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

Wife. Mom. Writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her husband, son and two dogs. Author of Yeovangya’s Quest, a children’s chapter book, and a few short reads, and co-author of a 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads with her content writer son.

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

Wife. Mom. Writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her husband, son and two dogs. Author of Yeovangya’s Quest, a children’s chapter book, and a few short reads, and co-author of a 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads with her content writer son.

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

Wife. Mom. Writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her husband, son and two dogs. Author of Yeovangya’s Quest, a children’s chapter book, and a few short reads, and co-author of a 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads with her content writer son.

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

Wife. Mom. Writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her husband, son and two dogs. Author of a children’s chapter book and a few short reads, and co-author of a 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads with her content writer son.

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

Wife. Mom. Writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with her husband and two dogs. Author of a children’s chapter book and a few short reads, and co-author of  125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads with her content writer son.

Leer jou kind om self ‘n toespraak te skryf – stap vir stap

Dis weer daardie tyd van die kwartaal wanneer ma’s naarstigtelik Googleloer opsoek na raad met hulle kinders se toesprake. In ‘n vorige bloginskrywing het ek redelik gal gebraak oor Graad 1’tjies wat nog nie kan lees of skryf nie, maar van wie verwag word om ‘n ATKV-toespraak te resiteer.

Dit lyk darem asof die Department van Onderwys of dalk die skole self herbesin het, want die afgelope paar jaar (sedert Covid met ons is) het die kinders in ons familie se toespraakformaat verander. Die jonger grade kry net ‘n onderwerp waaroor hulle ‘n minuut hoef te praat – wat ‘n baie meer sinvolle oefening is, want hulle kan baie van die werk self doen!

In hierdie skrywe gaan ek net op die kleiner grade fokus, want as hulle vroeg-vroeg toesprake (wat eintlik net praatjies is) onder die knie kry, sal hulle dit in die later grade met gemak self kan doen. Hier is stap-vir-stap raad vir pa’s en ma’s om sommer vinnig met toespraakmaak klaar te speel.

Graad 1 en 2

Gewoonlik stuur die onderwyser/es ‘n nota wat met die tema/s, lengte en moets en moenies vir elke toespraak aandui. Volg dié stappe om jou kind beide sy Afrikaanse en Engelse praatjies te leer doen:

Versamel informasie

  • Lees vir jou kind die riglyne deur.
  • Laat hom een van die temas kies – verkieslik een waaroor hy die meeste weet.
  • Laat hom alles wat hy graag oor die onderwerp wil sê, vir jou opnoem.
  • Luister aandagtig en vra hom vrae oor die onderwerp om sy denke te stimuleer.
  • Indien nodig, Googleloer maar vir ‘n bietjie meer informasie as dit oor ‘n onderwerp is waar feite genoem moet word.
  • Skryf elke punt neer.
  • Skryf/tik nou ‘n elke punt in ‘n kort sin oor.
  • Rangskik die sinne sodat dit ‘n goeie volgorde het.
  • Maak seker die eerste sin trek aandag. Gebruik ‘n uitroep of humor.
  • Help met ‘n bietjie humor in die toespraak.
  • Skryf ‘n definitiewe laaste sin van een van die punte wat hy genoem het vir ‘n goeie einde.
  • Lees die toespraak ‘n paar keer deur om te sien of dit ‘ritme’ het, sodat jou kind dit maklik kan weergee.
  • Indien dit moeilik lees, maak veranderinge.
  • Redigeer die stuk sodat dit foutloos is.
  • Merk belangrike woorde in BOLD en/of gebruik kleur.

NOTA: 200 woorde lewer ongeveer ‘n 1,5 minuut toespraak, afhangende van die tempo.

Neem die toespraak op

  • Gebruik die stemopnemer op jou foon en lees die toespraak voor. Sit stemtoonverandering in waar nodig, maar moet dit nie oordramatiseer, sodat jou kind soos ‘n papegaai klink nie.
  • Speel dit oor en oor vir jou kind totdat hy die woorde uit sy kop ken.

