Wednesday, 15 November 2006

The family unit

I was brought up in a Christian home, and, even though my biological father chose only to sire his 4 children and then leave, my mum did a marvellous job in raising us single-handedly, with God's help.

The family is under constant threat as there is little respect for elders and everything is 'PC' and all about self... priorities are upside down.

Having lived in South Africa and England, I see marked differences in the behaviour of youngsters for example btwn the two countries... and have to conclude that where there is more discipline (as in South African schools and homes generally), there is more love and respect. A stronger family unit, which makes for a better/more caring society.

Saturday, 28 October 2006

5 years on!

He holds my hand and he holds my heart... Our eyes met across the room one evening late 2000...

Within a month of getting together we were talking about getting married, were engaged 4 months later and got married 5 months later in a quaint stone chapel in Tokai Forest, Cape Town, South Africa. Thus began my role as a wife and friend, daily companion and partner. I love him more every day. He is my all and makes me feel like a queen. He is the first I wish to see when I wake up and the last I hope to touch when my head finds my pillow. He has made my life complete, and for that I will be eternally grateful for, and never take for granted.

Our day

The day was bright and sunny, with a sudden shower during the ceremony... when we exited the sun was shining brightly again and the clouds had moved on. The colours of the leaves and the trees and the stonework had been brightened by the light touch of the rain, and all was fresh and new.

Delightful! :)

Monday, 23 October 2006

So how strong is the call home?

A good question! It comes down to opportunity and what's right for us at this point in our lives. The opportunities have been good in London - we have worked hard, have settled, and are grateful to have good jobs and a lovely home. We spent the last 2 years renovating a dump in Wimbledon and recently sold it. Wow, what a project!

We enjoy travelling and London is a great base to do just that. My hubby has been all over the world already!

So many facets..., South Africa, South Africa Intro, photo, picture, image

On that note... when Africa is in your blood it's tough not to yearn for her soil (especially as there are so many people in need)... and, whilst we are living on this little island, we will continue to be vocal advocates of the majesty that is South Africa. Dramatic scenery and turbulent history. Very few countries have been through what South Africa has been through and have come through sans a war or a coup. A new government, a new constitution, a new flag and a new national anthem. A fresh start.

Sunday, 22 October 2006

A quote that is so true:

"Fear holds us and binds us and keeps us from growing. It kills a small piece of us each day. It holds us to what we know and keeps us from what's possible, and it is our worst enemy. Fear doesn't announce itself; it's disguised, and it's subtle. It's choosing the safe course; most of us feel we have rational reasons to avoid taking risks. The brave man is not the one without fear but the one who does what he must despite being afraid."

Credit: The King's Buccaneer, R. E Feist.

Monday, 2 October 2006

January 2006 London VT meeting

Here's the page I set up for the January 2006 London meeting which people felt was very helpful.

There were some private meetings held too that were not advertised on this homepage.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Our home renovations diary ~ before & after photos

- Is that despair I see in his eyes?
Is that despair I see in his eyes

We have sold our home after 7 weeks on the market, and have moved into a delightful place across the road from Wimbledon Common (so we can keep an eye on them!) No more huge renovation works this time!

We moved into our previous Wombles home in May 2004... but how the previous man lived there, we dont know! The place was awful... very dirty (including dog pee on the carpets...), smelly (he was a heavy smoker), and very unhygienic (one's hand STUCK to the kitchen counter). But we were okay with this... for now. We bought the shell essentially, with plans to completely gut and renovate it. Here are some snippets of how it went...

- Lounge - complete
Lounge - complete

Aah! :)

The lounge/living room was the room we started working on first as we had to move everything into there asap, so we could live in here on our camping mattress whilst we worked on the rest of the place... (above photo).

Wooden floors, newly plastered walls and the right dressing make all the difference in the world!

- The grin soon faded...
The grin soon faded...

I prefer painting on canvas!

Having said that, we got stuck in and I did what I was told. (as any dutiful wife would... hehe). My husband has alot of experience in the maintenance and refurb industry and I am an artist and designer, so between the two of us, we thought we'd give it a go!

