Sunday, June 29, 2014

The return of the cat

 Die kat kom weer

Since the cat that currently owns me, KoningKat, returned form her six months stay with Duke, the owner of my children Vince, Mary and Jonathan, she has been as temperamental as I always knew her to be. (I am second-hand: I was previously owned by KatteRasie).

She does not eat the dry Mackerel cat food, but insist on uncooked chicken livers. A full 250g portion per day. 

and rattles the blinds until we adjust it to let in the winter sunrays.
and acts the suffering-cat-character in front of the switched-off electric heater.
and eats the flowers from the vase, but only when we have guests.
and many more deliberate and spiteful annoyances. 
and T. S. Eliot's collection of whimsical poems about feline psychology and sociology: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939).

The Naming of Cats (excerpt from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats)
The full text is available at
A video clip is available at

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter

When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James, Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey
All of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat.

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

I found this list of cats and their peculiarities that are documented in literature.
Some of my favourites are Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat, Dr Seuss' Cat in a Hat, and T. S. Eliot's Old Deuteronomy and Macavity.

Cats in literature

CharacterEarliest Appearance and AuthorNotes
AlonzoOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA black and white tom, and is often considered the 'second-hand-man' to Munkustrap. He saves Demeter from Macavity, and is the first to attack him after he defeats Munkustrap.
AristotleAristotle by Dick King-SmithA kitten, who depends on his nine lives and the magical powers of his owner (a friendly witch) in order to emerge safely from various adventures.
BangsSam, Bangs and Moonshine by Evaline Ness
BehemothThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovAn abnormally large black cat who walks on his hind legs and carries a pistol. Being a member of the devil’s entourage, he is wicked and devious. He has a penchant for chess, vodka, and pickled mushrooms.
BombalurinaOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA flirtatious red Queen with a white chest and black spots and marks.
BorregadLyrec by Gregory FrostBorregad and Lyrec are of an energy-based race who can shapeshift. When he and Lyrec hunt their archenemy into another world, Lyrec takes human shape, but Borregad has only enough strength to take the form of a cat. Borregad, a Jester figure, finds a variant of Guinness stout to cheer himself in this fantasy world.
Bustopher JonesOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA parody of an Edwardian gentleman of leisure and is described as the St. James's Street cat, a regular visitor to many gentlemen's clubs in the area, including Drones, Blimp's, and The Tomb. He is also extremely obese.
CarbonelCarbonel by Barbara SleighKing of the Cats, presumed missing by his subjects ever since the witch Mrs. Cantrip abducted him. Unfortunately he can't return to his throne until the enslavement spell Mrs. Cantrip cast on him is undone.
CatBreakfast at Tiffany's by Truman CapotePet of Holly Golightly.
CatIt's Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney NevilleA stray cat that 14-year-old Dave Mitchell adopts as a pet and confidant.
Cat MorganOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotRetired and works as a doorman at the book publishers Faber and Faber. He is a gruff but likeable character.
The Cat in the HatThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. SeussA mischievous anthropomorphic feline from Dr Seuss's book of the same name
Cheshire CatAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollSometimes raises philosophical points that annoy or baffle Alice. It does, however, appear to cheer her up when it turns up suddenly at the Queen of Hearts' croquet field, and when sentenced to death baffles everyone by having made its head appear without its body, sparking a massive argument between the executioner and the King and Queen of Hearts about whether something that does not have a body can indeed be beheaded.
"Church" (Winston Churchill)Pet Sematary by Stephen KingThis unfortunate cat is killed by a truck, buried in the ancient burial ground of the title, then returns home, in a manner reminiscent of the dead son in the horror story "The Monkey's Paw".
CoricopatOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotMale twin to Tantomile. Coricopat and Tantomile are often portrayed as psychic cats, as they sense the presence of danger before it becomes apparent to the other characters.
CrookshanksHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. RowlingThe pet cat of Hermione Granger. He is described as having a "squashed face," which was inspired by a real cat Rowling once saw, which she said looked like it had run face first into a brick wall, most likely a Persian. Hermione buys Crookshanks from a shop in Diagon Alley out of sympathy, as nobody wants him because of his behaviour and his squashed looking-face. Rowling has confirmed that Crookshanks is half Kneazle, an intelligent, cat-like creature who can detect when they are around untrustworthy people, explaining his higher than normal cat intelligence and stature.
DemeterOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
DinahAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollAlice's pet kitten in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. By Through the Looking-Glass she is an adult with kittens of her own.
DulcieThe Joe Grey Mysteries by Shirley Rousseau MurphyA talking orange tabby cat. She has solved numerous murders and other crimes with the help of her mate Joe Grey. She is also a library cat.

