creatives @zord189’s weekly contest was about shoes, I couldn’t resist.  I really did love those black stilettoes, and for all the gnashing of teeth about the dowdiness of the shoe fashion of my youth, they stood me in good stead for a very long time.

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Feature image:  Ava Sol

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.  If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.
  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
  • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

Let me help with your English writing
Rates depend on the depth of edit required
More about why I am offering this service here
Contact me

When Cape Town burned*

Fire is devastating:  we had a fire in the mountains above our village in spring (September) 2014.  It burned for what seemed like a month and because, to start with, it was in inaccessible parts of the mountain, it could not be effectively fought.  So it spread and threatened prime agricultural land and vineyards.  So it was with the Cape Town fire which started on the 1st of March 2015.  Fire is devastating and scary.  As I learned two or so years ago.

Cape Town surrounds the iconic Table Mountain – a national park and wilderness area – something residents often forget and take for granted.  I know.  I lived there for nearly twenty years.
Courtesy of Hilka Birns
So when the mountain burns, as it must, effectively in the centre of a city, the events that unfold are beyond imagination.
MountainOnFire2015
Although the mountain must burn – as part of the most diverse floristic kingdom in the world – this fire was started through human negligence.  And, while the fire burned, and homes were threatened, people criticised the work of the various fire services, the authorities and the outpouring of support.

A crisis teaches one about humanity and community.  The good and the bad.  So it is, I have learned in the virtual community in which bloggers “live”.  Fiona’s Favourites started on a whim, and I chose a platform.  Little did I know that it is not merely a platform;  I discovered that the blogosphere is a microcosm of any community with all the power dynamics and politics that characterise real life.

My journey into this new sphere was precipitated by a very simple motivation:  when I posted pictures of dishes that I cooked on social media, friends asked for recipes.  On the back of this, and years of “made-up” dishes that I often couldn’t replicate and The Husband unsuccessfully suggesting I write them down, Fiona’s Favourites was born.  If I am to be completely honest, the conception of Fiona’s Favourites also coincided with a time of very little work and few prospects.  Not a good place to be if one has been self-employed for more than twenty years and if one’s area of expertise is quite specialised.

What could I do to begin developing a body of writing that was quite the antithesis of my professional life?  Trawling the internet and freelance websites all seemed to suggest that a blog was a way.  I might, if I were to find the right “recipe”, even make some money out of it (that, is still a pipe dream and no longer a driving force).  More importantly, I was tired of the heavy, intense, argumentative type of writing that is my mostly “professional voice”.

I have always enjoyed the writing process.  Writing, for me, has been both healing and cathartic at different times of my life.  Not that any of that writing was shared – with anyone.  The prospect of personal writing was one thing, but how to walk the fine line between personal and private was a huge challenge.  The Husband is intensely private and cyberspace, the great unknown, is potentially full of dragons and many-headed monsters.  He is also fiercely protective of what he sees as my intellectual property:  “You can’t just put your recipes on social media and the Internet – they’re yours!”

A “website” of my won seemed to be a potential compromise.

My first posts were tentative and quite sterile; I was aware that recipes are two-a-penny on the World Wide Web;  just typing up a recipe is, in a word, boring; reading recipes can be equally boring.  This, and actually having known the original intended readers, almost all my life, even if they are now scattered all over the country and the world, resulted in my, almost sub-consciously writing “around” the food.

Then I ran into a friend in the village.

“I really enjoy your blog,” she told me, “I love the stories!”

I was blown away.  I didn’t even know that she had been following the blog!

Knowing that people eat with their eyes, photographs of the food I cooked were important.

Pictures also tell stories and, in text, they play an important role in breaking up dense material.  I have also long “fiddled” with taking pictures and when we moved to McGregor, I began looking at things around me with new eyes.  I wanted to capture and share what I saw.  So, with that, the content began to go beyond what I had originally conceived.

Initially, I was nervous.  Would “my” readers like the change?  Well, again, I learned something – people began commenting and the stats told me what I needed to know:  they did.

What have I learned about blogging?

The blogosphere is a virtual village, filled with people and personalities, rule makers, rule-breakers, nice people and nasty people (trolls, I learned they’re called) – just like in any community. They scrap and bicker, live and laugh together (or not), just the same.  They live in my computer but came from all over the world to partake of the fare I shared.  We all have blogs;  not all of us enjoy writing;  we’re all motivated by different things and we certainly don’t always agree.  And that’s not just ok, that’s good.

At the core, I’ve learned that Fiona’s Favourites is all about my favourite things and that’s what my readers seem to enjoy – surprisingly, to me.  From this learning, and from advice from bloggers like Opinionated Man*, I have created a set of rules for myself:

Fiona’s blogging rules

I’m a wannabe fulltime blogger.  I do this because I enjoy it – when I no longer enjoy the process, or it becomes a burden, I’ll stop.  Which I did for a while in 2017 when my world seemed bleak.  My rules:

  • I only claim photographs as my own if they are.
  • If I’m not sure of my facts, I’ll check them and acknowledge the source.  If I discover that something I thought was true, is not, I’ll correct it.
  • The stats interest me;  they don’t drive me.  I’m delighted with every new follower and every comment is appreciated and acknowledged.
  • I follow blogs that interest me, make me think, laugh, or both!  I don’t get irritated if I don’t agree with the blogger’s view, or if a topic doesn’t interest me:  I just don’t read it.  No offence intended and I’m sure, none taken.  It’s not realistic to read every post from everyone one follows.
  • I comment if I want to, and I’ll share my thoughts.  I don’t get mean – there’s no need.  Life’s too short for all that negative energy.
  • I don’t blog about blogging – on Fiona’s Favourites – anymore.  My readers don’t care if that they’re reading my 75th post or the 175th.  Nor do they really care how many likes or views I’ve had.  Why would they?  I reserve that for opportunities like this*, and only fourteen months into it, was thrilled with my 200 “likes” and just over 4,200 views from 78 countries.

