The soundtrack to my life – a kind of musical “back story”

An opening word – or three

I wrote this post as an experiment in November 2018 in response to a challenge:  pick one favourite song.  For me, that is a virtually impossible task.  I have favourites depending on my mood, what I’m hearing, the context, where I am… I delighted in rising to that challenge to which I rose.  A couple of years later, I responded to another challenge:  to write about my favourite lead singers, because when my erstwhile webhost disappeared – also in 2018 – this post went along with it.  When I “reconstituted” it in 2020, we were in the throes of a Covid lockdown.  It was a black period and I did little more than copy and paste it from the blockchain and repost it.

This time

The expriment worked – I’ll explain in a bit, but first, I’m revisiting it now for two reasons:  my blogpal, Traci, also plays in the crypto social space.  Twice a year for the last four years, she hosts Hive Blog Posting Month.   I have been a regular contributor for a while and have not just had fun, but have made new blogpals along the way.  She also offers a set of useful prompts.  I write what I like, generally, only occasionally checking in on the prompt.  One was about music that resonated.  As usual, I’m late to the party because not only did Traci’s own life soundtrack resonate with me, but it reminded me of mine and thought I should revisit it which was reinforced after reading this post from a self-proclaimed Mad Scot whose music seems to track (ha!) mine.

About this iteration

I mentioned that first reprise of this post was a copy and paste excercise.  With hindsight, I realise that I wasn’t really in a space to properly revisit it.  As I mentioned the other day, lockdown was a difficult time.  I – like the rest of the world – seemed to have been just marking time and going through the motions.  This time, I’m looking at my sound track with new eyes and listening with a clearer ear.

I am as interested as you (I hope) are, to see how things have changed or unravelled….


I wrote this in the third person:  it’s the first piece I ever wrote about myself using that technique.  I tried, and I think, succeeded in weaving my life story out of song and album titles.  I do use a little artistic license.  It was fun and, I’m told, makes a good read.  I hope it stands the test of time.


With her parents, she arrived On a Jet Plane (John Denver) in Johannesburg, South Africa – a little Puppet on a String (Sandie Shaw).  With a Locomotive Breath (Jethro Tull), the family took a train to Port Elizabeth (and got locked in a lavatory.  There, she made friends with Jennifer Eccles (The Hollies) and another Jennifer, Juniper (Donovan), but didn’t find Atlantis (Donovan).

The house my parents built in East London 1968. Originally, it consisted of the gable, and the chimney and the two windows to the left. This photo was taken in 2010.

After a while, the family moved to East London where she started school and met Pretty Belinda (Chris Andrews) whom, full of Sorrow (David Bowie) she left behind, when the family moved.  Again.  At the new school, she was Only the Lonely (Roy Orbison), and just had to Get Down (Gilbert O’Sullivan), and face her Waterloo (Abba), until she headed to boarding school.

So you think your schooling is phony….

Hostel dance – 1976 – only just a teenager

Boarding school was all about putting Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd) and avoiding the Bad Moon Rising (Credence Clearwater Revival).  ZX Dan (The Radio Rats) kept her company while she yearned for an African Sky Blue (Juluka).

In those teenage years, she was a bit like Sandra Dee (Olivia Newton John) looking for Someone to Love (Queen).

Then, like Greased Lightening (John Travolta), her Rhinestone Cowboy (Glen Campbell) rode in, but he had a Heart of Glass (Blondie), leaving her with The Sounds of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel) in the Purple Rain (Prince).

Asking, I want to know what love is? (Foreigner), she finished school and the Wild Thing (The Trogs), Like a Virgin (Madonna) headed to university.

There she found herself in the Eye of the Tiger (Survivor), saying, Papa don’t Preach (Madonna).

On the beach…

What a Feeling (Irene Cara), those years of Ebony and Ivory (Stevie Wonder) when, with a lot of De Do Do Do De Da Da Da (Police), Time after Time, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper), it was a Never Ending Story (Limahl).

Days of “study” and fun at university

Following her heart, Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, in someone else’s (Silver Dream Machine), she nearly ended up as a Crash Test Dummy(s).  That episode did end up with her Making Love out of Nothing at all (Air Supply), and singing the Redemption Song (Bob Marley).

(Wo)Men at Work

Working 8 – 5 (Sheena Easton/Dolly Parton – take your pick)

The Long and Winding Road (The Beetles) led to Johannesburg – Starting Over (John Lennon) which ended with Love on the Rocks (Neil Diamond), making her Brown Eyes Blue (Linda Ronstadt).

It was also time to start working Eight Days’ a Week (Beetles), joining the Men at Work (Down Under).  So, Here comes Tomorrow (The Dealians).  In Sugarman‘s (Rodriguez) company, her Last Dance (Diana Ross) took her to Meadowlands (Strike Vilakazi) where she did the Pata Pata (Miriam Makeba) and pleaded, Give me Hope, Joanna (Eddie Grant).

The odd Weekend Special (Brenda Fassie) didn’t go amiss, either.

After a while, it was time to Beat It (Michael Jackson), take the Paradise Road (Joy) and Go West (Pet Shop Boys).  Not the best decision because Another one Bit(es) the Dust (Queen) because of a Careless Whisper (George Michael) – Tainted Love (Soft Cell).  Again (Doris Day). This time, Weeping (Bright Blue), she headed to Mannenberg (Abdullah Ebrahim/Dollar Brand) and found That Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen) that was Simply the Best (Tina Turner).

Love over Gold

It felt like Another Country (Mango Groove) in a Mad World (Tears for Fears) where Love is a Stranger (Eurythmics).

She Put(tin’ )on the Ritz (Taco), and began another Walk of Life (Dire Straits).  It was totally Perfect (Fairground Attraction), for which there could be no Substitute (Clout) and best of all, in a Funky Town (Pseudo Echo) that would keep her Forever Young (Rod Steward and Alphaville).

That Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler) didn’t last.  He was a Karma Chameleon (Boy George).  It was time to go Out there on My Own (Irene Cara), and with London Calling (The Clash), she headed for Barcelona (Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé).  From then on, Believe(ing – Cher), it was going to be all Livin’ la Vida Loca (Ricky Martin).

It was More than a Feeling (Boston).

It was definitely The End of the Road (Boyz II Men).  She told him Don’t Bring me Down (ELO) and Jump (Van Halen).  She took The Long Way Home (Supertramp) after what felt like The Crime of the Century (Supertramp).  No such thing as Love over Gold (Dire Straits).

