New Look Pattern 6879

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My new Sony Xperia Go phone – review

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Kids Crafts – Painting wooden letters and shapes

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Durban – I heart Market

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The texture, the colours and aromas of food and craft markets are a sensual delight.  I have now found my favourite.  The I heart (written as the heart symbol) Market at the Moses Mabhida stadium grounds in Durban. 

During our winter visit to Durban a special classmate from Maris Stella class of ’86 arranged that we meet at the I heart Market, which is held on the 1st Saturday of every month. 

I may be guilty of bias being a Natal girl but the market is top-notch.  I have visited many markets in Gauteng and none have impressed me as much as this one.  The wares on offer seemed to be high quality and locally made, in most cases home-made.  Imported plastic junk does not float my boat.  I followed my school friend’s advice which was “wander around, touch, taste and ABSORB”. 

The food stalls which we bought from were exceptional and unusual.  I had a lovely time catching up with old friends, enjoying the sensual extravaganza of the market.  I hope that my next visit to Durbs coincides with the 1st Saturday of a month so that I can do it over again. 

Ulysses and Marilyn Monroe have me licked

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uShaka Marine World Durban

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As a rule I hanker after the past, everything seemed better 20 years ago.  In the case of uShaka Marine World the present outshines the past.  When Domi and Heath were little I had annual tickets to the Durban Aquarium.  I knew the dolphin shows backwards and we loved wandering through the aquarium.  I was a single mother living in a teeny two room cottage in a lady’s garden, there was no space for the children to play.  Going to the aquarium was one of our favourite outings.  Years later Domi told me that she had always hoped to have her birthday party at the dolphin show, if I had known how much it meant to her how I wish that I could have fulfilled that wish.  I was very sad when the old aquarium was replaced by uShaka Marine World, it felt like a little part of me died.  In this instance however the new does outshine the old.

Entering the shipwreck replica aquarium, is entering another world.  The aquarium mutes the cacophony of the outside material world.  Soft lit tanks whisper to inner depths.  Curious creatures stir wonder at the artistry of the creator.  In nature life is art.  Absolute perfection from the curl of a seahorses tail to the scales on a fish.  I am reminded to appreciate the perfection of the smallest things.

The dolphin show is always spectacular.  My appreciation was at first blunted by my camera.  Intent on timing the perfect shot of a dolphin in transit between the mediums of water and air, my focus was all wrong.  When I abandoned my drive to capture a moment, I was free to delight in the moment.  How much we loose in our quest to pin life down! 

We each left with our own special memories.  My favourites were the garden eels who stand like little periscopes in the sand.  For Cliff the dolphin show was the highlight, for Fjord (age 5) the Seal Show and Acacia (age 2) said that she loved the fishes most. 

5 Sales don’t make a success

Snuffles and the Cloud People Cirrus People

 

Two weeks ago my children’s picture book ‘Snuffles and the Cloud People‘ was released on the Amazon platform.  I was relieved that the culmination of years of work had finally made it to this point.  I was excited to send this infant child of mine out into the world. 

If one swallow doesn’t make a summer, 5 sales certainly don’t make a success.  This is not an easy fact to face but a fact none the less and I find it depressing.  I considered not writing this post.  I almost feel that pronouncing failure after just 2 weeks will somehow rob the future of success, if it is waiting around a corner.  Motivational speakers would accuse me of killing my infant book through negative thinking.  Possibly they would be right.  I feel however that truth and honesty must be a cornerstone. 

I still hope that the book will claim the wings which I dream for it and soar out of obscurity.  It may well end up being a lesson that my dreams still matter even if they are not shared, and that should be OK.

Still it is tough, when I think of the time and passion invested by me and all involved, I am pained. 

I still have plans for the book.  I would love to have it translated into Afrikaans and at least 1 other African language.  I hope that the formatting challenges can be surmounted to get the book onto other digital platforms. 

The problem with publishing through Amazon’s KDP is that you have to work hard at marketing and you have to get reviews.  I can’t irritate my friends into buying the book.  I don’t want to get on their tits and also need to feel that the book has value ‘out there’, it has to stand on it’s own feet.

For now I can only hope that this is not how the story ends with a whimper instead of a bang. 

Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve Gauteng, 30 min drive escape from home

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Cambridge Food Festival – Hartbeespoort

Yesterday we spent time at the Cambridge Food Festival.  We had heard about it on radio 702 and it sounded like a good outing.  We had mixed feelings about the day.  Our main gripe was that we felt the entrance fee of R50 for adults and R25 for children under 5 was excessive.  The entrance fee is not mentioned on the web site.  I would far rather have spent R125 at the stalls than just to get in.  If the cost is so high to keep out the riff raff then maybe give some stall vouchers.  We can go to Neighbourgoods Market which is closer to home, pay no entrance fee and buy food of the same unique quality.  The other negative was that althogh they claimed to have a kids play area, that didn’t really consist of anything.  There was a synthetic ‘ice rink’ but the kids who payed to go on there seemed unable to scate on the surface.  Ok, well that’s off my chest, now for the positives.

Fjord making pizza

It was a glorious ‘winters day’ about 25 degrees and clear skies.  It was lovely to be outdoors relaxing, drinking beer and eating some good food.  For lunch we bought gourmet vetkoek with Thai green curry filling and Indian butter chicken filling, they were very good.  Apparently they will be selling these vetkoek at Neighbourgoods market soon too.  Fjord made his own pizza at a fun stall who also take their ovens to kids parties where kids can assemble their own pizza and get a free apron.  If you live in Johannesburg and are interested you can mail them @ piperparties@gmail.com.   There were quite a few micro brewers, we tried Cape Brewing Company (R40 for 440ml bottle, a bit pricey) and our favourite was Chameleon Brewery.

Jan Die Toffie man

There were a lot of very different and interesting foods on offer.  We loved Jan die toffie Man, he had the most unusual toffees, believe it or not lime and chili toffee is amazing!

I think if we had paid a lower entrance fee and not started the outing off feeling a bit ripped off we would have left with a better taste in our mouth, still it was a good outing.

The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes

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Over the past year I have read many books by South African authors.  It helps belonging to a book club.  All of these books have make me feel very proudly South African.  Deon Meyer is brilliant.  Redi Tlhabi’s book ‘Endings and Beginnings‘ was one of the most moving books I’ve read.  Yesterday I finished reading ‘The Shining Girls’ by Lauren Beukes after hearing and reading rave reviews about it.

The story is original and very well put together, no untidy, untied, ends.  In its genre it is top notch.  My only problem is that for most of my reading life murder books were my only light reading.  Now my tastes have changed and for quick escapist stuff I prefer humour and romance, fluffy chick books.  If you like a high body count, you won’t be disappointed with The Shining Girls.  Kirby and Dan are both well developed as characters and Harper makes an odious villian.

It seems that time travel books are ‘in’ at present.  This is the 3rd which I’ve read recently, the others being ‘The Time Travellers Wife’, which was very good but sad and ‘22.11.63’ which was gripping and thought provoking.  I highly recommended ‘22.11.63’ as I shall ‘The Shining Girls’.  Despite enjoying the time travel books there is a little niggle at the back of my mind about them and I have not been able to pinpoint exactly what it is that I’m not sure that I like.

Until my recent South African reads I generally found South African authors to be excellent but rather heavy, the works being intellectual and most often political.  Whilst South African politics is interesting and the past must not be forgotten I often want to shout out “We South Africans are about so much more than apartheid”.  With deep respect to our great authors, I find this new generation of writers refreshing.