Wednesday 2 January 2019

THE ADVENTURE – Dianne Hofmeyr

It’s 1962. You’re 15. You’re sitting on the fence wearing your first ever bikini… snapped by a friend (never again do you have friends like the ones you have when you're 15) with a Brownie Box camera, staring out with all the vulnerability and all the invincibility that comes with being 15.

You worry about puppy fat. That your lipstick Cutex Kiss Me Quick smeared over with white lipstick, looks frosty enough. Bardot-like. But it’s not Bardot you want to be. It’s Sophia Loren. You practice her lips and even speak Latin into the mirror hoping to sound a bit Italian. Kiss me Quick has hasn’t happened yet but its around the corner. You’re 15 and the whole world lies ahead.

At the start of a year in these heady, first days of January, there's the same feeling of adventure ahead. I wonder who named this The Awfully Big Blog Adventure? I've discovered Penny Dolan has written the most blogs at a score of 126 (counting yesterday's). I come in at 124. That means we’ve been part of this 'adventure' for over 10 years!

'When dreams and reality are one, the miracle has happened,' D H Lawrence inscribed to the artist Georgia O'Keefe in his book, 'Death of a Porcupine and other essays.' 


It's 2014.  No... I  didn't fly this plane, I stood there under its wing in the middle of the Namib Desert in a place called Wolwedans, which literally means where the Wolves Dance but more accurately where the Spotted Hyena hunts. We flew into the red dunes with skylines punctured by the silhouettes of oryxes...  'my dreams and reality are one'

It's 2018. 'My dreams and reality are one' again when I spend a few nights miles from anywhere, under ancient baobabs in the Okavango with a group of old friends, where dried elephant footprints embedded in the salt pans from who knows when... tell their own story and in the darkness I listen to the whoop of a hyena and the continuous prrr of an African Scops owl.

After this, my 125th blog, I’m signing off from The Awfully Big Blog Adventure. Thank you for the times we’ve had together, the comments and the cameradie and especially to Penny and Sue for keeping us all on track. Never when I started this, did I think I'd write a blog once a month for more than 10 years. What an adventure!

Landscapes are intrinsic to who we are... something we go back to time and again and draw strength from. So it seems right to close off with these two photographs.

It's 1952, me aged 5, with my father in front of the Zimbabwe ruins dated Sat.16th Aug.'52 in his handwriting. Little did I know that 50 years later I would set a historical novel, The Waterbearer, in this exact place, that would go on to win an IBBY Honour Book Award. 

It's 2018. The dusk of a quiet day in London between Christmas and New Year, when a pollarded London Plane tree turns a church steeple into a Baobab and I smell the woodsmoke of Africa.

A wonderfully adventurous 2019 to all of you. Did you see Venus chasing the rising moon this morning? For the next few days Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will all line up with the moon at dawn. May your planets line up this year. May you write like your pen will never run out of ink. May your dreams and reality be one. May you be invincible!
Instagram: diannehofmeyr
Twitter: @dihofmeyr
Latest book: Tiger Walk illustrated by Jesse Hodgson and published by Otter-Barry Books


Natasha Mostert said...

Ah, Di. Bittersweet to be signing off. But a 125 blogs! How wonderful. And what a wonderful last entry. I know you will always be an adventurer and here's wishing you many more amazing journeys in the future.

Jennie Walters said...

Wonderful post, Di, and just what I needed to read this morning! I shall try to make the most of this planetary alignment. Hope that your 2019 brings all sorts of good things, and thanks for your writing over the past 10 years

gringomutti said...

Oh I loved this Di. How sad that this is the last

gringomutti said...

Oh sorry. Gringomutti is Pam

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Thank you Natasha and Jennie... both of you with your African connections! And gringomutti... where did you get that name? Gringo mother???

Penny Dolan said...

Thank you - as ever - for another, if last, beautiful and inspirational post. What a wonderfully aligned life and post, Dianne, and with a bright star rising for you too. You and all your photographs, will be missed.

By the way, years back, when the idea of an SAS blog was first proposed by YA author Anne Cassidy (one of the SAS founding members) a few of us had a long & intense email discussion, looking for the "perfect title" - where in the alphabet? popularity? already taken? memorable? clear? confusing? too worthy? and so on. This went on for several days by over feels now like a pedal-driven internet and we were all quite wary of this new thing called blogging.

In the end, urged on by Anne, and very much in a mood of "Let's just get on with it, shall we?" AN AWFULLY BIG BLOG ADVENTURE was chosen. We all quite liked the idea of stepping into the unknown but, in our keen-ness, hadn't recognised that the quote - from Peter Pan - actually describes death. Luckily, the ABBA title did not prove fatal, nor were we sued by a pop group. I think it was another one of Anne Cassidy's brilliant suggestions. End of history lesson.

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Thanks for that Penny... maybe another blog post for newcomers to the blog to enjoy... the history of ABBA???? Yes I thought it might have been Anne Cassidy who was one of the starter members. Many good wishes for this new year and thanks for your comments. x

Sue Purkiss said...

Will miss your posts very much, Di! And all your wonderful photographs... But what a lovely last post! Thank you!

Hilary Hawkes said...

I've enjoyed reading your wonderful posts. Hope 2019 brings you many good and happy things x

Anne Booth said...

What a lovely post - and what gorgeous photos - and what a brilliant and appropriate one of the London church and the pollarded tree looking like a baobab. Best wishes for the future x Happy 2019!

LuWrites said...

Oh no...don't go! Am in awe of you posting for so long! Maybe you can guest post your next adventures? Have a wonderful 2019. ❤

Odette said...

Thank you for all the wonderful blog posts!