22 April 2018

On sunshine

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This week, the sun came out in full swing, and there was much rejoicing in the land.

I took some holiday days this week, which I spent with my youngling out in the garden soaking up the rays. Sometimes, we just need some downtime. My next holidays will be spent in Paris, hopefully, as the youngling and I are planning a quick week-end trip to Paris for Lollapalooza in July.

I have had many thoughts this week that I planned on blogging, but I am still working through them and structuring them in my head. But it is all about best moments and nostalgia. We so often look back and glorify the past that we forget to live now, but I feel like this right here is the best moments of my life so far.

And I leave you with this lovely picture of our neighbour’s cat, Jazzy, who visits on sunny days and allows us to pet him and love him and give him belly rubs. Almost all of the benefits of being a cat slave without the responsibility.

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15 April 2018

On Outings and New Loves

On Friday, the husband and I headed out into London for a bit of a celebration, as it was our anniversary recently and his birthday next week. He wanted to go see Epica, so we headed off to the O2 Forum in Kentish Town for a night of good metal.

While Epica have filtered into my playlists here and there, I have to admit that I was not overly familiar with their music and could not really call myself a fan. I had also not heard of the two supporting acts before.

When we walked in, Oceans of Slumber were on stage already and well into their set. Unfortunately, it was not a sound that grabbed me. The lead singer had an amazing voice, but, to me, it seemed like the rest of the music did not support her voice – instead, it seemed to be a bit of a competitive situation on stage, as if three different bands were trying to play at the same time. I was surprised to discover they have been going since 2011 and have 3 albums under their belt already.

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I will try and listen to their studio albums before passing final judgement some time, but it will take some convincing for them to make it into any of my playlists on a full time basis.

Next up was Myrkur. I’d never heard of them, unfortunately, but within 10 seconds of their first song, I declared my undying love, and immediately followed them on Spotify.

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I would offer up my soul or a bowl of lentils for more of this, and look forward to listening to Myrkur a LOT more in future.


Epica put on a fantastic show. They are engaging and entertaining, and really know how to get the crowd involved in the show. Simone Simons has a lovely voice and a fantastic energy, and they are certainly fabulous musicians too, and will also definitely become a more regular feature of my playlists. But, for me, the show was stolen by the synth/piano player, Coen Janssen, who rolled the synth around like a scooter when not playing, and acting out the songs in the most comedic ways. He had me in stiches at time, and it was wonderful. It is great to see a metal band who, while playing fairly serious music, doesn’t take things too seriously.


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All in all, a great night out, and the O2 Forum is definitely a great venue – small enough to be intimate while big enough to fit big sound without feeling crowded and claustrophobic.

One of the perks of travelling as much for work as I do is that I get to rake up hotel loyalty points, which allows us to stay in places that may not always be possible. For my birthday, we visited Cardiff and stayed in a hotel there using loyalty points, so for the husband’s birthday, I decided we would do the same. We were fortunate enough to get a great room at a hotel in Islington with a lovely view of the London skyline.

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On Saturday, we went for a walk-around Greenwich, which I think is one of my favourite areas of London. The husband had not been there before, so I had to go show him around the Old Royal Naval College, which was also the set for a famous scene in Thor: The Dark World and makes for gorgeous photos too.

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Spring finally decided to arrive in England yesterday, and, when the sun shines, this is truly a glorious place to be.

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Our next big outing will be going to see Ensiferum and Ex Deo at the O2 Academy in Islington on 1 May, and the ability to do these things is one of the main reasons we wanted to live in the UK and so close to London. I am ridiculously exited for this concert, because Ensiferum has been one of my favourite bands for the last 8 years or so, and I have recently fallen a little bit in love with Ex Deo.

8 April 2018

On Eisenbahnliebe and a cat

I have always had a fondness for larger modes of transport, and, in particular, trains and airplanes. One of my earliest nightmares is being stuck inside a car, while one of my favourite memories is my paternal grandmother taking me on a train journey from our home town to Pretoria, where my grandparents lived. She would pack a lovely picnic basket, and take the train all the way from Pretoria to collect me in our town, and then ride all the way back with me. We had our own compartment, and I would listen to the clickety-clack of the wheels on the rail all the way.

My husband and I visited Germany a few times while we lived in South Africa, and I would make sure to plan long railway journeys as part of our visits. We took the train from Frankfurt to various big cities, through the Black Forest and across the breadth of Germany, and it was glorious. The clickety-clack of the wheels on the rail is gone, and the trains now move at 230km/hour or faster, but the love for the long metal tubes has not diminished.

In South Africa, I got to use the Gautrain on a regular basis, which reminded me a little of the high speed ICE trains in Germany, and introduced me to using trains as part of my daily commute, and I loved it. And now, living in the UK, this is my daily life. I have been fortunate enough to use trains to criss-cross this beautiful country over the last 18 months, and I am still in awe of this marvelous creation. And while not all trains are equal, I really enjoy the experience of being on a train, and simply cannot imagine travelling any other way.

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And, with that, I leave you with a picture of our neighbour’s cat, who frequently comes around to greet us, and may, on occassion, follow us around the estate. He is also not terribly fond of taking pictures, so this is a rare, unblurry photo of him.

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1 April 2018

On long running jokes

Twenty three years ago, I met this skinny metal head at a night club. We sat down and started talking over some beers, and before we knew it, we were living together, married, with a kid and a house in the suburbs. We blinked again, and we had an adult child and found ourselves living in another country on the opposite side of the world.

And while we have had our ups and downs, I would not walk this path with anyone else.

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25 March 2018

On social media

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Most people who know me well know how much I absolutely hate having to use the telephone. As in, phone a human and speak to them. I struggle to read queues as it is, and without being able to see the person’s face, I am completely befuddled by telephone conversations. Having to make a telephone call fills me with a dread only matched by finding a spider somewhere near my person. As a socially awkward introvert, I have really loved living in the age of social media. It has meant that I could keep in touch with family, friends, acquaintances, and colleagues from all over the world without having to directly interact.

The downside of the social media age, however, is that we, and our information, have become products. Not too long ago, you only had to take care what you share if you were a public figure of sorts, but in the last few years this has shifted tremendously when companies and politicians realised that public opinion could be swayed by analytics and injection of half-truths into the public narrative. And while I have nothing to hide, I am certainly not comfortable with just anyone having access to my information, or that of my family and friends.

And so I have been considering slowly extracting myself from certain social media sites, especially Facebook.

I tried it briefly this week, but realised that one of the ways they keep you hooked into the matrix is by allowing you to use your Facebook account to sign into to many other sites. So I need to work through each of the other sites, change my log-in method first and then I can disable my Facebook account again.

It does leave me with a vacuum, as there is currently nothing really to replace it. And, when divorcing Facebook, it also means leaving WhatsApp and Instagram behind, because, well, they’re both members of the Facebook family.

In the mean time, I have locked down my Facebook account as much as possible. Which only goes so far in, especially since some of my connections on Facebook are to people who insist on completing every single quiz under the sun – quizzes being one of the main methods of harvesting information without our permission, and not just our own information, but information about every single person we are connected to.

I am grateful that I grew up in a time when we did not need to consider these things, and avoiding stranger danger was something we only had to worry about in person. I am constantly aware of how difficult it must be to be a young person growing up in this time, where they not only have to deal with the general anxieties of growing up, but also with the ability for dangerous situations to infiltrate their lives in a way we cannot even imagine.

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I am not sure how to move forward, because I have enjoyed staying in touch, but I know I no longer feel safe on Facebook, and so will probably continue with the divorce proceedings without finding a new social space for a while.

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