by Penny Mitchell


As I watch minor puffs of pending precipitation waft across the sky like smoke signals, I marvel at the ability of nature to move between constant horizons. I am reminded of our tendency to fix motion and emotion in a snapshot of life.

We are quick to condemn in the courts of our mind. “A leopard cannot change its spots,” we say, convinced that a person will be frozen for ever in a framework of our judgement.

I was surprised to learn, from an online phrase finder, that the origin of this idiom is the bible, Jeremiah 13:23 (Old Testament).

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also can you do good who are accustomed and taught [even trained] to do evil.”

Zondervan (2010-08-17). Amplified, Bible, eBook (p. 1093). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

In a good story, characters should change. When trapped beneath the ‘paintbrush’ of an accuser some years ago, I wrote the poem you will find at the end of this blog. At the time of writing it and when I later wrote and rewrote a whole work of fiction around the ‘spots’ of my accuser’s character, I ignored the notion that my bad guy could ever be good. After all, he had to be willing. So much for my fiction.

I confess then that I have been both a victim and a perpetrator of the sinful art of framing.

I recently went to a Christian friend’s funeral. This man had changed significantly after his spiritual conversion. Evident from the eulogies of family and friends was a legacy of hope to steady us all in this evil world.

I find it interesting that Jeremiah refers to training. Those of you who have read my blog – Voices that Matter – what I did with my 67 minutes and more on Mandela Day (, might have noticed my focus on the upbringing of our children. “Children should be brought up to love, not hate. What kind of parent brings up a warrior? And yet there are those that do and call it honourable.”


I sit here and consider
The frame you’ve put me in
Accusations of your cruel heart
Over which I cannot win

The frame is not soft wood
But steel, sharp and icy cold
Deceptions in your mind
Untrue, harsh thoughts unfold

For if I were the artist
Every brush stroke would seem right
Not faulty or distorted
Like your picture which I fight

For should I accept the image
You have of me
I surely would be destroyed
And never ever free

Painted with double standards
I swim before your eyes
Too late I think I’m drowning
When will you realize?

So when you’ve finished painting me
And hung me on your wall
Forgive me if I escape for
From your dis-grace I fall

If I become more distant
It’s because I cannot live
Inside the framework of your mind
My very soul to give

I have resolved not to fix a person within the boundaries of my assumptions. Tomorrow is another day, and who knows what God can paint with a willing heart? Nobody’s perfect, least of all me. Let’s hope and pray for a masterpiece to be thankful for


The empty salad bowl

by Sue Trollip

I had great aspirations when I moved to a warmer climate with a deck in the sunshine large enough for plants. Veggies, I thought, lots and lots of fresh veggies. So I went shopping for large pots, soil, and plants.

After a little consideration, and a couple of flowers, I chose a tomato, sweet pepper and baby marrow (zucchini) then I threw in some beetroot, because they are just too yummy.

I went straight home and got planting.


So far, I’ve eaten 3 tomatoes.


My farming aspirations have been dashed. Winter is just around the corner and my crop is non-existent. The leaves are magnificent as the peppers and marrows vie for sunshine but there are no blossoms, no sign of a crop.

2.jpgNow I have the long winter to research my errors, to find a new, better way of farming for my salad bowl. This time next year, I hope to have a full salad blog , to show off the fruits of my research.


Flying Pancakes

By Jac Dowling

Friday 29th July saw the Bhuki kitchen on fire . . . well, not literally, because the Firechief had paid his regular visit to ensure our stoves were all safe and sound. A pile of pancake order containers teetered on tabletops, enthusiastic mixers, bakers, runners and rollers all ready to go. And go they did. Everyone knowing his/her place in the order of things, production commenced at 08.30 and by 10.30 all three hundred pancakes, plus the last drops of batter, had been rolled, sold and delivered.

From ticket sales vantage point, opposite the library entrance, I witnessed a quite amazing rush of activity. Pancakes flew up and down stairs, outside to the police guarding the entrances, through the streets of Hermanus, across the road to various offices and finally into The Bhuki Cafe. All in addition to our ticket sales – our amazing supporters just came and came, and kept on coming. So much so that there was no time for a quick cup of tea between sales and chats, and my tweetalige linguistic acrobatics were flying with the pancakes.

Library staff, despite their present shortage of extra hands, raced around with boxes of orders, always with a smile, and men in uniform, suitably pancake sated, drifted meaningfully back to their duties. If one can drift meaningfully . . . and at one stage, a member of the public erupted from the library and burst into splendid tenor voice. His version of – Lehar? An amazing morning, The Day Pancakes Flew.

We have so many supporters, volunteers and donors of pancake batter to thank for the success of the morning. Without them there would be fewer new books on the shelves and some seriously deprived connoisseurs of the celebrated and comforting pancake. But next time, there will be batter for four hundred and perhaps we’ll be treated to further apre-pancake arias in the lobby.