Fritti TailchaserTailchaser's Song by Tad WilliamsTailchaser joins with friends Pouncequick and Roofshadow on an epic quiest.
FirestarWarriors: The Darkest Hour by Erin HunterThe main character for the first arc of Warriors books (the "Original Series") as well as a major supporting character for the subsequent arcs.
GingerThe Tale of Ginger and Pickles by Beatrix PotterA yellow tomcat who ran a shop with his partner Pickles, a terrier.
GingerThe Last Battle by C. S. LewisA talking cat of Narnia, he is punished for his evil deeds by having his ability for speech removed and being banned from Aslan's Country.
Great Rumpus CatOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA hero in the world of the book and the musical.
GreeboDiscworld by Terry PratchettA foul-tempered one-eyed grey tomcat whose owner, Nanny Ogg, insists against all the evidence that he is a sweet, harmless kitten. In the course of the books, he has killed two vampires, eating at least one of them in the novel Witches Abroad: "The bat squirmed under his claw. It seemed to Greebo's small cat brain that it was trying to change its shape, and he wasn't having any of that from a mouse with wings on."
GriddleboneOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotCompanion to Mungojerrie
GrowltigerOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA pirate cat.
GummitchSpace-Time for Springers by Fritz LeiberAs Fritz Leiber, a cat-lover, describes him, "Gummitch was a superkitten, as he knew very well, with an I.Q. of about 160. Of course, he didn't talk. But everybody knows that I.Q. tests based on language ability are very one-sided. Besides, he would talk as soon as they started setting a place for him at table and pouring him coffee." Gummitch doesn't get to prove himself by coffee; he proves himself by saving a life in his household.
Harry CatThe Cricket in Times Square by George SeldenFriend to Tucker Mouse and Chester Cricket
Joe GreyThe Joe Grey Mysteries by Shirley Rousseau MurphyA talking gray-and-white tomcat that has solved various murders and other crimes with the help of his mate Dulcie. Joe Grey has a docked tail after his tail was broken by a drunkard.
JellylorumOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
JennieJennie by Paul GallicoA young boy named Peter is transformed into a cat after an accident, and is taken in by Jennie and taught the ways of cats.
JennyanydotsOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
JupiterThe Deptford Mice by Robin JarvisWorshipped as the Lord of All by the rats, feared like a dark god of the sewers.
KittyBad Kitty by Nick BruelShe is a housecat who wreaks havoc around her owner's home when she is in a bad mood, hence the name. She has black fur and a white tuft of fur on her chest.
Liszt"Edward the Conqueror" by Roald DahlA woman believes a stray cat who appreciates her piano music is a reincarnation of Franz Liszt, to the disgust of her cat-hating husband.
MacavityOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. EliotA devilish cat. Part of the poem about him says, "Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity, For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity".
Maisie MacKenzieMaisie series of children's books by Aileen PatersonAn anthropomorphic cat who lives in Morningside, Edinburgh
MauriceThe Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry PratchettThe eponymous fast-talking confidence trickster cat who operates a 'pied-piper' scam in the Discworld series of books - organising teams of rats to infest a town and then rapidly withdraw after payment to a 'tame' human.
MehitabelArchy and Mehitabel by Don MarquisAn alley cat who is the best friend of the cockroach Archy.
Mickey MiggsThe Kitten Who Thought He Was A Mouse by Miriam NortonAn abandoned kitten raised by the Miggs mouse family, who was not aware that he was a cat until he was befriended by and the children Peggy and Paul and the household cat Hazel.
