Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, Ordinarylife, Parenting, Plettenberg Bay

Dear Monkey Land

Dear Monkey Land

Just a heads up…. The troop of baboons that hangs around the entrance to your sanctuary is not very good for business.

Yours sincerely

Mrs OL

We spent the weekend in Plett.

Plett Lagoon at sunrise
Plett Lagoon at sunrise

On the way home we thought we might pop into Monkey Land so Little OL could see the monkeys.  You know how it goes, trying to distract her while in the shops… “Do you want to see the monkeys, should we go see the monkeys, that’s a good idea isn’t it?  If you are a good girl we will go to the monkeys.”  Yay, excitement all round, until about 400m from the entrance where they have a huge sign board with the prices.  Holy moly R240 per adult and well, I did not even read the kids prices….. (or the board properly it turns out)

Mr OL and I looked at each other; I asked if we really wanted to pay that much just to see some monkeys?  We drove on slowly for another 50m or so trying to decide what to do, I mean we had promised to show her some monkeys and could not really back out of it.  Then lo and behold a large troop of baboons!  Big ones, small ones, some sitting on the posts next to the road, the babies playing and chasing each other. Some in the trees and, some even crossing the road right in front of the car.  Ah… Monkey Land came to us… She will never know the difference, right?

“Look Little OL MONKEYS!  See, we told you we’d take you to see the monkeys……”

We sat and watched them play for a while and then we went and fed some goats.  Happiness all round.

Feeding goats
Feeding goats

The actual highlight of the weekend for Little OL – the Bunny Rabbits which provided lots of entertainment





PS:  Just a side note to add, I have actually been to Monkey Land before, yes, paid and gone inside.  It is fantastic.  I actually have a HUGE phobia of monkeys and even I managed to walk through the whole sanctuary (quickly), I do believe it is worth it, however don’t think that Little OL would have appreciated it at this age.  I do see however on their webiste that there are other cheaper options.  I think the R240 must be a price for all 3 sanctuaries together.

Posted in Family, Ironman, Ordinarylife

Courage, grit and determination

On Sunday the 9th  annual Ironman South Africa was held in Port Elizabet, it was also my birthday and I could not think of a better way to celebrate than to be there supporting all the amazing athletes, which is why I am struggling with the fact that somebody would target an event like the Boston Marathon.

I think that this has shocked me because it is “so close to home”.  Not obviously in a geographical way, but the fact that it is something so similar to an event that I would attend and that it is something that I would take Little OL to.  I knew people there.

My blog post about Ironman South Africa was going to be very different had I written it yesterday….

Sport is something I love, sporting events are something I love.  I see them as places of hope, and mutual support and camaraderie.  It is a lifestyle that I want Little OL to grow up knowing and want to actively encourage.  I want it to be a way of life for her as she grows up, so on Sunday I took her with to watch Ironman SA.  We were there from before the start, watching the sun come up, watching the athletes all line up on the beach. We were there for the cannon and the helicopters and the vibe.  We stayed there all day.  We watched them swim, and then cycle and then run.  We were there when the lead guys (and girls) finished and we were there as the sun was setting (and then we had to head home).  We cheered, we screamed and we encouraged.

Some of us even slept………

Future Triathlete
Future Triathlete

I love this event. There are people that take part that you think would not even be able to walk up a flight of stairs, never mind swim 3.8km, cycle 180km and then run a marathon – 42.2km.  They are not sporty. This is a challenge, a goal and a life changing event.  There are people of all sizes, and colours and shape and ethnicity.  All doing it together and being encouraged equally.  They struggle, they have moments where they swear they are not going to make it, but most do. They show the courage, grit and determination necessary.

Ironman and many other sporting events bring out the best in people.  And in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon I hope that this is remembered.  My heart go out to those who lost loved ones, to the father who, while running a marathon lost his 8 year old son that was waiting for him at the finish line and to the injured.

