Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘He ain’t Heavy’

Oil on canvas 2,0mx1,5m

Crazy dreams. The bunch of antibiotics to sort an abscess from a broken tooth?

‘He ain’t Heavy’, the large (2,0mx1,5m) abstract-impressionist painting of elephants at Addo Elephant Park. Although the large strokes of pure colour, applied in bursts of energy give the painting an abstract-expressionist slant, creating a large, vibrant work.

The ‘wall-easels’ flexible enough to accommodate the large painting while it dries, freeing the studio for creation of new work.

Cool, dark mornings, making that coffee far more attractive than heading out for a jog or ride. Mud fun in the forest. Increased dew, slippery underfoot. Core muscles given a work-over on the Homtini Pass cycle. Shoulders and arms trying to compensate for struggling legs.

Prince a tad ‘stone crazy’ as his latest fixation is chasing stones in the sea or waters of the estuary. While fabulous exercise for him, getting him to agree that play-time is over is a different matter.

Leaking water pipe between the water-meter and the studio a bother. A waste of water and money with the solution somewhere between lifting all the paving to search for the pipe route and not washing! The added complexity of monstrous Coral Tree roots.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Happy Easter

‘Plogging’, the Swedish craze of picking up litter while out jogging is easier on the stretch out along the lagoon as there are frequently placed rubbish bins to deposit the trash and the street lights help on the darker mornings. I don’t collect the messy stuff!

Eye tests for new glasses to adjust for the diabetic changes to my prescription. An almost 20% reduction, which may also account for the ongoing headaches. Although, my trampolining blood sugars wreck their own havoc with my eye sight. At least the eye tests didn’t show any diabetic related diseases.

Easter. An explosion of chocolate bunnies, and various types of chocolate eggs, wherever I look. The one I was given I passed in to a street kid. Delicious looking hot-cross buns also not an option. However, a diabetic hot-cross bun experiment? A quick count of the carbs in the ingredients of the recipe I found has each bun at about 5 grams.

Not a great success. Heavy, dead things that even butter and the glazed orange peel crosses I did couldn’t rescue.

Sunrise run with Prince to Seattle. He wouldn’t deviate down the red brick road, but did manage the chase around the staircases at The Quays.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Last lighttrack up in the studio. Only a bit of blood involved. Waiting for the new table top for the trestle and the studio will be ready for the Knysna Literary Festival ‘Delicious Word Journey’. Thrilled that the studio will host Sam Cowen for the evening.

Tree trimmed to form a ‘green cloud’ outside the patio. A few stray bits need to be taken down and we can almost start looking at crafting the tree shape.

Quick trip down to Kommetjie. Prince not impressed with the wind noise, or that of passing aircraft. The waves on the beach an added terror. His walks sporadic affairs between bouts of panic. He was much happier to play in Alan’s garden.

We did manage a walk across the park to the Green Room for cappuccino. The Green Room is simply idyllic. A place you want to roll up, put in your pocket and take out every time you want a coffee in a tucked away, laid back, surfers paradise. They have their own craft beer that I was silly enough not to taste, or at least bring away with me. The service is that blend of focused personalized attention and casual forgetfulness. Perfect.

At the other end of the spectrum, lunch at the Steenberg Bistro. Fortunately I wasn’t driving so I could stare at the impressive Norval Foundation Art Gallery nearing completion at the entrance to Steenberg. Fantasmagorical and something to dream about for my paintings.

The Bistro offered crafted dishes of near perfection. Stunningly visual, with the complex flavours we have become used to in Vietnamese food. Delicious. The estate wines on the wine list were hideously expensive, which I don’t understand. Why they should be priced any differently to the tasting room which is part of the same building is both annoying and mystifying.

Battery in my iPhone needed replacing, which was efficiently done at WeFix. Did meant that I managed to loose the data in my diabetic management App. Fortunately the blood glucose tester memory stored the key data, without any notes. Hopefully enough for my visit to the doctor to establish whether I can come off my medication and manage the diabetes through my life

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Paintings in their new home in Provence

Prince had a wonderful time at J9 charging about looking for buried treasures that Diva had left about the place. Especially those hidden in dark spots under the deck and walkways. Spring high adding a water dimension to the hunt.

