Jack Russells. Amazingness. I’ve always thought them super-intelligent. The sharpest tools in the entire dogbox.
Now I must revise my assessment. They’re actually far cleverer than that. If there’s a pattern developing on this crazy unicycling adventure, other than the obvious one of The Heartman furiously pedalling his AmaOneTyre in front of the back-up vehicle I am driving at 12kph, it’s that there is a Jack Russell at every abode that we overnight at.
So they are also popular. This is in itself intriguing as the little rogues are highly-strung, humungously hyperactive, manipulative and do very convincing imitations of being highly vicious boerboels. I know. I have two. Or, rather, had two until I left on this seven-week Heart & Sole Tour. I miss them. A lot.
Anyway, The Scrapster and Doodlebug, my JRs, must have put word out on the South African Jack Russell Network that Heartie and I need help because everybody, every B&B owner and kind soul who has offered us free accommodation has a Jack Russell winking at us when we drive in.
I’ve just turned to see the what the latest member of the JR fraternity to enter my life is doing and, after growling lustily at the lightning here in Harding, it’s now lying on Heartman’s bed, staring intently at me and wagging its tail. I’d photograph it for you but I’d have to use flash and I don’t dare wake up The Exhausted Unicyclist. He’d have every right to be grumpy.
Day Seven has been the toughest day yet of this Durban to Cape Town one-wheeled odyssey. Heat and hills. Hills and heat. It was very, very tough. I feel knackered and I was only sitting in the truck, listening to top-notch tunes (see today’s playlist at end) and fretting about dodgy truck-drivers, so I feel for Heartie who was sizzling the tarmac with his dripping sweat as he toiled up steep hill after steep hill. Paddock to Harding (well, 20km out of Harding) will be remembered as a right little sod of a section of our tour.
But, yes, we had fun. First, a very grateful doff of my red hat goes to Dean, Stef and Marlon of The Gorgez View Restaurant, Bar and B&B near Paddock for magnificent hospitality extended at no cost at all. It was their contribution towards making our objective of raising awareness of the scourge of landmines that much more obtainable. Nice. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?
Manager Dean, top-notch cook Marlon and bar legend Stef (far right) did everything to ease the pain for us at The Gorgez View near Paddock, southern KwaZulu-Natal. Nice one, guys!
The Heartman was so overcome by the level of hospitality that he treated us to one of his farm animal cabaret acts…
Inspired by an appreciative audience of new friends in the background, Heartie executed a perfect "Bionic Goat" manoeuvre. Like it? Of course you do
Then our slightly eccentric unicyclist was delighted to find a wheel even bigger than the 36-inch one he usually rides and wasn't slow to hop on an ancient oxwagon decorating the verandah at The Gorgez View! Nice work!
Then it really was down (or up?) to work, inching up the steep hills drawing us into the foothills of the Drakensberg in the direction of Kokstad. Scorching heat. Hot tar. Mad dogs and Englishmen stuff.And a local guy who fancied himself as a paparazzi!
This excitable fan hopped out of his car and chased Heartie around, snapping pictures of him from every angle for a few minutes. Who knows, we might make the front page of The Harding Harbinger!
Nice. But the heat took its toll. And finding shade every half-hour or so was the order of the day…
Aaaah, finally a slightly chilled vibe envelopes The Heartman
He wasn’t the only one seeking refuge from the African midsummer sun. And this young woman found a somewhat more elegant way to acquire shade near the tiny hamlet of Izingolweni…
Cool. So is today (Monday). We’ve woken up to overcast conditions and ideal riding weather, if a tad windy. Only The Heartman is somewhat knackered after yesterday’s very exacting mountain climb. So we’ve decided to make a late start. Please join us later for an update and show old Heartie your support.
In fact, the best way anybody could support him right now would be to donate an iPod to our unicycling cavalier. I’ve been blasting tunes out of the back-up truck to help him up the hills but being plugged into his own music up front would give him the stimulus to find extra pedal power! If you have one spare, please mail me at email@example.com and we can make an arrangement. Thanks!
