Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday, I'm in love

Some pages from my art journal....have a great weekend.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009


This morning we went out for a girls only tea for my sister's birthday. We went to The Westcliff, a really lovely hotel. It was great, wonderful food, but the best part is the amazing view looking over the city. Johannesburg is known as the world's largest man made forest, and you can see from the view all the beautiful trees.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

66 Third Avenue Kew

A large part of life is about memory and forgetting. The things you choose to remember, the things you try to forget. Sometimes we remember things the way they really were, sometimes we remember things the way we wish they were, sometimes we remember things the way we think they were. Sometimes the things we try the hardest to forget are the things we remember the most, and sometimes the things we thought we had forgotten weave themselves into our dreams and we awaken to sense distant fragments of pain and the taste of bitter ashes in our mouths.

66 Third Avenue Kew is the house where I grew up. I lived there from 1975 until 1982, from the ages of five to thirteen. It's the place of my happiest childhood memories, and the place where my parents started fighting, got divorced and my whole safe world fell apart. Sometimes I remember the bad stuff, not as much as I used to, but mostly when I remember 66 Third Avenue, the sun is always shining, I'm playing happily in the garden with my little brother, or playing Marco Polo in the swimming pool with my friends, or eating fruit from the beautiful fruit trees we had, plums, nectarines and apricots. In my memory, no fruit is more delicious than those ripe, juicy plums and nectarines we ate on hot Summer days, the juice running down our chins, our fingers sweet and sticky.

Today, I was working for a client in an area right next to my old house, so I decided to take a drive past. I had driven past a couple of years before, so I knew what to expect and that the area had become completely rundown over the passing years. When I lived there it was a typical well kept upper middle class suburb, in my memory how it was, has become a perfect Wisteria Lane, without the secrets and drama's.

I took some photo's, and the grey, dreary weather only served to make the place look even more seedy and desolate.

This was my road. My old house is the second one behind the fence on the right, where youu can just about see a bit of white wall. The area has become a crime hot spot and is now fenced off for security purposes. I wanted to drive past the house but all the roads leading into the suburb are fenced off like this. I ended up driving just about around the whole suburb before I found a small road that was unfenced and managed to make my way to the house.

Electric fences with razor wire behind more razor wire for safety against crime

Desolation row

My old house, 66 Third Avenue Kew. When we lived here, the electronic gate wasn't here and the driveway was open to the road. We didn't have this huge big wall either, there was a small waist high wall separating the garden from the road. Back then it was a safe area to live in, none of the houses had high walls like they do now. We used to ride our bikes with our friends in the road.

This abandoned car service station is just before the security fence in the top photo at the bottom of the road. It belonged to a couple called Bob and Glenda, my parents were friendly with them, they had kids our age and it was a great place to rollerskate and ride bikes over the weekend when it was closed. In those days it was all open and unfenced.

Well, that's the end of my little trip down memory lane. I'll always remember it as it was, and not as it is now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A day in the life.....

Today's another cold, grey day over here. Been busy around the house, and trying to sort out my life. I ended up sending an email that I was really uncomfortable with, but I think it had to be done, and I hope I did the right thing. My last employers still owe me two months outstanding salary from Feb and March this year and I am sick of waiting. I wrote a very nice polite email, but basically said if I was forced to take legal action I would. I hate these kinds of horrible, messy situations...but I want the money that I worked for, I didn't work for them for my health or because I wanted to take up an extra hobby to fill my time! Now I sort of feel bad about sending the email, but I don't know what else to do at this stage. It's hard because at one stage I was quite close to the one boss, and got on really well with her. Why do I feel bad about standing up for myself and my rights?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Morning flowers

It's cold out there, but I'm warm in here

The lovely balmy Winter weather we've been enjoying over the past two weeks has broken, last night the temperature began to drop and an icy wind started to howl around the house. Today dawned cold and grey and dreary. It's unusual for it to rain this late in the year because Johannesburg is a Summer rainfall region.

Fortunately I work from home, so I'm cozy and warm inside with the gas heater blaring away, and a hot cup of coffee steaming at my elbow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

From the garden

Aaaah...the weekend.....lovely. Nothing planned, just the way I like it. I hope you have a good one!

The last tomatoes of the season

Someone or something has been enjoying a good munch on the ripe tomatoes. I hope they/it enjoyed it. I'm not bothered because it's the end of the season and we enjoyed a fantastic crop throughout the Summer.

And introducing junior doggie aka big ears, he must have been crossed with a rabbit or a donkey....he is a mischievous handful of joy (mostly)...welcome to a world of being poked by a cold wet nose when he thinks it's time for you to get out of bed in the mornings.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Home is where the heart is

And dear old doggie aka the love in all I ever want from life are pats and lots of ALL the time.
I've been feeling a bit down lately about having to sell our house, wondering if we are doing the right thing, and then yesterday I was rudely reminded of the reasons for wanting to leave. The suburb I live in is close to Johannesburg's second largest university, and even closer to the city's largest university. Over the past two years, more and more students have begun moving into the area as unscrupulous landlords buy up houses and turn them into overcrowded student communes. We became mildly concerned but hoped that it wouldn't affect property values and neighbourhood standards too badly, and for a while everything seemed to be okay. That is until students moved in next door and across the road. And with students comes student noise. It is such fun to be woken up at 4.00am by car doors slamming, stereos blaring and loud drunken voices. That was from the people across the road, and it happened once a week, or once every two weeks, sort of bearable. Then students moved in next door, and the fun really began.