Against All Odds

The Husband and I, exchanging vows – 2002

Then, My Oh My (Van Halen), completely unexpectedly, at the end of a long Telegraph Road (Dire Straits) she found A Groovy Kind of Love (Phil Collins) that was full of Honesty (Billy Joel) that had her Dancing on the Ceiling (Lionel Ritchie).  Jabulani (PJ Powers) – happiness was the word.  She had found her Charlie (Rabbit) and he wasn’t a Man on the Moon (Ballyhoo).  He did want to Kiss her all Over (Exile) on a Bed of Roses (Bon Jovi).


Firstly, did you pick up the group, album, song title or lines from songs in the section headings?  If you didn’t this is each of them – in order:  Arrival – Abba; So you think your schooling is phony….is a line from Supertramp’s Crime of the Century (song and album); Men at Work – the band from Australia and, finally, Dire Straits’ Love Over Gold song and album. And finally, that iconic Phil Collins song, Against All Odds…

Secondly, I did stop the story where another story began 20 years ago.  I guess I might have to consider doing another post about the last two decades…

Finally, as I said, I was hard pressed (notice the joke, those of you who remember vinyl) to choose just one.  I have favourites that apply at different times and others that I hated and now love.  I thought that in my revision, I might change things.  I haven’t.  I have added more, and not just in the headings which I did with version two….

There are songs missing from this list and which I’d love to have included, like Johnny Clegg’s Asimbonanga (We have not seen him [Mandela]), but I really couldn’t work it in, but couldn’t leave it out, either.  It is up there with another evocative song from my youth, Bright Blue’s Weeping.  Both are iconic songs of the struggle against Apartheid.

However, I have saved my absolute favourite to the end.  It comes from one of the world’s greatest guitarists and whose music underpins virtually every stage of my life – from my teens, and until now.  Why this song?  I have no idea, but it resonated for me the first time I heard it in the summer of 1980.  At the time, I did not know that it was Santana, or the name of the tune – it’s instrumental.  It haunted me for years, and one of the first records I ever bought, was the Santana album that included this song.  I now have it on CD – the same album – along with a number of other Santana albums that are all precious and special for different reasons.  One of the memories and experiences I shall treasure forever, was seeing Santana live in South Africa – I had waited nearly 40 years.  It was worth the wait and every penny.  Especially when he played this.

If Santana visits South Africa again, I’ll move heaven and earth – again – to go.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post script

I am participating in @traciyork‘s twice-yearly Hive Blog Posting Month.

If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:

  • re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I am adding them in a file format that you can download and print. If you download recipes, buy me a coffee. Or better yet, a glass of wine….?
  • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts.

I blog to the Hive blockchain using a number of decentralised applications.

  • From WordPress, I use the Exxp WordPress plugin. If this rocks your socks, click here or on on the image below to sign up.

  • Join Hive using this link and then join us in the Silver Bloggers’ community by clicking on the logo.
Original artwork: @artywink
  • lastly, graphics are created using partly my own photographs and Canva.

Grandparents, guides and mentors

I only ever knew one grandparent. It’s a partly a function of the era in which I grew up and partly because we literally lived continents apart.

John and Mary Cameron, late 1950s or early 1960s

These are my Scottish grandparents. My father’s father, John Cameron, died before I was born. How long before? I haven’t a clue. Were my parents married at the time? I don’t know. Wee Granny, as we called her, because, I am told, she was a little lady, I met as an infant. I was baptised out of her home in Glasgow. I remember being told that she visited us in Bridlington in Yorkshire, after my sister was born.

Glasgow calling

I don’t remember a letter or Christmas card from her, but there will have been. I do have a vague memory of the telephone ringing – because in those days they did ring, and loudly, in an echoe-y hallway – in the wee hours of the night, and voices. It would have been around 1972. Midnight telephone calls – actually, calls after 8pm – were never good news.

At breakfast the following morning, Mum said, and before Dad got to the table – he always joined last – “Wee Granny died yesterday.”

“It” was never discussed although Wee Granny did get mentioned in conversation and reminiscences from time to time often.

The one I remember

Big Granny, on the other hand, so nicknamed because she was tall, I do remember.  As a six year old, I remember an elegant and regal woman who smelled of talcum powder. She smoked cigarettes using a long, black holder.

Delia Stockford (nee Carrol), 1920-something

Big Granny was born in 1900, so we always knew her age.

Grandpa Stockford and his four daughters circa 1933.

Grandpa Stockford was killed in a shooting incident in a shooting range before the Second World War.  Not long after that, all four children went down with Diphtheria.  The youngest did not survive.

Big Granny, 1937

Big Granny came to South Africa once. For three months, I think. It was from late 1969 and into 1970. My clearest memories of that time is of Mum taking her a daily breakfast tray of black tea and toast. Which she only ever ate with butter.  Plain toast and butter always make me think of her.  Granny used to write me the odd letter when I was at boarding school. One I distinctly remember:  she wrote to me about a beech tree in Kew, and which my father talked about, which had split down the middle and died. There was a drought in England.

I have also never forgotten the beech leaf pendant – a real leaf, dipped in gold, I think – which she always wore. Every day. I often wonder what happened to it. I thought  It was beautiful.

After another midnight telephone phone call, Mum went to England in late 1979 because the end was nigh. It was the first time mother and daughter would see each other since that visit nine years before.  It was also the first time Granny and her remaining daughters were under the same roof since the 1950s. And the last. She died in early 1980. She was 79 and I, just shy of 17.

Four more Grannies and Grandpas

Because my parents had emigrated, we had no extended family in Grahamstown where they eventually settled; let alone in South Africa.  With two children under 18, there were two couples in their friendship circle who became surrogate grannies and grandpas.  We were happily adopted and I have fond memories of Uncle Richie baking bread (my first memory of bread baking – he was a baker), and Auntie Dot baking the most amazing Madeira cake.  The baker didn’t approve of all his wife’s baking methods, and it was often a source of much mirth.

Uncle Richie wasn’t around for my 21st birthday celebration, but Auntie Doris was.  My cake was a Madeira.  Her gift to me.  At my request.

Auntie Doris, Mum and I at my 21st garden party

Also at my 21st birthday party was the couple who, had something happened to my parents before I reached that milestone, would have been my legal guardians.  They were fellow Scots and my father and Uncle Jock had much in common.  I remember Auntie Ella as the gentlest, sweetest soul I have ever met.  She had wonderful rings which I constantly admired.  With hindsight, I think she had always wanted a daughter.  They had had only one child – a son.  Auntie Ella, thanks to rheumatic fever, had a bad heart so one child was a miracle.

