Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Doing the tourist thing!

We have been visiting Kuala Lumpur for many years and I have only just discovered the there is a Textile Museum in the city! How did I miss that? It's time to do my tourist thing and to go and explore! Fortunately it is relatively close to the Masjid Jamek LRT station.....just a few blocks away.

En route, I stopped to ask a uniformed guard as to where exactly the Textile Musem was. He shook his head...oh no, this place I am looking for, is FAR away,he says,and his hands point up over the hill and into the faraway distance . I would need to call a "teksi"! Not on your life, I know it's nearer than what he is describing! The guard shrugged his shoulders, gave me a look of "another know all tourist" and returned to his post. Beginning to doubt myself I was relieved to find that just around the very next corner, is the building I am looking for. Hooray! Why did the guy not know this?

At the Textile Museum, I describe what had just happened to the desk attendant and he ponders for a few moments and smiles and says....the guard thought you wanted the 'National Museum' and for that you need a taxi! Ahhh, that explains it all and clears up some nasty judgmental thoughts running through my head and getting close to my lips!

The Museum is housed in a beautiful Moorish building built in 1896. Entrance is free and there are four different galleries. All the different Asian influences are explained and the beautiful batik and Songket fabrics are displayed. It is difficult to take good photos as the interior of the galleries is dimly lit due to the preservation of the beautiful fabrics.

A bonus was an additional exhibition by Zandra Rhodes, "A lIfelong love affair with Textiles". Born in 1940, she is an exciting "before her time" type of textile and fashion designer. She modeled her own clothes and is known for her green,now pink hair and dramatic make up. Zandra has dressed many of the top names in society plus designed costumes for shows. Where was I during these times? I don't recall ever hearing about her. Mary Quant, Twiggy, Oscar de La Renta etc. but not Zandra Rhodes.


It was great fun seeing something so refreshing and delightful. You just never know what is around the next corner.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Toys of yesteryear.

I haven't achieved much in the creative line recently. No quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting etc. however I was inspired to make Jake the Pirate, this week.

Jake's hands look a little large!
Joshie attends The British International School and his teacher invited Warren and I to talk to the class about the toys we played with when we were little! Now that's a BIG ask. Do you recall the toys you played with? In my case it is sixty+ years ago!

I do know that when I was little, just ready to start school, we moved to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). My Dad, being a building contractor, enjoyed the challenge of moving to under developed places and to be part of the start up! Wankie (Hwange) was a coal mining centre and needed schools, hospitals a shopping centre and petrol stations and the company he worked for, James Thompson, won several of those contracts! My Dad went ahead into Darkest Africato to get our home ready and we followed months later, on a very long train trip!

Our home in Wankie, Rhodesia.
How wonderful to be out of the city and to be free to play and play and play. I do recall having a bicycle and my Mom being a good seamstress, made our clothes and also ragdolls. I really don't think we had lots of toys or the need for them. When we got home after school, we would be sent outside, into the garden and be told to play! I am sure we used our imaginations a whole lot more than today's children.

I believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden. These notions being fueled by the reading of Enid Blyton stories! Oh how I loved to read and to get lost in the adventures of the Secret Seven and Famous Five! I so wished to be part of their gangs!

Occasionally, for a treat, the family would go up to the Recreational Club for a swim and then we watched the bioscope. A sheet was hung outside as a screen, chairs pulled up and the movie started. It was usually a cowboy and Indian movie and would break down a few times. We didn't mind!

At Joshua's school he is able to visit a library containing 20,000 books! Imagine that. A dream for any child who loves books!

Granny telling the class a story about Jake the Pirate.
I think that some of the toys we played with were spinning tops, skipping ropes, yo yo's, marbles and our home made rag dolls.

It is difficult for the modern children to imagine a world with no cell phones, no T.V., no computers, no I pads but just loads of time and space to have fun!

Life was simple but wonderful.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Finding the inner child..

We all have an inner child just waiting to pop out and have some fun. A while back we were in Chamonix, France and while watching the "sky divers" take off from the top of the hill and float down into the valley I knew I had some unfinished business in my life! I really wanted to do that too. My nephew Stu offered to accompany me but my hubby rolled his eyes and showed total disapproval. I just needed a consenting, encouraging voice and I would have been off.

Riding on the back of a camel in Mongolia was one of those amazing moments in my life too.

On reflection, I realise that I have tended to play it safe but with a bit of encouragement, I could have and should have been a bit more daring!

This past weekend I needed little encouragement to have Fun and do some heart stopping, hair raising things. Nick treated us and Joshua to a trip to Johor Bahru where a whole new theme world has been built. I can't say it's just for children as adults have just as much fun! Our afternoon was spent at the venue next door to our hotel, Traders, where "various theme lands" have been built. One could choose between Hullo Kitty or Thomas the Tank Engine. Of course Thomas won the vote. There are all sorts of experiences, games and rides available. Being a Thomas devotee, Joshua had the time of his life. He even got to meet the Fat Controller and Barney.

The following day we were off to Legoland! How clever are the people who came up with this idea! It was simply amazing! Most of the rides were loads of fun and often quite scary. To think that so many wonderful things can be made from Lego!


