A Lot Has Changed

Some say that the only constant in our lives is change. I’d agree with that. Change is good, right?

Over a relatively short space of time, the world has changed and over the past few months my life, too, has changed. Life as I knew it. July saw Alan’s passing, my husband and partner for 43 years and . The change that comes with losing a spouse, father and grandfather can only be understood by those who experience it. The larger-than-life man we all knew and loved as Al, Dad and Grandpa Al is suddenly not here. But change is good, right?

I am acutely aware of the impact that Al’s death is having on our children. Each is dealing with her/his loss differently. I see their struggles and I’m sad that, in this situation, I cannot make it better.

In this time of limbo, when practicalities have yet to be finalised and important decisions made, I’m grateful for their love, support and advice. Sorting through things that must be changed and personal effects that must be cleared is emotionally sapping. Outwardly I may appear to have it all under control. Outwardly my practical and organised self has stepped up to the plate. Inwardly not so much…

I’m grateful for being able to dabble creatively and this is bringing me calmness and comfort. Each day brings new opportunities which I know that Alan would encourage me to pursue were he here. That’s reassuring. That’s what makes throwing aside my duvet cover a little easier each morning.

I’m very mindful that each day must be lived and not lost, and so as I move slowly forward (sometimes taking a few backward steps)

I carry my family in my heart daily and look forward to the day when we can all be together again.

When things change.

The hottest day on record in Britain! Yes, that was part of our recent visit with our family in England – Liza who lives on the Teddington High Street and Chris, Mandi and their daughters Harper (7) and Ella (3) in the picturesque Kent village of Kings Hill.

UK school are having their summer break now and we were able to spend lots of time with our granddaughters on a day to day basis; so different from the cloistered, conservative constriction of Kleinmond! Continue Reading »

Having talked the talk, I’ve now walked the walk and what a walk it was!

Let me begin by saying a humble and heartfelt thank you to the 44 donors who have kindly and generously supported my effort to raise funds for the South African Haemophilia Foundation and to create awareness of the disorder. I’d not initially considered a target but after the initial response I decided to set a target of R8000 and I’ve been more than surprised that, as I write this, the S.A.H.F. has received R5800 with further donations promised.

The annual La Capra Goat Run at Fairview and Spice Route Wine Estates in Paarl was a resounding success. IMG_0692

The weather, after having been pretty iffy during the week, cleared to a blue-skied and balmy Paarl Valley day. With a walk of 5km and runs of 8km, 15 km and the extreme 28km (for the crazies) around and up the Paarl Mountain slopes, it attracted hundreds of entrants who, along with families and friends, gave the day a festival atmosphere. Beginning at Fairview and finishing at Spice Route, entrants were ferried between the 2 farms by tractor-drawn trailer or shuttle busses.

        HALFWAYWATER BREAK ??????????????????????????????? CADAN & DAVE WAIT FOR RUSSELL AND HERE HE IS! GRANNY & GRANDI ??????????????????????????????? HAN'S PLATTER

Daughter Gill and I walked the 8km distance, son-in-law Russell ran the 15km and Cadan’s Granny Anne did the 5km walk. It was a tough challenge but I had only to glance down and see the magnificent valley below to push me onwards and upwards – and upwards…! Just when we thought we were heading down, the organisers had sneaked in another hill for us to climb, just for fun, as one does. For me, finishing was the realisation of a goal and it was wonderful to be welcomed by Al, Hannah, Dave and Anne and of course Cadan was waiting to cheer and give congratulatory hugs!

It was then Russell’s turn a while later, looking pretty good after 2 hours in the sun confronting the mountain slopes. Sporting our medals and eager to explore our “goodie bags” (how did that become an accepted term?) we settled on the lawns to enjoy the vibe, some refreshments and watch the prize-giving later. The main beneficiary of this year’s event, The Sunflower Fund, received a cheque for R40000 towards the recruitment of new bone marrow donors for their registry, the only one of its kind in Africa. R2000 was presented to the Drakenstein Municipality towards the maintenance of the flora on the slopes of the Paarl Mountain. Hannah won a raffle prize of a striking hand-blown platter from resident glassblower Red Hot Glass which added to the excitement and Cadan enjoyed playing at the little pond with an oak leaf and plastic cup.

After Dave and family had headed back to Cape Town, Al, Gill, Russ and I enjoyed a wine and cheese tasting at Fairview using vouchers from our goodie bags before ending with a light snack at the Wilderer’s Distillery & La Grapparia Restaurant. Gill & Russ then stayed over on the Diamant Farm while Al and I took a slow drive back to Kleinmond, weary but well-content.

