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Category Archives: Photography

I enjoy taking pictures and have my camera in my bag where ever I go, so I’ll often include a photograph or two.

Going slow.

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Horses in a field, on one of my walks.

Slow down. Take a deep breath.

I know it is Monday and all, but do you have to be in such a hurry? If you are five minutes late for work, will it be the end of the world?

A few years ago I heard about the ‘slow movement’ for the first time. I was curious, so I tried to find out what it was and what it meant. I loved what I discovered!

Slow living is a lifestyle that emphasises a slower approach to aspects of everyday life. It has been defined as movement or action at a relaxed or leisurely pace.” ~ Wikipedia

“It’s quality over quantity. It’s doing things with presence, being in the moment. ” ~ Carl HonorΓ©

More than the above, it is also seen as an opportunity to be self-sufficient, and it has changed so many people’s lives. Moving out of cities into rural areas or small towns. Getting in touch with nature and the earth. Spending more time together as families and so much less time running around worrying about making tons of money.

It started in Italy (where else!) with the emphasis on traditional food production techniques.

It is HUGE at the moment – just take a look at YouTube channels. A lot, and I mean a LOT of videos about people moving to cottages, and planting fruit and veg, keeping chickens and generally enjoying a slower pace of life. All of them with soft, ‘calming’ music playing in the background, of course… πŸ˜‰

I know, firsthand, that it is not always as easy and idyllic as it looks on Instagram or YouTube. You have to be very sure that that is what you want out of life. And then, if things get difficult, you have to stick it out, it will get easier.

Generally, I’ve noticed that the people that were successful at their jobs in the cities, find something in the country that rings their bell, and then they get very successful at that too! Like cheese making, or bee farming, or pickled quails’ eggs. It sort of defeats the purpose as far as I’m concerned, because that lands you right back into the rat race! But to each his own. I suppose that the difference is that now they work for themselves, and they don’t have to face the traffic every morning.

I am a huge fan of slow living. That does not mean that I am successful at it – however that ‘success’ may be defined. I plant veggies, like I told you in a previous post, so far spinach, tomatoes and runner beans. I sometimes try to can/pickle/cure – sauerkraut, preserved lemons, olives, etc. Once in a while I bake.

I do a lot of the things that people have stopped doing over the years due to a lack of time. But I do not always spend my time purposefully, that I have to admit. I spend a lot of time doing nothing, which is not ideal. I probably spend too much time on my laptop, but to my defense, I am trying to create a following for my blog!

I also play with my dog and take her for walks.

What I like the most – I get up slowly in the morning. I have a quiet mug of coffee outside in the garden, in my pj’s. And I start the day slowly, at my own pace.

Until next time, slow down, breathe! πŸ™‚

To go, or not to go…

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2004, my daughter and I in Paris, obviously…

The travel bug bit me at the age of thirteen.

I remember clearly, it was one day in an English class that I decided that after I finished university, I’ll become an air hostess so I can see the world. Those days there were strict parameters that you had to fit into to become one – no less than a certain height (I think it was around 5’4″), and no more than a certain weight. I held my breath throughout my teen years to see when I would stop growing, hoping, wishing I’ll be tall enough. And I was !!!! Yay!!

So, off to varsity went, to get a degree, so I can start traveling. While studying, the inevitable happened. I met my (now ex) husband. Long story short, when he asked me to marry him, I said on one condition – that we travel to Europe before we have kids. That never happened.

Fast forward many years – the kids are growing up and they don’t need me around all the time. I started sewing from home to make money and I saved like a demon, and the day came that I said to my husband that this coming year I’m going overseas, are you coming with? He said no, not believing that I’ll do it on my own. But I did. 2002, my first trip to Europe (or anywhere!), and it was amazing! I stayed in Vienna with friends for a week (I also visited Salzburg, Hallstatt and a few other places in Austria with them), and then I went to the Netherlands for a week, via Paris.