- What's this I spy?
What's this I spy?

Dust dust dust

A haven for asthmatics and hay fever sufferers alike... renovating and living in a building site leaves one with an extra coat of dust from morning till night.

- Foyer - before
Foyer - before

Ugh! :(

The green on the walls was just 'divine'... we were sad to see that go... hmm

- Foyer - complete
Foyer - complete

Aah! :)

Coir seagrass carpets run throughout (apart from where the wood floor is), it's bright and cheery and now we can entertain and feel proud of our little piece of London. (An EXPENSIVE piece I might add! gulp).

- Old and nasty
Old and nasty

Ugh! :(

The old kitchen area... this is the side where the plumbing kinda worked.... lol

- Spanking new kitchen!
Spanking new kitchen!

Aah! :)

Our kitchen was installed the week of my birthday (30 Jan) ~ what a stunning birthday present!

I hardly know myself as I cook now, and am experimenting and getting all excited re cooking again... 8 months is a looooooooong time to live sans a decent workable kitchen!

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Waterways all the ways... Amsterdam!

Amsterdam - Flower's Amsterdam
Amsterdam... land of water and land, history and culture, coupled with modern 'liberties' and lifestyles. Our holiday here was a mixture of highs and lows, some things we absolutely loved, and other things made us feel very uncomfortable. I guess this can be said of most cities in the world, as there is good and bad everywhere, but for us, we had never encountered this type of element before.

Amsterdam - The old city

What appealed to us was the lapping of the waters as our canal boat gently steered down the canal, watching the towering, skinny buildings on either side of us. Watching the young lady sunbathing on the roof of her river-boat; the young man beating his dust-filled carpet with a rod; the young girl curled up on the windowsill overlooking the canal, engrossed in the novel she was reading.

It offers, to the viewer and visitor, an intimate glimpse into the life of Amsterdam and is very special.

Amsterdam - The new... Nemo!

With good there is nearly always bad unfortunately, and whereas so much appealed to us in this old and beautiful city, some things went right against the grain for us. The high profiled drug use and sex industry is seen by many as a step forward for freedom and so-called democracy, but we see the darker element, and view this as sinful. There are only SO MANY sex shops one city could have, surely??? In this sense, things are quite monotonous and in-your-face. For people who believe that sex is to be kept within marriage, this is quite a lot to take in.

Having said that, we enjoyed this city, and the almost surreal-like element of the lifestyle on the canal.

Rome.... the ancient of days...

Rome - Flower's Rome
Rome is, without doubt, the most amazing and awe inspiring city we have ever had the privilege to go to.

We were gobsmacked.

It is all we anticipated and more. You learn so much about Rome and the Romans and the gladiators et al during school, you study the architecture and artistry involved in Art class... but until you have actually set foot on the soil, breathed in the air and ambiance, and nearlly twisted your ankle on one of those gorgeous but accident-prone cobble stones, you cannot truly know the feeling, and grasp an inkling of what is would have been like to live in the time of the Ancient Roman.

My Rome Travel Page

Rome - Powerful Pantheon!

The Pantheon has always been one of those mystical architectural splendours to me... I seriously never thought, when I was young, that I would one day be visiting it. Of course, at that time, I had no idea I would be living in England either, affording me the opportunity to travel so!

Vatican City - Flower's Vatican

Rome - The Vatican City

The Vatican City is something special: an ancient and bustling city within a much larger ancient and bustling city! Queues of people and heat aside, this is somewhere you really do need to visit if you visit Rome.

My Vatican City Travel Page

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Thassos Island ~ 'Mythical Land of the Sirens'

Thasos Island - Flower's Thassos

Thassos, the 'Green Isle', rises out of the Northern Aegean sea in splendour. A small island by most standards, this is a holiday destination if you are in need of some rest :)

Famous for its lush vegetation, Thassos is an island of enchanting beauty. It has a vast array of olive groves and 50 miles of unblemished beaches with white sand. The sea was like no other we had experienced before.... no waves... like a lake! A large lake :) Then near the end of our stay the waves (and rain) appeared.

