From the furniture one can deduce that they always lived in large houses. They are big pieces oozing generational pedigree and there are lots of them – chests of drawers, bookshelves, couches, smaller tables, a round table looking smallish in the foyer. Despite the many pieces, the house isn’t cluttered, but thoughtfully and tastefully decorated with soulful wall hangings, a few large photo family collages and memorabilia from travels and heirlooms strategically placed on surfaces. The dogs’ oversized beds fit neatly in a corner leading to the main bedroom without looking out of place or in the way. The cat sleeps wherever and sits wherever throughout the day, but mostly on one’s lap if you allow her and at night, she crawls in wherever she is welcomed, looking for comfort. The house was a happy home, it seems, but change is visible in the pets’ subdued behaviour. They seek human contact and comfort, only to retreat again to a corner or wander aimlessly through the living areas. Quilts and crocheted blankets still cover the beds – a silent legacy to be enjoyed by those she left behind, that they will provide warmth to guest for years to come.
The real evidence sits untouched on a chair in a corner of the sunny living room, in a basket filled with crocheted blocks – some separate and some already sewn together. The pattern waits on top of the half finish project.
100 Words: It’s dry season in the Cape now, so our dams are emptying rapidly. The 2017/18 drought is still fresh in our memories and with the electricity crisis, our water supply is in danger countrywide. But in a world where we operate like headless chickens, humans are in danger of running dry too. We need to help and serve others, but a tap without water cannot fill an empty cup. As we give, we also need to take in, switch off, take a rest and replenish – otherwise our taps will not only run dry, but our feeding source is threatened too.
Under 10-words Takeaway: Soak in the rain (rest) to replenish your resources regularly.
Welcome to the Hermanus! We hope you have a time of making wonderful memories and that you will be lure back to our shore again and again, because no matter the occasion, the time of the year or the weather – it’s always a beautiful day in Hermanus!
Please keep our town and ocean clean by using the bins provided for all your rubbish.
What to Do in Hermanus and the Overberg Area
In and around Hermanus
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.
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.
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.
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/Petanque, 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.
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. For the 2023 program (9-18 June), click here.
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.
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 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.)
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 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.
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).
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.
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?
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. Make a call.
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,”
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?
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.