Looking for Something Different for the Petrolhead in your Life?

Looking for a treat with a difference for the petrolhead/gearhead in your life? Why not spoil him or her with a gift about their favourite thing in the world and help them boost their creativity.

You can even participate! 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads have both serious and fun writing prompts to get anyone writing – no matter what age.

This is a book for writers to do a bit out-of-the-box writing, teachers to have fun with writing exercises or orals in class and journalists to explore new ideas to write about. Or just for anyone wanting to develop their creative skills.

Click here to order your copy of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads on Amazon in paperback or as and eBook (a cheaper and always available wherever your go option).

Start your Christmas shopping early this year.

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Wife. Mom. BloggerContent writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with a crazy-haired husband and two dogs. Author of a children’s chapter book and a few short reads, and co-author of this writing prompts book with her content writer son, who also has crazy hair.

What to do in Hermanus During the Hermanus Whale Festival – 30 Sep-2 Oct 2022

Welcome to the 2022 Hermanus Whale Festival – the first one post Covid! We hope you enjoy your stay and have a wonderful weekend of relaxation and whale watching. Learn more here about our lovely large sea giants, and don’t forget to visit the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit’s stall in the tent at the Waterfront.

The program for the festival and more information about our whales and our beautiful village the is available on the Hermanus Whale Festival website.

Read these safety tips to enjoy a safe and healthy weekend. Also make sure to save some Hermanus emergency numbers on your phone should you need them during your stay.

Please keep our town and ocean clean by using the bins provided for all your rubbish.

Keep reading for…

What to do in Hermanus and the Overberg

In and around Hermanus

Accommodation

Find accommodation in Hermanus to fit your needs and then plan your holiday according to the information below. Make sure to come for long enough, because Hermanus and the Overberg have is plenty to do! You will need at least four days for an enjoyable (introductory) visit.

Eating Out

In 2019 Hermanus was designated a UNESCO Creative City of GastronomyRestaurants in Hermanus have exceptional food and those on the Waterfront have breathtaking views.

The children’s playground at the little open-air amphitheatre on the Waterfront lawn offers opportunities for the whole family to enjoy breakfasting, lunching or dining here.

Wine

The wine farms of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is the hub of some of the best Pinot Noir the region has to offer.

There are fourteen farms between Hermanus and Caledon to visit for tastings, lunch, picnics and walks, with a Wine Hopper to assist you in not drinking and driving.

Beaches

Hermanus provides plenty opportunity for swimming, surfing, kite surfing (at the estuary at Grotto beach) and sunbathing on its large and small sandy beaches.

Also visit Voëlklip (great surfing), Langbaai, Kammabaai (great surfing), Kwaaiwater/Mosselrvier (picnicking), Onrus (great surfing)

The Cliff Path

Starting at Grotto Beach, the cliff path snakes along the coast for 12,7 km, which makes it a fantastic walk, whether walking as a whole or just taking a short walks. It’s ideal for an early morning or early evening walk from almost wherever you stay in the village.

Benches are placed along the path for enough opportunities to rest. Take snacks and water along, as the sun can be scorching especially during the summer months. Always use sunblock on your walks and wear a hat.

Fernkloof

Hermanus has plenty opportunities for walking. The three dams nestled in the mountains are reachable from Fernkloof, where there are various trails to follow to explore the mountains.

Always walk in groups and do not take dogs on paths where they are not allowed, (because of possible baboon presence). This precaution is for your own safety.

The Hermanus Camino

Hermanus has its own Camino! So, if you have five days open and fancy a walk, check it out.

The Rotary Way

The view from Rotary Way on the top of the mountain is spectacular and is a good starting point to orientate yourself with a ‘live map’ of the village underneath.

Do not feed the baboons if you encounter any there. If you experience any trouble with them, call the baboon hotline. Read tips on how to enjoy a safe and healthy holiday in Hermanus here.

Hermanus Golf Course

Hermanus is a proud host of a 27-hole golf course (different course options), with beautiful fynbos, restored wetlands and wildlife to appreciate. There is plenty to keep the rest of the family busy, while Dad spend a few guilt-free hours on the greens.

There are other golf courses in the vicinity as well.

Sports

The Hermanus Sports Club offers squash, tennis and table tennis. Make sure to book in advance. There is also a skateboard park and a gym.

Bicycles can be rented to explore the village and beach.

Kayaking between the old and new harbours can be enjoyed on good weather days.

Extreme sports are popular in the Overberg region and there are plenty of activities to choose from. A local not-to-miss sports event is the annual Walker Bay Outdoor, held at the end of April each year, where young and old can participate.

If you have your own set of Bocce/Petang, you can make use of the court in Swallow Park to play – or you can just enjoy a rest under the trees while walking in town.

Art

Hermanus brags with more than twenty art galleries in the CBD and a few more in the suburbs, as well as in Onrus.

Open-air art installations are placed at various points in town as part of Hermanus FynArts and can be admired at any time. A weeklong annual FynArts event is held in June every year.

The First Fridays Art Walk was extended to an all around the year activity after lockdown, so make sure to plan your trip around a first weekend of the month, because on the first Sunday of the month the Art in the Park exhibition is at the Hermanus Municipal Auditorium.

Our Famous Visitors

While the Southern Right Whales visit Hermanus’ shores between July and November every year, while a few shy local Bryde whales is also observed in the bay from time to time throughout the year.

Other wildlife to check out on and from the land, are the dassies (hyrax), dolphins and penguins, birds and seals.

Penguin sanctuaries can be visited in Kleinbaai and Betty’s Bay.

Markets

Apart from the permanent Old Harbour Market at Market Square in the CBD, there are markets at the Wine VillageHigh StreetHermanus Country Market (at the cricket grounds) and the New Harbour Market on Saturday mornings – and also on Wednesday nights during December/January (at the cricket grounds).

The Hermanus NG Kerk (DR Church) has a month-long market during December in the Grobbelaar Hall in town, while St. Peter’s Church has a Saturday morning market in the church garden right through the year.

A Saturday morning drive to surrounding towns provide more options.

Shopping in the CBD

The CBD offers lots of shopping opportunities with specialty and pop-up shops.  

In High Street, shops and buildings are newly renovated and upgraded and the street provides a beautiful and vibrant walk within the village, with little tea and coffee shops and restaurants lining the street.

Museums

There are a few museums to visit in town. The De Wet’s Huis Photo Museum next to Market Square showcases photos telling Hermanus’ history and in the Old Harbour, the whale museum houses bones and information regarding our large Walker Bay inhabitants.

Old Harbour

Apart from visiting the museum, the Old Harbour is ideal for fishing, snorkelling, diving and swimming in the small cove, with Bientang’s Cave Restaurant & Wine Bar offering a picturesque ocean view after the activities have left you hungry and thirsty.

The New Harbour

The New Harbour (read about its history) is situated at the end of Westcliff Drive. (Marine Drive becomes Westcliff Drive at the bend when you leave the CBD.)

It harbours (pun intended) three restaurants/bars, as well as the offices of whale boat watching and diving and fishing excursions.

The Station 17  National Sea Rescue Institute building keeps a watchful eye over the harbour.

tour of the abalone facilities can be booked on weekdays to learn more about this delicacy.

Various companies offer fishing opportunities from The New Harbour.

There is also the option of taking a scheduled/chartered eco or sunset cruise on a 36’ sailing catamaran from the New Harbour.

Picnicking

Picnicking can be done in the gardens at Fernkloof, on the beaches and even on top of the mountain, while watching the sunset.

Most of the wine farms in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley also have picnic menus.

Adventure Activities

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley also hosts regular adventure activities such as a Zip line, weekly Saturday Park Run, quad biking, cycling and walking are fun day activities for individuals and families to do.

Short Day trips

Shark cage diving is something for the not-so-fainthearted and is done at Kleinbaai (Gansbaai).

A wonderful and informative place to visit is the Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary near Stanford.

Stanford offers trips on various river boats for fun family/group activities.

A visit to the wineries near Stanford, can be combined with tastings/lunch at the cheese farms.

Go see the Klipgat Cave near De Kelders, go up in the lighthouse at Danger Point, visit the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, do shark cage diving at Kleinbaai and/or have an encounter (swimming!) with crocodiles at Afrikanos (near Danger Point).

Drive a bit inland and visit RiviersonderendCaledonGenadendalGreytonGrabouwElgin, or NapierBredasdorpBaardskeerdersbos and Elim. Other great options are StellenboschFranschhoekMontaguWorcester and Matjiesfontein.

Go horse riding at Karwyderskraal or Pearly Beach and drive a bit further to visit the cave at Waenhuiskrans/Arniston (at low tide), and end your afternoon where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at L’Agullas (and visit Struisbaai harbour while you are there), before you head back for a night of fine dining back in Hermanus.

And on another day, go in the other direction and visit the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay, or go sunbathing and swimming at other nearby beaches at KleinmondBetty’s BayPringle BayRooiels and Kogelbaai.

Longer Day Trips

With the long days during summer time, day trips to as far as Paternoster are perfect to experience a different place, but be back in Hermanus by dusk, because – let’s face  it – once here, you don’t really want to be away for too long! Consider the following possibilities.

Driving to Cape Town via Clarence Drive through Gordon’s Bay to go up Table mountain. Or shoot past Cape Town to see Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand.

Sleep-over Trips Inland

If you absolutely must leave Hermanus, take a drive inland and visit MatjiesfonteinPaternosterL’AgulhasStilbaaiMossel Bay and surroundingsGeorgeKnysna for a night or two. And then come back.

Because, you will always want to come back.

Hermanus Emergency Numbers

Safety Tips

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Wife. Mom. Blogger. Content writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with a crazy-haired husband and two dogs. Author of a children’s chapter book and a few short reads, and co-author of a writing prompts book with her content writer son, who also has crazy hair.