Midnight LouieCrystal Days by Carole Nelson Douglas20 Pound (9 kg) tomcat companion to (and fellow investigator with) amateur sleuth, Temple Barr occasionally assisted by his sire 3 O'Clock Louie, his Ma Barker and her 24th Street gang, and his kit Midnight Louise.
MinoesMinoes by Annie M.G. SchmidtA cat who gets transformed into a human by a chemical accident.
Miss MoppetThe Story of Miss Moppet by Beatrix PotterOne of Tabitha Twitchit's daughters.
MisterThe Dresden Files by Jim ButcherA bob-tailed grey tomcat belonging to the wizard Harry Dresden. He is often used as a vessel for Bob (a spirit of intellect) to inhabit on intelligence missions.
MittensThe Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix PotterOne of Tabitha Twitchit's daughters.
Mr. MistoffeleesOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
Mrs. NorrisHarry Potter SeriesThe pet cat of Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch. She patrols the corridors of the school looking for students skipping class, often foreshadowing the appearance of Mr. Filch himself.
MogMog the Forgetful Cat by Judith KerrFaithful pet of the Thomas family.
MoxieThe Subtle Knife by Philip PullmanWill's cat who leads him through the window to Citta'gazze, where he meets Lyra. Later, Will's daemon settles as a cat.
MungojerrieOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
MunkustrapOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
Nigger ManThe Rats in the Walls by H. P. LovecraftPlays a pivotal role.
Noboru WatayaThe Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiLater renamed Mackerel.
Old DeuteronomyOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
OrlandoA Camping Holiday by Kathleen HaleThe eponymous hero.
PeterThe Smile of the Sphinx by William F. TempleThis cat is thought, by the narrator, to be an extraordinarily stupid cat "who could never learn the simplest of tricks"; in fact, Peter is extraordinarily brilliant. He is part of a race of Felidae who originally lived on the Moon and who came to Earth, ages ago, to enjoy being spoiled by the Egyptians. This amusing tale explains why dogs howl at the Moon, why the Great Sphinx of Giza has its shape, and even why the Moon has craters.
Petronius the Arbiter (Pete)The Door into Summer by Robert A. HeinleinThe smart, loving cat of protagonist Daniel Boone Davis, who occasionally carries him in a carrying-bag and gives him saucers of Ginger ale to drink. Dan calls him Petronius the Arbiter because he thinks that Pete is a good arbiter (judge) of personality. If Pete doesn't like someone, Dan will distrust that person; Pete has always been proved right.
PixelThe Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert HeinleinThe title character of the book, who has an inexplicable tendency to be wherever the narrator happens to be. In one scene Pixel does, in fact, walk through a wall, and it is explained that Pixel is too young to know that such behavior is impossible.
PlutoThe Black Cat by Edgar Allan PoePluto is the narrator's cat. After becoming an alcoholic he starts abusing the cat, then trying unsuccessfully to kill it. When his wife intervenes in one incident he kills her instead then bricks the body up in a wall. The narrator is caught when the police come and hear sounds behind the wall, where the narrator accidentally entombed the still-living cat along with its mistress.
RalphRalph, or, What's Eating the Folks in Fatchakulla County? by Ned CrabbRalph weighs over 200 pounds, so he is a large kitty, but not a mean one, in this comic novel set in a fictional county of Florida. This murder mystery gives the "Who Did It?" answer away on the dust jacket illustration and becomes a fun "Whydunit" as the novel explores various characters, including the family that raises giant cats and a number of local villains who are eaten.
RalphRotten Ralph by Jack GantosA mischievous red cat who enjoys playing mean, practical jokes on his family.
RibbyThe Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan by Beatrix PotterA cat with a love for mouse pie, a good friend of the dog Duchess and cousin to Tabitha.
