There is always, always hope.

With all the doom and gloom that pervades our daily lives and the negativity that appears to abound on all social media platforms – it is wise to remember that there is always hope.

Here in this beautiful country that I am proud to call home – there is hope. But somehow the media, press and I sadly have to say the majority of the population focus on all the negative aspects of our daily lives.  I am not trying to say that everyone should walk around with rose tinted glasses on and that this is paradise – no – we have our problems and some serious ones.  The behaviour of all our political parties provide a lot of ammunition for the naysayers, which makes deciding which devil to choose to run/manage our country a truly difficult one. But I digress as today this is about hope.

Yesterday I had the privilege of going to the local school to watch my grandson play in an inter school cricket match and it was while I was sitting there on those hard grandstand seats, trying to stay focused on twenty odd 10 year old youngsters, playing the gentleman’s game of cricket, when I started to partake in my favourite pastime – people watching.

In this multi racial rainbow cauldron of South Africa, where we are bombarded with daily tales of racial discord, these youngsters showed none of it. The ratio of white to black was I would estimate, about 2:10 – which is a true reflection of our society.  Here on this single field there was no discord, no ugliness, the children did not see colour and everyone was treated equal. Friends were friends. And these youngsters are the future of our country. On watching an openly gay young man and his interaction with his peers, there was no judgement and it was heart-warming to see. (These are just observations of a granny sitting watching and he may get teased and bullied – but here on this sunny afternoon of extra mural activities at the school, none of this was present).  These students showed tolerance which can be a lesson for many of the older generation. There is hope.

Even amongst the parents of which there was a coloured grandfather, a young black mom, who was there supporting her 10 year old daughter who was also on the cricket team and a white Afrikaans dad supporting his son and giving him and the rest of the team coaching tips from the sidelines.  This is also a true reflection of daily life in this country of ours – where the majority of people are happy to live their daily lives side by side.  We are all people, with the same wants.

So my advice to anyone, if you are feeling like that this country of ours is on a downward spiral as the media reports , just go and visit a local school and watch the youngsters and you will see first hand that there is always hope.  It starts small, but if we could keep this tolerance alive in our youth – we can have hope.


Markets, masseuses and con artists

Visiting the Rosebank Rooftop Market is a must for everyone at least once in their lifetime as a local South African, and for any visitor to our beautiful shores this place is a tourists mecca.

Here you can get anything from beaded keyrings, magnificent artworks to clothing and accessories for all shapes and sizes.  For antique and collectable lovers, this place is a virtual paradise. And when you stroll past the pop up food court, the aromas that bombard your senses are enough to get anyone’s gastric juices flowing.  A shoppers heaven.

At a loose end this past Sunday I found myself drawn to visit again and after strolling past the stalls and purchasing a couple of really non-essential items, I came across the vendor offering reflexology and massages.  I can now say that I have experienced another first in my life, and that is having the most sublime shoulder and neck massage, lying prone on a masseuse’s table, in the middle of a market, by the blackest of black Congolese man and I have to say it was the best massage I have ever had.

Now being totally relaxed and I am using this as an excuse, as I pride myself in not being too gullible, my next stop on my way out of the market was a palm reader. At the time in my relaxed state, I thought why not – he was a kind looking older gentleman, who invited me to sit down. I wasn’t going to give anything away about who I was or what I did in life and what my future plans were, let him tell me.  His hands were gentle when he cradled mine and we exchanged names. He closed his eyes and held my hands and seemed lost in thought. And the first words out of his mouth was “You have experienced quite a few traumas in your life” – my thought – “Hasn’t every one”. I just nodded and smiled.  The next 10 minutes were a jumble of self help quotes and observations that could pertain to any living soul on this earth.  I asked him “okay now that you have told me what you have “seen” about my past life, can you tell what is going to happen in the future”, his reply “No I can’t do that I am not a fortune teller”!  And that was that.  My biggest mistake here was not asking him before he started how much he charged!!!!!!!!!! I had to fork out R 400 for 10 minutes of garbage – I was conned.

So as a heads up, you have to visit the Rosebank Rooftop Market but DON”T stop off at the palm reader.