10 Weird, Secret and Accidental Clubs that Actually Exist(ed)

Most people are passionate about something and while it is quite usual to find fan clubs around the world with interests such as football teams, vintage cars, favourite writers, or cult-like films (think Star Wars and Star Trek), some people take their passions to another level.

Some clubs or groups are so secret that no-one knows what they are about or if they really exist(ed), like the notorious Bohemian club, allegedly consisting of highflying decision-makers dating back to 1872. But then there are also funny, flamboyantly strange, dangerous, plain weird, and even accidental clubs that exist(ed).

10 The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists

Marc Abrahams, used to compile the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), a satirical science journal overseeing the annual Ig Nobel Prizes (awards for improbable research) at Harvard Business School. He also ran the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS). The latter originated from a dream his wife, Robin, a psychologist and researcher, had in 2001. In it, she had to edit a special edition of a prestigious psychology journal in which every article had to somehow mention the luxuriant flowing hair of Steven Pinker. Pinker was a Harvard professor, as famous for his head-full of grey curls, as for his work in cognitive psychology and linguistics. Marc mentioned the dream in a newsletter and photos of scientists picturing their own incredible hair, started streaming in. He posted the photos on the AIR Web site, usually accompanied by an in-depth account of the scientist’s hair history – and so the LFHCfS was born.

Although an online post of a new member dated May 2022 was found under construction and that the LFHCfS “is getting a shampoo and set while moving web hosts”. Had it existed back then, Albert Einstein’s mane would definitively have made the cut.

9 The Order of the Occult Hand

In 1965, Joseph Flanders, a Charlotte News reporter, got a bit carried away when reporting about a shooting incident, writing “It was as if an occult hand had reached down from above and moved the players like pawns upon some giant chessboard.” After a few rounds in a local bar, Flanders’ journo friends joked about his wonderful ‘purple’ prose and decided to try and sneak variations of the phrase into their published work. The inside joke spread, and other journalists joined in and within the next decade the phrase – partly or fully – found its way into multiple publications. It was only when digitalization came along that the secret of the Order of the Occult Hand was exposed in detail by Chicago Tribune staff writer, James Janega, in 2004.

The phrase had been used at least 40 times over the years – with some journalists, like Pulitzer winner Paul Greenberg (at least six-times) getting away with it more than once. With the secret out, rumours are that other phrases were proposed. We will probably have to wait for another occult hand to reveal the new mystery phrase.

8 The UK Roundabout Appreciation Society

“No place in the world exerts such attractive power as an island.” This Robert Louis Stevenson quote welcomes one to the Roundabouts of Britain website – home to the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society (UKRAS). Appropriately, Kevin Beresford, President of UKRAS holds the cool title of ‘Lord of the Rings’.

While the one-way gyratory had its roots at the Columbus Circle in New York City (USA) in 1903, and soon spread to Europe – and eventually the rest of the world – it was the UK who coined the word ‘roundabout’ in 1926, around the time the first one saw the light at Sollershot Circus, Letchworth in Garden City close to London. The roundabout is truly “an oasis on a sea of tarmac” according to their Ring Lord. Yep, only the Brits could have come up with this one.

7 The 20-Minute Society

Another British group, the 20-Minute Society, at England’s Newcastle University, is a fun club organizing mystery social gatherings with only a 20-minute warning to meet at a venue revealed to them via a text message or email. The purpose of the society is to host unpredictable and spontaneous social activities, like pub crawls, extreme trampolining, comedy nights, welfare picnics, summer balls, etc. They also take weeklong holidays to other (mostly European) countries and have their own brand merchandise. They post regularly on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram.

It has become so popular that word spread and similar societies, with some slight variations, have sprung up around the world.

6 The 47 Society

Eric Levine loves the number 47 so much, that he founded a fan club – The 47 Society – dedicated to exploring the ‘phenomenon’ that is 47, because according to the FAQs on their website “many suspect that the coincidental nature of 47 carries some mystical, metaphysical and/or scientific significance”. Logical, isn’t it? It started in 1964, when Pomona College mathematics professor, Donald Bentley, stated that all numbers are equal to 47. His documents of ‘proof’ for this had never been found, but Eric – who learned about it as a student years later – and other fans weren’t discouraged, as sightings of the number are frequently posted on the society’s 855+ member strong Facebook page Articles about its occurrence in history and fascinating facts about the number 47 are available on the Internet.

A Pomona College alumnus, writer and producer for various Star Trek TV shows and films, had even inspired other writers to include ‘47’ in nearly every episode they wrote, which has sparked a dedication of a different sort amongst Trekkies.

5 The Not Terribly Good Club

It’s not always a good thing to be too good at something. In the late 1970s, British journalist, Stephen Pile, started a fan club for people who were not terribly good at the things they do. Stories from all over the world streamed in, which led to him writing the book, The Ultimate Book of Heroic Failures. The original book contained an application form for membership, and it quickly became ‘the official handbook’ of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain. It includes hilariously sad stories of people being terrible at their jobs – such as Benin golf player who wiped out his country’s entire air force with one golf swing.

Unfortunately for Pile, he was not good at maintaining a terrible club and its fandom exploded to a point where it became too successful to fit the original purpose. A Facebook search for the club nowadays, shows a few different pages containing variations of the club’s name with low followings, so maybe they are back on a ‘not terribly good track’.

4 My Little Pony Adult Fan Groups (Bronies)

We know that fact can sometimes be stranger than fiction, and the My Little Pony Adult Fan Groups – also known as Bronies – proved that once again. The Bronies were (mainly) a male fandom springing up from the popularity of Hasbro’s My Little Pony children’s animated fiction. Teenage and adult Bronies even attending BronyCon gatherings in Germany, England, and the USA. So, what was the attraction this little girl series had for their mostly male adult fans? It was rooted in the lessons about ‘honesty, kindness, laughter, generosity, loyalty and magic’ taught by the little ponies – as interviewers learned from research done for the 2012 feature length documentary film, The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony. Brave, brave men.

Bronies crossed country and language barriers through using YouTube, blogs, merchandise, and games. Unfortunately, they had their non-fans too – accusing them of racism, Nazism and other isms. The Bronies consisted of at least 80% male (75% single) fans in their teens and twenties, who lived with their parents, and were predominantly white and straight – with a high number having disabilities. They all felt that the My Little Pony content made them feel happy and comforted. Their fandom peaked in 2014, but apparently, their numbers are rapidly declining now and the last BronyCon was held in Baltimore in 2019.

3 The Martin-Baker Ejection Tie Club

Hats off – or is it helmets? – to people belonging to this ‘accidental’ club. The family run company, Martin-Baker, has an exclusive club uniting all pilots whose lives they have helped save. They had been the frontliners in the designing and manufacturing of ejection and crashworthy seats for more than 70 years. During this time over 7,600 pilot’s lives were saved. They have received 11 Queen’s Awards and currently have over 17,000 seats in active service.

Life membership of their Ejection Tie Club is exclusive to those ejecting from aircrafts using their ejection seats. According to its website, the club has grown to over 6000 registered members from all over the world, since the first ejection by an RAF pilot occurred over Zimbabwean (then Rhodesia) airspace in 1957. Members receive a certificate, membership card, patch, tie and pin or a brooch (for females). All Martin-Baker Ejection Tie Club memorabilia depicts a red triangle warning sign – the recognized international danger symbol for an ejection seat. It is probably a club no pilot aspires to belong to.

2 The Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society (OCEPFAS)

The topless book club emanated from an emancipation attempt in New York by its founder women, who knew about a law, allowing women to be topless anywhere men are allowed to be bare-chested. The women wanted to practice this freedom and sunbathe in safety and formed topless book clubs. Typically, groups of women would meet in parks, on rooftops, riverside walkways and even the steps of buildings to read together.

Although there was resistance to women reading half naked in public, these groups were normally tolerated and, in some instances, even praised for their bravery. Groups approached by police, were politely left alone after they were reminded that the law was on the women’s side. OCEPFAS was not only about feminism though.  Serious literary discussions made up a great part of their gatherings. Their website and social media sites were deleted and braless women reading in the sun haven’t been spotted in public recently.

1 The Tiger Blowfish Fan Club

Participation in super-secret Tiger Blowfish fan clubs can kill you. Eating tiger blowfish – also known as pufferfish and fugu – was first banned in Japan in the 16th century, but legalized in 1888 by the first prime minister, Hirobumi Ito. The fish contains the poison, Tetrodotoxin – a thousand times more lethal than cyanide – in its liver and eating it can induce symptoms including numbness and paralysis, before causing respiratory failure. Each pufferfish can carry enough poison to kill up to 30 adults! Trade in fugu is secretive and intricately complicated and a 1 kg (2,2 pounds) can cost up to an eye watering US$275.

The risks have not put people off eating it and secret blowfish dinner clubs exist, but are revealed only when word of it leaks or when venues are raided by police. The meat is apparently subtly flavoured and tasty and with still a ‘safe’ amount of poison in the meat, it creates a mild euphoria – hence the willingness of diners to go to great lengths to eat it. Because it is illegal in most countries, the secrecy of clubs, such as the Fugu Supper Club launched in London in 2011, makes it difficult to know where to find them as membership is normally by invitation only – and venues are revealed at the last minute. Many restaurants worldwide love using ‘pufferfish’ or ‘blowfish’ in the name of their restaurant, but do they secretly offer the real thing? Who knows?

Read more of my list articles here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a freelance content writer/blogger living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Friendship

#8

100 Words: The older I get the more I appreciate friends and family, because in certain instances some family had become friends and some friends had become family. Looking around at the lives of others and also ours – as we have moved to a different phase of our lives – I realised that life can get lonelier as we grow older and move up in the family hierarchy to become the older generation. Friends and children move away or immigrate or die, leaving empty holes. But fortunately, our global village is small and a good friend is always just a video call away.

Under 10-words Takeaway: Be that true friend.

