Start in the Middle

Many intriguing books or movies start the story in the middle. This allows the reader or viewer to ponder what came before. Why are the characters doing this? How did they get there? What will they do next? Does the past have a significant impact on their next move?

I’m here in the middle, making a new start. What came before is what brought me here. What brought me here is what affected me before. Life and endless circles. And endless running around.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve been slack. Four months of blog silence.


Because, winter. Oh, dear gawd, winter. Why did I arrive in the Garden Route during one of its coldest winters in memory? I brought my Joziburg™ assumption with me – that the Garden Route has one of the world’s most moderate climates (on average). Alas, I forgot about El Niño, which decided to turn the lovely southern Cape coast into North Antarctica this year.

Staying in furnished, rented accommodation that had a view second-to-none did not compensate for the icy howling gales that razored across the hillside where I lived. Luckily for me – and my teenage offspring – we found a house to buy, in George, closer to school and Things That Matter.

And so we have moved – to a home with a view to the mountains that soar almost 1500m to the sky.


A gentle garden, mixing an English eccentricity with African forest. Birds that chirp and shriek and serenade, whilst stuffing their beaks with bounty from the feeder, or ending up as morning tea for the resident leopard-cat-tiger. Little thug! I had to dispose of the bloody remains of two fledglings, which were being butchered on the carpet in the passage. Two! He must have felt like a shopper who’d scored a two-for-one bargain in the bin nearest the checkout.

Right now, the house is an obstacle course of flattened boxes, half-unpacked boxes, toppling-over boxes, lurking boxes, boxes for charity, boxes with re-assigned contents, and STUFF spread out all over the place. I’ve made great progress in reducing the box population from almost 100 containers to roughly a dozen. Furniture that had specific uses back in Joziburg™ has been repurposed – the hall table is now in my bedroom because it simply looks better there. A lamp that lurked in the library is now spotlighting my desk. The whole process is almost a rite or a festival of new choices. Christmas with a twist?

My very astute daughter said to me recently that our Joziburg™ home was the cocoon and that we are now the butterflies in a new garden. It’s an interesting analogy. And if you knew my old home you would see the parallels. Dimly-illuminated corners (albeit interesting ones) are now replaced by air and sunlight. A sense of space and openness. Big blue skies, grumbling folds of mountains, forested dells with delicate ferns and shy orchids, and dust roads that unravel through farms that slumber in the heat. Beaches that glow like amber at sunset, waves lacing their way through rocks, with sea birds standing sentinel as they contemplate dinner.

Start as you mean to go. From the middle.



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