Life lessons and the blogosphere

I was quite shocked to learn about bullies and trolls.  Quite naïve of me, I suppose.  Still, I don’t get it that people have nothing better to do than to stalk others and to be mean for the sake of being mean.  That said, the blogosphere “real” people do look after their own, as we saw when the Opinionated Man was forced to take a sabbatical.  Caring people power prevailed and a phoenix rose from those ashes.

And so it was in Cape Town.  Hilka, who took these photographs, and whose home and family were threatened with destruction, posted this on Facebook:

At the height of the terror on Sunday night, I was wondering whether it was worth living here, considering that this has been the 2nd major mountain fire we have been lucky enough to have survived in the 18 years we have lived in Noordhoek. Any brief doubts I may have had have been wiped away by the amazing community spirit and response to the crisis. People have really pulled together and supported each other and the firefighting efforts! I love this place! Wouldn’t live anywhere else!

So it will be for the moonscape the fire left on the mountain.
Proteas

Some final thoughts

Firstly –

* This article was originally published in 2015 on Jason Cushman’s A Good Blog is Hard to find, who blogs under the pen name, Opinionated Man.

The nom de plume perfectly describes Jason;  he is unapologetically so, and often deliberately provocative.  All of that said, he is a crusader for new bloggers and very generous with his time and his space.  This has been abused by someone who decided to publish something s/he had plagiarised, on his blog, then called HarsH ReaLity – as a guest.  As a consequence, Jason has had to deal with the repercussions and has taken the regrettable decision to no longer offer space (and, of course, his time), to guest bloggers.

I don’t get all of Jason’s posts and yes, there have been times I know I would have been offended if I had read some of them, but this belies someone who has encouraged and supported hundreds of novice bloggers.

I remain, all these years later, appreciative of his time, his space, his tenacity and his sense of humour!

Secondly –

There has been some bullying and trolling happening on Steemit, and which has had a nasty impact on people I care about.  Simultaneously, there has been an interesting discussion on Narrative and where I shared a little about why I blog, earlier today.

Revisiting and sharing these thoughts seemed appropriate.

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Acknowledgements:

Thank you to Hilka Birns for allowing me to use her photographs.  Follow her on Twitter @Hbirns
The photographs of the proteas are courtesy of Boesmanskloof Accommodation, McGregor

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.  If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.
  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
  • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

Let me help with your English writing
Rates depend on the depth of edit required
More about why I am offering this service here
Contact me

 

Punishment or revenge?

A woman in my family is a rape survivor.

August is Women’s month in South Africa with the 9th being the anniversary of the Women’s March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, protesting the proposed pass laws which would effectively rent families apart.

The month is now dedicated to women in a country plagued by gender-based violence, and where femicide is probably among the highest in the world and the constitution is designed to protect the rights of all people, particularly the most vulnerable.

A paradox.

The events of the last ten days are of a country of mysoginists and malevolent patriarchs.  Five young women have been murdered and raped, either at the hands of strangers or of people they knew and had known intimately.  A girl-child of six was kidnapped (instead of her brother);  returned unharmed.

3915 women and children were murdered last year
That’s an average 10 women and children murdered every single day of 2018.
Every. Single. Day. 

— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) September 2, 2019

The case of Uyinene Mrwetyana felt close to home:  she went to school in my old home town and would have stayed just down the road from my childhood home;  one of her parents works at my alma mater.  The post office in which the she was raped and killed, is the post office I regularly used at one point, when I lived in Cape Town.

Source

These events have unleashed a torrent of terror and rage. There are renewed calls for the reinstatement of the death penalty – ruled unconsititutional in an early and landmark ruling of our then young Constitutional Court.

There is no “typical” profile of the potential victim.  Our family member was not young, nubile, nor living an “out-there” life, in clubs, shopping and socialising.  In fact, she is quite the opposite:  a grey haired woman then approaching retirement age and who never wears makeup, only ever wearing sensible shoes.  Her social life is defined by the church, U3A and the work she does with a group of special needs Girl Guides.  She lives alone with her dog in one of Cape Town’s leafy suburbs. This last didn’t bother us because far be it from either of us to rob her of her independence. What did worry us was the fact that she rarely used the garage:  anyone could see when she was (not) at home.  We said so.

One Thursday evening she came home from one or other of her doings and thought it odd that Dog did not greet her.  The perpetrator had managed to open in a rear bathroom window, drugged the dog, and was waiting.