On my next run I will be thinking of all these people.


Edited:  Latest newspaper reports say that the father of the 8 year old, Martin Richard was not running, but that the whole family was spectating.  His mom is in serious condition with a brain injury and his sister has lost a limb.  What ever the story my heart goes out to this entire family and the other families affected by this act of cowardice.

Posted in Ironman, Running, Training, Training, Triathlon

Corporate Ironman Challenge 2013

On Saturday morning it was the Corporate Challenge or locally known as the “Corporate Ironman”.  It is 10% of the full Ironman distance, so a 380m swim, 18km bike ride and a 4.2km run and can be done individually or as a team.  I chose to do it as an individual however, if truth be told when race day rolled around, I was not that keen.  I am not sure why?  It was not because I had not trained properly (I hardly ever do), I just was not in the mood.

Until I got down there!

I always forget how much I enjoying being part of an event of this magnitude.  I LOVE the vibe, the atmosphere, the people, the excitement and most importantly I love taking part and doing something physical.  I have not ridden my bicycle or swum since January so I was a little nervous about those, but not enough to let it worry me.  It is a short race so I could just push the bike.  I swim at the same speed not matter what.

Our company entered 3 teams and 2 individuals, me being one of the individuals.  I got down there before sunrise and racked my bike.  It was awesome watching the sun come up over the sea and was a beautiful morning.  The race starts in waves with the individual girls starting last.  It was quite nice to get to watch all the others go off first.  Boy, some of those people can swim.  Then it was us.  The sea was gorgeous although I did swallow a huge mouthful of water when the wake of a jetski hit me.  My swim was ok, not bad, not good, just ok. When I first started swimming I had as serious pain in my arm, but it is one I have had before I know that after about 50 meters or so it goes away.  I just need to play with my stroke a bit.  After the swim was the bike.  I had a good ride condidering I have not been on my bike since the 70.3 in January.  My average speed was 28 / hr and I really pushed it.  I figured the race was short enough that I would not die.  Luckily I felt good. Even going into the run I felt good. In fact I feel good pretty much the whole way.  Right up till about 60m from the end……. I know I am a little bit competitive.  I have mentioned this before.  I know it does not appear that I am, based on my times etc, but I can be.  About 600m from the end a girl passed me – I did not realise that I actually knew her, but nobody had passed me on the run and I was not going to let somebody catch me right there so I tried to keep up.  Bad idea!  I have never ever before felt that I was not going to make the finish line.  I kept up for about 550m and then it went a bit pear shaped.  I started seeing black marks and my legs turned to jelly.  My thoughts where “uh, so this is what hitting the wall really feels like” I thought I was going to hit the floor in front of all those hundred spectators and it was not going to be pretty.  I had a decision, either slow down and hope the feeling passed or try to keep up and know that I was going to fall flat on my face.  I slowed down and let her go.  Thankfully the feeling did pass and I did make it down the red carpet…. As soon as I stopped running I felt perfectly fine again.

Corporate Challenge Sunrise

Well, what can I say?  I finished 27th girl overall and in a time of 1H17.  I am totally over the moon with that result and I bettered my time from last year (I had not trained for that one either).  I loved this race, every single moment of it (except when I thought I was going to land on my face).  I am so glad that I did it.  The weather was perfect once again and the support was awesome.  Can’t wait for next year…….

Swim: 11:06, Bike 44:05, Run 22.28 –Over all time 01:17:48

I seriously need to think about training for next years one……

Posted in Art, Courses and Workshops, Family, My sketchbook, Ordinarylife, Paintings, Sketches

I want to learn how to…. (a Bucket List of sorts)

I don’t have is a bucket list – for some reason it has never appealed to me.  However I have always had a vague list of stuff that I would like learn how to do.  I love learning about new things.  I get overly excited, I Google it extensively, I watch tutorial after tutorial on You Tube, I buy books and read everything possible about it, I might even attend a course or two and eventually I will attempt it.

