A post by David in Australia reminded me of an incident that happened near our smallholding a few years ago. Police were chasing a little VW Golf full of suspected stock thieves, and when they pulled them over, all but one fled into the surrounding bush. They thought at first the culprit must be drunk, just sitting there on the back seat, until they looked closer and saw that it was a sheep wearing a hat and coat. True story, gotta love Africa!
Inspiring Architecture #3
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Posted by Suzi-k at 9:24 am
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Hi, well my feet have more-or-less settled back on terra firma, for a short while at least.
and I loved the mosaic details everywhere, which added to the feeling that the place had been lovingly hand-crafted by someone who cared.
Posted by Suzi-k at 9:45 am
Friday, October 26, 2007
Posted by Suzi-k at 12:08 am
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I'm going to be a bit scarce for the next few days. I'm off to East London early tomorrow, to take my paintings and hang them, in preparation for the opening of my exhibition on Thursday. I realise it is not going to be possible for you to get there but here is your invitation anyway!
When I get back on Friday morning, Max's sister will have arrived from Durban,
just in time to meet miss Milly, before her mom and dad whisk her off to live in Uganda on Saturday morning :( . Then this weekend we will all head off along the coast to celebrate grandpa's 80th birthday... so bye for now, see you next week!
Posted by Suzi-k at 7:27 am
Sunday, October 21, 2007
This one has been doing the rounds for ages, I keep meaning to get to it. Shirley tagged whoever wanted to do it, so here goes. I have a no tag policy on this blog, so if you want to do it, cool, if not, cool. Just let me know if you do because I’d love to see yours.
7 little known facts about me….
1. I am not particularly freaked out by snakes, but I am horrified by frogs! (teeny tree frogs, and the little stripy Clicking river frogs with pointy noses that we have in our garden are exceptions) but the rest give me the willies! I know they are harmless, but they still creep me out. Ian once collected some of the big flat slimy ones that we call ‘platannas” here and put them in my freezer to use as fishing bait. I didn’t know they were there, and pulled them out of the packet thinking they were chops. Let’s just say he was a little unpopular!
2. I used to work at a brewery doing chemical and microbiological analysis in the quality control department. (I got 2 free crates of beer a month, Max’s friends used to say I definitely couldn’t marry him for his money, so he must have married me for my beer!)
3. When I was a baby, in Capetown, I had a nanny called Rosy. She used to call me ‘little miss buttons’ because I was fascinated by buttons. I still like anything dotty… go figure!
4. I could swim before I could walk, (both before I was 1.) My mom taught me because they spent a lot of time around water and she wanted me to be safe.
5. I used to specialise in decorative paint techniques and painting murals. When my mom was in hospice, her room looked onto a blank wall, so a friend and I painted a mural on it so she, and those who used that room after her, would have something interesting to look at.
6. My family tree on my dad’s side goes back to Lady Jane Grey and King Henry 7th. (They would be mortified to have such an anti-royalist, anti-authoritarian slob in their line, but hey, you can’t choose your family!!)
7. When I was 21, I went to the Chobe Game Reserve in Botswana, and Liz Taylor and Richard Burton were there for their honeymoon after their 2nd marriage. When I went down to breakfast I walked right by her, but I didn’t stop or even show that I recognised her, I think celebrities must crave anonymity sometimes so I respected her space. She just looked sad and middle aged to me at the time.
There you have it.
And by the way ............
WELL DONE BOKKE ............. you did us proud!
Posted by Suzi-k at 10:33 am
Saturday, October 20, 2007
There is an electric atmosphere in South Africa today..... traditionally when South Africans get together to watch rugby, it is mandatory to eat vast quantites of Naartjies, Droe Wors and Biltong. OK, let me translate, for the uninitiated, that means Tangerines, dry sausage (a specific blend of spices makes them uniquely South African,) and dry salted meat, the US equivalent is beef jerky. Well the stores have been cleaned out, not a bit to be found.... as the country makes important preparations for tonight's World Cup final against England!