I have not been raped, but I and her brother lived the hell with her as she told and re-told and re-told the ordeal.  In soul-shattering detail.  It left us broken with her.  I remember her brother saying how ashamed to he was, of being a man.

And livid.

I understand the anger.  I also understand the wave of fear now gripping this country’s women and the knee jerk reaction asking for the reinstatement of the death penalty.  I recall my anger, wishing that the perpetrator would be caught and that yes, that he should die.

I have always, and instinctively been opposed to the death penalty. This forced me to reflect:  why did I want this man dead?  Would it punish him, or would I feel a sense of vengeance and vindication if he were to be killed?

Violence begets violence and there is much research in the public domain that attests to this.  Capital punishment is, by definition, violent.  I do, however, have to wonder whether, in the case of certain criminals, death is not too kind.

My heart goes out to the families of women and girls who have no choice but to know this scourge.

I bleed for those self-respecting men who are hanging their heads in shame.

I am with South Africa’s women who are asking #AmInext?

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Featured image created by drawnhy97 – www.freepik.com

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.  If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.
  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
  • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

Let me help with your English writing
Rates depend on the depth of edit required
More about why I am offering this service here
Contact me

The stuff – and steem – of August 2019

As so often happens in life, stuff happens and this August has been no different – in and outside the blogosphere.  Beginning with the latter:  the penultimate weekend in August is usually a weekend of poetry in our village.  It’s a time of happy energy and busy-ness and this was its seventh edition.  This year, when the date was announced, I knew two things.  The weather would be what it would:  either boiling hot and unseasonally summer-like or freezing cold, howling, even snowy and wet – as it should be as winter wails its way out.  Secondly, the number of eateries for evening dining was limited – only two, potentially three.  Last year, they run out of food.  So, I went out on a limb and said that we’d do Suppers @ The Sandbag House – for three consecutive nights.  I was either very brave or barking mad.

As often happens – she says again – stuff happens and things in the village changed – as they often do.  Suddenly a slew of new “proper” eateries appeared on the McGregor-scape between then and now.  However, being of the ilk that once committed, and with the offering publicised, we would not pull out.

As the weekend approached, and understanding, as my poet blogpal always reminds us, poets are poor and starving.  Over the last seven or so years, I have also learned that poets are not really good at planning, so food is often the last things on their minds, so we decided to waive the regular requirement of booking by a cut-off time – for Friday and Saturday, anyway.   Part of the preparation involved much weather-watching with, of course, menu-planning.  The fare was to be price-sensitive and simple, so as not to detract from the conversation, poetry and conversations about poets and poetry.  It also had to be multi-purpose:  dishes that would work for both meat-eaters and vegetarians and, in the event we had no diners, with the least possible waste.  As you know, I have a thing about food going to waste.

The ultimate selections were simple:  I made a gallon (or so) of broccoli soup which was portioned and frozen. Friday, was jambalaya which is ideal for the major dietary choices and the dessert a traditional South African pastry – koeksisters.  The soup and dessert would work for all three nights and if any of them ran out, I had a plan B up my sleeve.  The jambalaya, if there was any left, would become the vegetarian option for the second evening because it is actually better on the second day – the flavours have really developed.

 

As it so happened, there was plenty left – we had no diners.  I was much relieved because the day had been a challenging one making 50 koeksisters and preparing for the market.  Also, a friend dropped in to rescue our poet guest – more of that, anon – and needed a glass of wine and an ear.  That’s what friends do.

Saturday dawned and the market done, I came home to make moussaka.  I was thrilled to have been able to source lamb mince (ground meat) which would have made the moussaka even more authentic.  I produced eight beautiful individual moussakas which were to be served with Greek salad – the perfect way to end a day that had soared to an unseasonal 32ºC (90ºF).

Or so I thought.  The old adage, don’t judge a book by its cover, in this instance, really does apply.

As I cooked the meat, I wasn’t entirely happy with it.  It seemed to have very little fat and a lot of liver – the latter I could smell.  I had wondered whether the herbs and tomato one must add to the moussaka would “disguise” the liver.  Alas, it didn’t. When we ate what looked like a beautiful meal, I was so grateful we’d not had any takers.  I could not have, in good conscience, have charged diners for that supper.

Someone was looking after us:  the best part of that meal was the salad and better than the salad, the beautiful, handcrafted and McGregor-made ceramic bowl.

So as with the best-laid plans of mice and men, Sunday would have to be plan B.  As it happened, we did have two potential bookings which were confirmed.  One of the diners is a friend, while the other wasn’t – probably now is.  The third, a friend we’d invited – just because.  The main for this dinner – Provencal style chicken casserole – is on the list for a future post.

But.

As so often happens in McGregor…stuff unfolds.  Our non-McGregorite poet and whisky-connoiseur-diner, is a teacher from my old home town and also a graduate of my almer mater, teaching at a school where I’d had taught as a student…

His thank you note says it all.

As does the mutual agreement that the conversation that happens around our table stays @ The Sandbag House.

A last word….

August just flew.  It was so busy that it feels like more than only a month ago, today, that I wrote my first “off-the-blockchain” post about the Steemit blockchain.  Then, I lamented not having achieved my goal of reaching my goal of 1,000 Steem.  I am delighted that over the last month, notwithstanding my inactivity and the significant changes on Steemit, I was able to reach that milestone thanks to @streetstyle for his monthly Steem Power Up Day and the incentive of squirreling away my Steem.  Powering it up all at once, well, it really has an impact.  Wow!

