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Archive for October, 2009

Away In Romania

October 20th, 2009 2 comments

There was no Patrick Swayze to whisk me away from the corner of my room to teach me dirty dancing after twelve that Old Year’s Eve at the Blue Marlin Hotel in Scottburgh.

I was too young to go – by one day.

My birthday falls on the day after New Year – then I would turn sixteen.

We’d spent fourteen years of Decembers there.

With the same families and their children.

When exams started, pre-Blue Marlin anticipation intensified – comparable to the pre-birth anticipation parents feel, memories mysteriously wiped blank of previous Births of Death.

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Categories: Holidays Tags:

A Farmer’s Family Holiday

October 15th, 2009 3 comments

NaturesValleyI love travelling; whether it is discovering new countries with its unique architecture or going to places in my own country where I have never been before, I love meeting interesting foreigners and eating local food, but I will never exchange it for the luxury of our family’s traditional holiday at the sea.

It is important to realise that when it comes to going away on holiday, there are two types of farmers – those who are happy to leave the farm for a few weeks at a time and those who hate the idea of being separated from their beloved farm for more than a few days at a time. I am the daughter of a farmer that falls into the latter category.

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

October 13th, 2009 11 comments

fear_by_xOxChrystalxOxI am sitting in my kitchen; my kitchen 15,811 long, long kilometres from the country of my skull*.
I am safe. Safe. Safe and secure. Safe. I am safe.
And still I shake. The healthy pour of Amarula I’m sipping from does little to stop the constant, low-level tremors.
I repeat it like a mantra: I am safe. I am safe. I am safe. But 25 years of training is a hard thing to unlearn.

Fear will keep you safe.
If you are a South African raised during the last 50 years or so, you know this for a fact: fear will keep you safe. Fear will keep you alive.

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Categories: Petty Apartheid Tags: , ,

Back To Old Blighty

October 8th, 2009 3 comments

blightyWe left England when I was four years old and so I cannot really remember much from the time when we actually lived there. As my father was in South Africa on contract we got to go back to England every four years or so for him to renew his contract and for us to see all the family “back home”, as it was called.

The first trip back that I can remember with any clarity was when I was about eight years old in the early 70’s. We flew over in December to spend Christmas in Yorkshire. We left in the heat of summer and I can remember being confused because my mother insisted on us carrying our winter coats and having jerseys in our bags not realising that we were travelling into the teeth of winter. I can clearly remember being highly upset that I had to wear long trousers, warm socks and shoes to travel in, telling us that it would be cold when we got to London was not really a concept we understood.

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Categories: Holidays Tags: , ,

A Sign Of The Times

October 6th, 2009 6 comments

segregationI had a bright yellow blanket – Blankie (not very original). It had soft, satin edging that I would rub against my top lip while sucking my thumb. Everywhere I went, Blankie went. We were inseparable. When I stood under the washing line, Blankie flapping in the breeze; good and clean and fresh tra-la-la, my mom decided something had to be done. Blankie was cut up into Blanklets, which meant that one was always in the wings, when another was in the wash, or lost.

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LM By Pontiac

October 1st, 2009 8 comments

lmPart of an idyllic childhood on the edge of the Valley of a thousand Hills was the oddly seedy genteel lifestyle Natal’s British expats – the types that pawned the family silver to send their kids to Michealhouse, Hilton, Thomas Moore and such havens of the G & T brigade. And true to form (of course), they had more than their fair share of eccentrics. Thank the Lord. And our neighbours took their eccentricity most seriously, pushing the envelope to the point of the bizarre.

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