I loved every minute especially the visit to Miniland. It was brilliant. It helped that we have visited many of the sights depicted, from all over Asia. I was speechless at the genius behind these creations.


Angkor wat.
After lunch it was time to hit Waterworld. I had left my swimming costume at home so Thought I would just be the camera man. Nick was having nothing of it and made me buy long shorts and top which although not very glamorous was perfect for a big older lady doing crazy things. Thanks Nick. I had the time of my life. We went on every scary ride possible. Joshie suffers every time he gets into the car for a long journey was totally unphased and wanted more and more and more. The only slight negative was the queuing for the various rides. It was Fun! I really felt like a kid again.


Now I have set my sites even higher....I definitely want to do the zip line in the Berg and if given the chance I too want to be pulled on the cookie at he back of Muz's boat and what about a bit of sky diving. Maybe the inner child is an adrenaline junky too!

Move over girls!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

All good things....

Our three weeks in Australia are over and it has been a bumper time. The most important part of travel is not only ticking boxes of the great places we see and things we do but even MORE important are the family and friends we get to see.

Australia is an extremely expensive country for us to visit using our Rand and without the hospitality and kindness of family and friends it would be nigh impossible! We have to add a nought to every price tag we see! What looks reasonable at Ten dollars costs us in effect one hundred miserable SA rands. Just add a nought!

Fortunately our family and friends have been understanding and very generous so with our board and lodging covered we could chillax and just enjoy ourselves. We do always try to "pay" our way and contribute towards food and beverage! It is wonderful to see how friends and family are so health conscious and are looking great. Carbs, except those in a bottle, are a no no and eating greens is a priority!

While staying in Eumundi we got to meet the neighbours, Sepple and Jacquie Eggers and what delightful folk they are. Having lived in several interesting countries and now settled in Eumundi, they have interesting tales to share and we enjoyed many a wonderful hour with them. Jacquie works for Eumundi Community radio and gets to interview and train interesting local members of the community, while Sepple has created a health drink, using mangosteens, seaweed and other well researched fruits which he is busy marketing. www.

Mangosteens are readily available here in Kuala Lumpur and after reading about all theirbenefits, we will be loading up on those!

Evidently Queen Victoria offered a knight ship for anyone being able to supply her with this delicious fruit!

Being on the tourist route and holiday time, there were a stream of visitors to Chris and Diana's home and each couple had such amazing stories to tell. Cathy Stewart, a well known Australian artist went to university with Diana and she and her family stayed for a few days. It was great meeting Cathy and chatting about her work.

This is an example of Catherine's work available at "Paper Pear" in Waga Waga, New South Wales. See more of her paintings and other beautiful things to buy on Paper Pear's Facebook page.

We also got to meet couples with very young children, having had them in their forties. The theory in our day was that one should have your babies by the time your are thirty but with the advancement in our medical world it is no longer a factor. While a couple of the Dads will be in their sixties and seventies when the children get to their teens, is of little consequence these days. As Chris says, the modern fifty is yesterday's forty and if we take care of our health and keep fit we should all live till a hundred! I am not sure I want to do that but for now I need to get onto a strict health regime and to get exercising! I need Sepple's magic health tonic!

It was fun meeting up with cousin Karen in Brisbane. Kay is my age and still very involved with her teaching. She also dabbles in Painting and gave me a lovely piece to bring home.

My darling brother Lester and his wife Mandy found themselves at cross roads in their careers and have made the huge decision to give up their lovely home in Brisbane, put their treasures in storage and head for the Middle East.

Mandy is a university lecturer and was able to find a position fairly easily in Ryhadh, whilst Lester too, seems to have been lucky in getting a job. He is waiting for confirmation and for his visa and will join Mandy as soon as possible. We hold thumbs for them. I am sure many stories will be forthcoming from this unique and exciting experience.

Lastly, and such fun it was to see friends from the past who have emigrated from South Africa and are making their lives in Australia.

Simon Royston brought his beautiful daughters Bella and Samantha to visit us. Warren taught Simon and his sister Tracy in Big Bend and I taught Jubs. A fun family. You are doing a wonderful job Simon!

Wendy and Theo de Beer have just opened a printing franchise in Brisbane. A big step which we are sure that with Wendy's experience and hard work and Thea's support, will be a huge success. Good luck guys.

Claire née Russell has made a new life in Australia with hubby Mike and cutey pie Samantha. It was great catching up with them. Claire's life thus far would make for a very interesting book, me thinks. Love you always Claire Bear!


To all you wonderful people, thank you for making the effort to see us. We wish you much happiness and success in your various ventures. South Africa's loss, Australia's gain.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Living the Dream!

It is good to see one's children living their dreams and so young too! It has been a dream of Diana's to own land and have space for a few chooks (poultry) and other little creatures....guinea fowl and ...let's wait and see. You can take the girl away from the farm but you can't take the farm away from the girl.

Christopher's dream was to retire by forty and this he has done! It has meant a few expat postings to be financially secure in order to do this. Since they married, the two of them have lived in Australia, Singapore, China, San Francisco and are now settled back in Australia with their three beautiful children. It has also meant lots of late night work, travel, etc.with Diana holding the fort. This has resulted and allowed them both to be living their dreams! A HUGE achievement!

