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November 30th, 2012



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Greetings everyone!  And a special welcome to all the new subscribers!  Why not ask your email contacts if they don't want to subscribe as well?

Wow, would you believe that another year has just about gone? The year started off with the news that I had prostate cancer. I had Brachy implants and 5 weeks of radiation and I heard last week that I was "clean". No side effects at all, thank goodness. Now I can start the new year on a clean slate. We will not be travelling over the Festive season, it will be Home Sweet Home for us. WE are not December holiday people, too hot, too busy and too expensive. We plan to spend the time by enjoying our hobby, photography.

This will also be the last letter for 2012, I would like to wish every one of you a Safe and Blessed Festive Season. Please be safe on the roads, remember, bright drivers dim, dim drivers don't!

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South African Folk-lore tales

In South Africa we love the outdoors and camping and a very special time is sitting around the campfire in the evenings and telling stories. I recently came upon a book titled Outa Karel's Stories. Over the next few letters I will be featuring tales from this book which was published in 1914 and written by Sannie Metelerkamp. I will start off with the foreword and introduction before getting to the actual stories.


Here are two more stories, previous stories can be found here.

Why the Hyena is Lame.

“It was Tante Hyena that Jakhals cheated more than anyone,” said Outa. “She always
forgot about the last time he had played a trick on her, so she was quite ready to
believe him when he came along with another story. Some people are so, my baasjes.
P’raps it’s kindness, p’raps it’s only stupidness; Outa doesn’t know.
“One day Jakhals and Hyena were out walking together when a white cloud came up
behind the kopjes and floated over the veld quite close to them. It was a nice thick
cloud, just like white fat, and Jakhals climbed on to it and sat looking down over the
edge. Then he bit pieces out of it, and ate them.
“‘Arré! but this white fat is nice,’ he said. ’N-yum, n-yum, n-yum,’ and he chewed
round the cloud like a caterpillar chews a leaf.
“Hyena licked her lips and looked up at him.
“‘Throw me down some, please,’ she said.
“‘Ach! my Brown Sister, will I then be so greedy as to throw you down little bits?
Wait till I get down, and then I’ll help you up to eat for yourself. But come a little
nearer so that you can catch me when I jump.’
“So Hyena stood ready, and Jakhals jumped in such a way that he knocked her into
the sand. He fell soft, because he was on top, but foei! poor Hyena had all the breath
knocked out of her and she was covered with dust.
“‘Ach! but I am clumsy!’ said Jakhals; ‘but never mind, now I’ll help you.’
“So when she had got up and dusted herself, he helped her to climb on to the cloud.
There she sat, biting pieces off and eating them, ‘N-yum, n-yum, n-yum, it’s just like
white fat!’
“After a time she called out, ‘Grey Brother, I’ve had enough. I want to come down.
Please catch me when I jump.’
“‘Ach, certainly Brown Sister, come on. Just see how nicely I’ll catch you. So-o-o.’
“He held out his arms, but just as Hyena jumped he sprang to one side, calling out,
‘Ola! Ola! a thorn has pricked me. What shall I do? what shall I do?’ and he hopped
about holding one leg up.
“Woops! Down fell Brown Sister, and as she fell she put out her left leg to save
herself, but it doubled up under her and was nearly broken. She lay in a bundle in the
sand, crying, ‘My leg is cracked! my leg is cracked!’
“Jakhals came along very slowly—jump, jump, on three legs. Surely the thorn, that
wasn’t there, was hurting him very much!
“‘Oo! oo!’ cried Hyena, ‘help me up, Grey Brother. My leg is broken.’
“‘And mine has a thorn in it. Foei toch, my poor sister! How can the sick help the
sick? The only plan is for us to get home in the best way we can. Good-bye, and I will
visit you to-morrow to see if you are all right.’
“And off he went—jump, jump, on three legs—very slowly; but as soon as Old
Brown Sister could not see him, he put down the other one and—sh-h-h-h—he shot
over the veld and got home just in time to have a nice supper of young ducks that
Mrs. Jakhals and the children had caught at Oubaas van Niekerk’s dam.
“But poor Brown Sister lay in the sand crying over her sore places, and from that day
she walks lame, because her left hind foot is smaller than the right one.”1
The Hyena, on first starting, appears lame in the hind legs—a fact accounted for by the Hottentots in
the foregoing fable.

