Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New beginnings

This being the last day of 2013, it is a time for reflection. Just as I love Mondays, I love the idea of a whole new fresh year ahead. Maybe it was the '13' of 2013 that made it a challenging year for many of the folk I know but it certainly had its moments! Mine were mostly health issues which really were no big deal now when I look back. It is time to look forward and to be positive about it all.

People scoff at the idea of New Year Resolutions as most of us last just a few days but there is no harm in trying. Let's go for it and look at the New Year with much excitement and enthusiasm. I am truly fortunate and blessed to have such great family and wonderful friends. I want to see more of them, chat more often and share as much time with them as possible.

We also want to travel to new places and go to places we have only dreamt of visiting. I have lists of those! Maybe South America......Botswana, more of the Berg.....

I continue trying to put dents into my stash of fabric. I aim to continue finishing my UFO's and I have great ambitions to try doing some art quilts. I know my friend Joyce wants me to make a memory quilt for her daughter Kirsten. Bring it on.

I am slowly decluttering......this is a bit of a challenge as I have to have a certain amount of co operation, which is not very forthcoming, but we will keep at it. After all, a rusted exercise bike is just not a pretty sight on the verandah in the flat! It might just have to disappear one sunny day!

The highlights for the year were: *Driving to the Cape for Michele and Mark's wedding.

*En route stopping off at Kidds Beach and visiting Mdme Judd.

*A week at the Southern Sun Hotel, courtesy of Geoff.

*Meeting up with my Distant cousin Cathy and her hubby.

*Seeing my brother Les and wife Mandy and their lovely children and families.

*Marion and her clan.

*Richard and his family.

Being treated to two nights in a beautiful B and B, courtesy of Sarah and Oscar in Franschoek.

A couple of nights with John and Patty in Knysna.

Oscar spending his holidays with us.

Quality time with Sarah, Adrien and being there for Oscar's birthday.

Back to Malaysia for Joshua's school holidays and being there for his birthday.

A couple of weeks in the bush and seeing our lovely Lowveld friends.

Spending quality time with my sister and her hubby.

Quilting up a storm.

Having lots of laughs with quilting buddies.

Back to Malaysia and then onto Australia to see the Boden's new home.

Blessings, blessings, blessings. There are too many to count.

Happy 2014 to you all. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for commenting. Thank you! Xxxxxxxx



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kersfees, Christmas and Xmas!

Christmas, by any other name means Family, Feasting and Fun! With the family spread all over the world this year we got to enjoy three Christmas Feasts on three continents! We also had much FUN!

Our first, was early December in Johannesburg with Sarah, Adrien and Oscar. As most of their stuff was boxed up and ready for moving! Sarah would not let this opportunity to celebrate our last Christmas in her flat pass by, so being resourceful she resorted to a full on "Woolies Christmas Feast!"

We cleared the table, set up our disposable plates etc. added a bit of decor with Oscar's help and voila it was time to celebrate!

Oscar did not know the story of Christmas so as the responsible adult I felt it my duty and pleasure to tell him the beautiful story of the nativity. He listened carefully and after a few 'Why's he seemed to get the drift. A few days later I received a message from his Dad saying "Oscar keeps wanting Baby Cheeses" do I have any idea what he is referring too? .....Mmmmmm only Adrien!

Our second Christmas feast took place in Kuala Lumpur at Moira's apartment the night before she and Joshua left for S.A. I wrote about that in my last post. BUT then Nick gave us a lovely treat, cooked all by himself...Chef Nick! It was his first attempt at roasting a leg of lamb. There is no need for cookbooks any more as everyone uses their ipads or I phones ! Wow, leg of lamb in Malaysia is such a treat. How shopping has changed over the twelve plus years we have been visiting there! Having to cater for the ex pats needs has pushed boundaries somewhat. Thanks Nick for the treat and the beautiful pressies! We are so spoilt!

On Christmas Day we were thrilled to enjoy Christmas in Eumundi in Chris and Diana's new home! It is so beautiful here!

T'was the night before Christmas, we thought the children would never go to sleep as we needed to finish wrapping gifts! Our suitcase, which weighed 26 kilos, consisted of 20 kilos of gifts from the Aunts and Uncles and us, of course.

