Friday, 29 November 2013

Help is needed, real help

Terwyl ek wroeg oor Eerste Wêreld-probleme soos watter hekelprojekte om saam te neem op vakansie, die sukkel met die nuwe foon, watter Boobi Brown-oogskadu om te kies, is daar mense wat swoeg met Regte Probleme.

Soos om voer vir hul diere in die hande te kry, want daar is niks meer in die veld nie.

Soos om water vir hul diere in die hande te kry, want dit het nog nie hierdie jaar gereën nie, en die boorgat is droog.

Hier is gewoonlik man-hoogte mielie/sonneblomlande.

While I'm struggling with First World problems like what crochet project to take on holiday, getting used to a new phone after my upgrade, what Bobbi Brown eyeshadow colour to choose, etc, other people are facing Real Problems.

Like getting feed for their cattle, as there is nothing in the veld.  

Like getting water for their cattle, as it hasn't rained yet this year and the borehole is dry.

These should be fields of man-height maize/sunflowers:

Dry land, Kameel
Source: Noordwes Droogtehulp @ Facebook

Boere in die Noordwes-provinsie het letterlik nie meer die fondse om voer aan te koop nie.  Hierdie foto is uit 'n helikopter geneem in die Mefeking-Bray-omgewing.  Daar is niks meer voer in die veld nie; geharde, inheemse bome gaan dood, vee soek desperaat na enigiets groen, enigiets om te drink, voor hul vrek.  Twee en tagtig karkasse is hier getel. 

Farmers in the North-West Province literally do not have the funds to buy feed for their cattle.  This photo was taken from heli between Mafeking and Bray.  There is nothing left to feed on; indigenous, hardy trees are dying, cattle search desperately for anything green, anything to drink, before they die.  Eighty two carcasses were counted here.

The face of drought
Source: Facebook friend

Hierdie is Suid-Afrika se vleisbeeswêreld, jou Texan- of Blou Bulsteak.  Dis sonneblom- en mieliewêreld.  

Hulle het niks om te oes nie.  

This is where South Africa's prime veld-reared  beef comes from, your Texan or Blue Bull steak.  This is sunflower and maize country.

They have nothing to offer.  

As jy kan help, 'n donasie wil gee, gebruik asb die besonderhede hieronder.  Hul het reeds of is in die proses om PayPal ook op te stel.  

If you can help and want to donate, please use the following details:
(Apparently they are set up for PayPal payments as well).

Cash donations and donations of feed can be made to Agri NW as a representative organization of Agricultural producers in the NW Province. Agri NW is registered as a non-profit organization with registration number 930005516 ....
All gifts and donations received will go to the best judgment of Agri NW exclusively distributed and shared.
State your name and contact information when electronic payment is made and specify the payment as Drought relief.
Offers of help can feed directly by e-mail or phone Agri NW Main Office communicated to Marlize Fritz at 018 632 3612 or NW account details;
Agri NW
ABSA Lichtenburg
Branch code 632005
Account number 990142955
Cheque Account. 
Any other inquiries can be directed to Agri NW Executive General Manager Boeta du Toit 082 388 1722

Kyk ook na die FB-blad Noordwes Droogtehulp

Also have a look at their FB Page Noordwes Droogtehulp (mind it is mainly in Afrikaans).

PS - PayPal

Monday, 25 November 2013

Coffee and crochet @ Karoo Café

I was shuffling dates around for a last crochet & coffee for the year, to hook squares for Yarn Indaba, when my sis's visit came up.  Having attending two previous Craft Shares on the very days she would fly back, attending this event was not thought about for longer than five seconds.  More than enough time to pack and shower afterwards and hop on the Gautrain to the airport.  

We were joined by a good number of friends at Karoo Café, a lovely place for early morning breakfast and coffee.  The Karoo breakfasts and pumpkin fritters are fantastic and you can lounge here the whole morning, as long as you don't sit on the Great Dane's couch!

Oops...cut off half the table...was taken blind, hanging from the corner of the table!

Loma and Christia brought a laundry basket full of squares from the Happy Hoekers group at Green Olive:

108 squares!

Petria brought another 76 squares from friend Caren:

We're getting more and more! :-)

With my sis came these two from her MIL:

I love the green yarn.

 Sis hooked these with remaining yarn after completing two baby blankets:

The green square with red edging is one of those of the road trip!

Colourful squares of German wool, courtesy of sis:

More colourful squares:

Wilhelmina brought these with her - beautiful vintage patterns...

...of which one is this:

Her wedding dress of 37 years ago! She crocheted it with Tridalia.

