Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Artist, still present.

"To be a performance artist," Marina Abramovic stated in a recent interview "you have to hate theatre. Theatre is fake...The knife is not real, the blood is not real and the emotions are not real. Peformance is just the opposite. The knife is real, the blood is real, and the emotions are real."

Marina who was born in Belgrade in 1946, experiments with what she calls 'true reality', and she is willing to do almost anything to test the limits of the human psche. In her more then forty years of performing she has subjected herself to extraordinary physical and psychological pain; inviting her public to probe and abuse her, sometimes self-mutilating and exposing her body to possible harm.

For her performance of The Artist is Present at the MOMA, Marina prepared her body for months to endure from mid March  through till May,  the 7 hours a day in which she sat motionless and silent on a wooden chair, illuminated by a circle of light. Members of the public were invited to sit opposite her as long as they maintained the same silent pose, and stared into her eyes.

Her performance broke all attendence records, and was not without controversy, especially when 'celebrities' like Sharon Stone and Isabella Rosselini were allowed to skip the queue.

"I gazed into the eyes of so many people who were carrying such pain inside that I could immediately see it and feel it."

 Many of the more then 850 000 people who attended her performance quickly became emotional, often describing the experience later in quasi-religious terms. For some it was an unforgettable moment of intimate human connection...

"I test the limits of myself in order to transform myself, but I also take the energy from the audience and transform it...A powerful performance will transform everyone in the room", Marina observes in an interview with Sean O Hagen of The Observer.

Already in her mid sixties, Marina continues to expand the perimeters of performance through The Marina Abramovic Foundation for Preservation of Performance art in Manhatten, because "performance art has to live and survive..."

xxx elle

Slip sliding away

I had my heart set on a pair of sliding barn doors for the cottage at Boulders. Well, ok, not quite set enough to have done the work to ensure that it happened.

So, sadly there are no charming antique doors installed on a roller anywhere to be seen...

Still, there is one opening into the kitchen that holds the promise of such an installation in the future.

Perhaps you too, are imagining one of these lovelies in your home.

Go here then, and ensure that it happens!

xxx elle

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life,
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
Many Rivers Press

(With thanks to Mrs S)

xxx elle

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Same old same old

It's always the same.

The last day of the month looms, and with it the dreaded realisation that allthethingsilove has been sadly neglected.

'When are you going to do another post?', my four faithful followers ask!

And I do mean to get round to it, I do, really I do.

I read of bloggers who spend up to 60 hours a week on their blogs! (Perish the thought.) And I feel very intimidated by their diligence.

Somehow, just when I find a quiet moment to blog, I am always distracted...

After all, a good friend might ask me to tea...

Mr Nielson better known as Sid, might require my urgent attention...

Things around the house might demand some cocooning...

There may be travel plans afoot that can't do without my always last minute attention...

So, sorry to all four of you darlings but never fear, there are dreams being seeded right here in my head!

xxx elle

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catch the next wave...


xxx elle

Off the wall

I've had grand notions at the new improved Windyridge of wallpapering a room or two.

In fact, I left two rooms suitably unclad so that I could dress them in something 'cabbages and roses'- like.

In hopes of avoiding a possible twee-ness, I was leaning towards an Aerin Lauder style of feminine elegance.

Better still, I loved the cheery damask in the hallway above, just perfect for a small seaside hideaway.

Look closer, and you discover the sheer magic behind the patterned illusion.

Children's stickers assembled in a glorious damasked design!

The lovely Payton Turner is the creative force behind this ingenius concept.

'Each wallpaper pattern is made up of thousands of hand - applied stickers, and can be removed and re-applied in any space.'

If only we'd all held on to our sticker collections!

xxx elle

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Setting Sail

Now that I have managed to source the perfect outdoor lights for the cottage at Boulders, I am inspired to be adventurous about some of the interior fittings.

I have always loved the gentle loveliness of the sitting room pictured above.

The oversized portrait, pale blue drapes and that enchanting sailing boat light add just the right touch of whimsy.