Posted by Suzi-k at 5:51 am
Friday, October 19, 2007
Following a link from Ruth's post to Strolling through Georgia, Dot has started a new blogroll, called Skywatch Friday. Check out her stunning photo of the moon behind clouds!
As I seem to have enough sky photos to last well into the next millenium, I thought it might be fun to join in, so here is my first one, and it is a bit of a cheat, because it is the sky reflected in a window, rather than viewed directly.
Sunset at Homeleigh farm, Port Elizabeth.
Posted by Suzi-k at 5:05 am
As most of us use our blogs as personal spaces in which we reflect our interests, pre-occupations, philosophies and lives, it is not altogether surprising that crime rears its ugly head quite often in my blog. (Not by choice really, just by default, because it is such an integral part of life in South Africa.)
The award-winning artist, who recorded more than 20 albums in a career spanning two decades, was gunned down at close range on Thursday night as he dropped his young son off at a relative's home in the suburb of Rosettenville. The child had just got out of the car when unknown men approached him, trying to hijack the vehicle. He was shot and he died on the scene.....
Fellow musician Mzwakhe Mbuli, one of the first people on the scene, said the music industry has been robbed of a legend. "I am devastated ... out of words," Mbuli told AFP. "For me it's cold-blooded murder, until investigation proves me otherwise. Crime is out of control. Where is this country heading to? We really need divine intervention," he said.........
South Africa is one of the world's most crime-ridden countries, with nearly 20,000 murders recorded in the last year.
Dube's killing was widely condemned by politicians and prompted calls in some quarters for the restoration of the death penalty. "
Posted by Suzi-k at 12:52 am
Thursday, October 18, 2007
While I was photographing jewellery recently, I also took shots of some of my treasured stones which haven’t found their way into jewellery, and at risk of boring you into a coma, I thought I’d show you some of them today.
But first a bit of background info………….
When I was 8 (1962, do the maths!) I had a friend who was much older (her name was Sally, she was a very talented artist, at that stage about 18 I guess) who was one of our neighbours in Harare, but moved to Zambia, and she sent me a bundle of stones in the post. Thus was born a passion for geology which has stayed with me ever since. I even did Geology as a major at University, although I never finished my degree.
From the time my interest was sparked by that parcel, I avidly collected stones. Zimbabwe was a great place to pursue such a hobby, because it is extremely rich in minerals and gems, so it was a happy hunting ground for me. Over the years, I tortured my poor father by insisting on loading his car with rocks at virtually every stop on every journey, and the family became accustomed to travelling with their feet surrounded by my treasures!
When I was in high school, I organised my collection into a cabinet that dad made for me, and entered it into the Young Scientist’s Exhibition, where it won an award.
However, for many years we had a bit of a nomadic existence, first with my trips to South Africa for University, and my parent’s frequent moves from house to house, and later as Max and I got married and moved frequently during the war, and later emigrated to South Africa, finally settling in Port Elizabeth. Throughout this time the heavy and bulky collection was hauled around in boxes from place to place, treasured but gathering dust. Finally when we settled on the smallholding, I revived the display, and they lived in a cabinet for a while.
By this time (mid 80’s) my son Ian was best friends with Vaughn, who I mentioned in the BLING post, and Vo had a consuming passion for geology from an early age. We used to bore everyone to death raving about some nondescript little brown rock, which nevertheless held endless fascination for us rock-hounds.
To encourage him in his interest, I weeded out just 1 or 2 real favourites from my collection to keep, and gave Vaughn the rest. He subsequently added to it throughout his teen and University years, and now has a really spectacular and comprehensive collection.
He is married now, and at the moment he and his wife Vicky are also doing the nomadic thing as he pursues his Geology studies around the world, but hopefully one day they will be settled and in a position to display the collection as it deserves.