Auntie Ella and Uncle Jock at my 21st birthday garden party. That’s my dad lurking behind my right shoulder.

She allowed me to play with her hair.  Something my mother never permitted.  Ella’s hair was naturally wavy, and when I started playing with her hair, was developing a white wing above the widow’s peak on her forehead.  When she died, in 1991, she left me the garnet gypsy ring I had admired most.  The Husband who, sadly met neither of them, chose it as his wedding ring.  Our home has a number of special things that came from their home and which help them to stay in my head and heart.

Party people

All four of those people loved a party.  They loved dancing.  Ella couldn’t but she played a mean piano and Jock drummed – on a cake tin with knitting needles if there wasn’t a drum available.  They shamed my parents on to the dance floor for years.  Both Auntie Ella and Auntie Doris gave this pre-teen more than one dancing lesson.  They taught me the twist and the jive – pointing one’s toe, and wiggling the hips…  Somewhere, there is was a photograph of this eleven year old dancing with Uncle Jock at a wedding.  It’s still in my mind’s eye, my lemon yellow, large polka dot, long frock and my hair in pigtails and ribbons…

The mentors and friends

There are two people who shaped my thinking and, at different times, offered guidance, support and friendship that had a profound effect on my life.  One, a former teacher who, like my mother, was called Ursula.  She was my Standard 8 (year 10 teacher), and it was she who instilled in me my love of geography.  When I returned, reluctantly, to do teaching practice at my old school, she took me under her wing.  That I went on to get a distinction for one of those practical observations and a project in which I re-engineered the apartheid human geography school curriculum, is in large part, her “fault”.

Standard 8, Clarendon High School with Ursula van Harmelen. I am sitting third from the right. It was 1978.

I moved on and learned that she had turned to teaching teachers at my almer mater.  We reconnected when my mother died:  I’d literally run to the sanctuary of Ursula’s down to earth and irreverent and comforting home and person.  I became a regular visitor when I had occasion to be at Rhodes University for work.  I got to know her sister and now that Ursula is no longer with us, Mary and I (and I know some of Urs’s other former pupils) stay in touch. Yes, the Mary of the flatbreads.

Then there was Bill.  Larger than life and who supported and mentored me as I became involved in community work and consulting.  After he died, I paid tribute to him here.  I could not do him justice here.

Last word: This was in part inspired by this contest.  I suspect that because, as usual, I’ve deviated from the rules, this is not an eligible entry.  That said, and as I always say, I don’t participate to win but rather because the topic makes me think.  This one did.  Thank you @galenkp.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post script
If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:

  • re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I am adding them in a file format that you can download and print. If you download recipes, buy me a coffee. Or better yet, a glass of wine….?
  • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts.

I blog to the Hive blockchain using a number of decentralised appplications.

  • From WordPress, I use the Exxp WordPress plugin. If this rocks your socks, click here or on on the image below to sign up.


  • Join Hive using this link and then join us in the Silver Bloggers’ community by clicking on the logo.

Original artwork: @artywink

  • I also share my occasional Instagram posts to the crypto blockchain using the new, and really nifty phone app, Dapplr. On your phone, click here or on the icon, and give it a go.

Embracing Silver, Gold and Onyx

I have been blogging since February 2014. That’s more than seven years, I now realise. It’s been an interesting journey that began, just focusing on food and recipes. Because of a chance remark on Facebook. It was not without trepidation that I registered on WordPress; it was at least a week, if not more, before my first post. Like with most first attempts, that’s a post best not revisited.


I have learned much, including about writing and taking pictures. That writing, when I’m into it, comes easily. I enjoy it and it can also be cathartic. I always knew the latter, but never felt confident enough to share it. That’s changing….

On the pictures, I’ve learned some techniques developed a lens. I’ve learned how to neaten and, to some extent, pretty up my photographs. I’ve learned that nothing is not a subject.

Something that, incidentally, applies to writing, too.

Grills on a window. Bespoke and beautiful.

Virtual communities

The pandemic, and the now ubiquitous existence, for many, of a life largely online, means that the concept of a virtual community is not entirely new. Anymore. I learned, back in 2014 that the blogosphere (as I learned to call it) is a microcosm of the world. It was a shock: I discovered trolls and bullies and which lead me to write my first piece about things other than food and fluff. I naively believed that all bloggers were nice people and had the interests of their peers at heart. That baptism of fire, if you will, and my own real life experience of bullying (about which I may still write), shaped my approach to the virtual world. It still does.

A fork* in the road

About four years ago, I joined a social blockchain and started crypto blogging.

*Yes, for my die hard blockchain readers, that pun was most definitely intended…

A social blockchain? Crypto blogging? What?

I’m so glad you asked!

It took me a while – like about a year – to work out what it is. I joined and fled for a while. Partly because I wasn’t in the “headspace” to make new friends, especially a new and foreign virtual space, let alone learning how to do basic mark down (coding). I was not in writing mode, either. Yes, writer’s block is a thing. Even if there is an endless supply of material.

Firstly, the social blockchain on which I play, is Hive. Secondly, because it’s a blockchain, you never lose your content, so you stake your claim to your intellectual property in perpetuity. It also means one thinks before one posts. Or should.

Thirdly, it has an underlying currency or token that can be bought, sold and, in my case, earned; hold it on the blockchain, cash it out or do a combination of all of these. I don’t even pretend to understand more than the principles, so you’ll find a more authoritative explanation here. For someone who doesn’t have any spare money lying around to invest in what many suggest is a dodgy world, I had nothing to lose, continuing to blog on this type of platform.

Hive, some in this new world space, suggest, is innovative and a disrupter.

Another driver behind my blogging

There’s another reason why I broadened my blogging purveiw. In addition to sharing recipes, and along with discovering that I enjoyed writing, it made sense to “monetise” it and potentially extend my capacity to earn. That is actually a very difficult thing to do. One needs to have both (a) voice(s) and a portfolio; one has to sell one’s self. Hard. Best of all, is finding one’s self in the right place at the right time. That last doesn’t happen often, so given the opportunity to build a portfolio, earn from writing what I like, without too much of the “sell”, and build a little nest egg was a no-brainer.

So how can one earn on a crypto social blockchain?

This is my still lay understanding of how things work.

The first thing to remember is that every action on the blockchain is a transaction that costs. One is allocated a certain number of (resource) credits that one “spends” on activities. Some of these activities, like blogging, commenting and voting, generate rewards. Saving the rewards from those activities builds one’s stash (wallet) and one’s status (power) on the blockchain. This is a summary from an old post (on the first iteration of this blockchain) of how to earn:

Create content (posts) and/or you curate by voting and commenting on posts.