Who was the Thief?
“Yes, my baasjes, so was Oom Jakhals: he always made as if he forgot all about what
he had done, and he made as if he thought all the others forgot too, quick-quick. He is
maar so schelm.”
Here Outa took full advantage of the pinch of snuff he held between his right
forefinger and thumb, sneezed with evident enjoyment two or three times, and
“When Jakhals thought Hyena was quite well, he went to visit her.
“‘It’s very dull here in the veld,’ he said, ‘and food is so scarce, so I’m going to hire
myself to a farmer. He’ll give me lots to eat and drink, and when I’m nice and fat I’ll
come home again. Would you like to go too, Brown Sister?’
“Hyena smacked her lips when she heard about the nice things to eat. She thought it a
very good plan. So they went to a farm, and Jakhals talked so nicely that the farmer
hired them both to work for him.
“Ach! it was a beautiful place; lots of chickens and little ducks, and Afrikander sheep
with large fat tails that could be melted out for soap and candles, and eggs, and doves
and pigeons—all things that Jakhals liked. He just felt in his stomach that he was
going to have a jolly life.
“During the day Jakhals peeped all about, in this corner, in that corner, and he found
out where the farmer kept the nice fat that was melted out of the sheep’s tails. In the
middle of the night, when all the people were fast asleep, he got up and went quietly,
my baasjes, quietly, like a shadow on the ground, to the place where the fat was. He
took a big lump and smeared it all over Brown Sister’s tail while she was asleep.
Then he ate all that was left—n-yum, n-yum, n-yum—and went to sleep in the
“Early in the morning, when the farmer went out to milk the cows, he missed the fat.
“‘Lieve land! Where is all my fat?’ he said. ‘It must be that vagabond Jakhals. But
wait, I’ll get him!’
“He took a thick riem and his sjambok, and went to the waggon-house to catch
Jakhals and give him a beating. But when he asked about the fat, Jakhals spoke in a
little, little voice.
“‘Ach no, Baas! Would I then do such an ugly thing? And look at my tail. There’s no
fat on it. The one whose tail is full of fat is the thief.’
“He turned round and waved his tail in the farmer’s face, and anyone could easily see
that there was no fat on it.
“‘But the fat is gone,’ said the farmer, ‘someone must have stolen it,’ and he went on
hunting, hunting in the waggon-house.
“At last he came to where Hyena was sleeping, just like a baby, baasjes, so nicely,
and snoring a little: not the loud snoring like sawing planks—gorr-korrr, gorr-korr—
but nice soft snoring like people do when they sleep very fast—see-uw, see-uw. It is
the deepest sleep when a person snores see-uw, see-uw. Hyena’s head was on some
chaff, and her tail was sticking out behind her, stiff with fat!
“‘Aha! here is the thief,’ said the farmer, and he began to tie the riem round her.
“Old Brown Sister sat up and rubbed her eyes. ‘What’s the matter?’ she asked. ‘I had
a beautiful dream. I dreamt I was eating fat the whole night, and——’
“‘And so you were—my fat,’ said the farmer, and he pulled the rope tighter. ‘And
now I’m going to teach you not to steal again.’
“Poor old Brown Sister jumped about when she found out what he was going to do;
she ran round and round the waggon-house trying to get away; she called out, and she
called out that she did not know about the fat, that she had never tasted it, and had
never even seen it. But it was no good.
“‘Look at your tail,’ said the farmer. ‘Will you tell me that your tail went by itself and
rubbed itself in the fat?’
“So he tied her to the waggon wheel and beat her, and beat her—ach! she was quite
sore—and she screamed and screamed, and at last he drove her away from the farm.
“Poor old Brown Sister! She didn’t even have the fat from her tail to eat, because,
baasjes see, with the running round and the beating, it was all rubbed off. But she
never went to live on a farm again; the veld was quite good enough for her.”
“Is that the end, Outa?” asked Willem.
“Yes, my baasje. It’s a bad end, but Outa can’t help it. It does maar end so.”
“And where was Jakhals all the time?” enquired Pietie, severely.
“Jakhals, my baasje, was sitting on the waggon saying his prayers—so, my baasjes.”
Outa put his crooked hands together and cast his twinkling eyes upwards till only the
yellows showed.
“‘Bezie, bezie, brame,
Hou jouw handjes same.’
“And every time Hyena screamed, Jakhals begged her not to steal again, but to try
and behave like a good Christian.”
“But Jakhals was the thief,” said little Jan, indignantly. “He was always the wicked
one, and he was never punished. How was that, Outa?”
A whimsical smile played over the old man’s face, and though his eyes danced as
wickedly as ever, his voice was sober as he answered.
“Ach! my little master, how can Outa tell? It is maar so in this old world. It’s like the
funny thing Baas Willem saw in the Kaap, that runs down a place so quickly that it
just runs up on the other side, and then it can’t stop, but it has to run down again, and
so it keeps on—up and down, up and down.”
“You mean the switchback?” asked Willem.
“Ach, yes! baasje, Outa means so. And in the world it is the same—up and down, up
and down. And often the good ones are down and the bad ones are up. But the
thing—Outa can’t get the name right—goes on, and it goes on, and by-and-by the
good ones are up and the bad ones are down.”
“But Jakhals seemed always to be up,” remarked Willem.
“Yes, my baasje,” said the old man, soberly. “Jakhals seemed always to be up. It goes
so sometimes, it goes so,” but his eyes suddenly had a far-away look, and one could
not be certain that he was thinking of Jakhals.
“Berry, berry, blackberry,
Hold your hands together.”
The Kaap—Cape Town.

Ben Stein

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America ...
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those
beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they
are, Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't
bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a
creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I
think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that
we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God ?
I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and
where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not
funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is
deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government
and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was
murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped
and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about.
And we said okay.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you share this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe,
or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Andy Nix Photography

Seeing that photography is my passion I thought it about time to feature a South African photographer in my newsletter. I have been a fan of Andy for some time now and would like to share the link to her blog. She is a great photographer and is fortunate enough to live in the Fairest Cape where great landscapes just beg to be photographed.