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.  If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.
  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
  • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

Let me help with your English writing
Rates depend on the depth of edit required
More about why I am offering this service here
Contact me

Roads trips – a retrospective

Having grown up in a small town and in high school, having gone to boarding school in another town, road trips were commonplace.  There are, however, some trips that remain embedded in my memory.  The first that I really remember would have been in 1967.  It was the year after we arrived in South Africa and my father had a new job, necessitating a move from Port Elizabeth to East London.  It’s a trip of about 300km and at the time, my parents didn’t have a car.  A friend offered to drive us to East London.  I remember little about the trip (I’d have been about four and my sister nineteen months younger), except that the car was huge.  The four of us – plus the driver – had ample space.  One thing I do remember – other than the heat and burning the backs of my legs on the shiny vinyl seats – was the bench-like front seat from which I could just about see over the dashboard.  A music play list? I doubt it.  The driver would have been accompanied by anything a capella – if anyone sang.  I don’t have a clue!

Granny and the Mini

The next road trip that I remember, was not long after that, and as my Dad was going for a(nother) job interview – in Grahamstown.  It would have been late 1969 or early 1970 because my granny was visiting from the UK.   By then, my parents had acquired a motor car which was the complete antithesis of the vehicle in which we made that other road trip.  It was a Mini Minor, much like the one below.

Source

What you do need to know, is that both my mother and my grandmother were tall women, so I still have difficulty thinking of their folding themselves up so that they could get into that car.

Granny outside her home in Cowley, Oxford. Ironically, this is where Austin manufactured minis and it’s likely that she had worked in that factory during the war. I wrote a bit about that here.

Back to that trip.  Granny sat in the back:  in the middle. She was bookended by her granddaughters.  I have vivid memories of putting my head in her lap and sleeping at least part of the way.  Although I don’t actually remember her singing, I have no doubt that she did.  This was her nightly lullaby.  I sometimes still sing it in my head and Joan Baez’s rendition reminds me of Granny and her beautiful voice.

As I mentioned, road trips were a regular feature of my childhood.  After moving to Grahamstown, there were frequent visits to Port Elizabeth and even one to Cape Town.  Then in my high school years there were regular trips from Grahamstown to East London and back – at least monthly, if not more often – to and from boarding school.  The subsequent series of motor cars didn’t have a radio in them, let alone a tape cassette.  Consequently, there was no such thing as a road trip play list.  I must have sung on some of these trips – especially as a little girl.  I loved singing, but my singing was not loved:

Daddy, what can I sing for you?

His inevitable reply:

Over the hills and faraway….

He meant not the tune, but … literally.

Consequently, road trips included games like “I spy with my little eye….” or counting cars, and more interesting, guessing the origins of motor vehicles from their number plates.  This was long before the advent of the current number plate series, and we could guess province, town and country.  We prided ourselves on knowing that TSN was Sandton (if memory serves).  TJ and TP were Johannesburg and Pretoria, respectively, both in the then Transvaal (now Gauteng).  There was a time I could recite the towns for number plates that started with C(ape) and from A to Z.  The Western Cape has retained this series for its towns and I can still tell you some of them, including that CA is Cape Town (a no-brainer since we lived there for years) and that CZ is Beaufort West.  B, C, D, E and F were all in the Eastern Cape and were, in order:  Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, King Williams Town, East London and Grahamstown.  I did have to check that I was right with Kimberley (Source).  Funny how these trivial things stick.  I wish some other information was so readily retrievable from the memory banks!  Actually, the second car I owned, was registered in Grahamstown, and it was with that CF number plate that my Blue Fiat Uno and I arrived in Cape Town in the mid-1990s.  Not a road trip I remember with any relish at all.

A stop in Parys

Moving swiftly back to happier times, well, sort of, is a road trip made not long after my 21st birthday and on which occasion this photo was taken.

Dad, Mum and I at my 21st birthday (garden) party

That road trip is memorable for a range of good and awful reasons.  It was a 1,000km trip from Grahamstown to Johannesburg.  On the trip up – in a clapped out Datsun – packed to the gills with students – the weather was appalling.  It poured with rain and there was a hole the floor of the car – my feet were perpetually wet.  Of course, the inevitable happened:  the car broke down.  The water pipe connecting the radiator with the engine … well … it burst.  Suffice it to say, we had to stop and have a Heath Robinson repair in Paris Parys, 100km from Johannesburg.  It was already dark and, as I said, miserable.  Even though it was early autumn and should have been balmy (we were all barmy at that point…).  It was pitch dark by the time we hit the road again.  All I remember of the rest of the trip, other than the belching and screeching of the water pipe, was the orange moon at which I stared out of the back passenger window, with frozen, wet feet, and to the sound track to the 1983 (this was 1984) film, Lawyers in Love.

Any of those Jackson Brown songs, particularly that one, take me back – less to the trip – and more to that moon.

