Bench Series #45: Mosaic benches

“A bench with a message” is the requirement for Jude’s Bench Series this month. I hope these two lovely mosaic benches seen at ‘Glass Cuttings Gallery’ at the Piggly Wiggly country village on the Midlands Meander route, will qualify.

These pretty benches are a couple of creations from the “Fragments of Africa” collection by Sarah Pryke.


They still have their price tags attached, and this one of a “Pied and Malachite Kingfisher” will cost you R4,800.


I wish you all a very happy and relaxing weekend. I’m happy to report that my sister is back home and recovering well. Her surgeon says that she is allowed to paint for limited amounts of time once she feels up to it, but at the moment she’s sleeping quite a lot and just getting her strength back.


Bench Series#41: Mom and I

Jude’s Bench Series for this month is a bench with someone or something sitting on it. I’ve been thinking about my Mom such a lot today, and just found this photo taken on her birthday in 2013. This was the last time she was able to come down to stay with us in our house at the beach in Umhlanga.¬† We sat on this bench for a long time, just watching the waves together. It’s good to remember the happy times.


Sister’s latest Leopard

I went up to my sister’s house yesterday, after visiting mom. I always go into her studio to see what she’s working on. She’s just finished her latest leopard painting. Isn’t he gorgeous? The texture of his fur looked so real, that I had to stroke it.


Today I’m not relaxing like this leopard. I’m running around like a mad thing, emptying drawers and shelves. Isn’t it amazing, the stuff one accumulates over the years. Whatever do I need four dozen pairs of stocking tights for? I hardly ever wear them, as I live in sandals and flip flops most of the time. I’m sure someone will buy them from the animal welfare sale. The woman who works there, says that people will buy absolutely anything. Isn’t that fortunate? ūüôā

You SHALL go to the Ball!

My beautiful granddaughter Tamsyn loves to help out in the kitchen, and fortunately, unlike Cinderella, she doesn’t have any jealous ‘Ugly Sisters’ to spoil her fun.


When I saw photos of her all dressed up to go to her ‘A-Level, College Ball’, this quote came to mind:

“Don’t be alarmed, Cinderella,” said the fairy. “The wind blew me your sighs. I know you would love to go to the ball……


….and so you shall!


I can hardly believe that she is eighteen already. The years certainly have flown by, and now she’s all grown up.


“Grandchildren¬† are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation.”¬† ~ Lois Wyse

Dad’s Birthday, Visiting Mom, Dingo, Monkeys.


Yesterday would have been my dad’s 92nd birthday. He’s been gone now for almost nine years. The only thing he cared about at the end, was that mom would always be looked after when he wasn’t around anymore. A few Christmas’s ago, my sister painted this portrait from a wartime photo, of dad in his sailor’s uniform. It now hangs on mom’s wall at the care home.


When I arrived to see her today, she was lying on her bed, looking so cosy and warm under her mohair blanket. I kissed her forehead, but she didn’t open her eyes, so I just sat there for a while, looking at her face and feeling so much love for this wonderful mom of mine. I started talking to her about all the fun holidays and outings to the seaside we’d had as kids, and gradually, she came to and smiled at me. “Picnics,” she said, with a twinkle in her eye. Suddenly that one word, brought memories flooding back to me of my mom, young and fit, busily making delicious sandwiches, boiling eggs, buttering homemade scones and packing the picnic hamper with goodies, plus flasks of tea and bottles of cold drink. On a Sunday afternoon, we would all pile into dad’s car, and off we would go to some unknown destination. As children, we didn’t really care where we went, as long as there was a picnic at the end of the journey. Sometimes we’d go to a stately home in the country, and sit on blankets on the lawns, enjoying our sumptuous fare. My sister and I would then go off exploring, whilst our parents had a well-earned snooze in the sunshine. When travelling to the seaside, we’d usually stop in a lay-by for some refreshment. Out would come the picnic table and folding chairs, and whilst the traffic whizzed past us at frighteningly close quarters, we would munch on cheese sandwiches and rock cakes. There was no such thing as fast food outlets along the highways in those days. If you didn’t take it with you, you just didn’t get to eat.

Mom’s memory is fading so much these days, but with little prompts from me, she was able to recall people and incidents from our past, and seemed to really enjoy the tales I related to her. It was a very precious half hour. My sister then arrived with her dog, Dingo, and that really perked mom up. She was soon up and out of bed and sitting out on the verandah in the sunshine. Dingo was delighted with all the fuss she was making of him. Just look at the soppy look on his face.


All the while we were sitting there, the monkeys were playing in the trees. There were so many of them, big ones and tiny babies too. How many can you spot? If you click on the pic, it should enlarge.


The lady sitting next to mom, said that they are a wonderful source of entertainment for all the residents at the care home. Much better than TV, that’s for sure.