Click here to view her blog and while you are there subscribe to her newsletter as well.

Come join me on Facebook, at . I update my status daily.



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Words to live by 

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Smile a While

A lawyer and his Czech friend were camping in a backwoods section of Montana.
One morning, the two went out to pick berries for their breakfast.
They went gathering berries in tremendous quantities, along came two huge bears, a male and a
The lawyer, seeing the two bears, immediately dashed for cover.
His friend, though, wasn't so lucky, and the male bear reached him and swallowed him whole.
The lawyer ran back to his Mercedes, tore into town as fast as he could, and got the local sheriff.
The sheriff grabbed his shotgun and dashed back to the berry patch with the lawyer.
Sure enough, the two bears were still there.
"He's in THAT one!" cried the lawyer, pointing to the male, while visions of lawsuits from his friend's
family danced in his head.
He just had to save his friend.
The sheriff looked at the bears, and without batting an eye, leveled his gun, took careful aim, and shot
the female.
"What did you do that for!" exclaimed the lawyer, "I said he was in the other!"
"Exactly," replied the sheriff.
"Would YOU believe a lawyer who told you the Czech was in the male?"
.....ahem.....I guess one could call it a cancelled Czech....

A cowboy, who just moved to Wyoming from Texas , walks into a bar and orders three mugs of Bud.
He sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, he
comes back to the bar and orders three more.
The bartender approaches and tells the cowboy, "You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it. It would
taste better if you bought one at a time."
The cowboy replies, "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in Arizona , the other is in Colorado .
When we all left our home in Texas , we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days
when we drank together. So I'm drinking one beer for each of my brothers and one for myself."
The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there.
The cowboy becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way. He orders three mugs
and drinks them in turn.
One day, he comes in and only orders two mugs. All the regulars take notice and fall silent. When he
comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief,
but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss."
The cowboy looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in his eyes and he laughs.
"Oh, no, everybody's just fine," he explains, "It's just that my wife and I joined the Baptist Church and I
had to quit drinking."
"Hasn't affected my brothers though."

A drunk staggers into a Catholic Church,
Enters a confessional booth, sits down, but says nothing.
The Priest coughs a few times to get his
Attention but the drunk continues to sit there.
Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall.
The drunk mumbles, "ain't no use knockin,
there's no paper on this side either!"

Russ and Sam, two friends, met in the park every day to feed the pigeons, watch the squirrels and
discuss world problems.
One day Russ didn't show up. Sam didn't think much about it and figured maybe he had a cold or
something.. But after Russ hadn't shown up for a week or so, Sam really got worried. However, since
the only time they ever got together was at the park, Sam didn't know where Russ lived, so he was
unable to find out what had happened to him.
A month had passed, and Sam figured he had seen the last of Russ, but one day, Sam approached
the park and -- lo and behold -- there sat Russ!
Sam was very excited and happy to see him and told him so. Then he said,'For crying out loud Russ,
what in the world happened to you?'
Russ replied, 'I have been in jail.'
'Jail!' cried Sam. What in the world for?'
'Well,' Russ said, 'you know Sue, that cute little blond waitress at the coffee shop where I sometimes
'Yeah,' said Sam, 'I remember her. What about her?
'Well, one day she filed rape charges against me; and, at 89 years old, I was so proud that when I got
into court, I plead 'guilty'.
'The damn judge gave me 30 days for perjury’.

A South African Dutchman Van der Merwe had never been outside of South Africa before.
While on holiday in Australia he spent an afternoon visiting Bondi Beach.
As he sat on the beach looking out to sea he saw a long line of black dots out in the water
and said to an Aussie, who was sitting close by, "What are all those little black things out
there ?"
"They're buoys," said the Aussie.
"Boys?!" replied Van der Merwe. "What are they doing out there?"
"Holding up the shark net," the Aussie told him.
"Bloody great country!" said Van der Merwe, deeply impressed; "We'd never get away with
that at home!"

Bordeaux, a Cajun highlander from Rapides Parish in central Louisiana, was an older, single
gentleman, who was born and raised a Baptist, living in South Louisiana. Each Friday night after
work, he would fire up his outdoor grill and cook a venison steak.
Now, all of Bordeaux's neighbors were Catholic... and since it was Lent, they were forbidden to eat
meat on Fridays. The delicious aroma from the grilled venison steaks was causing such a problem for
the Catholic faithful that they finally talked to their priest.
The priest came to visit Bordeaux, and suggested that Bordeaux convert to Catholicism. After several
classes and much study, Bordeaux attended Mass and as the priest sprinkled holy water over him, he
said, "You were born a Baptist and raised a Baptist, but now you are Catholic."
Bordeaux's neighbors were greatly relieved, until Friday night arrived, and the wonderful aroma of
grilled venison filled the neighborhood. The priest was called immediately by the neighbors and, as he
rushed into Bordeaux's yard, clutching a rosary and prepared to scold him, he stopped in amazement
and watched.
There stood Bordeaux, clutching a small bottle of water which he carefully sprinkled over the grilling
meat, and chanted: "You wuz born a deer, and you wuz raised a deer, but now you a catfish."

