The things we lost…

Photo 180933705 ©

We lost a lot in 2020…

We lost our jobs. We had to find new ways to busy our hands. Imagination and creativity the blocks we used to escape the shrinking walls around us.

We lost our ability to travel. We had to seek new ways to journey. Discovery came from noticing the beauty in our own backyards.

We lost our old habits. We had to cultivate new ways of being. Life in lockdown meant we looked deeper into the mirror and came face to face with our true selves.

We lost the freedoms we took for granted. We had to learn that liberation comes from within.

We lost relationships. We had to find the strength to be alone.

We lost loved ones. We had to find new ways to grieve.

We lost certainty. We found possibility.

Effing & blinding…


Image © Bortn66 | Dreamstime

I am so grateful for how I grew up.  I lived in a family where the worse thing you could be called is a ‘besom’ – as in ‘you little besom‘ which, translated from Irish means broom. This – of course  – was only when you had done something naughty. Otherwise you were ‘angel’ or ‘darling’.

Swearing simply did not feature. Even my dad, who was a man’s man in his work – at home, an officer and a gentleman. I can never recall him being profane. Emotional, yes. Ugly in his language towards others. Never.

So…I am somewhat amazed how over the last year or so,  I seem to have morphed into a sailor with Tourettes. This is not a new phenomenon, but after yet another frustrating conversation this evening, I found myself muttering the F-word darkly…even worse, aloud!

Now, there are many women out there who – at this point – will loudly shout that it’s our right as feminists to use language as we please. Yes. It is. We can and should claim our power. However, I spent my youth filling in Readers Digest ‘Improve your Wordpower’ quizzes, and I have a postgrad degree in English Literature, so actually, I have no excuse. I have at least 171,476* words at my disposal, so effing and blinding should not be my ‘go to’ strategy.

  • Note: This is the actual number of words in the Oxford English Dictionary – Google it, if you don’t believe me.

The truth is that I am angry. And I am not being heard. And therefore not understood. Language can connect us, but it can also create barriers – we think we speak in the same way, but actually our words are the bricks we use to construct the walls of silence that bind us unwillingly…or…the brickbats we lob at one another when we feel threatened.

I feel like shouting and swearing. Yes, it will relieve my frustration (temporarily). Yes, it will make me feel like I’m expressing my emotions (temporarily). But it will not and cannot remove the core issue, the seed of this extreme emotion. My anger. My hurt.

Which got me thinking…in this hour, and of this evening…might silence be the better option?





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30 Day Challenge

Friday. For most of the last 2 years Friday’s were either spent travelling to Belgium or waiting for The Belgian to make it back to Blighty. Friday marked the end of a busy working week and the start of weekend adventures – home or abroad. While I’m having some downtime between assignments, Friday is still a good day to mark the close of ‘work’ and the beginning of ‘play’.


30 Day Challenge

Day #7. Music. To be honest, this could be every single day of the challenge. I love all sorts of music – so eclectic is my taste that I have thoroughly confused the ITunes algorithm. I blogged about this in an earlier post which you can read here.

So, instead of a picture, today’s accompaniment is simply a song…by one of my bands of the moment. The words describe perfectly how I feel when music moves me.

Amber Run




Image: Chiromancer

30 Day Challenge

Day#5. Weskus. Today, I’m missing my roots and in unusually contemplative mood. Unlike Isak Dinesen, I don’t have a farm in Africa, but I do have a patch of land that keeps me tied to a fabulous spot on a great continent. In the ups and downs of the last 10 years, I have been close to having to sell it many times, but somehow it stayed with me because I could not let it go. It was mine, wholly and truly. This year, although I don’t need to sell it, I will – with a smidgeon of reluctance and a dash of bitter-sweet sadness. I am saying goodbye to my little piece of the West Coast so that someone else can realise their dreams by buying my plot. I promise to visit there one more time before I do.


Image: Dreamstime

Sometimes, you have to travel far to find yourself.  This year my journey has led me to France, Spain, cross-Channel – and back – for love; to Switzerland and Italy for work. Have passport, will travel!  Actually I have three, but if I told you why, I’d have to kill you…

Those who know me well, know I have a restless heart. Routine bores me! And yet I crave stability. Rules annoy me!! And yet…I crave order. Travel excites me!!!…And yet…

The more miles I racked up, the further I found myself from the people I love.  And even further away from myself.  Business travel sounds glamorous, until you find yourself decanting your suitcase every Sunday evening, only to fill it with security-compliant sized moisturizer and shampoo. Kissing your lover goodbye, knowing that more than a time-zone separates you. Unable to meet friends for a drink after work because you have to get up at the crack of dawn to catch the red-eye to where-ever!

