Wednesday, 15 August 2012


There has been a long gap since my last post the  reason being:

I have had enough of politics, all the talking, shouting, ranting and raving in the world cannot make a difference to what is happening in this country, so I am changing tack in midstream and leaving the politics to the politicians, let them deal with the mess they have made, while I get on with my life and my writing.

So I will be posting at least every two weeks, and sharing the ups and downs of my joy in reading and my writing journey with whoever comes along for the ride.

There are so much more interesting things to talk about besides the mess that this country is in, so let me tell you about my amazing discoveries, and I hope you will come along with me, on this writing, learning, and bookish journey.

Recently I went to the Milnerton Flea Market, which is one of my absolute favourite activities, after writing, reading, learning, cooking, listening to good  music and surfing the net for useful information.  If I have to leave my keypad and notebook for anything, hunting for bargains at the Flea Market will get me out every single time.

I love looking at what people find valuable, and although there is plenty of OPJ [other people’s junk] as Kim calls it, I sometimes manage to find treasures.  I especially love old and interesting books. One man/woman’s junk is another man/woman’s gold. And books and the knowledge they contain is my gold.

Sunday morning around ten the weather was cold, windy and rain threatened any minute. We, being the four of us, Hans who is my fiancé, my daughter Kim, with my grand daughter Riley and I had just finished breakfast. I was planning to spend the day in bed reading.

I have a  Virginia Woolf Biograpy written by her nephew, Quentin Bell which I had planned to finish reading today. Han’s was already back in bed, snug under the duvet reading a Michael Connoly thriller.  He loves reading just as much as I do, and discussing the books we read, so no problem there. We would have some long discussions on the pro’s and con’s, stye, and author and the merits of action which is  his favourite,  over psychological thrillers and biographies which is my favourite, of each book we read.

I liked to think Hans and I are like Virginia and Leonard Woolf who had a true marriage of minds. I have never met a more telepathic, understanding and sensitive man than my Hans. And he loves me for myself, everything that I am and everything that I am not, warts and all, and I love him for a thousand and one reasons, warts and all.  Most people do not get us, but we certainly get each other. We both believe so strongly in each other. He is my rock, just as I am his.

My daughter Kim suggested we go to the Flea Market, as she was in the mood for finding a bargain.   With no real excuse not to, Virginia could wait. I was up like a shot. Hans declined, I could not fight Michael Connolly, so we left him to enjoy his alone time.  He spends the whole week with people and when he comes home  he is confronted by people, so his alone time is precious, as long as he has a good book, snacks, coffee and his cigarettes, he is fine.

So off we went, Kim, Riley and I.  When last had I been to the Flea Market?  Possibly six months ago?  Although I am invariably almost broke, due to the price of food, so I have to spend wisely. I thought why not? The tip I learned from previous occasions was to only take what I was prepared to spend. So armed with my spending money, and Kim with her spending money,we set off. Even Riley, my grand daughter got into the mood and brought her fifty rands she had taken pains to save for a rainy day, which is what today was; an almost rainy day. .

I needed a good ridged steak pan. Every since an ex-neighbour of mine, Karen  showed me the absolute bargain she found;  a Bauer cast-iron steak pan, just the right size for two medium sized steaks. She had bought it at the Flea Market for only ten rand.  I was determined to find one too.  So what if the weather looked like it might rain, at least it was not raining when we left.

We bundled ourselves into our boots, jackets and scarves and thank goodness we did, as I had forgotten how cold Paarden Eiland could be, right on the sea, just a wall deviding the rocks from the Flea Market.  The ground in the parking lot was muddy, large  shiny brown puddles which we skipped over, but once inside the flea market the asphalt was fairly dry.

Perhaps today was my lucky day! On my last visit to this very same Flea Market Kim pulled me away from yet another book stand as she had found a stall that sold steak pans. I had a choice of about nine steak pans, each one covered in grease, some chipped. Nothing I wanted so far, so I looked around the stand.

I could not believe  the prices this guy was charging; especially since the seller never had the decency to clean any of them.  And he wanted R200 per pan, even though there were six different unheard of makes, none of them a Bauer.

He obviously had no idea and had the cheek to say that the pan I was looking at just needed was a good clean-up and it was an absolute bargain!  That did not even warrant a reply.  I was so disgusted, and before I could tell him so, Kim, forever the diplomat, dragged me off to look at something else before I made a scene.  

Once I see a book stall I get stuck, I just cannot walk past books without reading every title to find something interesting.  I am way past the stage of reading love stories, horror stories, historical and gothic tales, chic literature, and every other genre. I now read to find out what I don’t know, and that is plenty.

My purpose on this earth is to find out all I can about whatever I need to know. And I will know what that is when I find it. I will look through every book on the stand for that special one that can teach me what I do not know, that fires up my imagination. This is one of the best ways I know of detoxing and expanding my mind by reading something so ‘out there’ that it defies science and reason.

To anyone else a book on Space Age Crystals, the art and science of Crystal growing – on Earth and in Space by Kristal Education Inc. might be the most boring of subjects, but I love knowledge, learning about something I know absolutely nothing about, and also to dispel age old misconceptions and all this for which I paid the princely sum of two rand;  an absolute bargain in my book. Granted the book, more of a leaflet actually, is just fifty pages long but long enough as a mind opener.

