I was rather impressed by the pace of development and multitude of new shopping centres mushrooming all over Gauteng, although the hours spent in traffic reminded me of the reasons for seeking greener pastures… the billboards & media screaming for attention, making it difficult to complete a thought!
Urban discussions revolved around politics, traffic, municipal inefficiencies and - of course - the soccer world cup. An interesting change from the crime stories of the past and very different from our usual neighbourly discussions about baboons, vegetables and rain (or lack thereof).
In the rush before leaving for Jo’burg, I gave Kevin one of our usual #3 haircuts, but forgot to replace the comb on the shaver before tackling my own head…with disastrous results! I ended up with a shaven avenue along my head which needed 2 more #1 cuts over a period of a week in order to return to a homogenous state. Needless to say, I was having the aforementioned urban discussions wearing a variety of hats. The children initially had a lot of sympathy for my plight, but later found it amusing to pull my hat off in mid-sentence, point and laugh…oh, what joy to be the source of a child’s laughter!
Coming back to the forest feels more like returning home every time.
This time we returned to (a) winter, (b) a new maid and (c) a strapping young German “wwoofer”, Finn.
(a) My most beloved Morso fireplace is coming into its own – we’re even using it to boil water and cook food! It truly has been one of the best investments we’ve made and promises to keep us cosy over the next few months.
(b) It’s been quite a sigh of relief to welcome our new angel of cleaning (Sophie) once a week. Although Kevin & the wwoofers have been a great help with the housework, it’s amazing to have the whole house clean at once! We have experienced fortunes of personal growth in the areas of co-operation, bribery, meditative dishwashing, acceptance and surrender during this period of domestic independence, and I now have the most sincere appreciation for Sophie’s skills!
(c) Finn spent his 2 weeks digging, installing water tanks, landscaping, washing dishes, building Lego with Luke and playing Monopoly with Mila. He celebrated his 21st birthday with us but not before we “corrupted” him with the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Knysna Gay Parade (where his blonde hair & blue eyes managed to get quite a few “looks”…). Lucky for him, we didn’t all go in drag again this year! Our local community of fringe dwellers all pulled together to throw him a 21st birthday bash – I hadn’t been to one of those in years, and felt positively middle aged! I really appreciate the incredible sense of community out here in our epicentre of the new world.
On the home front I am still happily fixed in a D-I-Y dream (painting, mosaicing, decorating, gardening, planning never-ending projects). Kevin is finding the balance between solitude on the farm and frequent trips to the big cities and Mila and Luke are happily settled at school. They have recently discovered the internet and are currently in the throws of a Michael Jackson craze (much to their mother’s delight!). I am ashamed to admit that none of us own Bafana Bafana shirts and I can’t be sure whether Luke even knows the difference between soccer and rugby!
And on the garden front, we have a few peppers which are doing wonderfully and we’ve had our first crop of about 6 cherry tomatoes (after 2 years of trying). The butternut didn’t really go anywhere (the babies having been ravaged by all sorts of unseen beasts and insects) but the kids are getting much delight from the sweet
I remember having a picnic on the farm last year for Mother’s Day and having to wash the dishes in a plastic tub with no hot water and no sanitation nearby. This year we have a cosy little home with hot running water and flushing toilet – a definite step in the right direction!
We have the French and Danish teams making their way to our little town in the next few weeks where they will be staying (and hopefully spending their Euros), so World Cup fever is certainly in the air….better get that DSTV hooked up and install a few more solar panels…
More images @