Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chronicles of a Thief.

Monday, 14 October
Mr Owl loves Lindt chocolate. Specifically: Red Lindor balls. So Mr Owl buys himself the bumper pack (750g). He gives one to the Sourcerer, proving he is not a true chocoholic, as we don't share, and eats one himself. He leaves on a recce to the desert.

Wednesday, 16 October
Mr Owl returns from the desert. He reaches into his drawer to find.... a large, empty box. He accuses his wife of being a prankster. He asks the Sourcerer if she took them. Even though she didn't, she feels guilty and gazes at the floor. He suspects other co-workers. Mr Owl and the Sourcerer talk about locks for the office doors. The Props Master gives Mr Owl some chocolate and immediately regrets it - she fears she is now suspect number 1.

Thursday, 17 October
Suspicion. Insults. A lot of swearing. The Sourcerer eats a slab of organic white chocolate with vanilla seeds on her lonesome.

Friday, 18 October
Mr Owl finds a small scrap of red foil in the lower drawer of his desk. He follows a trail to the garden shed. The following i-Message exchange takes place.

Mr Owl:
High Class Mouse Nest

The Sourcerer:

Mr Owl:
I have started washing them off and eating them!

The Sourcerer:
Eek! Bleach!

Mr Owl:
Actually they are fine. This guy was just hoarding them. The ones he bit into I have thrown away, but I just can't bring myself to throw away the ones that have hardly been touched, just dragged off one by one into his lair!

The Sourcerer:
I understand.

Mr Owl:
Don't lie, you are disgusted

The Sourcerer:
No. My name is Lily and I am a chocoholic.

Saturday, 19 October
Mr Owl:
The Lindor thief is dead.

The Sourcerer:
Long live the thief...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

This little dog.

Stitch caught my eye this morning at the market.
So much world weariness for one small dog.
Behind him lies Twilight, who couldn't be bothered.

Friday, October 11, 2013


I have always felt very lucky to have my birthday in the spring. Born in a different hemisphere - an autumn baby, I would be someone else.

Imagine spring in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the West Coast of South Africa. The dunes and the meadows swell and ripple in purple, orange and yellow.

The rustling in the bush behind you is, invariably, a tortoise.

Although we were far away from the city, a birthday cake appeared, as if by magic. Chocolate and beet, all the way from a town called Darling.

And a leaning tower of gifts from my darling. Cold shivers as I opened the pages of Vivian Maier's Out of the Shadows.  Books, wonderful books. Ancient plant lore. Antique bottles...

And yet, at night, I lie awake.
I toss, I turn, I fidget and I fret.
I am a bad bedfellow.
Sleep would turn me into a well behaved stranger.

I heard a lone owl hoot. And finally, when a cool lagoon breeze slipped through the window, bringing with it the perfume of the wet veldt, I drifted away for a scant hour.

At Verlorenvlei, I lay inhaling deep breaths of the balmy thatched roof. Outside, the sweet chirruping of koots. Far away, the mournful toot of a long train carrying iron ore from Sischen to Saldanha. The melodious trilling of a fiery-necked nightjar, awake like me, but singing about it.

Splashes in the dark.

In the pale morning light, I cast a sleepy eye at the pelicans bobbing past. Bright flashes of red - bishops dancing through the reeds.

And I thanked the universe, for coffee in particular.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Food for jackals.

Harveya Squamosa. Jakkalskos, katnaels, snail flower, inkblom and a host of other charming nicknames. We saw these furry blooms everywhere on the West Coast, even the shy yellow variety. One day in Churchaven, poking about on my own and without my renegade camera, I also came across the other one for the first time - Hydnora Afrikana.
The one that our own Julia Child, C. Louis Leipoldt talks about in his wonderful book about food and life in the old Cape: Polfyntjies vir die Proe. These photographs via plantzafrica.

They are most unusual to look at - like fleshy geodes. Foul smelling parasites they are, and insect-eaters. Not on the endangered list, yet I wouldn't have the heart to dig around for the underground fruit, for fear of hurting something so bizarrely beautiful. With some sadness, I left them for the monkeys, the porcupines and the jackal.

There are so many things I have never eaten, it fills me with a particular melancholy.
Cloud berries.
A shiso leaf.

Leipoldt receives a request from his food connoisseur friend from the Congo: to surprise him with something completely indigenous and original. Leipoldt thinks long and hard and decides upon a Jakkalskos Soufflé.

His friend tries to guess...
"With medlars I would never add cinnamon."
Leipoldt merely teases him a little.
"But with guavas I always add some Maraschino - in this case it would have been better!", the friend tries again.

Leipoldt goes on to say that it is impossible to describe the taste - as impossible as trying to describe the flavour of a pineapple. He recommends a small glass of Muscadel wine as accompaniment.
Back in those days you could buy Jakkalskos fruit at the big fish and vegetable market on Greenmarket Square in Cape Town, now sadly an African curio market. Only the cobbles remain.

Christian Louis Leipoldt
Poet, Doctor, Journalist, Cook, Lekkerbek, Traveller,
Buddhist, Mensch.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The way we live.

Somewhere in my twenties, I visited the Dachau Concentration Camp Museum, near Munich. It was only then that the true horror of this period in history became painfully clear to me.
Although what happened there was hideous - and I remember feeling nauseated, what finally made me break down and weep was the full wall of photographs of the survivors, on the day that they were finally set free. The emaciation, the look in their eyes.

It has happened in the past that I have worked on historical dramas where we have had to do research on the war and dress Nazi offices, or U-Boats. You are surrounded by the colours, the flags, the swastika, the SS logos. It is not something I can get used to and it feels... forbidden, uncomfortable.

Yesterday we went to see a collector about using some of his memorabilia as props and dressing on our current project. In the corridor, a tall woman with a fine paintbrush was doing a trompe l'oeil mural of exposed brickwork and distressed plaster.
The collector received us in his outer office, where there is a considerable amount of Boer War memorabilia - paintings, documents, uniforms and weapons. I found this interesting.

We then started talking about the items we needed to dress a Nazi Colonel's office. I noticed that the collector was wearing a silver SS death head ring on his slim, tanned middle finger.

Tall, suave, a smooth talker. Son of a Dutch Reformed minister. He led us into his inner sanctum, where a large, spot-lit oil portrait of Adolph Hitler presides over his desk. A bronze bust of that man atop a filing cabinet. The deco armchairs, he assures us, are from the Führer's apartment in Vienna. He has sixteen different copies of Mein Kampf. The SS typewriter's s-key reads SS.
"No photographs please", he says with a smile. He chain smokes, holding his cigarette in the underhanded way of a soldier at war.
There are cases filled with medals and weapons. The walls are adorned with portraits and flags. Also, stacked against the wall: portraits of nude, sculpted women.

He lets his hand linger on my shoulder blade when he motions for me to pass.

I think I will make do with what I can rent from the prop houses.

A German evening bag from the 1930's. I found it in Simonstown, at an antique shop. Beautiful at first glance, but hidden amongst the roses...