Mandela Day…

In honour of the 67 years Nelson Mandela spent fighting for social justice and a free, democratic South Africa people around the world are being encouraged to spend 67 minutes helping their communities to do something positive today.

What are you doing this Nelson Mandela Day?  There are so many ways we can all help those around us, just stop yourself and think for a moment about what you can do.  No matter how big or small every gesture helps and the knock on rippling effect of goodness will flourish.

Mandela Day was inspired by the speech Madiba made in Hyde Park, London, on 27th June 2008 when he urged the leaders of future generations to help change the world for the better saying, “It is in your hands now.”

Today I have gifted two indigenous trees to be planted in an under-greened community.   Trees promote life in the form of oxygen, shelter for wildlife, recharge groundwater, replace soil nitrates and have countless more environmental benefits.  They also provide great pride of place in communities, helping them to become healthier and happier places to dwell.  Those living in barren landscapes are far more likely to suffer from crime, drug abuse and depression.   So a tree provides a host of means to help a community blossom.

One organisation doing an incredible job here in Cape Town is called Greenpop and if you too would like to get involved with making things greener please check them out here.  You can help no matter where you are in the World.  We are after all one big community sharing this earth.

If you are looking to your own local community sometimes even the smallest acts of kindness can make a persons day, for example:

  • Buy someone a coffee.
  • Hold the door open for the next person.
  • Help an elderly person with their shopping.
  • Spend time with a family member or friend in need.
  • Buy the big issue.
  • Go to your local charity in need and donate food, clothing or household necessities.
  • Hand out sandwiches if there are homeless people in your area.
  • Quite simply say thank you.
  • Smile and send out positive vibes!

Right must dash, I have got to go and buy my copy of the Big Issue….

Tall trees.

Oh to be so tall & slender!

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour.

I am enraptured with the golden hour every day from my new home!  The sky seems to be a different colour here in South Africa as the light projects in an alternative contrast to the big Australian skies.  Why is it that even though you have seen the sunset more times than you can count there is this compelling force that makes you look…?

Like flashes of lightning or the site of a rainbow, you simply cannot refrain from taking them in.  Perhaps because the golden hour comes with the knowledge it is always unique, never to be repeated in exactly the same way, and is therefore something magical to enjoy as one of those lucky enough to see it.

Recently I have had the pleasure of soaking up the golden sunset every evening down by the beach and I must keep reminding myself that staring at the sun, particularly through a camera lens, is not good for ones retina’s even though it is amazingly soothing for the soul.  So do watch yourself when its beauty compels you to look and try to keep your vision off centre!

Spreading a little magic with the weekly photo challenge.

Palm trees make me smile!

Coming from Yorkshire I still get very excited when I see a palm tree as you certainly won’t find many, if any, there!   To me they depict tropical holidays and far away places!  “Where the wild things are!”  (One of my favourite childhood books).

I just came from Beach Street in Melbourne where the road was lined with palms and once again I find them right outside my front door here in Cape Town!  Isn’t life just one big tropical holiday all of a sudden!   Well not quite but I am trying to keep my chin up whilst going through the (to be expected) anxiety brought on from moving to a new country.  If you go back to some of my posts earlier in the year you will discover my excitement, trepidation and words of wisdom on how to settle in to a foreign land.  Well I am trying to eat my own words right now!

I guess one needs to remember to take each day as it comes, there will be good days and bad days.  Don’t be too hard on oneself when you have a day of disillusionment and nothing seems to be going your way, leaving you feeling isolated and disheartened.  There is always the prospect of a brand new day tomorrow and the attitude as to how to tackle it is entirely in one’s own mind.

So today on my early morning walk to get the blood flowing, grab a coffee and find the local yoga studio (exercise always helps), I took hope and positivity from the beautiful winters day (rather similar to a pleasant English Summer’s day, so no complaints here!) and the strong tall palm trees which made me smile with holiday joy!

Palm trees.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”.     Christopher Robin to Pooh – A.A.Milne

Settling in to Cape Town……

My computer is fired up but the internet is currently a little intermittent, persevering all the same!  Just getting settled in at the moment and trying to laugh at the hilarity (instead of getting frustrated!!) at not knowing basic things like which way to turn out of the front door for starters?!  Where is the supermarket?  How do I get a phone?  Setting up a bank account? etc. etc.  Starting all over again basically!  The period of floating between two countries, having no house keys and only a suitcase in tow didn’t last long!  Now it is back to reality, only it is a very bright, shiny new reality that is different again to anywhere I have lived thus far!

Things do seem to go rather round the houses here before they get done but then I have got to appreciate the laid back vibe!  Going to the car registration office was like stepping into a time machine from every aspect from the systems and service to the decor, mood and lighting!  What was apparently supposed to be an instant administration turned into 2 days and now it is a week and it could be longer….. hey ho…. it is some where in the pipeline!

The good news is once it is granted I am going to get myself some wheels to drive around in.  This will be the first car I have ever owned!  You have got to commend me for my minimal carbon footprint!  I have been riding a bike and using public transport for years but living in Cape Town it is going to be much easier and safer if I have my own car…… yes very excited about this!  Although I can’t help feeling uncomfortable that now I am in a much poorer country I will finally own a car, it seems rather controversial.  Something I am going to have to get used to in many ways whilst living here.  Part of my purpose in being here though is to find ways to improve and add value to the community no matter how small they are and I hope to keep you posted on my endeavours as time goes by.

Watching out on the roads needs to be emphasized!  I have already noticed driving is some what erratic and the road rules are certainly not adhered to in all cases.  I have seen five accidents so far and noticed drivers bored at a set of red lights who decided they couldn’t wait any longer so just went anyway.  Never mind the number of people who play russian roulette with their bodies just running across the roads at any given moment amidst the high speed motorists.  I felt terrible for the road workers who were fixing some tarmac in the middle of four lanes of traffic whilst it sped past them.  No cordoning off the area or closing a lane whilst they carried out their task!   Health and safety in the UK or Australia would be having a conniption!

And where’s the fun in this…. no hooting!  Well I will make sure I don’t do any honking either….but I fear it may be absolutely necessary!

A sign post saying "No Hooting!"