They seem to live by the following rules:
1. Don't hold a conversation unless you can talk at the top of your voice. Make sure you do this outside so the neighbours can be sure to hear you.
2. Always play the radio at full blast.
3. Have wild parties, but make sure you do so outside in the road so your friends can blast their car stereos. Make sure you leave lots of empty beer bottles, broken glass and food wrappers on the pavement - and for god's sake whatever happens, DON'T clean up the mess.
4. If you are female, make sure you giggle loudly, shriek and scream as soon as the smallest opportunity for doing so presents itself.

When they are outside on their front porch, it sounds like they are sitting right with me inside my study/art room. One guy in particular has this incredibly loud, deep booming voice with a laugh that would put your average chainsaw or angle grinder to shame. Now, they can go for two weeks and you won't hear a peep out of them, that's when you start getting sucked into a false sense of thinking that maybe things aren't so bad after all, and maybe you're being a bit drastic by deciding to move. And then they. come. back. to make your life a misery. And for three days it's wall to wall noise.

Yesterday they started up around mid day and only stopped after my husband asked them to keep it down at 6.30pm. Of course that won't stop them from starting up again as soon as they feel like it. When they start making noise I feel like my sanity, my home, my privacy, my sanctuary from the mad world out there is being invaded and destroyed. My heart rate literally goes up. I get stressed out and become anxious and agitated. I feel so angry at their selfish lack of consideration. I burn with anger and resentment. I start planning nasty schemes in my mind to get back at finding out when they write exams and blasting the loudest, nastiest heavy metal music I can find at the most inconvenient times of the day. I don't like how they make feel and how they make me want to behave.

So, in a way I'm glad they made noise yesterday again after being quite for almost two weeks. It reminded me that we are DEFINITELY doing the right thing by selling up and moving. It sucks but that's the way it is. It'll be a complete mission but that's what happens when you move. Home is where my husband and my pets are. And we'll make a lovely new home somewhere else. I have to say though, it is sooooo damn tempting to exact some revenge on them before we leave, but hopefully I won't stoop to that level!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Money for jam

Today is another pure blue sky warm Winter day....lovely. My lemon tree is just bursting with it's bright yellow fruit at the moment, so I decided to make some lemon chili marmalade. I looked up a couple of recipe's on the internet to get the general idea of what was involved, and went off to make up my experimental brew. I think the jam turned out quite well. It's very bitter and very sweet at the same time, and the bits of lemon peel are amazingly tangy and fragrant tasting. I used a bit too much chili, it's slightly overpowering, so if I decide to make another batch I'll definitely use less chili.

We got an offer on the house last night - but it was much too low. The realtor will go back to the prospective buyers and see if he can get them to go higher. I also still definitely want to have another show day which is scheduled for the 14th of June. I will be so sad to leave this place, I love my house, but unfortunately there are problems in the area that we are not happy about, so move we must. I just wish I could conjour up a magic spell and move the house somewhere else.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Perfect sky day

Today is the most beautiful Winter's day, pure, powerfully blue skies, warm outside in the sun. I took a few photo's around the house. I am feeling good, quite positive, and better than I've felt in a while.

Flowers in the kitchen

Bedside table in the guest bedroom

Close up of the flowers, I adore Barberton daisies - I think they might have another name but that's what we call them in South Africa

This vintage doll sits on a chair in the guest room. She belonged to my late granny, I'm not sure why but she was very special to my granny. She is one of my possessions that has a lot of sentimental value. Whenever I see her she reminds me of my granny.

On the wall in the guest room

This is a section of the bookshelf in a little room in the front of the house. It's a tiny room with one wall floor to ceiling bookshelves. We basically use the room as a storage place for my husbands bicycles and cycling equipment.

The guest bathroom

Close up of a pink crystal perfume bottle in the guest bathroom. It was a gift from my mom.

Flowers in the entrance vestibule

Giraffe wood carving in the entrance vestibule

Close up of a section of an African mobile from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was a gift from my sister-in-law. She's a photographer and travels widely around the continent.

Beaded mobile on my front porch. This gives you an example of a typical Winter sky in Johannesburg

View of the city skyline from my front porch.

I'm so happy, I just got a call from my best friend. She moved away about a month ago, and I have really missed her, we used to talk every day and see each other just about every second day, because we both freelance, we used to hook up here and there, an hour for lunch, a Friday afternoon drink etc. Of all the towns, in all the places, in all the countries she could possibly have gone to, she's moved to Port Harcourt in Nigeria! She got an amazing job, heading up a new African continent wide pay for TV cable station. She's also been appointed a United Nations ambassador, and she'll be away for three years.

I'm trying to sort out my damn taxes today, I sooooooo HATE official paperwork of any kind.....well back to the paper nightmare I go.......At least when it's done it'll be off my back:)