Rum Tum TuggerOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
RumpelteazerOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
SagwaSagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat by Amy TanA kitten who gained her Siamese markings by accident. She is capable of writing in Chinese with her tail.
Scarface ClawHairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy and various sequels by Lynley DoddA tough cat who scares Hairy Maclary and his canine companions, and even scares himself.
SimpkinThe Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix PotterThe Tailor's pet cat who fetches an essential cherry-coloured silk twist, but angrily hides it after he finds the tailor released his captive mice. After a change of heart, he gives back the twist.
SkimbleshanksOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot
Slinky MalinkiSlinky Malinki by Lynley DoddThe stalking and lurking adventurous cat who is a common cat during the day but becomes a thief as night falls.
SprocketsMission to Universe by Gordon R. DicksonSprockets is a stowaway feral kitten who becomes spaceship mascot. The crew members superstitiously believe that his finally learning to purr will portend success in their search for an inhabitable planet.
Squire GingivereMossflower by Brian JacquesSquire Julian Gingivere was odd among cats in the fact that he was a vegetarian. He lived with the owl Captain Snow, but the owl's appetite for meat, his bad table manners and their conflicting personalities led to a disagreement and then separation.
Stew-Cat, Blue-Cat and Clue-CatThe Thief of Always by Clive BarkerThese three cats are the friendly familiars of the magical Holiday House.
Tabitha TwitchitThe Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix PotterThe mother of three kittens Miss Moppet, Mittens and Tom Kitten, who tries hard to cope with their mischievous behaviour.
TaoThe Incredible Journey by Sheila BurnfordA Siamese cat who accompanies Luath, a Labrador Retriever, and Bodger, a Bull Terrier, on a 300-mile journey through the Canadian wilderness to rejoin their human family.
TimTim the Travelling CatA cat tries to make it back to its owner in Britain during the War. Out of print.
Tobermory"Tobermory" (in The Chronicles of Clovis) by H. H. MunroIn a short story by Saki, a cat is taught to talk, but knows too many personal facts about people and is all too willing to talk about them. He is taught by mild-mannered Cornelius Appin, who calls Tobermory "a Beyond-cat of extraordinary intelligence". When Tobermory embarrasses everyone present by proving to be a consummate gossip, his owner attempts to poison him. Saki's biographer comments, "The cat eludes the strychnine left out for him and falls instead in combat with a big yellow tom from the rectory. Not a hero's death but an honorable one, and comedy depends heavily on a sense of honor."
Tom KittenThe Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix PotterA curious but disobedient kitten in the children's stories "The Tale of Tom Kitten" and "The Roly Poly Pudding".
ThistleclawBluestar's Prophecy by Erin HunterAn ambitious grey tom living in ThunderClan. Tigerstar/claw's mentor.
Tristram and Yseult"The Hart" by Greg CostikyanThese two cats belong to the narrator of a short fantasy story and are described fondly: "Tristram and Yseult twined about my legs, meowing, and holding their tails high; they got stew, too, and a bit of milk."
Ungatt TrunnLord Brocktree by Brian JacquesAn evil wildcat who conquers the mountain stronghold Salamandastron. But the good badger Brocktree comes to regain the mountain.
Velcro"A Gift Before Leaving" by W. R. ThompsonVelcro, over twenty years old, lives with Hannah in a futuristic, artificially intelligent house. Velcro finds that whenever he meows, the house delivers a full bowl of cat food, and he gains five pounds before Hannah finds out and reprograms the house.