Enough said.  And enough. My round trip has brought me full circle. Sometimes the best adventures are to be found in your own backyard.

Future Perfect…

© Kelpfish | - Fortune TEller And Crystal Ball Photo

Admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. After a prolonged period of down-time (see my post ‘The List‘ ) I’ve been spending the last few months doing some serious job-hunting and hopping across the channel to visit the Belgian. He’s fabulous. Has own hair and teeth. Tick. Cooks. Tick. Gardens. Tick. Gardens in my garden. And no, that is not a euphemism, he really did spend last Saturday digging up weeds in the coastal reaches…High IQ. Big tick. Romantic life is better than good.  Business life…erm, not so much. Faced with a looming tax bill and zero prospects of employment despite winning an award for my work, I’ve found myself in some sort of weird limbo. Being myself, and yet…not quite being myself. What gives?

The work I do means I should expect between 3-5 months between assignments, and under normal circumstances (i.e. sans tax bill) I’d be perfectly chilled.  Well, as chilled as a ‘control-freak Virgo’ ever gets, but you know what I mean.  If you aren’t worried about your finances, you can exist in a pink cloud. Curiously, I’ve found myself suffering all manner of insecurity around my professional capability of late. Which, if you really analyse it, is stupid. Completely dumb, especially as I’m a smart cookie. I’ve spent seven years building my business. I’m established. I have clients who rate my work and would recommend me in a heartbeat. What gives?

It’s got me thinking… If the consequences of today are determined by the actions of the past, how does one create a perfect future. Second guessing your decisions doesn’t work, believe me. And neither does second guessing yourself. Begone self-doubt!  Life is too short to peel a grape or knit a toilet roll cover, but it’s also too short to dwell on what might have been or what could be.  Nevertheless, we need to have some sort of vision for tomorrow, in order to make the most of today. And pipe dreams (mine is to sip cocktails in BoraBora) are an important part of helping us humans move beyond our perceived limitations to achieve great things.

I can, and I am!



Today is definitely a day for kite-surfers, judging by the gales buffeting the coastal reaches.  As I walked back from town, and – quite literally  – got blown around  in a circle by a rambunctious squall, I got to thinking…

I grew up in the Western Cape where the ‘Cape Doctor’ – a particularly fierce South Easter – would regularly be the bane of my life.  This wind blows for weeks at a time. It is relentless!   Believe me, when you have flyaway hair like mine, you really want to live somewhere wind-free!

But since there is no such thing as bad weather(only the wrong clothes and no hat) – I learnt to love the wind when I began messing around on boats.  A steady breeze is as good for the soul as it is for the sail.  I’ve been out on the water in light airs that stroke your cheek, and gale force winds that rip across your face like sandpaper.  Somehow pitting yourself against nature makes you feel more alive than fearful.  Besides, the wind always blows something good your way.


Sign your name across my heart…


Here in the coastal reaches, modern pirates are alive and well judging by the proliferation of ink and wooden ear-plugs which seems to grace the limbs and lobes of 70 per cent of the population. Honestly, you’d think we were living with some sort of remote rainforest tribe. And I’m not talking feral youth here…body art is the new black it seems, as friends who are approaching landmark birthdays, or dealing with traumatic life events resort to the needle. Personally, it’s not my thing, but I’m endlessly fascinated by the images and the motivation of people who will willingly endure something excruciating to create something everlasting.

My friend David and I are probably the only people in town who don’t have some sort of tattoo, which makes us the minority. Still, with the help of my smartphone, I’ve managed to turn this to my advantage in the flirting stakes.  Anyone scrutinising my photos would be forgiven for thinking I’d turned into some sort of fetishist  – well, I am…but only for vintage champagne!  At last count I had about 20 pictures of naked male torsos & arms – each and every one a masterpiece of sorts. My secret to getting young men to strip down to their knitting and bare all…Oh, that’s easy.  I just say I’m doing a ‘photo-essay’ on signs. Which is partially true, but I’m photographing funny roadside signs, not funny boys. The best bit – apart from keeping me gainfully amused in our local pub – is that it works every time. So far, no one has said no…which makes me wonder if I’m actually living in a colony of exhibitionists, instead of pirates.  Now where did I put that camera…