* Day Seven Playlist: These are the tunes which gave The Heart & Sole Tour its “go forward” yesterday – Hercules and Love Affair, Joe Cocker, Jack Penate, Terry Callier, Human League, Mayer Hawthorne, Grace Jones, Tom Waits, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, Esther Philips, Steely Dan and Jill Scott (with thanks to top mate, Darren “The Tunemeister” Todd).
OK. So as I write this, I’m sitting in the back-up truck, rain drizzling through the lichen-coated trees which line the dirt track stretching before us.
Us? Yes. The Heartman is dozing among the tyre tubes, Glaceau Vitaminwater bottles and bags of Gower Power nutritional supplements piled high in the back of our vehicle. He’s recovering from slipping and sliding around on the steep hills which now take us inland from the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast inland towards Kokstad in the foothills of the might Drakensberg mountains.
But more of this later. First, dear Heartpeople, allow me to bring you up to speed with the goings-on of the last couple of days. Yesterday (New Year’s Day) was a rest day and we were lucky enough to spend it with family and friends of The Heartman in two beautiful seaside cottages just north of Port Shepstone. When I say seaside, these holiday cottages are literally on the beach and the first day of 2010 was spent eating, drinking and swimming in the tidal pool directly in front of the Melville cottage.
It was hot and muggy and it was blissful. And old Heartie and I had immense fun with the children…
Dad Eric supports young Luke on AmaOneTyre with help from The Heartman...
... while Gemma, little sweetheartness, is pretty pleased with the Heart & Sole sticker we gave her!
Too much of loveliness, hey? But, after the New Year festiveness, we needed to move on to Port Shepstone to overnight there before our trek inland towards the mountains. After tweeting and facebooking on the verandah at Stephan’s B&B, I returned to the room to prepare for bed when I found this little scenario…
I had wondered why The Heartman, already tucked up in his bed, was making Marlon Brando-like noises from under the duvet and croaking out lines from The Godfather
So I did what any sane but lonely man on a long roadtrip would do and slipped in behind my Rhinogirl. She might have been a tad wooden in bed but I'm not to be drawn into any corny "horny" lines, OK?
Oh, you must be wondering whether there’s any unicycling going on. Oh, yeah. A whole lot of it. And it’s all being done on hills, in mist and in a steady drizzle. But Heartman has been determinedly making progress towards Paddock where we believe there’s a sugarcane farmer who might be able to give us beds and a hot shower tonight.
This picture sums up what Day Six is looking like…
Not ideal. But our comical unicyclist is at least lifiting the spirits of the locals who, after staring in bemusement at a man riding a bicycle missing a wheel, have been cheering and whistling and falling about laughing. Nice! All pix: Hatman
Right. If old Heartie wakes up anytime soon, I might have something on which to report later. As in what I’ll find on my pillow when I go to bed tonight.
Here at the Bush Palace, our “Control Tower” for the Heart & Sole Tour to raise awareness of landmines, we hold a great fondness for brilliant advertising.
So when an ad campaign comes along which is both ingeniously executed and highlights the man-made and totally unnecessary scourge of despicable landmines, we are doubly chuffed.
Witness this clever little concept dreamt up by the bright young things at a New Zealand advertising agency, Publicis Mojo on behalf of an anti-landmines organisation called CALM…
OK, So you tear the tomato sauce (ketchup) sachet and "blood" spurts out of the young boy's foot. Cleverness overload!
What do you make of that? Sharpness, hey? I think that it’s good to know that some people in New Zealand are thinking about something other than rugby. And making such a powerful point about landmines. Which affect the lives of somebody somewhere on our planet every 19 minutes of the day and night.
Which is why unicyclist Geoff “Heartman” Brink and I are soon to head off on the 1,700km from Durban to Cape Town to raise further awareness of landmines. Well, Heartman will be pedalling his AmaOneWheel and I’ll be driving behind him, watching his back and blogging all about it. Right here. On this blog.
