Wednesday, 29 December 2010

the beauty of language

My friend Riekie has recently started a blog. It is written in her usual poetic style, full of idioms and metaphors and, typically, has me laughing out loud.

It is the story of a Parktown prawn... a cockroach, which is not quite as big as the model in this picture.

But almost...

It is written in Afrikaans, as Google helpfully informs me. What I found really interesting was the totally unexpected poetry of the translation. Thanks to Riekie and Google I have a whole new vocabulary.

Who could fail to respond to "hurt your heart to a shrink". I know just what that feels like.

And this!
"I have temporarily set sail eternal. shamelessly chose to reality exchange for the safe darkness of nowhere."

Pure poetry!

Riekie's blog is here

Do yourself a favour and read it.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010


This time of year always feels like it is filled with anticipation. It must be the combined energy of so many of us planning new beginnings, new projects and filled with new determination that this year will be different.

Sometimes all it takes is a glimpse to inspire us to new heights.

When we were in Rome last month, the one thing that I wanted to see more than anything was a keyhole in a door that gave a view of the Vatican.
We trudged up a rather steep hill in the pouring rain to take a peek, and for me it was absolutely worth it. I had expected it to be special, but I didn't expect it would take my breath away. We stayed long enough to see it after dark too, and the vision of the dome of the Vatican lit up, framed by the dark arch of trees is something I will never forget.

We tried taking pictures, but as you can see they just didn't do it justice. I suspect the ones you can find on the web were taken from inside the door.

What I didn't realise at the time was that we were looking at three countries... that would have made it even more exciting!

You can read more about it here.

Monday, 27 December 2010

whole again!

How come no one tells you, when you are young and pregnant, that once your children are born you will never, ever be a whole person again unless you know they are safe and happy?

How come no one ever tells you, when your sons are young and noisy and fighting and a bit smelly (and every second word is Muuuum!) that you will reach a stage when they are their own men, and far away and you'll long with every fibre of your being for just one more day of noise and being totally needed?

How come no one ever tells you that once your boys become men, life will never be the same again? That you will never, ever know them in the way that you once did? That even though you talk almost every day, part of their lives will be censored rather than shared? (and that you know that is the way it should be)

How come no one ever tells you that you will feel so proud of what your boys are doing (both of them) that you feel like your heart will burst? And that no matter what happens, you'll never quite lose the mother tiger that moved into your soul the day they were born, ready to do battle on their behalf at the slightest provocation.

What brought on this maudlin introspection?

Simon is writing some great music and doing what he was born to do and I am sure that 2011 will be his best year yet. You can hear his music here (although most of my favourites aren't there).

Ben is somewhere in the Antarctic ocean, working on Gojira. You can see him in this video, mostly holding ropes.(in the lighter jersey, first seen at around 39 seconds here)

And today, I felt whole again because I had the chance to chat to him on Facebook. Just a few words, but they made all the difference.

shadow season

It was a strange Christmas.

Usually Greg and I  have a house full of family and friends, lots of laughter and lots of love.

This year, the love was still there but the family and friends were not.

They are scattered all over the world and I miss them like crazy. I feel disconnected and a bit lost.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

mind's eye

Greg has just got home from spending a couple of days with some very sad people. People who have lost hope. People who have traded joy and love and laughter for stilted formality and a grey and sterile existence.

It is so frustrating and debilitating to be with people like that and I want to scream in anger and grief at the thought of what life must be like for them.

I have lived with depression and loss and pain and I know what it is to feel the loneliness that gnaws away at your soul, but I have always had that (sometimes tiny) spark of hope that makes me believe that things can, and will be better.

They don't seem to have even that... all they are left with is the mind-numbing sameness that comes when you are existing rather than living.

The picture above is of Greg on the station in Rome as we waited to catch a train to Venice a couple of weeks ago. I love the thakka, thakka thakka of the arrivals and departure boards, and that exciting feeling that "we could just go anywhere".

We speak no Italian, and working out which train to catch and how to buy the tickets was a bit of a challenge. But it didn't matter... if we were on the wrong train we could change course and get the right one.
And without meaning to sound like we have all the answers I think that attitude is part of the reason that we see life as an adventure, whereas the people that Greg just visited just don't seem to see it like that.

I wish I could take them with me send them to Florence, where maybe their souls would learn to sing. (Because they are so miserable, to be honest I'd rather send them than take them and be dragged down by their negativity).

Maybe, if the art in the galleries and churches did not smash through the crust of despair, they would wake up if they saw the work of the street artists.

Work of such exquisite beauty, laid over a dusty, oily road.

And maybe ... just maybe... if they saw it a day later, washed away by the rain, they would realise that we must make the most of every precious moment while embracing life with open hands... ready to let go of the things of the past.

Prepared to start afresh, kitted out for the next step on the big adventure. And more than that... more than being ready, to actually start putting one foot in front of the other and finding their way to somewhere altogether new and wonderful.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

not scared

Sometimes I need a reminder...

The things that look big and scary may just need a bop on the nose to bring them down to size.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Sometimes I wonder how it is that I can stay alive when so much of my heart seems to live outside of my body, attached inextricably to those I love