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Monthly Archives: June 2019


Winter time in Cape Town is no excuse not to go to the beach.

There’s always a beautiful day popping up in between the cold fronts, when the sun is shining and the winds calm down.


And as it is with cold water: It only takes a few moments to get over it and then it’s refreshing.

As we had been on the other side of the dunes, the equally beautiful but more tranquil fynbos landscape, I wanted the dogs to get a good wash and in we went, into the icy surf of mellow waves.


That’s where I took this picture:

It is so cold, even Table Mountain remains under a blanket of clouds.






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I always look out for little treasures when going for a walk at the beach.


Especially with the sun glaring eye searingly low during winter, turning the ocean into a glittering sea of dancing sparks, also the sand reflects the sun beams with twinkles all around.

Every now and then something flashes and catches my attention.


Like this damaged gemstone: A milky quartz broken in half.

Washed smooth and round from tumbling in the waters, it looks silky white on the outside.

But the rigety edge of the cracked surface reveals the true beauty of this stone:

Depending on the angle it reflects the light, it flares up with a blaze of glistening brilliance. Flickering and gleaming, simply mesmerizing to watch.


Beauty in the detail:

We can see its beauty because it’s broken.


Milky Quartz gemstone: Because it's broken we can see its beauty.

Milky Quartz gemstone: Because it’s broken we can see its beauty.






After the recent Cape drought crisis, it has become second nature for us to save water.


Water restrictions are still at Level 3, meaning 105 litres or less are allowed per person per day.


A great way to reduce drinking water consumption is by collecting grey water and rainwater.


With Cape Town’s recent major rain falls, even causing some flooding, we collected a lot of rainwater in a very short time.


Where to keep it all?


Of course, the bath tub comes to mind: For the first time ever, our bath is full with water to the brim!


Since we restored and renovated an over 100 year old Victorian house, our bath tub has been sitting pretty much empty.

Filling it with buckets of rainwater makes you realise how much water it actually holds!


#WaterSaving: Our bath tub only gets used to store rainwater.

#WaterSaving: Our bath tub only gets used to store rainwater.


Depending how you collect rainwater, it’s pretty much clean.

You just need to make sure the first flow of rainwater that is washing off the dust and dirt from roofs and buildings is avoided.

After that, any rainwater you collect is clear and absolutely fine for flushing the toilet, washing your clothes or general cleaning like mopping the floors.


With so much rainwater at hand, it’s a real luxury to not need to let our toilet water mellow.


Because if I’ve learned something from the drought crisis, it is this: Clean running drinking water is an absolute luxury!




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It’s getting cold in Cape Town with lots of rain.

Now is the time to snuggle up close and keep warm.

My pet rats – as the cuddle masters they are – have prepped their rattie home and perfected their nest to be super cosy.

And it’s really warm in there! Sometimes I stick my hand in to check up on them and I’m always amazed how mega warm they have it in there.

I’m glad to feel both my rattie girls are as fluffy soft cuddly as always.

Because in these cold days I hardly see them anymore!

They are hibernating. Well, honestly, there is no reason to leave the nest.

So a quick hello and back to bed is all I get from my ratties:



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I use South Africa’s public health care system, because it’s free and offers excellent service. Of course, waiting times are annoying, but medical advice is helpful.


Recently I discovered a women’s clinic around the corner, which I decided to give a try.



I got an appointment within a couple of days, but was told to come in early on that day and wait until called to be seen.


That’s usually the part where the queueing comes in.


Not so here: I was sent around for a couple of tests, with relative short waiting times in between.


One of the tests was an HIV test.



It is my philosophy to be sure about my HIV status, so I was glad to accept this free service.


Without further ado we chatted while I had a tiny blood drop taken from my finger and we continued chatting.


After a couple of minutes the nurse picked up a little white test stick and tells me I’m HIV negative.


In South Africa getting tested for HIV is quick and completely free at government clinics.

In South Africa getting tested for HIV is quick and completely free at government clinics.


I was baffled: THAT had been the HIV test? With the result in minutes?


We’ve come a long way!


I remember how back in highschool when we talked about why we chose biology as a major in our A-levels, one of the replies was: To find a cure for AIDS.


And now we’ve done it!


Being HIV positive is no longer a death sentence, and with testing this quick and easy nothing should stop anyone from knowing their status.


#HIV  #GetTested  #KnowYourStatus  #HIVprevention


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Always busy promoting that Rats Make Great Pets, I research many a things rat related, switching between English and German.


Looking for an adequate translation of ‘pet rat’ into German I come across some interesting Google suggestions:

Google Translate gets it wrong: 'pet rat' is not 'Hausratte'.

Google Translate gets it wrong: ‘pet rat’ is not ‘Hausratte’.


An example how bad translation can make a wrong word commonplace.


The noun ‘pet’ is a lovely short word of endearment in English.

In German, it is: ‘Haustier’. A long awkward and rather impersonal term meaning literally ‘house animal’.


Yet, I see a lot of ‘Haustier Ratte’ around the internet:

Google wrongly corrects my spelling due to wrong translations on the internet.

Google wrongly corrects my spelling due to wrong translations on the internet.


This is just one of many examples how the internet lowers the standard of language use.


First of all, it’d be ‘Haustierratte’.

German likes to join the words together that belong together for quicker understanding. However, it also creates long words, very long words.

Like ‘Haustierratte’ would be one of those long awkward words.


The ‘Tier’ in ‘Haustier’ becomes redundant as we specified the animal as a rat, so the shortened version ‘Hausratte’ springs to mind.

However, ‘Hausratte’ is already taken as the overall classification of the Rattus rattus and is therefore wrong as a translation for ‘pet rat’.


Luckily, German has a word for ‘domesticated rat’: Farbratte


Wikipedia automatically redirects Haustierratte to Farbratte.


Farbratte literally means colour rat.

As opposed to wild rats, which are all agouti, a brownish greyish coat all over.

The colours of domesticated rats vary wildly in shades, markings, and body and coat type.


Funny enough, Farbratte would be translated into English as Fancy rat.

So we’re back at the beginning: There is no real translation for ‘pet rat’ into German…


Maybe then ‘Haustierratte’ is fitting, for me it represents something like this:

Haustierratte: This is what I picture a house pet rat to look like: All prim and proper, tending to her home.

Haustierratte: This is what I picture a house pet rat to look like: All prim and proper, tending to her home.






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Only a couple of days after our Woodstock cleanup, the vicious circle starts all over again:


Already people are sleeping rough on this abandoned plot.


It seems as soon as a place gets cleaned up it's just going to get abused by more people.

It seems as soon as a place gets cleaned up it’s just going to get abused by more people.


They spill over from 7 Oxford Street, where people are even sleeping on the roof.



We are not even yet with the cleanup of 27 Greatmore Street: There is a whole lot of wood and boards and shrubbery we need to get rid of before it turns into a fire hazard.


27 Greatmore Street still needs much more work.

27 Greatmore Street still needs much more work.


But with history repeating, is this just some sisyphus work?




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