Tag Archives: The Start

The Childhood Project

3 Jan

For Christmas I got a BICYCLE! Yup, it’s just like when you up when you were a little kid and there was a shiny new bike, complete with training wheels and, if you were a girl, pink pom-pom things off the handlebars, and a basket.

For my tenth birthday [if I recall the age correctly], the usual ‘wake up and find presents at the foot of my bed’ was replaced with being told to walk down the hallway to the kitchen to go see my present. It was a bicycle. I had never, ever mentioned wanting one. I had never expressed the desire to have one, or do anything with a bicycle. I felt so guilty, feigning excitement, while on the inside I was going “Why on earth did you guys get me a bicycle?” I suppose the reason was that it was just the done thing: Kids learnt to ride a bicycle at a certain age, and kids wanted a bicycle at some point in their lives.

The problem was that I wasn’t overly excited about- or interested in learning to ride the thing. The bigger problem was that I turned my nose up at what I wasn’t naturally very good at. I got through music exams and school exams  without opening a book, and with very impressive results. I did horse riding every day, a combination of enjoying it and being good at it. But things I didn’t take to with ease did not interest me, especially having a fair amount of “things” at which I was naturally, effortlessly good.

I’m sounding very braggy right now- I promise this all has a point.

Even less appealing than having to actually practice something just to get the gist of it, was the idea that, in the process, I would be repeatedly humiliated. Falling off was one thing. Having my mother run next to me holding the handlebars of my bicycle steady was quite another. Of course the best place to try learn was in the street [completely flat and mostly very quiet in the small Mpumalanga town where I grew up], meaning having to endure all of this in plain view of others, well aware of their puzzled head-scratching, wondering how it was that a child of ten had not yet learned to ride a bike, and seemed to be unable to do it.

I lost interest fairly quickly, and traded that humiliation for having my siblings tease me for the next fourteen years about my disability.

And then, SC bought me the most beautiful Johnny Loco for Christmas! Her name is Vivienne, and she has a bell and she is the fairest bicycle in the land.

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I had been dreaming of cycling around Cape Town with its oh-so-trendy cycling culture. A woven basket in front, I would cycle to work, to the market to get vegetables and flowers, up and down the Company’s Garden- it was all very chic in my head. But now I had to learn to ride the thing. The hours leading up the lesson were spent rationalising that perhaps some people are just genetically incapable of riding a bike! This was met firmly with “You can stand upright, you can ride a bike”. SC was gobsmacked that I could ride horses without falling off, yet not ride a bicycle. But, as I pointed out, my horses didn’t just randomly fall over!

It took about 40 minutes or so. At first I was snappy and on edge. At some point, I think I just got over myself and pedaled off. It’s embarrassing, really, that it happened like that and that it was as simple as telling a very stubborn mind to just shut up and sit down.

photo 1

Now, this joyous occasion has not only robbed my siblings of their favourite joke, but also got me thinking to the other gaps in my childhood. There are many things I didn’t do! I grew up in a depressing mining town full of racists and kids who I found infinitely unrelatable and in general I preferred the company of myself to anyone else. So things like tennis, which involved other people, didn’t seem appealing. Plus, I didn’t need other sports: I had horse riding. Things like ice skating were far too exotic for Standerton, and the nearest rink was a good three hours away.

But I feel this lesson [in balance, and my own character] has brought about the time to tackle these vast expanses of my formative years, and fill them up. I feel I need to:

  • Play tennis: I have never ever so much as picked up a racquet and hit a tennis ball with it, but I actually think tennis would suit me because Lacoste
  • Learn how to do a cartwheel
  • Learn how to whistle
  • Learn how to ice skate: I was actually recently taken skating by a friend and made huge steps [as in, actually let go of the railing]
  • Watch Cinderella and Snow White [other than that my Disney education is quite complete, and I regularly indulge in my favourites]
  • Dive into a swimming pool: I don’t mean from a diving board, even. I have never dived head-first into a swimming pool. This, however, results from two very bad drowning experiences when I was 2, and then 3. Nonetheless, it must be tackled!
  • Go fishing. Sure I will hate it, but at least I will be able to have an informed opinion of it.
  • Climb a tree [you’re reading this thinking I’m a freak, aren’t you? I have pulled myself up and sat in the low branches of trees, but I’ve never actually climbed one, I feel.]

Another thing most children experience is getting stitches or breaking something. Besides for being born, I’ve never needed to go to a hospital. Besides for my wisdom teeth, which I had removed under local anesthetic , I have all my body parts including tonsils and appendix. Look, I did once suffer a kick from a horse which just about split my ear in half, but it wasn’t stitch-able. But still, it seems another childhood rite I skipped over. Although I could do with keeping it that way.

So there you have it. My chilhood project for 2013! If you’re an expert in any of these things and feel like giving advice, or maybe even teaching me something, let me know. And feel free to add other things that are must-do childhood activities- who knows what I’ve left out!