Unnamed cats

CharacterEarliest AppearanceNotes
Black kitten who eats human fleshCat's Eyes by Lee JordanA mild horror story in which a black kitten becomes an abnormally large black cat, who haunts the isolated house of the heroine, Rachel. In its kittenhood, it had led the other thirty cats of Old Miss Mulgrave to dine on her when she died in her home and the cats were starving. Rachel fears it is stalking her and her baby, with reason: "It was starving... Now it would eat anything."
Cat in the Picture, The"The Cat in the Picture" by Wright MorrisIn this macabre tale originally published in a 1958 issue of Esquire, a black cat slowly displaces a retired Captain from his bed, his wife, and his home. The shocking ending is worthy of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. More than one commentator compared the writing with Poe's.
Various far-future cats"Puss In Boots" by Ronald Anthony CrossThis science fiction story describes a world full of far-future cats on a planet where "cats were the closest thing to a religion that they had" and where cats "wandered freely and slept wherever they chose. There were huge communal cat boxes everywhere...filled with some form of brightly coloured pellets, which automatically emptied and were refilled with more of the same stuff." The fact that cats are no longer fed actual meat is a clue to the mystery in the story, about whether men are any longer real men.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

the house I call "home" now . . . (4)

Jou kombers en my matras

Our study is a Colonial combination; from the English claw-and-ball desk and bankers desk lamp to the Indian sari that became a curtain drape.

The inspiration for the design of the claw-and-ball foot came from a Chinese motif of a dragon’s claw clutching a pearl or crystal ball.

Chinese dragon claw-and-ball design
The lion claw-and-ball foot made its appearance in English baroque furniture designs.
Victorian lion feet bathtub claw-and-ball feet
In America an eagle’s talon replaced the English lion claw.

Cast iron eagle claw and glass ball design of 1890

Christo had his desk made with 8 curved claw-and-ball legs.
Bankers desk lamps are rich in history and the basic idea of the design can be traced back to the Renaissance and the Baroque periods. During the Edwardian style, the advocate or bankers lamp and shade became popular. The green shade protected the office workers from the harsh light of the first electric incandescent globes.

I made the cushion on the Victorian two-seater from an embroidered lappie I bought in the old city of Yerushaláyim (or Jerusalem) at the end of 2006.

Christo bought the sari at Little India on our visit to Singapore in 2012. A sari is associated with grace and is widely regarded as a symbol of Indian culture. I love this room, and the sari has a lot to do with my affection!

A full view of the study is not available, because the plastic crates full of books will spoil the illusion of a stylish room!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

the house I call "home" now . . . (3)

Jou kombers en my matras . . .

Christo bought a huge 3 x 4m carpet about two years ago. The salesman called it a Holbein. We googled "Holbein" and discovered that it wasn't just a sales gimmick: Holbein carpet actually exists!

Holbein carpet are a type of Ottoman carpets taking their name from Hans Holbein the Younger, due to their depiction in European Renaissance paintings.

 Hans Hobein 1497 (self portrait)

Holbein designs are sub-divided into four types; they are the commonest designs of Anatolian carpet seen in Western Renaissance paintings, and continued to be produced for a long period. All are purely geometric and use a variety of arrangements of lozenges, crosses and octagonal motifs within the main field.

The large-pattern Holbein. The square compartments have octagons or other "gul" motifs from the small-pattern types between them.

The Ambassadors with a Type IV Holbein carpet on the table.
Christo owned this Type IV before we knew about Holbein.

Another large-pattern Holbein. The motifs in the field inside the border are large squares filled with decoration, placed regularly, with narrow strips between them containing no "gul" motifs.

Master of Saint Giles, Mass of Saint Giles, c. 1500, with a Type III Holbein carpet.

Christo's marvellous 3 x 4 m Type III Holbein.

The Type II Holbein or Lotto carpet is a hand knotted carpet having a pattern that was primarily produced during the 16th and 17th centuries along the Aegean coast of Anatolia, Turkey, but also copied in various parts of Europe. It is characterized by a lacy arabesque, usually in yellow on a red ground, often with blue details. The name, "Lotto carpet", refers to the inclusion of carpets with this pattern in paintings by the 16th-century Venetian painter Lorenzo Lotto.

