Not everyone has the chance to turn their lives around when they hit a midlife wobbly. I was given that opportunity after I became redundant as a fulltime mother in my early fifties and found myself struggling with empty nest syndrome. By the beginning of 2010 both my daughter, Kiera, and my son, Alex, had left home, leaving me at a crossroads in my life. To be honest, the empty nest experience came as quite a surprise. I know it seems crazy but I never saw it coming and in order to deal with it, I took drastic action. I remember thinking at the time that if the kids can do it, so can I and with that in mind, I left home as well. I left not only our beautiful family home and the city where I had spent most of my adult life but also my husband, Peter, who was still working in the city. This was something I needed to do on my own and I was fortunate to have a very supportive spouse and the resources that enabled me to up sticks and relocate to the country.

So, I waved goodbye to Durban and made my home on a nine-hectare (23 acre) smallholding in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. Peter remained in Durban for another two and a half years before selling up and joining me in the country. And together we have never looked back.

I started blogging in 2011 as an attempt to keep in touch with family and friends as we all went our separate ways. It was easy to feel quite lonely and isolated on our smallholding in Nottingham Road and blogging helped me to feel connected to the “outside world”. However, writing soon became a creative necessity for me and now I write, not just to stay in touch but to reflect on and record this wonderful story of life. The title of my blog is a play on the word peek. Before I got married and used Peter’s surname, my maiden name was Peek. So, it’s both a peek at life and a Peek at life.

Moving to the farm gave me the opportunity to determine how I wanted to live my life. In the early days, there was much navel gazing as I attempted to start over and writing played a critical part in my passage of self-discovery. I am now in my early sixties, a grandmother and still very happy living a simple, country life.

[Just a note on the use of songs as titles of my posts. When I started my blog, I wanted to reflect the role that music plays as a soundtrack to my life and, often when I write, words trigger memories of songs and lyrics. However, after 8 years of blogging I decided that it was no longer necessary to include music as a regular feature.]

In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us.

Virginia Woolf

8 Responses to About

  1. Wendy Page says:

    Hi Cathy, I have been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it. Glad that you enjoyed your trip to China and Thailand. They are both on my bucket list. About time you realised that being over 50 is NOT old. You are as old as you feel so make sure you always feel young. Having new activities and experiences can be an inspiration for your kids. I am off to try skiing next weekend. Last time I did that was 35 years ago!! Wendy Wellington NZ

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Wendy, thanks for your comment. I think I felt so old because I was with such young people! I’m definitely working on a new attitude to age and I think my kids really appreciated the effort. Good luck with the skiing, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never tried it. Let me know how it goes.

  2. Heather Hinsley says:

    Hello Cathy
    I hoped that I could get in touch with you this way as a first port of call ahead of writing a letter, it’s Heather , your English cousin Judy’s daughter. We recently had a letter from your mother and my sister Julia kindly forwarded it to me. I read it with interest and have also been reading some of you blog. I hoped I might catch before you went to Durban to meet up with your friend and son.

    I would enjoy catching up with you via email sometime soon although I’m not the most efficient of typists! We seem to have a few things in common – I also have a son and a daughter Sam,20 and Becca, 18, have just turned 50! and work in horticulture!

    Hope to hear from you when you get a chance.

    Best Wishes
    from Heather (Hinsley) 2nd cousin?

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Heather
      How absolutely wonderful to hear from you. One of the reasons I started blogging was to keep in touch with family and friends. I never imagined that it would also connect me with family that I’ve never met. I am so delighted to make your acquaintance! When I visited the UK in 1968, my brother (Mike) and I stayed with your grandparents (Marge and Eddy). It was such a special trip and I loved meeting all my aunts and uncles. Unfortunately though, I never met your mother, my cousin.
      I’ve got your email address from your comment and will definitely be writing to you soon. I would love to catch up on all the news about you and your family.
      Thanks so much for getting in touch, Cathy

  3. John Brewer says:

    Hi Cathy. I tracked down Peter and he gave me the link to your blog. It is lovely to read about you and the family, and to see some photos of how I remember you and Peter. What a lovely place your farm is located in. I hope it brings you much happiness.

    • Cathy says:

      John, oh my word, now that’s a blast from the past! I have very fond memories of the time we all spent in Shuter Road, some 30 years ago. One in particular comes to mind of you, Peter and me wending our way home after an evening spent on the veranda of the Berea Hotel. En route, a hamburger was ill-advisedly bought as a peace offering which, as I recall, landed up on the wall! We did have a lot of good times, not only in Durban but also when we visited you in Belfast. I would love to hear news of Bronwen. Peter tells me that Gwyn has made you a grand dad, congratulations. It’s so very nice to hear from you. Love, Cathy

  4. Nirupa Harribarran says:

    Hi Cathy, Reading your blog is amazing and interesting!! A couple of weeks ago, I was wondering about Kiera, where is she? what is she doing? what she looks like? Then I thought to find her on Facebook hence I found You. How exciting – All those memories came back and I smiled. Upon reading A Peek at Life, I realised Kiera is now married hence I could not find her on Facebook.
    I remember You as a lovely and vibrant person. The great end-of-year lunch at your place and you would always go the extra mile for a person. I am so proud to have had you in my life. I have learnt so much from you in those years. A flash picture of you giving a speech at Akira’s 1st Birthday, let it be known that Akira is now 18 and She matriculated last year. I remember maternity leave ,Xmas concerts and all of the support and encouragement, You have always given us. Thank you, Cathy!!! Chat again. Regards to Peter, Kiera and Alex!!!!

  5. Cathy says:

    Hi Nirupa, lovely to hear from you after all these years and thank you for your kind comments. I also smiled when I looked at your pictures on FB and the memories of the University Educare Centre came flooding back. We really did work very hard to create a special place for children all those years ago. We made a good team! Please say hi to Suren and Akira from me. Love, Cathy

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