Some More Home Makeover-ing

10 Dec

Our place came fully furnished when we bought it, which has been veyr convenient! We haven’t been stuck without, for example, chairs, while we save up to buy some. However, the furniture in the flat is… let’s just say, “not exactly to our taste”. Most of it is very standard, hotel-like furniture. Some of it is just “I wouldn’t personally buy that”, some of it is hideous.

The carpet, for example. To quote a friend of ours: “Wasn’t that in Austin Powers?” Outdated, but also completely discoloured and nasty-looking after years of being in there.

This, in my opinion, is a huge improvement:



I just love our Nguni hide. I love that it’s African, but also that it isn’t your typical Nguni colour and pattern. I also think it does a fair bit to lighten up the room.

We got ours at Woodheads in Cape Town [there’s also one on the Midlands Meander].


We have a tree!

4 Dec

I was never very Christmasy. Being Afrikaans and living in a small town we didn’t do the traditional gammon with cranberry whatsit and eggnog and all that. Plus, most Christmases for me involved huge family fights while I sat near the tree, grumpy that a silly spat was delaying present opening.

Two years ago I decided that I would bring on the Christmas cheer hard. Think choc mint cupcakes with candy canes and chocolate stars, illustrating personalised cards for everyone, beautiful wrapping, the works. I saved Christmas! [Well, in my own head]. 

This year I am exceptionally excited to make our flat Christmasy! We are now married, we live together, and we get to do Christmasy things as each other’s family! Hoorah!

And so we got our first tree! I wanted a real one, and not chopped down because then it would die and I would be sad and so would the earth. This one might not be the perfect cone shape, but it’s a pine tree and I think it looks lovely and we open our door everything smells like pine trees. We got this cool crumpled ceramic planter from o.live in Woodstock, and I happened upon the star-shaped lights while shopping at the V&A Waterfront this weekend.

When we switched on the lights, I literally clapped my hands and jumped up and down. Now to wrap presents and get them under that tree!

photo 1

photo 2

Making a House [well, flat] a Home

30 Nov

At 86 square metres, our flat isn’t exactly enormous! It’s been fun coming up with small space solutions and finding function in everything we can.

We had two “nooks” in the place. One in the living room, and one in the main bedroom. They’re just these narrow spaces which were really not usable, hence not great for a small space! The living room nook was perfect for book shelves, but the bedroom one was just so narrow, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

A while ago we got Home Fixers in to help us with some small home things, like storage hooks and better towel rails and such. We also got them to put up shelves for us, and I am so happy with the end product! Their prices are good, the service is great. During their work I got numerous texts double-checking finer points, and the workmanship was wonderful. No complaints.

photo 1See how this space, without shelves, is not exactly useful?


photo 2

Not so Feng Shui.

photo 3Much better!

Now, the bedroom nook… Too narrow even for a standing lamp. What on earth does one do with that?!

photo 4

Shoes. The answer is always “shoes”.


First Artwork In Our New Home

8 Nov

A gift from SC. Captain America and Wolverine as kids. I love, so much. By Andy Fairhurst.


Making a House a Home

24 Oct

Our flat is chaotic right now. We have stuff from when we moved in that hasn’t even been unpacked, we have stuff that’s been packed away for now but still needs to find a place in the house, we have new stuff from honeymoon, wedding gifts, and because it’s a small flat we haven’t got nearly enough storage [like shelves!]. It’s beautiful, but still needs a lot of work to make it functional, super stylish, and “home”.

But while we’re busy with bigger stuff like deciding on painting walls and where to put shelves [and and and], some stuff is already lovely. Like this vase:

It’s called the Phrenology Vase, from Chandler House by Michael Chandler. We got some pincushion Proteas at the Earth Fair last week and I just love how they look! It’s nice to have something gorgeous when everything else seems to be in a state of [slight] pandemonium.

I love Chandler’s stuff. I also want the Cape Gable book ends, and more than anything the Pierneef scatter cushion. How gorgeous?

More home updates coming soon!

Thursdays at St George’s Market

19 Oct

Living in town has been amazing so far! I walk to work, recently we walked to a birthday thing just off Long Street, and everything is close by and lively!

One of the best things about it is our new ritual: Thursdays at St George’s market.

Our flat looks onto St George’s mall, which is a lovely pedestrian-only street with trees running down the middle, lined with galleries, eateries, and more. On Thursdays the walkway gains some stalls and turns into a small market which, as of yet, has not turned into the kind that just has throngs of people pouring in so that ultimately no one can move and there certainly is nowhere to sit down.

So we decided we would visit it every week as a little ritual of ours. This week was our first time and while we had to rush [since half our lunch break had been taken up by taking Home Fixers around the flat to discuss home thing], it was lovely!

We got some cheese from a farm in Swellendam, tons of fresh fruit and veg for the week, and a small bunch of pincushion Proteas. We also grabbed some lunch [an unhealthy bockwurst since I am still on my honeymoon diet] and took in the different stalls. The Creamery is there, selling their unparalleled ice cream [you have to try it!]. I have my eye on some paella for next time! There are also stalls selling desserts, biltong, various kind of ready-made food [spring rolls, curry, hamburgers, wraps, you name it!], spices, and tons more.

Check it out. It’s a wonderful break from the office.