I knew that I was straying off my particular path of enlightenment when I found myself one afternoon watching, out of morbid curiosity, a double feature of the Bachelor UK. I felt rather like I was rubbernecking at the scene of a terrible accident, desperately hoping to see some carnage. It was then that I knew I had to start taking some action to prevent any further deterioration of my mind, so I signed up to do an online 21-day meditation challenge with Oprah and Deepak Chopra. Okay, I’m not so sure that all of you, dear readers, will see that as a step in the right direction, but hey, it’s certainly an improvement on Gav and the gals.
I’ve been meditating on and off for about 10 years. When I get in the zone I really do notice the positive benefits of the practise, but all too often other stuff gets in the way and I get side-tracked. Anyhow, for the past couple of weeks I’ve been taking 15 minutes each morning to meditate on perfect health, much aided by Deepak’s incredibly soothing voice. And already I feel rejuvenated. The trick is to keep it up every day. I’m not sure why I find it so difficult to maintain good habits and so easy to succumb to bad ones. There’s a song (from Peter Rabbit, I think) that goes through my head whenever I’ve fallen off the wagon for the umpteenth time:
“Why do I do it, what can it be, there’s naughtiness in everyone but twice as much as me.”
They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and it’s just as well I’m a non-believer because I would definitely be on my way there if the saying were true. I am forever starting some sort of healthy lifestyle regime which inevitably fizzles out after a few days: drink more water and less wine, eat 3 meals a day and no snacking in between, exercise every day, and so on. Yeah, yeah, I console myself with the notion that at least I try but it seems that is just not good enough. However I have every intention to work on this meditation thing – watch this space.
We woke up yesterday to snow on the ‘berg which was, I thought, rather unexpected for this time of year. The liquidambars have only just started changing into their autumn outfits and already there’s snow. Seeing the snow sent me into a state of slight decline as it brought back memories of our bitter blockade last year, not something I would like to repeat. I immediately ordered two bakkie loads of firewood and asked Kho to patch up our gravel driveway; although now that we have the Subaru I feel a lot more confident about getting out of here in a blizzard. Last weekend I took Judy for a drive to the Karkloof falls; we took a wrong turn and landed up inadvertently off-roading up a rather hair-raising, muddy hillside track. I bottled out after awhile and, to Judy’s disappointment, turned the car around and headed back down to safety.
I’m sure that many of you South Africans reading this post have visited the Drakensberg in autumn and have memories of the masses of confetti-like pink, white and magenta cosmos flowers growing wild at the side of the road, welcoming one like enthusiastic gatekeepers. A few cosmos plants have sprung up unannounced in my garden and they are such a cheerful sight at this time of year when almost all the other flowers have died off.
I’ve been harvesting the last of the summer cucumbers and courgettes (zucchini) and have tried pickling them for the first time. I pickled them both in white wine vinegar and a bit of salt and sugar – and added sliced shallots, mustard seed and chilli to the courgettes and fresh ginger to the cucumber. It seems to have been a success – the courgettes in particular are great with cheese and on sandwiches and burgers. I’ve also harvested a lot of green chillies, which I chopped in the food processor with vinegar and salt and then froze in ice cube trays. This seems to be an effective way of preserving foodstuffs that you add as a flavouring to cooked dishes (like garlic, ginger and leafy herbs). There’s nothing quite like preserving and pickling one’s produce, I always say!