A lesson on how consultants can effect change in an organization.
Last week, we took some friends to a new restaurant, 'Steve's Place,' and noticed that the waiter who
took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket.
It seemed a little strange. When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I observed that he also
had a spoon in his shirt pocket. Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their
pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I inquired, 'Why the spoon?'
'Well, 'he explained,'the restaurant's owner hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all of our processes.
After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped
utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel
are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours
per shift.'
As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he replaced it with his spare. 'I'll get another spoon
next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now.' I was impressed.
I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly. Looking around, I saw that all
of the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So, before he walked off, I asked the
waiter, 'Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?'
"Oh, certainly!' Then he lowered his voice. Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I
mentioned also learned that we can save time in the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of
our ‘you-know-what’, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands,
shortening the time spent in the restroom by 56.39%.”
I asked quietly, 'After you get it out, how do you put it back?'
'Well,' he whispered, 'I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon

After a tiring day, a commuter settled down in her seat and closed her
eyes as the train rolled out of the station. The guy sitting next to her
pulled out his cell phone and started talking in a loud voice:
"Hi sweetheart. It's Eric. I'm on the train. Yes, I know it's the six thirty
and not the four thirty, but I had a long meeting. No, honey, not with
that blonde from the accounts office. With the boss. No sweetheart,
you're the only one in my life. Yes, I'm sure, cross my heart!"
Fifteen minutes later, he was still talking loudly when the young
woman had had enough and leaned over and shouted into the
phone: "Eric, turn that damn phone off and come back to bed!!!!!!!!"
Eric doesn't use his cell phone in public any longer.

A couple of nights ago, I was out for an evening with
friends and had a couple of cocktails and some rather nice red wine.
Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the
limit, I did something I've never done before ~ I took a cab home.
Sure enough, I passed a police road block but, since it was a cab,
they waved it past.
I arrived home safely without incident, which was a
real surprise; as I have never driven a cab before and am not sure
where I got it or what to do with it now that it's in my garage..


Images - A selection of my photos

The Lighthouse at Umhlanga

Zimbabwe update

For the latest on happenings in Zimbabwe, go to:  and subscribe to their newsletter, a really good source of current information

Cathy Buckle is writing from Zimbabwe, her letter is below.

Dear Family and Friends,
Two unexpected but very welcome developments occurred this week, reviving flagging spirits and giving hope that maybe justice can return to Zimbabwe. The first came in the form of a ruling from our Supreme Court. It had been a very long time coming but at last the excommunicated Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga was told that he was not entitled to control and possess Anglican Church properties that he had been claiming and occupying since 2007. The Supreme Court Judges found that Mr Kunonga had withdrawn from the Anglican church to form his own institution and therefore could not hold on to Anglican Church properties.
‘Pack and Go,’ were the headlines on one newspaper and they were words that many thousands of people, and not only Anglicans, had been waiting to hear for five years. No one had ever really understood, let alone believed that Mr Kunonga had been allowed to first hold services in the Anglican churches and then take them over altogether. With shock we watched Anglicans holding their services under trees, in tents and in private homes because their churches had been taken over by Mr Kunonga. Then we watched in disbelief as Anglican priests and their families were evicted from church houses, and then in horror we saw Mr Kunonga and his followers take over Anglican orphanages and evict the children.
Justice was a long time coming and every day since the Supreme Court ruling all eyes have been on Anglican churches and properties. At the time of writing there is no sign that the Anglican Church in my home town is being vacated by Mr Kunonga’s people. For the past year this landmark church situated less than a block from the centre of the town has been turned into a school. In the church courtyard, sitting on low walls and under shaded veranda’s children have been receiving lessons. It’s a similar situation in many Anglican churches which Mr Kunonga took over and then rented out to other organisations. In the days following the Supreme Court ruling, horrors have started to be exposed. The Anglican Harare diocese secretary said that they had found many of their churches had been abused, some even turned into brothels. In one instance we heard there had been ‘widespread sexual abuse’ going on in an orphanage taken over by Mr Kunonga’s supporters. The Anglicans say that as soon as their properties are vacated they will be holding cleansing ceremonies across the diocese.
The second welcome development came from the Ivory Coast where the African Commission on Human and People's Rights were meeting. ‘Human rights history made as African Commission declares Zimbabwean farmers’ case admissible,’ was the headline of the Afriforum press release. After African Heads of State suspended the SADC Tribunal in August 2011 all avenues had been closed for individuals, like Zimbabwean farmers, who had had failed to get justice from the courts in their own countries. Left with nowhere to go and no one who would listen to us, the African Commission picked up the baton. They ruled that the complaint lodged with it on behalf of Zimbabwean farmers Luke Tembani and Ben Freeth against 14 heads of state of SADC countries was admissible. Afriforum said: ‘Freeth and Tembani’s legal team now have 60 days to make further submissions on the merits of their complaint, after which the Commission will consider the complaint.’
History was made when justice finally came for Anglicans in Zimbabwe this week and at the same time a small flicker of hope was revived for farmers – maybe we too will also see justice one day; we have waited so long.
Until next time,
thanks for reading,
love cathy.
24th November 2012

For information on my new book “IMIRE”, about Norman Travers and Imire Game Park, or my other books about Zimbabwe: “Innocent Victims,” African Tears,” “Beyond Tears;” and “History of the Mukuvisi Woodlands 1910-2010”, or to subscribe/unsubscribe to this letter, please visit my website or contact

The History Of Cookies!