We’re doing a seriously intensive ride down the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast next week so, if you see us on the road, feel free to give us a nice, quiet and encouraging thumbs-up. Just don’t draw up alongside my unicyclist in your car and hoot… Old Heartie tends to fall off and scrape his knees when people do that! Then I’ve got to stop, get out of the truck and administer a Mickey Mouse plaster to his wounds. And stop the ooze of “ketchup”!
In another of my weekly interviews with interesting folk who live in my beautiful seaside hometown of Umdloti in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, I popped in to visit the lovely and effervescent Michelle Robb at her rather tasty little sex shop in Glenashley…
FH: You run an adult shop. How does a woman such as you break into what is seen as a man’s business? And how did you get to do it?
MR: Initially I was going to open a digital printing business as I have worked in the advertising field before. One of my clients was a large adult shop and whenever they needed advertising done I was called into the shop. My first visit will be forever etched in my brain! There was nowhere to look that didn’t have something scary beaming back at me. All the customers in the shop turned to stare and I have never felt so uncomfortable before. But after going in there week after week I eventually got used to it. My friends would ask me to do their naughty shopping for them while I was there and it always amazed me that the assistants didn’t know much about their products. Anyway, when I told my mother about my new printing business venture, she said that it was silly to start a business with so much competition and that I should open up my own upmarket adult shop! She was so right! There are no other shops close to me and I have been in business for two years now.The shops in town offer viewing booths (nasty places!) which is why they are operated by men.
FH:Pleasures is a welcome alternative to the more seamy and grubby “sex outlets” like the ones you’ve just mentioned. What does your shop offer that makes shopping for one’s essential sex toys a more pleasurable affair?
MR: I have a very small shop and its decorated nicely. It is very discreet and welcoming as most people are shy and I am the only person that you will have to deal with. Not much shocks me and I will do my best to answer any questions you might have. I am a woman so I know what we like! And I have a good idea of what men like too!
FH:Would men feel comfortable bringing their girlfriends or wives to your shop? And, vice-versa?
MR: My customer base is 70% men and 30% women. I do have a lot of men that are sent in by their wives/girlfriends to check out the place and then are happy to bring them in.
FH: Which items on your shelves (or under your cashier’s desk!) are the bestsellers?
MR: Ooooh, my bestsellers? Jumping Jack Vibrators. Real Feel Vibrators and Super Powerful Men’s Tablets (these last up to three days and my male friends are constantly asking me for them!)
FH:You’re another lucky fish who lives in our seaside idyll called Umdloti. What is it about ‘Hloti that you most love and how do you use it, apart from the occasional little drinkie-poo at the Bush Tavern?
MR: Yes, lots of drinkie-poos at the Bush. And I always seem to bump into you there, Mr Hatman! When I met my partner Dave, he was living in Umdloti. Slowly it grew on me and the next thing I had sold my flat and moved here. My son, Bradley, followed and we now call ‘Hloti home. We have amazing seaviews from our place and Dave has actually done the most wonderful oil paintings that have real Umdloti beach sand in them! I have only lived here for two years but it would be hard to picture myself living anywhere else. It is a very special little place with a wonderful sense of community and I have made a lot of fantastic friends here. Oh Fred, before you run away, would you like one of my Super Powerful Mens Tablets to try out?
Er ja, that’s very good of you, Michelle. Any chance you could donate me two? Double the pleasureness. Thanks!
* You can run an eye over Michelle’s wares by popping into her website.
I was summoned at the weekend by The Oyster Box’s Head Honcho to discuss his proposal for my weekend residency at the newly revamped colonial-style hotel, a veritable institution among old Natal hostelries.
Over the finest cream tea to be had anywhere, our residency agreement was speedily finalised. I mean, am I the biggest fan of the Oyster Box or what? I was hugely relieved to note that the recent refurbishment of this grand old lady of South African hotels has not in the slightest bit diminished her haughty yet laidback seaside grandeur.
When Head Honcho put on the table a kind offer for me to stay as their guest (any weekend I like) in a suite which, I imagine, very few other than Nelson Mandela get to see the inside of, it was a firm gentlemen’s handshake, smiles all-round and a stiff gin and tonic and salted peanuts were waiting four-poster-side before Alfred had even dropped off my Vuittons.
