Frangipani

(Apologies:  Sentimental post)

Frangipani-Flower-Wallpaper-4

Lady Tree.  Who can remember her?

She is a Frangipani.  (I cannot imagine that now, after they have put up the tall palisade, they would still want to take her down.  I do believe that battle is won.)

Frangipani have a very special meaning to me, they have played a persistent role in my life.  The first flowers my little babies picked up with their chubby little hands and brought their mommy, were Frangipani blossoms.  The tree in which my kids clambered around tirelessly, was Lady Tree – a pink Frangipani.  The same kind of tree grew under my window when I was growing up.  Frangipani blossoms were used to decorate the place (and my hair) where my soulmate and I got married.

There was a short story I read, a little romance, a year or two before my own wedding, where the protagonist, an intrepid girl who camps and hikes and simply won’t settle down, meets the love of her life under the Frangipani trees of a camping ground.  She talked about the “king wave” surfers were always waiting for, and how that man was the “king wave” in her life. (Clearly she’d had other relationships before him.)  I remember thinking, “yes, that figures for me too. He’s my king wave.”

On an aside:  I used to have dreams of the sea, of the waves coming in, and then there was the freak wave (but somehow nobody got hurt in the freak wave ever); when I told Hubbs about the dreams, he said that water related to emotions and the freak wave was about what I loved most.  Interesting how that linked in with the “king wave”, because he never read that story.

So here I am, my mind a bit turbulent from all the paperwork going in such frustrating circles, and deciding to do a bit of embroidery just to do something I don’t have to think about (can’t focus on writing yet, my brain is not yet cooperating with story mode, and practising my gig repertoire at this point is just – sad.  I miss my gypsy guitarist).  Now, those who know me will laugh out loud.  Gipsika, doing any kind of needlework?

Here are my very amateurish results…  and then I realized what kind of flowers I’d stitched.

fragipani

So that makes me very sentimental tonight…

 

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Humans and our stories

What is it that sets us apart from other animals?  What is uniquely human?

Leaving aside metaphorical speculations such as animals not having souls (anima = Latin for “soul”), and misconceptions such as, that only humans have tears for sadness and laughter for fun (there are other animals that laugh, and even some that cry tears when emotionally saddened), I think the one thing that is possibly most typically human, is stories.

I didn’t say, uniquely human.  Bees do an entire dance to tell each other where they found the nectar.

But, face it, we love stories.

Whether it is the gossip about the black sheep in the family, or stories about our childhood (“Do you remember?”), or stories of our ancestors or long bygone civilizations, or even stories that could be… fiction, wild flights, imagination…

I also believe we learn through stories.  My niece and nephew and I were sitting playing that game, “Story Cubes” (btw, awesome game especially for the younger ages), and it is amazing to listen to the spooky stories my little niece (6) concatenates with the help of the cubes, and watch how she plans her plot lines and everything.

Playing a game like that teaches them a whole lot of things at once.  One is, to give each other  a fair turn and not mess around with each other’s turn.  One is, to actually listen and give each other a chance to speak.  It gives a child an immense feeling of self-confidence and validation to know that they are being heard and listened to.  Of course, the creativity of the game is another thing they learn.  Creating a story brings a whole lot of mental contortions with it.

I was also reading that fairy tale to them, one of my authors’ not-yet-published volumes that my own children have heard several times now (and loved every time).  That story has a story about it which I will tell one day too.

If you think about how much of our world is established around story.  We have history; we have family history.  We love remembering “adventure” holidays we had, and when we get together in a greater social circle, what do we do?  We tell each other stories.  Television, blogs and games are all about stories.  And it doesn’t have to be a film – on the contrary, a film gets discussed afterwards and made into another story we tell each other.

Tying into the previous post – why don’t we simply stay on holiday – it all comes down to the story of our lives.

Our past becomes our resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do we ever come back from holidays?

Waiting for paperwork has its merits (though you need a microscope to discover those).  One of them is being forced to “be still” and think about where life is going.

One of the amusing thoughts that came up was this: Why not, instead of locking down in one particular spot, get a motor home or caravan and move from town to town, seeing it all?

