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autumn

Favourite time of year #BlogVember

My favourite time of year would have to be Autumn.

And if I have to specify a month, it would definitely be April.

Why?

Well, summer is great – the sweet scent of sunscreen in the air, long days, warm nights, a general buzz of excitement, especially here in Cape Town. But there’s also something strangely melancholic about it. Like I can almost feel time slipping through my fingers more acutely. I guess it has something to do with all the big events – year end functions, December holidays, Christmas, my birthday, New Year, all vying for attention and reminding me that another year has passed… and a new one’s on its way and… am I ready?

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The impossible question of the bucket list #BlogVember

The only quick answer to the bucket list question is exactly what Susan Sontag said in the quote above. Word for word.

I’ve always had a sprinkling of wanderlust in my soul, undoubtedly inspired by my parents, who have only ever needed half an excuse to hit the road in search of adventure and never thought twice about lugging their kids around on whirlwind tours – whether it be of Europe, Namibia or the vast network of roads criss-crossing our country. (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

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My handwriting #BlogVember

I’ve been keeping journals ever since I was about 9 years old. Every now and then, when I’m home in Betty’s Bay, I like browsing through my little hand-scribbled library and taking a peek into the mind of my younger self. As you can probably imagine, it’s an extremely cringe-worthy exercise. Extremely!

But it’s also a great way to relive ‘big’ moments that I’d forgotten all about (hence the quotation marks) and, more often than not, serves as a reminder that time does, indeed, heal all wounds.

However, after packing the volumes back into their dusty boxes, I always have a sense of relief that no one would ever probably feel the need to publish them a-la Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Ettie Hilesum etc.

And not least of all because of my juvenile handwriting. I mean aren’t famous journals always written in finely tuned, beautifully shaped, flowing cursive?

Yeah, not really my scene, has never been:

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P.s. I only realised the other day that they use this sentence in font previews, because it’s a pangram. So, thought it would be appropriate for this post too.

My guilty pleasure(s) #BlogVember

Guilty Pleasure: something pleasurable that induces a usually minor feeling of guilt (Merriam-Webster)

Hardly like you need a dictionary definition to understand the term, but thought I’d look it up anyway. And there we go – I couldn’t have defined it any better myself!

So, what is mine?

Well, as it turns out, I actually have quite a few, of which spending hours trawling the internet for cute cat (sloth/alpaca/slow loris/owl/dog/bunny/anything fluffy) videos and shopping sprees in Dischem (an hour is not enough for all the cosmetic and toiletry wonders… and I don’t even like make-up and have no idea how to ‘do’ my hair), feature quite strongly.

However, if I had to pick out the guiltiest of guilty pleasures in my life, it would have to be…

EAVESDROPPING 

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Yes, I might as well admit it. There’s nothing I enjoy more than listening to other peoples’ conversations. And, no, let’s just get this straight right now – not the kind of eavesdropping where you shuffle along in your socks and press your ear against a keyhole to pry on private exchanges.

I mean the I-couldn’t-help-but-overhear-because-you’re-talking-audibly-in-the-bus-seat-in-front-of-me kind of eavesdropping.

Whether they’re lamenting their complicated love affairs, sharing tips on fashion or cooking or home decor, dishing out some juicy gossip, chattering away about good times past or simply discussing the weather, I find the way people communicate fascinating.

Not to mention the stories! As you may know, I really am a sucker for stories and have found that often the best ones are just drifting about (untold) around coffee shop tables, up and down Pick n Pay aisles, on sidewalks, in taxi seats, between boarding gates… you get the picture.

Now, I would probably have felt far too guilty about all of this to admit, but since I come from a long line of eavesdroppers, I may as well wear it proudly on my sleeve.

My mom always tells us about our great grandmother, Ouma Leen, who used to entertain her granddaughters endlessly with stories she’d make up about people at the next table in the restaurant or two sun umbrellas away on the beach.

