“No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.”
Wilfred Thesiger on his explorations in the Arabian Desert
One good dump is enough to make a season! The video can be found here.
It is almost impossible to describe in words what Nelson Mandela meant to us as South Africans. Someone akin more to a king than a leader or a statesman, we clung to him because he defined our new identity. What held us in awe was not his political mind, but the power and the breadth of the accommodation of his personality. I grew up surrounded by all the arguments against him, yet how could there ever have been an argument against the power of his humility. As near to a Man of Sorrows as a politician can be, he did not retaliate against the old oppressors, but offered them a home and an African home-coming. He set us free in our own land. I think this is why the world stands in awe of him, and the reason we celebrate his life.
Hamba Kakuhle Tata Madiba!
“The sea throws rocks together, but time leaves us polished stones” (“Ordinary Love” by U2)
A sunny surprise week in autumn. See here.
Gale force winds round the island? Why not paddle? See the footage here.
A long way round …
but with keen-eyed supporters and a happy flag, …
we sailed in to a top-ten finish. Hooray!
One of the challenges of attaching a GoPro camera is that it is … attached. So, a whole lot of orange nose in each of these pics. To see the orange nose submerged but in action, see this clip on vimeo (and this one)
“Africa, your sufferings have been the theme that has arrested and engaged my heart. Your sufferings no tongue can express, no language impart.” (William Wilberforce)
See my paper “The Crisis of the Secularization of Society, What Africa has to offer the world: Implausibility structures and the deconstruction of defeater beliefs”, which you can read here.
Another damp and drizzly day in the North-West and I am longing for the desert …
“Sitting in the flickering light of the candles on this kerchief of sand, on this village square, we waited in the night. We were waiting for the rescuing dawn–or for the Moors. Something, I know not what, lent this night a savour of Christmas. We told stories, we joked, we sang songs. In the air there was that slight fever that reigns over a gaily prepared feast. And yet we were infinitely poor. Wind, sand, and stars. The austerity of Trappists. But on this badly lighted cloth, a handful of men who possessed nothing in the world but their memories were sharing invisible riches.”
Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars.
An old classic quote by Sterling Hayden from his book Wanderer:
“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea … ‘cruising’ it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
‘I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.’ What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of ‘security.’ And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.
What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?”