Speaking of your bathroom cupboard…

I’m a bit of a snoop. Chances are, if I’ve been to your house, I’ve almost definately looked in your bathroom cupboard.  Having been at my parent’s house for almost two weeks now, it’s inevitable that at sometime, well, this morning really, I’d walk past the book shelf overflowing with photo albums, stop and open the first one. And then the next. And then the next.  Until my pyjamas were dusty, the shelves were empty and the floor was swarming with shots of newborn babies, ‘interesting’ haircuts and retro outfits way before they were retro.

Here are three of my favourite. I like them because they represent the time in which they were taken really well and I like how they capture the people in them. I think we lost something when we gained digital. Before, it was a miracle to get everyone to stand still and look in the direction of the camera. Now four year olds pose like Beyonce.  I’m glad we had the time of not knowing how the shot came out, handing in the film and sticking the photo into the album with the kitten on the cover. Photographs felt precious and irreplaceable. Kind of like the moments they captured.

My beautiful Mom. There is nothing about this photo that I don't love.

Europe, with three young kids. High five parents.

Little big brother

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I see dead people…

There are ghosts everywhere.  Not the white sheet, see-through granny with long grey hair kind.  The ghosts you may think have long since crossed over but then as you walk past that jewelry shop or see someone eating a Kit Kat or hear the phrase ‘dish up’, there they are again.  The ghosts of the past. Threatening to make you shiver in your boots, under your duvet until the sun comes out again.

There are no ghosts here, in this tiny mountain town where I have been for the last while.  What a treat, a ghost free existence.  Everywhere is new. All stones unturned.  No boot shivering or duvet hiding.

I do miss the ghost town where I live though.  Joburg, Ghostville.  If you’re fortunate, your ghosts will come with good memories too.  The kind that make you live regret free, still eat Kit Kats and keep you from doing any Hayley Joel Osmond impersonations.  I’ll be back there in a few days.  Playing from the sheet music I now know by heart, taking Bruce Willis’ advice and making friends with my spooks.

Until then, I’m going to soak up the atmosphere in this ghost-less ghost town.  But still check under my bed for Mischa Barton, just in case.

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No Country for Old Credit Card Machines

Yardsales, not just in the movies.

All out of Red Velvet Cake.

Who needs Woolies?

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Ryan


This is my friend Ryan. Ryan is Jacqui‘s beloved.  Ryan is a podcast loving, apple pudding making, Midrand hailing, tuna eating, genius writer.

I am constantly inspired by Ryan’s photo taking, quietly capturing moments that would otherwise go unnoticed, unwavering honesty, love for Jacqui, excellent taste in tv series and ability to have a super casual conversation during an overseas  phone call.

Ryan has taught me to relax(!), the joys of skype and how easily friends can become family.  Thank you Ryan, you are ameezing.

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Birds do it, bees do it…

I like old people love.  The kind of love that has spanned decades. The gracious, timeless ‘even though your ass got saggy, your feet got calloused and your eyes don’t see that well anymore, I still feel lucky to be with you and hold your hand through life’, kind of love.

I believe in it, I aspire to it and I feel especially fortunate to get a glimpse of it.  On a sunny Wednesday afternoon in Howick.

Old Love - Howick, Kwa Zulu Natal

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‘So, where are you watching the game?’

Much like ‘Where were you when the planes hit the towers?’ or ‘Where were you when Princess Diana died?’, ‘Where are you watching the game?’ has been the question on everyone’s lips for the past few weeks. From fanparks to bars to stadiums to your granny’s lounge, we have all wanted to know where our beloveds were going to be in this shared experience.

So we didn’t get through to the next round, but geez, it sure was fun trying. I even found myself yelling at the TV yesterday. And it’s not over yet. The Gautrain is still running, the tourists are still enjoying South African weather and wire curios, the stadiums are still standing, the hot, foreign men are still wandering around the shopping malls and one team still needs to take that photo where they are all sweaty and jubilent, hoisting eachother up and kissing the weirdly shaped World Cup trophy. The game must go on.