A little bit of cookie history. The first cookies were created by accident. Cooks used a small amount of cake batter to test their oven temperature before baking a large cake. These test cakes were called "koekje" meaning "little cake" in Dutch.

Cookies are made with sweet dough or batter, baked in single-sized servings and eaten by hand. Perfect for snacking or as a dessert.

Cookies are classified by method of preparation - drop, moulded, pressed, refrigerated, bar and rolled. Their dominant ingredient, such as nut cookies, fruit cookies or chocolate cookies, can also classify them.

As I've just mentioned, the work cookie comes from the Dutch "koekje". In addition the Dutch first popularised cookies in the United States. The British took a liking to them in the 19th century, adding them to their daily tea service and calling them biscuits or sweet buns, as they do in Scotland.

Sometime in the 1930's, so the story goes, a Massachusetts inn keeper ran out of nuts while making cookies. She substituted a bar of baking chocolate, breaking it into pieces and adding the chunks of chocolate to the flour, butter and brown sugar dough. The Toll House Cookie, so named after the inn in which it was served, was a hit.

Historians credit the inn keeper, Ruth Wakefield, with inventing what has since become an American classic - the chocolate chip cookie.

Although they have evolved a bit since the good old days, cookies are never out of vogue. Homemade cookies are always head-and-shoulders better than store bought.

Hints and Tips for Better Biscuits

•With biscuits, more than any other quick-bread, the less you handle the dough the more tender and higher the biscuits.

•Use soft wheat flour for biscuits. They will rise higher and be more tender.

•Be sure the fat is cold, cut it into the dry ingredients and mix lightly with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs

•Handle the dough gently, press it together, don't really knead, it only need to hold together and be reasonably smooth. Small lumps of shortening can be visible in the dough. It is also better to pat the dough out with your hands instead of using a rolling pin.

•Biscuits don't have to be round, pat out the dough and use a pizza wheel to cut squares - no waste - no rerolling which makes tough biscuits.

•If you want round biscuits, dip the biscuit cutter in flour between cuttings. Don't twist the cutter, punch the biscuits out. If you twist the cutter you'll seal the edges of the dough and the biscuits won't rise properly. Don't use a glass to cut biscuits, it will seal the dough too. If you don't have a cutter use a clean, dry can.

•If you want biscuits to be crisp, brush them with water before baking. Space the 4 - 5cm apart on the baking tray.

•If you want soft sides, brush them with milk and arrange with sides almost touching on the baking sheet.

•Any biscuit recipe can be turned into drop biscuits. Just add a quarter cup of milk for each 2 cups of flour. Drop by the spoonfuls on a greased baking sheet and bake as usual.

•Another favourite is to prepare the biscuits as usual but make a thumbprint in the centre before baking and drop in spoonfuls of fruit preserve of jam (see recipe above for walnut cookies) then bake as usual.

•Biscuits lend themselves to all kinds of variations. You can add all kinds of things to the dry ingredients. Cheese, herbs, crumbles cooked bacon, chopped dried fruit. Use your imagination.

•Store biscuits wee wrapped or in a plastic bag at room temperature. An airtight plastic container is still the best. Do not store biscuits in the refrigerator - they will get stale.

•Should your biscuits become stale, reheat biscuits wrapped in foil in a 150°C oven for about 10 minutes, or microwave for 15 seconds on high, or split and toast.
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Recipe Requests

Looking for a specific South African recipe? Email me and I will do my best to find it for you! 
The Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookies

110g unsalted butter, softened
50g vanilla caster sugar
55g muscovado sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
140g dark chocolate, finely chopped or chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease several baking trays.
2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, then break in the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until amalgamated.
3. Sift the flour and bicarb in together. Stir it into the mixture, then do likewise with the chocolate chips.
4. Plop teaspoons or dessertspoons of the mixture onto the baking trays. Leave about 5cm between the cookies and bake for 10 - 12 minutes until palely browned.
5. When you remove the cookies to a wire rack with a palate knife they will still feel soft, but never fear, they will firm up as they cool. Keep in an airtight tin in layers of greaseproof paper when they have cooled.

Meusli Cookies

225g meusli
55g light or dark muscovado sugar, depending on how treacly a taste you want
110g plain flour
85g ground almonds
170g unsalted butter
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Put the meusli, sugar, flour and almonds in a bowl and stir together well.
2. Melt the butter and honey together, remove from the heat and stir in the bicarb.
3. Stir this into the dry ingredients and mix it all together well. Plop dessertspoons of the mixture onto greased baking trays, leaving 5cm between the cookies. Flatten the cookies down with a fork and bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack and keep in an airtight container.


