Ode to an unsung heroine

Elsa getting her St Patrick birthday choccie

Today is Elsa Steyn’s birthday. She is one of the many special angels in my life. Her superpower is her quiet, unassuming sense of selfless service. She quietly gets on with the job of always being there for everybody, never drawing attention to herself, seamlessly just doing what has to and does not have to be done, to make our village here in Hogsback a better place.

She has been running the www.hogsbackinfo.co.za site for years and years, where you not only can see all the accommodation establishments as well as interesting information about Hogsback, but can also do an enquiry which Elsa sends on to all of us. She has been doing this free of charge, updating data and keeping us all in the loop. She also helps me manage the Hogsback Facebook page and always make sure that whatever titbits needs to be on, gets placed there.

The #winter #hogsbackcelebration committee
The #winter #hogsbackcelebration committee

For the last however many years that Xmas in July has been held here in Hogsback, she has been making and co-ordinating the xmas hat making. I once had to make 100 hats as part of the effort, and believe me it was nogal an effort. She makes it seem like no effort at all. She is always there in the background, stealthily making everything happen while staying invisible.

Josef and Elsa on top of the world
Josef and Elsa on top of the world

If you need help, she and Josef are there. I can always count on her for sound advice and wisdom, although I should really, really, really listen to her more…..!

If I feel like a good cry, she is my go-to girl. No questions asked. No judgement. Just quiet, empathetic, healing presence.

She may be tiny in stature, but has a big, HUGE, HUMONGOUS heart. I am so privileged to call her my friend.

Happy birthday, dearest Elsa, we love you, and we see you. May this coming year be everything you wish for. May your family be blessed and healthy, and may God bless you and keep you!!!

  • Share/Bookmark

Celebrating the value of (a) woman

Yesterday we had a high tea in Hogsback to celebrate the value of woman, all woman, but especially  one woman who has made an incredible difference in the lives of not just woman, but everyone on the mountain. Her name is Norma.

Norma stands for everything that is gentle, kind, generous, caring and worthy. She was the doctor here in Hogsback for many years, caring for the sick and running an AIDS outreach. Even after she finally retired (after her initial attempt at retirement to Hogsback), she still remains totally invested in our little village as part of the executive board for our local outreach, Jikani, and as part of our Chapel lay preachers and pianists, as  a friend, a wife and a mother to all.

I think Silke’s poem for Norma says it all:

For a text copy of Silke’s poem, download it from here: goo.gl/KgChgf 

Norma read to us the story of when God created woman to remind us of our biggest flaw….

So, Norma, on your 70th celebration month, we can only say that you mean the world to us and that we appreciate you more than you can imagine! As you did not want to be honoured with presents and accolades I would like to ask everybody I know to acknowledge you by making a donation to your hearts project, Jikani (www.jikani.com) at the following banking details:

Acc name: Jikani
Acc No: 62391132075
Branch: fort Beaufort / 210419
Reference: 70th




  • Share/Bookmark

My baby turns 21

I guess he is not my baby anymore….

Bert the Bob celeberated his 21st birthday yesterday and it was quite a weepie day for me. While making his powerpoint of copius pictures (as all mothers do for their children’s 21st birthdays) I went through a lifetime of memories. Such happy ones. All the agonies and blissfull moments of raising 3 boys came flooding back.

As his siblings pointed out in their speeches, Bert is special. He cares about others, seldom moans and gives a mean neck rub when you are stressed. In general I can summarise him as a responsible young man with wisdom way beyond his years. I am proud to be his mother.

His 21st party was again a reflection of what he is about. Instead of the wild party that most 21 year olds demands, he insisted on a formal dignified italian affair with a few of his friends and family and the normal italian fare of endless sumptious courses. He forced us to dig into our cubboards for our finest wares and we had to suck in our tummies while stuffing our faces with enthusiasm.

  • Share/Bookmark

Oud word

Ek het so baie groot verjaarsdae hierdie maand dat ek nie kan help om die volgende tot almal se aandag te bring nie. (Dankie Lanie)

Jy besef jy is besig om oud te raak as …

  • Jy agterop ‘n nuwe CD nie kan agterkom watter is die lied se naam en watter is die sanger(s) s’n nie.
  • Mense sleg voel om jou na 9 saans te bel
  • Daar niks meer is wat jy nog op die harde manier moet leer nie
  • Jy partykeer aandete eet as die son nog skyn
  • Jy jouself as ‘n kenner van mediese fondse en pensioenplanne beskou
  • Spoedbeperkings nie meer vir jou ‘n uitdaging is nie
  • Jy nie meer gebodder kan wees om jou maag in te trek nie, maak nie saak WIE in die vertrek inkom nie
  • Jou gewrigte beter weervoorspellers is as die Weerburo self
  • Share/Bookmark

Happy Birthday Ellie

ellie“For there is no friend like a sister, in calm or stormy weather, to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands.”  Christina G. Rossetti quotes (English Poet. 1830-1894)

“A sister is one who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.”

“A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”  Marion C. Garretty quotes

“Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.” Margaret Mead

“We are sisters. We will always be sisters.Our differences may never go away, but neither, for me, will our song.” Elizabeth Fishel

“A sister is both your mirror – and your opposite.”