Need I say, we LOVED this holiday! Whether you crave sea and sun, or history and culture, it has everything.. except one thing... crowds! Which suited us down to the ground.

Steeped in history and tradition

The island is steeped in history and tradition. In the north east, the scenery is more wild, in contrast with the serene landscape of the south west part of the island.

Sun, sea and sleep

Refreshingly uncommercialised, Thassos is the ideal choice for anyone seeking magnificent scenery and superb beaches. The pace of life is totally relaxing – just what the doctor ordered!

We stayed at Scala/Skala Potamia, a resort on the east coast of Thassos Island. It has nearly everything you will need on a holiday (sans a chemist!), and is refreshingly not too commercialised.

My Thassos Island Travel page

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

The discreet lions

Well, this was quite something. We were 5 minutes too late to see two lionesses make a kill here! On the side of the road you could see what had happened (ugh), and they dragged the buck to the tree in the photo and proceeded to eat lunch! We sat here for a while, HOPING they would venture out, but it was very hot, and after a full meal, they decided to stay in the shade and nap, so we took off again. It's not often one is fortunate to see a hunt and/or kill in the wild... I wish we had been 5 minutes earlier!!! :)

The 'Big Five'

There are all kinds of wildlife in the park. It has what most tourists are keen to see, the 'Big Five' (leopard, lion, white and black rhino, elephant and buffalo), plus much more in the shape and form of smaller animals, like the hyaena, the springbok, giraffe, zebra, cheetah, sable, crocodiles and hippos being some of them. Tons of little insects too.. sadly overlooked often by visitors. We brought our sister-in-law to the park, and she had NEVER seen an elephant beofre (or any of the other animals!), outside of books and postcards. Not even a zoo. It was delightful watching her face as we came across yet another animal. We were fortunate and saw the entire 'big five' that day.

Monday, 12 June 2006

Graceful giraffes

The giraffe makes no apparent noise, and seems quite aloof to all that goes on around him/her. People find this intriguing. This 'non-sound' is called 'infrasound', and this is how they comunicate with one another. They live to about 25 years old, with a tongue that can reach 53 centimetres long! They are 'prehensile'.. which means that they can easily grab and hold onto various objects with this tongue. They are the tallest creature in the wild, standing a proud 1.9metres tall at its birth (and in its socks haha)

Sunday, 11 June 2006

Black rhino

Both the black AND white rhino reside in this park. Black rhino have two horns on their nose (like the one in the picture). They weigh 1,750 - 3,000 lbs (800 - 1,350 kg), but , for their weight and 'bulkiness' they are extremely fleet-of-foot, and can outrun a human being easily.

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Kinga Freespirit

R.I.P ~ 9 June 2006

I was so moved by her book. Kinga was a brave woman, who feared nothing. She embraced life with all its challenges, and carved a path of her own in her very own special and soft way. Her book follows her and her love's (Chopin) trail around the world, as they hitch hike and grab rides on trucks and boats etc., describing in the most incredible detail and infinite love; the humble and giving people they meet, the cultures they embrace, the raw food they eat, the soil they touch, the sky they fly.

Thank you Kinga for touching my life so. I am so glad to have known you for the brief time I did.

Kinga's site

Kinga's book for sale on Amazon

The gentle stripe?

Many people think that the zebra is a gentle and mild-mannered animal. This is incorrect. It doesnt take much for them to take fright, and get upset, they can be quite unpredictable too. If their ears fold back, the best thing is to get out of the area as quickly as you can (without frightening the animals of course). Each stripe on a zebra is different and this is how zebras recognise one another.

Friday, 2 June 2006

Rare leopard sighting!

The most elusive of the Big Five are the leopards. They are mostly solitary creatures, and live near rocky outcrops. We were driving along and a ranger stopped next to us in his khaki-green landy and told us that there had been a spotting of a leopard around the next bend! So off we went, very excited and full of anticipation I might add!