Read my previous 100-word Pondering here.

Read this article about loneliness and health risks when growing older.

Watch this video to learn how to make a WhatsApp video call.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a freelance content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

10 Male Authors Writing Under Female Pseudonyms

We all know that way back in history when women was prohibited to do certain jobs, they had to improvise if they really wanted to follow their passion. Men played female parts in plays written by men and if women wanted to write books and not be stereotyped for writing ‘silly lady novels’, they had to write under male pen names – which many did. We now know that George Elliot was in fact Mary Ann Evans and that the Brontë sisters – Charlotte, Anne and Emily – became Currer, Acton, and Ellis Bell.

What is less known is that men sometimes had to do the same. In this day and age, men are branded by another form of stereotyping, and publishing in certain writing genre is frowned upon for male authors. Although it is not such a general phenomenon, it happens and when scratching under the surface of the publishing industry, there are quite a few surprising male names popping up with female pseudonyms.

10 Dav Pilkey a.k.a. Sue Denim

Pilkey grew up struggling with learning disorders such as ADHD and dyslexia. What he didn’t have problems with, was drawing and imagining fantastical stories. He became known as author and illustrator of the Dog Man children’s graphic novels and the Captain Underpants series – starring characters which created themselves in his young mind when he was repeatedly dismissed from class in school and spending many hours in the hall – drawing. His books were translated into many languages and millions of copies were sold worldwide. Although he used the male pen names, George Beard and Harold Hutchins (two of the characters’ names in his Captain Underpants series) for his Captain Underpants spin-offs, he chose a female name – Sue Denim – for the Dumb Bunnies series published between 1994 and 1997.

He even posed for photographs as Denim, created a fake persona for her and included a list of imaginary titles written by her in her biography. She was so popular that she sometimes got more fan mail than Pilkey himself. The reason why he chose the name Sue Denim? Because when said quickly, it sounds like pseudonym. Duh!

9 Dan Brown a.k.a. Danielle Brown

Dan Brown has built a cult-like following with his well-known best-selling books, The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, which were adapted into movies, with Tom Hanks portraying his protagonist, Robert Langdon. In 2018 Brown was listed the fifth highest-paid author after James Patterson, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and John Grisham. 

Although now a writer of coding- and symbolism-themed novels – probably coming from his years of spending time in the presence of his mathematics professor/writer father – Brown’s writing career started off with a totally different kind of book, co-written with his then wife, Blythe (nee Newlon). The book 187 Men to Avoid was a dating survival guide for women searching for ‘Mr. Right’ and it was published in 1995 under the pseudonym Danielle Brown. 

8 Martyn Waites a.k.a. Tania Carver

Martyn Waites became a successful writer after trying his hand at anything from bartending to acting. Books from his various series normally has an investigative journalist at the helm. 

When a former editor of his work was looking for a ‘British version’ of Karin Slaughter or Tess Gerritsen-type writing, Waites replied that he was the best ‘man’ for the job. When not being able to find his female voice in writing, he regularly consulted his wife for advice – so much so, that he made her co-author, and the pair has been penning novels together since 2009. Their Tania Carver novels consist of the Brennan & Esposito series, including novels such as The Surrogate and The Lost Girl.

7 Tom E. Huff a.k.a. Jennifer Wilde

Texan born Thomas Elmer Huff (1938-1990) found his female writing voice quite early in his career and has only one book published under his real name. He started out writing gothic novels under the pen names such as Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, T. E. Huff and Katherine St. Clair. But it was as Jennifer Wilde that he really made his mark. These historical novels were written in the first person from the heroin’s perspective and many featured multiple male protagonists.

His first Jennifer Wilde novel, Love’s Tender Fury, had 41 reprints in the first five years, and his second, Dare to Love, topped the New York Times paperback bestseller list for 11 weeks. He didn’t plan to keep on writing under the Wilde pseudonym, remarking that he didn’t relate to her, so he published a novel as Tom E. Huff, but continued writing as Jennifer Wilde anyway. Various previous novels were re-edited under the Tom E. Huff name.

6 Peter O’Donnell a.k.a. Madeleine Brent

Peter O’Donnell was a comic strip artist and writer, who had also adapted Ian Fleming’s 007-movie Dr. No into a comic strip for the Daily Express newspaper. But it was his James Bond-ish comic strip character, Modesty Blaise, published in The London Evening Standard from 1963 to 2001, which brought him fame. He went on to write 20 Modesty Blaise novels. A movie was adapted and is available on You Tube.

His writing under a female name started in 1969 when Souvenir Press requested O’Donnell to write a Gothic novel. He sent in four chapters but received no feedback. Much later an American publisher contacted him to complete the novel, causing a predicament as he didn’t know how the story would end. He persevered, but because it was written for a female readership, he adopted a female pen name. The novel, Tregaron’s Daughter, was a success in the US and Europe and many more followed. In the 20 years of correspondence, his American publisher never knew that he was male. He got his wife to sign his letters as to give his signature a female touch. His pseudonym – Madeleine Brent. The same initials as Modesty Blaise.

5 Nicci Gerrard and Sean French a.k.a. Nicci French

Nicci French is the combined pen name for another married couple Sean French and Nicci Gerrard. Although each had their own separate writing success, the pair decided to start writing as a duet and is doing it already for 24 years. They met while working together at The Statesman magazine, where Sean was a columnist.

Sean’s solo books include three novels, three biographies and a compilation of essays. Nicci has written nine books, including the non-fiction book, What Dementia Teaches Us About Love.

Their first novel together was The Memory Game and they have since written 27 more, including the eight-book Frieda Klein-series. They have also written a picture book, The Fox and the Wolf.

How do two authors of different genders designate themselves as one writer? In their own words from an interview: “We hope that people read our books not as an experiment but as the work of this one particular writer, Nicci French, who has her own imagination and her own strange talent which is different from either of us.” They certainly have convinced me!

4 Roger Sanderson a.k.a. Gill Sanderson

Already surviving for 114 years and selling a book just about every 10 seconds, makes Mills & Boon books extraordinary and chances are that every adult woman in the Western world has read at least one of these books in her lifetime. The company started by Gerald Mills and Charles Boon in 1908 has served as escapism reading for women – created by women. Well, mostly. Throughout Mills & Boon’s history, only a few men have tread where no man normally does – and with surprising success.

One such man is Roger Sanderson, a retired English lecturer, who wrote the Commando comic series, where after he started writing romance novels with his wife – written under her name. He became so good at it that he pursued this writing genre by himself. He wrote more than 40 Mills & Boon novels and has also written for various publishers, such as STAR and Hale, and is currently writing for Accent as Gill Sanderson and for Desert Breeze under his own name.

3 President Benjamin Franklin a.k.a. Mrs. Silence Dogood and others

When young James Franklin started a journal with the goal to criticize the Massachusetts colonial government and religious establishment, he couldn’t foresee that he would be stood up by his little bro, Ben. Fourteen letters by a minister’s widow, called Silence Dogood, became quite a hit and wasn’t exactly what James and his band of Couranteers or Hell-Fire Club had in mind. When admitting that he wrote the letters, Benjamin Franklin was accused of vanity by his brother.

His brother’s critique didn’t prevent Benjamin Franklin from writing under pen names though. The man who would later become the president of the United States of America, wrote letters as both men and women throughout his life, but it was his female personas – Martha Careful, Busy Body, Alice Addertongue and Polly Baker – with whom women could relate, giving them a voice and fighting their causes. Indeed, a man ahead of his time in the eighteenth century!

2 Dean Koontz a.k.a. Deanna Dwyer and Leigh Nichols

Dean Koontz’ books are highly in demand with collectors, which led to many instances of fraud and hoaxes as pseudonyms/novels/letters and other works are accredited to him which are not his.  He used the male pen names W.H. Allan, David Axton, Brian Coffey, K.R. Dwyer, John Hill, Anthony North, Richard Paige, Owen West and Aaron Wolfe – as well as his real name. One of his pseudonyms was used for an episode called Counterfeit, that he penned for the TV series, CHiPs. It was edited to the extent that he asked that it was attributed to his alias Brian Coffey, instead of his own name. He also wrote under two female pseudonyms – five books under the names Deanna Dwyer and Leigh Nichols respectively.

Koontz sold his first short story he wrote and then he received more than 75 rejection letters before selling more work. His first four novels were never published. He reads more than 150 books per year and revises every page he writes twenty to thirty times. He has an excellent sense of humour – evident in the answers to his FAQs on his website.

1 Jorge Diaz, Antonio Mercero and Augustin Martinez a.k.a. Carmen Mola

The female thriller writer Carmen Mola had been called “Spain’s Elena Ferrante” (pseudonym of Italian translator/novelist Anita Raja). Mola’s books, translated into eleven languages, had become so popular, thereby accumulating many accolades. In 2020, a branch of Spain’s Women’s Institute listed her book, The Girl – part of a trilogy – as a must-read book by a woman that “help us understand the reality and the experiences of women.”

Rumours were that Carmen Mola was the pen name for a male writer, needing to write under a different name. So, when ‘she’ won the prestigious Planeta prize – the richest literary award – for the book La Bestia, (The Beast) written under the pen-name Sergio López and she had to attend a ceremony attended by the Spanish king to receive her prize, the audience was stunned when three men – Jorge Diaz, Antonio Mercero and Augustin Martinez – took the stage.

The scriptwriters trio is widely criticized by gender groups for writing as women about women issues, but Mercero reply was simply: “We didn’t hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name,”

Read more of my list articles here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a freelance content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Passion is a Built-in Thing

100 Words: I absolutely love writing. I started ‘writing’ before I could even read. I don’t have the most creative imagination, but I do have one and I use it to write stories, articles and blog posts. I don’t make a lot or even enough money with my scribbles and I had too many rejections through the years. This blog is read only by a faithful few, but I keep writing, because I don’t know how to stop. And although I would love to be rewarded for it, reward is not what drives me. Passion is. I write because I have to.