Sunday musings

I was recently sent a mail from Brett Shuttleworth about the power of silence.  With the heading “Be quiet now”, with some thought provoking sentences explaining how everything is created out of silence. To quote “See how nature – trees, grass, grows in silence. See the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Some of the lyrics of the Simon and Garfunkel song ‘The Sounds of Silence”, immediately sprang to mind –  “people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening, people writing songs that voices never heard – no one dared to disturb the sound of silence. Silence like a cancer grows – my words like silent raindrops fell.”

Putting the two messages together makes so much sense about the world we are currently living in, where we are bombarded by noise. Noise of our own minds, noise of life, of social media, of angry people whom seem to make the loudest noise.  But how do we go about quietening it all. Especially our own internal critic.  A few years back when I was going through my own form of living hell, where my personal critic was screaming at me I was advised to read the book, “The Four Agreements” by Don Migual Ruiz.  Here it is suggested that all you need to find happiness is to live by the four agreements. Be impeccable with your word, Don’t take things personally, Don’t make assumptions and Always do your best. And it is these agreements that have now formed mantras in my mind.

The first agreement is the one pertinent to this post. Be impeccable with your word. This pertains not just to or about other people, but also to yourself.  Stop that inner critic, love yourself and still that internal noise. As Brett says just “Be Quiet Now” let yourself grow, embrace the silence.

“Silence is a source of Great Strength.”
― Lao Tzu



I am a male and why I don’t talk about my PTSD

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following one’s exposure to a life-threatening stressor or trauma – whether you are an animal or human. Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is a popular form of treatment for this disorder. Stress comes in all shapes and forms – for both humans and animals.  Picture this.

Your life is complete – you have the freedom to come and go as you please, receive abounding love from all those that encounter you, you are fed, have a roof over your head, you vocalise your needs and they are immediately met, you don’t have a partner due to the fact that your human has had your nuts removed, but life is good – enter Harry.  Harry the snake catcher, the dog follower, the goat and cow growler, the rescue cat and people lover. Everything is perfect.

One day your beloved human, starts smearing salmon tasting goo over your paws, which you delightfully lick up.  Who wouldn’t, especially as it makes you feel quite relaxed and combined with the cat-nip which is now being freely spread over your bedding in that dreaded cat basket which has suddenly appeared – you think you would have realised that something was just a little off.

Waking up at 4 am – nothing different here, but then un-ceremonially being bundled into said cat basket. Miaow!!!! That’s not cricket. And then being kept in this confined space for 10 hours whilst your human blares her music so loud you have to miaow even louder to make yourself heard. Stress 1.

Stress 2 – you arrive at a strange house, which smells of other cats and puppies and are kept locked in a room all night.  Your human is with you, but is also restless and no matter how hard you try and communicate that you want out the room, it falls on deaf ears.

Stress 3 – the very next morning, after a little bit of salmon goo, you are once again bundled into the car and taken to a different alien smelling place.  You voice your concern but to no avail. A strange lady prods you and says “Wow he really is a busy boy isn’t he” and then horror upon horror puts a cold metal object up into your nether regions and a needle full of stuff into the scruff of your neck.  You flinch and look accusingly into the eyes of your beloved human who is holding you in a much tighter manner than you are used to.  But it doesn’t end there.

Stress 4 – short drive to yet another strange place and here the smells or truly conflicting.  Lots and lots of different cat smells all mixed together with a really strong smell of disinfectant. Nooooo!!!!!! It is a cattery – what is happening.  Okay you get your own little den, but its not home. You hear your human saying it is like a little cat hotel and it is only for 1 week – but its not home.

Stress 5 – now you would have thought that after getting collected from the “Cat Hotel” and transferred yet again in a moving vehicle with music blaring and let out of your box into a new place, that smells of home – you would start to feel a bit more normal.  Well you do – and you let your guard down, even though you have the indignity of having to use a sand box, as once again you are not allowed outside into that beautiful wide open space that you are so used to. Your human is also now more relaxed and let her guard down and you see a gap, which as an adventurous young boy, you take.  You come face to face with 2 creatures of the canine variety, but you keep your cool and so do they.  Saunter around the side of the house with so many new smells and noises, your human has spotted you but is keeping an eye on you.  Casually jumping onto the dividing wall to explore and next minute you feel it – an electric current running through your small little body and instead of jumping away you jump through the darned thing, to find your self in a strange garden where the canines are not so friendly so immediately jump back up through that electric thingy and get zapped again. Tearing like a demon possessed you head straight for home and hide under the bed.  Now all my human is wanting to do is talk – but as a male that is the last thing you want to do.  You want to stay in your own little safe place and never come out again. Maybe tomorrow when you need some food you might say a word or two, but for now, no amount of psychotherapy is going to help.  You will talk in your own time.