As we rounded the bend, there it was.
A sole leopard, calmly walking alongside the road (!!!!!)

Now I have been to game parks plenty of times, and have NEVER viewed a leopard yet, so we were all so excited. The leopard didn’t seem at all worried about our presence. We turned the air conditioning off so there was less noise, and slowly (very slowly) followed the leopard on its walk.
This I think is one of my most poignant moments when game viewing, and I relive the excitement I felt whilst writing this even!

Then, out of the bally blue, we heard a thump thump of music, and then there, careering around the corner (going far too fast for the park!!!!!), was a silly and inconsiderate driver, driving too fast, with music that was far too loud for a game park.
Of course, the leopard took fright and within a minute, he was lost in the tall grass. Drat! I could have gladly clouted the fool.

Anyway, we got to spend about 5 minutes silently following the trail of the most elusive animal, and we were delighted!
The photo was taken just after he dashed into the grass, and if you look very carefully (as he is quite camouflaged), you can spot him :)

Pilansberg Game Reserve

Pilansberg is a perfect outing for a family. One can come on a day visit from Johannesburg (2 hour drive away), or come for the weekend. One can come and camp or live it up more luxuriously. It is quite convenient in location, and has a lot to offer. When one is in really big parks, with facilities quite far from one another, it isn’t very pleasant travelling with children often. When they need to go, they need to go! They also might get grumpy in the car after a while, understandably.

Pilansberg is a good size park, but isn’t massive, so this s good from this aspect. It has a restaurant that serves good food, and service was fine.
My immediate family live on 3 continents, the UK, South Africa, and the United States. So when we DO manage to get together, it s a special time indeed!!!

Pilansberg was a good choice to go to so we could spend time together on African soil, plus introduce my new American sister-in-law to this beautiful country and her wild animals. She had never seen an elephant before, sans from books and postcards (not even in a zoo!), so she was gob smacked when she saw the size of the lumbering beast for the first time.
I have been to this park a few times, but this time it was extra special, as I was viewing it through her experiencing it for the first time :)

Saturday, 13 May 2006

The African Lost City

The brain child of a man who had a Standard 8 (which in international terms means he did not complete his basic schooling), Sol Kerzner went on to create a fantasy-land in the form of The Lost City, with an incredibly expensive and ultra-luxurious palace, with facilities only movie stars can afford. The penthouse suite is a not-so-small fortune per night! More than 5 star material! Luxury in the extreme. This consists of a stunning fairytale hotel, and a waterworld-wonderland. There is a fake sea (with real beach sand and rolling waves), rapids, quite a few water rides etc. A lot of fun for adults and children alike.

He has built an oasis in the midst of this, and created employment for thousands of locals, where unemployment is rife. We never got to go here as kids because we didn’t have the extra money for the excursion, but as a young adult I started to go a few times with friends from Technikon, for pop concerts (Richard Marx), and to spend the day in the sun and sea in The Lost City.

Not being one who enjoys gambling, I didn’t do much of that – but if you DO enjoy gambling, this is a gambling mecca! They do conduct a 'responsible gambling policy', not sure exactly what that entails, but as it can become an addiction, they have obviously taken strides to prevent this. They work in conjunction with a National Responsible Gambling Programme Toll Free Helpline: 0800 006 008.

Easily driveable from Johannesburg (2 hours drive), this is a lovely day outing/week end getaway for the family, or with friends. There is a bus service that operates from some of Johannesburg's finest hotels.

Saturday, 6 May 2006

London's urban hike with Jenniflower

London - Regent Street
Regent Street

A wonderful way to see and experience London: walking. Come and join in!

Begin London's urban hike at the Lancaster Gate entrance to Hyde Park, just off Bayswater Road. Reach Lancaster Gate by underground via the Lancaster Gate tube station. Start the hike sufficiently early in the morning to be able to visit Hyde Park at a pleasant time.