Maak hulpkaarte

  • Gebruik die getikte toespraak, vergroot die font, voeg spasies tussen natuurlike paragrawe in en knip die geskrewe toespraak in ‘n gepaste grootte vir die klein handjies.
  • Nommer elke kaartjie. (Daar behoort tussen vyf en sewe kaartjies te wees.)

Oefen die toespraak

  • Help jou kind om die toespraak op te sê met behulp van die kaartjie. Maak seker die nommers is groter as die sinne, sodat hy die volgorde maklik kan volg.
  • Leer hom om oogkontak te maak terwyl hy praat en die kaartjies slegs ondersteunend te gebruik.
  • Gebruik ten minste een hulpmiddel. Dit kan ‘n foto of ‘n speelding wees wat by die tema pas. Wys hom presies hoe en wanneer hy die hulpmiddel moet gebruik.

As julle al hierdie stappe volg, behoort hy goeie punte te kry – dalk self “half tien” soos ons Graadeentjie toe hy nege-en-‘n-half uit tien gekry het!

Graad 3 en 4

  • Noudat jou kind gemaklik is met sinne skryf, kan hy al ‘n groter deel van die werk self doen.
  • Volg die bogenoemde stappe, maar laat hy self sy sinne skryf.
  • Doen die tik- en redigeerwerk en help met die rangskikking van die orde.
  • Help ook met ‘n aandag-trek begin en ‘n goeie einde.
  • Neem die toespraak in die kind se stem op as hy al goed genoeg lees. (Doen dit andersins self.)
  • Laat hy die toespraak leer totdat hy dit vlot kan lewer.
  • Maak genommerde kaartjies ter ondersteuning en fokus op oogkontak en dat hy nie die hele toespraak aflees nie.
  • Gebruik hulpmiddels.

Graad 5 en hoër

  • Jou kind behoort nou langer praatjies/toesprake self te kan skryf. Vra vrae en speel duiwelsadvokaat om jou kind te leer om beredeneerd te dink.
  • Sit hand by met veilige internetsoektogte en gee raad oor struktuur en volgorde.

Hier is ‘n voorbeeld van ‘n struktuur van ‘n redenaarstoespraak.

Kliek hier vir persone wat hulp verskaf met die skryf van redenaarstoesprake vir jou ouer kinders en kry hier wenke as hy dit self skryf.

***

Voorbeeld van ‘n Afrikaanse praatjie

As my boetie bad

(voorbeeld van toespraakkaartjies)

1

Dis net sploesh-splash, sploesh-splash

wanneer my boetie bad

en dan is alles sopnat!

2

My boetie is vyf jaar oud

en ek en hy bad elke aand saam.

3

Party aande speel ons lekker

met ons bootjies in die water,

maar ander aande raak hy heeltemal laf!

4

Dan wil hy in die bad duik of lê

en dan vat hy soveel plek

dat ek met my boud

op die prop moet sit! Dis eina!

5

Sommige aande stoei ons in die bad

en dan sien jy net water spat!

Ek klim gewoonlik maar vroeër uit

sodat hy lekker alleen verder kan speel.

6

Hy maak dan sy hele kop vol skuim

en blaas borrels daarmee!

7

Dis nie altyd lekker om saam met my kleinboetie

in die bad te wees nie,

maar dis darem lekker om te sien

hy geniet sy badtyd terdeë!

***

Voorbeeld van ‘n Engelse praatjie

My Superpower

(Example of speech cards)

1

Superheroes are very cool!

Superman is strong and can fly.

Batman is rich and clever.

Spiderman can swing between buildings.

And Ant-Man is small enough to get in anywhere.

2

Most superheroes have only one or two superpowers.

They save people’s lives and do brave deeds.

I like watching movies about superheroes

and my little brother dresses up as Spiderman every day!