Two years later, an even better trip – I got to go with my daughter when she finished school, and it was a blast, to say the least. Sharing these experiences just take the level of enjoyment up so many notches!

It was not an easy decision to go that first time – I hated leaving my kids, but I knew they were at a stage where they’ll be okay without me for a few weeks. And it was ‘now or never’ – I felt that I’ve been patient long enough for my dream to come true…

Since then, I’ve been to Europe one more time (thanks to my SO*), to the UAE with my youngest son to visit a friend, and to Canada a few times to visit my daughter and her husband (and the last time, my first little grandchild), and although I enjoyed every single minute of every trip, I’m still frustrated. (Does that sound ungrateful? I’m not, I appreciate that I’ve had more opportunities than most.)

2008, with my youngest in the UAE.
With my SO, Munich, 2012
At the top of Sulphur Ridge, Canada, with my daughter. 2015

I only started traveling relatively late in my life, (I’m reaching retirement age now), and I haven’t seen nearly enough places yet. I’ve got a bucket list as long as my arm, but I have to start realizing that I’ll probably never get to see all of them… I mean, it is all good and well to say ‘just do it’, but reality is it costs a lot of money, especially traveling from South Africa, since our money is worth nothing in other countries. I’ve got a partner and responsibilities here, which makes taking off on a whim difficult as well.

So I am an avid arm chair traveler now. I cannot get enough of YouTube’s travel channels, I watch them all the time. And who knows, I might get to see a few more places on my wish list in real life, if my health permits!

( Thanks journey-junkies.com for giving me the idea for this post. It is an amazing thing if one can live out your dreams, but for some of us, the reality of life gets in the way. Enjoy your travels, we’ll live vicariously through you!)

Until next time, stay safe! πŸ™‚

Sleep – a wonderous thing.

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Blue moon, earlier this month.

I am NOT a morning person, so WHY am I waking up at the crack of dawn these days???? WHY???

I was awake at 4.28 this morning. 😦

One of my favourite things to do is sleep. I don’t mean that I sleep all the time, or even a lot, but I used to love going to bed at night with the prospect of a good, long, deep sleep about to happen. Now it is not happening anymore.

I’m about to try a range of things to try and get my sleep back.

I’m going to try and go to bed around the same time every night. I’m used to going to bed when I feel like I’m about to fall asleep on the couch, which is anything between half past nine to half past eleven. Never earlier, and rarely later. And then I used to wake up around seven in the morning. So from last night, I’m going to go to bed at 10pm, every night. Routine.

I will seriously attempt not going onto social media or any electronic devices for the last hour before I go to bed. (TV doesn’t count as an electronic device, right?)

Read a book. I’ve started reading a book last night, and will continue to do so every night as the last thing I do before lights out. (I actually used to do that!) I didn’t get very far last night before my eyes started to droop, so maybe that will help getting me off to Lalaland…

I need to get more physically active, which might help. I walk with my dog most days, but it seems that is not enough. I refuse to go to the gym, so I’ll have to work something out that will tire me out.

I’ve heard that lavender helps for people battling to sleep, so I even have a small bouquet of lavender on my bedside table now.

An option I’m not ready to entertain yet, is that a lot of people need less sleep as they grow older… Please, NO! Until I’ve exhausted all other avenues, I’ll assume that my sleeplessness is because of financial issues. Maybe it’s my biorhythms that are out of whack. Or Covid. Yes, let’s blame it on the pandemic!!

Hopefully after this whole pandemic schlepp is over, I’ll get to sleep well again. In the meantime I will try all the above, and see if that gets me back to my normal sleeping patterns.

Any ideas from your side? Maybe you’ve tried something that worked for you – I’m willing to give it a go!

Until we chat again, sleep tight, but don’t let the bed bugs bite! πŸ™‚

Wine Wednesday (4)

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Viljoensdrift wine – Sauvignon Blanc.

I haven’t forgotten the wine lovers out there!

