It’s like another country

george-south-africaThe words from my daughter as we drove down into George. Nothing I had described to her had as much impact as when she actually saw what we had thrown ourselves into.

It’s more South African and, yet, less South African. Or maybe, less Jozi. ….. Ok, definitely less Jozi!

The landscape is greener, the cows more plump. The mountains make the Magaliesberg look like pimples. The drive from Great Brak River (our temporary home) is filled with “oh my gosh” sights.

great_brakYesterday morning’s drive to school: the guinea fowl pik-pikking on the kerbside as we drove down out of the Tuscan-staail estate we are staying in; farm dams with mist rising off them – waterfowl glaring into the depths in search of breakfast; cattle clustered around a farmhand as he feeds them warm mash; a small plane taking off from the airport; the sun blinding me as I came up a hill and found myself stuck behind a bakkie – braking skillz FTW; the very short traffic jam from the traffic circle up to the turnoff to school; the drive back home (20 mins) to a quiet, hillside house where I can connect with my clients and sort out their requests.

And the day before that! Oh, my! Meeting the people I’ve been in contact with since early this year when I set out to become part of this community even before I arrived. Like lost friends, but an easy connection. Brainstorming, gossiping, chatting, jokes and stories.

There’s just one drawback…. my Joziburger™ impatience.

Househunting. Jeez. I am going to need to kick back and just chill about this issue.

It’s hard. Houses move w-a-y too fast. Not that they are anything to write home about. Oh no. Pretty kak. Or boring. Or overpriced. Estate agents bemoan the fact that stock sells within days. I’m actually wondering if they don’t all get together at the local Spur ribs-n-tjips night and plot on how to scare buyers into offering, just in case.

drive2skoolBut… I have a roof over our heads and food in the fridge. The teenager is in school. The cats have been liberated and are quite enjoying their new abode. The only problem is that the dawg has separation anxiety, all of a sudden. I need to sort this out.



P.A.C.K. is a Four-Letter Word


One month to go.

One month before we hit the road and flee my beloved Joziburg™ to settle along the Garden Route.

One month of trying to hang onto my sanity…onto my visions of a tranquil future.

Today I thought it would be an excellent idea to deal with the CD/DVD collection. It was a Confucian blessing.


I am so not happy. Not at all happy. There are homeless discs. And there are discless boxes. And I know for certain that there is at least one album missing. I know who the culprit is.

About my height, in Grade 11, female. With a penchant for chaos…

I confess I am not the tidiest person around. I have an awfully short attention span – I get distracted in the midst of one task and trundle off to sort out another. Or I do something more interesting. Or read a book that I just found under a pile over there. Or get an amazing idea that needs instant web research.

But leaving lids off, or discs out, or having broken cases/containers/boxes? Other discs all shoved together in a totally random box?


There’s another four-letter word that ends in “C.K.” and I have a sense it is going to resound a lot more frequently in the next month.



Six million other trees



In August last year, I started this blog. I was in a pensive mood, caught up in my own thoughts about being a Joziburger™. A love/hate relationship that was part of what I had been and what I wanted to be…an editorial graphic designer vs a free-agent-who-will-do-anything-that-makes-life-interesting.

Some 220-plus applications for jobs, only five-or-so interviews, and only two replies………..that hurts. I have a CV that I am proud of, achievements that are singular, places I’ve been and seen, projects that wouldn’t have worked if I hadn’t thrown myself wholeheartedly into them.

That’s when you look in the mirror and wonder if your career was all just smoke….and mirrors.


…yes, hurts…


And not long after the blog launched, I decided I was quitting Joziburg™. Time to follow the dream I’d had since I was a pre-teen – go to the Garden Route, or live in the Klein Karoo.

I’ve done it. The house is sold. The transfer has been signed. The high school for The Empress has been chosen. In 48 days I am on my way.

To another place that has countless trees!

So, Joziburg’s™ Six Million Trees are about to morph into the Garden Route’s Six Million Trees! I am not leaving in order to never return – Joziburg™ is MY town….but I am following my heart.

Dream on.

Where’s my water?

Pic: Delwyn Verasamy, M&G

Yup. Daar’s fokol water.

Joziburg™ and surrounds have a heatwave. A drought… The worst since 1992 (yeah, so I remember that one – 38ºC day after day – while pregnant).

Everyone is looking for someone to blame. Naturally, the gravy train is under scrutiny. (The interesting part about making gravy is that you need water.)

And – in typical Joziburg™ style – somebody decided to steal a water tanker, or two. My question is: was it for the water it contained or for the scrap metal or sell-on value of said tankers? I suspect it was a combination of the two.

Of course, the government is under scrutiny. Which individual failed to read the memo that said “Job Description: What We Want You To Do If You Are Appointed To This Position”?

And who failed at oversight? Checked that the Water Minion was doing his/her job?

Why does it seem to be so difficult to actually Do Your Job? Are you – Oh, Water Minion – running away in fear that you don’t understand water, or are you sitting in a plush restaurant, sipping Evian?

