The Bell, Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens

The Bell

50 years after the trees were planted, the Bell was erected in 1958 in the Avenue of Trees in the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens.


The Bell originated from the British Admiralty yacht HMS Enchantress.During the Second World War the yacht was used to rescue survivors after their ships were sunk, torpedoed or otherwise damaged by German submarines.


When the war ended the HMS Enchantress became a pleasure steamer and was eventually scrapped in about 1952.

The Bell has been declared a National Monument.


The Bell
“I love thy music, mellow bell,
I love thine iron chime,
To life or death, to heaven or hell,
Which calls the sons of Time.
Thy voice upon the deep
The home-bound sea-boy hails,
It charms his cares to sleep,
It cheers him as he sails.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Sent from my iPhone

Colour Magic

Aaaah at last, I can colour in in public now that colouring in for adults is a trendy pastime. Previously I took opportunities when I could, usually hijacking a small child’s colouring in book on the pretence of “showing” them how to colour in.

I love the amazing designs that artists are currently drawing, the beautiful colouring in books which line the bookshops shelves, the feel of good pencil crayons and the smell of wax crayola.



While I’m colouring, I often reach a space called flow which is the period when my brain empties and all that matters is the picture I’m filling in with beautiful colours.

My Colouring In Books

My Colouring In Books

Humming Birds

Humming Birds

Keeping Busy: Knitting




I enjoy making things and knitting is an especially satisfying craft. It’s amazing what one can create with two needles and a couple of balls of wool. I had scraps of wool from different projects and decided to make a cushion cover.



I made up the pattern as I went along and knitted a reversible cover so as it could be displayed on either side.

Cushion cover

Cushion cover

I sewed the cushion together last night and I’m happy with the result. My next project is in the planning stages – watch this space …….


Almond Flour

Almond flour is currently being promoted as a marvellous substitute for ordinary flour. Anyone in South Africa who is on a diet, knows about Tim Noakes. He advocates cutting carbs and using protein products instead.

I believe almond flour is high in protein and contains little or no sugar or fats which makes it the healthy option.

Because of all of the publicity, I wanted to try it. So, yesterday, when walking past our local health shop, I saw almond flour advertised on the blackboard outside the store and went into the shop and bought a bag.

However, I misread the sign! I thought it said R25.00 for 500g!  When the assistant handed me the packet of almond flour which I had asked for, the label said R125.00.

I nearly refused the flour but pride held me back. So now I’m the owner of a bag of almond flour and I’m not sure whether to store it in my baking cupboard or pack away in our household safe!


What Makes A Book A Classic?

I have a passion for books and now that I have a Facebook feed from Everyman’s Library, Vintage Books and Anchor Books, I’m constantly reminded of all the beautiful books in the world, both old and new.

I particularly enjoy the classics i.e. Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and, with the advent of freely available audio books, I have substantially expanded my “reading” of these treasures.

There are also many cleverly crafted, newer books which brings me to my question, what sets a book apart from all the rest and makes it a classic?

I like these three of Esther Lombardi’s observations:

  • A classic expresses an artistic quality;
  • A classic stands the test of time;
  • A classic has universal appeal.

Wikipedia’s explanation is simply;

“A classic book is a book accepted as being exemplary or noteworthy, either through an imprimatur such as being listed through any of the Western canons or through a reader’s own personal opinion.”

In 1920 an American teacher, Fannie M Clark explored the question and during her research asked her eight grade class. One of the considered answers were “Classics are books your fathers give you and you keep them to give to your children.”

After spending some time on the internet, looking for answers to the question of what makes a book a classic, I have created my own definition – here it is:

A classic book is a book that:

  • Has something meaningful to say;
  • Is beautifully written;
  • Speaks to its reader, and
  • No matter how many times it is re-read,  there is always something new to discover – in the story, in the words or in the sentiment.

‘til next time.

“… there will always be flowers”

My mother died on the 3rd June. One of the messages of sympathy I received ended with “…… there will always be flowers”. The meaning of these words became apparent during this time of grieving. The flowers in my home, the flowers in the chapel and the flowers in my office comforted me.

from Emma Barter

from Emma Barter

My mother loved church, the traditions and the hymns. In tribute to the sweetness of her unquestioning belief, we choose the children’s hymn “All Things Bright And Beautiful”, for her memorial service and we made sure that the floral arrangement in the church was an array of bright and beautiful flowers.

Oakleigh's Chapel in Prestbury

Oakleigh’s Chapel in Prestbury

I asked my daughter to read out my eulogy, as I was too emotional to speak myself, which ended with this beautiful poem.

Flowers from the Chapel


“If Roses grow in Heaven”

If Roses grow in Heaven
Lord, please pick a bunch for me.
Place them in my Mother’s arms
and tell her they’re from me.

Tell her that I love her and miss her,
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for awhile.

Because remembering her is easy,
I do it every day,
but there’s an ache within my heart
that will never go away.

Author: Kirsten Preus

To my beautiful mother, may you rest in peace.

Ardmore Ceramic Art

Stunning Ceramic Art

Stunning Ceramic Art

Ardmore is situated in the Caversham Valley, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, and is the home of beautiful ceramic art. The area around Ardmore is picture book perfect and the ideal place for a studio.

Ardmore KZN Midlands

Ardmore KZN Midlands

I was very excited about visiting as I have been an admirer of Ardmore creations for a long time. Ardmore have exhibited their work all over the world and, I believe, both Queen Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela own Ardmore pieces.

Dramatic Butterfly

Dramatic Butterfly

The work has drama and tells a story, making the pieces like a ceramic book.  The colours are strong and lovely. Nature dominates at Ardmore, there are monkeys and lions and butterflies and flowers ……… the list and combinations are endless.

Shelf Display

Shelf Display

After spending some time browsing, I couldn’t resist buying a small dish, decorated with zebra. It is safely displayed in a glass cabinet at home and gives me such pleasure.

Pink Bowl

Birds and Flowers

We finished off our outing by having lunch at Caversham Mill where the food matched the fabulous setting.  A great day out in the country!

View From Caversham Mill Restaurant

View From Caversham Mill Restaurant

Easter Cupcakes

Apart from the absolute essence of Easter which is celebrated today in churches all around the world, Easter is also synonymous with various foods.

Easter eggs, chocolates, roast lamb, are all part of our Easter celebrations.

We celebrated the new life that Easter promises with an Easter lunch and served these cupcakes for afters.

Aren’t they pretty?