I really struggled to fit behind the dress :-)

Wilhelmina's daughter brought along this gorgeous Christmas snowflake, the size of a sideplate:

Hooked with twine

And Stephni brought along a teaser of their soon-to-be-available I Love Yarn wool, the loveliest, softest blue, on its way to become a shawl.  

 A great day, successful in all matters crochet, breakfasting, hooking up with friends and creating memories. So much so, that we did not even take a photo of the two of us!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Everyday (11) - Stormy summer nights

Storm clouds building up.  We have terrific, electric thunderstorms in Gauteng.

The Christmas tree is in the shape of a baobab, around the corner of one of my favourite coffee shops, Tribeca Standard, where we yarn-bombed a girl on a donkey on International Knit in Public Day.

(And this is what the whole tree looks like)

PS...and this a real baobab, not even a large one.  One of my absolute favourite trees in the world.  This one I encountered near Musunda village in rural Venda, ± 1998.

Tiny me in front of the tree.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Roadtrippin' (2) - Of some crochet, a wedding and two sides of a battlefield

My sis's friend was getting married and in a flash we decided: why not come down for the weekend?

That is now - from Ireland to South Africa.

She did it to a day exactly 10 years ago as well, when our cousin got married.  Within 48 hours we flew down to Cape Town, drove up the West Coast, dipped our toes in the icy, icy waters of Strandfontein, joined a family wedding in Lutzville, drove back south and stopped every now and then: for a seaside lunch at Muisbosskerm, beach runs at Elandsbaai and Lambertsbaai, and ran into Cape Town airport with sea sand clinging to our legs :-)

So we did it again.

She arrived Friday morning, and after meeting a friend, we did a quick shopping pit stop, picked up the boys and started packing. 

Saturday morning we hit the N3.

Crossing the Drakensberg we saw clouds and fog gathering near Montrose.

Legend has it that a boy fell into a rock crevice hereabouts, could not be rescued and in the end was shot by his father.  There's even an old Afrikaans poem telling this tale.

Some crochet came along!  My sis sat in the back and did a few squares for Yarn Indaba 2014, I re-started (for the last time!) my Summer Throw. Still using the Mount Vernon pattern, but switched to Vinnis Nikkim instead of the Bambi, and using the simulated braided join now.

As we descended into KwaZulu-Natal, the  clouds got darker.

Don't let the names fool you -  we're not in the Highlands

But much like the Highland cattle, Zululand cows also stray into the road:

Careful now...

Funerals are big business, and this is a common sight in rural areas on a Saturday. It has, unfortunately also turned into a "be seen" occasion, with fashion, girls and cars being flaunted.

And then we arrived in Dundee, among billowing clouds and rumbling thunder, and the church ceremony ended with a ferocious thunder storm.  Off to the reception and what's more fun than a farm wedding in a shed?  This one had beautiful old hard-wood chairs, raw brick and white and green flowers.  A hoard of children were occupied in another beautifully renovated shed by a handful of nannies.

Turns out that the farm's previous owner was my MIL's uncle!

Luckily there were lot of candles - another mother of all thunderstorms broke loose and the electricity went out at least three times.

Loose bunches of green and white flowers and foliage in glass jars decorated the tables.

Happiness - three university friends reunited!  My sis is on the right - I loved her tea frock.

Even though we only ate at 20h30, it was such a happy occasion, dripping with rain everywhere, kids asleep all over and just general joy.

The next day, as we were so near, and it presented an "educational opportunity", I convinced the dear, suffering husband to make the 80 km detour roundtrip to the Blood River/Ncome museum complex.

At Blood River, a definitive battle in Voortrekker-Afrikaner history took place, during which a relatively small group of Voortrekkers defeated the huge Zulu army.  They made a vow to God to build a church should they be spared, which they did in Pietermaritzburg.

The reason for the battle?

The Voortrekkers launched a revenge commando after two previous attacks by the Zulu.
The Zulu defended their land against an invasion of foreigners.

It ended in blood.

A life-sized replica of the ox-wagon lager marks the spot where the Voortrekkers took position. 

Across the river, a brand-new complex commemorating the Zulu side has been completed.  It was built in the shape of the "buffalo horn" attack formation ; this exhibit displaying the shields of the different regiments.

Bloedrivier to the left, Ncome to the right, and the river still divides them.  A reconciliation bridge  between the two sites is under construction

Driving in Zululand, you have to be careful.  But our goats are clever - they listen to and react to the sound of a hooter.
(Cattle don't, they'll jump around any which way.  Donkeys just ignore you and will stand where they are. Chicken will just blindly run).

And then we headed back for the long drive home past the plains of the Free State and Gauteng. 

