Life after death
A lesson in impermanence
Recently, my dad passed away after a short battle with cancer. I’ve reflected on his unexpected passing and its aftermath here.
After a stint back in South Africa to spend time with my mom, a few things I’ve realised:
SWISS is now just as mediocre as United (though at least pandemic cutbacks have spared the free chocolate served just before landing)
Cape Town can actually experience forked lightning (something I discovered on the top of Table Mountain during a thunderstorm — minutes after I’d breezily informed a British tourist that, having lived there for much of my life, I’d only ever witnessed the [much less dangerous] sheet variety)
Not all toasted chicken mayo sandwiches are created equal (the one at Montagu’s Kloof Padstal was particularly excellent). The same can be said of malva pudding
I remain on the fence about bobotie
No matter how weepy you might get, there’ll always be a member of your extended family who is weepier than you are
Oftentimes, meditation (even 10 minutes of it) is like a glass of ice cold water on a sweltering summer’s day
After seeing a few giant specimens at Platbos, the white stinkwood might be my new favourite South African tree
Happiness is tending to a donkey boiler, braai and chiminea simultaneously
Green shoots. It was a great privilege to write a feature for Financial Mail about ferncliffe Forest Wilding, the ecological restoration project started on the fringes of Pitermaritzburg by my friends Janine and Connor. The article is behind a paywall, but you can read the piece in full in my journalism portfolio
The first time I read Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (about 12 years ago) I was underwhelmed; I felt it was far less captivating than Mrs Dalloway or The Waves. Re-reading it a few weeks ago, however, I thought it was absolutely brilliant — an extraordinary evocation of family, a marriage, and the unsaid. It’s strange, fascinating and quite wonderful how the same text can provoke two drastically different responses in the same reader. Are there any books you’ve had two similarly contrasting experiences with?
I haven’t read any Helen Garner, but I loved this essay by the Aussie author and journalist about ageing, and writing/not-writing.
Sounds of succour:
Antony Osler reflecting on death, life and grief on the this episode of the Stoep Zen podcast
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on How to Fail with Elizabeth Day
Nigella Lawson on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs