A beautiful and frosty new year

By Sue Trollip

I’m starting off my new year doing one of my favourite things … travelling.

I’m not actually going to leave at one minute past midnight and there will first be red wine and fireworks on a snow covered mountain, but after that I’m hopping into a car and fleeing across the snow covered desert to see what I find. As Robert Louis Stevenson said:

‘I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.’

I agree wholeheartedly, but I also like to go places, Robert. I like to immerse myself in whatever is there, or run for the nearest train, as I’ve done before. Moving though the world is always a lovely experience and today we have been discussing different smells and the way food tastes different in each country even when it’s the same. It’s interesting how we all see things in our own way. David Mitchell wrote in ‘Cloud Atlas’:

‘Travel far enough, you meet yourself.’

Even Henry Miller had it right when he said:

‘One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.’

So I’m going to see the Nevada desert, the mountains, the Pacific ocean and the city of San Francisco and when I return I will no doubt have learned a few more things about myself and my surrounds.

This morning, I travelled to the next town over in the blistering cold. My ears were cherry coloured icicles and my toes curled into their socks anxious to return to the heat of the car as I marched down the street of touristy shops. It was a browsing expedition, a fun outing in unbearable weather and when the lure of coffee seduced me back to the car I did not hesitate, until I saw the lake with windy sea-horses, a beach covered in snow and the distant mountains capped with more snow.DSC06409

Beautiful and frosty … now for the wine and the fireworks!



A Mother Time

by Penny Mleaf2

While contemplating my next blog, I realised that I turned my new leaves over months before New Year’s Day 2014 had a chance to survive the fireworks and reverie. Resolutions were therefore not required. Now that we are in March, after a phenomenal couple of months, I feel I should mark the occasion.

For me, there are few places better than the UK for Christmas. I guess that’s because I was born there and have memories of my father sneaking up the stairs with the stockings at midnight, frosted glass and grass, baubles, tinsel, mince pies, brandy butter, gammon, cranberry jelly and roast parsnips. No matter how hard I tried to recreate the traditional lunch, it was never the same in the humidity of a Durban summer.Frosty Somerset morning

I began this year with my parents in their Somerset home, following a sumptuous meal with their friends at a farm in the English countryside. Above is a view of their back garden, my mother’s wonderland.

After several years of matchsticks until sultry midnights climaxed with self-imposed, lonely views of crackling gunpowder showers over the ocean, local sound effects and calls to children wherever they were, it was pleasant to spend New Year’s Eve with parents and people.

Until my son and then my daughter and her family emigrated to Australia, apart from each New Year’s Eve, and a few years (a couple of decades ago) when I was supposed to watch the share markets as a part of my job, I never seriously considered that anybody else, besides God, was awake when I went to bed.

 “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”
― Ray Cummings, The Girl in the Golden Atom

Communications became complicated. Melbourne, where my son stays, is eight or nine hours ahead of Durban and one or two hours ahead of Brisbane where my daughter lives, depending upon daylight saving. The UK is one or two hours behind Durban. My brother lives in California which makes it even more complex. To clarify then, as I write this in Brisbane at midday on Monday 17 March, it is one o’ clock in the afternoon in Melbourne, four o’clock in the morning in Durban, two o’clock in the morning in the UK, and seven on Sunday evening in California. I am literally way ahead of my brother.

For the first time since I returned to employment, a quarter of a century ago (eish!), I didn’t have to rush back from the UK for work, school or anybody else. It was like falling into a liquid-centred chocolate pudding. When I eventually emerged four weeks later and tripped back to South Africa, it was to organise my life prior to my trip to Australia. Five and a half weeks squashed into a couple of days of reality in between puddings. I have arrived in Brisbane for two months of mother and granny blessings, interspersed with tapping keys and swiping screens.

 Oh the bliss of being a writer no matter what the time and where. There is always somebody awake to ponder my musings.

 A belated Happy New Year to our precious readers
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