Happy days – happy souls

What are happy days? Days of lightness are happy days. Lightness of colour in your heart. Evenweightedness in feel, of mind and will. Watching the moon, at dawn, solitary, mid-sky, I knew myself completely: no part left out. (Shikibu)* May your 2016 bring you many happy days of summer clouds and fairy ways. With love as …

The Agony in the Garden

Reading Mark, the evangelist’s account afresh and meditating on the agony in the garden and on the corporeality of the man there meeting his fate, we have tried to empathise and to find words for it. The German text is the original and the English a kind of rendering in thought. With oil of nard …

The Good, the not so Good and the …

                      Our wish list for 2015, jotted down and in no particular order, is very short: Staying in touch with family and friends and meeting personal challenges with courage and integrity. What more, really, can one do or wish for. The debate about global warming …

Autumn colours land and sea

    Autumn is a very special time for people living in temperate latitudes. It is the time for gathering, reminiscences and awareness of change in light, in colour, mood and being. Autumn says: you have lived and these are the fruits of you labour, your ambitions, your dreams. And what you see and have …

Dreaming

Much has been researched in the last almost three hundred years about dreams and dreaming, yet, we still do not know where we go when we dream. Looking at early, biblical accounts of dreams in the history of dreams, we see their images and interpretations to be of another world outside the one we experience …

Depression

What is depression? Depression is the unexpected – a serious deviation from the expected. We expect the economy to continue to perform to our advantage. We expect the weather to fit in with our weekend plans. We expect people to behave rationally and virtuously. We expect to wake up and be well. And all of …

A walk by the sea

To think that two thirds of our planet is not land but water. And while the land mass seems so enormous – what about the mass of our oceans? At the Cape the waters are rough if not treacherous. The winds are strong, mounting up to gale force strength at times, never ever though threatening to …

200 years of Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Arthur Rackham, Little Red Riding Hood A Father comes home from work one evening and asking his wife and daughter for the whereabouts of his son, hears that he has gone to visit relatives. The father is saddened by the news: “That was not good of him to not say good bye.” With that he …

A case of burnout – reading Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” (Die Verwandlung)

Kafka’s third book, The Metamorphosis. The first edition, 1916. The cover illustration is a lithograph by Ottomar Starke. (www.kafka-franz.com)   Franz Kafka (1883-1924) in 1912 wrote his story “Die Verwandlung” (The transformation or, as it has become known in the English speaking world: “The Metamorphosis”). The story is conventionally read as a story about an overworked …

Riebeek Kasteel afternoon

Riebeek Kasteel Many artists, culinary, of craft and fine art – have chosen Riebeek Kasteel as their place to work and be, away from the city – Cape Town. The neighbouring town of Riebeek West has brought forth two sons of the nation: Jan Smuts and David Francois Malan – both Prime Ministers of South …

Cape autumn light

The autumn light in the Cape has a special, poetic quality. The summer heat has waned, the winter with its storm and rain is yet a distance away. A quietness and stillness warms the heart, soothes the eye and all the senses. The wine has been harvested and the grape juice is gently fermenting in …

Im Haus der Sprache wohnt das Sein

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) argued that we as people cannot assure a secure foothold because everything we produce is potentially capricious and because of that we have to allow our Being domiciliary rights in the home of language. Of that nature was our discussion with Herman Perold, philosopher friend from Prince Albert who together with his …

Backstage – on stage – she’s got the rhythm

Backstage at the Kronendaal Primary School in Hout Bay where the Audrey Anderson School of Modern Ballet had its annual presentation – beginners to advanced. The School Hall at Kronendaal was filled with moms and dads, grannys and whoever else had an interest in seeing the girls perform. We were allowed backstage to capture the …

Hannetjie de Clercq – Violet and Cinnamon …

Finally, a book is to be published, about one of South Africa’s great contemporary artists – Hannetjie de Clercq. Of greatness …? She would, laughingly, whip away any such pretensions. I paint. Make with it what you like but don’t give me any of your intellectual drivel. Stand up to me. Let me see who …

House of Icons Traben-Trarbach

This icon and most of the other icons on display at the House of Icons in Traben-Trarbach were written by Alexej Alexandrowitch Saweljew (1920 Kiev – 1996 Traben-Trarbach). Saweljew re-discovered and used the Byzantine technique of icon writing taking the recipes to his grave. His icons are referred to as “modern icons” according to the …

Sunday Lunch and Ink Cap breakfast snack

Our neighbours in Betty’s Bay and dear friends from Hamburg – our swallows – have flown back to Germany for the season. Every time we drive past their house we think of the lovely times we shall have again when they come back into their nest. But driving past we also watch their lawn for …

Mother’s Day

Thekla and Adam had a wonderful surprise in store for their mothers in Betty’s Bay. First, a long lay-in with coffee in bed. Then a super breakfast accompanied with a reading of a text they both had composed for the occasion and after breakfast a foot and hand massage! Here is the text wich they …

O’ Samma – O’ Bamma – O’ Daffi

Bring a man to justice as it’s done in Westerns – it is a good and noble thing. Hang him high, if need be, send him flying – not nice but satisfying. Ceauscescu, Mussolini. Pity that Adolf got away and one Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, aka Stalin. To go in firing from the hip O’ Bammabammabamma, mowing …

Ageing – not for sissies

“Getting old is not for the faint-hearted!” Sybil used to say. How true is that?! As a parent when your children do not ask you for advice any longer but instead are offering advice to you, that is when you notice you have grown old enough to be on the way out. “On the way …

Joséfa ♦ The Ice Princess II

  The first days came almost rolling in with thunder and rain and then a clearing so bright and deep and blue that everyone commented on the clarity of the skies and the depth and strength of the colour blue and it seemed as if a dome of purest crystal had been built over them. And …

Diamonds on the soles of my shoes

These are the shoes Tossie danced in when she was 5 years old. She has kept them in the box they came in over all these years. Now that she has written her book, she will be joining a small community of ecologically-minded people on a farm outside Robertson and put her dancing aside. A …

The Red Cliff

Karin did not like the film. Too many battle scenes. Why would the Chinese allow and sponsor such a film? Well, after the devastation of the so-called cultural revolution, after the taste of Mao had turned sour in their mouths, it was time to re-discover the past. And there is enough political and cultural ideology …

The voice of thunder

The voice of thunder is a powerful thing. It awakens you at night. And you have nowhere to turn. The voice of God in its many disguises. And you are full of fear. What if? What if the roof caves in under the weight of water thundering down. What if lightning strikes your neighbour’s shining …

Under a blanket of drizzle

Sitting under a blanket of drizzle in our beach cottage. It’s supposed to be summer here. Alas, tourists will avoid our beaches. Which is a good thing. (Is it?) Or so we joke to each other: if you see three people on the beach, it is crowded. Our beach. As if. The francolins are breeding …