Blackheath Chronicles 3

There is a delightful poem by Barbara Schreiner, which I’m often reminded of when things in my home break down and fall apart. It is called “Old Madam Entropy”

Here are some of it’s delightful lines:

“One morning the tap decides

in a spluttering mood of peeve

Not to close anymore


Like ancient water torture

Onto the reverberating drum of the kitchen sink

You sit down, annoyed

And the chair rocks like a boat on the ocean waves

Last night

While you slept

She stole the glue from its joints

And now it holds up your aging joints

By willpower alone”

  • Restless Dreams and Broken Hearts, Barbara Schreiner, 2015

If you’ve ever bought your dream house, the fixer upper with two en-suite bathrooms and a family bathroom, I am sure that regret also entered your life. This regret comes from having no budget, or in my case, refusal to apply budget wisely to banish plumbing problems from your home. You think you got a bargain from the bargain plumber, which results in a bath that drains slowly and taps that are made of plastic instead of the sturdy stainless steel you think was part of the deal. 

The insides of toilet cisterns decide to break and you, taking your sweet time to address the small problems end up with two bathrooms that are minimally functional. 

I count my blessings, I have no structural problems or mold. I do have a roof to replace as Old Madam Entropy has done her work there too.

I’d rather buy the new sewing machine than to spend my money on the plumbing disasters in my home…. sigh. My priorities frustrate my mother, who is house proud. Her side of our home is not allowed to submit to entropy in any shape or form. She buzzes like a bee around a problem and it is fixed within a week, maybe two, if the problem needs many phone calls and quotes.

I’m grateful for lockdown because I can’t have people over except my family who know me and understand my issues with spending money on things that break. Lockdown will end though, at some point. I will want to have friends over and entertain again in the future. The clock is ticking – well it did tick until it stopped. Buying a new clock was on my shopping list this week. Instead I bought 3 new books and no clock. You see where this is going? I shall write no more.

Blackheath Chronicles 2

ocean wave
ocean wave
Photo by Daniel Torobekov from Pexels

The Korean Wave

I am late to the party I know. The Korean Wave finally hit my Netflix, YouTube and music playlists. Thank you to Ms Lulekwa for introducing me to this world. The storyteller in me is delighted. The artist-crafter in me is overjoyed and my socio-political consciousness is perkier than usual. Basically, the Korean Wave has hit all my hotspots.

A shout-out to all the translators in the world. Thank you for widening my world with your craft. Admittedly some of the translation is a bit odd but on the whole it’s good and has sparked in me a desire to learn Hangul. So far I’ve learnt the consonants, I’m on vowels now and I’ve joined a language app. The polyglots on YouTube offered some new insights on learning a new language and I’m going with a combination of acquiring language like a toddler and learning it because I am also a fan of manga. There aren’t many Korean manga that’s translated so my hope is that one day I will be able to read an entire manga in Hangul. Note to self, order the books now and start learning to read them.

I’ve totally fallen for the full-hearted, satisfying storylines of all the K-drama I’ve watched to date. It’s captured my attention in ways that American dramas have not. Korean screenwriters seem to understand their audiences and what they want. My artistic sensibility totally embraces this type of storytelling.

Yes, I’ve heard the whole K-drama being formulaic but you know what? All stories are retelling of the same old themes. Why does it work so well? We are storytelling species and we love hearing the same old stories over and over. Tolkien, Austen and Pullman readers, can you really get enough of The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Pride & Prejudice and His Dark Materials? No, you cannot. I certainly cannot. My dog chewed up a section of my Lord of the Rings book so my habit of re-reading the trilogy is somewhat on hold until I can get my hands on a new copy. I can’t with the digital reading except minimally. Give me a book in my hand. 

I digress, sorry, back to K-drama.

Writers of K-drama seem to understand the balance between plot, tension, showing off their skills and audience satisfaction. They know their audience appreciates a good plot and a well resolved, satisfying ending. I feel like K-drama writers and directors love K-drama viewers. It’s like being in love with someone who loves you back. I love K-drama because K-drama loves me! Wow, it’s such a nice feeling. I’m never going back to western drama – okay got to go back for Star Trek Discovery because who doesn’t like Michael Burnham and the crew of USS Discovery – except occasionally. What I am saying is, I have entered a full-time committed relationship with K-Drama, but will occasionally flirt with goodlooking and thoughtful Western drama.