Just so you can put a face to the name, here is Max reading a speech written by Ian at Vaughn’s 21st, with Vo looking all bashful next to him. Because Ian was flying somewhere in Darkest Africa at the time, and couldn’t be there, we printed his face on the back of the speech, so that it would seem like he was there as Max delivered it.
The reason I am mentioning Vaughn (apart from the fact that I miss him and thought I’d introduce you to my other son!) is that he is responsible for giving me some of the following stones.
So here are a few of my non-jewellery treasures…………..
Alexandrite is now very rare and hard to find. Since I was a little girl, I have wanted one, because I was intrigued by this page in one of my books….
I found the idea of a mineral that changes colour depending on the light source so fascinating. Anyway, a couple of years ago, as a goodbye gift when he went overseas, Vo gave me a piece of Alexandrite! It is in its raw state, so the colour shift is not as dramatic as when it is facetted.
It is also quite small (about 4-5 mm diameter) so very hard to try and photograph, but when enlarged you do get the idea of the green showing through the purple in daylight, and the redder purple in tungsten light.
Flourite, fluorspar. This mineral has a cubic crystal structure, and comes in a wide range of colours from yellow through to purple. When it is purple it is called Blue John. I have always adored crystals, because when you stand on the brown solid earth, it is so amazing to imagine hollow caverns under your feet, lined with colourful translucent crystals in perfect shapes.
Here is a cluster of very pure quality crystals,
and a less pure but large single crystal.
Some crystals are not particularly rare, or perfect in shape, quartz is found in vast areas and is a major component of rocks like granite, but what makes this piece special is that it contains inclusions of native copper (copper in its metallic state.) Also sometimes the excitement of finding a special piece and picking it up yourself makes it special to you (as opposed to buying a specimen from a rock shop.)
Max and I spotted this one near the dam wall of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe, on the first trip we took back there after we had emigrated to South Africa, so it is also quite sentimental for us.
And here is another piece of quartz, with an aqumarine crystal embedded in it.
As you know, after the bling post, the thing I am the most passionate about is Opals. In my jewellery I have the black Australian opal, but none of the paler milky opals. When Vaughn went to visit his gran in Australia, he got this one for me.
Even in its raw state, the play of light and shifting colours are clearly visible, you can imagine how it would come to life if polished.
Another very special opal is the Mexican fire opal, this one was given to me by my step-dad, Aubrey, who also has a lovely collection (in fact he is a magpie, sorry, I mean collector of note, antiques, crystal, coins, stamps, old firearms, silver, porcelain, clocks, you name it …..)
By coincidence, opal also happens to be my birthstone, which is cool. The other one is Tourmaline. This mineral usually occurs in needle shaped crystals, and is commonly black, but there is also gem quality in blue, green and pink. The most wonderful one is watermelon tourmaline which, as you might guess, is pink in the centre and green on the outside.
I love this piece of quartz with needles of tourmaline embedded in it.
Another treasure from Vaughn and his wife Vicky is this piece of volcanic lava. It was collected at great risk to life and limb, in South America, when they were very honoured to be given permission to hike to the rim of an active volcano. It erupted while they were there, raining down rock and lava, scary stuff but their photos are spectacular!
Then there is this nondescript looking rock… nothing fancy, but its claim to fame (and a place in my display cabinet) is that it is from Antarctica, which as you probably know by now is my dream destination.
I showed you my blue tiger’s eye ring and pendant the other day…. I have 4 types of tumbled tigers eye… clockwise from bottom left, golden tiger’s eye is the well known one, blue is called Cat’s eye, red is called Hawk’s eye, and there is also green tigers eye.
Finally, if semi-precious stones interest you, and you ever find yourself in Capetown, there is a shop called the Scratch Patch which you would love…. The whole floor is literally covered in tumbled stones like this, and you pay for a container that you may fill, you sit amongst them and scratch for ones that appeal to you… great fun!
Posted by Suzi-k at 7:07 am