Under 10-words Takeaway: What is your passion and how do you practice it?

Read the previous 100-word Pondering here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a freelance content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Tell your Stories

#6

100 Words: It is quite a normal thing to start thinking back on one’s life as we get older. I assume it’s our brain’s way of sorting itself out and making backups of our memories. Retrospect brings perspective. Unfortunately, most people’s stories die with them and they don’t leave a legacy behind. Telling stories, keeping a journal or writing down our memoires are great ways to leave answers to questions our children and grandchildren don’t yet know they have. It also teaches them to tell theirs. Sharing our stories is a gift. Don’t wait for ‘one day’. Start doing it every day.

Under 10-words Takeaway: Jot down a memory per day.

Read the previous 100-word Pondering here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock Fielies De Kock is a freelance content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Reblogged: Read my Latest Listicle ’10 of the Greatest Songwriters Ever’ on Listverse

Read my latest article, 10 of the Greatest Songwriters Ever, now on Listverse.

Read more of my list articles here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a freelance content writer/blogger living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

‘He who is wise…’

#5

100 Words: After turning forty many moons ago, I looked forward to tapping into the wisdom of ‘my elders’. I thought I would be learning things from the grey heads to apply to my life and maybe dodge making unnecessary mistakes. And by following their advice, I aimed to make good decisions taking me forward and becoming a ‘wise elder’ myself – who can mentor others when needed. But alas, I was disappointed by being surrounded by older people with pessimistic mindsets and negative things to say about every subject under the sun. I made a choice then to be different one day.

Under 10 Words Takeaway: Seek wisdom. Be the difference.

Blessed is the man who has found wisdom, and the man who gets understanding. (Proverbs 3:13 – Bible)

Read the previous 100-word pondering here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a freelance content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Don’t Always Believe your Eyes

#4

100 Words: Someone recently sent me a WhatsApp post, asking to forward it. With just a little bit of research I found that the message was fake. This happens daily. People receive and forward quotes, news and even pictures and videos which aren’t always real or true and by forwarding it without thinking and checking facts, we spread lies further. Don’t always believe your eyes or ears. Check facts. Do real research. Don’t believe the ‘gospel’ according to YouTube or Facebook. There are many, many self-proclaimed – and false – ‘prophets’ out there. Choose not to join their flock. They will lead you astray.

Under 10 Words Takeaway: Fact-check before forwarding.

PS: Has your Facebook page been hacked before? Are you regularly using posts to show you what your best characteristic is or what kind of flower you are? Read here why NOT to participate/share these or why NOT to type ‘like’, ‘Amen’ or on certain Facebook messages.

Read my previous 100-word pondering here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a freelance content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Reblogged: Read my Latest Listicle ’10 Famous Frescoes to Add to Your Must-See Travel Bucket List’ on Listverse

Read my latest article, 10 Famous Frescoes to Add to Your Must-See Travel Bucket List, now on Listverse.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a freelance content writer/blogger living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Fielies’ 100-word Ponderings: Where had all the Seconds gone?

#3

100 Words: One thing everyone agrees about nowadays, is that time is flying. Within the wink of an eye, we are facing the middle of the year already. Where had all the seconds gone? And what have I done to fill them? It feels that I am only brushing my teeth and going to bed. Is the earth moving faster around the sun or am I spending too much time using a screen? It might be the latter, because my screen time app shocks me daily. I have the same amount of time I always had, but get fewer physical things done.

Under 10 Words Takeaway: Switch the addiction (off) for more living.

Read my previous 100-word pondering here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus (@hermanus_unlimited) in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Fielies’ 100-words Ponderings: Stay in Touch

#2

100 Words: I fail this test again and again. I get an inclination to call someone, but with everyday things interfering, I don’t get around doing it. Two weeks ago, I had the feeling again. Life interfered. I didn’t make contact. Yesterday I got the message that the person I wanted to call – a friend from when we lived abroad – passed on. This morning my heart is heavy. Not just because he is not walking with us anymore, but because I denied myself one last opportunity to talk to him. Rest in peace, our friend. You will forever dance in our hearts.

Under 10-words Takeaway: Make that call. Stay in touch.

Read Fielies’ next 100 Pondering here. Start reading the series from here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Read my New Series ‘Fielies’ 100-words Ponderings’ Here

#1

100 Words: I ‘m sometimes pleasantly surprised and sometimes unpleasantly shocked by events and trends that arise or by our Creator’s unpredictable flock. As I’m not an orator as such and I don’t always know what to say about our world that is changing so much, I try to find my way – thinking things through – by pondering about what to do. I am neither politician nor preacher and I don’t pretend to be visionaire or teacher. So, this space will be the place to house my ponderings for you to see – and maybe help you, finding light in a dark world too.

Under 10 words Takeaway: Now read the paragraph as a poem – just for fun.

Read the Fielies’ next 100-word Pondering here.

© 2022  Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Reblogged: Read my Latest Listicle ’10 People Who Survived Multiple Disasters and Deadly Situations’ on Listverse

Read my latest article, 10 People Who Survived Multiple Disasters and Deadly Situations, now on Listverse.

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Finding North

Lees die Afrikaanse weergawe

My father taught me to always find North when getting to a new place. That way, he said, you would never get lost. He found his Way twenty-two years ago and doesn’t need the stars for direction anymore.

Me, on the other hand, still search for my North when arriving in a new town or city. Here it isn’t challenging at all, but I must confess that, when we lived or travelled abroad, I struggled to find it.

We lived in Egypt for a while and travelled to the Middle East and Europe and when I looked up at the night sky and didn’t see the Southern Cross in the Northern Hemisphere, I felt a bit lost. My inner compass just couldn’t find its North. Everything felt backwards and upside down. And it didn’t help that the Nile of the Bible flowed in the ‘wrong’ direction.

In Egypt I made East and West my goal. My husband, Deon, and I got lost while going for a walk on our second day in Cairo. We eventually saw the setting sun between the high buildings and followed it, because we knew that that was where the Nile was. In Cairo the Nile became my North – even though it was always East or West from where we were coming from or going to.

Tonight, when our son, Michael, walked to his cottage, he knocked on the window and called me to have a look at the stars. And there the Milky Way hovered in the load shedding darkness over our town with the Southern Cross reminding me – we are home.

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a content writer/blogger living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Om Noord te vind

Read the English version

My pa het my geleer dat jy altyd Noord moet vind wanneer jy in ‘n nuwe plek aankom, want dan sal jy nooit verdwaal nie. Hy het al twee en twintig jaar gelede reeds sy Weg gevind en het nie meer die sterre nodig vir rigting nie.

Ek, aan die anderkant, soek nog steeds my Noord wanneer ons in ‘n nuwe dorp of stad aankom. Hier is dit nie juis te uitdagend nie, maar ek moet erken dat ek, toe ons in die buiteland gebly of daarheen gereis het, dit nie altyd kon regkry nie.

Ons het vir ‘n tyd lank in Egipte gebly en na die Midde-Ooste en Europa gereis en wanneer ek saans na die hemel opgekyk het en nie die Suiderkruis in die Noordelike Halfrond kon sien nie, het ek ‘n bietjie verlore gevoel. My innerlike kompas wou net nooit sy Noord vind nie. Alles het vir my agterstevoor en onderstebo gevoel. En dit het ook nie gehelp dat die Nyl van die Bybel in die ‘verkeerde’ rigting gevloei het nie.

In Egipte het ek maar vir Oos en Wes begin soek. Ek en my man, Deon, het op die tweede dag in Kaïro verdwaal toe ons gaan stap het. Gelukkig kon ons later die sakkende son tussen die hoë geboue sien en het toe in daai rigting gestap, want ons het geweet die Nyl loop daar. In Kaïro was die Nyl my Noord – al was dit gewoonlik Oos of Wes vanwaar ons gekom of waarheen ons gegaan het.

Vanaand toe ons seun, Michael, na sy huisie toe stap, klop hy aan die venster en sê ek moet die sterre kom kyk. En daar hang die melkweg in die beurtkragdonkerte oor die dorp, met die Suiderkruis wat my herinner – ons is tuis.

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Ma. Vrou. Skrywer. Bly in Hermanus in die Overberg, Suid-Afrika, met ‘n man, volwasse seun en twee honde. Skrywer van ‘n kinderboek, Yeovangya’s Quest, en kortstories en mede-skrywer van 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads saam met einste volwasse seun wat vir ‘n webblad oor karre skryf.

Reblogged: Read my latest article ‘10 Notable 100th Celebrations in 2022’ on Listverse

Read my latest article, 10 Notable 100th Celebrations in 2022, now on Listverse.

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Reblogged: Read my latest article ’10 Blockbuster Movies Originating from Short Stories’ on Listverse

Read my latest article, 10 Blockbuster Movies Originating from Short Stories, now on Listverse.

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Reblogged: Read my Listicle ’10 of the Coolest Pubs in the World’ on Listverse

Read my latest article, 10 of the Coolest Pubs in the World, now on Listverse:

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Fielies De Kock is a content writer/blogger (www.fieliesdekock.com) living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her crazy-haired husband and two dogs. She authored a children’s chapter book and a few short reads and is co-author of 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads (available on Amazon Kindle) with her content writer son – who also has crazy hair.

Spoil the Petrolhead in your Life with a Unique Creativity Boosting Gift in 2022

Spoil the car enthusiast in your life with a unique gift – just because it is the beginning of a new year. 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads is the first writing prompts book completely dedicated to creative writing prompts about cars.

It is ideal for:

• Motoring journalists to boost thinking-out-of-the-box creativity and to get new ideas for articles.

• Teachers to add some fun to writing exercises in the classroom.

• Writers of any genre who use prompts for relaxation or for challenging creative abilities.

• Anyone who wants to boost their creativity.