“Is solace anywhere more comforting than that in the arms of a sister.”  Alice Walker quotes (American writer, b.1944)

“There can be no situation in life in which the conversation of my dear sister will not administer some comfort to me.”  Mary Worley Montagu

You can kid the world. But not your sister. – Charlotte Gray

There is no better friend than a sister.  And there is no better sister than you. – Author Unknown

To have a loving relationship with a sister is not simply to have a buddy or a confident — it is to have a soulmate for life. – Victoria Secunda

  • Share/Bookmark

Tannie Nelie is 90 jaar jonk!

Ons was vandag bevooreg om tannie Nelie le Grange se 90 ste verjaarsdag vieringe by te woon.

Tannie Nelie is my man se “tweede ma” van sy kleindae af en sy kleuterskool maatjie, Pieter, se ma. Sy is ‘n dierbare mens, bright en sparkling, en het altyd ‘n vriendelike woord gereed vir almal. Al haar kinders en kleinkinders was daar om haar spesiale dag saam met haar te geniet.

  • Share/Bookmark

Ode to Ellie on her 50th!

My sus ellieI have been very blessed with having THE best sister ever. And it was her 50th Birthday yesterday. I have been struggling to get to blog about her for the past few days, and have started making a phenomenal PowerPoint in her honour, but was totally overwhelmed with the thought of having to pin her down with only 1 little slideshow……which in any case will not do it for me…..so my mind started wandering about what makes her so special….

Well, first of all she was blessed with having me as a sister! I say this in the most darkest of ways, as she truly had to survive me. As there were only the two of us, in a very ordered and autocratic household, she had the enviable task of being the responsible one. Our father honoured her with the task of keeping me under control, which of cause was a job doomed to failure. And what is more, she got punished for everything I did wrong, so in a way she ended up being an abused Ellie. We annihilated many a hairbrush into bits and pieces during ferocious cat fights but I was devastated when she left our home to move to the outback to work at the University in Bloemfontein. We send each other tapes and long letters reporting on what was happening in out lives. Even though she was far away, she was always there for me.

She married Tommie, who became like a brother to me, and she helped me through the sadness of divorce and the happiness of finding a new soul-mate. She was always there for a deurnag when I needed it as well as the occasional k#kking out session (when I also needed it) She is like a ROCK. I always envied her for her steady stable nature and her quiet determined faith which always stood strong, no matter what.

Okay, she also ticked me of tremendously at times. But somehow I cannot remember now why…..Must be my acute state of AAADD (Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder). Oh yes, like her raised eyebrow about my lack of Afrikaans (which is why I am getting my own back by writing this ODE in english!) And I also remember her stealing my boyfriends when we were young! And she could fix cars (mainly because she humoured my father and did boy things with him) And this thing that we looked like twins when we were younger, for goodness sake, she is 4 years older than me!

But mostly we had fun. There were times that we did not talk to one another for months, but when we did, it was like rivers of talking. We somehow seemed to be linked, deeply. And, oh yes, we both love chocolate!

So to celebrate her 50th, I am planning to have 50 Ellie days starting from her birthday. She had a good day thanx to everybody that loves her. To read more about her day, and about being oor die muur, click here

More Ellie B-day Photies

  • Share/Bookmark

Mitti se dubbel 30!!

Mitti & Roy looking cool at her bday eat-out!!Mitti (Verster-Scholtz-Hunter), Jd se ouer sus, verjaar vandag (5 Mei). Nie net enige ou verjaarsdag nie- sy word dubbel 30! Sy lyk egter nog redelik goed…jou average 30 jarige blondine kyk na haar met absolute bewondering.

Roy en Phillip hou vanaand ‘n braai by die huis ter ere van haar oorlewing van die dag. Ons het haar Saterdag aand gejoin vir ‘n heerlike partytjie ete by Roma Restaurant in PE. Dit is ‘n welbekende feit dat ek en JD geen (hoegenaamd geen) kans vir ‘n celebration sal laat verby gaan nie en sy moes ons toe maar oornooi!

Die arme ding het egter ‘n woeste dag gehad. Sy moes die heel dag presente opmaak, vir ander ma`s vir Sondag se moedersdag. Vir die wat nie weet nie, sy is die Giftlady. En om dinge nog erger te maak het die familie haar die hele dag gebel en haar herinner dat sy nou dubbel 30 is! Erg! En as dit nie genoeg is nie is sy ook besig om haar nuwe B&B aan die gang te kry. So, al wat ek kan se is dat vir onse Mitti begin die lewe op dubbel 30! Haar ou wulpse mannetjie, Roy, wat sy verlede jaar mee afgehak het, stem heeltemal saam….

So, geniet jou volgende dubbel 30 Mitti! Mag jy nog baie harte bly maak met al jou persente oor die land, en mag jou nuwe B&B vol happy mense wees, en mag jy nog baie gelukkige familie oomblikke beleef (uhhh…)

Ons bly baie lief vir jou!

Meer fotos…

  • Share/Bookmark