  • These transactions come at a cost and with a return:
  • one earns and is rewarded in different proportions in three ways.

The first two are liquid and can be traded on and off the blockchain via exchanges:

  • Hive token
  • Hive Based Dollars (SBD) – these two can be used to buy
  • Hive tokens
    Hive tokens left in the blockchain, are known as Hive Power which is also generated in the process. To “power Hive (and draw it) down, is in itself a process and subject to delays – rather like a call account. Part of the reasoning behind this is to build the big asset using little people investors like me.

And then there’s more –

I don’t have a cherry to put on top, so homemade Malva Pudding will have to do.

The more Hive one has, the greater the value of one’s votes (likes), and to add to the complication, that, one gets rewarded for voting, sharing (re-blogging) posts on the blockchain, and by commenting on other people’s posts.

Silver Bloggers: “my” virtual community

I mentioned communities. The name, Hive, is apt. The activity on the blockchain and between people is analogous of those most social of insects, bees. Like a beehive, it also includes chambers or (sub)communities.

Communities began emerging, well, it doesn’t really matter when, but for me, I found them a challenge.

I don’t like to be boxed and pegged. I don’t relish being told what I may or may not think. I will agree to differ and respect different views.  I am happy to be persuaded into a new way of thinking.  With my eclectic range of interests and my penchant to warble on, I had difficulty finding a niche. I dabble, dip my toes and generally blunder about. I’ve made virtual friends (real ones) and developed a following (who would have thought?).  There was no community in which I really felt “at home”.

It’s only in the last while, and since fellow South African, Lizelle, started a community that I’ve begun to feel more comfortable. Part of this is because of the interesting, international and eclectic bunch of people who subscribe. We are all over 40 (and most with a lot of tax, too), so we’ve been round a block (or five). It seems to be a kinder and more embracing space than some that I have encountered. I think it’s because life has knocked us all around a bit. The rough edges are softer – mostly. I speak for myself.

Embracing change, innovation and the inevitable

The folk in the Silver Bloggers community, like most of the world, are encountering change all the time. Many of us are at the cusp of significant life changes and approaching what some like to refer to as our autumn years. Whether we accept that or not, is neither here nor there, it’s often foisted upon us.

We’re not digital natives.

I like to think that our capacity for embracing crypto blogging on a social blockchain shows that those of us who grew up with actual telephones and lived (and mostly still do) without smart technology, prove that age is merely a number; silver hair is just genetics – or like blonde often is – from a bottle.

Speaking for myself

My future does not include retirement, not being busy and not earning.  Besides the fact that not earning, right now, is not a choice, I enjoy what I do.  Mostly.  How I long, with thirty years’ life experience to “do” the twenty-somethings again.  My head and my heart are willing.  The rest, including the twenty-somethings, not so much.


The silver (gold and onyx) I embrace, are less about the changing colour of my hair than of the felines that rule our home.  Starting with silver: Gandalf the Grey who likes to think he owns me.

Gandalf has a shoe fetish

Gandalf regularly embraces me and his foot and shoe fetish.  Ahem…

Rambo the golden ginger

The golden ginger:  I have yet to physically cuddle Rambo, the ranging and still sort-of-feral tom cat that six months later, is embracing domesticity with aplomb. He’s not ventured on to a lap or a bed. Yet. We suspect it’s a matter of time.

Princess Pearli – collared in 2014

Princess Pearli, the onyx and black pearl arrived in 2014. Her arrival coincides with the beginning of my blogging journey, including an early foray into humorous writing, and brings me to why I’ve warbled on.

A last few words

I admit that I have more than a passing involvement in the Silver Bloggers community:  Lizelle invited me to join the leadership team. I accepted and it is a role I am relishing and in which I continue to learn. Every two weeks we announce a topic around which we encourage folk to create content. Anything goes – even tangential. I wanted to make that point and to mention two things –

  • I tend to keep Hive business on Hive, but there comes a time that the two connect, like now, so the second thing:
  • the crypto blogging social platform is no different from other parts of the blogosphere in terms of how people engage.  I tend to think of it as a combination of WordPress (or any other blogging platform) and Facebook on steroids, without ads and a better return.


  • Depending on the crypto market, one earns something and/or builds an asset (that’s not financial advice, it’s merely part of my lived experience).
  • One gets more eyes – I have nearly a thousand followers on Hive, but fewer than 350 on WordPress – with the connected “other” social media.
  • One’s work never disappears into the ether – even if your web host does. I learned that the hard way and which is why my series about Pearli’s Pickles and other posts are no longer here.
    As an aside: I am thinking about turning those (that are on the blockchain) into a “proper” series of stories…
  • If you think you’re too old to learn coding or markdown: you’re not. I have learned a lot – by osmosis. But now, four years down the line, you don’t have to because there are other interfaces with the blockchain that make it unnecessary.

I am learning that even if others think I’m ancient, I am most definitely not too old to be part of the innovative and constantly developing world of blockchain and crypto.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post script

  • If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:
    • re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I plan to add them in a file format that you can download and print. If you download recipes, buy me a coffee. Or better yet, a glass of wine….?
    • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts.
  • I blog to the Hive blockchain using a number of decentralised appplications. From WordPress, I use the Exxp WordPress plugin. If this rocks your socks, click here or on on the image below to sign up.

Image: @traciyork
  • Join Hive using this link and then join us in the Silver Bloggers’ community by clicking on the logo.
Original artwork: @artywink
  • I also share my occasional instagram posts to the crypto blockchain using the new, and really nifty phone app, Dapplr. On your phone, click here or on the icon, and give it a go.

Those Ice Cream Days

Summer’s heading our way.  Although it doesn’t feel like it today as a galeforce wind howls around the house.  Having a foretaste of summer earlier in the week, it feels as though winter’s returned.  One of the things I really enjoy about summer is a frappé. No, not the Greek one, but the one that, on a hot summer’s day, The Husband will rush home when he returns from the weekly shop in Robertson.  If it’s not too late.  That caveat is because I have a problem with cafeine.  Strictly Coffee describes it as an iced latté, but as fond as I am of a latté, and theirs, too, the name doesn’t do them justice:  they are more like milk shakes.  Thick creamy and made with Strictly Coffee’s own roasted beans.