• Gifts for car lovers.

The book includes information on free writing and on how to use writing prompts. 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads is available in paperback and as an eBook on Amazon Kindle Books. Rev up your creativity with anything from memory-inspired nostalgic prompts to outlandishly silly ones. Purchase a copy for yourself and/or a petrolhead in your life now.

A few prompts from the books

#4 Write a traffic report in New York in 2077 where electric buses, trams, taxis, flying hybrid cars and pedestrians on ‘Segway’-like vehicles are all competing to transport the city’s inhabitants.

#22 Transcribe the dialogue of a heated conversation you overhear between a 1964 and a 2019 Ford Mustang.

#31 Write down the titles and plots for your planned series of nine action movies featuring cars as main caractors (car actors).

#33 I will never forget that feeling when I sat behind the steering wheel of a real car for the first time…

(The words ‘fast’, ‘furious’, ‘need’ and ‘speed’ may not be used at all in the titles.)

#10 A hire car (that little blue Toyota Corolla Auris) finally has its say when it is the host of the TV program ‘The Roast of Jeremy Clarkson’.

#44 Write an advertisement (performed by cars) advertising chargers for electric cars.

#71 Write down the conversation four car friends (names, makes and models) have as they watch a re-run of the launch of Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into space.

#96 Write a world-first automobile review about the first mass produced car, the 1908 Ford Model T.

#120 You are giving your eighteen-year-old petrolhead daughter advice on buying her first car. Write down the dialogue (including your issues about safety and all her passionate counter arguments about speed, power and fun).

About the Authors:

Fielies De Kock and Michael De Kock is a mother-and-son team who collaborated for the first time on this book. Both are bloggers. Michael is an automotive content writer and passionate about cars. Fielies likes blue ones.

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Treat Your Child to A Back-to-School Read

It’s back to school time and before you know it, school and work routines will rule your life again. Luckily there are weekends and weekends are made for reading. So, while you sit back with a good read, treat your young child with a fun read too.

Yeovangya’s Quest is the true fairy tale of a princess past her ‘marriage age’ who doesn’t want to marry through arrangement, but only for true love – just like her parents did. She decides to determine the outcome of her future herself, by embarking on a journey looking for the love of her life. She concocts a plan with her father’s confidant, cuts her hair, dresses as a boy and sets off with her two closest companions – Blaffi, her brave and loyal dog, and Prr, the lazy, upstairs palace cat. Together they face many adventures and dangers, such as a dual with a man who can’t handle his beer, almost becoming lunch to a hungry lion, being attacked by three bad princes and even being shipwrecked.

Yeovangya finds more than what she looked for. She learns about her own weaknesses and about the consequences of selfishness. Above all, she learns to love in more ways than she expected to. She experiences abundant joy and the hurt of loss and having to let go – before she eventually learns to embrace what life offers.

Yeovangya’s Quest, a chapters children book is good, clean reading for children, packed with adventure and action and even contains a few life lessons and is perfect for young readers between the ages of 9 and 14, is available in both paperback and eBook format on Amazon to buy or to gift to someone else.

Yeovangya’s Quest has enough action to keep boys’ attention captive and plentiful romance for girls of all ages. If you still need convincing, let your child try out the first chapter here.

Or just click here to buy the eBook version.

© 2022 Fielies De Kock

Wife. Mom. Writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with a husband and two dogs. Author of a children’s chapter book and a few short reads, and co-author of a writing prompts book with her content writer son.

What to do in Hermanus and the Overberg

Hermanus – as seen from the Rotary Way

This is a ‘working’ blog post which is updated regularly. Visit it frequently for updates and feel free to make suggestions of your favourite places and activities in Hermanus and the Overberg. No ads, please.

Hermanus Emergency Numbers

Safety Tips

In and around Hermanus

Accommodation

Find accommodation in Hermanus to fit your needs and then plan your holiday according to the information below. Make sure to come for long enough, because Hermanus and the Overberg have is plenty to do! You will need at least four days for an enjoyable (introductory) visit.

Eating Out

In 2019 Hermanus was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Restaurants in Hermanus have exceptional food and those on the Waterfront have breathtaking views.

The children’s playground at the little open-air amphitheatre on the Waterfront lawn offers opportunities for the whole family to enjoy breakfasting, lunching or dining here.

Wine

The wine farms of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is the hub of some of the best Pinot Noir the region has to offer.

There are fourteen farms between Hermanus and Caledon to visit for tastings, lunch, picnics and walks, with a Wine Hopper to assist you in not drinking and driving.

Beaches

Hermanus provides plenty opportunity for swimming, surfing, kite surfing (at the estuary at Grotto beach) and sunbathing on its large and small sandy beaches.

Also visit Voëlklip (great surfing), Langbaai, Kammabaai (great surfing), Kwaaiwater/Mosselrvier (picnicking), Onrus (great surfing)

The Cliff Path

Starting at Grotto Beach, the cliff path snakes along the coast for 12,7 km, which makes it a fantastic walk, whether walking as a whole or just taking a short walks. It’s ideal for an early morning or early evening walk from almost wherever you stay in the village.

Benches are placed along the path for enough opportunities to rest. Take snacks and water along, as the sun can be scorching especially during the summer months. Always use sunblock on your walks and wear a hat.

Fernkloof

Hermanus has plenty opportunities for walking. The three dams nestled in the mountains are reachable from Fernkloof, where there are various trails to follow to explore the mountains.

Always walk in groups and do not take dogs on paths where they are not allowed, (because of possible baboon presence). This precaution is for your own safety.

The Hermanus Camino

Hermanus has its own Camino now! So, if you have five days open and fancy a walk, check it out.

Get tips on how to enjoy a safe and healthy holiday in Hermanus here.

The Rotary Way

The view from Rotary Way on the top of the mountain is spectacular and is a good starting point to orientate yourself with a ‘live map’ of the village underneath.

Do not feed the baboons if you encounter any there. If you experience any trouble with them, call the baboon hotline.

Hermanus Golf Course

Hermanus is a proud host of a 27-hole golf course (different course options), with beautiful fynbos, restored wetlands and wildlife to appreciate. There is plenty to keep the rest of the family busy, while Dad spend a few guilt-free hours on the greens.

There are other golf courses in the vicinity as well.

Sports

The Hermanus Sports Club offers squash, tennis and table tennis. Make sure to book in advance. There is also a skateboard park and a gym.

Bicycles can be rented to explore the village and beach.

Kayaking between the old and new harbours can be enjoyed on good weather days.

Extreme sports are popular in the Overberg region and there are plenty of activities to choose from. A local not-to-miss sports event is the annual Walker Bay Outdoor, held at the end of April each year, where young and old can participate.

If you have your own set of Bocce/Petang, you can make use of the court in Swallow Park to play – or you can just enjoy a rest under the trees while walking in town.

Art

Hermanus brags with more than twenty art galleries in the CBD and a few more in the suburbs, as well as in Onrus.

Open-air art installations are placed at various points in town as part of Hermanus FynArts and can be admired at any time. A weeklong annual FynArts event is held in June every year.

The First Fridays Art Walk was extended to an all around the year activity after lockdown, so make sure to plan your trip around a first weekend of the month, because on the first Sunday of the month the Art in the Park exhibition is at the cricket grounds (where the Saturday Country Market is being held).

Our Famous Visitors

While the Southern Right Whales visit Hermanus’ shores between July and November every year, while a few shy local Bryde whales is also observed in the bay from time to time throughout the year.

Other wildlife to check out on and from the land, are the dassies (hyrax), dolphins and penguins, birds and seals.

Penguin sanctuaries can be visited in Kleinbaai and Betty’s Bay.

Markets

Apart from the permanent Old Harbour Market at Market Square in the CBD, there are markets at the Wine VillageHigh StreetHermanus Country Market (at the cricket grounds) and the New Harbour Market on Saturday mornings – and also on Wednesday nights during December/January (at the cricket grounds).

The Hermanus NG Kerk (DR Church) has a month-long market during December in the Grobbelaar Hall in town, while St. Peter’s Church has a Saturday morning market in the church garden right through the year.

A Saturday morning drive to surrounding towns provide more options.

Shopping in the CBD

The CBD offers lots of shopping opportunities with specialty and pop-up shops.  

In High Street, shops and buildings are newly renovated and upgraded and the street provides a beautiful and vibrant walk within the village, with little tea and coffee shops and restaurants lining the street.

Museums

There are a few museums to visit in town. The De Wet’s Huis Photo Museum next to Market Square showcases photos telling Hermanus’ history and in the Old Harbour, the whale museum houses bones and information regarding our large Walker Bay inhabitants.

Old Harbour

Apart from visiting the museum, the Old Harbour is ideal for fishing, snorkelling, diving and swimming in the small cove, with Bientang’s Cave Restaurant & Wine Bar offering a picturesque ocean view after the activities have left you hungry and thirsty.

The New Harbour

The New Harbour (read about its history) is situated at the end of Westcliff Drive. (Marine Drive becomes Westcliff Drive at the bend when you leave the CBD.)

It harbours (pun intended) three restaurants/bars, as well as the offices of whale boat watching and diving and fishing excursions.

The Station 17  National Sea Rescue Institute building keeps a watchful eye over the harbour.

A tour of the abalone facilities can be booked on weekdays to learn more about this delicacy.

Various companies offer fishing opportunities from The New Harbour.

There is also the option of taking a scheduled/chartered eco or sunset cruise on a 36’ sailing catamaran from the New Harbour.

Picnicking

Picnicking can be done in the gardens at Fernkloof, on the beaches and even on top of the mountain, while watching the sunset.

Most of the wine farms in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley also have picnic menus.

Adventure Activities

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley also hosts regular adventure activities such as a Zip line, weekly Saturday Park Run, quad biking, cycling and walking are fun day activities for individuals and families to do.