Source

Johannesburg-Queenstown, return

Fastforward just about ten years to when I was living in Johannesburg (which skyline still does it for me…):  for the entire year or so prior to leaving that city, and once a month, I’d make the just under 700km trip to Queenstown and back – for the weekend.  At the time, I had a company car and it was the first of “my” cars to have a radio and a cassette deck.  I was in heaven.  Prior to that, I’d had a little 1970-something yellow Renault 5.  The Yellow Peril had no frills, let alone a sound system.  I compensated with my pink walkman portable cassette player and ear phones.  Any how, I digress.  As usual.

Those trips between Johannesburg and Queenstown were accompanied by a pile of cassette tapes.  They were all loud, sing-alongs because I was travelling alone and would leave around 1pm, and drive straight through, stopping once and just to long enough fill the car, the stomach and to use the ablutions, arriving some six and a half hours later.  I have wracked my brains to remember what those tapes were, and the only one I can remember, is Bette Middler’s Some People’s Lives and especially this song:

Spoilt for choice

Having travelled quite a bit for may day job in the last 20 years ago, and living where we do, I’m not so fond of road trips.  I prefer to stay put. That said, there is the odd trip to Cape Town and the-not-odd-enough-trip to places we’ve not been.  We don’t have a hard and fast playlist, and with our not-so-new Chevvy just having a CD player, we both select what we’d like to hear and put the discs in a box.  The selection ranges from The Beetles to Santana, Mango Groove to Edith Piaf, The African Jazz Pioneers and Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) and a whole lot in between.

There have been times, though, having selected the maximum number of CDs our carrier would allow, it lived in splendour on the diningroom table until our return from a trip.

Post Script

This post was inspired by thist month’s PHC Top 3 contest.  This is is not an entry as I can’t pick just three (can I ever?), so in support of the @phctop3 initiative, 50% of the Steem payout from this post will be transferred to that account.

Thank you

Thanks to @curie and @randomwanderings for their ongoing support of this initiative with an allocation of 80 Steem for distribution between July and August to boost the rewards over and above the original 50 Steem they contributed for May and June.

Curation Trail

There is a curation trail for @phctop3, which you can follow here to continue to add to the prize pool and the growth of the competition. Delegate to @phctop3

5SP 10SP 25SP
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Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.  If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.
  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
  • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

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More about why I am offering this service here
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Cookin’ with gas

In 1986, I moved into my first flat (apartment); it had a gas stove. Even though I only lived there for six months, that gas stove was seminal to the development of my cooking skills and more importantly, my love affair with gas. It was an antique,…

In 1986, I moved into my first flat (apartment);  it had a gas stove.  Even though I only lived there for six months, that gas stove was seminal to the development of my cooking skills and more importantly, my love affair with gas.  It was an antique, rather like this one.

Gas stove
Antique gas stove (Source)

I lived in Yeoville, Johannesburg, and the gas was piped into the block, and metred.  That was a bit of a joke:  the metre was somewhere under the sink and had a coin slot.  When the gas “ran out”, all one did was open the rusty coin drawer, haul out a lurking coin and pop it into the slot – always the same coin.  As I recall, I was billed all of R1,50 a month, if that.  In today’s US Dollar terms, around 10c, and then around $3,75…

The first time I had someone over for dinner, as an entirely novice cook, whose repertoire, at that stage, consisted largely of some sort of mince** disguised as spaghetti bolognese, I decided that I would serve whatever it was (probably mince) in a roasted pumpkin.  I have no idea where the notion came from, but through trial and happily, no error, I roasted a lovely little green pumpkin in my antiquated gas oven.

The next abode had an electric stove, and because it was a house-share situation, the repertoire grew, but I missed “my” gas:  the instantaneous heat, that meant I could fry an egg in the blink of an eye.  And the grill:  located just under the hob, which meant it was easy to keep an eye on and made the most fantastic grilled cheese.  I lived on cheese and tinned tuna in that first flat:  I had no fridge, so I had to eat most of the perishables that I bought, that day. I ate lots of vegetables.Garden bounty - onions, peppers, brinjal, onion, beans, tomatoesMercifully there was a Spanish greengrocer – and lovely man, who could speak little English – on a corner about two blocks away.  I learned to select very carefully and found ingenious ways of ensuring that the perishables I did have to buy, stayed cool.  However, as a consequence of having to eat an entire tin of tuna in one sitting, I still have a very serious aversion to it.  Only the most ingenious of disguises will even begin to tempt me to eat anything other than fresh tuna.

My next encounter with a gas stove was in the first property that was really “mine”  (or the bank’s, I should say).  Like the other building in which I had lived a few years before, this flat also had piped gas, but without the antiquated metering system.

So, the love affair continued, spurred on by a move to Queenstown, in the Eastern Cape.  Here, for the first time, I needed to produce a meal every evening.  This is when I really started learning to cook:  I discovered the importance of planning and timing.  The former as self-preservation and the latter, a combination of planning and experience.  All this after I’d successfully produced my first solo Christmas lunch of turkey and all the trimmings – for at least ten.  I had never, ever, single-handedly stuffed or roasted a turkey! And somewhere between that first flat and my departure from Queenstown, a table that indicated the temperature for each gas mark, found its way into the now-faithful recipe book.
GasMarksFarenhCelsius By that time, I was hopelessly smitten.  So, when many years after that, and in another life, The Husband and I re-did our Cape Town kitchen, a gas stove was not negotiable.  Admittedly, my love affair with gas was only one of three reasons for this:  I have a “thang” about eventually being “off the grid” and South Africa, in 2008 (as we did again in 2015 and 2018), had a national electricity crisis. So, with my first-never-to-be-repeated (yes, another first) kitchen revamp, came a new gas hob. GasStove6Meyer I was in my element.  And a far cry, it was, from that first stove:  electric igniters. Then, when we moved to McGregor, a gas stove was not negotiable;  nor was a kitchen revamp.  Never say, “Never”, they say.