The estate I have chosen for today, unfortunately does not sell to international buyers on line. That nearly caused me to not add them to my WW team, but I am also promoting the Robertson Wine Valley and not only the wines.

Viljoensdrift Estate, has its roots in the 1800’s, when the first of the Viljoen family (Villion was the surname of the French Huguenots that landed in the Cape) started planting grapes for wine and brandy making. From 1968- 1998, the farm grew and delivered grapes to the co-op, but when dad Ben stepped down, brothers Fred and Manie decided to start producing their own wines from the excellent grapes they were growing on the farm. The rest, like they say, is history!

Alongside grapes, they also grow deciduous fruits, and they take conservation very seriously by trying to keep as much as possible of the unique natural environment intact as possible. They are committed to the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative, which aims to minimize the loss of threatened natural habitat and to contribute to sustainable wine production, which gives them five stars, in my opinion.

Aside from the fact that the farm is situated on the Breede River in beautiful natural surroundings, Viljoensdrift is well-known for the fact that they are the only farm in the area that does a ferry trip on the river, and it is well worth taking the time to enjoy drifting down the river. You can buy some ‘provisions’ πŸ˜‰ from their deli on the premises – wine, cold drinks, cheeses, charcuterie, freshly baked sourdough bread, olives, pickles, and much more!

With your nibbles and drinks you can then get onto the ferry, and enjoy an hour or so of peace and quiet, listening and watching the abundance of birds cavorting in and around the water.

The deli.
The ferry.
Some of the fare on offer.
Drifting on the river…

If you are planning a trip this way, please have a look at the Viljoensdrift website, to know more about their wines and what they offer you as tourist.

I hope you can begin to understand that should you ever be so lucky to visit South Africa, and you love wine, you cannot miss out on a visit to the Robertson Wine Valley!!!

PS. This is NOT a paid ad, nor am I in any way compensated for this or any of my other wine posts, I am merely trying to promote the area I live in and love!

Here there, this that…

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Sunset on the farm, exactly a week ago.

I cannot believe that I haven’t posted anything for more than a week! Aaaaarggggghhhh!

I am not going to go into all the details about why, suffice it to say, I was away, I was really busy, and I managed to spend an hour or so on the farm, my previous happy place.

I heard that a lot of countries have been ‘downgraded’ again due to our common enemy, Mr. Covid, and my heart goes out to you all. Hang in there, this too shall pass! πŸ™‚

I’ve been going through emotional ups and downs myself lately. I miss all my children all the time, (but especially the faraway ones, since I am lucky enough to see my eldest son relatively often), finances are not ideal and I don’t see relief in the near future, and I just need things to go back to normal again…

Enough whining! Onto the positive stuff! πŸ™‚

I’ve planted some tomatoes a while back, and they have really taken off the last week. I’m hoping to get a good harvest, as we use quite a lot of tomatoes. I have also planted beans, and they are slowly getting there too. My roses have exploded, and they look and smell heavenly! So all in all, my garden is a joy at the moment. Working in the garden also gives me an ideal opportunity do the ‘earthing’ thing, and even if it doesn’t live up to all the promises, I do feel good after I’ve spent some time barefoot in the garden, and that’s the main thing. (I’m NOT saying that it doesn’t deliver, I haven’t done enough of it yet to form an opinion, and besides being quite stressed, I don’t have health issues that I needed to resolve by earthing.)

Tomatoes left, and spinach.
My old English roses.

With the flowers and the fruit, there are also a lot of birds in my garden, and I thought that I’d like to attract even more, so I am going to build myself a few feeders. (Or maybe just buy some… I’ll get back to you on that… πŸ˜‰ ) Since I’ve got a little guesthouse in my back garden, and there are a LOT of birders out there, it might be something they’ll enjoy when they stay over. What do you think? Maybe with a little journal where they can record the birds they’ve seen?

Until next time, blog friends, breathe deeply, stay calm, and be safe. πŸ™‚