Discover Hyde Park by walking through the park to the Marble Arch. Until late 19th century, Marble Arch was the site of public hangings. From Marble Arch continue east along Oxford Street. This street is London's most important and crowded shopping district. Major department stores are found here. Selfridges, Debenhams, C and A's, and Liberty's are all located on in the area. Do some browsing, but try not to buy anything on the walk, as whatever you buy, you have to carry! Hikers carry water and plasters only! ;)

Where Oxford intersects Regent Street, turn right and continue down this stunning street until you reach Piccadilly Circus. Hamley's is a favourite stop ~ 6 stories of delight for all ages!

(this first photo was taken with my camera phone, so is poor quality unfortunately)

Okay, and then?

London - Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is surrounded by shopping, restaurants, and movie theaters.

This is where I work! I really enjoy my lunch hours, where I amble around to the art galleries, squares and sights all around me. I feel very spoilt sometimes to be working in such a beautiful and historic place. Anyway, that aside, you are on a hike and must try and savour the sights around you, but not be distracted! lol

From Piccadilly Circus, follow Piccadilly to Leicester Square. Leicester Square is where all the movie premiers take place, and where stars turn up in the freezing cold weather of winter in skimpy dresses, pretending not to feel the cold :)

From Leicester Square, walk along Charing Cross Road to Trafalgar Square.

From stars to columns to squares...

Lord Nelson's Column is found in the center of Trafalgar Square. Before reaching Trafalgar, pass directly by the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. The National Gallery is located on the north side of Trafalgar Square.

London - National Gallery
National Gallery

From Trafalgar Square, continue up the Strand. This is London's theatrical district. The Strand becomes Fleet Street in several blocks. Fleet Street is the legendary home of the British press.

Wedding bells, something smells ;)

Catch a bus (preferably a red Routemaster!) from Fleet Street to St Paul's Cathedral. St Paul's Cathedral was built by the great architect Christopher Wren. This gorgeous, baroque cathedral was completed in 1711. Prince Charles and Princess Diane were married here. A visit to St Paul's should include the crypt beneath the church.

London - St Pauls Cathedral
St Pauls Cathedral

One can walk up some stairs, all the way up to the cathedral's rotunda. It is a spectacular view :) St Paul's floor plan is a lateran cross. The rotunda is located directly above the center of the cross.

From the dome to the tower to the crown...

Take the St Paul's tube to the Tower Hill Station. The Tower of London is located here.

William the Conqueror began the Tower in about 1078. In subsequent years, much English history has involved the Tower. Imprisonment, torture, murder, and execution have all contributed to establishing the Bloody Tower's reputation. The famous have been housed here awaiting their fate. Henry the VIII imprisoned and then executed his wives Ann Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, and Margaret Vicountessa of Salisbury within the Tower. Elizabeth I was, herself, kept a prisoner at the Tower for some time before becoming queen.

London - Tower of London
Tower of London

The modern Tower is associated with the Beefeaters or Yeoman Warders who wear the distinctive Tudor style uniforms. The Crown Jewels of England are kept here. White's Chapel within the Tower contains a superb museum, including a well displayed armour collection. One could spend an entire day here... But YOU cannot! You have a hike to complete... move on now!

Bridging the water... not swimming it!

After visiting the Tower, walk along the Thames River. There are some British navy ships anchored along the Thames that can be visited (H.M.S Belfast being a particular favourite), or, for the Tower Bridge enthusiasts, there is a walkway along the upper level of the Tower Bridge that can be used to cross the bridge. From the Tower, take the underground to Tottenham Court Road Station, and Bloomsbury, London.

London - Looking out over the Thames, inside Tower Bridge
Looking out over the Thames, inside Tower Bridge

Bloomsbury's fame is often linked to two reasons, the British Museum and the economist John Maynard Keynes. The British Museum is only one block to the west of Tottenham Court Road Station. The British Museum is a favorite of Londoners. The museum's large collection includes exhibits of things from classical times to the present. A half day or more can be effortlessly spent exploring the British Museum.