340g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g unsalted butter, softened
255g caster sugar
2 eggs
55g walnuts, very finely chopped
5 Tbsp caster sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Sift the flour and bicarb in a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar until light, then gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time.
2. Stir in the flour, bicarb and nuts. Form the dough into rolls about 2.5cm in diameter, wrap them in clingwrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until firm.
3. Stir the 5 Tbsp of sugar and the cinnamon together on a plate. Quickly roll walnut-size lumps of dough into balls with your hands, then roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
4. Place them on a greased baking tray, about 5cm apart. Flatten with a fork, then bake for 10 - 12 minutes until golden. Leave them on the baking tray for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Black and White Chocolate Cookies

225g unsalted butter, softened
200g light muscovada sugar
255g sugar
3 eggs
285g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
55g cocoa powder
130g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
130g white chocolate broken into small chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
2. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa, then throw in the chocolate chunks and mix well, folding with a large metal spoon.
3. Use about 2 Tbsp of the mixture per cookie, putting them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Place them about 5cm apart as they will spread. Flatten down a little with a fork and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the bottoms have darkened to chocolate brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Gingerbread Men

110g unsalted butter, softened
100g light muscovado sugar
170g golden syrup
400g plain flour, sifted
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


1 egg white
55g icing sugar, sifted
a squeeze of lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Put the butter and brown sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the golden syrup, sifted flour, ginger and bicarb and mix until you have a smooth dough.
2. Roll out the dough between sheets of baking paper to about 4 mm thick. Cut out the gingerbread men with a gingerbread man cutter and place them on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
3. To make the icing mix the egg white and sifted icing sugar together thoroughly with a little squeeze of lemon, Pipe buttons onto the gingerbread men. Plunge edible silver balls into their middles if you have some. Leave to set.


110g unsalted butter, softened (must be butter, not margarine)
55g caster sugar
110g plain flour
55g cornflour
more caster sugar for dredging

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. This is a hand-on, hands-in thing. You don't want the butter to become broken up, so plonk it in a large bowl or on a board with the sugar and flours and knead everything together into a dough. Roll into a circle or oblong, about 2.5cm thick, on a floured board.
2. Slide it onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Decorate the edges by marking them with the tines of a fork and the middle by pricking with the fork. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until a pale biscuit colour.
3. Dredge with caster sugar when cooked. Cool in the baking tray. If you made a circular shortbread, cut into thin wedges. If you made an oblong shortbread, cut into fingers.

Walnut Cookies

200g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice
250g plain flour, sifted


50g walnuts, chopped
60g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly grease 2 baking trays and line with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Using a metal spoon, fold in the orange juice and flour until well combined. Press with your hands until the mixture comes together to make a stiff dough.
3. For the walnut filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
4. Roll heaped tablespoons of dough into balls. Press a hollow in the centre of each ball with your thumb. Place 1 tsp of filling in each hollow. Place on trays and flatten slightly without folding dough over the filling.
5. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Meringue Kisses

2 egg whites at room temperature
125g caster sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


125g dark chocolate melts or buttons
90g sour cream

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
2. Beat the egg whites in a small clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition until stiffened and glossy peaks form. Add the cinnamon and beat until just combined.
3. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted nozzle. Pipe small stars of 1.5cm diameter onto the trays, 3cm apart. Bake for 30 minutes, or until pale and crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool in the oven with the door ajar.
4. To make the filling, place the chocolate and sour cream in a small heatproof bowl. Bring a pan of water to the boil, remove from the heat and sit the bowl of chocolate and cream over the pan, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Sandwich the meringues together with the chocolate filling.

You can use white chocolate instead of dark and other ground spices such as ground cloves, allspice or nutmeg. Meringues should be cocked slowly. The ideal texture is crunchy on the outside and soft inside.


500g sugar
250ml liquid glucose
175g honey
60ml water
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter, softened
60g almonds, unblanched and toasted
100g glace cherries

1. Grease a 28 x 18 cm baking dish and line with baking paper. Place the sugar, glucose, honey 60ml water and 1/4 tsp salt in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over a low heat until dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook at a rolling boil for 8 minutes, or a sugar thermometer reaches 122°C. The correct temperature is very important, otherwise the mixture will not set properly.
2. Beat the egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Slowly pour a quarter of the mixture onto the egg whites in a thin stream and beat for up to 5 minutes, or until the mixture holds it's shape. Place the remaining syrup over the heat and cook for 2 minutes (watch that it doesn't burn), or until a small amount forms brittle threads when dropped in cold water, or reaches 157°C on a sugar thermometer. Pour slowly onto the meringue mixture with the beaters running and beat until the mixture is very thick.
3. Add the vanilla and butter and beat for another 5 minutes. Stir in the almonds and cherries with a metal spoon. Turn the mixture into the baking dish and smooth the top with a palate knife. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until firm. Turn out onto a large chopping board and, with a sharp knife, cut into 4 x 2 cm pieces. Wrap each piece in cellophane and refrigerate.