Coolness. I was left to wander around the old girl, a hotel where my parents used to take me as a snotty-nosed sapling for a Coke Float and Chocnut Sundae way back in the day. So I swooned over the way Red Carnation Hotels have expertly blended in the new with the old, maintaining the dignity and character of Old Lady Oyster Box, and wielded the Canon 50D with no little relish.
OK. So I got a tad fixated on the old lighthouse, an Umhlanga icon situated directly in front of the hotel and a humungous source of wonderment to me as a child. This is how it all turned out…
I'm fine with that. The view from where I scoffed my cream scones on the Indian Ocean-adoring verandah. The view from the newly-named Hatman Suite which larges it up on the top floor is not too shabby either...
Post-cream tea deliciousness, I was tempted to plunge into my new rimpool but decided not to disturb the reflection of my lighthouse and spoil it for the other patrons. That's how I roll. Decorously.
So I got creative instead and paid homage (that's ho-marge, as in French) to My Lighthouse with some crafty compositionness. Hope you like this...
And, not being one to leave it there, I thought I'd capture another angle, knowing all the while that these vignettes (vin-yets in the French) from my new weekend residence might serve to cheer all of you up this Monday... anything for my Hatpeople.
Cool. I’ll leave it there. Perhaps, if you all behave really well, I’ll release i-marges of the Oyster Box’s magnificent new decor d’ interieur, pardon my Franglais, in a later post. Let’s just say that I’m not at all displeased with the totally sick suite Head Honcho has thrown my way. Catch you in the Lighthouse Bar on Friday evening, Honch. I trust you’ll have those G&Ts lined up on that bar of great splendidness. There’s a good chap!
* Please feel free to help yourself to more info on the sumptuousness of the new Oyster Box by checking in here and/or here. Tell them Fred sent you.
In the sixth of my weekly interviews with interesting people living in and around the idyllic seaside town of Umdloti on South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal coast, I asked the Big Five questions of Adapt IT internet boffin (and developer of Durban’s official World Cup 2010 website), Richard McLennan…
FH: You are known as the man behind Adapt IT’s development of Durban’s World Cup 2010 website. How did you get started in internet technology and how did you get to here?
RM: Firstly, I have a very good team of people I work with on The Durban Host City Website, I am just one of the cogs in the machine so to speak. In terms of how I got here, it’s a fairly long story so I’ll keep it short and in point form:
· Raised here on the North Coast in the sunny hamlet of Umhlanga Rocks. After school spent 2 years in the SA Navy as a diver.
· Three years crewing on ‘Superyachts’ in the Med and Caribbean, before returning to SA, completed my Dive Instructor as well as Commercial Diver certifications. Taught Commercial Diving for a year at Durban’s PDI, great job, crap money. Moved on to IMMAC shipping for 6 months as Dive Supervisor, good money, crap job
· After a number of close underwater calls decided enough was enough and thought a career in the IT world looked far more promising… honestly, what’s the worst that can happen when you drive a PC for a living? Completed a Diploma in Visual Basic 5 whilst working as a diver
* Landed a web developer role for a very funky new media agency in London called Wheel where I ran a Development Team, jumped ship to a customer, the wonderful Marks & Spencer. Had an awesome couple of years at M&S helping build their very successful –ecommerce business.
· Headhunted by Monsoon Accessorise to setup their e-commerce business which I ran for 2 years
· After Sarah and I had son Connor in October 2006, we decided in early 2007 it was time to return to SA, work/life balance had become a lot more important to me…
· Three weeks after arriving back in SA, I joined a secret Old Mutual initiative building a new direct insurance and home loan business. Unfortunately, 12 months later we pulled the plug due to the global credit crisis and recession, a real pity as the products would have been groundbreaking for the SA market
· Approached by Adapt IT in Jan 2009 to programme manage the Durban 2010 web project
FH: OK. Straight into the question everybody wants answered! Adapt IT took a lot of flak for the 2010 website which, some said, did not give value for the amount of Durban ratepayers’ money spent on the project… how would you counter that assertion?
