Diary of an Adventure

Vietnam Adventures


Manzi, an artist-lead art space, cafe and gallery located amongst a leafy garden in an old villa near the apartment. The main exhibition by a young Vietnamese artist was a tad scary, with a diverse gallery wall upstairs. With night falling, we enjoyed the cozy atmosphere away from the frenetic streets. Alice, a disconnect.

Women’s day in Vietnam. Flower sellers brilliant spots of colour, with women in brilliant coloured Ao-Dai’s posing for photographs. Roses from the market 10,000 per stem.

Market shopping excursion. Even a smile from the bustling stall holders. Tomatoes, cabbage and spring onions (30,000), with a pork fillet at 50,000 and meat patties cooked on the grill in front of us, for 80,000. All weighed amidst the chatter, and pricing indicated with cash.

Escaped from the frenetic to the wide, tree lined (dracontomelon duperreanums) heritage walk along Phan Dinh Phung. Cafe Villa, lunch stop to rest weary feet. Ginger, garlic and lemon grass soup with a heap of bamboo shoots and strips of delicately flavored pork. Nothing crazy. Subtle flavours waiting to be uncovered. 

Illustration, acrylic and marker pen on paper, of the cafe along the lakeshore with its ‘biker gang’. The first of the planned heap I hope to pant during the next month.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Karoo Cottage


A glass of wine watching the lightning over the lagoon. Polly very unhappy. 

Owls calling across the estuary, with the last of the sunset turning the clouds from golds to red. The two juveniles calling for their parents?

The few drops of rain settling the garden that has been planted under the trees in the studio parking area after sorting the paving. A couple of blisters from gardening in an apartment that had no garden.

‘Beyond’, Oil on Canvas 30cmx120cm. Composition constrained by the long thin canvas, inspired by a photo taken by Berand of a yacht going through the Heads. Too many conflicting ideas in my head about how to make the painting work. The narrow canvas to restrictive for the brooding skies I started with and the grey-blue pallet too flat. A bit of blood on my knuckles after the fight. And it’s sold!


The 3 basic Wabi Sabi principles? nothing is permanent; nothing is perfect; nothing is finished. 

Tartiflette (traditional winter comfort food) made with cauliflower and Reblochon, a soft washed-rind cheese from the French Alps, isn’t an immediate summer dinner choice. However, the need to drink aged Crozes-Hermitage was a reasonable excuse as a side dish to a braai. We moved the table out onto the patio to make the most of the fantabulous evening skies.

Overall, a good week in the studio with bunches of people, including my nephew Michael from Perth. Incredible to see these globe-trotting, confident adults. A gallery owner from Paris, equated my work to that of Soutine. Hopefully it’s the colour and thick impasto of my paintings that made him think of Soutine, rather than convulsive compositional rhythms, and the presence of disturbing psychological content!


Cascades of Colour




Diary of an Adventure

Thesen Harbour Town

A blank canvas waits. Multidimensional possibilities that extend out to the estuary and the sunset over the mountains. The tides creating a rhythm of reflection.

What will be the gallery of TH2, is a dark space clad in stone, its potential slumbering waiting for brilliant coloured adventures. Upstairs, the apartment space is currently used as offices, with the open patio unused. Its spectacular views neglected.

Terry arranged for us to spend a few days next door at TH3, which has already been converted. Stimulating ideas fueled by the picnic dinner that Coreta brought with her.

Freshline Fisheries, tucked away behind the marine shop, a car park converted into a beach and seafood experience. Shoes unnecessary, Craig’s wine cellar providing accompanying nectar to our loud family and friends lunch under blue skies with fluffy white clouds.

Kayaks gliding through the wild storm tossed waters, an invitation to play. My problem Achilles receiving attention after months of neglect. The fancy biokinetic strapping, a ‘must have’ accessory in this sport mad town.

