"Welcome to the morning tea, arranged by the Children's Hospital Trust"

Tea, Talks and a Tour at Vergelegen with the Children’s Hospital Trust

At the start of October 2014, I spent a delightful morning at the historic wine estate of Vergelegen on the outskirts of Somerset West. The Children’s Hospital Trust, which is the fundraising arm of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch had invited supporters, donors and benefactors to a relaxing mid-morning tea at the estate. The Trust often holds such events, usually at beautiful venues and with interesting guest speakers; on this occasion, it was military historian and author Willem Steenkamp.

Afterwards, we were given a guided tour of some of the magnificent gardens at Vergelegen by Richard Arm, the very knowledgeable manager of the gardens. What an incredible place – I definitely want to return here!

She presented one of the candles to Premier Helen Zille

An inspiring morning tea with Premier Helen Zille and the Children’s Hospital Trust

On 22 October 2013, I had a thoroughly inspiring tea with the Premier of the Western Cape Province, Helen Zille, at the elegant Southern Sun Cullinan Hotel on the Foreshore. Well, sort of. The tea with the Premier bit, I mean.

The function, which was organised by the Children’s Hospital Trust, was a delightful Morning Tea at which Premier Helen Zille was the keynote speaker. The topic of her talk was the valuable contribution of the ‘elders’ to the community.

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Charon the Ferryman – and his spooky friend – are floating on the Black River

Two or three weeks ago, a blue-green boat with a strange cloaked figure sitting inside it suddenly appeared on the Black River, just north of the bridge where Raapenberg Road goes underneath Kromboom Parkway (or the M5).

Initially, I thought it was a fisherman, which struck me as rather peculiar: our urban rivers have become so severely polluted and toxic with chemicals in recent decades, that I’m not sure it would be safe to eat any of the fish living in those waters! When the figure was still in the same spot a day or two later, I realised it wasn’t in fact a live fisherman but some strange sort of artwork.

Flat Kathy shares a plate of cookies with Gilbert the Gnome

Walking around with Flat Kathy: An introduction to a magical world?

It is not easy to walk around with Flat Kathy.

For all strangers, or rather, people whom Flat Kathy hasn’t yet demanded I introduce her to, she is simply a sheet of sunshine yellow paper on a stick. With a couple of buttons and some woolly hair sewn on. She is, I freely admit it, “a bit odd”.

The baking sun saps the last strength from us

Defeated by the sun-baked mountain slopes of the Swartboskloof and revived by lunch at Hillcrest Berry Farm

With Richard’s sister T, an avid hiker, visiting us last week, we thought we would treat her to a lovely hike in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve outside Stellenbosch. We ourselves hadn’t done any hiking in a long time, and honestly felt a bit daunted by the prospect of a too-long trudge through the mountains and the veld. We decided to explore the Swartboskloof-Sosyskloof trail at Jonkershoek…

An unforgettable moment: meeting my penpal of 25 years

Looking back on an exciting year of being published!

Last year, I wrote and submitted a number of articles to the Pinelands Muse community magazine and the Reserve Force Volunteer magazine, as well as the Equestrian Express and the Sawubona in-flight magazine of South African Airways, our national carrier. In order to update my CV at the start of January, I compiled a list, which I thought I’d share with you, in case you are curious.

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The Pinelands Muse leaps into its third year of publication

Since October 2010, a glossy community magazine has popped into our postbox towards the end of each month (I wrote about their first anniversary here). Known as the Pinelands Muse, or just affectionately as ‘The Muse’, it focuses on the comings and goings in the neighbourhoods of Pinelands and Thornton, and it is a wonderful treasure chest of information about the fascinating people who live here and their unusual or exciting occupations, hobbies and travels to near and far.

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Flowering fynbos, veggie patches and quaint cottage gardens: The Rotary Anns’ annual Spring Garden Day in Pinelands

Once a year in springtime, five brave residents of Pinelands generously open their gardens to crowds of curious visitors, as part of a fund-raising event organised by the Rotary Anns of Pinelands. Since moving to Pinelands about eight years ago, we have attended several of these Spring Garden Days, and they have always been most enjoyable and inspirational

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Prancing ponies, colourful carts – and a braying donkey: Having fun at the Cart Horse Show 2012

Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop… a line of cart horses from the Cape Flats came a-trotting down the road, pulling colourful carts of all shapes and sizes – elegant two-wheelers, traditional four-wheeler passenger carts, and rustic handmade scrap-metal carts. Some sported a fresh lick of paint and even their tyres had been scrubbed clean. That day, the carts were transporting family and friends and supplies for a picnic, instead of the usual awkward loads of scrap metal, building rubble and garden refuse.

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A new Centre to tackle Childhood Infectious Diseases at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital

On 22 August 2012, a ‘ground-breaking’ ceremony organised by the Children’s Hospital Trust (CHT) took place at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch to celebrate the fact that they had raised enough funds to begin construction on a new Centre for Childhood Infections Diseases on the Hospital campus.