Literature, Words, Good food & Wine and other delicious conundrums

To Friendship!

A wonderful German friend (who I have only known a year

but feel like I have known forever) is staying and has

taught me so many lessons in life.

I have always admired her tenacity, judiciousness

and open spirit ( she has travelled to Yemen alone twice).

She has travelled extensively from an early age

and has reminded me of the simple pleasures of friendship.

To openly accept each other as souls in orbit, together

on earth for a while and forever bonded in ‘sameness‘.

She speaks to everyone . . . no matter their age,

rank or status, with no ‘hidden agenda’.

She embraces life with such abundance.

We have laughed and laughed and laughed!

A moment of stillness and many, many memories to relish!

What a wonderful spirit!

Thank you friend.  .  .

you know who you are!!

Crowne Plaza Beach – Muscat – Sultanate of Oman


Rock the Croc. . .

‘Rock the Croc’ returns to Zoo

after spending two years in a sewer

in Gaza strip  .  .  .

everyone’s nightmare!

there’s a croc in my loo!!

Cyber Bullying is Abuse

Cyber Bullying is Abuse

This site offers a really comprehensive and simple poster on ‘cyber bullying’ for anyone using the Internet and Facebook.  A ‘must’ for parents with young children who have their own FB accounts.  Thank you Jane, my lovely Australian friend, now living in Dublin!  I miss you.

The Necklace – Guy de Maupassant


Perhaps one of the best short story writers of all time is Guy de Maupassant.  His keen insight into ‘human nature’ makes his stories compelling and an enjoyable read.

The Necklace is one such story with an intriguing twist.

Mathilde has always dreamed of having a good life that comes with money and wealth.  Sadly her husband, Charles, is not able to provide these, being a Government Clerk.  He, however, adores his wife and tries his best to please her.  One day he comes home with an invitation to a party.

Mathilde complains that she has nothing to wear and even after Charles sacrifices money (he was saving to buy a rifle with) for a new dress, she is distressed that she has no fine jewels to complement the outfit.

Charles suggests that she borrow something from her rich friend, Madame Jeanne Forestier.  Mathilde does and picks the fanciest diamond necklace that she can find.

On returning from the party, Mathilde, flushed at all the attention and Charles, bored, Mathilde discovers that the necklace is missing!

Now here is where it gets interesting, neither Mathilde nor Charles have the courage or lack of pride to convey the truth to Madame Forestier and instead embark on a ten year burden to repay the money for a necklace that they have substituted for the original one.

Mathilde whose seemingly vacuous life now becomes obsessed with paying the money back. They take out  loans and she works her fingers to the bone in an effort to pay the 36, 000 francs necessary for the diamond necklace.  Charles too, takes on extra work and both live out a ‘decade nightmare’ of the bleakest life.

The sting in the story comes when the debt has been paid and Mathilde bumps into Madame Forestier, the latter who is looking fresh and pretty as the years have been kind to her. Mathilde in contrast looks older than her years and Madame Forestier does not recognize her at first.

Mathilde is so pleased to meet her and feels that it is time to come ‘clean’ and own up about the diamond necklace replacement.  Madame Forestier is surprised at the news and replies that the original necklace was a ‘fake’ and was only worth 500 francs at the most!

This is a wonderful tale of human failure, greed and all consuming pride.


Keagan Larry Goldberg turns 21!

Keagan, being my first child, was the love of my life!
I woke up one morning to begin a new job at the Department of National Health and Population Development, South Africa, only to discover at the end of the week, that I was pregnant with ‘yours truly’.
Larry and I were ‘over-the-moon’ at this fantastic news, however I had to try and hide this pregnancy from my new employers.  This was not easy as Keagan had a voracious appetite in my tummy! 
Keagan was born through caesarean section at Parklands hospital on 30th October 1991.
Our first child and the first grand-child of Hugh and Nadine James. 
Keagan delighted us with his achievement of every milestone, with a head full of blonde ringlets, he was a beautiful, good child.
Being somewhat of an opportunist, when Rolf Offerman vacated his flat in Cumberland I saw the perfect opportunity to sell our house and move in next door to my mother who could then be a 24/7 babysitter!
Keagan grew up with both Piet and Nadine’s full attention.  Sunday morning ‘sleep in’s’ were paradise for Larry and I as I would shove Keagan into their flat and tell him to “go and find Dinie”!
Keagan was given every educational toy conceivable made by the two retired, devoted educationalists, Piet and Nadine. 
Keagan ate his first ‘solid’, said his first ‘word’ and indeed took his first ‘step’ in 71 Cumberland which has been home to him until very recently.
I did not return to work for many years and enjoyed Keagan’s development, watching this gorgeous toddler grow into the loving, sensitive, kind gentleman he is today.
A year and a half after Keagan was born darling Chesney came along.  
At first Keagan did not enjoy the ‘shared attention’ and I remember at Chesney’s bris when my sister, Merida, was holding him, in Cumberland, Keagan wanted Mer to take Chesney back with her to Cape Town!!
It has filled me with such pride to see how Keagan and Chesney have grown up together as ‘brothers’ in the full sense of the word.
Both are them are sociable with many friends but their love and loyalty to each other reminds me of “He ain’t heavy he’s my brother!” (and he IS quite heavy, no offense Ches! ha ha)
Keagan, Chesney and I have a ‘special bond’ and have gone through some ‘challenging times’ and I have always been an advocate of ‘what doesn’t break you makes you stronger’.
In 2002 Eothan came along and both Keagan and Chesney made way for a little ‘bro’ who they nurtured.
I am sad that I cannot be with you all today and wish you a wonderful celebration to this outstanding young man.
Keagan, you have been and always will be ‘my best friend’. 
Distance shores do not effect the ‘real, honest’ relationship that we share and for that I thank you.  
You make me proud.
I love you. 
Kerry-Lynn Bouman


