Colouring In

It’s my favourite time of year.  I’m not sure why nature slowly dying into hibernation feels so thrilling, but it really does.  In this season of death and wintery sleep I watch as things come together, things come apart.  Rings are given and taken off. Decisions are made that seem to make little sense but to the hearts of the deciders.  The wind blows, the sun shines and leaves dance to the ground.  Things they are a happening.

I had a thought recently, a wonder really, if I have simplified my life to the point of emptiness.  Woaw.  If messy felt too scary, so I just stopped.  Stopped being brave, speaking the things that felt uncomfortable to speak, stopped writing, stopped trying, stopped dreaming, planning, stopped it all.

Until I suddenly found myself in a white room, sitting at a white table, with a white light buzzing dreadfully above my head, and nothing else.  From the other side of the one way mirror this might look good.  Swedish, minimalist good.  Simple, pure, uncluttered.  But from the inside, those white walls and that buzzing light gets whiter and brighter and whiter and brighter, until existence seems like the permanent moment a bomb detonates.  A long silence before the carnage.  But the carnage never comes.

A ‘If You Don’t Try You Can’t Fail’ banner hangs silent and unmoving on the wall above where the door should be. There is no despair here, in the white room of nothingness.  Despair would mean struggle, attempt, action.  There is only unmoving nothingness.  A clean, cool, climate controlled space.  Stuffiness would be a relief.

Here’s the good news.  I know it now.  I suddenly looked up and saw the white.  All around.  I felt no chill on my skin, no bead of sweat under my fringe and I knew.  I was in the room.

It’s time to head back to colour.




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Stumbling upon Paradise

I was completely unprepared for Paradise.  It  took me utterly by surprise, took my breath away, then released me back into the world to re-acclimatise to life outside of its perfect walls.

My friend, Lindsay-Jane, and I have a tradition of going to Cape Town for a few days together at the beginning of each year.  Okay technically we’ve done it twice now.  Maybe twice isn’t enough to call it a tradition, but we plan on doing it for years to come, so perhaps a tradition in the making.  Nah, it’s a tradition.  Our tradition.

Back to Paradise.  Last weekend was Cape Town weekend.  Some how, the tradition gods all got together around the water cooler and declared it a weekend of magic and wonder.  And wandering and excellent coffee and getting a table straight away at every busy restaurant we went to.  And the weather holding off perfectly until we were ready to spend a rainy, cosy afternoon in bed eating dark chocolate and watching old episodes of Sex and the City.

On Sunday afternoon we headed out of the city towards Franschoek to a wine farm called Babylonstoren.  It was well, Paradise.  That’s the last time I’m going to say that. Past the rows of rows of vineyards, which always seem like a dream,  there was beautifully maintained gardens. Upon gardens. Upon gardens.  Not too manicured or haughty, just right.  Rows and rows of vegetables growing boldly towards the sun.  I saw a pumpkin the size of a wheelbarrow.  Sadly I was too busy tapping it to make sure it was real to think to take a photograph.

There were donkeys, turkeys, a squirrel and countless chickens all wandering around freely.  Luckiest farm animals around. We ate lunch next to a green house which is also a restaurant.  Our salads came in jars (sounds weird, was awesome) and our waiter had a great knowledge of the wines and meals they served.

Throughout the gardens there were benches and chairs, dotted around under trees, between archways, right at the spot where you need to put your feet up and breath for a bit.  In the middle of a garden we stumbled upon a man on a bicycle selling sorbet and ice water.  “Sorbet or iced water?”, he casually and friendly-ly offered.

As well as the greenhouse restaurant and glorious gardens, there is the main restaurant, Babel, which, if you have patience for the three month waiting list, is I am sure, completely worth the three month waiting list.  There is also a beautiful shop selling glass jars, candles, table clothes, hats, beautiful ceramics, pretty much anything you can imagine to take home a piece of the experience.

Oh and there’s wine tasting.  Wine tasting as a tortoise strolls past munching on a piece of lettuce.  “They move much faster than you think”, said the Canadian tourist next to me.  The toes on their back feet have to be some of the strangest I have seen.  The tortoise, not the Canadian tourist.

There was something about being in that environment that made me want to go home and paint everything white, work with my hands more and raise a gang of turkeys.  We left feeling like we had been there for days.  Rested, inspired and in awe of the simple, beautiful aesthetic of this extraordinary space.

Babylonstoren’s website.

The last time we went to Cape Town and and an afternoon with baby lambs, if you’re in the mood for more ameezing.

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