Short Day trips

Shark cage diving is something for the not-so-fainthearted and is done at Kleinbaai (Gansbaai).

A wonderful and informative place to visit is the Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary near Stanford.

Stanford offers trips on various river boats for fun family/group activities.

A visit to the wineries near Stanford, can be combined with tastings/lunch at the cheese farms.

Go see the Klipgat Cave near De Kelders, go up in the lighthouse at Danger Point, visit the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, do shark cage diving at Kleinbaai and/or have an encounter (swimming!) with crocodiles at Afrikanos (near Danger Point).

Drive a bit inland and visit Riviersonderend, Caledon, Genadendal, Greyton, Grabouw, Elgin, Napier, Bredasdorp, Baardskeerdersbos, Elim, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Montagu, Worcester, Matjiesfontein.

Go horse riding at Karwyderskraal or Pearly Beach and drive a bit further to visit the cave at Waenhuiskrans/Arniston (at low tide), and end your afternoon where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at L’Agullas (and visit Struisbaai harbour while you are there), before you head back for a night of fine dining back in Hermanus.

And on another day, go in the other direction and visit the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay, or go sunbathing and swimming at other nearby beaches at Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay, Pringle Bay, Rooiels and Kogelbaai.

Longer Day Trips

With the long days during summer time, day trips to as far as Paternoster are perfect to experience a different place, but be back in Hermanus by dusk, because – let’s face  it – once here, you don’t really want to be away for too long! Consider the following possibilities.

Driving to Cape Town via Clarence Drive through Gordon’s Bay to go up Table mountain. Or shoot past Cape Town to see Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand.

Sleep-over Trips Inland

If you absolutely must leave Hermanus, take a drive inland and visit Matjiesfontein, Paternoster, L’Agulhas, Stilbaai, Mossel Bay and surroundings, George, Knysna for a night or two. And then come back.

Because, you will always want to come back.

Hermanus Emergency Numbers

Safety Tips

© 2021 Fielies De Kock

Wife. Mom. Blogger. Content writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with a crazy-haired husband and two dogs. Author of a children’s chapter book and a few short reads, and co-author of a writing prompts book with her content writer son, who also has crazy hair.

Read the First Chapter of my Children’s eBook, Yeovangya’s Quest, Here

…and then buy it here. 😊

Scroll down to read the first chapter.

My Children’s eBook, Yeovangya’s Quest, is available on Amazon Kindle to buy or to read for free if you are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited. Yeovangya’s Quest (a 10-chapter book) is good, clean reading for children, packed with adventure and action and even contains a few life lessons and is perfect for young readers between the ages of 9 and 14. Yeovangya has enough action to keep boys’ attention captive and plentiful romance for girls of all ages.

Yeovangya’s Quest is the true fairy tale of a princess past her ‘marriage age’ who doesn’t want to marry through arrangement, but only for true love – just like her parents did. She decides to determine the outcome of her future herself, by embarking on a journey looking for the love of her life. She concocts a plan with her father’s confidant, cuts her hair, dresses as a boy and sets off with her two closest companions – Blaffi, her brave and loyal dog, and Prr, the lazy, upstairs palace cat. Together they face many adventures and dangers, such as a dual with a man who can’t handle his beer, almost becoming lunch to a hungry lion, being attacked by three bad princes and even being shipwrecked.

Yeovangya finds more than what she looked for. She learns about her own weaknesses and about the consequences of selfishness. Above all, she learns to love in more ways than she expected to. She experiences abundant joy and the hurt of loss and having to let go – before she eventually learns to embrace what life offers.

Enjoy the first chapter.

CHAPTER 1

In Yeodomme

“Prince Magique from the island of Coffca.., Prince Lauro, also from Coffca.., Prince Danelyos from the island of Glorios…”

The master of ceremony looked at Princess Yeovangya and wondered if she was even listening. To her, the whole affair felt more like a funeral than an engagement feast. She sat through the introduction of the Kingdom of Fabelia’s unmarried princes without any expectation. Her sweet smile seemed to fool everyone except her father. The princes paraded past her and King Yeovaijk’s thrones. The King acknowledged every one of them with a courteous wave of the hand and a smile. Yeovangya heard him sigh when the master of ceremony announced the last prince. He knew her long enough to realise that none of the princes introduced succeeded to make an impression on his daughter. All his hopes for a future son-in-law and an heir were focussed on this feast. Yeovangya looked at her father’s absent smile and knew that he was disappointed in her unwillingness to choose anyone from the available suitors.

The orchestra started to play and King Yeovaijk led Yeovangya to the dance floor. He smiled at her, dazzled by her beauty that reminded him so much of his late wife. After the dance, Prince Ormael, the younger of the two Zaburaju princes, asked her for a dance. He was an attractive man with a very imposing stature. He kept an intelligent conversation and seemed to be the perfect gentleman.

He would have been a perfect choice. He is everything a princess could hope for – except that being so close to him had absolutely no effect on my heart rate, Yeovangya thought. And he smelled funny.

When the music stopped, she looked up, smiled at him and thanked him politely for the dance.

She danced with a few more princes before retreating to her father’s table. He wasn’t there and she sat back, sipping her French champagne. She gazed through the guests. A few of them had gotten acquainted very well.

At least one or two other princesses will find the missing part of their hearts tonight! She was still busy with her thoughts when Quemonne suddenly spoke beside her.

“The king was wondering if you had come to a decision, Princess? And uh,” he cleaned his throat theatrically, “me too.”

She looked at him in his immaculate uniform, his hands behind his back. His calmness always unnerved her, yet she loved being in his presence. She felt save with him – just as when she was with her father. Her eyes narrowed as she looked up at him. “Only the rest of my life is in the balance here and you two are wondering!”

“I’m sorry, Yeova, but you know what the purpose of this feast is. You were to choose a husband tonight. Your father just wants you to be happy… and to settle.”

Yeovangya’s eyes were full of fury now. “To marry someone that I do not love will not make me settle happily! It will break my heart! It will be a tragedy! You know that and Daddy knows it. Go and tell him that he can stop wondering. I am not marrying anyone for any reason other than love!”

Quemonne nodded, lifted one eyebrow, as was his manner, and started turning away when she continued. “And tell him to send these peacocks home!”

Now Quemonne smiled. He adored her, although she was somewhat spoiled and hard-headed. She could be very melodramatic at times, and she had her own ideas about things, but then again, that was who she was – someone who believed in herself and who always got what she wanted. So far. He felt sorry for her though. There was so much pressure on her to get married, and her dream in life was to marry for true love and have a good marriage – as her parents did. She was a ruthless romantic and not even the great King Yeovaijk, ruler of Yeodomme and the Island Kingdoms of Fabelia, would ever change that.

“There must be a true love for me, Quemonne, and I will find him even if I have to go look for him myself!”

He held up a hand to calm her. “You know that your father will never allow that, Princess.” His voice was soft but commanding. He was stirred by her passion. He was responsible for her safety. He had to calm her down and try to talk any crazy, dangerous ideas she might have, out of her head. “And neither will I! You better forget any such thoughts you’re having!” He was serious and couldn’t help wondering how serious she was.

*

“King Yeovaijk, sire, you absolutely cannot allow that!” The old man was red in his face with anguish as he accentuated every word he uttered.

“That’s right, your majesty, she absolutely has to get married now! She is four years past the age of marriage already.”

“Hear, hear!” Another one supported his view and a few more objections were expressed.

King Yeovaijk held his hand up in the air. Silence fell in the room. “I have made my decision.” The king stopped speaking and looked at everyone in the court before he continued firmly. “I will give her exactly one year to choose her own husband. If she fails to do that, I will announce my choice of a husband on her behalf, whom she will be marrying three hundred and sixty-six days from today! Until that time, General Quemonne will be officially second-in-charge of the kingdom. In case of my death before the year’s end, he will act as her guardian – and if she hadn’t found a suitor after three hundred and sixty-five days, he will marry her, and they will become the rulers of Yeodomme and Quiano and the whole Kingdom of Fabelia.” The king paused and looked at his shocked audience and a bewildered Quemonne.

“I, Yeovaijk, protector of the Island Kingdoms of Fabelia appreciate your co-operation in this regard. I also believe that it is not necessary for me to ask you to keep this to yourselves. I do not want my daughter’s choice of a husband being influenced by anything or anyone. Therefore, I declare this information top secret. Anyone who fails to comply will receive the punishment for high treason!” The king stood up from the throne and looked at the still astonished Quemonne. “General, let the assembly adjourn.”

*

Yeovangya frowned at herself in the mirror while her servant, Yotu, brushed her hair out to redo it after the morning’s horseback riding. She knew that she was a good-looking girl. She had big blue eyes, high cheek bones, and full, beautiful lips. Her reddish-brown hair hung in wild curls over her narrow shoulders. Her eyes moved lower. Her body was in excellent shape, thanks to the hours she spent on Tan-Tan’s back daily. And she had a good intellect. Why couldn’t she find the right husband? Why weren’t any of the princes able to catch and hold her attention? She dreamed of her future king since she was a little girl, playing with her mother’s jewellery and clothes. She could still remember her mother’s face when she looked at her father. It was that look in her eyes, which made Yeovangya vow that she wouldn’t settle for anything less. She dreamed of her own husband to be strong and gentleman-like at the same time – just like her daddy. Only, he would have dark features. He would be older than she was, and he would be headstrong too – to handle her every mood. He wouldn’t be a softy, like those princes she met tonight. They were just saying what they thought she wanted to hear. She didn’t want a spineless man!

“Yotu, what do you think of me?”

Yotu frowned. “What do mean, Princess?”

Yeovangya looked at herself in the mirror again, making dramatic faces while inspecting her image in the mirror. “Do you think I’m desirable?” She saw the confusion on Yotu’s face and continued irritably. “To a man, Yotu!”