Coreta made Tartiflette au reblochon, with cauliflower rather than potatoes. The cheese mature enough that it walked. With steak cooked perfectly on the braai, pure hedonism. Craig opened a bottle of 2009 Radford Dale Gravity that was sensational.

Early morning busy with cars ferrying cyclists off to the start of the Seven Passes ride. It meant that my quiet cappuccino was actually chaotic. Fortunately the good humoured excitement was tolerant of a puppy that was under everyone’s feet.

Looking at blogs on traveling with diabetes, I came across one titled ‘Blood sugar trampoline’, which seems an apt expression. My morning blood sugars are within the acceptable range, however, I’m still getting those sugar-low headaches and grumpiness. Blood sugar trampoline?

Painted rocks for the ‘Knysna Rocks’ fun Facebook campaign, based on a Tazzie campaign to inject happiness into days which seems filled with bad news. I picked up my rocks from the beach at East Head after our walk and painted across six rocks, where when assembled it makes one painting, but each one is also an individual painting. Coral trees and Bougainville creating brilliant colored carpets of fallen blossoms, my inspiration merged in a zen-like simplicity.

Between the mountains and the sea, a ribbon of yellow and green, the spectacular drive to Cape Town.

‘A Touch of Yellow’

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Boundless energy released in a spray of sea sand and water. The RAV, an instant sandbox. Legs hammered from the sudden increase in walking demanded to keep Prince from bouncing off the walls.

Not quite managing the ’30 paintings in 30 days’ September challenge, however I did get a few small paintings finished, with help of a puppy in the studio.

The ‘hose-clamp’, google fix for the Weber ash collector seems to have solved the problem. Achieved without blood, quite something. Under a full moon, with hardly any wind, we sat out on the patio for our braai, with a smidgen of delicious Crozes Hermitage.

Phantom cycle after early cappuccino walk, the mist coming off the water and the air full of jasmine scent. A stop at the newly opened Café du Bois (formally Throbb) in Grey Street.

There was a simplistic beauty and freshness to the new exhibition at Avo Pomme. Radically different from the vibrancy and energy of my paintings.

The new works are hints of green on small white canvases against the white walls of the gallery. Minimalist naivety? Bernice did a magnificent job of mirroring the simplicity, different shades of green and sculptural forms of the paintings in her canapés. Artistic brilliance.

Full studio for the Tuesday movie evening. Extra chairs squeezed into random spots that will need to be repeated for the next movie being held to support the Knysna Basin Project.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A sunny spot for breakfast at Nadine’s on Leisure Island, with a happy dog covered in marsh mud.

Wild-side. Coffee out of the back of a bakkie. Served with a smile. The ‘Going Somewhere Slowly’ blog. Laughing wave crests. Prince charging around the beach

Strength of Women 8Didn’t quite want ’40 shades of grey’ on the studio wall that was to be the feature for the new Women’s Day exhibition. In Tokyo there is a small art gallery that only features a single painting at a time. The artwork is supported by reference reading that is relevant to the work, inviting one to engage with the particular work. In my head, this simplicity, and calmness what I was looking to achieve.

The wall a tad overwhelming for the single small painting ‘Forgotten’ from South Sudan, however, I may have included too many works. A single chair, a reminder from the Phillips in Washington DC. A spot to sit and spend time with the paintings.

The grey paint colour leaving streaks across the wall. A late decision to remove a couple of the old spot lights that were a distraction, added additional tones to the wall. Jessica and her team managing to meet the crazy deadline to get the wording in place.

Splendid sunset accompanied the bubbles for the opening Women’s Day exhibition ‘Reflecting the Strength of Women’. An evening of lighthearted merriment that flowed effortlessly. Paintings engaging. Demanding attention. Stimulating conversation

Prince, a tad stressed after his day in hospital for a biopsy on his nose. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the stitches making his time in his head cone protector minimal.