3

I love superheroes and I like what they do,

because they always beat the bad guys.

But the thing with superheroes is

that they are only imaginary.

4

I sometimes dream about having superpowers.

I would love to be strong

or to fly

or to shrink myself

or make myself big,

but I can’t,

because I am a real person

and not living in a movie or a book.

5

But we can have superpowers

and we are better than superheroes,

because we are real!

6

All we have to do is

find our superpowers.

7

I like to be kind

and to be helpful.

I like to comfort people when they are sad.

So, I think my superpower is to help people

and I always want to use it

to make people around me happy.

Vir ‘n meer volledige uiteensetting van toesprake vir redenaarskompetisies, lees hierdie bloginskrywing en volg hierdie wenke.

Kliek hier vir hulp met die skryf van redenaarstoesprake vir jou ouer kinders.

***

© 2021 Fielies De Kock

Vrou, ma, blogger. My kinderboek, Yeovangya’s Quest, en my en ons seun se eerste boek saam, 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads, is op Amazon beskikbaar.

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

Links to Things to Do and Places to See in Hermanus and the Overberg at your Fingertips

This is a ‘working’ blog post and will be 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.

In and around Hermanus

Find accommodation in Hermanus to fit your needs and then plan your holiday from the list below. Make sure to come for long enough, because Hermanus and the Overberg have is plenty to do!

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley wine farms are the hub of some of the best Pinot Noir. There are fourteen farms between Hermanus and Caledon to visit for tastings, lunch, picnics and walks.

Hermanus provides plenty opportunity for swimming, surfing, kite surfing (at the estuary at Grotto beach) and sunbathing on its large and small sandy beaches. Visit Grotto (kite surfing at the estuary at Grotto beach), Voëlklip (surfing), Langbaai, Kammabaai (surfing), Kwaaiwater/Mosselrvier (picnicking), Onrus (surfing)

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

Starting at Grotto Beach, the cliff path snakes along the coast for 12,7 km, which makes it a fantastic walk whether in full or in 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. Get tips on how to enjoy a safe and healthy holiday in Hermanus here.

The view from Rotary Way on the top of the mountain is breathtaking 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 has plenty opportunities for walking. The three dams nestled in the mountains are reachable from Fernkloof, where there are various footpaths to follow. Always walk in groups and do not take dogs on paths where they are not allowed. This precaution is for your own safety.

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 whole family busy, so Dad can spend a few guilt-free hours per week on the greens. There are other golf courses in the vicinity as well.

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.

Various bicycles can be rented to explore the village and beach.

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

While the Southern Right Whales visit Hermanus’ shores between July and November every year, a few shy locals (Bryde whales) can be observed in the bay from time to time throughout the year. Other wildlife to to watch 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.

Extreme sports are popular in the Overberg region. Find what you want. Another not-to-miss sports event is the annual Walker Bay Outdoor event is held at the end of April each year.

Apart from the permanent Old Harbour Market at Market Square in the CBD, there are plenty markets (at the Wine Village, High Street, and the Hermanus Country Market at the cricket grounds) in and around Hermanus 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 in the Grobbelaar hall in town. And 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.

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 coffee shops and restaurants and another Saturday market to visit.

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.

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 spectacular close ocean view after the activities have left you hungry and thirsty.

The New Harbour (more about its history) at the end of Westcliff Drive (Marine Drive becomes Westcliff Drive at the bend when you leave the CBD), houses three restaurants/bars, as well as the offices of whale boat watching and diving and fishing excursions. The newly renovated Station 17  National Sea Rescue Institute building keeps an 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.

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

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

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.

Hermanus has it’s own Camino now! So, if you have a few days and fancy a walk, check it out.

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.

Day trips

Shark cage diving in Kleinbaai (Gansbaai) is something for the not-so-fainthearted and can be booked here.

Another wonderful and informative 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 wine farms near Stanford, can be combined with tastings/lunch at the cheese farms.