This was my Saturday morning in six words. How was yours?



WPC: My sister’s works of art ‘To Moscow with love’.

This weeks photo challenge, ‘Work of Art’ happens to coincide with my sister Yvonne appearing on the front cover of our community lifestyle magazine here in Durban South Africa. A couple of weeks ago, she sent me an e-mail to say that she had been asked to pose with her easel and one of her paintings at a picturesque beauty spot not too far from her home. The shoot was scheduled to be at dawn. “What shall I wear? I’m going to have to get up at 3am to wash my hair and put my face on, so I look good for the cameras,” she told me. After the shoot, she said that it wouldn’t have mattered, because the way they took the photos, no-one would have been able to see the wrinkles, or whether her hair was squeaky clean anyway. The magazine came out this week, and I think she looks pretty amazing.


She had never painted anything at all until she decided in her mid 50’s, to take up art lessons with her teacher Mark. It hardly seems credible that it’s only seven years ago since she excitedly showed us her first efforts. Before very long, it became evident that she had real talent, and in less than two years, she took second place in an art competition sponsored by Nivea, with this painting.


Here are just a few more of her works of art. (Click on an image to enter gallery)

Last year in September, she and her art teacher were chosen to take part in an exhibition entitled ‘South Africa in Colours’, which was held in Moscow.


Here are some of the paintings which were exhibited. These are my sister’s.


As you can see, her favourite subjects are Africa’s wildlife and African people.


Her teacher prefers to paint landscapes, nature and still life.


Mark says that he’s never come across a pupil that can’t paint. Now there’s a thought to ponder. Maybe we’re all sitting on an artistic talent which is lying undiscovered.

To see more ‘Works of Art’, just click on the badge below.






A letter to my Darling Mom


“My darling mom,

Today is Mothers’ Day, and I remember how exciting it was as a child to celebrate my special mom. You were always my heroine, so pretty, chic, and very clever. You taught me so much from a very young age. My love of music was nurtured because of your encouragement, and even though you had never learned to play an instrument, you were determined to give me the chance, even though the cost of piano lessons was quite a sacrifice on your tight budget. You worked so hard at many menial jobs in order to supplement the family income, and yet still found the time to make my sister and I the most gorgeous clothes, often sitting at your sewing machine late into the night. I’ll never forget the Sunday School Anniversary dresses you sewed, especially the blue flocked one with the enormous navy bow at the back, which made it very difficult to sit down. Your daughters always had to be the smartest on the block, and I guess that’s why you insisted on the hats as the finishing touch. How we loathed wearing those feather hats, and also the ones that looked like a couple of beige blancmanges, but I’ve long since forgiven you. You were very brave in the hat stakes yourself, and I remember that you were mortified, when at church one Sunday, our oldest member called out very loudly, “Vera, I like your new hat, but that feather makes you look just like Robin Hood.”

There always seemed to be just enough money to take us on a seaside holiday once a year, but only because of your thriftiness. Nothing was wasted in our house, and you somehow found the time to make all your own jams and pickles with fruit and vegetables harvested from dad’s garden. Coming home from school on cold winter days in England, I knew that there would always be a good fire going in the hearth, and toast or muffins with homemade strawberry jam to warm me up. You cajoled me into eating my vegetables, with the promise that they were supposedly going to make my hair curl.¬† I also forgive you for that little white lie, but only because you made the best apple pies in the world.

I know I’m rambling a bit now, but I have so many wonderful memories of you, and that’s why it was so heartbreaking to see you today, looking pale and fragile. To see that you can no longer manage to stand on your own, and need assistance for every little thing, makes me want to cry. When I took you for a walk in the garden in your wheelchair, I thought of how you used to push me in my stroller all those years ago. Our roles have somehow been reversed. You were always so dignified and independent, so strong and upright. I long for you to be like that once again, but as you said to me today, “I just have to be content with the way things are now.” I know you wanted to tell me all sorts of things, and yet your mind just couldn’t process your thoughts and turn them into words. How frustrating this must be for you. As we sat there trying to hold a conversation, I was really moved when Mrs G, the lady in the chair next to you, roused a little from her slumbers and reached her hand over the arm of the chair until it found yours. She didn’t even open her eyes, but grasped your hand so tight, and as you stroked her fingers, I saw a glimmer of a smile on her face, probably remembering a time in the past when she had someone’s hand to hold, maybe a husband or even a child. She gets no visitors, but I’m sure that your cool touch today brought comfort to her heart, just as it used to for me when I was a child.


Mom thank you for just being you. I will always love you so much.”


Spring in NJ. Following in Daddy’s Footsteps

I was wondering what I could post for the WPC this week, as it’s Autumn here in South Africa, but then I got this pic¬† from my son in New Jersey. Isn’t it cute?


To see more entries for the WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Spring’¬† just click on the badge.