Surprisingly warm for a jog alongside the estuary. Stiff legs, not thrilled to be out, despite the earlier cappuccino walk with Prince.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Prince is thrilled with himself, having learned how to open the front door, by bashing the handle down with his paw and using his shoulder to open the door. It does make leaving him alone in the apartment that extra bit trickier

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Across the Generations', a painting of Aunty Helen's and Kelly's hands. Rich Madder red with Ultramarine blue providing the anchor for the pallet. A delicate mix of Indian Yellow and Quinacridone Rose for Kelly’s hands, with Raw Sienna and a grey of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna as highlights. For Helen’s fingers, I used white with the darker purple to create contrast. My eyes, frustrating, if making for interesting painting!

Sunshine, if still chilly, and hardly a breeze, perfect for the beach. Prince not at all sure about the waves or the water, which were both far to scary.

Cut back the star jasmine in the patio garden to the metal ball support as it was starting to look a tad wild. Hopefully this will result in a mass of summer flowers.

Nose a shade of pink after a walk at Steenberg Park with Prince running crazy circuits through the water, slithering across the wet board walk and into the marsh. Happy dog days.

Managed a cycle up Phantom Pass and a spin out to Leisure. Nothing too crazy, but quick enough to elevate my heart rate so as to get reference points for my blood sugar levels. Dietitian happy with my insulin management and cleared up what is critical to stay alert for, as well as the eating before and after exercise issues that should help to stabilize my blood sugar. At least my BMI and other markers are where they should be!

Still no ice cream, and in another lifestyle whammy, nearly as serious as the no-wine, no bare-feet. Even on the beach. Crazy.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

First dinner out as a diabetic, gently managed by Clare and Terry. Tablets and insulin injection packed with the mineral water. A tasty starter of salmon with a spot of grapefruit and crème fraîche (designed for pairing with Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc) on segments of cucumber to accommodate my carbohydrate intolerance, with a fillet on the braai and salad. A handful of blueberries my desert allowance.

Wind, blowing off the snow covered mountains, unpleasantly cold for the walks required by a Border Collie ball of energy. Our days defined by his needs. Morning walks at first light, with an afternoon stint in the dog run on Thesen. The RAV, again a mobi-kennel, his safe haven

Without wine to drink, there are suddenly a gazillion tea bags in our lives, which I'm tearing up and using as a soli supplement for the patio garden pot plants. This no wine life is going to take a bit of getting used to.

Lesa and Alan visiting for a few days, forcing me out of the studio, where I have become a tad hermit like. 'Phantom Ride'. the approach to Phantom Pass at first light, named for the exquisite brown and grey moths which appear again and again each year in spring.

Knysna artists exhibition at the Mall for a couple of days. Quality, artistic interpretation, and relative value part of the endless questions by the knowledgeable elderly who spent time engaging with the various artists works.

Sugar levels responding to the care Terry is taking in searching out the hidden sugars in many of the standrad foodstuffs we eat. Tolerant of me bouncing off the walls of restrictions.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

My times around our various cycle and running routes have been getting slower, with the ride up to the Brenton view point a slow struggle (I was a distant last). Following a series of punctures, I have been concerned about binding of the back disc brake, which would account for some of the slowness, however, this wouldn’t account for the pedestrian running.
A tad more concerning is that I haven’t been able to drink wine, as every bottle tastes corked. That damp, sweaty, cardboard taste. That, with no real appeal for food (croissants with cheese and ham don’t count. Neither do ice-creams or chocolate milkshakes), I have become seriously boring. 
With radical weight loss, increased fatigue, and drinking huge amounts of water, it was time to visit the doctor. Diabetes the diagnosis with the need to radically cut down on all sugars to bring the levels down to normal.
The meds have kicked in with shakes, cold extremities, nausea, shortness of breath, and headaches as my body comes off its sugar high. Afghan socks marvelous at keeping my feet from freezing and a tea mug keeping my hands warm.