SandbaghouseKitchenBefore
The old kitchen with the dishwasher on the veranda

Rotten woodwork (in all senses of the word), no space for the dishwasher (which “lived” on the veranda for three months), not to mention a virtual absence of practical storage space, necessitated urgent and serious action.

SandbagHouseKitchen1
The new kitchen

Look, a full gas stove!

With a thermostat and calibrations for the temperature, rather than the gas marks which characterised my first two, this stove which has produced the best shortbread I have ever baked.
I still, by the way, roast cucurbits.  A few years ago, one of the vendors at the McGregor market was selling the most beautiful, young gems – they were enormous.  I could not resist:  one would make an entire, delicious meal.  The Husband was not convinced, so, not to be thwarted, I set out show him otherwise.  The solitary squash, duly pricked and lathered with olive oil, was baked in a moderate oven until it was soft but not mushy.  It needed to be firm enough to be halved and the shell reserved intact. RoastGems1 Once the it had cooled down enough to handle, the stalk was removed and the fruit was cut in half.  I scooped out the pulp, complete with seeds, chopped it and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Then I added a knob of butter, and put the mixture back into the shells and popped them under the grill to warm through.  Finally, they were topped with some lovely labneh, and fresh, chopped chives. RoastGemLabnehChives An enormous meal, we had.  That salad was definitely greed and not need…

And all this, because I had to learn how to cook with gas and had a silly notion of roasting a pumpkin – nearly 30 years ago!

© Fiona’s Favourites updated from the first posting in February 2018.

** ground beef for my US readers

Misty days

Often on a Sunday, we host Sunday Suppers.  Tonight not so and I got to going through some photographs I took one Sunday morning in June.  Each season has its moods.  These epitomise our winter mornings. This Sunday dawned misty and I grabbed my “proper” camera rather than my mobile.

The two photos that follow are taken from the corner on which we live:  the first looking down the road and the second up the Road to Nowhere.

Taken at 08.24
Taken at 08.25

And then the mist came down.

Less than 30 seconds later looking west-ish past our drive way gate.
And then I went back up the hill, looking down past the house at 08.28
At 09.48 from our stoep towards the driveway.

None of these photos has been edited.  The last week or so has been an odd one.  Three people I care about have lost people they care about.  I wish them well as they make their way through the mists of grief into the light.

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Post Script

  • I blog on two platforms:  WordPress and Instagram, and the former auto posts to Steemit.  Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.
  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

 

 

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Building up a head of Steem – SPUD4

It’s SPUD!

No, I’m not talking food, let alone potatoes.

Today is Steem Power Up Day.

In the just over two years I have been on Steemit, I have only ever reinvested the Steem Based Dollars I have earned, buying Steem.  Today, my 5.30 SBD converted to 20.227 STEEM.

In addition to that, I have only ever powered up any liquid Steem.  Today, it was (for me) quite a substantial amount

Although Steem is not as strong as it was, it is still at a level that it is not really affordable in the South African Rand (1SBD : ZAR14.05 source). My investment is instead, posting what I hope is mostly quality content, on the blockchain, and choosing to use my allocation of resource credits to support fellow Steemians.

I would, at some point, be more than happy to see some liquid return on that investment.  I started blogging with three goals: sharing recipes, cultivating a different voice (for years, my writing had been largely very formal, almost academic and businesslike), and earning. Fun though it was is, in more than five years, I didn’t earn a bean from blogging.  Until I arrived on Steemit. Although I’ve never powered down, and although Steem tanked along with Bitcoin, et al, not long after I joined, I have become one of those who –

came for the money and stayed for the community

AND

now have a long term view that Steem (and other alternative crypto currencies) will strengthen again.

That said, my website is paid for in Steem or SBD and I have a WordPress blog which is effectivly costing me nothing.  My .com blogging site had been costing me nearly ZAR1,400 a year and was going to go up.  Not only is WordPress my chosen blog platform, it is the main interface from which I post to Steem. This means that while I may not be earning fiat from my investment, I am both benefiting from, and constructively using, my time to build that investment – doing something I enjoy.  Seems to me, if I take a long term view, it’s a win-win.

For those for whom this is a foreign language (I confess that much of this is still gobbledeygook to me), here are the principles for building a head of Steem, as I understand them.  It is Steem which gives one currency – in every sense of the word – on the blockchain:

  1. create content (posts) and/or you curate by voting and commenting on posts:
  2. these transactions come at a cost and with a return, and
  3. in so doing one earns and is rewarded in different proportions in three ways, with
    • Steem tokens
    • Steem Based Dollars (SBD) – these two can be used to buy Steem Power (power up) and can also be traded for other crypto currencies or fiat.
    • Steem Power

However

Investing in Steem by powering up Steem to Steem Power or using SBD to buy it, is not just buying a share, but is how one literally works one’s way up the ranks on the blockchain:

STEEM Power

Rank

0 – 499

Red fish

500 – 4,999

Minnow

5,000 – 49,999

Dolphin

50,000 – 499,999

Orca

500,000+

Whale

With thanks to Steempal @nickyhavey for providing me with this breakdown.