First Ice Cream Memories

My first memories of ice cream go back to when I must have been about five.  We lived in a flat (apartment) on the Quigney in East London, South Africa.  In summers, and on a Sunday, my parents would pack us in the old (well she wasn’t then) Anglia, and head out to Buffalo Pass.  We’d spend the day in the sun, under trees wearing little more than a pair of shorts.  One of the things I remember (don’t ask me why), was that I had a little red Matchbox bus.


My bus did things buses of that vintage and design were never intended to do.  It traversed dust roads, man Fiona-made mountains and branched up and down trees.  By the time we headed home in the late afternoon, the bus was covered in dust.  As was the child.  It became a ritual to stop at The Friesland on the way home.


The Friesland Milkbar is now an East London institution and even then, was known to produce the best ice cream on the planet.  My mother always had rum and raisin.  I think I had cholcolate.

So added to the the dust and grime, were the sticky dribbles of ice cream.  Once we got home, the children were dunked, clothes and all, into a bath of bubbles from – I kid you not – Softly washing powder.  My mother reserved it for her “unmentionables”, woolies and children.

Back to the Friesland for a minute:  long time friends who return to East London – even more than fifty years later – make the not negotiable pilgrimage for ice cream.

Still in East London and then in Grahamstown

When we didn’t head out for the day, we’d be at home and the parents would have an afternoon zizz.  With hindsight, it was probably a necessary nap after a Saturday night.  I am never been one for an afternoon kip, so I never understood my father’s fury when the ice cream cart came calling.  I can still hear him:

If the ice cream man rings that bell once more, I’ll wrap that bell around his neck…

Or words to that effect.

I have no real memories of buying anything from one of those carts in East London, although I do remember doing it – quite often – after we moved to Grahamstown.  My favourite was a mint ice cream dipped in chocolate on a wooden stick.  I remember sucking the minty, creamy liquid through the hard chocolate crust which melted far too quickly.

The modern iteration of my favourite ice cream from fifty years ago Source

I remember doing this when the cart stopped at the end of the drive way and I was able to persuade my mother to part with 12c.


Ice Cream and Dad

Two of my fondest childhood memories of my father was not long after we moved to Grahamstown.  Both were on Saturday afternoons and are associated with ice cream.  The more frequent, and occasionally with Mum was at a little café in the High Street which sold soft serve ice cream.  One could have plain (vanilla), strawberry or chocolate or a mixture of the two.  It didn’t take me long to realise that plain was best, but better when wound around a Flake and dipped in chocolate.  That didn’t happen often.  Still doesn’t.  The second was also a little café, most definitely not in the High Street, but across the way from one of the two town cinemas.  The Olympia Café made its own ice cream.  It was served in cones and in balls on which one had one (for the children) or two (for the grown ups) scoops.  I still remember how creamy it was.  It had a unique flavour, and as I think about it, it was probably a slightly caremelised vanilla.  My mouth waters at the memory.

Grown up Ice Cream

I rarely now have ice cream, and when I do, it’s as a dessert and often shared.  Three are memorable.  The first because it was decadent, enormous and well, just completely and unexpectedly over the top.  The Husband and I were on holiday in our favourite seaside spot and decided to have dessert.  The house special was recommended.  I cannot tell you anything about the rest of the meal because it was forever eclipsed by what landed on our table.

It was served on a dinner plate.  It was a pavlova of fresh cream, ice cream, fresh strawberries and lots of red sweet stuff drizzled liberally over it.  It would have served ten let alone two.  It was delicious.  We did our best.  Did we finish it? I have no idea.

The second and equally memorable is the honeycome icecream we often shared at a little restaurant in McGregor started by folk who are now friends.  It is not overly sweet and a shared bowl is the perfect end to a meal.  I remember one cold winter’s evening, after a leisurely meal in front of their fire.  We were the last in that part of the establishment and they were tidying up.

Stay, relax.

Can I bring you?

There we sat, with our chairs pulled up to the fire, my feet on the The Husband’s knees, sharing a bowl of icecream, whiling the rest of the evening away.

It’s no wonder we moved to McGregor.

If I have to choose



Regular readers know that I occasionally participate in a contest that has us choosing our three best, worst or something things.  I wasn’t sure I was going to, this month, but reading other entries got me thinking.  Then, it’s also the penultimate month that it will run.  The team is taking a well-deserved break.

Thank you

Before getting to my choices, thank you to the team of @nickyhavey, @plantstoplanks, @chees4ead and @foxyspirit.  Hats-off to a group of people who have been consistent and dedicated to running (very smoothly) a contest that, if one delves into it, is complicated.  Necessary to keep things fair and above board.  They’ve done all of that with aplomb.

Q will be missed and I hope he returns, well rested, at some point.

Top 3

Now, I’m grown up, and if I occasionally must include ice cream in the grocery shop, it will either be vanilla or blueberry.  And if Kurt and Andre have their honeycomb ice cream on offer, it will always be gratefully accepted.

Feature image

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

I am doing my best to post every day for November as part of @traciyork’s twice yearly #HiveBloPoMo challenge. This is my third attempt. All my posts are to the the Hive blockchain, but not all from WordPress.  Details about the challenge (on the blockchain) are here and on WordPress, here.

Looking for that gift for someone who has everything? Shop with Pearli in my evolving Redbubble shop

And then there’s more:

  • If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:
    • re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I plan to add them in a file format that you can download and print. If you download recipes, buy me a coffee. Or better yet, a glass of wine….?
    • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts because of this.
  • If you’re interested in a soft entry into the world of crypto currency and monetising WordPress blog, use the fantastic plugin to post directly to the Hive blockchain. Click on the image below to sign up –

Image: @traciyork

  • I also share my occasional instagram posts to the crypto blockchain using the new, and really nifty phone app, Dapplr. On your phone, click the icon below, and give it a go.

In yet another aspect of my life –

English writing, research and online tutoring services
writing – emails and reports, academic and white papers
formal grammar, spelling and punctuation
more information here

Taking the Lead

This month’s theme for the monthly top 3 contest on the Hive crypto-blogging blockchain was one that the team just must have known I couldn’t pass up.  I started thinking about my selection the instant the post appeared on 1 July.

I “compete” for fun

I’m getting a little ahead of myself:  I always say that I don’t “do” these compteitions to win, and I don’t, so imagine my surprise after last month’s contest, and I see this in the post announcing the winners.  With this list.

Thank you for asking:  yes, I did win a little prize – in crypto currency – which just popped into my wallet.  Thank you to the @yourtop3 team that rewards rambling tenacity!!

Note to self:  sometimes it pays off to work hard at just having a bit of fun!