“Oh,” Yotu looked at her with a smile. “Of course, Prin…”

”Yotu, you’re my best friend!” The interruption was meant as a reprimand to the young girl. Yotu and all Yeovangya’s immediate servants knew that they had to be honest with her at all times. She might be a bit spoiled, but she was a sincere, good-mannered girl, whom they all loved. She was also a very sharp girl when it came to emotions and character. She knew exactly when they were not honest with or true to her.

“Yeova,” she liked to call her friend by her pet name, but only when they were alone and serious about something, “as your friend I can tell you that you are the most desirable woman in all of Fabelia and probably the whole world. You are absolutely gorgeous! Every boy and every man in the kingdom want to marry you and every woman and every little girl wish they were you. You are also the dearest friend I have and you have a beautiful soul…”

“But what, Yotu? What?” Yeovangya prompted impatiently.

Yotu continued hesitantly. “How many people do you know who married for love? You learn to love, my mother always says… I’m sure if you marry Prince Danelyos, you will learn to love him! He’s a wonderful man.”

”Yotu, I don’t believe my ears! To marry for love is my destiny!” It seemed as if she was in pain as she tried to dramatise the situation enough so that her servant-friend could understand. “Do you still not understand that after all these years? And yes, I do know people who married for love. My father nearly lost his throne because he wanted to marry my mother and not some other princess. You can marry prince Danelyos if you want to, but I will most certainly not!”

Yotu blushed and continued brushing her princess’ hair and went on bravely. “And besides your mother and your father?”

Yeovangya’s lips curled up and she frowned. She was so unaware of her beauty, Yotu thought. When she was in deep thought, she had a way of moving her lips around, from the one side to the other. And with that, her eyebrows went up and down. Her father found it adorable, her servants crumbled before her when she did it and men of all ages just drooled and became clay in her hands. Even the level-headed General Quemonne had no resistance against that.

“Yeova, if people would sit around, waiting for the right person to come along, this whole kingdom would seize to exist. Why do you think people all over the world arrange their children’s marriages? Life must go on!”

“Don’t you want to get married to someone you love, Yotu?”

For a moment Yotu was silenced. Yeovangya knew that she was madly in love with Quemonne’s twin brother, Tanaka, but for a servant to marry outside her class was impossible and although Tanaka wasn’t royalty, he was a well-known scribe, writer and poet in the king’s court. Yotu looked a little bit sad when she answered Yeovangya.

“Yeova, you are going to be the queen. You have everything your heart desires. Will it be so hard to marry a decent prince and live happily ever after?”

Yeovangya stared at herself, but her eyes didn’t really see the picture in the mirror anymore. She saw a plan taking shape instead. “It’s my destiny, my purpose to love someone with my whole heart.” She turned around to face Yotu. “You’ll see, Yotu, I will find him. I have a plan!”

“What? Are you going to hire someone to find all the unmarried men in the kingdom to come here so that you can choose the love of your life?” Yotu laughed, but when she saw the impression on the princess’ face, she felt quiet immediately.

Yeovangya smiled at her, suddenly bursting with energy. “Not exactly, Yotu. I have a better plan.” She looked around as if to make sure there was no one around to hear her and continued, whispering. “I’m going to look for him myself!”

Yotu gasped for air. “Are you out of your royal mind? You father will never allow that!”

“You’re right. My father will not,” and she leant forward and whispered, “but you are going to help me, Yotu. You and Quemonne.” She put a forefinger on her lips. “Please, don’t tell anyone anything. This is our secret. Do you understand me?”

Yotu looked panicky. Fear gripped her throat so that she could not utter a word. She nodded. She knew that look. And she knew that nothing would stop Yeovangya when she had that look.

“You have to promise me that you won’t tell anyone anything, Yotu! Promise?”

“And lie to the king?” Yotu shivered at the mere thought.

“That would be Quemonne’s job. You just have to keep quiet. Promise?”

Yotu breathed out heavily and nodded in defeat. “Promise.”

“And Yotu,” her voice was but a whisper, “you have to bring me my father’s knapsack and a pair of sharp scissors tomorrow, please.”

Yotu’s eyes widened and her hands trembled. She opened her mouth to say something, but Yeovangya’s finger on her lips prevented her.

*

Yeovangya whistled to her dog. “Blaffi! Blaffi!”

The large, clumsy Saint Bernard appeared around the corner of the garden house. He barked and jumped up and down in front of her and waited impatiently for her to pat him on his head.

“Hello, my dearest little doggie.” She hugged and kissed him, pulled his ears and rubbed his belly when he rolled over on his back. When he sat up straight again, she whispered: “I must tell you a secret. I am going on a journey. You must look after Prr and Daddy and Yotu and Quemonne for me, will you?” She kissed him between his eyes. “Ooh, I will miss you and that lazy cat so-o-o much!”

Yeovangya lifted her head as she heard someone nearing the garden house. She peeped through the window, pleased to recognise Quemonne’s familiar profile against the dusky evening sky. She took a deep breath. He wouldn’t be a push over. She wished that she didn’t have to involve him, but she needed him on her side. He was the only one who could help her execute her plan and protect everyone involved.

Quemonne’s figure filled the door. He smiled at Yeovangya with somewhat of a frown between his eyes, knowing that their secret meeting was precisely that – secret. And that bothered him.

“Princess, something tells me that I’m not exactly here to be wined and dined?”

Yeovangya breathed in deeply and lifted her chin. “I love men with intellect. Now, if you were only an unmarried prince, General Quemonne…”

Quemonne smiled and wanted to respond to her remark, but decided against it. If only she knew about her father’s directive to the assembly that afternoon.

“What is it, Yeovangya? What are you up to?”

Yeovangya suppressed an urge to rebel against his tone of voice. He knew her too well and if she gave him the satisfaction of showing him that, he would give her his ‘I told you so’ look. “I’m going away for a while.”

Quemonne looked amazed. “I didn’t know the king had plans.”

She nodded. “The king doesn’t. I have.”

He frowned. His initial inability to understand changed into the realisation that his suspicions were correct. His eyes searched for confirmation in hers. “What are you planning?”

“Before I tell you I want to know that I can trust you.”

He was upset. “Yeovangya, you know that you can trust me!”

She held up her hands to calm him. “Yes, yes, I know I can normally trust you with my life and all those important things, but this is different. It’s not the kind of trust you’re used to.”

Quemonne threw his hands into the air and nodded his head fiercely, suddenly understanding where the conversation was going. “Oh, no! I am not going to lie to the king!”

“You don’t have to lie, Quemonne, you just have to withhold some information from him at first so that I can get away and then you must think of a strategy to keep him from coming after me.” She did the thing with her lips and eyebrows. She was stressed. This was where her plan was going to fail or succeed – by Quemonne’s co-operation or lack thereof.

Quemonne looked away. He shook his head again, pressed his lips together and looked her in the eye. “You know I can’t do that! Your father trusts me. And when it’s about his only child…”

“Quemonne, I need your help. My whole life is in this plan. I am not prepared to marry someone I don’t love and live unhappily ever after. You know that better than anyone does. I have to do this and you have to help me. Please?” Her initial dramatic pleading became desperate. “Please, Quemonne, you always say that I can trust you with anything. Can I trust you with my heart?”

Quemonne ran a hand through his dark brown curls. His eyes were fixed on the ground. How he wanted her to trust him with her heart!

Yeovangya knew that she had put him in an impossible position. She knew how highly her father thought of him and she knew that Quemonne would do everything in his power never to fail his king in any way. But, she needed his help even if it could cost him his job – and his life. He was her permit to happiness. Only him. This was the one time in her life that her father could not help her. She had to do this on her own.

“Please, Quemonne? My life, my future, my spirit, my heart… everything is in your hands…”

He looked at her as if he didn’t hear her talking. “Yeova, you’re asking the impossible!” His eyes pierced through hers.

For the first time in her life she wasn’t sure what she saw in them. He had beautiful eyes. Eyes with the heaven in them, she thought. It was as if she saw him for the first time as a man. He had a rugged attractiveness about him. His very dark brown hair curled behind his ears and made him look manly and playful at the same time. He had a strong, but kind face. But it was his eyes that kept her captive, now.

“Please, Quemonne, I cannot see myself with any of those men. Please…?”

Quemonne’s heart was beating painfully in his head. She was the dearest thing on earth to him. He knew that he couldn’t do what she asked of him, but he also knew that he couldn’t refuse. He loved her too much to see her life wasted away by a loveless marriage – if it was to him or anyone else.

He whispered. “I will help you. I don’t know how, but I will think of something.” There was only one thing to do. And if she had a plan, he had to make a better one.

She yelled, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him on his cheek. He took her arms from his neck and held her hands in his. His eyes were serious. “We have to plan this very well. Your father will kill me if anything happens to you.”

“Thank you, Quemonne.” She stood on the tips of her toes and kissed him on the cheek again.

*

She made sure to be in time for breakfast with her father. They talked and laughed and Yeovangya felt guilty for what she was about to do to him. It would be her last day in the palace before she left. She took extra care to spend as much time as possible with him the past few days. She still had a lot of things to take care of that afternoon. She had to pack the knapsack Yotu brought her from her father’s cupboard. She had to fit the clothes Quemonne brought her from his brother, Tanaka’s closet. Yotu did some alterations to fit Yeovangya’s much smaller frame. And then Yotu had to cut her hair after everyone had gone to bed. She and Quemonne arranged for him to fake a horse accident so that he could overnight in a room in her father’s wing of the palace instead of in his quarters. They would leave together in the dark hours of the next morning before the servants woke up.

“You seemed distracted, my love.” Her father’s voice was deep and calm, although she thought that he looked a bit off this morning.

“I… was thinking about this whole engagement thing.” It was true in a way. Her plans to leave and go on a husband finding expedition had everything to do with her getting engaged. “I’m really thankful for the extra time, Daddy. I promise you, if I haven’t found the right man when the year is over, I will marry whoever you choose for me.”