My contribution to the five Holbeins we now possess, are two Type I: Small-pattern Holbein. The motifs are small, and usually of several different types that recur regularly. These two carpets are much older and very well-worn. Sommer al goed deurgeloop. The one  I bought in Kopenhavn and the other I got from an auction about a decade ago. 

Type I (180 x 200 cm) from an antique auction in Bloemfontein.
KoningKat's all-time favourite!
Type I (60 x 90 cm) from Kopenhavn.

A Type I Holbein carpet made in Anatolia during the 16th century.



Monday, June 23, 2014

the house I call "home" now . . . (2)

Jou kombers en my matras . . .

A sideboard was traditionally used in the dining room for serving food, for displaying serving dishes such as silver, and for storage. It usually consists of a set of cabinets, or cupboards, and one or more drawers, all topped by a flat display surface for conveniently holding food, serving dishes, and even lighting devices.

The earliest versions of the sideboard familiar today made their appearance in the 18th century, but they gained most of their popularity during the 19th century as households became prosperous enough to dedicate a room solely to dining. In later years, sideboards have been placed in living rooms or other areas where household items might be displayed.

Some of the earliest production of sideboards arose in England, France, Belgium and Scotland.


Christo's the emboya sideboard was made by master craftsman I. B. Voster (off-Harvey road, Bloemfontein). My sideboard was made as a toy, but I have no knowledge about the maker of my piece of furniture.
We unpacked all our wine-glasses on Christo's sideboard, next to my miniature sideboard. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

the house I call "home" now . . . (1)

Jou kombers en my matras en daar lê die ding!

At Kirkens Genbrug in Rosengården 5, Kobenhvn  . . .

. . . I discovered this lived-in Tjekke-rug made in Turkmenistan for the entrance of Christo's reception hall.


I like the informal atmosphere my table and Christo's chairs bring to the entrance of our home.

And Christo's entrance hall double-up as a hot-house for my herb garden!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The interest runs in the family . . .

Yesterday my niece Janice graduated first class with distinction Simon Fraser University - a public research university in British Columbia, Canada.

She also got an award for the highest academic standing in her graduating class.

Janice with father Janneman and mother Trixie.

Janice obtained a BA in Archaeology and a certificate in Cultural Resource Management.

I am even more excited about this wonderful achievement, because our interests are so similar.

Except from my PhD thesis:
My earliest memories are of myself as a toddler collecting artefacts. Nothing special or specific, just whatever I felt like keeping or having: a button, a china fragment, a doll’s hand or an empty compressed powder compact. I would ponder over who the owner might have been, the possible use of the item and the circumstances in which it might have been used. Then I would store it with vaguely related items in one of my containers. I enjoyed showing people my treasures, though they often did not share the value I saw in my prizes. These randomly selected items became part of my frequent daydreams.

Almost five decades later, I am still collecting random artefacts and pondering over them. I still store and show them to others, who still often do not see the value as I do. And still these items become useful during my frequent daydreams. Only now my artefacts are often electronic; my pondering is research; my daydreaming is reflecting; and my sharing is autoethnography. In both my professional and vocational day-to-day activities as a visual artist, visual facilitator, visual learner and visual publicist, I collect visuals: mostly photographs and sketches that interest me. I store them in one of my electronic devices. When I need to communicate by creating a painting, a lecture, a press release or an article, I reflect on my treasures.

Available at:
BA Archaeology was my first choice of study, but the degree was not available at the university I attended, so I opted for a BA with visual culture, anthropology and history of art as mayors. Then I did a PGD in Arts and Cultural Management.

Monday, June 16, 2014

One apon thyme . . .

. . . a girl moved into a house without a garden. And a house is not a home, but one way to make a house a home, is to start herb gardening. She went to the farmers market and bought thyme seedlings.

Thyme is a herb with culinary, medicinal and ornamental uses. Thyme is of the genus Thymus.

Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming.

The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples.