Picking a winning lead

As I’ve already said, this is a hard task for me.  I ended Sunday, when I really began working on this, with a list of 14. Then that got derailed by posts from a couple of blogpals like this one and then this one and this one….

I had a series of criteria worked out:  the voice, the looks, the sheer talent, and then because I’m a patriot of note, my best South African lead singers.  Anyhow, I am in a busy patch and I’m not going to bore run you through a history of where, when, what and whom, but I will share some of my favourites.  Of course. Not.

The Voice

One of the most distinctive voices I’ve ever heard is Darius Rucker from Hootie & the Blowfish. That dinctive gravel just does it for me every time I hear it and I stop and listen.  And yes it takes me back to the 80’s….

Then there’s Heather Small from the M-People.  There is a depth and timbre to her voice that is recogniseable anywhere.  From having heard her being interviewed when she was in South Africa, she seems like a downright nice and good person, too.

I love this song and its has a universal message as apposite today as it was in 1994.

My next serious contender is Stevie Nicks.  She was part of the lineup of Fleetwood Mac in their heyday – a band that’s featured in other entries this month.  She, though, has a voice that is so versatile and distinctive.  There are a few songs from the Rumours album that just nobody can do.  Like this one.

One of my favourites in between albums, is this duet with Tom Petty. Here it is, just because I can and because it takes me back to about 1982….

The looks

My final voice just has to go to Jim Morrison from The Doors. He also fits into the categories of gorgeous and talented.  Like so many in the talented category, tortured and wasted.  Sad.

This is another song which, in this time of Covid really resonates.  But that’s another story.  Perhaps for another time.

Still in the gorgeous, talented and voice category must be Jon Bon Jovi.  This song has resonance (I’m saying that a lot…) for me because it came out after my mother had died and my father was dying.  It was an anthem then.  It should be an anthem for everyone.  For ever.

I defy anyone not to dance to this.  I still do.  Whenever I hear it.

Talent and viruosity

Anyone who knows me, and who  has followed my blog will know that I will never ignore Freddie Mercury.  I shan’t repeat what I’ve said before.  Although Jazz is often remembered for Fat Bottomed Girls and Bicycle Race, this Brian May-penned song, perfectly showcases Mercury’s beautiful voice and maginficent range.

I could go on – there are so many more, but I’m running out of your attention time, so let me come home.

South African songbirds

We have great music talent in South Africa, one of whom I celebrated and lamented here.  However,  today, I’m selecting three great women.

PJ Powers

PJ’s music career and my life have kind of run in parallel.  Known also as Thandeka and best known internationally for her rendition of The World in Union for the 1995 Rugby World Cup, she’s risen above well, let’s just say, she’s done more than pull herself up by her bootstraps.  My first memory of seeing her live was in 1986 in the Underground – which really was – at the Chelsea Hotel in Hilbrow, Johannesburg.  We danced until the wee hours.  We and she were the last people staggering standing.

More recently, I’ve seen her perform in Cape Town.  When I asked her to sign the CD we bought, I mentioned this and she said:  “I saw you – in the front row – you knew ever word!”  I did.  I do.  Just a few months ago in an intimate venue here in McGregor.  I did.  I will.  Sing.  Every. Word. Again.

This is one of her signature songs.  Jabulani means “happy”.  It is also the name a stadium in Soweto where she and Hotline – the band with which she sang – performed in the 1980s. At the time, it was illegal for people of race to share a stage.  And for white folk to be in a black township.  Some of my happiest memories – ever – are of my times, dancing in Soweto in the mid-1980s.

Also from around the same time, is Mango Groove.  Their posters adorned every underpass the bus traversed on my way to and from work in the centre of Johannesburg.  Claire Johnston who has also visited, but not performed in, McGregor, has the voice of an angel.  I love the early work which is vibey, afro-fusion and just fun.  It really is get-up-and-dance music.  You just have to.  It still does it for me so many years later.

This song is just has so many levels to it.  It came out as South Africa was heading towards her first democratic elections.  A time of such hope and happiness.  Here, she sings with my final South African songbird, Zolane Mahola.

Mahola not only has a beautiful voice, but she’s multi talented and hails from my home province of the Eastern Cape.  She’s the lead singer of the Afro fusion band, Freshlyground that is a miscellany of so many talented musicians whose music has also punctuated my life.  We first saw them perform at Kirstenbosh Gardens before they hit the big time.  This song hadn’t even been released when they played that concert, but Mahola sang it that day and it’s haunted me ever since.

My current favourite top 3 lead singers

As I write, I’m still  hard pressed to choose just three.  There are so many others that I’ve not included:  Diana Ross and her liquid silver voice.  The lead singers from REM and Simple Minds whose names escape me….

So, just for Q:

My current top 3, and it’ll probably change tomorrow:

Freddie Mercury, Stevie Nicks and…Jim Morrison


Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma


Post Script

In yet another aspect of my life, I offer

English writing and online tutoring services

every day conversation and formal presentations
writing – emails and reports, academic and white papers
formal grammar, spelling and punctuation
more information here

And then there’s more:

  • If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:
    • re-vamping old recipes.  As I do this, I plan to add them in a file format that you can download and print.  If you download recipes, buy me a ko-fi?
    • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts because of this.
  • If you’re interested in a soft entry into the world of crypto currency and monetising WordPress blog, use the fantastic Steempress plugin to post directly to the Hive blockchain.  Click on the image below to sign up
  • I also share the occasional post on Medium.

If I were to choose…

I participate, from time to time, in the odd blog challenge.  Just because.  There’s a particular one to which I’m quite partial.  Not because I’ve ever won, but because it gets me thinking.  About things.  All sorts of things.  It’s run by an international bunch of guys and gals hailing from the UK, US and Canada.  When I read the entries, one of the things that strikes me is how often there are things that unite the world.  More often than there are things that divide us.

The monthly Your Top 3 has shown, for example, that no matter who you are, or where you live, food is the epitome of comfort.  Often defined by our own experiences and cultures, food is sustenance for the soul.  Now, though, the world is in a very peculiar place and we’re all united in one major concern:  Covid-19.  Many of us have been confined to our homes and estranged from family and loved ones.  Birthdays have passed with virtual celebrations.  I speak for myself when I say, that as we approach being locked in for 50 days, it’s beginning to tell.  The news is never good;  the more the scientists know, the less they know and, frankly, the less I want to know.

A welcome diversion

So, to have something entirely different to contemplate is a welcome diversion.   Not that I participate every month.  I don’t.  This month’s contest made me think, though.