As in most homes it was a race to see who would be up first in the morning! Hannah definitely heard Santa and crept out of bed and saw the over loaded sleigh! The reindeer even had a baby reindeer in training! As for the jingling of bells!

What fun it was to see the children's delight and surprise with all their pressis. Of course they got far too many gifts but hey, Christmas comes but once a year!

It was time to get the feast prepared for all the guests! Wow, what a feast indeed. Everyone brought a dish to add to what Diana had prepared and here was sufficient food to feed a small army!

We had a wonderful day and thank all concerned for the special treats. Three Christmases in three countries! How special!



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Krazee K.L.

It is great being back in this hot, noisy, busy Kuala Lumpur. I tend to think of Capital Cities as countries on their own because as soon as you get out of the rat race things do change dramatically.

Hot...K.L. enjoys tropical-forest like conditions as it is situated near the equator. The average temp for December is 30* F ! It is 7a.m. It rains most days And it is cooler than most mornings at 29*F giving me the energy to sit out on the balcony and do some writing.

Noisy.....oh my! It is such an eye opener as wherever you drive, construction is happening. Blocks of apartments, more shopping malls, businesses etc continue to be built wherever you look. The clanging and banging continues from early morning to late at night. The development is simply amazing!


Busy......traffic in K.L. is KRAZEE.....! We have the use of Moira's car while she is in S.A. and we are trying to do our Christmas shopping! If you leave the apartment between one and three o' clock you cannot get to the end of the road due to all the drivers arriving to fetch the children from the International School situated at the end of the road! In S.A. We referred to the Mommies waiting to pick up their children as the "car park brigade" where much socializing and discussion about school affairs would happen. Here there are groups of driversin their dark outfits gathered having a smoke waiting for their charges and no doubt having equally stimulating discussions.

Nick is opening a new clinic across town and we have gone there a few times to sort things out and as the crow flies it is not so far away but with the traffic, one needs the Patience of Job. Being a keen follower of Malaysian under 21 hockey, the team were playing in the semis in India and we were stuck in the traffic. No trouble to my Techno son he connected his I phone and managed to pick up the coverage of the game.

Twelve years ago when we first started coming here the season of Christmas was not very evident! How things have changed as the Malls have picked up on the commercial value that Christmas brings and like all things in K.L. the decorations are simply amazing. The Malls are ringing with beautiful Christmas music with the staff donning the traditional red and white Christmas hats. Snowmen, reindeer and the promise of Santa arriving with his bag packed to overflowing is very evident! Many of the apartment blocks have lovely decorations in the foyers too! I would love to visit more of the malls armed with my camera but the traffic is too much of a challenge!

The first few week here we were able to spend time with Joshua. He has gone to S.A. with his Mum Moira for Christmas but before they left, we had a lovely Christmas party.


My niece Emma and her partner Chris from New Zealand happened to be in town so they joined us together with a few more local friends. Perla our Colombian friend is a professional singer and we "nagged" her to fetch her mike and equipment and our dinner party ended up being a swinging affair! What a super way to begin the season.


Thank you so much for reading my blog and to those who post comments, I am so grateful! May I take this opportunity of wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope you all have lots of fun during this festive time. My next blogpost should be from the land of Oz till


Friday, December 13, 2013


Getting a phone call early in the morning telling us the terrible news that Robbie Clarke had died just absolutely shocked us. A young man of twenty eight killed on his motor bike. This was too awful!

Robbie's Dad had taught with Warren at Jeppe, followed us to Swaziland together with his wife Elsa and two children Robert and Jennifer. Two more sisters arrived while they lived in Swaziland, Monica and Emily. The family thrived while living in Big Bend and Austin rose through the ranks from Accountancy teacher to Headmaster of his own school. Then we moved to Uplands and with four children needing good high schooling, Austin took up the position of bursar. When it was time for Warren to move on Austin became the Headmaster of Uplands. The children slotted into the College and Prep and Robert was an instant success. He studied at UCT and had the world at his feet.