I think there should be a prize for Best Host Like, Ever. And I think we should do our darndest to win that now.

South Africa vs France, Himeville Arms, Himeville.  Three men and a vuvzela.

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Country Road (the other one)

Making New Friends


I’ve been housesitting in the country for four days now.  Some things I have discovered so far:

1.  A new person walking someone else’s dog is going to cause peering faces through curtains

2.  The Spar sells rabbit food and Soda Stream machines

3.  Fallen Autumn leaves, like snow, are sometimes much deeper than they seem. Walk with a stick.

4.  Farmstalls are the new Woolworths.  Frozen meals, chocolate brownies, nice.

5.  Just because you think it’s cold, doesn’t mean it can’t get way colder.

6.  A crackling phone line is not always because you are in a remote area, sometimes it’s just not plugged in properly.

7.  The stillness becomes less deafening as time goes on.

8.  You’ll hear “Have a nice holiday”, alot. Don’t even try and pass as a local.

9.   Before your friends arrive, you might find yourself talking to farm animals for company.

10.  No matter how many times you have seen the mountains, they still have the ability to take your breath away.

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Solo Roadtripping

I’ve never been anywhere in South Africa alone. Yes, down the road, across the city, to Pretoria and back. But never more than two hours away by car.  Until Saturday morning.  What an extraordinary experience to throw my bags into the back of the car and hit the road. Just like that.  Listen to anything, eat all the snacks before Heidelberg, stop as often as I wanted, turn the aircon on, off, on, off.  Bliss.

It was a long drive and I did get tired eyes and a very numb ass, but it was also an ameezing voyage of independence and space for my brain to get some good ol’ fashioned thinking done.

I am also super grateful to my two brothers and army of friends who called, smsed, mmsed and called some more to check that I was safe.

I photographed the journey, although sadly missed taking a photo of the circle of shorts wearing Afrikaans men in Villiers who asked if I was okay.

*I only recommend solo road trips if you have a car that is in good working order and a sterling roadside assistance programme. Good.

Leaving frosty Joburg.

Pondering stuff.

Trying unsuccessfully three times to photograph this caravan.

Drinking loads of this.

Singing along with him.

Trying to pass lots of these.

Squinting into this.

Arriving here.

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A post on posting posts

I wanted to have a chinwag with you about tattoos.  And on Thursday, the day that I wanted to do that, I spotted a really well dressed student type in the queue at the bank (I have internet banking but mysteriously always find myself in bank queues.)  His tattoo was the outline of the Joburg skyline along the side of his hand.  I’ve seen a couple of Joburg and Africa tattoos and his was one of the best.  Subtle, interesting, well done.  Everything a good tattoo should be.

So guess what I did when I had spotted the perfect Joburg tattoo on the day I wanted to write a post about tattoos? Nothing, a disappointing nothing. I looked at it alot, listened to the conversation he was having with his girlfriend, bit my lip a bit and tried to summon the nerve to say, ‘hello, I love your tattoo, please can I take a photo of it for my ameezing blog’. But…nothing.

Valuable blogging/life lesson number 14: Courage.

Find your inner Sartorialist and take him out for tea and scones, make him your side kick, your Jiminy Cricket, the Harold to your Maude. I photograph things and people alot for my job but when there was no veil of professionalism to dance behind, my pluckiness was  mysteriously gone.  No more, dear friend, no more.

Someone who has courage in truck loads is my ameezingly talented little brother, JOEL JANSE VAN VUUREN.  He has a couple of tattoos and this is his latest one.  My dad draws trees and drew this one for Joel.  Ameezing.

JOEL JANSE VAN VUUREN

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Go Our Guys

Today Bafana Bafana play again and we celebrate Youth Day.

I said hello to this little guy and he replied, ‘no’.  I didn’t mind though because he was the perfect sullen subject for this photograph.  Go Our Guys.

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