I love the challenge of learning something new, pushing my boundaries and trying stuff that I have never tried before.  The problem is that as soon as I have figured out how to do it (not even mastered it, just how to do it) I get bored and move onto the next project.  Sometimes I will go back to that project because I really enjoyed it, or I found out more about it and realised I only just scratched the surface with my abilities and then I will get all excited about it again.

My problem though is that my list of things I would like to learn about it is endless, varied and I forget about the one as soon as I have thought of something new.  So ci decided to write them all down ….  Here are just a few that I can think of at the moment:

  • I want to learn how to do quick sketches on location (and make it look like the people are people and not monkeys) – STARTED – WORKSHOP BOOKED, BOOKS ORDERED, GOOGLED EXTENSIVELY – See other blog An Ordinary Life – Sketched
  • I want to learn how to take a decent photograph
  • I want to learn how to paint a decent portrait (properly) – STARTED – SIGNED UP FOR THE DIARY OF FACES ONLINE WORKSHOP – PART ONE with Sharon Tomlinson
  • I want to learn how to work with chocolate
  • I want to learn how to make fondant (sugar paste) figures decently
  • I want to learn how to design a website
  • I want to learn how to use my Silhouette machine properly
  • I want to learn how to illustrate a children’s book (I will even settle for drawing a decent greeting card)
  • I want to learn how to use a photo editing program with a little bit of skill
  • I want to learn how to use a graphic design program
  • I want to learn how to make money out of property
  • I want to learn how to retire rich (don’t we all)
  • I want to learn about trading on the stock exchange
  • I want to learn about permaculture
  • I want to learn how to reupholster furniture
  • I want to learn how to write more creatively
  • I want to learn why my tomatoes keep dying
  • I want to learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • I want to learn how to bake a Black Forest Gateau
  • I want to learn how to swim more efficiently – for long distance open water swimming
  • I want to learn how to hand bind a book
  • I want to learn how to do Lino Block Printing

As you can see my list is extensive and varied…..  Although you will note there is nothing musical on there. Even I know my limits.  I am totally tone deaf!!!

I have decided that instead of just having a vague idea of things I would like to learn and randomly doing some as I come across them I am going to try and work my way through my list.  I am not saying I am going to try and learn them all.   Some I might scratch off the list all together.  I am also not giving myself a time limit.  Who knows, I might find one on the list that I absolutely adore doing and get stuck on it for ages.  Then again I might try and do two at once.

There are also some obvious constraints – obviously money is a huge one (if you offer courses in PE or online and want to donate a space to me in any of the above I will gladly accept – just saying…..). Time is the other biggie – I have a full time job and a 3 year old.  Space is another – the garage is my husband’s domain (or he so he likes to believe) I can’t really just take over the entire house and garage with my stuff.  I have already taken over about 95% of all available storage spaces (including the garage) with my hobbies (yes, I have a few).

So, with this in mind I have asked to attend a Pen and Wash workshop held by Talbot Cox for my Birthday, it is all about sketching on location and using your sketchbook as you go.  It sounds exactly what I am after at the moment. The course is in a couple of months and I am very excited.  HERE are details on the workshop if you are interest.

What would you really like to learn how to do, or like me do you have a list?

Posted in Cycling, Family, Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Port Elizabeth, Training, Triathlon

This weekend

I think I am living in denial about this weekend.  I have not even thought much about it and am not stressed (yet).

It is Ironman weekend!  I love Ironman weekend!  I love the build-up, the excitement, the expo, the registration and seeing all the athletes.

What I have not been thinking about is the fact that I have entered the Corporate Challenge Triathlon (10% of the IM distance).  What I have not been thinking about is that I have not been on my bike since January, nor have I swum.  Yikes.  Thankfully I am not a stranger to doing an event with minimal training…

This weekend it will also be my amazing sisters 6th Ironman. We did our first one together in 2007 and she has just kept going, only missing one when she was living in London.  I am so amazed by her.  Did I mention that she swam the Bell Buoy Challenge on Easter Weekend???  I am in total awe of her.