Jennifer Nicholson, daughter of the more famous Jack, blings it up in her apartment where the sailing boat seems to lose some of its charm.

But I can still see it setting sail over the dining table in 'les grand salon'!

xxx elle

Babylonstoren - the culture of beauty

The road to Babylonstoren beckons like a siren's song, and if you have not yet heard the call then you are deaf to the poetry of the very earth itself.

Babylonstoren is the brainchild of Koos Bekker and Karen Roos, and lucky for us mere mortals that they have chosen, in a gesture of immeasurable generosity to share her with the public.

So that what might have been a hidden gem privy only to a selected few, is a national and sure to be beloved national treasure.

The 8 acre vegetable gardens at Babylonstoren were designed by acclaimed architect Patrice Taravella who is the part owner of The Orsan Garden which is set in the Berry region of central France.

They are inspired by the Company Gardens of the Cape which for centuries acted as a refreshment station for visiting ships stopping off half way between Europe and Asia.

But it is Gundula the fine art graduate (seen here observing the flow of the leiwater with Mr Nielson) who acts as chief gardener.

It is Gundula who (with her purple and green eyeshadow and floral apron ) looks as if she has been plucked from the finest garden bed, and who colludes with visionary owner Koos Bekker to ensure that the gardens continually respond to the dynamics of the South African landscape.

Everywhere there is a meeting of function and form.

Here, cut off wine vats act as washing stations for freshly plucked produce.

And here, an assortment of vintage garden recliners lie about under the trees near the public restrooms.

 In the Apiary a chorus-line of mulberry trees tempt the lucky bees.

Creatures great and small are all welcome at Babelonstoren.

In fact, it is the warmth with which visitors are welcomed by Elmien, Lionel and the rest of team that makes the farm so hard to leave.

9000 clivia's in bloom down by the river make the perfect photo opportunity for Moira and Gundula!

In a moment of serendipity I discover the barn lights needed for the cottage at Boulders!

And am inspired by the way in which even the most utalitarian construction is a thing of beauty.

After a day spent wandering the gardens, we retire to one of the beautiful guesthouse suites for a delicious lunch supplied by Babel the restaurant kitchen.

And then, around a shaded lunch table we plan our next return...

xxx elle

Spring Yard Sale at Talana

It's not a South African tradition to hold a yard sale.

But Noo Noo decided to host one, and donate all proceeds to the 'Help a Rural Child' charity.

And where better to hold one, then in the garden at Talana, where a tree stump proves the perfect place to try on a pair of Steele's sneakers.

Facebook is the advertising method of choice, as friends begin to arrive and head for the bargain rails.

There is sunshine and music, Pimms and lemonade, sundresses and hoolahoops.

And bargains to be found.

When it was over the rails were still full!

Noo Noo knows to market to a wider audience next time, and not to hold it on the weekend of Earthdance!

My favourite sight was a box marked 'Gareth's T-shirts R20, Haven't you always wanted to be more like Gareth'.

xxx elle

Windyridge...the promise of things to come

Mr Nielson and I, can't keep away from the cottage at Boulders for too long.

We make any excuse to go out Simonstown way and assure ourselves of a quick walkabout.

Here, the 'boat' bedroom begins to take shape.

And an enclosed porch promises a lazy afternoon's read, with a view from the foldaway windows to distract from even the juiciest book.

The 'Grand Salon' is already a wondrous space, despite the fact that it still doubles up as a hardware store and carpenter's workroom.

Then we are homeward bound but heed of course, the whales call...

They never disappoint.

xxx elle

Friday, August 19, 2011


What is it about the passage of time that makes things so beautiful?

As if, in its newness, a thing is still separate from the world.


The material world needs history, a narrative to give it life.

We breathe spirit into it, as we age and mellow together.

I was at the cottage yesterday watching the men at work, and I realised that we have erased that patina with the new.

The bright, clean rooms await us.

How long does it take to bring the story home again...

xxx elle