ART – a busy mind’s ritalin

The countdown to my sojourn to London has accelerated.  In 15 days time I will be heading out to conquer a city that is rather different to the one I was brought up in.  For one, I am looking forward to feeling safe whilst walking along the sidewalk or through the parks.  You see, bad things sometimes happen to good people and unfortunately here in Johannesburg, some of us have become a little bit set in an “us and them” mentality.  Them being people who hurt others and are therefore feared.  The other thing about London I’m excited to explore is English architecture, which is older than that of Johannesburg.  I’ve heard that their newer designs are also phenomenal.

Not that Johannesburg doesn’t have marvelous structures, old and new.  Expeditions throughout Jozi have left me breathless – in a good way. A recent Johannesburg-ian  find of mine is the new Wits Art Museum.  It is situated on University Corner, Corner Bertha (extension of Jan Smuts Avenue) and Jorissen Streets, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.  The exterior is pristine with darkly glossed tiles and ceiling to floor windows that draw you in.  The gallery has been created by merging three separate buildings.  This conjoined vessel makes for a pleasant canvas on which each piece is allowed to breathe.  The play of light (natural and artificial) is as much a talking point as the works are.  There are a couple of strategically placed ottomans that invite one to contemplate art, life (although some will argue that art is the meaning of life but anyway) and anything else that might be troubling you.  I type this with conviction as we landed on the Wits Art Museum’s doorstep with trouble on our minds.

We had been ‘on edge’ for a full month due to the fact that my partner’s uncle had been tragically murdered at a store in one of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs.  In one month our base point for emotional stability had reached rock bottom.  We were weary and insecure.  Being out of our comfort zones seemed to be risky and all strangers had become a threat.  Our nervousness had not deteriorated on this particular afternoon.  We had first attempted to visit the Kingston Frost Park in the heart of Brixton.

Now some people might think that milling around Brixton is probably not a good idea with regards to safety.  Others would see Brixton as a town that is being reclaimed by its residents.  The people of Brixton have become vocal in how they want their town to be run, they are attempting to stamp out crime and vandalism and decay.  It was onto this string of hope that I was clinging and had initiated this experience.

Upon arrival at the Kingston Frost Park, we started the hunt for the community-made wall mosaic.  My partner’s nervousness immediately escalated one, because of our preconceived notions surrounding Brixton and two, because of the sheer amount of people that were present.  In an attempt to break the stereotypical barrier, and trying to overcome our own recent experience with the murder of a close family member, I explained to him that there was no need to be on edge, that in fact we were the outsiders and that the members of this community were probably more wary of us than us of them.

It was too much, too soon, and he was not convinced.  I urged him down the well-kept path, past a beautifully maintained succulent patch, and towards the general, relaxed masses.  The point that made me realise that I had to turn back was when two young boys bolted towards us.  In hindsight, they were young mischievous boys who were going to run up behind their friend (who was walking ahead of us) and give her a fright.  The fright, instead, was placed upon us.  I guided my stumbling and rambling partner (who is actually a hulk of a man) back to the car and just drove and drove until we pulled up to the just-over-a-month-old Wits Art Museum.  I was so anxious that my strong man was hurting and clearly had so much to work through with regards to the trauma of his uncle’s death.  I suggested that we just pop into the gallery in an attempt to quiet our souls.

And the Wits Art Museum did just that.

The curators quietly introduced themselves to us and recommended the best route around the gallery.  We quietly ambled, taking in the magnificent works.

Just a short time in the gallery made a world of difference to our dispositions.  It was one of those gifts that helps you get through a trying minute, and as long as you can survive a minute at a time, you’re going to be ok.

No flash photography is allowed in the gallery, but you are allowed to take pictures.  I have a couple of my favorites to share with you.

Some of the works pictured here are from:

Gerhard Marx, Michael MacGarry, David Goldblatt and Jackson Hlungwane.

For more information http://www.wits.ac.za/witsartmuseum/15930/home.html

Visit the Wits Art Museum, it might just be exactly what your busy mind needs.

Art = Ha’pea-ness

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Clarens to Fouriesburg

When we were in Clarens, Free State, we decided to take a drive to Fouriesburg some 34 kms away to simply see the sights.  It was spectacular.  I took some snaps to try and capture the gloriousness.