RM: It’s funny, everyone has heard of Adapt IT and the Durban 2010 Website, “oh ja, the R6.5 million website, what’s up with that?”
In the fifth of my weekly interviews with interesting people living in Umdloti (on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, South Africa), I asked the Big Five questions of Germaine Horowitz, tireless founder and co-ordinator of The Kidz Clinic, which reaches out to and counsels children, living in and around Waterloo township, near Umdloti, who have been sexually abused.
FH:Please describe for us how you got into doing the work you are doing for the children of Waterloo township?
GH: Waterloo was once a sugar farm which belonged to the Rey family. I was at school with one of the daughters of the farmer and I had horses at the Ottawa stables. I have great memories as a teenager of my visits and Bob Marley parties at the farm house which is actually today a magnificent but badly neglected registered National Monument now known as Ottawa House. I have held several meetings over the last six years with the eThekwini Mayors Office, the Department of Housing, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Arts and Culture to establish an Arts Community Centre at Ottawa House. So far no signatures but the community continues to manage hosting conferences, various theatrical rehearsals and three weeks ago a radio station playing on FM 94.7 started broadcasting there from 5am to 6am – I did an interview this morning. Now we have the task of raising the funds to have an independent radio station. Where was I? While I was running the Market Theatre Photography School for David Goldblatt in the late 1990s, I met up with people from Women and Men Against Child Abuse whose anti-child abuse demonstrations made great photographic material for our photography students. I eventually started campaigning for them and have remained in contact with them over the years… so when their main supporters Vodacom asked them to go national in 2008 they called me to research and set up a Kidz Clinic in Durban. With the help of Jacki Bruniquel, the fabulous Umdloti artist who you have already interviewed, and two Waterloo artists, Linda and Xolisis, helped me to open a beautiful “clinic” in the Waterloo Community Centre and we had our first case in June of 2008.
And now, for no reason at all other than to pay homage to the sumptuous weather which we on KwaZulu-Natal’s sub-tropical coastline enjoy all-year-round and thus seriously piss off our friends in Cape Town who continue to be deservedly punished by winter’s woes, I bring you some jolly japery from the weekend.
The Heartman, my boy who will be trundling down to Cape Town on AmaOneTyre soon enough to raise awareness of landmines and timed to arrive in Slaapstad in time for their statutory three weeks of sunshine, and I did our training rides in scorching 34deg heat before falling into the local lagoon to retrieve our legendary coolness.
La Mercy Lagoon, a short beachwalk from our residential arrangements at the Bush Palace, presented a scene of quite stunning kiffness and, after parking the 36-incher unicycle on the golden sands, we plunged into the cool waters of our lekker laguna. A Fish Eagle swooped and crooned overhead and soon we had the Canon 50D out… to capture some aquatic moves we’ve been working on.
You are now invited to assess our progress…
All is sereneness as Goose the Bull Mastiff detects a hat and hand emerging from the azure waters of La Mercy Lagoon...
No, it's not some aquatic Guy Fawkes display but The Heartman in the second phase of something I think he calls "The Bionic Goat", for reasons which initially eluded me...
Aah, now it's all making perfect sense! Heartman introduces "The Bionic Goat" manoeuvre into your lives... Pics: Hatman
There. Aren’t you relieved that you didn’t miss this? I understand. So, be sure to tell all of your friends about this. They will thank you for it. And, of course, you will all sink into a blissful state of epic gratefulness to me for bringing this into your lives. But, wait. There’s more. I was then coerced into coming up with something for Heartman to snap in “continuous shooting mode”.
Stop whatever you’re thinking about being distracted by because the following frames depict such grace, such raw athleticism and power that you will likely be rendered agog by the witnessing of it. Breathe, relax and simply embrace the beautifulnesses of my body in aquatic motion…
My babies, you are now enraptured by the first phase of my "Human Whale in Backward Breech Mode" display. Wait, it gets even better...
Yes, you have now slipped into a state of extreme swoonfulness. Perfectly normal. You will come out of it once this gem of balleticness is over. Hang in there...