Didn’t expect to end up in hospital as they try and sort a few complications and introduce insulin under observation. The injections less intrusive than expected, especially for someone who doesn’t like needles.
Not sure why people need to have their various beeps, whistles, tones and speaker calls of their cell-phones playing while they sit in a hospital bed. Fortunately, in a hospital ward there are all sorts of tubes, sharp instruments, drugs and plastic bags to conjure up a myriad of deaths.
Day 3 of having a Border Collie rescue pup in our lives, started at around 1am, when he decided it was play time. 
Not having any idea of his bathroom habits, as he hasn’t lived in an apartment before, with no garden access for those routine toilet breaks, we are highly sensitive to his getting up and strolling around. We have learnt that being scared of the dark, taking him out in the dark hours for a toilet break doesn’t work.
We also know that if he gets bored, then he tends to decimate the nearest fun object. Somehow I managed to scratch my arm and bleed excessively over the clean linen, which he found fascinating. His only distraction a raw-hide chew type thing that he could chase like a hockey puck across the wooden floor, in between bouts of tearing it apart. All quiet noisy!
After his cappuccino walk at first light, and that all important toilet stop, we were a tad surprised to find the apartment relatively clean and in one piece. Sunny, if chilly day. Bath time to sort any ticks and fleas.
As he has managed to decimate the three soft ‘puppy’ toys, the search was for something that would keep him occupied, wouldn’t bounce excessively, or have any toxic bits (plastic) that he could swallow. Keeping him occupied is a relative term as in reality you are the interactive play-mate.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

That ‘broken wing’ effect with the strain on my elbow from painting the large canvas, ‘Colourful Story of Leaves’, which is finished. Fortunately the client who expressed interest in the painting has decided to take it. 

I haven’t been hugely successful at carrying out commissions, however this past year I have engaged much more proactively with the client during the painting process. After getting agreement on the initial concept, I have sent them regular updates of the painting process, explaining what I’m trying to achieve. Hopefully this keeps them engaged in the process and ensures that the final painting exceeds their expectations and feels like the unique, custom painted picture that it is.

I also received confirmation that DHL are happy to bring my paint across from France. A whole ton of procedural stuff that only emphasizes why Amazon are doing so well. Push the button, and the goods arrive!

Gentle cycle up Phantom Pass, after yet another puncture. Again, fortunately at the start of the ride, which meant attentive help at Bespoke Cycles.


Multi-coloured birthday cake, required that extra bottle of wine. Phillip brought out the amazing Driehoek Shiraz which was voted as the best Shiraz in the world. With our impromptu dinner, a 2010 Moulin-a-Vent Grande Cuvée. And that extra bit of cake. I didn’t drive home!

Only a bit of blood assisting to put up an Owl Box outside the studio.

Mo and Rose, Robertson, looking out across the cacti garden to the mountains under clear blue skies. A glass of wine, bird calls and the sounds of industrious gardeners. A tad nostalgic, as my first ever job (13 years old) was working in a specialist cactus and succulent nursery. Walking past some of the specimens, I can still remember their names.

Our lives changed with a seven month old Border Collie cross, rescue dog, a new addition. We collected him in Cape Town and he slept most of the way back to Knysna. So different to Polly who paced the back seat the whole time.

Prince (the name he came with) was abandoned on the side of the road at birth and after being taken in at the SPCA and a couple of foster homes, where he was given behavioral training. Hence, while we have a young, strong energy fiend, we don’t have a monster.

He is scared of the dark, and everything that makes a noise, or casts a shadow. The scary clock and the two wooden guinea-fowl at the top of the stairs are top of his ‘fear list’, with the popping of the heater close-behind. Being a ‘suburbia’ dog, the sounds of the street outside the studio with people, cars, and birds are all a bit frightening.

He managed his first evening out with a bunch of people at Coreta’s house without any problem, and seemed happy enough running around the dog-run with the other dogs. Diva has sort of accepted him and there is a hint that they could become great friends.

A ton of early morning and late night walks ahead, with longer runs in our future.