Sunday, July 31, 2011

On moving up. And on.

My grandmother's house had an attic. During the holidays we'd all sleep there - two rows of siblings and cousins. Those were some of the happiest times of my life. Maybe it's that association that has made me want my own loft room, for as long as I can remember. They say be careful what you wish for. They say manifest it. Well, it's taken me a while.

A star popped out! As I lay on the floor, drinking a beer, thighs and calves aching from running up and down the stairs, I watched the sky darken and a star popped out. I felt like the king of the world.

It's a good feeling moving because I want to, not because I have to. My first night here and I slept like a little baby. Watching the light change as the day moves on.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another man's treasure.

The Victorian Doctor of Madness, aka GQ
 I haven't seen my friend Guy in many years. According to the World Distance Calculator, we live 7817.03 miles apart. But every year around Halloween, I look forward to seeing what him and his wife are getting up to. I haven't met Sabrina yet, but I know that she is a make-up artist extraordinaire. The other day Guy posted an album of photos of these dressmaker's forms or Judies. I pored over them with delight.

Originally from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and destined for the trash, thankfully they have been saved. Most of them are dated, so Guy has kept two for his office, with the date of his arrival in New York. The rest are looking for new homes. Objects worn by the ages and hundreds of hands, by pins and by scissors.

This morning I saw these photos of an abandoned movie theatre in Brooklyn.

Love old-time grandeur.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Postcard love.

Two in the last week! The mere idea: that someone had a thought, chose a card, sat down and wrote it, went to the post office and stamped it, dropped it in the postbox... it warms the heart and makes me believe in the goodness of the world again.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On lambs, lentils and limes.

Last Friday night saw the rising of a Full Buck Moon. It's the time of the year when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. I should have cooked a hearty venison stew, but here in the south it's unseasonably warm. So with a nod to Winter, I cooked lamb and lentil soup and then after that, with another nod to a Winter that isn't, and all of these balmy days - a key lime pie.

Recipes over at my food column at H triple S.
As the years flash by, I realize over and over again how lucky I am to have friends that span decades. Here's to them, and to many more meals around my table.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The way we live.

My friend Bernie lives in the annex of an old synagogue in Salt River. For the next few days at least... and then it's on to a new place - no doubt also extraordinary, but different. I'm so happy I got to photograph it today.

For more wonderful things, visit Bernie's shop: The Treasury, on Sir Lowry Road.

Like a string of lights.

For months I read reviews and I tried to do what the people said. My slow connection just about drove me to drink. Then in the wee hours of Sunday night, it dawned on me. I'll just piggy-back existing files. Share and share alike. And if those links expire at some point, well that's just the nature of things. Ha. I now have my own online storage facility.

Do I have any qualms about music sharing? No way José. It's about discovery and spreading the love. Already it's steaming ahead and here I borrow a quote from a charming thank you note I received last night:  In the words of Louis Austin " makes the people come together.."

So pop in at the resurrected disco for a taste of things to come.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Boot sale bounty.

Finally made it to the SARDA boot sale in Constantia this morning. (third Saturday of every month) Bumped into Braam, haggling over some porcelain ducks. Found something that I've been needing - a working kitchen scale:

And something I didn't know I needed, until I saw it - a turquoise lamé evening dress...

Left the horse people and drove back via Milnerton market. Ernest had this heavy and gorgeously engraved plated tray. Didn't know I needed that either.

Inscribed: Presented by the Brethren of St Patrick's Lodge to Wor. Bro. & Mrs A.L.Marshall on the occasion of their marriage. 26 - 6 - 39,  with the Masonic compass and square rule. I know very little about Free Masonry, but have always been a little fascinated by the secrecy and ritual.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Avoiding the herd.

Not to be confused with Anthophobia (a fear of flowers), Anthrophobia is an extreme, pathological form of shyness and timidness. Being a form of social phobia, it may be manifested in fears of blushing, meeting the gaze of others, awkwardness and uneasiness when appearing in society, etc.

I have spells of... let's call it social anxiety. The mere thought of facing a crowd of strange people makes me withdraw into my undemanding little shell. Last week was one of those times and now I suffer a particular kind of ingrained guilt because I disappoint others, as well as myself.

These were the big guns:
1. The launch of my dear friend Diane Awerbuck's new collection of short stories, Cabin Fever.

Here in my shell my toes curl and my skin blushes with delight as I read Astronomy Domine.
(The title story strikes tender chords and I lie sleepless, wide-eyed in the dark.)

2. The opening of Gary van Wyk's exhibition of photographs, Private Public.
I went to see it yesterday and was happy to do so without any jostling. I see Gary out and about and I've observed how comfortable people are to be photographed by him. He has this incredible gift - in an unassuming and gentle way - of making people totally at ease. The exhibition left me feeling tranquil and content.

Past (Mirac, Waterval, Gifberg) The Photographer's Gallery
Anthrophobia, in some situations, can result in the person disconnecting themselves from human interaction resulting in the use of electronic contact 
over direct contact.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Just what the doctor ordered.

Somewhere over the weekend, the dreaded lurgy crept up and caught me unawares. Sore throat, sneeze attacks and a box of tissues. So yesterday I did the only sensible thing I could think of doing - I went downtown and had a nourishing lunch. My friend Shonah has recently taken over the Crush Cafe in St George's Mall. Her red lentil and cumin soup warmed the cockles of my heart. (That freaky looking juice is apple, ginger and beet. Mighty good stuff.)

thanks darlin'

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A smashing party.

I felt honored last night to attend the birthday party of the art teacher. Him and his beautiful wife live in a cottage in the woods. You follow an overgrown pathway strung with fairy lights and in the distance, there's the sound of tinkling glasses and music. It feels like a delicious secret.

And talking about delicious... the art teacher had requested "man food". His wife obliged. There was a slow cooked Cassoulet with haricot beans, chorizo and pork belly. Clouds of mashed potato on the side. I had two man-size helpings. This woman knows her onions.

(Above, the sourcerer's nominee for best-dressed guest.)

A few enchanted hours with friends old and new, bathed in flickering flames and infinite goodwill.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


As I drove to Milnerton yesterday morning, I wondered how it could be that this careful-person-I was about to spend almost a month's rent on a coffee machine. Reviews had been read, comparisons made of steam jets and copper water tanks. There were transcontinental Skype discussions and calls to the Italian importers in Johannesburg. Still...

Then I met Mr JP Gelonese. I was all for paying him and rushing back home to play. But he said: No No. We'll plug it in and make some coffee together. This from a man with a raging tooth-ache and a constantly ringing phone. It turned into an hour-long lesson full of tips and wisdom. Cup after cup of beautiful coffee. Espresso, latte, cappuccino, flat white. Crema.
So happy and giddy with coffee love was I that I clean forgot to eat. Stopped at the supermarket to make a few more unprecedented purchases: hot-smoked salmon, Mozzarella di Buffala, sweet potato sourdough rye, candied kumquats.

This Winter is slow. Project after project is canceled before it starts. But this is what I realized with a smile as I made my first cup of coffee: in this world of uncertainty and no guarantees, it's about starting every day doing at least one thing pure and calm and right.

My Isomac Maverick is from Caffetalia. Real people who love coffee.
(As I left, Mr Gelonese gave me a gentle caution - he's recently had to cut down to a scant 24 espressos a day due to a spot of insomnia.)