Hyperventilation can be assuaged by breathing into a small paper bag. Try it! Good. It's OK. What you are feeling is what many go through when exposed to athletic prowess on an epic scale. Tear your eyes away, breathe smoothly into that bag and your heart rate should normalise... Pics: Heartman
You see? There was no need to panic, was there? No call for Netcare 911, hey? There are some things in life that just need to be embraced. Let yourself go, as David Bowie says. Right. You can now go back to doing whatever it was you were tackling before I enhanced your Monday with this sumptuous piece of aquatic art which, if I may, I shall entitle “Goat Lagoon”. Like that other nifty knees-up I penned and choreographed which I called “Swan Lake”, but only far better, n’cest pas?
In the fourth of my weekly interviews with an interesting resident of Umdloti, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa – the idyllic seaside village in which I am blessed to live – I asked the Big Five questions of Andre Cronje, director of the Wild Touch programme on SABC.
Let’s have a quick look at him, shall we?
FH:You grew up in or near the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg, yet knew from a very early age that you wanted to be out in the bush and working with wildlife… how did that come about?
AC: You see, Jozi-city is one of the most hardcore jungles out there. If you look at any aerial shot of the place it’s striking how many trees there are, there are also some crazy animals lurking in the bushes. On a more serious note, most of my ancestors were hunters, farmers and fishermen. I guess a love and understanding for nature is in my blood.
FH:You have been involved with Wild Touch, SABC’s popular wildlife educational programme, since its inception and now direct the series. How did you get involved and what does working with the programme mean to you?
AC: I have been working in the television industry for 11 years now so you naturally get involved with the kind of projects that fits your profile. It’s important for me to believe in what I invest my time and effort in. Series Directing Wild Touch is very rewarding because I know that I’m involved with sharing something beautiful and important with the nation.
FH:We are constantly being alerted to horror stories related to the degradation of our environment. Working so closely with it, what is your experience of human abuse of the environment and what would your message be to the youth who are to inherit it?
AC: You said I must keep my answers short, this question might take days to answer! But I think if we look around us right now, you will see the answer. The abuse that’s visible in the environment is only a mirror of our abuse of ourselves. Just like the orangutang, we are also running out of living space and just like the fish in our rivers the polluted water will also kill us. If there is a message for the youth it would be to start a revolution! Don’t be as ignorant as me, your parents, your teachers or our world governments. Don’t accept the easy way out and do question what is going on around you. To this day we are pretending that we don’t know that we are killing the earth and ourselves.
FH: A group of foreign visitors to South Africa (let’s say, ahem, a gaggle of gorgeous Scandinavian environmental science students, shall we?) arrive on your doorstep and demand to be shown the finest wildlife attractions our country has to offer. Where would you take them? And why?
AC: It depends… the Scandinavian students can hang around my house for a week or so and they’ll get up close with vervet monkeys, various snakes, spiders, amphibians, whales, dolphins and the beautiful birds of prey that hang out here. If it’s a small group I’ll take them on a wilderness walk through the Umfolosi Game reserve. Am I allowed to punt any cool organisations on this blog? Check out www.wildernesstrails.org.za.
FH:Cool. OK. So, you’re often to be seen surfing off and skateboarding around our gem of a seaside village, Umdloti. And I happen to know that you live in a beautiful house hidden deep in the bush on a hill overlooking our bit of the Indian Ocean. How did you get to be such a lucky bugger? And, go on, make us all insanely jealous… please describe your paradisical living-in-Umdloti-vibe!
AC: Jeez, Hatman, you just blew my cover. I was put under a witness protection programme several years ago and they forgot about me. I’ve been trying to get out of this lifestyle for years! Jokes aside, if you let go of your fear, everything else happens naturally. I remember as a kid I dreamed that I was surfing some deserted island. Everyone around me always said that it’s a silly dream because I live in a city 600km away from the sea. So I thought F@*^ you all and I started imagining that my skateboard had no wheels and the concrete was water. The rest is history as I have since spent tmy life living my dreams. I do want to encourage everyone to live their dreams, however far your imagination runs… though it’s crucial that you never forget this: “Concrete is not water” and you will get hurt along the way. So to answer your question about how I got to be such a lucky bugger… “no matter how hard you fall if you get up and try again, you will succeed”. Oh, and by the way this doesn’t mean that it won’t hurt like hell either.