Incongruously, a small cottage stands amongst the furniture manufacturers, sawmills and crafters that make up Knysna. A relic of the forest dwellers, Whitewashed at 5 Nobel Street is a must visit for stunning deserts. Not that there is anything wrong with the breakfast we enjoyed. Alongside the restaurant is Design Wise, where timber is crafted into furniture of perfection.

My inaugural Stand Up Paddle (SUP) excursion, on mirror smooth water – between squalls of rain – was a tad wobbly and lots of fun. Moving forward in a straight line was somewhat problematic and I was glad that the canal was empty of other water craft as I had minimal control over where I was going. Although, my very white ‘glow in the dark’ legs, acted as a warning beacon to other water users. Certainly there is a SUP in my future!

Diary of an Adventure

Adventure to Addis Abba

St. George Gallery Addis

With no shuttle bus around, I opted for one of the ancient, matchbox sized yellow (those in the city are blue) airport taxis. The door sort of closed, and as long as there was a strong smell of petrol, the engine worked. With the driver chatting on his cell phone, it want long before the car went in a different direction to where his steering wheel was turning and we crashed into another, equally decrepit vehicle. The two drivers sorted themselves out, and we carried on the hooter substituting for brakes.

St. George (The dragon slayer who helped Ethiopian forces defeat the Italians in 1896) is a name that I passed a zillion times on my walk, and is now on the beer bottle, which seems at odds with the call to prayer drifting across the city from my perch amongst the lush gardens and fountains of the Sheraton Hotel. Not where I’m staying, I might add. That’s down the hill, past the beggars and street children, broken pavements and the traffic.

Ethiopia is the oldest Christian state, with the St. George cathedral built in the 1800’s one of the dominating features of Addis. I only made it as far as the St. George’s gallery, tucked in alongside the Sheraton in an old Italian villa. Vibrant paintings, sit comfortably amongst wooden artifacts. Antique silver crosses, made from Maria Theresa Thaler Dollars, glint under lights, while beautifully painted icons intrigue. I have a small wooden bowl for my Nespresso capsules.

The route from the Intercon to the Sheraton seemed a doddle, which I turned into a bit of a trek as the entrance was around the super sized block. I arrived to register in a sort of sweaty heap, my lungs complaining at having to breath the clouds of black diesel smoke spewing from ancient busses. Traffic police should get danger pay.

At the Sheraton there is a lot of great art hanging in the hotel. I spent an hour wondering around looking at a wide selection of etchings, abstract stuff, flowers, and landscapes. I didn’t see any people paintings. A did pass an old man who would have been a brilliant subject but didn’t have my camera ready

Crossing the road has an element of courage and ability to judge the chances of the vehicle hurtling towards the intersection being able to stop. This includes judging whether the vehicles going in your direction will force their way into the intersection giving you a minute gap of safety. The stripes painted on the road seemed to be braking points rather than safe pedestrian access. In all fairness, the taxi drivers don’t understand what you are doing walking, when their services are available.

On the way back I did find the MuNcH German bakery and cafe, alongside a brilliantly coloured Ethiopian street cafe, selling rocket fuel. I opted for the cappuccino.

The African Union building is certainly impressive. Our walk took us to where it was marked on the map, only to find that it has moved. An old blue Fiat taxi quizzed us through the Saturday traffic and throngs of people to the new AU buildings. A bit like a scifi movie of the future amongst the blighted landscape. The intention?

The outcome document of the Ministerial meeting has been mushed to the extent that it now covers almost any eventually; Resilient, inclusive, robust, sustainable, peaceful society. A bunch of staff must have been working flat out to transform all the discussions into something that is readable and works as individual parts and as a whole. World Peace may be a stretch! No fist fights, but the verbal sparing got a tad robust.

Stomach bug had me changing plans to ensure that I wasn’t far from the hotel. Thunderstorms boomed across the city,reducing weekend revelry to clusters of people huddled under the meager shelter.

Cafe Limmu, renowned for its coffee, the civilized street cafe option. Clean tiled floors raised above the bustle of the street, with Jazz playing. The espresso head blowing.