My mother says, she’d always settle into her seat, sit back, light a cigarette, quietly contemplate for a bit and then say: “Now, listen my girlies. Let me tell you about those people over there…”

With the scant information received from the bits of conversation she picked up, body language analysed and behaviour spied, she’d weave a colourful yarn and encourage her audience to participate, till the tale grew beyond the characters on which it was originally based and took on a life of its own entirely.

I love that.

And I love that the tradition has continued:

My mother inherited her gift for spotting an interesting situation miles away and my father’s curiosity gets the better of him time and again, my brother is good with picking up on fine nuances and nothing escapes my sister-in-law’s sharp eye… so when a particularly intriguing party of strangers present themselves, and we’re all together, we can’t help but dabble in a little story building improv.

It’s our thing, I guess. Is that weird?

The things I collect #BlogVember

My blog posts have been kind of few and far between over the past months… I’m not sure why that is. Probably life and how busy it tends to get. And also the fact that I don’t always feel like sitting down in front of a computer screen to write at night, after I’d been doing just that all day.

But, I want to write, dammit! I want to tell stories and paint pictures with words and express my emotions accurately in prose… and I’ve come to realise that if I don’t exercise a measure of discipline, grab every opportunity to practice my art, it’s never going to grow.

So, I’ve decided to take on a little challenge. It’s called #BlogVember and when my lovely colleague, Aneeqah told me she was going to attempt it I just knew it was something I had to try too.

Dreamed up by two local bloggers, Cupcake Mummy and Love, Kids and Other Things the challenge is basically to do a post every day throughout November. Each day has a different topic, which makes it fun and easy to plan at least.

Now, I’m the WORST at challenges. Sometimes I give up before I even begin, but I’m going to put my heart into this one. So wish me luck!

Here are the topics for the month, starting with today’s: What do you collect?  

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Looking round my flat right now, I can pin point at least four different collections, of which the most obvious is…

BOOKS!

Bargain books from Napier. So stoked to have found these. And only R25 each #roadtripper

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Especially second-hand books. There are few things I love more in this life than trawling stalls and shops and bazaar tables in the hope of finding something truly wonderful. The older and more used, the better!

The fact that I seldom end up leaving one of these little missions disappointed means that shelf space has officially run out, now spilling over onto tables, the floor, my bed, the bathroom… forcing me to curb my enthusiasm somewhat lately. Or try at least.

But of course there are the kinds of books I simply can’t resist: anything about India, stories set in the Middle East, South America or Africa, fairy tales, travelogues, beautiful old poetry collections and the occasional classic.

My all-time favourite finds? Definitely Richard F. Burton’s Tales from the Arabian Nights found in a pokey little shop in the Antique Market off Long Street as well as Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts that I picked up for something ridiculous like R3 at the library sale in Kloof Street.

What’s missing? So many! While my shelves are groaning, my library is far from complete! But if I had to choose one book I’d love to lay my hands on right now, it would probably be a beautifully bound collection of Pablo Neruda’s poems – either his Elemental Odes or his Love poems. Actually what am I saying? I want both! I want all Neruda’s poems!

RECORDS

Good vibes on a sunny day #vscocam

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After years and years of wanting one, I finally invested in a record player recently and while the majority of the vinyls in my possession are really my parents,’ I’m slowly building up a collection of my own.

ELEPHANTS

A colourful new Addo ellie for my herd. Thanks @imarkrige & @tamara_jayd 🙂

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It started when – knowing how fascinated I am by these strange and intuitive creatures – my cousin, Tanee, sent me a beautiful bejeweled wooden elephant from Holland (of all places) while she was au pairing there for a year. Soon after, I attended a junk swap and gained a little family to join it. Most recently, Imar and Tamara brought me a colourful, chubby ceramic one from Addo Elephant National Park. I even have a swanky silver ellie doorstop!

SUCCULENTS

I don’t know if it’s quite PC to say you collect living things, but hey. I’m going to go with it. Like with second-hand books, I can’t resist a nursery, or even better, a roadside succulent sale. I currently have about 17 succulents in varying shapes and sizes and just love the way they add a beautiful burst of life to my flat.