Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Storm in a tea cup

It's the month of Elul.

For my tribe that means a time of introspection and accountability.
A little spring cleaning is called for. Or a lot.

Our sages say that Elul is actually an acronym for 'ani ledodi ve dodi li': I am to my Beloved and my Beloved is to me, which is a verse from the Song of Songs.

The Zohar teaches that at this time the Light of the Creator is as ready, open and close to us as It is possible to be. And equally if we are awakened to our soul there is an answering need for closeness to the Divine at this time.

If you have been foolish, now is the time be wise.

If you find you have fallen, now is just the right time for standing up.

Perhaps you have made a storm in a teacup. Stop stirring now....

xxx elle

Hurry now...

The time allotted to you is so short that if you lose one second, you have already lost your whole life, for it is no longer, it is always just as long as the time you lose. So if you have started out on a walk, continue it whatever happens, you can only gain, you run no risk. In the end you may fall over a precipice perhaps, but had you turned back after the first steps and run downstairs you would have fallen at once - and not perhaps, but for certain. So if you find nothing in the corridors, open the doors, and if you find nothing behind these doors, there are more floors, and if you find nothing up there, don't worry, just leap up another flight of stairs. As long as you don't stop climbing, the stairs wont end, under your climbing feet they will go on growing upwards.
Franz Kafka 'The Advocates'
Found on Memory Green
xxx elle

Think now...

from the 'bottom of the ironing basket'.

xxx elle


I can't help thinking, as the teachers strike seems to be gaining momentum of all the teachers who touched my life in some small way.
Like Mrs Penny Humphries, who taught me with just the right blend of affirmation and reproach to keep me happy and inspired in her grade four class!

Or Mrs Stewart-James, who kept a small carpet offcut under her desk which she had clearly vowed to never lift her feet off! For this reason, most of our history class did open book tests even when they were not called for. Especially when they were not called for.

And Mr and Mrs Norris, now happily ensconsed in New Zealand, who made my life hell for most of grade five!!!! 
xxx elle

Friday, August 27, 2010



Mr Nielson better known as Sid, and I joined our dear friends, Carol and Gerald ( aka Ca+Ge ) at their country house in Barrydale.

Lest you imagine some little bolthole along a village lane, you are clearly unfamiliar with the delicously avante gard 'CaGed' ones. Other people purchase a holiday house at the seaside, they buy a small hotel. A suite of offices in town? Why not put up a whole block! Spot a building going up as you float on an early morning swell, dry off immediately and go ask them to sell it to you!

And so it was perfectly reasonable for the CaGed ones to buy up every piece of land in the centre of this little town, in order to plant a vineyard, an olive grove and a series of eco 'klip huise', the likes of which a hobbit would be proud of!

Here I am looking suitably enchanted, if a little strangulated by my tightening clothes after yet another of Gerald's addictive breakfasts. Poached eggs on a bed of spinach with lightly smoked salmon and toasted rye.

The garden at Karoolkie is unconventional and contemplative.

As you sit under the arched stone covered roof, and look out at the elegant poplars that line the river bank, wild hadeda call from the branches and peacocks waltz serenely amongst the Zen statues.

Ever the romantic, after more then 40 years together, he still puts his hand on her derriere whenever he gets a chance

We drove through the shifting passes of Montagu and the Tradeux Pass, as if encased in a virtual world of psychedelic intensity.

We drank cold water from mountain springs, and watched a troop of Baboon thunder up the craggy rock face when we ventured too close.
Cape Leopard have been seen in these hills, and the reserves are a desperately needed refuge for the flora and fauna so threatened by the 'progress' of man.

It's hard not to wish that you were one of the lucky few for whom Gerald built a little Karoolkie dwelling. Separated by vineyards and olive groves, the land is peppered with these unique retreats.

Mr Nielson better known as Sid, felt moved to don his 'teffilin' in the vineyard outside our bedroom, so moved was he by the splendid silence of a country morning.

Then, a spot of lolling about on the patio under the watchful eye of Udu the Kudu! Gerald found him lying on the pavement in Kloof street in a decidedly disheveled state, rescued him and brought him to Karoolkie where he has been watching over the place ever since!

Later in the afternoon we walk down to the local hotel to watch the rugby.

And we are unprepared for its stylish panache.

Nothing like a touch of 'camp' to keep the country fires burning. This chair had a female twin, and both needed that little turquoise cushion to keep the old ladies from their smelling salts!

An everchanging display of art and objet warms the space.

And every reception room has a vivid beauty and sensibility of its own, all adding up to an eclectic whole...

After dinner at The Mez, we walk back to Karoolkie Kelders along the bullrushes beneath a plump country moon.

And then, not surprisingly we enjoy a divine performance of our favourite acapella group 'Not The Midnite Mass' in Ca+Ge's very own Karoolkie Wine Cellar!

Ah, life in the country....

xxx elle