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 once here, you don’t really want to be away for too long! Consider the following possibilities.

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.

Driving to Cape Town to go up Table mountain via Clarence Drive through Gordon’s Bay. And on another day, on the same route, visit the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay, sunbathing and swimming at other nearby beaches at Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay, Pringle Bay, Rooiels and Kogelbaai. Or shoot past Cape Town to see Bloubergstrand, Melkbosstrand and Paternoster.

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.

© 2021 Fielies De Kock

Wife. Mom. Blogger. Freelance 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. 🙂

My Children’s Book, Yeovangya’s Quest, is now available on Amazon Kindle

Yeovangya’s Quest is now available in eBook and paperbook formats

My children’s book, Yeovangya’s Quest, is now available to purchase on Amazon Kindle Books in both eBook and paperback formats.

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 10-chapter book) is good, clean reading, 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’s Quest has enough action to keep boys’ attention captive and plentiful romance for girls of all ages.

(If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read the book for free. Kindle Unlimited is available at a monthly cost on Amazon and if subscribed, works pretty much like a library – except that the author gets paid for the amount of pages lenders read per book. This is just to tell you how it works and is not an advertisement. Unfortunately, otherwise I would have gotten paid for it. Smile.)

Purchase your copy of Yeovangya’s Quest here.

Yeovangya’s Quest is now also available in paperback.

Remember, when you purchase an eBook, it stays in your library where it can be read over and over again. So, all your children – over the span of their growing up years – can read it, just like with a book in the bookshelf of your family room.

©2021 Riëtte De Kock (Fielies De Kock)

Riëtte De Kock (Fielies De Kock) lives in a coastal village in the Overberg region, South Africa, with her husband and two dogs in an old heritage house and their freelance-writer son in the garden cottage. Fielies’ other books and eBooks are available here.

Where were you when the News Broke on 9/11?

(Add your story in the comments)

Late as always, I drove to work on that September morning in 2001, praying while driving as was our little morning tradition.

I ended with “Father, and please show us today as much mercy as possible.” A bit baffled, I looked at our five-year old sitting in his car seat at the back and said: “Mommy prayed a strange prayer this morning, don’t you think?”

Normally I would pray for our safety and for our family and people suffering etc. but that morning those words came out of my mouth as if it wasn’t me uttering them. I found it strange, but quickly forgot about it as the morning’s nursery school drop off and work activities chucked it into the background.

Just after four o’clock that afternoon, I was packing away my things to go home while listening to the hourly news on the radio. Just as I was about to switch the radio off, the news reader interrupted himself with breaking news from the US. I listened without believing, and quickly called my male colleague – the only one who was still left – to come and listen if I heard wrong. His shocked face confirmed that I didn’t.

That night my husband and I lay on our bed and watched the TV coverage until the next morning. The scenes of planes flying into buildings, people running away from the ashes, people jumping from the top floors, political commentators speculating and news presenters bringing the newest information, played over and over on the screen and by morning it was still difficult believing what had happened.

That was the day our world had changed forever. Nothing that we would do afterwards stayed untouched. Air travelling had become a nightmare with new security rules being implemented and a new war raged on the TV news every night. For us it was something to observe when we took the time, but for the people of Afghanistan and the US, UK and the rest who eventually got closely involved, it was much closer and cost a lot more.

And as I am writing this, twenty years later, the world is still reeling. Because in the middle of another life changing event – a pandemic starting a year or so ago and leaving us to deal with so much illness and death caused by a virus which doesn’t discriminate – we also have to get to grips with the latest in the saga of 9/11. The US (and the rest) had abruptly withdrawn from Afghanistan, leaving the country and its fragile people in the Taliban’s hands again – and even ‘arming’ them with all the equipment left behind after the withdrawal.