In the third of my interviews (published here every weekend) with interesting people who live in my hometown of Umdloti, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, I asked the Big Five questions of Vera Hindmarch, a clairvoyant and the source of great spiritual inspiration to many…
FH:At what age did you realise that you had the ability to connect with the spirit world? And how did this come about?
VH: Although I never understood it at the time, my gift of clairvoyance and heightened awareness was strong as a child. Many experiences drove my parents up the wall. “No Dad, take the other road. Something is wrong with this one,” I would say. Of course he would not take heed and we would end up on a long detour or come across an accident. My late grandfather used to visit me and I would tell them that Grandpa said this or that. Right! I think they used to consider putting me in a straitjacket – spiritual awareness was not as known or understood as it is today. My young adult years was when my drama took place. We all go through our life’s lessons. When I came out of the drama period in my early 30s my clairvoyance returned with a greater strength and clarity. Only then did I understand the child in me.
FH:Once you had recognised and accepted that you had this power, how did you go about refining and attuning it so as to start giving people psychic readings?
VH: Meditation is the key to connect to your own soul and the spiritual world/universe. You benefit with an incredible sense of inner peace. Your guides send souls to connect to you and a dear old spiritual man in England (we lived there for a few years) took me under his wing and guided me through the doubtful times. He taught me to believe in my gift. My readings began slowly, with me simply getting messages out of the blue that helped many whose path crossed mine.
FH:I imagine it is sometimes an onerous responsibility to be the channel through which visitors make connections with loved ones who are in spirit. And I suppose that you are sometimes made aware of the prospect of bad news which may befall a visitor. How do you deal with that?
VH: God is loving and kind. Very seldom do I receive extreme negative messages – rather warnings so that a negative experience may be avoided. Although I do somethimes get bad “feelings”, I use my discretion and gently pass the message along. Why would God tell you that you are going to have an accident or worse? How would your life proceed after that other than in great fear. If a clairvoyant works in God’s light the guidance messages will be healing and helpful rather than negative.
FH: Please, Verna, if you will, share with us the most profound experience that you have had as a psychic or spiritualist, either personal or on behalf of somebody else…
VH: Here I could write a book! Let me tell you a personal story (although there are some really funny ones). While living in England, my Dad was in South Africa and was ill with cancer. It was suggested I fly home. I sent him a telegram reading “hang in there Dad, I am on my way!” (yes, there were such things as telegrams in those days!) and a red rose. The morning before my flight I awoke at 5am with my dad standing next to my bed holding in his hand a red rose. I knew he was now in spirit. My stepmother phoned. Dad had passed away just before 5am. He did receive my telegram but not the red rose. His soul knew I had sent the rose – it was in the universe! He explained that my mother, who had died many years ago, had come to his bedside and asked him go with her. He said it was the most amazing feeling as he walked away with her to spirit. He came to say his goodbyes. My mother was standing next to him.
FH:You too are blessed to live in our wonderful seaside village of Umdloti, on KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast. What does Umdloti mean to you, what do you most love about living here… and does it hold a special spiritual energy for you?
VH: From my balcony I have the most incredible view of the ocean. I am so grateful for this! Yes, Umdloti has spiritual and creative energies, but most places have if communities make it so. Most of all I love the mixture of people who live here. Small places teach you to accept people for who and what they are and remove any judgment you may have of them. The beauty of Umdloti as one walks along the beach is heavenly. The energy filled with peace and the likelihood of always bumping into someone you know and receiving that warm smile greeting. It is also that touch of mischief!
* To make an appointment for a reading, phone Verna on 084-556 2887. Verna’s book about spiritual awareness and understanding at a higher level, “Harmony”, can be bought at R130 incl postage by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org