Why does governance appear to be a fairly Step-One-Step-Two-Step-Three procedure? Or am I missing the point about service delivery – that it is an incredibly complex concept that demands minions and sub-minions and deputy-minions and assistant-minions and wipe-my-nose-minions to succeed at governing?

Do. Your. Dam(n). Job.


The pen is mightier than the sword

womanreadingEn route to Jozi, from Cape Town – the flight is delayed for an hour.

A brief foray into Exclusive Books, from whence I emerge carrying a copy of Paige Nick’s “Pens Behaving Badly“.

With the flight being somewhat AWOL, the book gets opened and I start reading. It becomes evident – after a while – that I am being stared at by passersby. This is confirmed by the 16-year-old daughterperson.

Eventually, an American woman comes past me and confirms my suspicions…the passersby are reading the cover as “Penis Behaving Badly”. She laughs and says, “That would not be surprising!”

Giggles from daughterperson and me.

Crack for cats

6MfelinefacepalmWe ran out of cat food the other day. Simple, right? Go buy some more…

…which I did. From the Cat Box Hyper.

A brand I hadn’t seen before, but which had glossy packaging (akin to the packs of Whiskas and Friskies alongside) as well as some nice words in the blurb about how cats will benefit from it.

Haha. Tell that to my cats.

First meal was served.

Cat #1: What is little stones in bowls?

Cat #2: Little stones looks like foodies but gots no smell.

Cat #1: She looking at us like she done somethink special.

Cat #2: Why?

Cat #1: Dunno. Go on, tastes it.

Cat #2: TASTES IT? I don’t eats stones!

Cat #1: Don’t looks at me! Is just a suggestions.

Cat #2: [tastes a piece] What in beelzebub’s hell is this??

Cat #1: Bad, huh? [long pause] HAHA! Looks at your face! *rolls off feeding table in glee*

Cat #2: This is grossestness!

Cat #1: Imma going outside to catch a bird. If you won’t eats it then it must be bad, fatty.

Cat #2: Harhar. Very funny. You think she serious that this must be foodies for us?

Cat #1: [exits catflap without replying]

Cat #2: [perseveres with eating, but continues to give the death stare to the lady of the house; eventually gives up after lady goes out in her car] OK, bitch. Time for payback…

Cat #2 got his revenge. He puked right where I open my car door inside the garage.

The standoff lasted two days. In that time, I got baleful stares. Meows. Grumbles. Supplications of pretend-love and purring. The food in the bowls never even went low enough for the bottom to be revealed.

Eventually, my daughter said we have to surrender and buy the crack-for-cats. Whiskas. In whatever flavour, but it must be Whiskas.

I hemmed-and-hawed…until I reversed my car out the garage and saw Cat #1 busy torturing a hapless dove to death, in order to get some Real Food in his tummy.

White flag was waved. Off to Checkers to buy a large pack of Whiskas.

I came home, and their kitty-nasal-radar-sixth-sense wotsit obviously blared out over the suburb. Two cats into the house like furry barracudas…one purring as if I was The Cat Goddess of Goddesses, and the other staring at me from the counter as if to say, “Don’t try that again, if you value your life and possessions”.

However, I work on compromises. The Whiskas has been mixed in with the little-stones-from-hell so that they have to eat it all together. So far, there’s been no complaint.

I think……………….

A frog he would a-wooing go, Jozi style.

frogstadpolesThe entry quoted below comes from my Facebook page, written last spring.

Some would call it love and romance, but I’d ascribe it to the primal force that drives all creatures.

About two years ago I dumped a jar full of tadpoles in the small pond of my postage-stamp-sized front garden. They thrived. And then they vanished.

Last summer, I was delighted to hear two adult frogs had made it from tadpolehood to being grownups. However, it became evident that these two frogs were females, and no amount of wishful thinking and same-sex laissez-faire on my part would result in new generations of tadpoles.

Some months later I found one turned into roadkill outside my house. Being as I live some 700m away from the watery bits of Alberts Farm, I gave up hope of turning the spinster frog into a mom without getting in a new generation of tadpoles who might provide Ms Frog with partnership possibilities.

Cut to this weekend. I heard frogs calling from a distance, about a block away. Fanciful me wondered if a suitor frog might be making his way up the hill to find Ms Frog. Silly idea, innit?

Except. About half an hour ago I heard the bass tones of another voice….

Grabbed the torch and went out to look. Sure as frog’s eggs is frog’s eggs, he is here! He just hopped under the driveway gate and is headed for the pond.

They are serenading one another.

That’s a helluva journey, cos she’s the only frog I’ve heard on this hillside in all the time I’ve been here!

I have a lone goldfish and some tilapia in the pond, so the circle of life will get some menu variation over the next few months, but in life how persistence pays.

Cut to this year, and I was wondering if the frogs had gone to the amphibian afterlife. My pond had been dotted with little tadpoles all of last summer but I hadn’t seen any reach maturity. Not a very successful frog breeding program, it would seem.

But nature triumphs, again. Two nights ago, the frog pair started their evening serenade just outside my front door. Voices a little rusty, but they’re still here…and I expect the pond will once more be dotted with pinpricks of black.