It’s no secret that I’m a great lover of books.  I love books and have a hard time parting with them. Frankly, and I’ve also often said so, I’d rather read the book than see the movie.  This month’s contest is about DVD/TV box sets.  A foreign concept in our house.  Partly because we don’t spend a lot of time in front of the box screen other than in the evenings around/after supper.


If I were to choose three must-have sets, what would they be, and why?

My first two choices are based on my penchant for thrillers and crime.  As well as cooking.  Of course.

Thrilling crime

On thinking about which of these to choose, I was hard pressed between three:

NCIS – the original one.  I still have a school girl crush on Mark Harmon.  A hangover from the days when he was in 240 Robert.


On a similar, but different vein is CSI.  I also prefer the first in the franchise.  I enjoyed not only that each episode stood alone, but that the characters and the relationships developed as the series progressed.  As they do in NCIs.  However, when I really thought about it, there really was only one choice.

The Blacklist

The  Blacklist ticks every box:  complex characters, good acting, even more complex plots filled with intrigue and thrilling suspense.  Reddington is so awful as to be likeable at times.  Liz Keen’s character has developed and become complex and contradictory over the seasons.  She, too, invokes mixed emotions.  Then there’s Ressler’s insanity countered by the good, solid Dembe whose touchstone role, in my opinion, is underrated.

Oh, and there are two other reasons that The Blacklist really does do it for me:  firstly, there is often a hint of international and political intrigue.  Secondly, the plot hovers  – only just – on the bounds of reality.

Or does it?

Getting down and dirty in the kitchen

I quite like watching cooking programmes.  I have to admit that I’ve not seen many lately that have really piqued my interest.  Thinking about it, and looking at my bookshelf, I should be choosing Ed Baines.

I have watched him on TV and follow him on Instagram. I actually met him at the Cape Town Food and Wine show where he also cooked with some of “our” products.  But sorry, loyalty and having clapped eyes on the man, are just not quite enough.

I guess if I were also basing my choice on what’s in my bookshelf, and chefs I’ve met, I should be choosing Jenny Morris.  I have two of her books – I draw on them often.  Especially for Sunday Suppers and when I entertain.  And in the days that email newsletters were a “thing”, I had a subscription to hers.  She (or her son) would send out the recipes she’d discuss on a local radio show.  Jenny Morris lives up to her Giggling Gourmet moniker.  She’s warm and lovely, and when I mentioned that I had two of her books, she impulsively planted a kiss on my cheek!

However, my choice must go to the first ever cooking show that I really watched.

The Naked Chef

It wasn’t so much about Jamie Oliver.  It couldn’t have been because nobody knew who he was.  Then.  I don’t know how I fell over him because the show was on a Sunday afternoon and, in those days, I was often up to my elbows in the garden.  Then, as now, we rarely had the TV on during the day, so it really is a mystery.

‘E was still a young fing just frowing things t’gever in the kitchen.

I liked that.  The food was simple, as was the approach.  He cooked food to share.  I like that, too.  Oh, and I particularly like that he knows the members of Jamiroquai.

This was one of my songs at the time….’twas the year The Husband and I married…




My go-to roast chicken recipe is based on one of these episodes – nearly 20 years ago. On Sunday afternoons, I’d drop the spade or trowel and plonk on the sofa – note book and pen in hand and … The notes, not always legible have made their way into dishes that have become regulars on our menu.  And on my blog.  My summer watermelon salad, about which folk rave, is one of these recipes.

I guess the series could be quite dated now.  Still, though, I’d make a point of watching The Naked Chef again and again.

And finally

If you thought I was taking rather far you down memory lane, I’m not stopping at 2002.

I used to be an unashamed SciFi series fan.  I loved Star Trek.  And when I was at home, would watch it with my dad.  From Kirk to Picard, and everything in between.  I now realise that my father must have been a fan from the days when we still lived in England.  My mother loathed the programme, so he and I would watch it.  She’d retreat to the kitchen.  I admit, though, that I’m not a fan of modern SciFi.  It seems to be a mishmash of modern fantasy, and I can’t really get beyond Dune.

When I thought about a series I’d binge-watched (not that it was a thing, then), the series that came to mind was V: Mankind’s Last StandThe original 1983 series.

It would have been 1987, and I was sharing a house.  In those days one could hire a video player – not just videos – for a weekend.  How we ended up hiring this series, I’m damned if I can remember.  I do remember, though, that it’s the only time I’ve ever spent an entire weekend just watching videos and just one series.  That’s all we did.  Other than go to the video shop for the next tape.

With hindsight, and thinking about the themes of repression, oppression and restriction, it’s not surprising it resonated for me.  The mid-to late eighties were the height of the struggle years in South Africa.  These themes simply reflect the times we lived in, and some of the things we encountered every day.  It was never on television.  It does occur to me that had the South African censors understood symbolism and/or allegory, this series would never have reached the video shops in South Africa.

As an aside (but not really):

Prior to 1994, laws restricting freedom of speech and association were so zealously enforced that films that included mixed race and same sex relationships were banned. Unsurprisingly, the epic film  Cry Freedom about Steve Biko was banned.  As were Hair and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I admit that I didn’t watch the more recent remake of the series.  I would, however, watch the original V – for all the reasons I’ve mentioned – as well as for the then rather delicious Marc Singer.  In closing, I also wonder if choosing this series is not, to some extent, influenced by the potential ramifications of the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma


Post Script

In yet another aspect of my life, I offer

online English tutoring services

every day conversation and formal presentations
writing – emails and reports, academic and white papers
formal grammar, spelling and punctuation
more information here

And then there’s more:

  • If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:
    • re-vamping old recipes.  As I do this, I plan to add them in a file format that you can download and print.  If you download recipes, buy me a ko-fi?
    • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts because of this.
  • If you’re interested in a soft entry into the world of crypto currency and monetising WordPress blog, use the fantastic Steempress plugin to post directly to the Hive blockchain.  Click on the image below to sign up
  • I’m still blogging on Steem and more recently share my burbling on Uptrennd and with the occasional post on Medium.


Lockdown survivors’ guide

In the last two weeks I have written two long and very serious pieces about how people and the world are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. I will write another – to keep a promise. The first was ahead of the lock down.

Half way there?

South Africa is halfway through the period initially set for the country’s lock down. It’s not impossible that we might be forced to stay at home for longer than the 21 days that take us to just after Easter.

Last week, I reflected on how learning to live alone (again) and working from home can be applied to an enforced stay at home.