On the back cover is a picture of astronaut George Nelson with a tray of protein crystals being grown on board the space shuttle during mission STS-26 which took place in the early nineties.  These protein crystals will be used in creative and innovative ways and research will be done on them to produce new drugs to combat cancer and AIDS.

American students do experiments on board the space shuttles and come up with some wonderful inventions, which have practical uses.

This same book shows a space colony of the 21st century which is a giant space shuttle called Island One. This is designed to provide living conditions which can house 10,000 inhabitants, with similar conditions  to those on Earth- amazingly there are cities,  rivers, lakes, mountains, forests and all of this without the pollution.  But sometime cynic that I am, I thought, just wait till they put real humans in these space cities and who knows what the human race will make of it.

The outer structure of Island One will be built from non terrestrial materials, materials harvested from the moon or asteroids. This colony will rotate and produce artificial gravity. Something to look forward to for the next generation:  Going on holiday to Island One to a brave new world. It makes me glad to be alive.  So no matter how bad this world is, one thing we can be sure of is that great minds are working on the next world, Island One, in the sky, a world without pollution, global warming and hopefully crimeless.

I have found countless treasures such as this, and so what if you can find the same information on the internet, yes you probably could, but just the look of the little booklet and the lay- out, almost like an e-book, but more classic, with a monochrome cover with the inside pictures in colour.  

A further bargain I found was exactly what I needed, a black faux leather covered notebook to use as a journal. This has a tab and clip on the cover for closing, and is exactly the right size to fit into my handbag. My old journals are black, large, lined and not in the least as inspiring as this little notebook. I bought three of them, as who knows when I will next get to the flea market again. The stall holder assured me she would have regular stock, so hopefully I will be able to find them again when I next need to restock my writing materials. At a further stand I found nibbed pens, but for them one needs real ink. And although the ink bottles were there, they were empty, as they were from an archaeological dig in Cape Town.

Oh, almost forgot, I found my bargain steak pan, the make Bavaria, ridged, clean, used yes, but almost new, with a double heavy bottom, a non-stick surface, easily cleanable, a wooden handle and much lighter than a Bauer, but just as good, and all of this for the princely sum of fifty rand.  I was chuffed.  Can’t wait to try it out on some rib-eye, rump and fillet steaks.

As much as I love the internet for the information it provides, I love real books too much to forego the pleasure of reading them in their original format. Who says that books are no longer necessary?  E-books and Kindle reads are great for carrying around your whole library with you, but also extremely addictive. The problem is, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, in my book.

I like the look of the crisp white or yellow pages, the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of a new or old book as one turns the page. E-books are published and written by the millions on every imaginable subject, which is good for information, but to sell them you have to up your game every book, just like real books, but real books are read by real people, e-books are read by robots of the information age chasing the “How to make money faster than you can count it” genre.

Books just ain’t what they used to be; published, marketed and big occasions when they came out. Now the poor writer must market his own book, publish it himself and resort to an e-book format to compete with the amount of writers doing the same to satisfy the money monster. Books like I know them will never be the same, therefore I prefer the old books, the real books. Hans has been raving over the merits of a Kindle which holds a whole library of books, can be taken anywhere, and is easy and more convenient for the reader than a traditional book. Ha, I will use a Kindle, if needs be, but I want to see my favourite books on my bookshelf in living live colour.

There is still a sense of hope and adventure in them, a sense of a future good or bad, still to come. The books written today, are full of violence, murder and mayhem, aliens, and the most unrealistic words inhabited by vampires, avatars and such strange creatures.  I suppose I am from a time that remembers how books were before we had the internet, twitter, facebook, stumbleupon, delicious, Reddit, LinkedIn, and the hundreds of apps that make this world such a small place. Apps are being invented faster than even the inventors can keep up with, it really is too much information.

Some of my favourite authors

Virginia Woolf       – one very brave and tortured  woman who dared to be
                             different in Victorian times.                                                                       

Simone de Beauvior – A Brilliant writer, who hobnobbed with the great
                               philosophers of her time such as Jean-Paul Sarte.

Erica Jong               - Extremely honest, and very funny.

All of the above are famous for their feminist views, each broke new ground with their writing, and I love the way they are absolutely true to themselves, no holds barred. 

Modern authors:

Jeffrey Deaver – Most amazing plots and twists to his thrillers.
 David Morrel – He gives the best writing advice I have ever read, plus his         
thrillers are very good. He is a master storyteller.  I loved his      book: Creepers which is set in NY underground subway.

Stephen King – For his great imagination, his absolute dedication to his craft and
                       his weirdness.              

Writing sites I subscribe to:

WritetoDone -  This is one of the best sites for writers                
                       Inspirational and practical advice and help
CopyBlogger – For blogging advice, tips and everything you need to blog

SheWrites      - For she writers, new and not so new, inspiring, and welcoming

Jeff Goins      - This site is great, good and useful plus honest. Jeff tells it like it

Let me know some of your favourite  books/authors in the comments and  why. 

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