The other thing that I am in denial about this weekend is the fact that it is my birthday!  Oh dear…  I still have not celebrated my last birthday and here is another one.  At least I am planning on doing something I absolutely love this weekend – cheering on at an Ironman. Believe me the temptation to do it as it was on my Birthday was extremely, but sanity prevailed.

So, if you are down near Hobie Beach on Sunday, come and say hi.  I will be the one eating handing out cupcakes in between screaming for my sister.

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Dogs, Family, Ordinarylife, Pets

A girl’s best friend

“Daisy is my friend”. This was proclaimed by Little OL over the weekend, but I am not so sure how Daisy feels about this.

Daisy is our Border Collie.  She has always been a loving and very gently little dog but when Little OL was born she went into a total sulk.  She moved to the top of the garden, only coming down for food. After 2 weeks she ventured closer but would still not “talk” or come to me.  For months after that if I was holding Little OL she would avoid me.  For the first 2 years of Little OL’s life she would make sure they were not in the same room, and if they accidently were she would run away with this look of absolute terror on her face as soon as she realised.  That was until she discovered that toddlers usually have something edible in their hands.  Since that discovery they have been “bonding”. It has taken a while, but over the past year they have been getting closer and closer.  Lately they have even been “hugging”.  I think it is a bit one sided but at least Daisy is not running away in terror any longer. In fact I caught her sheepishly looking like she might even be enjoying some of the attention.  Then this weekend Little OL proclaimed that they are “friends”.  It is quite an honour – the German Shepard Duke has not earned it yet. He is not her friend. But Daisy is….

I hope Daisy knows what she has let herself in for…..

Daisy and Duke
Daisy and Duke
Posted in Art, Baby OL, Children, Family, My sketchbook, Ordinarylife, Sketches

A Sketched Life

I love drawing! I like painting with oils too but I really love drawing, either with pen, pencil or charcoal.

I used to carry a sketch pad everywhere with me although I did not always use it as much as I would have liked. It was kind of like my running shoes, I had to have them close… just in case, but years could go by when I never used them.  In fact when I moved to London in my early twenties there were 3 things that I made sure I had packed.  My sleeping bag, my sketchpad and my running shoes (listed in order of most frequent use).  My backpack only weighed 14 kgs and contained everything I thought was important!

A few years later I when left London to backpack around New Zealand, I once again packed those three items, (although by then my backpack had probably doubled in weight). This time however I actually used my sketchpad quite a bit.  I found that I loved just sitting somewhere and sketching what I saw – I used pen.  One of my favourite days was spent in Christchurch in front of the cathedral just drawing.  After New Zealand I went to Australia for a year, followed by Sweden and I never really drew much while I was in either country.  I don’t know why I stopped…

When I returned to South Africa I started art classes, painting and drawing, but always from photographs, never just sitting somewhere and sketching what I saw. I realised that I missed it, I want to be able to do those quick sketches that capture people as they go about their day to day business, I want to be able to catch a glimpse of a place, using my sketchpad, and not just a camera.  At the moment though I am not quick enough, people move, I move, stuff happens.  Although as with everything I am sure it is all about practise.  So that is what I have decided to do.  I want to try to do a sketch a day.  Something small, something quick;  I can’t promise that it will be good, or accurate or even decipherable but I am sure that they will get better.  I found a website called Urban Sketchers and then bought their book The Art of Urban Sketching, it has really inspired me. So, to document my progress I have decided to start another blog, one just for my pictures and sketches.  I am hoping to see some progress, some improvement and hopefully some frequency…. I have called it “A Sketched Life”  Please click HERE if you are interested in seeing it.

Little OL sleeping
Little OL sleeping