The Romans used it to purify their rooms and to "give an aromatic flavour to cheese and liqueurs".

In the European Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. Thyme was also used as incense and placed on coffins during funerals, as it was supposed to assure passage into the next life.

Thyme is best cultivated in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil. Although it is generally planted in the spring, but the girl planted it in winter. And although it can take deep freezes, she put it in-house in a sunny spot.

Thyme is a common component of the bouquet garni (a bundle of herbs tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews) and of herbes de Provence ( a mixture of dried herbs typical of Provence, including savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano and, sometimes lavender.


But the girl invited the thyme into the house because of its  aroma and attracted appearance.  
And she uses it in salads . . .
2 tbsp pine nuts
a hand-full of mixed salad leaves
1/2 cup prepared beetroot, in wedges
1 small avocado, in slices
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup goat cheese with rind, chilled

Sometimes she removed the leaves from stems either by scraping with the back of a knife, or by pulling through the tines of a fork, but more often she just use the leaves on the stem.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Office D139

Working in my Bloemfontein office with the Free State winter outside, reminds me of my Kobenhavn office and my colleagues who shared Office D139 with me. I really miss my friends and Europe's central heating systems.

A view from Office D139: Part of the courtyard of the Emdrupborg satellite campus.

秀妍 许 or Xiuyan Xu from Beijing China (left) and Katrine Scott from Lund University in Sweden at one of various lunch areas in the modern D-building on the Emdrup-campus of the Aarhus University.
Anniina Leiviskä from Helsinki University in Finland is the only inhabitant of Office D139 that does not study the Higher Education field. Anniina is a Philosophical doctorandus.

Hari Maya Sharma of the Gorkha Campus in Nepal
is just as busy and productive as Maya the Bee!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Putting your foot into it?

On the side-line, I am researching the things people put their feet into and the motivations for the design of these artefacts. Some of these items cannot be called "shoes".

I photographed sandals of Egyptian mummies and tried on a pair of Japanese getas and stood in amazement in front of footwear displays in museums. Pondering on how the designers came up with these designs.

Chinese bound feet shoes (1850)
Italian chopin (1580)
Leather wood and metal pattens (1720-30) England

Antique Nordic wooden shoes


While the oldest surviving shoes are only about 10 000 years old, archaeologists have found that humans were probably wearing shoes even earlier as 40 000 years ago. When people began to wear shoes, their toe-bones began to shrink; which proves that fashion alters physical bodies.

"Bone, at least to a certain extent, responds during a person's lifetime to the mechanical stresses placed on it," said Tim Weaver, a University of California, Davis, anthropologist. "If you work out at the gym, not only will your muscles get bigger, your bones will become thicker."

My research agree with that finding and even add to that; certain shoes changea person's attitude. My whole body respond with a deep-thankfulness when, after a day on heels, I slip my feet into a pair of furries.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Time to say fairfarren

 Please meet my fiend, Phd study leader and mentor, prof Rita Niemann.

Up to now prof Rita Niemann had been the supervisor and mentor 62 Master's and 23 PhD students that WOW! completed their studies. She believes that a supervisor should be both an academic leader as well as a mentor to students.
She establishes strong ties with her students and after they have completed their studies, they remain lifelong friends.  

A leader is a person you will follow

to a place you wouldn't go by yourself.

And Rita leads everybody

who are willing to end up in worlds

they wouldn’t go to themselves.

But Rita is more than a leader to me.

Somedays my life was all about

dreams, hopes and visions for the future

And then Rita was there

But there are some days

that my life was just about

putting one foot in front of the other

And then Rita was there

But now Rita is leaving the UFS at the end of July to take up a position in a private company in Pretoria. She remains an associate to the UFS and will remain the supervisor to her current students. I will no longer enjoy the face-to-face contact with her, but surely we will continue to have heart-to-heart contact.

Fairfarren, Rita, and may we always dance the Futterwacken vigorously with unbridled joy