Discarded bottle tops to bad drivers

Now you may wonder how the one may lead to the other – and in my mind I had it all mapped out so now going to try and put it down in writing and make sense of it all.

Sitting at a stop and go at the seemingly never ending road works taking place on the South African roads between Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, where the weather always seems to be stifling hot – you witness varying stages of temperament amongst your fellow road users.   Those who sit with their car running, to keep the air con working, drumming their fingers impatiently on their steering wheels until the seriously laid back roadworks employee saunters over to turn the signboard from stop to go and who then take off in an effort to get in front of any trucks that may slow them down even more, to those who open car doors, amble around the road works, often relieving their bladders against close by fence posts. I am one of the ones, that turn off my car engine, open the windows to enjoy the silence of the surrounds, feel some fresh air and just watch.  And it was whilst watching that got my mind doing a abrupt stop in anger, when witnessing the passenger in the car in front of me, as the “go” was given, to casually open their car window and throw coke cans and KFC boxes out onto the roadside.

This brought my mind back to my last walk on the beach in Morgan Bay, which is 99% pristine clean, when I spotted something blue glinting in the morning sun and thinking had found some kind of magical treasure, to find an upturned bottle cap. Which I pocketed.  Not so easy however to pocket the discarded trash on the side of the road.

My drive continued where all thoughts were going through my mind including the recent comments by an opposition political party pointing fingers at the DA for not cleaning up the city of Johannesburg and posting photos of roadside trash on Twitter to prove what a poor job was being done.  How can they keep up with what I had just seen.  All the while that these thoughts are going threw my mind, I am also experiencing some of the worst driving I have ever witnessed on our roads and I am surprised that the death toll on our roads is not even higher than the already unacceptable rate.  So where do we begin.

From a simple bottle cap on the beach, to the horrific driving on our roads, all this points to total lawlessness and people just not being held accountable for their actions. Is it lack of education or laziness of just down right arrogance.  Somehow we need to instill a sense of responsibility and pride, not only in our country but in ourselves.  What makes a person who drives an expensive half million rand car, which is being kept spotlessly clean, think that there is nothing wrong with discarding their rubbish on the side of the road. Again I ask where do we start, where do we begin.  With the massive drives we see in the media for recycling and saving our planet,  surely we as a people should know better.  This is when I despair of the couldn’t care less attitude of the human race.  All I can do, as an individual,  is try to set a good example, keep the laws of the road and pocket that bottle cap.

And don’t get me started on cigarette stompies……………


2019 – the Year of the Pig

The Pig is the 12th of all the zodiac animals.  One tale has it that this is because he was the last to arrive at the party of the jade emperor, because he had overslept, with another tale that the wolf had destroyed his home and he had to rebuild it before heading off to join the other animals.

He might have been late for the party which I am quite glad I did not attend last night and celebrated the arrival of 2019 in my own way, with the only human sounds being the far off “woop woop” of weary revelers, determined to stay up and see the sunrise on the first day of the new year. A warm breeze blowing, and the crashing of the never-ending waves rolling in against the shore, with the twittering of the birds, oblivious of humans almost obsessive need to obscenely celebrate this annual occasion, welcoming in a new day.

The birds had survived the onslaught of the man-made display of fireworks of a few hours earlier, and together with them I got to experience the majesty of the daily sunrise, which in itself is a celebration.

I have to admit that rising this early had tested my resolve and will power.  Having closed myself off to the revelry of the night before, both through choice and circumstances, choosing to remain indoors with one traumatized cat, the night however was not a restful one. There was more than just one fleeting moment during the manic craziness of the night that my thoughts veered towards “I really dislike the human race”.  But bring on the year of the Pig, which in Chinese culture are a symbol of wealth – and wish everyone health, wealth and abundance of happiness.