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Cows that go eco-moo

I bought some milk from our Pick ‘n Pay Hyper in Woodmead.  In the milk fridge I found a new (new to me, that is) brand of milk.  Eco Milk.  Well, of course, baby and I agreed that we would support such an initiative seen as it was the right thing to do.  You see, baby and I have this urge to be better behaved when it comes to the environment but we seem to only get so far as collecting toilet roll holders, egg cartons, bakery boxes, and newspapers etc and then we bundle them up in the corner of our kitchen.  So, most of our recyclable goods never get get reused or recycled, but they don’t get thrown away either.

It was fitting that this milk came in a container that we probably would reuse and the milk itself claimed to be better for the environment.

When we got home and made a cup of eco tea, we pondered what made eco milk eco.  Perhaps the cows don’t have huge carbon footprints because they are the non-farting variety?

 

 

It baffled me so much that I googled this Fair Cape Dairies and all was settled.

Check out their products and motto here: http://www.faircape.com/index.php

 

This one got our stamp of approval and Little Champ gave the milk her stamp of approval too!

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The Interspecies’ Wonders of Wimbledon

I love watching Wimbledon.  It reminds me of my childhood when I watched tennis in front of the fireplace in the home I grew up in.  I long to watch it live, whilst eating strawberrys and shaking hands with Prince William.

The point is – I love Wimbledon.

I was a tad aggressive about the fact that I actually had to be productive at work over the last two weeks, instead of spending entire afternoons dedicated to supporting the players.

One afternoon, I did get to watch a match and after a couple of minutes of enjoyment, my little cat LuLu decided she wanted to get a closer look at what all the “haaaa-eeeees” were about.  She jumped right up onto the table that the flat screen rests on.  She was within an inch of the screen and her little face started to follow the path of the ball. Up and down her face went and every time the ball went out, her head continued on the ball’s natural course and she ended up gazing at our lounge floor.  She was stumped as to where the ball was disappearing to.  True as bob, the play would start again and she would be following the course of this new ball.  The ball would go out and she would gaze at the ceiling – where had the ball flown to?

Wimbledon is clearly for the enjoyment of a multitude of species because every time I would fetch LuLu from right in front of the telly, she would slink back to her viewing spot within minutes.

Good sports on telly = Ha’peaness

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Clarens Revisited

Here is the sneak peek of our highlight in Clarens. Snow is not a regular sighting in Joburg so we were thrilled when we hit Clarens in the Free State and were welcomed by puffs of cold cottonwool. My friend and I were absolute kids and made snow angels. Reacting like a child has its benefits as we can now say that we got wet bums in a layer of snow that was so thin and yet still gave us maximum pleasure.

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Rabbit in the Moon

Now here is a glimpse of a lovely venue – Rabbit in the Moon

Oxford Manor, Shop No. 5
198 Oxford Road
Illovo

The food is devine, the staff are spectacular (the owner even offered to let me sit in his vintage Mercedes-Benz named Morris) and the decor is out of this world.

 

Ha’pea-ness

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The Wrath of a Woman to the Power of n

A stern superior business consultant barks: “Why did you slap the client’s logo onto the background like that?” when the sacrifice of the logo was not your doing.

Your boss huffily asks: “Why did you send a quote when they asked for other information?” when your boss had in fact misread the request.

An elderly family member chides: “Who do you think you are rocking up in that outfit, this is high tea not a hag party?!” when all the other young girls are wearing hankies as entire dresses.

 

You’d think you’d need a holiday after that kind of continued, misunderstood questioning. They are all pretty uncomfortable and yet all seem to come out pie when compared to the most awful put down one could ever get – The Cold Shoulder From Your Cat.  I will plead my case.

 

I was in a major car accident a while ago and my car was written off.  No bones were broken or fractured but I was tender in my face and chest from the kick of the air bag.  My eardrum was swollen from a burst passenger airbag.  Shins were bruised from goodness knows what and the spinal column was out of sorts with the surrounding muscles angry with me.

 

Flat on my back for about a week, I was overwhelmed by bouts of emotional waves which rendered me sad, teary and more or less a mess.

 

Throughout my recovery, my little cat knew that something was wrong.  LuLu, our little rescue lapcat, was particularly nurturing and mothering towards me.  Her concern left her whiskers up my nose every two minutes.  It also implied a regular chest pummeling as she kneaded my aches and pains.  Her concern also meant that she sacrificed some of her daily activity to tend to the improvement of my general well being.

