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Riding High

When my school needed to raise money for, say, a new set of gym mats we would normally have a School Fete or perhaps a Bring and Buy Sale. Or we might collect milk bottle tops and tin cans and the teacher would put a big cardboard thermometer on the wall so we could see just how far we still had to go. [Read more…]

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All the years of sitting badly, slouching on the couch and not stretching before going for a run came back to haunt me as I felt sweat starting to trickle down my cheek. How on earth can sitting in one position be so exhausting? Our instructor (or Acharya as they say in Hindu) got up and walked around the room, and on passing me softly whispered, “Nice flexible body.” Hooray! Obviously I wasn’t doing as badly as I’d thought.

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“The first exhibit of its kind in South Africa, the I&J Exhibit holds 1.6 million litres of seawater, stands 6 metres deep and includes a 10-metre long tunnel. The first thing I did as I walked into the tunnel was to gaze up through the glass as a giant guitarfish floated across the sky.”

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It’s funny what we’ll do for an adrenaline rush. Recently I was telling some clients about my abseil down Table Mountain. Their eyes lit up when I whispered, “I nearly died I was so scared” and they couldn’t book themselves in fast enough. [Read more…]

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However intimidating motorbikes, leathers or facial hair might be, no-one could possibly deny that Harley-Davidsons are damn cool. And I have ridden one! [Read more…]

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Lonely and neglected, Candy was sitting in a dark corner of a Chinese army depot when Tim Clarke first set eyes on her. Instantly smitten, he resolved to make her acquaintance. He was sure that, given time, he could coax some life into her and restore the pride and vitality she’d clearly once enjoyed. [Read more…]

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It had been a big gig at the castle the night before, and leaping around to the pumping sounds of Prime Circle while downing vodka shots had seemed a good idea at the time. Less so now as I found myself rinsing large chunks of raw meat under an industrial tap in a converted container.

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I once had a client, a charming Essex girl, who asked me where she could buy clothes in Zanzibar. I explained that within the nearby villages she may be able to buy the local material, but there were no clothes shops or tailors to be found. She looked at me blankly and said, “No, sweetheart. Cloves. Like the spices, innit?”

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We were still at the polo farm* and the unaccustomed exercise along with the heat and the wine were beginning to make me hallucinate. At one point I could have sworn I saw Baroness Thatcher slip into the house behind us. And yet… that unmistakeable hair, the power suit, the pair of sensible yet elegant heels disappearing through the door… I moved a little closer and could hear a distinctly low-pitched, enunciated voice giving orders. Surely it couldn’t be? [Read more…]

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They say it’s a crime to leave Cape Town without having been to Mzoli’s.

This meat “restaurant”, the brainchild of entrepreneur Mzoli Ngcawuzele, can lay claim to being the township spot most frequented by non-locals. It’s in an area of Gugulethu easily accessible by taking one of the minibus taxis on Main Road and, when we arrived around 1pm, the streets in front of Mzoli’s were already jammed, with some people sitting on the sidewalk or hosting mini parties in their cars with the music turned up loud.

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We all have days of being Data Deficient, but to be globally listed as such could be rather an insult. Yet such is the fate of the Bryde whale. On further investigation, the implication is not so much that it is naturally blonde but simply that there is insufficient information about the species. This very shy mammal is estimated to number just 90 000 – that’s approximately the population of Hemel Hempstead – sprinkled throughout the vast tropical and temperate waters of the world. There have been more sightings of the Loch Ness Monster. Probably. [Read more…]

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A township tour is strongly recommended to anyone who recognizes the value of experiencing first hand the everyday struggles of people still living with the resonance of Apartheid.

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Thanks to a lift with a mind of its own I’d managed to get a bit lost in the tangled maze of corridors behind the Opera House. It was fun to imagine them on an ordinary working day, filled with a buzz of scales and arpeggios, toe tapping and Kids from Fame-like shenanigans, love trysts and leg warmers. I stopped short of doing a little samba, á la Patrick Swayze, down the length of the deserted hallway… but it was tempting.

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I hadn’t gone topless before. How alive it makes you feel to have the breeze caress your skin! How the senses are re-energised by the thrill of the tingling nerves! [Read more…]

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Contemplating the vastness of the universe has always been a great chat up technique. Since the dawn of speech, men have been making things up about the stars in the hope of getting lucky. So in theory, what with 2009 being the International Year of Astronomy, 2010 should be a baby boomer year.

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If you look up at Lion’s Head from the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay you might just make out a small patch of not-quite-natural green on the seaward slope of the mountain. With a pair of binoculars last week, you might even have been able to see the form of a hapless English housewife teetering on its brink. [Read more…]

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It almost felt as if I was in an underwater aquarium. Seeing the sharks in their natural habitat, browsing around for food and utterly uninterested in me helped me to understand that these are mighty creatures who are vastly misunderstood by the general population.

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