Sweet Twists

1 egg
1 1/5 Tbsp sugar
125ml milk
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
oil for deep frying
215g icing sugar

1. Beat the egg with the sugar in a bowl, then stir in the milk. Sift the flour with the salt and mix in to form a stiff dough, adding more milk if necessary. Roll out on a lightly floured work surface. Cut into strips about 10cm long and 3cm wide. Make a slit along the length like a buttonhole. Tuck one end through the slit and pull through to make a twist.
2. Fill a heavy-based pan one third full of oil and heat to 180°C. The oil is ready when a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds. Fry 3 or 4 twists at a time until golden on both sides. Drain on crumpled paper towel.
3. Sift icing sugar over the pastry after it is fried, but before it gets cold.

With thanks to Crossing Superspar in Nelspruit.
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My Super Duper Recipe CD

I have just added 37 very old digitally scanned (you see the actual pages of the book) recipe books to the CD, at no extra cost. Here is your chance to have a really unique recipe book collection.

I have decided to simplify the way I sell my recipe eBook collection.

I am putting them all on one CD in an English and Afrikaans folder now also a folder with the very old books,  over 130 recipe eBooks in all. That means less than R1 a recipe book, a real bargain! Most of the books come with resale rights so you can sell them individually if you wish.

Pricing: The CD costs  R120 registered postage included (R150 for next day Speed Services delivery in SA). Once I mail the CD I will email you the post office tracking number

Paypal orders also accepted at US$20 per CD overseas postage included. My Paypal email addy is

If you are interested in my Super CD just click here and I will send you my banking details. Remember to include you postal address.

As soon as I mail the CD I will email you the post office tracking number as proof of despatch.

FunkyMunky Traditional South African Recipes - A comprehensive collection of Traditional South African recipes.
Tradisionele Suid Afrikaanse Resepte - Traditional South African Recipes in Afrikaans
Christmas Recipes - A selection of Christmas Recipes for you to try!
101 Camping and Outdoor Recipes - Recipes for you to try next time you go camping
400 Refreshing punch recipes - Some great ideas for liquid refreshment at your next party
Favourite Christmas Cookies - 34 Great cookie recipes for you to enjoy!
Christmas Cookie Recipes - A delicious collection of Christmas Cookie Recipes
A Homemade Christmas - 100 Simple and delicious recipes for your special holiday meals
Holiday Candy and Fudge - 42 Great candy recipes, a hit with kids of all ages!
Kids Fun Recipes - 120 Fun and Delicious Recipes
Delicious Puddings - A Collection of 167 Pudding Recipes
Pumpkin Pie - Pumpkin pies and more!
Salad Recipes - A Collection of Easy to Follow Salad Recipes
Summer Party Cookbook - The name says it all!
Pampercat and Pamperdog - Recipe treats for your feline and canine friends
80 Seasonal Recipes from around the world - A selection of festive recipes from the four corners of the globe!
Crockpot Recipes - In South Africa we would probably call this Potjiekos
International Recipes - A selection of recipes from all over the world
Fish and Game Recipes - A selection of mouthwatering recipes
Lemonade - A large selection of lemonade recipes
Pizzeria - Try some of these great pizza recipes
Casseroles - 17 pages of mouthwatering casserole recipes
Low Fat Recipes - Watching your cholesterol? Then this is for you!
Soup Recipes - Ideal for those cold winter evenings
Chicken Recipes - 300 Delicious Chicken Recipes
Amish Recipes - 65 Tried and True Traditional Amish Recipes
Apple Recipes - Mouth watering apple recipes
Blue Ribbon Recipes - 490 Award Winning Recipes
The Bread Book - The bread and biscuit baker's and sugar boiler's assistant
Chocolate Delights - Deliciously decadent and delightful recipes for the chocaholic in you
Carolina Mountain Cooking - Created from the recipes and memories of two of the Carolina Mountain's most talented cooks.
Egg Recipes - 111 Great Egg Recipes
Great Gifts in a Jar - A personally made gift is usually more appreciated!
Italian Recipes - A collection of 185 delicious Italian dishes
Smoothies - 126 Easy recipes for maximum sports performance
Top Secret Recipes - Top secret famous recipes
Wings - The ultimate chicken wing cookbook
The Barmaster - Essential tips and techniques for bartenders
Be a Grillmaster - How to host the perfect bbq!
101 Good Jam Recipes - Make your own jams, 101 recipes for you to try
Deep Fryer Recipes - 101 Recipes for the Deep Fryer
Frozen Dessert Recipes - From ice cream to yoghurt - 170 pages of mouthwatering recipes.
Recipes from South of the Border - 247 pages of typically Mexican recipes
Various Rice Dishes - 32 Great Rice Dishes
The Appetizer Collection - More than 150 pages of great ideas for appetizers
The Big Book of Cookies - From Almond Bars to Zucchini Bars, they are all here, 233 pages of cookie recipes
Salad Recipes - A Collection of Easy to Follow Salad Recipes
Delicious Diabetic Recipes - A Collection of over 500 yummy recipes.
Cheesecake Recipes - Nearly 100 pages of yummilicious cheesecake recipes!

Bonus eBooks

Something for the gardeners
Organic Secrets - Everything you wanted to know about organic food

Profitable Crafts- Vol 1
Profitable Crafts - Vol 2
Profitable Crafts - Vol 3
Profitable Crafts - Vol 4
20 Vintage Crochet Patterns

Everything you wanted to know about making, marketing and selling your crafts.