On the subject of the funds raised and what they will be used for, these are 3 areas where the money can be utilised: firstly, to provide Medic Alert bracelets which provide crucial medical information in cases where a patient is unable to do so; secondly, Red Cross operates a taxi transport arrangement for people unable to pay the fare to the hospital, compensating taxi drivers who carry patients to and from the hospital for treatment; and thirdly: some of the funds can also be used to purchase splints if the hospital stock is depleted. So it seems likely that the money raised will be divided between these three projects,  giving tangible assistance at points of need. Your donations, large and small, will make a real difference in the lives of many people living with bleeding disorders. THANK YOU!

Ciao for now.


There’s 1 week to go before the annual Fairview La Capra Goat Run  on 11 October. My previous post tells all about the 8km walk I am doing to raise funds for the S A Haemophilia Foundation and to date, 46.75% of my target of R8000 has been collected.

IMG_0425The response from many people has been heart-warming and every donation, from the smallest to the largest, will make a difference in the lives of People with Bleeding Disorders.

If you should wish to make a donation, this can be done directly into the S A H F bank account, details of which are:

S A Haemophilia Foundation.
Standard Bank Constantia
Branch code 025309
Account number 076240789
Reference: Your surname, followed by “Goat Walk”

Watch this space for a report back, hopefully with some photos, on what promises to be a great event. Till then,


Haemophilia is a treatable though presently incurable bleeding disorder affecting approximately 1 in 10000 people globally, mostly males and across all racial and ethnic groups. There are 2 types of haemophilia, viz. haemophilia A and the less common haemophilia B. People living with haemophilia A have a deficiency of the clotting protein Factor Vlll and haemophilia B a deficiency of Factor lX. Both A and B have degrees of severity which are mild, moderate or severe. Whereas Factor levels of people without haemophilia range between 60% and 100%, the levels of people with mild haemophilia range from 5%-25%, moderate from 1% – 5% and severe less than 1%. Our grandson Cadan, now aged 3, was diagnosed at 5 months old with severe haemophilia A.

In people living with mild haemophilia, bleeding issues are relatively few, whereas moderate haemophilia can result in minor bleeding after trauma. In the case of severe haemophilia A, there can be frequent bleeds and spontaneous bleeds, especially into joints, which can cause long-term damage if not treated timeously.

Tremendous medical advances have been achieved over the past 2 decades and Cadan is fortunate to have access to the facility, expertise and treatment offered by the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, about a 15 minute drive from his home. Since his first bleed in late 2012 Cadan has received the most wonderful treatment and support from the doctors, nurses and staff at Red Cross. He now receives prophylactic treatment twice a week at home but still needs to be treated at Red Cross for bleeding episodes. Cadan is one immensely determined, brave, inspiring and capable little boy and shows tremendous fortitude during his intravenous infusions, this largely due to sensitive caring and understanding from Red Cross staff. Of course the love, encouragement and comfort from his Mom and Dad, Dave and Hannah, underpin everything in a situation which affects every facet of their lives. Continue Reading »


Cadan’s grandparents Anne and Gordon’s home was the beautiful location for his 3rd birthday party last Saturday. With a green and lush (and a little mushy, thanks to recent rains) garden with a stream running through it, it was a perfect setting for the 7 littlies to run free.

Alice and Cadan  Table setting  ???????????????????????????????

Tables were set outside with Cadan doing place-setting and his “Road with Cars” cake, beautifully made by Han, was much admired. The first activity was a treasure hunt among a fern patch, where the children found various trinkets, Cadan finding 2 pairs of sunglasses.  Sunglasses

After much running about, coming back to the table for refuelling, the uber-cool skateboard pinnata was hung in a tree. This made me think of Cadan’s Aunty Liza during her time in Spain. The little ones then proceeded, with the aid of Cadan’s small hockey stick, to give it a bash in an attempt to release its sweet contents. But this was some stubborn pinnata, requiring surreptitious intervention from Liam, Mom and Dad before the treasure was spilled onto a blanket below and goodies enjoyed. It was so good to see the children just running about having fun in the wintry sunshine. The link below will take you some of the action!


Lighting of the candles and singing “Happy Birthday” followed amid much cheering but with 1 little friend bursting into tears at the song. I recall my niece Natasha always hid under the table as a child when the song was sung! The yummy cake was cut and enjoyed, with some doggy bags taken away to be enjoyed later. Han was rather worried while making the red icing – although the bottle of colouring contained red liquid, she had to add copious amounts to ensure that Cadan didn’t end up with a cake with pink icing!

The older partygoers relaxed in the sunshine and enjoyed eats and hot bevs and catching up on news. Busy lives mean get-togethers aren’t as regular as we’d like and it’s good to have updates and share stories.          Friends

Later, when things had quietened down somewhat, Cadan had great fun opening his gifts. ???????????????????????????????