The more Steem one has, the greater the value of one’s votes for others, and to add to the complication, one is also rewarded for voting, sharing (re-steeming) posts on the blockchain and by commenting on other people’s posts.

It really is a social blockchain, and where cooperation and collegiality should be the order of the day.  It isn’t always.  More of that, another time, perhaps.

As well as buying Steem, today, I also powered up what little “liquid” Steem I’d been squirrelling away since I heard about SPUD4, in the hopes that by 1 August, I’d have reached a head of 1,000 Steem.

Alas, not quite, and a little of my Steem is delegated (lent) to @PHCtop3 a fun project on the blockchain, and which is responsible for inspring some of my more lighthearted eclectic posts:

I have an awful long way to go to reach dolphin status, let alone whale or orca, but given that I’m in for the long haul and there are folk like this encouraging rank amatuers (you see what I did?) and little fish like me, to buy in, every little helps.  I’m not likely to feature anywhere in his incentive programme, but I share it to encourage folk to look out for SPUD5 which, I have no doubt, will be a thing.

Alternatively, if you read this, and haven’t powered up, and it’s still 1 August in your part of the world, why not join in?

SPUD4 PRIZES & HOW TO WIN

Prizes:

1st Place

  • 2500 Steem Power Delegation for 4 Weeks – sponsored by @xpilar
  • 1000 Steem Power Delegation for 4 Weeks – sponsored by @sultan-aceh
  • 20 SBI shares, “The Gift that keeps on Giving” – sponsored by @jlsplatts

*If the 1st Place Winner is from Aceh, Indonesia

  • +1000 Steem Power Delegation for 4 Weeks – sponsored by @sultan-aceh

2nd Place

*if no 1st Place winner from Aceh, Indonesia

  • +1000 Steem Power Delegation for 4 Weeks – sponsor @sultan-aceh

3rd Place

  • 500 Steem Power Delegation for 4 Weeks – sponsor @flipstar
  • 10 Steem Basic Income shares sponsored by @davedickeyyall

4th Place

  • 250 Steem Power Delegation for 4 Weeks – sponsor @taliakerch
  • 10 Steem Basic Income shares sponsored by me, @streetstyle

Rules to Win Prizes for SPUD4 :

  • MUST have a reputation score BELOW 69.00 ( so 68.99 is good & Can participate.) AND more than 75 STEEM POWER (prior to SPUD4) BUT LESS than 7501 Steem Power.
  • MUST have a reputation score ABOVE 42 (so rank of 41.99 will Not Win)
  • MUST have at least 1 Steem Post in their blog about SPUD4
  • MUST Power Up Steem on August 1st, 2019
  • On August 1st, you MUST make a post about your POWER UP. It can be as simple as “I powered up X amount of Steem” to a simple picture/screenshot of your Power Up and posted to your Steem blog, or it could be a super long dissertation on Steem Power. IMPORTANT: Use the SPUD and/or SPUD4 Hash tags so that I can be sure to see them.

Because I must – a last word

This is the second time I have participated in SPUD.  Both times it was at the behest of my witchy friend, fellow Steemian and blogpal @traciyork, but it’s the first time I’ve actually posted about it.  It’s also the first time I’ve written properly a little about Steem, itself, from on my WordPress blog in a way that, I hope, my non-Steemian readers may follow.

Feature Image:  Pixabay

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.  If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.
  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
  • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

Let me help with your English writing
Rates depend on the depth of edit required
More about why I am offering this service here
Contact me

A stew is a stew – or is it?

Words fascinate me and I have confessed to choosing to eat something – just because its name appeals to me (more of that when I get round to re-publishing that post). I live in a country with eleven official languages – and dialects.  Also, in South Africa, are peoples of Bushman descent whose languages are ancient and have either been lost, or are in danger of being lost; some have never been codified (written down source). I ruminated about this when Jan Boer gave us oorskot (surplus) peaches. Because I have blogpals all over the world, I often wonder about the etymology of words, as I did when I decided to make a bredie the other day.  Bredie is a winter favourite and typical of Dutch South African cuisine.  Because my heritage is British, it’s not a word that was used in my childhood home.  We would have a stew or a casserole – identified by it’s main ingredient, i.e. beef, chicken or lamb mutton.

As is my wont, I began thinking about the etymology of bredie expecting it to have its roots in India or Malaysia.  The dictionary, says that a bredie (n) is a

Southern African a meat and vegetable stew

Its etymology was unexpected, but when I thought about it, very obvious.  It was the Portuguese – in the 15th Century who first rounded the Cape, in the form of Bartolomeu Dias (or Bartholomew Dias, my primary school history taught me), on his way to the East.  He was the first European to have anchored off the South African coast;  there is a monument to his exploits in the Eastern Cape, near Alexandria, and not far from where I grew up.  The Portuguese went on to colonise not only bits of Africa (like Angola and Mozambique), but also India. The word has its roots in the Portuguese word, bredos or “edible greens.” Now I know why every bredie – in one incarnation or another – includes vegetables.