The main character in the Solar Wind series is Federi, a “Free Gypsy” from the Unicate-riddled Romania.  The “Free” ones are different from the Rroma in the following way:  The Rroma have settled (forcibly) in compounding (that’s a plasticky building substance) “homes”, and been supplied with sub-minimum income factory jobs by the Unicate, whereas the “Free” ones hide out in the extensive forests and wildlands, living off the land by trapping wildlife and harvesting forest fruit, and keep out of sight.  They are practically invisible, to the point that people have begun to think of them as mythological.

The concept of “gypsying” around is a well-explored romantic theme, and by the very nature of “Solar Wind” being a ship I’ve mined it.  Deeply.  The ship is a home, and even when Federi and Paean go independent, they can’t stick in one spot.

So if that lifestyle is so romantic, why doesn’t everyone do it?

I can tell you why I wouldn’t, at this point.  (The dream of taking a sabbatical and exploring all the coastlines of South Africa in a caravan with Hubbs remains a dream now forever.  I may still move around a little, but – wait for it:)

  1.  We have to eat.
  2. Education.  This could of course happen by homeschooling and correspondence, but that limits the options of my children.  You can homeschool your way all the way into medical school or veterinary school, but it is so much easier to follow the paved road and simply make sure you achieve high marks in school.  You may not know as much as a homeschooler, but proving you are worthy to study the course becomes easier.
  3. Creatively building something up.

And that is perhaps the crux.  Why didn’t Hubbs and I emigrate years back?  Sell up, leave everything and come over?  Because we had a mission there.  We were committed to building up our studio (and it was a good studio!), providing high-quality music tuition and (en route) a bit of free attitude / life counselling to young people and their parents.

Why do families root down in one spot and farm the land, generation after generation?

Because humans create resources.  Humans add value, to land, to others’ lives, to culture and civilization, to everything.  And this is only possible if they stick down in one spot and start planting, building and nurturing.

It is one thing to be able to move around at will, and another to have to.  Just like it is one thing to have a place of permanent abode, but not to be allowed to move from there makes it a prison.  Conclusion:  A forced lifestyle (whether itinerant or settled) doesn’t suit people.  And that is the definition of freedom of choice.

So this is why people come back from holidays:

Because they have actual lives to come back to.  This is why people stay in one spot:  Because they are maintaining friendships, a clan, a network, an initiative, a business, whatever.

And if given the choice:  Would you give it all up and stay on holiday?

Would you be able to create an on-the-go income that will sustainably feed you and your children?

I think with today’s internetted world, it is becoming easier to do just that, but – would you want to?

Quo vadis?

 


Today I’m not overly impressed with my Smashwords downloads, so here’s the link again for those of you who haven’t yet clicked around the Solar Wind series and the short stories.

smashwordbooks

https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/24238

 

Solar Flares and other flares

People, please remember what “UFO” originally stands for:

“Unidentified Flying Object.”

I wasn’t there.  This is an interesting vid.  What could it be? A comet?  A magnetic effect? CGI?

At any rate, there have apparently been staggering solar flares in the past few days.  A big one on the 3rd and a huge one on the 6th.

http://www.spaceweather.com/

(Photo:  Credit to Jani Ylinampa)

x9aurora_strip

(Sheesh, look at its shape!  Makes you wonder about “Angels we have seen on high”.)

But never mind Skandinavia.  These solar flares apparently very specifically hit Cobh.  Other places, even just a few kilometers inland, are much protected from the massive gamma-radiation that is released in bursts from the sun. I don’t really understand how, it could be geomagnetic.  There is no geomagnetic protection from solar radiation in the harbour.

Well, fry me.  What do I know about this world?  After all it only popped into being last Thursday.

The Bookshop:

The site is back online, but I’m far from finished with it.  Its format doesn’t suit the purposes anymore, right now it’s just a shop window.  If you’re interested in a book, please can I recommend you click its Amazon link to get your copy.  Otherwise, post in the comments here and I’ll connect you to Colonialist, who is holding the fort in South Africa.

I’ll be back a bit later…  got to cause some breakfast now.

How are we coping – and Solar Flares

How are we coping?  So-so…  paperwork is taking longer than predicted (that’s really stupid because it’s predictable).  Kids are in school and enjoying it.  I’m sore about not home-schooling my youngest anymore – Wildest One, who begged me to home-school because 2 years back, school became unbearable for her.  But she seems to be adjusting well, liking her classmates and coping easily (and enthusiastically) with the work.