This does not mean work has stopped! It is the kind of work they chose to do and are passionate about. They are giving their children a beautiful environment in which to grow up in and as parents they have QUALITY TIME to spend with their children. These three children must be some of the best traveled kids ever! Africa, America, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Mexico....just to name a few of the countries they have experienced!

Diana (with Warren's help) is out in their sprawling six acres with the lawn mower and cutters tidying up their property. The homestead is huge and takes much maintenance but she has it all in hand and streamlined.

Christopher still needs to bring in the bacon but has vowed never to don a suit and tie again and wants to work from his "den" forever. He is into hydroponic gardening and he and his Dad are busy constructing their "hoop" greenhouses! The satisfaction of picking a bowl of his own homegrown leaves and tomatoes to enjoy, has sparred him on to make this a satisfying and successful project.

The children are blossoming in the lovely open space and are in out of the pool and have become accomplished swimmers. Yesterday we went for a walk down the road and the children had bikes and scooters and not a car passed us. To be so safe and free, is such a privilege.

This beautiful home is five minutes from a quaint village called Eumundi which is well known for its weekend markets. Diana's sister Pru and husband Muz! have four joined shops and specialize in mostly African and Swazi products. On the daysthat the market is open, it is jammed packed with tourists coming from all over Australia.

Noosa is the nearest big town and Noosa river is idyllic for meeting friends and having fun. We have had quite a few trips to the "beach" in Noosa and really what more can they wish for. They certainly are living their dream!



Thank you for sharing this with us!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Birdie num nums!

Most family gatherings around this time of the year have a bit of drama and we had ours too. Ours was not human drama but bird drama. Diana's brother Greg, is a young Australian farmer bringing up two young boys, Keith10 years old and Max who is 8. They were staying with Big sister Pru across the valley but would come and join us most days.

Diana is enjoying rearing a couple of egg laying hens and four guinea fowls. One evening she was heart broken to find that the door of the guinea fowl run had not be closed properly and a chick was missing!

After a long search, all hope was lost! However, Grampa Warren, who is hard of hearing, did say he could hear something up in the roof, chirping. Early the next morning as the sun came up, Greg got up and went on the search. Sure enough he found the chick on the roof of the shed! What relief!

Molly was given a beautiful blue/ white budgie for her birthday at the end of November. Over Christmas, when the place was packed out with guests and children, she asked whether she could play with her budgie, Pebbles. Her Mum cautioned her to make sure the doors to the playroom were firmly closed as Pebble's wings needed clipping! Needless to to say, the inevitable happened and Pebbles escaped. Molly let out a blood curdling scream as he flew out of the doors. She chased after it, very distraught but Pebbles was on a mission. I just saw the ball of light blue fluff fly off into the tall Eucalyptus trees, which surround the property. GOODBYE PEBBLES!

Tears and sadness lasted a short while and then the talk changed to wanting to replace Pebbles with a guinea pig!! It is amazing how children bounce from one drama to the next. Pebble's cage was placed strategically and much whistling and calling went on for the first day. Diana rang the pet shop owner where Pebbles had come from and the owner confirmed our deepest fears..."Pebbles was a gonna" ...that beautiful little bird was going to be snapped up by a butcher bird or an eagle or....oh it is too ghastly an end to contemplate! The girls decided he had gone to a Better place to join the angels.

TWO days later Pebbles was all but forgotten! There was much excitement as Aunti Pru had brought six gingerbread houses to build and decorate for the nine children who had gathered here! After a much needed swim, as the temp was once again in the forties the children got to work on their projects!

Suddenly there was a movement in the sky as light colored ball of fluff seemed to fly from one tree to the next. Pru and I looked up simultaneously and thought we were imagining things. We definately saw something ...could it be.....Pebbles, fly from one tree to another....could it be? Pru, not saying much took the cage and placed it out in the open grass.

The men, including Greg, were enjoying beers around the pool which has a clear perspex wall around it. The next thIng, Pebbles is right behind them, in the enclosure. Pru surreptitiously passed the cage to Greg. The door of the cage was opened and everyone was on the alert.The audience had stopped their icing and decorating tasks and were absolutely mesmerized watching Pebbles get closer and closer to his cage. Our Bird Hero, Greg, eased himself onto the grass behind the cage and crawled closer and closer.

Scene of the big catch.
The children were battling to hold their breath any longer...Greg stretched his hand out and grabbed Pebbles. The cheering raised the roof....the folk in the valley would have awakened from their slumbers....poor Pebbles nearly had a heart attack. TWO nights in the wild fighting off his many enemies...and now this. He was hungry and exhausted! After a huge welcome and Molly declaring it a MIRACLE, the children returned to their tasks at hand.

Diana clipped those beautiful wings so that there was very little chance of Pebble escaping! Greg, the Bird hero, had to be toasted and praised and toasted yet again. Molly has forgotten, for the moment, that she wanted to replace the bird with a guinea pig and the Pet Shop owner is in shock!