“Were none of those princes any good?”

Yeovangya did the lip thing. “Oh, they are all very fine, Father.” She paused. “Except for Prince Zazor and his brothers. I don’t like them at all.“ She sighed. “There were really good prospects. It’s just that no one seemed to get my heartbeat up.” She took a sip of her orange juice and gazed over the green lawns of the palace gardens. “Prince Ormael is pretty awesome. He’s intelligent and handsome, but he’ll bore me to death. Prince Danelyos has a great personality and he seems to have a sensitive soul also. He won’t be a bad choice. But I wouldn’t make him happy. Then there are a few others, but they wouldn’t do either.”

King Yeovaijk laughed out loud about his daughter’s remarks. She was a kind soul, despite of being an only, spoiled child of a lonesome king, and he would have given his whole kingdom and his life for her happiness and welfare. How he wished that she would find real love! He desired nothing less for himself years ago. Maybe if he didn’t experience it himself, he would have been more adamant for her to settle down. But he knew what true love was and that is what he prayed his only daughter would find. He couldn’t stand the thought of her being unhappy for even one day.

“Now you’re the one who’s distracted.”

“I’m sorry. I was thinking…” He picked up his fork. “I really want you to live a fulfilling life, my child, and I will try to give you enough time and space for it to happen. I pray every day that you will find the kind of love that your mother and I had. I just pray that you will experience it for longer than we did.”

“Thanks, Daddy. Do you have someone in mind for me, Daddy?”

He smiled, nodded and raised an eyebrow.

Her mouthed opened in surprise. “Who is it?”

“If you don’t find your true love in three hundred and sixty days, you will see.” He laughed, loving to see his daughter lost for words.

Yeovangya had to look down at her food for a while, so that her father couldn’t see the tears in her eyes. He knew her too well. He put his hand under her chin and forced her to look him in the eye. She saw the emotion glistening in his eyes too.

“Whatever happens, dear, I love you.”

She was surprised by his words, as if he knew that she was planning something. But how could he?

*

Everything worked out as planned. The knapsack was packed with her journal and feather ink pen, a few personal things, bandages and two sets of Tanaka’s altered clothes. She had an extra set waiting on her bed for the journey. Lamya, Quemonne and Tanaka’s sister and Yeovangya’s dear friend, came to visit and without her knowing, Yeovangya said her good-byes. They were like sisters, as Quiana – Quemonne, Tanaka and Lamya’s mother – was a regular guest of the king. She became the king’s trusted friend and companion since Yeovangya was still a very young girl. Sometimes they felt like one big family when they were together. She wished that her father would marry Quiana, so that he wouldn’t be that alone anymore. She couldn’t leave without at least seeing Lamya again, but Quemonne warned her not to let anyone else but him and Yotu in on the plan. She was going to miss them all so much, she realised with a bit of sadness creeping into her heart.

After Lamya left, Yotu brought the scissors with which she gave Yeovangya a whole new look. She cried when she cut off the first of the curly locks, but Yeovangya raised her eyebrows, gave her a stern look and commanded her to be a good servant.

Yeovangya looked at herself in the mirror. A stranger looked back. The figure in the mirror looked like that of a young, nerdish boy. She smiled satisfied and complimented Yotu’s work.

“Perfect!”

Yotu left with a heavy heart after they finally said farewell.

*

The palace was quiet. She went out onto the balcony of her chambers. She could see every corner of the moonlit gardens. She wondered how many times in the next few months she would long for the peace and calmness of the long shadows, the outstretched lawns and the fragrance of all her favourite flowers. She adored it. She loved strolling through it with her father and sometimes with Quemonne, Lamya or Yotu. Some nights she went out secretly with Blaffi and Prr, just to find Quemonne at her side after a few minutes, protecting her against the evil that the darkness never brought. After her mother died, she used to go out to the little bench in the middle of her father’s private garden in the evenings, where the three of them used to sit before she had to go to bed. Sometimes she would find her father there and she would cry herself to sleep on his lap. She would wake up in his bed the next morning, with Blaffi and Prr patiently watching over her.

Her heart beat faster as her thoughts was forced back to her upcoming journey. What a crazy, crazy adventure she was about to embark on! She took a last look at the trees, the cobbled paths, the little fountains, the flowers, and the big tree with the bench underneath it. She looked at the windows of the quarters where Quemonne was staying. She wondered what he was doing as there was still light in his window. She looked at the dark windows of her father’s quarters and took a deep breath.

She closed her eyes. “Oh, please keep me safe on this journey and help me find the husband who was made for me in time.”

She opened her eyes and looked up at the moon and remembered that the same moon shining over her father’s palace at night, will be lighting her way throughout the journey. She smiled, went into her bedroom and closed the doors behind her.

*

They managed to get out of the palace’s sight without any problems. They let the horses walk in the direction of the harbour for about a kilometre. Quemonne forced her to take Blaffi and Prr with her, “so that she would not be so alone on her journey”. She was relieved that they were going to accompany her. At least she would have someone from home with her. Blaffi was walking with them, while Prr snuggled up in the basket Quemonne attached for her on Tan-Tan’s back. She was a spoiled palace brat, who behaved as if she was the queen of the castle, but she would be a great companion if she managed not to anger Blaffi too much.

“We can go now.”

Quemonne waited for her to get on Tan-Tan’s back, before he got onto his stallion, Croxley’s. They had arranged that Quemonne would see her off at the harbour. He would help her to get on the boat to Quiano and then he would be back at the palace before first light and before anyone noticed that he was gone. They rode in silence almost all the way.

There was a buzz in the still-dark harbour when they arrived. Quemonne bought a ticket at the office and made certain that Yeovangya had everything she needed. He gave Blaffi and Prr and the horses some water to drink. He would take both the horses back to the palace’s stables and told the king that she sent someone back to deliver Tan-Tan safely, together with a letter to tell her father about her plans and asking him not to come after her. Quemonne would then have happened to be at the stables when the ‘person’ arrived.

Yeovangya was glad that everything worked out well and that Quemonne was in on her plan. Without him, her journey would have been doomed. She would be thankful to him for the rest of her life, even if she didn’t find the love of her life and had to settle for her father’s choice of a husband. At least she would know that she had followed her heart and tried.

“So, this is it.” Quemonne said softly.

“Yes.” She looked up at him. She was wondering what he thought about her boyish look. “Thank you, Quemonne.”

She couldn’t see his eyes in the dim light of the lamp. They stood alone at the end of the harbour, between the horses. Prr and Blaffi hung around excitedly, unsure of what was happening.

Quemonne took her hands in his. To a bystander it would look like a father seeing off his young son, who was about to take his first trip into the world.

“Look after yourself, Yeovangya.” He rarely called her by her full name. “My prayers will be all about you.”

“Thank you, Quemonne.” She whispered and looked at him, uncertain of how the farewell was supposed to go. “I must be off now.”

“Yes.”

She turned around; ready to start the toughest thing she had ever done in her life. Just as suddenly as she turned, she was held back by Quemonne’s strong grip around her upper arm. Without any warning, he took her in his arms and kissed her. At first, she was so taken aback that she stood motionless in his embrace. Then something happened within her and for a moment, that tender kiss became her whole life. Then, again as unexpectedly as he pulled her to him, Quemonne let her go, took Tan-Tan’s bridle, got onto Croxley’s back and became one with the early, dark morning.

Unable to move, Yeovangya stared into the darkness. She stood listening to the sound of the two horses’ hooves against the cobbled path, her heart galloping to their rhythm.

It was her first ever kiss.

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© 2021 Fielies De Kock

Awesomest wife. Finest mom. Hopefullest writer. Foreverest dreamer. Living in a coastal village in the Overberg, South Africa, with a husband and two dogs in a small heritage house, and an adult, recently-graduated, and now, content-writing-job-seeking son in the garden cottage. His CV is available on request. 🙂

Opera in the Sea Breeze

We had ‘n few cold and rainy days, so instead of taking walks, we spend our time indoors in front of the fireplace. Yesterday we went for a late afternoon drive to buy more wood and on the way home I asked my husband spontaneously to drop me off just out of town to walk back home.

Although I believe in the Almighty God of the Bible and believe firmly that He is in control and will bring us through this time of epidemic, riots and so many other things life throws at us, I sometimes do get discouraged and a bit depressed. I’m human after all.

I love cold coastal afternoons, when the cool air touches my cheeks and makes me feel more alive. When I’m feeling a bit off, just a half hour walk by the sea makes me a new person again. But, as I was walking down the road – not having reached half an hour yet and still not feeling so renewed, I was thinking about friends having serious problems, issues in the family and just all the changes we had to make and have to live by because of the pandemic. I was wondering if we would ever have a bit of boring normality again and if there will ever be a time when I would become as excited as a child about the future again. (I’m not sure if this lack of excitement had come due to circumstances or because of age, but that’s a musing for another cold afternoon.)

As I was thinking these thoughts, people passed by in cars and on bicycles and on foot – all enjoying the nippy, fresh air which the wind breathed in from the snowy mountains not too far away. I heard some music over the sound of a nearing car and thought it was coming from a nearby house or one of the boutique hotels. But alas, towards me walked an elderly man with his two leashed dogs and when we got close enough to each other, I heard opera music coming from the cell phone in his pocket.

I walked home smiling, way lighter in spirit and I just realised again, that it is the small things in life which causes happiness and which makes pandemics and problems bearable. The God of the Bible does burning-bush miracles, but sometimes He just sings opera in the cool sea breeze.

© 2021 Fielies De Kock

Awesomest wife. Finest mom. Hopefullest writer. Foreverest dreamer. Living in a coastal village in the Overberg, South Africa, with a husband and two dogs in a small heritage house, and an adult, recently-graduated, and now mechanic-in-the-making, job-seeking son in the garden cottage. His CV is available on request. 🙂