 

Unfortunately, in the history of all bad timing, at the end of that long week of suffering, we had a week-end getaway planned.  I slowly packed a small bag and practically lay the way to Sun City.

 

Now, I’m not sure if little LuLu thought my disappearance meant I had died in spite of her best efforts to revive me, or perhaps she thought I was a tad ungrateful of her care for me.  Whatever went on in her mind, she was not impressed with me when I sailed through the front door that next Monday morning.  She outright ignored me in fact.  Unperturbed whether I was a zombie or well, I could go and jump as far as she was concerned.  The extent of her anger was such that whenever I picked her up she would issue forth a pained meeauw.  She swiped at me with claws umpteen times – leaving scabs to form where once she had licked soothingly.

 

The only thing LuLu wanted from me for a good four days was food.  No tickles behind the ears, no paw shaking and definately no dancing with me.  My partner, of course, was in no bad books.  He was allowed such luxuries as scratching the cat without the lady protesting one stitch.  She even looked at him once, while I was left in the shadow of the petite, silky shoulder of dear LuLu.

 

I found myself questioning this notion of taking a short, much needed week-end getaway once in a while.  Was a break from city life really worth it if it upsets the kitty so darn much? Perhaps being scolded for doing something that you didn’t do was worth swallowing and getting on with it without upsetting the apple cart.

 

😉 P

Tip: Whatever you do, don’t make your cat mad.

The Cock

 

I have a wee fascination with signage and logos (I know one day I will create a wine and label just for fun – and to drink of course), so here is a little something that I found inspiring and rather cheeky too.

 

This particular sign post comes from Clarens.  It’s for a restaurant called  ‘Roterbahn’.

I’ve heard that the eisbein there is a real must.

Impressive size, yes?

The 'Roterbahn' proud cock on a pole

See all the little cut outs of German folk of yesteryear lined up along the post.

Pure loveliness makes for a Happy Pea!

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Neighbourgoods Market

We recently ventured into the city of Joburg one Saturday morning.  It was spectacular as the weather was warm, our spirits were high and we had some bucks to blow at the market.

Destination Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein.

The Neighbourgoods Market started in Cape Town and, because of it’s success, was brought to Egoli and appears to have hit the ground running.  For more info go to http://www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za/

There is a vast amount of food on the lower level of this parking lot market and the clothing and homeware is on the upper level.

We were particularly interested in the food goods due to our own crafts in the pickling world of food.  Even though there were no pickles to speak of, there still was a lot of variety to accompany the pickles (who knows, maybe our little pickle store will be there next month).

Produce included fresh and dried mushrooms, cheeses, breads, meats, beers and wines, herbs ready to plant in your own garden and honey with its by-products.  The prepared foods were so delightful that we had more than one breakfast.  Prego rolls, hamburgers, choritzo bagettes, curries, prawn tempura, organic fried eggs, spanish paella, oysters finished off with ice and homemade cupcakes or raw chocolate bark with pistaccio.

I concluded that the mushrooms were grown and picked in a fashion that ensured that no fairys were harmed during the process.

Hooray for fairy friendly food.

We didn’t try the oysters and champagne even though the idea tickled us pink.

We did end up having biltong and beer for breakfast – wicked.

Here is the Bob’s Your Uncle Wine that we bought as an engagement gift for our friends Chantelle and Andre.

We ate ourselves into a country comma.  It was truely worth it as we were supporting fellow Joburgers in the renewed Braamfontein.

Will definately make a plan to go again to ensure I give the industrious designers from the second floor their chance to shine.

Happy P!

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Autumn fun while there is still hot sun

On our way home from work mid-week, the windows wound down…

 

The distant sound of scratchy, plinky plonky music that has been played to its death…

 

We recognise that music, it is the music the ice cream van plays to get the attention of the neighbourhood children.

 

My partner and I look at each other and an unspoken plans is immediately put into fruition. He pulls the car over onto the side of the road, hazards flashing, seat belts unclipping, we make a mad dash down the road in an attempt to locate the ice cream van.

Questions flash through my mind: “Have we missed it, will we still get the goods?”

Panting, we pull up to a stop as the van comes around the corner – victory.

Soft serve and double flake. Bliss

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