How are we coping really?  Not well.  Missing him.  This will forever hang around somehow.  I deeply hope that for the children, joy for life will return.  Me, I’m doing what is necessary to keep moving forward… but… have given up on several things now.  I shall have to see how things want to go.

My studio is simply not reviving.  They were phenomenal people, in Pretoria.  I was a respected teacher with a reputation of success, buoyed up by Hubbs’ constant encouragement.  Here, I’m an unknown and they’re not convinced they should take a chance on me or even bother to learn violin.  Is Cork uniquely unmusical in the Irish context?

There have been amazing solar flares in the past few days, upping the radiation exposure.  I’ll blog about that tomorrow, too tired now.

signing off

gipsika

 

 

 

 

Back on the blogs!

Heya bloggies, I’m back!

After a week-long scramble being locked out of my account, I’ve finally solved the mystery.

It’s like this:  WordPress felt at risk, so they did a broad-scale forced password change.  (Did you experience this?)

I could remember my password, username (LOL) and my original login email address, but (as I found out mere minutes back)  my mail server bunged all reset notifications of mine straight into the trash!

So, seeing that my email isn’t the one I use every day, I didn’t see this and presumed that WordPress had either somehow lost my email address, or changed it, or (horrors) that I’d originally used a now-defunct address.

In the last case, there would have been (I’m informed by an admin) no way on Earth to retrieve my blog.  I would have had to restart and redirect.  Tedious, messy and sad.

It’s concerning that they don’t have a fall-back, secondary email for when one’s primary email account fails.    I don’t like using a mobile phone as a second identifier as a mobile phone is a tracker.  If I want the internet to know my exact physical location, I’ll jolly share it myself!

Anyway I’m back online.  🙂  And Land Under Wave is leaking…  water everywhere.

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Finally Darx Emerges into Lightz!

Darx Circle is ready to be ordered! Get your copy now before they expire! 🙂

Anyone who has read LHW Noble’s “Regina” and “Forest Circle Quest” and loved them as much as we did, is in for a treat! Darx Circle is a youth fantasy novel of note, a fine blend of breath-stopping adventure and teenage angst.

P’kaboo wants to thank our author/editor Les Noble for his immense tenacity and for taking on the task of the first distribution.

Leslie Hyla Winton Noble

Darx Circle has been the most difficult birth of a novel I have yet encountered. It was all-but ready for publication (or so I thought) when I made up the first proof in May, 2015. Then came all manner of circumstances to delay it yet further. I must say, though, that in the process it was given time to undergo some extra improvements and have a few subtle touches included. I truly believe that the novel is better now than it would have been if issued at that time.

At last have come the first professional proofs. I simply have to attend to a few more elements, and the South African printed version will be ready to go. While adjustment takes place regarding the tragic events affecting my publishers, I will be handling initial orders personally. A comment on this blog can start the ball rolling.

Overseas and e-book versions will be issued shortly — Amazon, Kindle, etc.

In…

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The tech/off-grid rift

One of the most human tendencies is to polarize issues.

So it has been predicted (I haven’t read those predictions myself) that humankind is splitting in two:  The technophile and the off-grid “bushwhacker”.  The former will be isolated individuals lost in the online world, with no “real” friends and estranged from their families.  The latter will live in little enclaves, ecovillages that have reverted to the lifestyle of late Stone Age.

I see several problems with this concept.  Firstly, every “technophile”, bar perhaps the most extreme games addicts, has a life “outside” the computer.  Yes, we can order stuff online, but we still do physically go to the shops to select our shopping ourselves.  And we could take e-tours around Blarney Castle (I did, in 2015) but while that is amusing and quite amazing, it has nothing on the actual experience.

Also, the off-gridders cannot survive in such small, isolated communities.  Alright, I guess they can survive.  But the trouble is, humans are a fine balance of social vs antisocial beings.  If you felt encroached in a mini community while living in a small town, just imagine how much worse it will be when you share every meal with neighbours around a large table in the community banquet hall.  And imagine the power of the community to excommunicate a member if they disapprove.  If you feel camped in by other people’s rules now, just imagine how it will be then.  A lot of problems arise from this “Underbergishness”.