My best friend, Oscar

Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

I was perusing the latest copy of The Spectator (29th September,

it arrives in Muscat a week late) and was fascinated to

see that it is the 50th Anniversary of A Clockwork Orange‘.

As a youngster, growing up in South Africa, I remember the

Stanley Kubrick 1972 movie was banned (as were most

things in the Apartheid Era).

When I did get to see the movie, as an adult,

the sheer brutality was disturbing and shocking!

I still think of Malcom McDowell‘s bowler hat,

false eyelash and malevolent stare!

Roger Lewis, in The Spectator, writes a great article

where he describes Burgess as “rollicking, he was

shameless and he was a self-invention”.

Anthony Burgess, the pen-name of a former Branbury

schoolteacher called John Wilson was “a nervous

chap who for a staff-pupil cricket match wore a

tweed jacket and bowled underarm.”

Lewis writes that “though Burgess claimed to live as a

tax exile in Monte Carlo, whenever I met

John Wilson he was staying in

Twickenham and drawing his old-age pension.

He had odd ideas about money.  

If a newspaper commissioned an article,

payment had to be made in cash,

the brown envelope left at the reception

desk of a hotel in Grosvenor Square.  If pressed,

he maintained that he mostly lived

in a Bedford Dormobile.  

His plan was to criss-cross national boundaries

to avoid residency restrictions for tax purposes.”

In its day the movie version was an outrage,

particularly the rape-scene .  .  .

nowadays turn on the TV and scenes like this are the norm!!

The Chacma Baboon – Papio ursinus

The Chacma or Cape Baboon is an omnivorous primate,

feeding on wild fruits, seeds, insects and scorpions

and sometimes small mammals and birds.

The mature male can weigh up to 33 kgs and measure 1.5m

from head to tail whereas the female is smaller,

weighing up to 15kg and measuring 1.1m.

Baboons breed throughout the year and have

gestation period of 140 days.

Baboons are African and Arabian Old World monkeys belonging

to the genus Papio, part of the subfamily Cercopithecinae.

There are five species, the Guinea baboon is 50 cm and weighs only 14kg

whilst the Chacma is the largest.

All baboons have long dog-like muzzles, heavy, powerful jaws with sharp

canine teeth, close-set yes, thick fur, a short

tail and rough spots on their buttocks which protrude called

ischial callosities.  These are nerveless and provide a

comfortable seat for the baboon.

Baboons are extremely social and make ‘adoring’ parents.

Troops can be 50 to 100 strong.

Although preyed upon by leopards and cheetahs, Chacma baboons

have been known to defend themselves aggressively with their

large canines.

Baboons love to sun themselves and when socializing are fun

to watch as they often display ‘human-like’ behaviour.

The Chacma baboon is widely distributed throughout

Southern Africa and in countries beyond.

(I took these pictures in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.)

The Owl House – Nieu-Bethesda, South Africa

Helen Martins

Helen Martins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most fascinating places that I have ever been to visit has most

definitely been The Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda in the

Eastern Cape in South Africa.


The mesmerizing story of Helen Martins who began, in 1945, to

obsess with cement, glass and wire is revealed in this little museum kept in her honour.


Helen Martins was born on 23rd December in 1897 and inherited the

quaint little house after her parents died.


As you enter the house you can feel the atmosphere of ‘strangeness’, an eerie experience as you view glass crushed on the walls, glass of every conceivable colour and shape in every room, hanging, catching the natural light of the sun.

You can feel the loneliness and persecution of this lady’s ‘stifled’ spirit in her time in the small conservative town, Nieu-Bethesda, where conformity was the order of the day.

There are camels, owls, cats,sphinxes and people, many with bulbous protruding eyes, all made of glass bottles.

Helen’s fascination with the Orient is evident in all the statues pointing and some desperately ‘reaching out’ in one direction, all facing the same way; Eastwards.

Helen drew her inspiration from Christian biblical texts, poetry of Omar Khayyam and works of William Blake.  In 1964 she was assisted by Koos Malgas, a Coloured man; this drew considerable suspicion in the apartheid-era of South Africa.

Helen’s eyesight began to fail from excessive exposure to fine crushed glass which led her to commit suicide at the age of 78 on August 8th 1976.  The Owl House was declared a provisional national monument in 1991.

South African playwright Athol Fugard drew inspiration from her story in his play The Road to Mecca in 1985, this was later made into a film.

It was an amazing experience where I actually felt her pain and anguish as portrayed in her many statues in the backyard.  A remarkable lady!

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