I believe K-drama suits my South African sensibilities because of the corruption, state capture shenanigans, patriarchy and prejudice that are part of the daily lives of that nation. I love how they are questioning and addressing issues and culture in the way they tell their stories. South Africans seem to think that we are special and that ‘other people’ are giving us the side-eye because of corruption and state-capture. My fellow citizens, please wake up, we are not alone and we are certainly not the center of attention for people worldwide. We have no Madiba now so people have moved on and we don’t need to feel shame about our country. Every nation in the world has issues, okay.

I got on my soap box for a bit, sorry. Saying Sorry (pronounced sorreee)  is very South African by the way.

Let me wrap this up. If you are looking for a new world of entertainment, give K-drama a chance. Admittedly it is not for everyone. Some of my friends have said they can’t with the long lingering shots and the romance. K-drama has a tribe and you may be part of that tribe. I salute you K-drama tribe.

Long Live K-drama Long Live!

Blackheath Chronicles 1

Birds sky damn clouds
Birds sky damn clouds
Cloudy Summer Morning

Summer Is Ending

Soon swarms of swallows will fill up the evening skies on their way North. I look forward to this autumnal spectacle but glad to have a few more weeks of warmth, long days and walks where I don’t have to be bundled up. I started wearing long sleeves and this morning added a cap to my walking ensemble because of a blustery south easter. 

Now that the beach ban has lifted I hope to make at least one pilgrimage to Simon’s Town or Kalk Bay beach.  So much to enjoy in our beautiful Cape but so little time left to enjoy summer. I have that end of summer nostalgia going on. You know the feeling. Very different from what my northern friends are feeling right now. Winter’s ending is never nostalgic but hopeful. I love all the seasons for their different moods.

I miss the long days of summer when it’s gone but not the excessive heat or the raging southeaster. Mornings are productive and everything starts earlier. In the evening I can still squeeze an hour or two of crafting or sewing with the last of the daylight hours. 

In other news: Julius and Jacob had tea this week. Maybe the bromance will blossom once again. Jacob still refuses to appear before the Zondo Commission and had harsh words for the ConCord. What does all this mean? I guess time will tell. A few more days of loadshedding reminded us all to stock up on candles or to charge our solar lamps. I am adding a manual coffee grinder to the list of essentials because there is nothing more irritating (in my life at least) when you can’t grind your beans for the ritual mug of morning coffee.

I can’t enjoy my morning coffee on the back stoep today because the wind is too chilly so I’m hanging out in the lounge with sleeping dogs.

Southerners, enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Northerners, enjoy the hopefulness of winter ending.

Hello To My world!

Welcome to my world.

The universe I inhabit values community, learning, service and laughter.

Community? Well because  we need each other. Some things, like changing the world into a just, happy and comfortable place cannot be done solo. Even the solo things like writing a song, painting a picture or writing a book eventually leads us to other people. People to listen to our song, see our picture, read our book. And we want to relate to these people not just as consumers but as a community of appreciation. We may want to engage them if we want to keep them as fans, friends or followers.

Learning? I live I learn, it is inevitable but conscious learning is a lot less painful than the learning by default. I am curious about how people learn life lessons, skills and attitudes. I am curious about myself. So much interests me there is not enough hours in the day to explore everything I am interested in. My library checkout usually looks like: one or two books on a topic I’m currently obsessing about, a craft, DIY or art book, personal growth or philosophy title, a novel or two or three. Not that reading is necessarily learning, it is part of acquiring information, exploring something, part of the learning journey. Then there’s the workshops – in person or online these days. Usually followed by some frantic doing, obstacles to overcome and sometimes success. Like the time I became a Thinking Environment Coach. But often also failure and a waning of interest or putting the interest on the back burner until such time that I acquire the necessary courage to operate the power tool I bought. Any of this familiar?

Service? Service is what makes us human. It shapes us, builds our communities and it can heal. We are all in service of something. The service which I’ve chosen is one that brings people together to share skills, information, gifts and passions. I am also in the service of joy and connection. I let these impulses move me.

Laughter? Because cultivating happiness is ultimately what I aim for. Laughter is free. Laughing at myself is liberating. Being silly together is marvelous. Go ahead and smile.

Welcome to my world.