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Some things can easily be resolved

  June - Week 2 (reading time 3 mins) Yesterday, I had one of those experiences with petty officialdom. I took a friend to the airport and drove into the drop & go zone.  As soon as she disappeared into the building, I look for my parking ticket, and… you’ve guessed it, it has disappeared.  I search for about 3 minutes, get out, look on the tar, check the boot – nada. Then I realise, that if I don’t exit within the 5 minutes time allocation, I will have to pay R26 instead of exiting free of charge; so I quickly head to the exit.  At this point, I must mention that this is in George – a very small airport, so all of this happens within a radius of about 10 metres. At the exit boom, a small piece of paper informs me that the intercom is broken (of course). I reverse (badly) and park. I walk over to the ticket office, adjacent to said boom. In a very friendly manner, I explain that I’ve just pulled up and dropped my friend, I even have 3 witnesses (security men, lounging agains
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June 2023 - Week 1: What have I been reading?

  June-Week 1 What have I been reading? Firstly, I am not the person to come to if you’re looking for what’s new and current. I grew up visiting the local library and browsing among old and unattractive books, and although I have become somewhat captive to today’s pretty covers, I am still loath (and too poor) to spend money on new releases.  I prefer to stick to libraries, second-hand bookshops and loans from friends.  When I find a good author, I usually hunt down their older books at the aforementioned spots or on Kindle where they are more affordable. Secondly, my preferred reading at the moment is light. Not Coke Lite, just a really satisfying Coke.  I’ve read my fair share of Pulitzer Prize nominees and there’s a time and place for those too. So here’s my current list by author: 4 fiction, 2 non-fiction. FICTION Val Mc Dermid : Excellent Scottish crime writer (1955- ), with various series.  I really enjoyed the Karin Pirie thriller: Still Life. Catherine Alliot : Another


  Sowing and Reaping   We fell in love and In my heart I dug a small hole and Planted an acorn for you.   In your heart You ploughed a whole field and Planted spinach.   And over the years I watered my sapling and it grew Into a towering, robust Oak. And you continued to reap and plant spinach. And I do love spinach.   But you grew tired, Perhaps from the hard work of tending your field, Or perhaps you did not like the shade my Oak cast. Perhaps you wanted someone Who could trade with you: Carrots for spinach Or some such similar crop.   So you bulldozed my Oak. You toppled it. And when it fell, It splintered beyond repair; Its great roots up-ended, stand exposed.   This cannot be undone. You cannot right the Oak. It will never grow again. We will never enjoy its noble splendour; its generous shade.   But you can move ahead unaffected, Because what you planted was shallow, Labour-intensive, But easily reproduce


I’m one of those people (one of only 1 million South Africans) who gets the flu vaccine every year, because I teach and also because flu is extremely unpleasant.  Also because I’ve seen it kill a strong young man of 30.  Around 5000 die every year from flu.  I have it down to a fine art; the key being to get it in April as soon as it’s available so that you have a full 6 weeks of warm weather to build immunity before winter hits.  So when Covid-19 registration opened early, on the 30 th of June, for the 50-59 age category, I registered immediately, knowing that so far, this was the only perk of having turned 50 in May.  Just 6 days later, before even getting my responding SMS, I received a WhatsApp from a friend saying she had popped into a vaccine site and that I should go straight away as they weren’t busy, and so I did.  I was perfectly healthy and excited to receive my protection. The following day I felt a bit tired, as expected, and took it easy.  On the 8 th I started with s

Negative Space

If there were balance in the world Then l would wish you joy Proportionate to my pain. May your joy be all-consuming and overpowering. And may your heart expand By the pieces hollowed out from mine By my salty tears. As you lie awake feasting On the dreams of your future, Drink deeply from the wine crushed from the fruit of mine. Natalie Simmons 2020


I discovered this title from a Facebook page by the same name and I find the quotes they share to be particularly powerful. Like this one. For four years I had four kids living in my house, in three different schools. I was teaching full-time, and running a guest house.   Futhermore, because we live in the countryside we have to drive 30-45 minutes to get pretty much anywhere. So I know a bit about being busy, but I have very deliberately worked my way out of that.   I am grateful to be in a much quieter season at the moment. How busy are you? Firstly recognise that everything that requires effort is work: house work is work; taking care of kids is work; meeting family commitments is work; driving a car is work; service in the church or community can be work.   Your 8 hours at your chosen occupation is just one facet of the work you do. The sum of all your daily tasks may be taking you over the top.   Studies have shown that in the workplace people are literally getti

Slow Teaching

I wrote this 4 years ago, but didn't publish it. Still true. I want to start a movement called ‘Slow teaching’ in the same spirit as the Slow Food Movement. Because we’re starving our children, serving them superficial and contrarily highly complicated information instead of soul-building, sustaining basics. I speak as someone who has just moved from a very small, very unique school where ‘slow teaching’ is mostly standard fare; to a large government school, a very good government school; where compliance to the education department syllabi is adhered to. Now I must take a group of students through a beautifully written book with several complex themes in a matter of six to eight 30 minute lessons. It’s a thin-ish book but this is a second (or third) language for my students, so they barely understand the story. And I don’t have the time to go slowly enough to explain all the words, or to re-read paragraphs. I can’t take time out to discuss the setting of South Africa and