The cards were deemed of little importance but each gift, big and small, received special attention. He loved the Duplo gifts but was equally excited to run and show his Mom 2 packs of Magic Beans to play with at bathtime! He adores  books and got some new ones, one of which was The ABC of Cape Town. I had the treat of going upstairs with him later, for rest time, and reading through it together. After that, we had a game of balloon volley ball downstairs and Cadan’s a natural.

We’ve got lots of memories of this day and are blessed to have shared in celebrating the birthday of a feisty. independent yet compassionate little boy who’s had a very eventful year and found his way into the hearts of many, many people!

We love you, Cadan xx


Isn’t it wonderful when the sun breaks through between bouts of wet and icy weather? A planned girl’s visit to High Tea in Constantia  while in Cape Town last Saturday was one such day. Perfect for the Newlands rugby game, too, which Al and Dave attended later!

Well, I say Girl’s visit but we had a little boy join us as well, as his Daddy was at a meeting and this was an added bonus. Gill, big and small Hannah (really younger and older Hannah as Hannah G. is now so tall,) Cadan and I sat at an outside table, soaking up the bright but watery sunshine.

Group photo

Hannah, Gill, myself, Han and Cadan

Various shops surround the courtyard at this popular venue, one of which is a hairdresser, but I’ll get to that later.

Between us, we ordered a breakfast, individual carrot, lemon meringue and cheesecake and coffees, a babyccino and tea, all beautifully served and delicious. While Gill, Han and I chatted about life in general, young Hannah and Cadan busied themselves at the fish pond.

Stones only on the rim, not in the pond

Stones only on the rim, not in the pond, see?

Hannah reflecting...

Hannah reflecting…

After being read the sign about not throwing the pebbles into the pond, Cadan was content to make little piles of them on the rim with Hannah in attendance.

I become more aware each day of the importance of contact with family, be it in the flesh, on Skype (hooray for that :)) or over the telephone. I still feel the need for voice contact, although email and text messages serve a very important purpose.

Chatting up the hairdresser

Chatting up the hairdresser

Han was chatting about Cadan having a haircut and where to take him and then he wandered down (in his socks, as little boys do) to the hairdresser in the courtyard. A charming lady invited him in but he was happy to have a conversation through the glass and came back, telling his Mommy that he wanted to go and have a haircut. Han explained that that hairdresser only did ladies’ hair and he will go to a hairdresser that caters especially for little children.

Aw, time to go already?

Aw, time to go already?

Thanks to Gill and Han for arranging this memorable time together, chatting and sharing. Thanks to Hannah for her quiet and cheerful presence and minding Cadan and to Cadan for reminding us of the magic and excitement of childhood.

Finally, thanks to the staff of High Tea for a lovely spread.


their indifference

her longing for belonging

perhaps next Springtime


Or is it synchronicity, happenstance? Call it what you may, good things happen in our lives that go beyond our own orchestration or imagination. In my own life, there have been more instances than I could fit into a blog post, for example my 2010 post “I found David! Another such surprise happened to me 2 weeks ago.

In 2011, as Christmas gifts for our 5 children, I compiled and produced a simple recipe book with favourite recipes and anecdotes. In January 2013 I wrote a letter to the S A Food & Home magazine, telling them about it. Naturally, not every letter can be published and I simply forgot about it. Two days before Easter this year, I took the January 2013 edition of the magazine out of the local Kleinmond library and had a cursory read. Later, I paged through it again from back to front (as one does) and my eye fell upon my name on the letters page. I then realise that it had been the winning letter!



Terrific except that, through some oversight, I’d not been notified or received a prize. I immediately emailed them and was thrilled to receive a phone call, telling me that my prize would make its way to me shortly. I was so surprised that I forgot to ask what my prize would be and merely waited in curious anticipation.

(A little bit of background info here: I have a Canon Powershot camera which takes good photos but has been giving a bit of battery connection problems for quite a while. This means having to often wiggle and fiddle with it, which is rather irritating.) So, getting back to the letter: ten days ago, I received a notice to collect a parcel and eagerly opened it…




Imagine my astonished delight to find a very sexy Canon Ixus 300HS ! Thank you, Food & Home!


To just happen to have taken out that issue of the magazine 14 months on; to just happen to spot my name on the letters page and to just happen to win a replacement camera is one of those occurrences for which I have no logical explanation. But I do believe that events which, apparently randomly, dovetail so perfectly for our good are to be acknowledged with awe and gratitude.

South Africa’s 5th democratic election is over.                                    IMG_0106

Considering that it was the most aggressively campaigned election in our history, the process has run relatively smoothly, in South African terms, although I have never experienced an election in any other country so am unqualified to comment or compare.

Continue Reading »

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