The most common popular one, is a tomato bredie which, come to think of it, really does show its Portuguese roots.  It’s not my favourite because it’s too reminiscent of the cuisine of boarding school and university.  The two that I prefer, and make, are butternut and waterblommetjie.  Waterblommetjies (little waterflowers) are indigenous and grow in the natural waterways, ponds and dams in the Western Cape, and flower in spring.  I talk about my first encounter with them here.

An original fusion food

A couple of weekends ago, we knew Sunday was going to be cold and it’s also low season, so we were not sure whether we’d have diners for Sunday Supper.  I decided that I’d have a homely, easy plan B:  a stew.  Stews are a fantastic, nutritious way to use inexpensive cuts of meat – and they are usually the most flavoursome.  I am not fond of beef and I find that stewed beef can be like eating bocks of soft wood.  It was also going to be a one-pot supper.  After all, it was a Sunday night off.

This brings me back to the bredie:  traditionally it’s made with mutton or lamb – fat cuts like rib or neck.  I prefer the latter – there’s less fat and more meat and its equally flavoursome.  I’ve already alluded to the vegetable components that make the variations on the theme and the consitiuent vegetable determines the spice (or herb) flavourings that are added (which, incidentally, also cut the fat).  This is the influence of the East – India and Malaysia – making the bredie an original fusion food.

The Boers were descendants of the Dutch colonists, and who trekked to the hinterland of South Africa;  the Malay folk were slaves and religious exiles sent to Africa.  Much of the food in South African homes is a fusion of our rich history.

This is how I made a butternut bredie.

100_3236

Butternut Bredie

You will need an appropriate quantity of lamb or mutton stewing meat (I used neck), one or two onions, a  green pepper (or a chilli if you like a bit of heat), a clove of garlic, a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger and a stick of cinnamon;  butternut – cut into cubes or chunks and potato, similarly prepared.
100_3238If you are using a slow cooker, place half the raw vegetables along the bottom, reserving some for the time being. Sauté the chopped onion, pepper/chilli, garlic and ginger, and then seal the meat in the same pan.    Put the meat on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker and then deglaze the pan with a little water or stock to make a gravy.  Add the remaining vegetables and then pour the liquid over that and put on the lid.

“Fire up” the slow cooker and leave it alone to develop into a wonderful rich bredie – a good few hours.  The vegetables will be tender and the meat will be soft and fall off the bones!  100_3239Download a PDF version of the recipe (and its variations) here.

A note about the fat:  for those who are Banting, it’s not a concern.  For those who don’t like it – there was much less fat than I expected.  Don’t shun fat – that’s where the flavour comes from!
Traditionally, bredies are served with boiled rice, but I’m sure it’s good with pap (corn porridge or grits (for my American readers) – a bit like polenta) and other vegetables.

A last word

A stew is not a stew when it’s a bredie!

Post script

On Steemit, there are a number of weekly contests or themes.  One is Tasty Tuesday, and last week blog pal, Lizelle, challenged invited me to participate – specifically with South African fare.  So this is my first contribution.

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

  • I blog on two platforms:  WordPress and Instagram, and the former auto posts to Steemit.  Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.
  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

Let me help with your English writing
Rates depend on the depth of edit required
More about why I am offering this service here
Contact me

 

Raining happiness

It’s been an awful long time since we had a “proper” rainy day.  I have, over the last couple of years, done an awful lot of whining about drought and not enought rain.  Every drop of rain has been celebrated.

Especially when it’s what we call “real” rain.  The last episode of any note, before today, was in March when I celebrated with this photograph:

Although we had 50-odd milimitres in two days. The dust was washed away, and the earth loved it, but it didn’t have much impact on the garden which has been thirsty for months.  Because it is prohibitively expensive (and stupid) to use municipal water for the lawn, what was our little oasis a few years ago, still looks like a dust (now mud) bowl.

The Husband started recording the rain in 2013, and this is the the annual rainfall, and to date (and as I write), the rain is still falling:

2019 at the time of writing (23 July)

116 mm
2018

249 mm

2017

141 mm

2016

170 mm
2015

323 mm

2014

382 mm

2013 – 9 months to December

425 mm

I honestly can’t remember the last time the day dawned and was cold, grey and wet.  Today is such a day.  As I write, it’s mid-morning and so dark, it’s necessary to have the light on.  It’s so miserable that for the first time in a couple of years, I have a black cat curled up on my lap.  Away from the cold and wet.

This is the view from my desk – the wind is driving the rain ahead of it at 45°.

I promised, at the beginning of winter that although I’d would complain about the cold, I’d not complain about the wet.  So, this is a sight for sore eyes:

As I share my glee at the rain, I am also aware of the folk whose who might not have shelter, whose homes are flooded and who must brave the cold and wet.  Sometimes the world is not a kind place.

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

  • I blog on two platforms:  WordPress and Instagram, and the former auto posts to Steemit.  Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.
  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

Let me help with your English writing
Rates depend on the depth of edit required
More about why I am offering this service here
Contact me