As a wife, mother, sister, daughter and ex-military employee, I can’t help wondering what the point of the last twenty years’ struggle after 9/11 was? Had all the husbands, wives, sons and daughters on all sides just died for nothing? We even lost a South African friend and his two children (then teens) at the hands of the Taliban in their house in Kabul. The boy was in that very same nursery school class where I dropped our son off that still-innocent September morning…

© 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. 🙂

125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads – A First of its Kind

Available at https://amzn.to/3lwaUPh

125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads is a 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. Search on Amazon Kindle Books by the title or use the link https://amzn.to/3lwaUPh to purchase a copy for yourself or a petrolhead in your life.

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 a passionate car buff. Fielies likes blue ones.

First-of-its-kind Creative Writing Prompts Niche Book for Car Lovers

125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads, is a 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.

Search on Amazon Kindle Books by the title or use the link https://amzn.to/3lwaUPh to purchase a copy for yourself or a petrolhead in your life.

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 a passionate car buff. Fielies likes blue ones.

125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads now Available on Amazon Kindle

Purchace your copy at https://amzn.to/3lwaUPh

125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads, my latest eBook, and the first collaboration with my son, is now available on Amazon Kindle Books. (Available in paperback and as an ebook.)

It will provide you, or a petrolhead in your life, with hours of fun.

Search on Amazon Kindle by title or use the link 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads, my latest book, and the first collaboration with my son, is now available on Amazon Kindle Books.

It will provide you, or a petrolhead in your life, with hours of fun. (Available in paperback and ebook.)

Search on Amazon Kindle by the title or use the link https://amzn.to/3lwaUPh to purchase your copy.

My New eBook is Available!

My latest eBook – now available on Amazon Kindle eBooks

125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads, my latest eBook, and the first collaboration with my son (michaeldekock.com), is now available on Amazon Kindle Books.

It will provide you, or a petrolhead in your life, with hours of fun.  (Also available in paperback.)

Search on Amazon Kindle by title or use the link https://amzn.to/3lwaUPh to purchase your copy.

125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads is a book (the first of a niche-inspired series) for the word lover who is also car crazy. Accelerate your writing with some out-of-the (gear)box scribbling – if you are just writing for fun or if you are an experienced ‘old’ hand, thinking that you have already written it all.

Get your creativity revved up with anything from memory-inspired nostalgic prompts to outlandishly silly ones. Whether it is for yourself or a gift to your dad, petrolhead girlfriend or bro, it will put some vroom in your writing life.

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. 🙂

Winter is Whale Time in Hermanus!

Hermanus is in the privileged position to not only be a great summer destination, but also have more than enough to lure holidaymakers to its shores during wintertime. The reason? The annual return of the Southern Right Whales, of course!

With 2020 and 2019 not being the best whale seasons with regard to the number of whales returning, we hope that the three-year cycle will not disappoint and that there will be more to see this year. If the local Bryde’s Whales’ generous presence during the last few months in the bay is something to go by, we might just be in luck this year.

Hermanus is one of the twelve best whale watching destinations in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Walker Bay (the bay area between Hermanus and Gansbaai) is famous for being the breeding grounds for the Southern Right Whales, travelling all the way from their feeding grounds around Antarctica. The whales normally arrive from the end of May and entertain locals and holidaymakers until the middle of October.

When to Come

The best time to see whale moms and calves frolicking in the bay, is from end of June to November. The climax of the season was normally the Whale Festival on the last weekend of September, but unfortunately, the festival is postponed until 2022. Fortunately though, Hermanus and surrounding areas have more than enough other charms, such as wineries, fantastic restaurants with delicious food, adventure sports, lots of walking opportunities etc. for a memorable holiday.

How and Where to Watch the Whales

Hermanus has whale watching boats which take visitors to experience the whales up close and personal. Book in advance (online or at the offices in the new harbour) and keep in mind that all boat trips are weather permitting.

