The whales dance just below the surface of the sea. Huge tails and fins break the calm surface and carve through the air, enormous barnacled heads rise straight up towards the sky, immense backs arch up along the gentle wave breaks. Occasionally a fin will break surface and just turn and turn in the air like a huge sail looking for the wind or a tail will come crashing down onto the water. Three or four spouts of spray will be sent into the air almost simultaneously. Once I saw a huge female lying on her back with both fins in the air and twice I have seen whales jumping clean out of the water – it’s a spectacular sight and one that always makes me shout for joy. Watching them always moves me – they are so huge yet so fragile in the greater scheme of life. Earlier this month a cargo ship sank about 20 or 30 kms up the coast from here. It leaked 3 tons of oil into the ocean and the oil seems to have been dispersed up and down the coastline because of stormy weather. A number of oil covered birds have been rescued – I hope the whales, dolphins and seals survive.
Another interesting occurrence has been on the days when the sea is rough there are often tiny fish thrown onto the shore. I’ve seen it before but there have been a lot lately and very often they’re alive. A gentle nudge with my toe will get them wriggling if they are still of this world then I pick up these silver treasures and put them back into the sea and watch them dart away.
It is so wonderful to be surrounded by the animal kingdom in its various forms – as I write this the owl is sitting outside my back door hooting loudly. A few nights ago he was in my driveway when I came home, I coasted down the driveway with the lights dimmed and he turned his head regally, eyes like huge orange saucers, to watch me pass by. Early in the mornings when I’m outside feeding the chickens I’ve heard a male lion roaring down at Hakuna Matata. It is an unmistakable and blood chilling sound; amazing to think that he is probably about 6kms away as the crow flies, imagine being closer to him – terrifying!
Since Andre died I’ve tried to simplify my life so I can cope better. The chickens have been reduced to a more manageable level but harder for me was having to send my beautiful goats away. They really should be milked twice a day and I just couldn’t manage that so, although they still belong to me, they have gone to another farm and I miss them. I have visited them and love it when Cooper comes and sniffs my face and hands, then rubs his goaty smell against my legs whilst the girls stand around gently bleating. My neighbours have six healthy kids at the moment and every time I pass their fence I stop for a few moments to watch them bouncing around the fields and head butting each other.
I bought myself a second hand kayak this month - an extravagance, but one I can sort of justify because it helps me to keep fit. Dingo comes kayaking with me - an odd experience for this little jackal from the Karoo- and she is quite funny. Sits scrunched as far up between my legs as she can be initially but then slowly relaxes and starts to inspect the water as we skim over it. She 'talks' continuously as we move along, little squeaks and whimpers - she really is a strange brew. One day a group of holidaying children on the Island were pointing at her and she sat up quite proudly in the boat, looking ahead as though this was second nature to her. I would love to take Ben as well but I just know that he will capsize us- he is such a big loveable lump, I can just see him trying to stand up and kiss me and that would be the end of our boating trip.
Living in Great Brak is a blessing – people here are so caring. One expression of this is the annual CAWS for PAWS venture which takes place at the local veterinary practice. Organised and co-ordinated by Barry Greyvensteyn (my yoga instructor) and his team funds are raised throughout the year and then, with the help of many volunteers, the SPCA and the kind services of the vets, dogs and cats are collected from Green Haven Township and brought to the vets for sterilization. It’s a huge project for such a small town – this year 101 animals were sterilized in one day. Photos and more information can be seen on the website www.caws4paws.co.za .
The weather is still a little odd – my wild proteas are flowering for the third time in a year. I’m delighted because I have at last found another gardener, in fact two, a gentle Rastafarian man and his wife. They come to work with me in the garden once a week and are very quiet, enjoying the peace as much as I do- Naphtali told me that it’s ‘very irie’ here. They always leave work with a “Jah bless you Vivienne” but I will still be keeping a close eye on my garden to make sure no ‘recreational’ plants appear.
Pieces of art are starting to arrive for the next exhibition – it’s always exciting to see what people are doing and for this exhibition there are a number of new artists whose work I’ve never seen before. The builders came and went earlier this week to do some odd jobs around the house for me – hopefully by the time the exhibition opens the place will look the way I want. One end of the house has changed quite drastically- architecturally it’s so striking that it doesn’t actually need any further embellishing with paintings etc. – it looks like a huge work by Mondrian. (Think I’ll call it Composition in Red and Grey.)
When I planned the timing of the Inhibitions Exhibition ( September 18 till October 17)I hadn’t realized that it fell smack in the middle of the Muse Festival being held in Great Brak towards the end of September. It’s an Arts, Culture and Music Festival so Inhibitions will slot in well with the other activities taking place. More info on the Muse Festival can be found on Great Brak’s Facebook Page .( I’m definitely not missing the Blues Festival!). Speaking of Facebook pages, I believe the Pink Haus has one - my daughter set it up - and I have absolutely no idea how to get there. I don't do Facebook so if any of my readers have left messages there for me, now you know why I haven't replied. Sorry!
This blog has been all over the place – sorry about that, there’s just been a lot happening. Lastly though, a warning. Anyone visiting the Pink Haus in the next little while need not be alarmed at the car bumpers strewn across the countryside as you drive up the hill towards my place. There hasn’t been a multiple car pile-up, the local children have recently discovered a treasure trove of bumpers at the local rubbish dump and are using them to slide down the hillside in – it looks mildly dangerous but great fun! Who says you need money to entertain children.
Till next time.