Big Fat Lies - A shocking expose of the 12 biggest scams, cover-ups, lies, myths and deceptions
in the diet and weight-loss industries.

10,000 Dreams Interpreted

A List of the very old digitally scanned recipe eBooks.

A Calendar of Dinners with 615 recipes - 1922
A Dozen dainty recipes for preparing wartime canned meats - 1920
A Home Guide - or a book by 500 ladies - 1877
Aunt Carolines Dixieland Recipes - 1922
A Practical Dictionary of Cookery - 1200 tested recipes - 1898
Best recipes for baking - pre 1908
Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping - 1877
Burke's Complete Cocktail and tasty bite recipes - 1936
Catering for special occasions with menus and recipes - 1911
Diabetic Cookery - recipes and menus - 1917
Fifty Choice Recipes for Spanish and Mexican Dishes - 1905
Fifty valuable and delicious recipes made with corn meal - 1917
Heart of the Wheat - a book of recipes - 1910
Hospitality - recipes and enteertainment hints for all occasions - 1922
Hotel Management - quantity food recipes
Household hints and recipes - 1877
Ice Cream - practical recipes for making ice cream - 1886
Information for everybody - 1859
Jane Hamiltons Recipes - 1909
Just the thing - dainty dishes at small cost - 1899
Larger cookery book of extra recipes - 1891
Leather Manufacture - 1891
Light entertaining - a book of dainty recipes for special occasions - 1910
Mom's Cookbook
On Uncle Sam's Water Wagon - 500 recipes for delicious drinks that can be made at home - 1919
Our candy recipes - 1919
Practical Household Cookery - 1000 recipes - 1891
Preserves and Pickles - 1912
Recipes - dainties, salads and clever hints - 1919
Recipes for the preserving of fruit vegetables and meat - 1908
The Candy Maker's Guide - 1896
The Housekeeper's Friend - 1897
The Hygenic Cookbook - 1881
Tried and Tested Recipes - 1921
Two Hundred and Seventy Five Wartime Recipes - 1918
Two hundred recipes for cooking in casseroles - 1914
Two hundred recipes for making desserts - 1912
War Time Cookery - 1917
Wheatless Recipes - 1918
Wrinkles and Recipes, including farming and household hints - 1877

And here is a list of the recipe eBooks on the Afrikaans CD:

217 Egte Afrikaanse resepte, Aartappels, Beskuitresepte, Afrikaanse Resepteverskeidenheid, Brood resepte, Vul die beskuitblik, 'n Broodjie vir die blik, Blokkieskoek, Burgers Patties Frikadelle, Brood resepte, Drankies, Drinkgoed, Gemmerbier, Groente, Eet jou groente, Hoender resepte, Happies en Poffers, Kaaskoek, Ietsie anders resepte, Kerskoeke, Karavaan resepte, Kleinkoekies, Kinderlekkerte, Koekiedrukker resepte, Koeke, Likeur, Lekkergoed resepte, Nog resepte, McCain resepte, Moedersdag resepte
Mikrogolf resepte, Peterjasie se boek, Pastageregte, Peterjasie se Kersresepte versameling
Peterjasie se eBoek van vernoemde resepte, Poeding, Peterjasie se Tradisionele SA resepte
Resepte met biltong, Resepteverskeidenheid - ook grootmaat, Slaaie, Sommer net resepte, Sop in die pot, Sop resepte, Terte, Sous, Verskeie resepte 1, Souttert & Pannekoek, Vis en hoender, Veelsydige hoender, Vleisgeregte vir Kersdag, Verskeie resepte 2, Warm en koue drankies, Vleisresepte, Wille samies, Wafels en Pannekoeke, Wors en worsies


Annette se Boererate, Boererate en Verbruikerswenke, Hartstigting dieet, Lennons medikasie, Mate en gewigte, Sop dieet, S A Boererate eBoek, Metrieke omskakelingstabel, Werk van die huis

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Children's Stories on CD
Find it hard to get quality children’s stories? Join the popular Anna Emm Story Club in Afrikaans or English, and start adding to your child’s CD collection at an early age! Collect al 96 original stories (on 48 CDs!) over 2 years, or join for a minimum of 3 months - you decide! Receive 2 new CDs with original children’s stories every month! Anna Emm Productions has already produced more than 500 new children’s stories on CD. Click here to join . Ideal gift for children and grandchildren.

Just another reminder to join the Africam fan page on Facebook. They will be posting photos / videos and other udates and articles on the fan page from now.
join at
Also visit the Africam  website

Biltong in Australia?

It's not only the South African immigrants to Australia who are fond of biltong. More-and-more Australians are finding that biltong made with South African spices is so much tastier than the simple dried-meat product they call jerky. That's created a local market for South African spices, and an opportunity for a Brisbane-based business called Biltongspice.

Biltongspice now supplies a wide range of traditional and new spice products ideal for making biltong, jerky, droewors, boerewors and similar meat products. Their products include the Freddy Hirsch, Meister, Crown National, Aromat and Marina ranges, together with accessories such as biltong machines and biltong cutters. They also carry the top quality Protea biltong and droewors products, and ship locally throughout Australia. See their website


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