For visitors on a tighter budget or for those preferring not going on boats, the good news is that the whales are visible from the promenade – with Gearing’s Point, the Old Harbour (in the CBD-area) and further alongside the coast, with Die Gang and Siever’s Punt, popular places to watch from. Hermanus’ own whale crier could be found on busy days, blowing on his kelp horn in town when a whale is observed.

What to pack when visiting Hermanus to do Whale Watching

From May to August we can have anything from wonderful sunny beach days to days when the wind tries to blow one away to heavy stormy weather! Although spring starts showing its warmth in the rest of South Africa from August, Hermanus can see some of the coldest days during September and October, with rainy and windy days sandwiched in between beautiful wind-still days. So, when packing, keep the following in mind:

  • Bring a raincoat/jacket and an umbrella.
  • Pack a wind breaking jacket and warm clothes for cold weather and layer when getting clothed in the morning.
  • With the cool sea breeze almost a constant, carry a jacket, scarf and beanie when going out.
  • Bringing good binoculars will ensure a great viewing experience.
  • Although cell phone cameras are incredibly good these days, bring a DSLR or small camera if you have one. If going on a boat, you might be able to take close-up photos of whales, but from the shore you will need a camera with a good zoom ability.
  • Good walking shoes is a must for going ‘whale hunting’ from spot to spot in the village to get good pictures.

Planning your Stay

Most places of accommodation have Covid specials which might surprise you, so even if your budget is tight, don’t shy away of staying long enough. A weekend in Hermanus is a nice break away, but to enjoy more of the village and the surrounding areas, you need at least four days. A week would be better!

Other related links:

What to do in Hermanus and the Overberg

About whales:

Security tips:

More things to do in and around Hermanus:

© 2021 Fielies De Kock

HERMANUS UNLIMITED is a travel writing blog showcasing Hermanus and surrounding areas through photos and articles. Ads for businesses may be added at a later stage.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hermanus-Unlimited-118490463355941

Instagram: @hermanus_unlimited

Email: hermanusunlimited@gmail.com

Partnering with House Watchers Hermanus

Why Your Family Needs a Break in Hermanus this School Holiday!

2021 had just gone on where 2020 left off, with the year beginning with a stricter level of lockdown, forcing schools to start later – meaning that the holiday didn’t coincide with Easter weekend this year. Every dark cloud has a silver lining though. In this case it means not two in one, but two separate holidays to provide that little bit of relief from all the stress the pandemic had brought upon us all. It also means that we have time to relax and get away from working at home. For local businesses it means that the seasonal window for business is open a bit wider for longer.

With travelling abroad not an easy option right now, towns like Hermanus are reaping advantages as South Africans opt for local holidays. It was really wonderful to experience a bit more vibrancy to our coastal villages during the twee long weekends recently, with people flocking back slowly to come and relax in this most pleasant of seasons in the Overberg. Flowers are blooming, days are sunny and lazing on the beach or walking the cliff path are a wonderful activities for both individuals and family.

Here and there we will have a bit of wind and rain of course, but hey, that is what our magnificent restaurants and coffee shops are for! For all the latest events going on, Google ‘hermanus restaurants’ and then visit their Facebook and Instagram pages. The Burgundy Restaurant, for instance has regular Friday night live music evenings with well-known performers and Dal Italia Deli and Romantiques combine to entertain small groups of 20 on dining and a movie. Follow the restaurants on social media to see what is on while you are visiting.

Why Hermanus?

