Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone.

My fear of needles stems from early childhood. One of the doctors at my father's small town practice used to chase the children with syringes. As a joke. I took it so seriously that I refused to go in and would sit in the car, waiting for my mother. She'd leave Springbok Radio playing, and so began a life-long love affair with music.

I convinced myself that I could never bear to have acupuncture - that house in Plumstead filled with human pincushions, the doctor who spoke no English. But perhaps I was just waiting for the right person. This calm, compassionate man, who can tell, from taking my right pulse and then my left, from the set of my shoulders, that my stress levels are down. Then he says: "But your heart has nervous energy - what's up?"

I lie there in the half light, with ten fine needles in my body while he is at his desk, working on his notes. Behind closed eyelids I see bursts of colour and try to imagine the messages flitting furiously from muscle to brain and back again. And I wonder what it must feel like to live without fear.

There has been a spate of burglaries at the apartments where I live. Someone bypassing a security code, the violent tearing open of gates and doors. Every little sound makes me jump.
The letting agents are astounding in their apathy. (Steer & Company - you suck!)
This is what people say to me, over and over again: TRUST NO-ONE.
I hate that.

It's a major kick under the butt and time for change. While I decide what to do, I Spring Clean.
And take a few days off, away from the big, bad city.

To the magical place where the doors have no keys. We find fragments of other lives. A rusted fork, ancient little bottles. The houses are mostly empty, waiting.

If, instead of words, I could have a photograph as epitaph - this would be it:

In the hour preceding, we took the yellow kayak and paddled out onto the lagoon. Surrounded by flamingos and their chatty honking: they flew up and circled around us, the sound of their wings like the rustling of many taffeta skirts.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Beekeeper's Cottage.

A strange and charming little house
beneath giant oak trees.
The door was open and I walked in, standing for a moment to get accustomed to the half light. Packed full of old beehive frames, the intense fragrance of honey. Dessicated bees crunching underfoot.

We transformed it for a few days into an 1840's German tavern. Both beekeepers were amazed by the process and often popped in to chat. A hard profession, they said, to be a beekeeper.
But they were of such an even keel, with their twinkly blue eyes and grey hair, that I felt calmer after speaking to them.
It's been a project of ups and downs and dubious politics. I have become aware, more than ever before, of the different energy we each possess, and how powerful it is.
I'm feeling depleted. There are big decisions to be made. But all I want to do for now is lie in bed and read a book.

Monday, May 6, 2013


It has been many years since I stayed in a house next to the sea. A house with no key, a house with an outhouse. Where, if you need water, you take a bucket to the well.
A house with no plug points, no electrical hum.

When last did you walk on a beach for a day, without seeing another soul?
We walked the marshes and he found this clue:

Around the bend, there they were, those flamingos.
By the end of the day I had handfuls of feathers.

There is samphire, I think. And the husks of hundreds of small, bone-coloured crabs.
A house settles gently into decay. The cement contains not just sand, but shells and pieces of purple coral.

In the mornings, you open the kitchen door, and they are there, waiting for breakfast.

A place that can wipe away fear.
The city has made me so cautious.