In the middle ages, young adults would, after completing their apprenticeship, become a wandering bachelor, looking for fresh opportunities, fresh villages.  This is a natural human desire:  The wish for “something more”, for a place where nobody yet knows your name and nobody watched you be potty-trained.  Our culture and civilization arose in response to our need for “something more”.

Now that we have that “something more”, to an extent that we can communicate with lost family and friends across the oceans in real-time, I cannot see humankind abandoning this in a hurry.  Not even half of humankind.  Yes, ecovillages are a great idea and so is off-grid – as long as the off-grid doesn’t actually cut you off from all communications with the outside, and all our actual culture.

Some of the questions I would raise:

  • Literature.  So, we’ll be writing with goose quill and brewed ink on home-made papyrus again…  a novel of 500 pages that one can really get engrossed in?  And there is only one copy of it, because without technology it would take monasteries to copy out books – and as you know, they don’t necessarily like fiction.
  • Music.  Where are the orchestras, when in one village of 30, there are perhaps two fiddlers, a guitarist and one soul experimenting on the flute?
  • Art.  Canvas, paints?  The insects will eat it, because it cannot be proofed against them if it’s all organic.

So you’ve just done away with art, music and literature – the three things that define a human culture.  The very heart of what makes us tick.  Is Stone-Age living really worth that?

The Glue

I volunteer, in that post-apocalyptic horror vision of a world, to be the glue between the two sides of humanity.  Who is joining me?

Humans love stories, we’ve always thrived on them.  Books, reading and writing, are treasures.  We shall continue to produce paper books and move the techno world into mass-producing them – or at least, have the possibility to produce the paper book on demand.  I’ll be vending them to the off-grid guys.

Music.  I guess I could get into my off-roads vehicle with a number of other music teachers and go around the ecovillages giving lessons.  I know they have a lot of time in their idyllic lifestyle, so they will practise (because they are bored).

Art.  Organizing workshops (with transport arranged) for those poor young people stuck in the eco-villages who crave to be artists, to explore their souls and the world that way.  Supplying them with materials.  Heck, I’ll take gold nuggets or home-crafted tablecloths in payment and vend them back to the techno crowd – because, peeps, no matter how techno we are (see which world I clearly belong to), we still love adorning our homes in lovely colours and eating fresh, wholesome foods.

I’ll be the Rover.  The Trader.  The Glue.  Who’s with me?

And TBH this leads me to wonder if there wasn’t such a situation before (not quite as technological but as divided) where the travellers (gypsies and other travelling tradespeople) were actually acting as the glue.

 

Our Very Own Treasure ~ Wenlock Books

Luckily there are still such shops around.

Tish Farrell

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Aren’t we lucky to still have our own independent bookshop when across Britain such places are sadly becoming a thing of the past. So here it is, Wenlock Books, a landmark on the High Street, and housed in a wonderfully restored 14th century building. Its owner, Anna Dreda, is passionate about book selling, and has nurtured it and us for over twenty years, creating a haven for book lovers of all ages, from infants upwards. Downstairs the shelves are brimming with crisply published new books, while upstairs you can sit in cosy corners surrounded by ancient timbers and read the pre-owned and antiquarian books. Or if you are nosy like me, you can look out of the window on to the street below and surreptitiously see what Wenlock’s citizens are getting up to.

Also when you pop into Wenlock Books for a good browse, don’t be surprised if you are offered a cup of tea, or…

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Another independent bookshop comes to The End —

Another beautiful bookshop has closed its doors… Durban, South Africa.

Colonialist's Blog

— and the cups will run dry.

In 2009, a young girl named Kerry returned to Amanzimtoti from Cape Town, where she had first been employed, filled with experiences of boutique bookshops found in that area and determined to start one of her own. With the help of her parents and her own entrepreneurial skills the dream was realised as ‘The Book Boutique’, which became a thriving business combining excellent selections of books with fine coffee and cakes.

Book launches and Saturday readings of books to children became regular features.  At one of the former, some five years ago, I met ‘Spud’ author John van de Ruit. He was fresh from the success of the movie made from the first book, and with great tales to tell about interactions with John Cleese. I bought his latest Spud book ‘Exit, Pursued by a Bear’, which he autographed for me.

Anyway, this month came…

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