Tuesday, 29 May 2012


More colour yeah? Nice.

The weather in Cape Town is quite frankly out of this world. (I'm English so of course I'm talking about the weather) It literally experiences four seasons in a day - sunny as anything, I'm sitting on a deckchair praying that even with factor 50+ suncream I'll get some kind of tan - when suddenly, out of the blue (blue sky, literally) it starts pouring like a mentalist. I dash inside sodden wet & spend a good 10 minutes battling with firelighters, wood & a lighter. The fire eventually gets going & I set up camp with a jolly old book (with pretty pictures) & a sense of girl-scout achievement. At that very moment the sun pops out again & the day is back to the height of summer. Most frustrating, but certainly keeps one on ones toes! With all this business I see rainbows very often which is really wonderful. Invisible but visible colour in the sky. I think the Gods are doing a painting. 
God, the creative creator.

On a bright blue sky day I decided to seize the opportunity to explore an area in Cape Town called Bo-Kaap, umbrella in hand. Bo-Kaap is a historic area which dates back to the 1700s when it was known as the Slave Quarter & was home to freed slaves & exiles from the east. The Muslim heritage is evident in its beautiful mosques & Muslim chapping cruising around. Bo-Kaap is on the slopes of Signal Hill with bright multicoloured rectangular houses lining steep cobbled streets.
This area really is quite a contrast to the rest of the city so I decided to explore & find out more. A wonderful man called Cyril Johnson led me on walking tours around the area where, in fact, he grew up on its streets. As the tour began he remarked - 'we are walking on my bedroom'!

At one point we bumped into two of Cyrils friends - two brothers, one older & one younger. They lived in shacks in the area & were on their way back their from buying some milk. They were very friendly & called Cyril the 'President' on the streets. The older brother told us a story of how he'd been shot in his bladder & it constantly leaks. He said he's trying to save the money to go to the hospital but it's very expensive. Such an awful story, but even as he told it he laughed & joked with his brother & was warm & friendly. What an amazing guy. Real life eh? Gosh.

Cyril let me right up to the top of the hill to a small shrine facing east. The views over Cape Town were spectacular & I enjoyed watching the seagulls flapping about.

After my Bo-Kaap adventure I went to the hotel where my parents were staying - Vineyard. We hung out & had tea in the beautiful garden when I spotted a rather large turtle munching on the grass. I sat near by & she slowly pottered over to say hello. Very friendly indeed.

A while later I went for a wander in the hotel garden when I came across my new turtle friend, still munching on the grass BUT this time something else was going on - SHE HAD A MALE ON HER BACK! Seriously, it was a bit of a shock, especially as she was still munching away at the grass. After a few minutes she really seemed fed up & started her slow-paced walk but the chap on her back didn't stop. I honestly believe I witnessed a rape. Most unpleasant turtle behaviour.


Thursday, 24 May 2012


I've always loved colour. I think it would be hard to see me & not gather from my general attire that I'm a colour fan. Fluorescent blue & pink 'Golddigga' trainers (two 'd's & two 'g's, of course), turquoise trousers & a red beret I always look like a rainbow spat me out. When I paint & draw there's always a colour injection - bright inks or Muji gel pens, the world needs to know that I'm no black & white gal.

I've also always been a fan of shiny things. My owl obsession started many years ago when I was cruising around an Italian market with my dad & came across the most bright & shiny owl-shaped bag. My dad turned his back in compulsion - the kitsch-est thing he'd ever seen. It was so bright & shiny it was lucky I was wearing my sunglasses because I tell you now - without them I'd certainly have been blinded. I was completely mesmorized - gold leather feathers & gold mental eyes. Out of this world. Despite my dad's disgust, I bought it immediately & used it every single day when I was at art school. He (the bag) was called Marmaduke & protected my paintbrushes & ink pots with it's life.

So I love colour, shiny things & something else - gemstones. I've always loved gemstones, bringing me onto the point of my story - relating things back to my South African adventure. I heard talk of a place where gemstones covered the ground - colourful & shiny - where one could go & collect them. My dream. It's called the Scratch Patch & I sprang at an opportunity to go & experience the wonder for myself. The sun was shinning & I sat collecting gemstones which completely surrounded me. I filled a bag for on 150 rand - about £1.50! I've turned them into beads & have been making Scratch Patch gemstone earrings like a mentalist (look forward to your Christmas presents chappies!)

Having said I'm no a black & white gal, I must admit that the next activity after my colourful shiny experience couldn't have been more black & white - checking out...PENGUINS! Yes, African penguins maxin' & relaxin' on a beach. I kid you not. The really were the most funny looking creatures, wobbling around & enjoying the good life. The beach where they chill is called Boulders Beach & is on the coast in a beautiful little place called Simon's Town.

What companionable guys! I want to be a penguin.
Very cosy.

I think these two (bellow) were gossiping about the strange blond girl staring at them because she was carrying a whole load of gemstones. Very strange indeed.

Yo, s'up? 
Not much. Just havin a bud. Ya know.
I think the chappie (above, right) is doing what I call a 'Marilyn Manson'. If you get me.
The one bellow was far more innocent - collecting sticks for his nest.
Mr penguin (bellow) spotted a potential love interest but felt shy in his approach...She seemed keen enough & I have hope that he'll be building a nest soon too.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


So I arrived in Cape Town with two suitcases stuffed full with all sorts of random arty bits & bobs - inks, pens, oils, sketchbooks, felt, sewing kits, beads, wire...you name it...and my blaady massive camera in my hand luggage. Looking like a true touristy brit with my big sun hat & carrying a million & one things as I passed through customs, I was - of course - stopped & search. I am most suspicious. The man doing the search was rather unpleasant & asked me how much all my posessions were worth. A bit of a tricky question - the arty bits & bobs were merely tuppence, but the camera was a slightly different story...I stuttered & rambled a bit until he got bored & let me through, thank goodness.

As I drove from the airport I was completely taken aback by the wonder of the place - mountains rising around the city, reaching into the clouds & shining in the sunlight. The awe-inspiring & aptly named Table Mountain completely recognisible with it's vast flat top. I bet the God's have the lunch off that. I was also struck by the townships we drove by - colourful corrugated iron shacks crowed together, clothes hanging in long washing lines & people all around. It was fascinating.

Very keen to visit explore I was met by a jolly chap who lives in one of Cape Town's townships & he led me proudly through the streets of his life. Kids running around, people chatting & I had a wonderful peak into a tiny room filled with men having their hair cut.

Above is a snap of the bar inside one of the township pubs. It was a small, dark room with a low ceiling & peeling wallpaper, but I was assured that it was the hip & happenin hotspot after dark. 
They hand out free condoms.

In contrast, bellow are snaps of their church. Also quite a hotspot, I'm told. Despite the poverty in the living space of the people here, I was struck by the strong faith  in the community. There was a little shop next to the Church selling handmade things to support the Church. The woman working there was physically handicap but was really so warm & welcoming. Very humbling to speak to her.
I bought a 'Township Teddy' which is made from bits & bobs of rubbish - car tyres & the like. My chum was a little shocked when she saw my new teddy, but i assured her that it has a sweet nature, despite it's peculiar appearance. 
Blue wellies! How convenient!
Such delectable food, it really was a shame that I'd just had lunch. Really. Apparently chicken feet (those appertising yellow things in the snap above) are a real delicacy.
This amazing elephant was created by some kiddies living in the township. Is that an owl I spot??

I bought a necklace from WELCOM TO CRAFT SHOP. Bright & colourful beads made from rolled recycled paper. Very cool.