  • Hermanus is a convenient one and a half hour-drive from Cape Town which provides an easy daytrip opportunity for someone on a limited budget. Be warned though – a day in the village will not even cover the basics, while a visit of four days or so will give one at least an idea of what the town has to offer.
  • Make sure to include a Saturday in your trip planning to visit one or more of the markets in the area. Also keep the art walk on the first Friday of every month in mind (only between September and April). There is now also an art market every first Sunday where the Saturday market is held.
  • Start your visit in Hermanus with a trip up the Rotary Way to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view of the whole of Walker Bay.
  • The town offers quite a few walking options. There are various routes into the mountain from the Fernkloof Nature Reserve as well as a cliff path walk along Hermanus’ 7.5km coastline from the new harbour to Grotto Beach (or the other way around). One of the local taxi services can be used for transport to the beginning and from the end point. You can also walk shorter distances on the cliff path from anywhere you stay in town.
  • For nature lovers there are plenty to see. The area is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom with plenty unique fynbos species to be observed.
  • Unfortunately our weekly Parkruns (on Saturday mornings at the venue on the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley road) is still not being held due to Covid-regulations.
  • Other physical activities (weather permitting) to explore in the area are surfing, mountain biking, fat biking on the beaches, scuba diving, kite surfing, sandboarding, sea fishing etc.
  • Although ‘whale season’ is mostly during the months of August through to early November when the Southern Right Whales visit the bay, our local residential whales, the Bryde’s whales are currently entertaining residents on a daily basis. Colonies of seals, pods of dolphins and even waddles of penguin are seen regularly, along with schools of fish and always lots of different species of birds.
  • On wind-quiet, sunny days, kayaking is a wonderful way to get exercise as well as do some on-water sightseeing between the two harbours.
  • The town has no shortage of beaches with the main beach, Grotto, being the largest. On windy days, the estuary is a favourite playground for kite surfers. Alongside the cliff path lies Voëlklip (famous for surfing), Langbaai, which is small and intimate; and Kammabaai – a favourite for parents with small children and also suitable for surfing. Mosselrivier and Kwaaiwater beaches are also well-liked, with Kwaaiwater’s beach being a popular picnic area to lazy away summer evenings when the sun only sets after eight o’clock.
  • Hermanus’ restaurants are world-class and the road alongside the marine is lined with many options offering delicious food and the most beautiful views.
  • For art lovers there are 20 art galleries to visit around town as well as outdoor sculptures to adore as part of the annual FynArts Festival (in June). If you are here on the first Friday of a month, make sure not to miss the art walk, where you can stroll from gallery to gallery in town between 17:00 and 20:00.
  • The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is Hermanus’ contribution to South Africa’s wine industry and offer fourteen wineries to visit for wine tasting and other activities. Tours are available from the Market Square to ensure that tourists do not drive under the influence.
  • Hermanus is a favourite extreme sports destination, featuring a leg of the Cape Epic. Other activities include hang gliding, zip lining etc. (on the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley road).
  • Other places to visit are the old and new harbours, the many sites alongside the cliff path from where one can appreciate the view from a wooden bench on the rocks, Hoy’s koppie in the middle of the town and the surrounding suburbs of Onrus, Sandbaai and Vermont. Stanford (and De Kelders are also close by which provides more entertainment opportunities such as river cruising, fishing and much more.
  • Hermanus is a photographer’s paradise, so bring your camera and tripod or test your cell phone’s picture taking abilities. You will not be disappointed!

Unfortunately, not even beautiful Hermanus is excluded from crime, so always be alert, especially when walking. Preferably, always walk in pairs at least. For safety tips as well as emergency numbers, click this link: https://fieliesdekock.com/2020/12/16/your-guide-to-a-safe-hermanus-holiday/

(To avoid unbalance advertising regarding businesses. Just search (‘kayaking in Hermanus’ or ‘restaurants in Hermanus’) to find what you want.

So – don’t bother Googling for your next break away. Come and see why we are raving about our beautiful village.

Hermanus is ready for you!

© 2021  Fielies De Kock ž HERMANUS UNLIMITED ž

HERMANUS UNLIMITED is a travel writing blog showcasing Hermanus and surrounding areas through photos and articles. Ads for businesses may be added at a later stage.

Read more full articles at www.fieliesdekock.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hermanus-Unlimited-118490463355941

Instagram: @HERMANUS_UNLIMITED

Email: hermanusunlimited@gmail.com

Partnering with House Watchers Hermanus: https://www.facebook.com/housewatchershermanus