And then it was Monday and time for her to go home to Ireland :-(
But not before we fitted in a crochet-with-coffee get-together with friends!  We hooked quite a few squares, and received a huge number more to deliver to deliver to the organisers.
More about that...later.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Road Trippin'

What arrived in South Africa today, courtesy of my sis on a blitz-visit from Ireland!

Lets go camping!

My sis tipped me off  to Kate's blog and I started following their family's road trip around half of Australia about halfway through.  While I loved the travelling tales, I also liked her crochet work, their way of thinking and outlook on life, and continued to follow her and farmer Bren's adventures at home, about life on an organic farm, crafting, hooking and the like.

It remains one of my favourite blogs; have a look at

Now I just want to hook a caravan to my Xtrail and take off.  But a ±1500 km road trip southwards in three week's time will have to do! At the other end, there's a little beach house where my Rainbow Ripple actually lives, I can put up some bunting, two couches are waiting for new slipcovers...I can pretend it's my stationary caravan.  

Saturday, 9 November 2013

On crazy, wonderful life in Mzansi

Once in a while, a new blog comes past that is just so absolutely delightful, humorous, sharp (that's Mzansi for witty), that you just have to share it with others.

Today, it is The Disco Pants Blog.  I noticed it a week of three ago when it went viral after a link by "Africa, that's why I live here" on FB and it has unleashed a storm of reaction.  People who love it totally get it, others foam at the mouth.

Oh, my country.  It has rightfully previously been describer as bi-polar (by a bi-polar).
Our lows are terrible, our highs are way up there. Few inbetweeners. And as you read the comments on Susan's blogposts, you'll realise that people's viewpoints are as diverse.  And their circumstances.

Source: the great talent of

There are the lucky ones, with great jobs, homes, holidays and education.
There are the unlucky ones; unemployed or very poorly paid, in tin shacks or on sidewalks, unskilled, unschooled.

Government asked "each one, hire one", but that is not always possible.  The very legislation aimed at protecting the employed, guaranteeing better salaries, also resulted in less being employed, because many can't afford paying the minimum wages

As we are preparing for an election, a program on "active citizenship" got me thinking again, reminding me of the quote "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country".  And much of what she says on her blog, boils down to that.  

There's a lot to do, a lot to contribute, a lot to learn.

Source: send someone a card from

We are lucky, having a cleaner and gardener/general assistant.
We also have a social responsibility.  Therefor, although our eldest son is only 9, we also have a boy hopefully graduating with a BCom (Accounting) degree this year, and a girl with a diploma in Tourism.  Next year, another boy will start his studies.  An although our other son is almost 6, we have another turning 6, 7, 8, a pre-teen girl.  

Hopefully, by helping these kids through their education, we're helping to improve their future, their possibilities, their abilities.

Jeepers, I went off track here.  But that's what Disco Pants does.  Although very funny, is has an underlying seriousness, a sense of what this country is about, about what it can be, why people love it  That is why they chose to return to South Africa from Europe, and many others do the same (the post about why they returned and another about angry expats caused the foaming :-).  It's not just the beaches and Kruger Park and cheap labour and Table Mountain - it's that pull that South Africa and its people has.

We get that.  When deciding to return from Australia after less than a year, we also got the foaming; from expats there, people in SA, family.  But we knew why we wanted to return, and we had families praying us back.  

Goodness, we have our frustrations, with the cheap labour and the responsibilities and the alarm system and high fencing. But we love and embrace the vastness, the variety, the options, the fact my son's school mates can include kids from diplomats and refugees, academics, aid workers and businessmen; at school functions we can enjoy injera  and empanata and seaweed dishes, melktert and Eritrean coffee.  


Ah, life in Mzansi.  Always interesting, challenging, never boring.

Lets hope the Springboks run over the Red Dragons tonight, and the  Buccaneers does the same with Al Ahly tomorrow :-) 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

I Love Yarn!

Yes, I do :-)

But it is also the name of a new online shop two friends of mine opened TODAY, with all kinds of beautiful and wonderful available.  

I keep repeating myself, but I love it when my online and "real" lives merge.  Via my FB reading group, I met Stephni, who also turned out to be a hooker.  Via (FB) Craft Share, I met Elaine, who turned out to be a friend of Stephni!  Put the two of them together, and you have I Love Yarn, where you can purchase beautiful yarns, pattern books, accessories and ready kits.

I'm eyeing the bathroom mat...Elaine's is already two years old and still look brand new:

They also offer different workshops, of which I have already attend the Christmas Decorations workshop, and I will show my handiwork off in December.

Congratulations girls, and all the best with your new venture!