Meet up with Ben and Abbey!

Next, take the tube to Westminster Station. The British Parliament Buildings are located in the Palace of Westminster. Big Ben is also found here. Walk across the Thames River Bridge for a famous view of Parliament. If Parliament is in session, admission to the strangers' gallery in either the House of Commons or Lords may be possible.

Westminster Abbey is next to Westminster. Since 1050 AD, all but two of England's kings and queens have been crowned at Westminster Abbey. Many of England's monarches are also buried here. Brass rubbings from Westminster Abbey are familiar decor. These brass rubbings can be made from cathedral artifacts. Purchase paper and ink and try a brass rubbing.

London - Westminster

After leaving Westminster Abbey, walk across Parliament Square and north on Whitehall. Downing Street is a few blocks up Whitehall on the left hand side. While visitors are no longer allowed outside 10 Downing Street, the famous residence can still be seen from Whitehall.

...end it off with tea with Lizzy :)

After leaving 10 Downing Street, return to Parliament Square and walk up Birdcage Walk to St. James Park. Walk through St. James Park to the Mall.

Buckingham Palace is at the opposite end of the mall. If the Queen is in residence, one can see her distinctive flag with the three lions of England above the palace. The changing of the guard takes place at Buckingham Palace at 11:30 am every day in the summer and every other day in the winter. Buckingham Palace completes the London urban hike!

London - Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

We hope your enjoyed your virtual hike with us... now why not do it for REAL? The London experience will be substantially better for first having got out and found the city on foot, this we can guarentee!

Saturday, 15 April 2006

Going back to South Africa ~ the reality

Jobs arent that plentiful in South Africa and an entrepeneuring spirit is needed if you want to have a roof over your head and food in your tum. So, we will go back with our thinking caps on and hopefully create jobs for ourselves as well as others... there is alot of opportunity available! It's just a question of time.

We are wanting to work with Hiv AIDS orphans when we return home to South Africa, we have had the privilege of working with some orphans before and look forward to returning to this work in a fuller capacity, although at this stage we are unsure in what capacity.

So many children are orphaned not once, but twice, and three fold sometimes too. Two generations of people are being wiped out.

They need our help. NOW.

Wednesday, 22 March 2006


Travelwires is a new website detailing what's going on in the tourism industry, primarily within South Africa. It has some very interesting articles and information!

Monday, 30 January 2006

My birthday!

Thanks everyone for the emails, comments and phone calls, it sure made my day, especially as I have been in bally bed all day. Caught a nasty little bug on Friday. Still on apple juice and water. Off work till Wednesday.

Something that REALLY sucks is that hubby has organised a 'surprise' chocolate birthday cake for me, and I can't eat any!!!! Aaaaaaaaaahhhh... (I say 'surprise'.. as he tried to hide it in the kitchen on top of the fridge behind something, but I found it hehe ;) It's really large too... I am not sure who else he is expecting tonight??? haha

Scrumptious huh?... yeah I can live with that!!! :))

*5 mins later!*

The 'mystery' of the cake is no longer a mystery.. hah... he was expecting family round tonight, which he's had to cancel due to me being ill.

I am my own person

I so enjoy chatting with people I meet (even on the plane too!), about their faith and what it means to them in their life. In a spiritual, practical and fundamental way.

I am a Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ. I have my own thoughts and study his teachings and make up my own mind. I challenge teachers/pastors on their teaching of the Word because I long to learn more about this God I love so much, love and fear, yes, fear. In a respectful way, not in a trembling of the knees way.

I am in no way conditioned. I do not belong to a cult. I am my own person. I believe each and every one of us has the choice of allowing a faith/religion to 'conditon' one's thoughts, or not to. Eg: I have wonderful, peace-loving Muslim friends, and yet there are other Muslims that are full of hate and murder people as suicide bombers.

This goes for all faiths and religions, Christiantiy included. People are people, and it's really sad when people allow a theology/teaching to dictate (condition) their thoughts and deeds, but this can happen to anyone under any faith, whether Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish etc.