"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Sunday, 22 December 2013

time to check my gratitude journal

I know I am not the only one who has found this to be a roller coaster of a year.  December arrived and is already nearly over and while it seems that this year has flown by, now as I sit and think about all that has happened this year right back to February, when Helen died, it all seems like such a long time ago.

It is typical of me to now decide to write a blog post when there is so much to be done.  I have not bought a single Christmas present, the cupboards are bare...It will get done at some stage (I hope).

Thinking (like thirst) can be a dangerous thing and somehow so much of this year has merged into one that it makes it hard to put things in order.  It is good to reflect as the year comes to an end of all that has happened and to count your blessings.

I am feeling fit and strong and loved the quote I read the other day "strong is the new thin".  I started walking in March with my friend Fay and our short half hour walks around the neighbourhood have progressed to nearly two hours of walking, four times a week.  I have learnt to cut off, leave the phone at home and my working day starts at 10 in the morning after my walk and shower.  We walk the neighbourhood, climb hills and stairs, chat incessantly and marvel in the beauty of where we are so lucky to live.

Gratitude for good health, friends and the beauty of our surroundings

Wine Time is doing so well and when I think back to July, when I was wondering if I had made the right decision, I am now so happy that I made the change.  I no longer feel guilty about my morning walks.  I love the time on my own, driving, listening to new music, popping in to see my mom and Rob for lunch, taking a walk on the beach when delivering to Camps Bay or Hout Bay, popping in to chat and have a cup of tea (or a glass of wine) when delivering to friends.  The business is growing (we have money in the bank and a warehouse full of wine) and "Wine Time is going to "fly" next year" (words of my positive partner). Plans for next year include a proper website and expanding the database to Johannesburg.  Busy and exciting times.  This I could not have done without the support of Mike and my family and friends.

Gratitude that my change of direction was a good one, for my wonderful, supportive husband, crazy family and wine-drinking friends.

Nic's injury at the end of August opened my eyes to so much.  From the initial emergency doctors appointment when there was talk of him losing a limb, to the nearly 5 hour operation and re-construction of his knee, the pain and trauma he went through, the last six weeks of his university lectures missed and through it all he was so brave and positive.  The leg is healing, he is getting stronger every day but I cannot help but tear up when I see my gorgeous son making his way down the passage, now with a cane, his one leg so strong and the other skinny and wasted and his foot still dangling because of the nerve damage. The nerve will repair, the muscles are busy re-building and he will run again. His graduation earlier this week was one of the proudest days of my life.  Four months ago I would never have thought that he would be able to write his exams, nevermind pass so well and make the Dean's Merit List.

Gratitude for the amazing doctor, physiotherapist and support from so many people.

Gratitude for a son with a sunny and positive disposition 

Through helping and nursing him, I often wondered how mothers with seriously ill children manage.  How lucky have I been?

Gratitude for healthy children

Matthew has been away from home for most of the year, playing rugby in the USA and now Hong Kong. Plenty of travelling, new people, new places and stories to tell.  He is back in town for Christmas (unfortunately not for long enough).  

Gratitude for opportunities that are grabbed and that technology makes it so much easier to be in touch and keep in touch with loved ones far away.

Nic and Matt will both leave Cape Town on the 28th - Nic for Pretoria to do his articles with a law firm and Matthew back to Hong Kong for the second half of the rugby season. Forget about the goodbyes for now, how quiet and empty the house is going to be, how you are going to miss them and enjoy the moment.

Gratitude for special times when the whole family are together.  

Some pictures for the Gratitude Journal:-

Walking at Kirstenbosch
Climbing at Kirstenbosch
Neighbourhood walk
Birthday celebrations in the garden
A new addition to the family - Alfie - Gareth and Hayley's 
brand new, ultra cute Boston Terrier
Big Day
So proud
Awesome original oil hanging in a friend's entrance hall
Good times
and what about a song?
Andy Williams - my Dad's favourite

Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

my reflection (for what it is worth)

Picture by James Abinini

Since waking up very early on Friday morning and learning from Matthew via Twitter in Hong Kong that Mandela had died until today still listening, reading and watching the continued tributes from all over the world, it has been a proud and emotional weekend to be a South African.  There is a sadness but as when Michael's 92 year old mother died earlier this year, what do you expect? They were never going to improve and thank goodness she slipped away far quicker than what he did and without medical interference.  It was time to go and they were ready to go.

We have had two lovely Malaysian visitors in Cape Town.  They have loved our country, the people and the passion.  They were on Robben Island on Friday and on the Grand Parade that evening.  After spending the day with them yesterday and seeing our city through their eyes and listening to their experiences and enthusiasm for our country and people, I feel blessed. 

Although I never met the man watching the one minute of clapping at a soccer match in the UK, listening to Maya Angelou's poem and all the other tributes and reading beautiful blog posts, seeing groups of people on the beach early this morning, with flowers and candles, spending some quiet time reflecting. I too feel that he is a part of me and my heritage.  However, I have not cried. Of late, and I blame it on hormones, strange things make me cry.

Social media is amazing.  I have scrolled through the many pictures and quotes of Mandela on Facebook and Twitter, I have seen the outpouring of love and some amazing photographs I have never seen before, I have also been seriously irritated and have had to stop myself from commenting on the negative statements from a few people overseas "I fear for what will happen to South Africa now" being one of them. 

I have loved the personal notes and photographs - the cute 7 year old son of a friend meeting Mandela at school, 3 year old Aidan in the USA asking his mother "Did Mandela ever played tennis with my dad?" and then this one below which got a few tears rolling down my cheeks.  It is a message, on Facebook, to my niece Allie from a friend in Iceland who she has not seen for many years.

The death of this icon has stirred up so many emotions in people all over the world and even one of guilt for a well-read copy of "The Long Walk to Freedom" sitting on the bookshelf of a family so far away in Iceland. 


  • Dear Allie, I have a confession to make. After the death of Nelson Mandela I must say this. When you left Iceland, you had lended me "Long Walk to Freedom", Mandela´s autobiography. You forgot it - or more accurately I did not give it back to you in time. I have moved several times since - but always kept it close. I have read it of course - used quotations from it in my work - and this has been unbelievably inspiring. When you took care of our twin boys in Iceland so remarkably and tought them Afrikaansenglish before they could speak their mother tongue, you told me so much about your beautiful country. Not only Mandela, but also Hugh Mazekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and others on the music scene as well as the diversity of the nation. I will sure go to S-Africa sooner than later, it is on my list. I can send the book to you Allie, please give me your address. I have heard you are doing fine, having kids on your own and family. That made me feel good. I will order another copy for the boys - a reminder of one of the greatest person in history - and also a tribute to the wonderful girl from Cape Town who was so good to them. Best regards Allie. Hakon
    Like · 
    • Nic RossleeLeila Goddard and 8 others like this.
    • Jenny Kotze Keep the book!! At an emotional time in SA this gave me goosebumps. What an awesome message and so typically Allie. Our SA diplomat in Iceland. I hope you get to come to SA with your family one day Hakon. (I will buy you a copy when you are next here Allie) xx
      17 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2
    • Allie Hare Yates Hi Hakon, thank you for your kind words. I feel quite humbled. You and BryndĂ­s were such an inspiration to me. Your passion for life and fascination and compassion for people have stayed with me always. I learned so much from both of you. I feel very blessed to have been part of your family and taking care of my little darlings was one of the most special parts of my life. Just like my aunt Jenny said, please keep the book!! I hope that when you go to South Africa we will be there as well. I'd love for you to meet my family and see my little girls. Xx
      17 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1