Two months previous to his death he married an Uplands girl. And then poof he was gone....! It is all too much for anyone to handle let alone his new wife and his family. We were so lucky that we could attend his funeral in JHB just before leaving for Malaysia. Just to hug those girls as I have taught all four Clarke children and feel I know them well. To be able to chat and offer condolences to Austin and Elsa was so cathartic for us. TOO MANY children of friends of ours have died! It's not the natural way things should happen!!

Later in the week, to wake up to the news that the worlds greatest leader Nelson Mandela had died, was very sad. Not so much his death as he had been ill and bed bound for a long time and his death was probably a happy release but the fact that this Great Statesman, Father of the nation, has gone, is a sad moment in time. South Africa has done him proud with all the memorial services held for him, the accolades the honoring of the Great Man he was! I was deeply moved listening to Desmind Tutu' s service.

Christopher, many years ago had the honour of meeting the great man himself. It was 1995 when he found himself on the same small plane flying from JHB to Manzini, Swaziland and he was able to get his signature. Christopher and Diana named their son Benjamin Nelson after the great man.

Nicholas was interviewed a few months ago by BFM on the local Malaysian radio programme to give his thought and impressions. Listening to this made me rather weepy too.?

Sarah, on hearing the news gathered her Team and went straight to his home in Houghton to pay their respects. She also managed to get to the FNB stadium for his memorial service.

I am proud that my children could honour and recognize this wonderful man.

RIP Tata Mandela.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Moving on!

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of events and emotions! We live in a "pack up and go" home so it really is easy to leave it for a few months. Warren had a few challenges to sort out as we are both on the Management Board of our block of flats and he is in charge of "Good Governannace"! He is the perfect person to do the job as he is THOROUGH! When we have Board meetings,I am reminded of when we he was the Headmaster. I think his staff dreaded the meetings he chaired as he is rather long winded and does not leave a stone unturned! In fact, I know they would run bets as to how long the meetings would last! I felt the same at these Board meetings and could not wait until all was done and we could set for for the first leg of our journey.

It was to be the last week we would spend with Sarah, Adrien and Oscar in their flat in Parkdene. We have had loads of fun there over the years but it is time for them to spread their wings and move to the suburbs!

While much of the packing had been done there were several more boxes to pack up! I love packing up homes....I could do this as a hobby or a small business. Many years ago while we were traveling through Zimbabwe we stopped of in Marondera, Zimbabwe, to connect with someone's Gran and deliver a parcel, to the Old Age home where she lived. This lady's job was to pack up homes after people had died or had to down scale due to bad health for some reason. I listened to her stories totally enraptured. She showed us some of the treasures she had collected along the way and I was hooked. I too could do this. I love seeing what folk have and I enjoy packing up all their treasures! I guess it is part of my inquisitive mind! (nosey parker my hubby says) BUT the greatest challenge of all will be packing up my own home when I pop off this mortal coil! Who will do this awful job?

While I packed boxes, Warren loaded his car up and took the boxes through to the new home. The move was delayed somewhat as the painted concrete floors would not dry!!! All the boxes had to be stacked in the Garage....good luck to those who do the sorting out of those boxes!

In between all of the packing and sorting, we fetched Oscar from School every day. We were able to observe him during one of his Judo sessions


When the weather was good we took him to Zoo lake for a play but it was a very rainy week and then there's no place like home, even if we were surrounded by boxes!

One of our last treats was to see the local production of Cinderella. What fun it was! The cast were mostly young folk and they did extremely well. Oscar and his friends thorughly enjoyed the production.

The theatre is situated in Hoofd Street, Braamfontein! NOSTALGIA! All of 48 years ago I arrived at JCE and was placed at Jaundice Hall as we called it but officially known as Reith Hall in Hoofd Street, Braamfontein, for three years! What fun we had. My, how the area has changed ...mostly for the better! I remember working all thise years ago as an 'usherette' at the Civic theatre and at the "Pig"(Pigalle) just to be able to see the shows. AAAH the memories!

That is Jaundice Hall sticking out above the trees!

This was a lovely way to end our stay before setting off for Malaysia.


Oscar having his last play in their garden before moving on.

(please ignore the dates on the photos as they are all wrong. My camera needs resetting!)