Ahead of our shutdown and all over the world, it seems, people’s brains fell out of their heads. I know mine did. I went shopping to discover no chicken to be had and when I got home, I added another packet of cornflour to the two (!) already there, among other crazy things…



Anyhow, as I said, we’re half way through our compulsory stay at home and the weather’s turning.

It occurred to me, now that we’re settling into a rhythm, to follow-up to my survivor’s guide to load shedding with a kinda, only half, tongue-in-cheek survivor’s guide to an enforced stay at home.

Fiona’s lock down survival guide

  • Pray the Internet never goes down.
  • Save toilet paper.
  • Ration the wine. *
  • Cut your own hair. If you must. But don’t do it in anger.
  • Stop smoking when the ciggies run out. *
  • Every time you see an item is nearly finished, put it on the shopping list – just in case you lose your brain again when you shop.
  • Save toilet paper.
  • Learn to make natural yeast (see the last but one point).
  • Send your friends virtual flowers.
  • Share a virtual toast – only one sip – with the guys and gals who are independently locked down.
  • Learn to cook without wine.
  • Hold a virtual dinner party: sharing pictures of one’s food is a sure fire way that they visit (or stay away) after lock down is lifted.
  • Try not to kill mother. Uncle Richie died. Auntie Doris is still alive.
  • Save toilet paper.

* In South Africa, the regulations prohibit the sale of alcohol and tobacco.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post script

  • This is my cheeky entry into this month’s @yourtop3 contest – now on Hive.
    And before I get into more trouble, here is the list of my actual three must-haves while staying at home: Internet access, toilet paper, and, of course, wine! No explanations required….
    Read more about this month’s contest here
  • I’m participating in blogpal @tracyork’s April challenge of sharing a post every day during April – on the Hive blockchain. I succeeded last year – on Steemit from which the new blockchain “hived off”… and…
  • It seems a good way to constructively use the time during a compulsory lock down, right? For more about this initiative, please check out Traci’s post.

  • If you’d also like to both join the challenge and post from the WordPress platform to the Hive blockchain, sign up here.

Hung out to dry, or did @gmuxx just duck?

Yes, I know that at best, I’m employing too many cliches and, at worst, mixing metaphors, and I warn you, if you read on, it’ll not get any better.

It’s not in my nature to air dirty laundry in public. I don’t like confrontation, either. However, there are two other things I loathe more: oblique insinuations that only an in-group will get, and which are barbed arrows at some poor unsuspecting individual who has no idea what s/he has done wrong.

There does, however, come a time when it’s necessary to both confront and air a little dirty laundry.

While many Steemians have been weighing in on the Tron / SteemISNOTtron issue, with things taking on almost nuclear proportions, other Steemians were just getting on with their lives – on and off Steem.

I have kept an eye on things but, frankly, there’s been more than enough going on in my offline life, that I’ve not really weighed in.

One issue that crosses both my offline and Steem life, is my website.

A little background

A couple of years ago, @fredrikaa and @howo launched the @steempress plugin that enabled WordPress bloggers to post to the blockchain. For folk like me who don’t “do” code and the little I know, I’ve learned by osmosis, this was a godsend. At the time, my WordPress deal didn’t allow me to use the plugin: one has to have a self-hosted domain and blog via the WordPress application. To the rescue @vornix who offered what was, effectively, a piggy back service. Just on a year ago, they terminated the service; like all service providers worth their salt, they informed users. In advance.

I have been blogging on WordPress since 2014 and joined Steemit as a way of expanding my audience (as well as because of the potential for monetising my writing). That’s not the point. Nor is it about hanging around because of the community – although that is true – it’s about a body of work. I’ll come back to this, but first:

Steempress and what it did for me

Steempress is brilliant tool. It enables people like me to post seamlessly to the blockchain using an interface that was not just familiar, but very user-friendly. It enabled me to improve the quality of what I was posting because I didn’t have to spend most of my time worrying about coding and formatting.

However, what it also meant was that I was actually maintaining two blogging sites. That’s not really efficient. It also meant (because it’s the nature of things) that the blog getting the most attention was the one that posted to Steem. My “regular” followers dropped off and were getting peeved. One, whom I know in 3D life actually asked me

Are you still blogging?

Cause for pause, right?

Not long after the Vornix announcement, being quite settled on Steemit (my 2 year anniversary was nigh) and as the sunset date approached, users were approached by a number of service providers offering hosting services. Some were quite aggressive and required payment in fiat. Vornix had accepted Steem. One that approached me was very aggressive. Direct messages – on Discord and via my blog’s Facebook page.

I don’t respond well to hard sells, being nagged or pushed.

Then, as I recall, there was a comment from @gmuxx on one of the Vornix posts reminding users of the imminent sunset: offering a similar service and included an invitation to a new Discord Channel – the Steemblogs Club. He also offered these services in the Steempress Discord.

Cutting a long story short

A year ago, this coincided with happenings in my 3D life, when I was considering not just consolidating blog platforms, but launching a personal website. I needed a space to showcase a few other things not relevant (necessarily) to the blog and/or Steem. I wanted one home on the Interweb. In consultation with @gmuxx I went ahead and bought a domain from a local reseller, canned my WordPress package and paid over SBD for a year’s hosting. I can’t remember how much, but if you want to find out, you can. Because, as you know, all the transactions on the blockchain are publicly recorded.

At the time, I was more than delighted with the service I received. Not only did @gmuxx offer a hosting service but he also backed up and transitioned all the content from my old blog to the new site. I was more than thrilled. He communicated frequently and allayed all my concerns.

I was comforted that my body of work wouldn’t be lost. I went ahead and developed the site; I felt in control.

More to the point, I incorporated the economics into a #spud post, and:

I told lots of people

I recommended his services

I added this footer to every single post

A few months ago, I messaged him via Discord about something, and the response was that he’d get back to me – he was busy. It wasn’t urgent, so I didn’t pay it much mind.


Exactly a week ago, I get a message from @zord189 asking if I could get into WordPress. At the time I could. He couldn’t. Nor could he get hold of @gmuxx.

I wasn’t having a problem and was even able to share my last post via Steempress.

Actually, I forgot that I had reached out to @gmuxx. Until Zord contacted me and I remembered that he had not got back to me.

However, because I knew that my domain was up for renewal, I had already been planning to reach out and discuss ongoing hosting.

Then, there’s more

Three days later (Wednesday), my site is not available. I also start searching for @gmuxx. I hadn’t done it sooner because we were back in the throes of loadshedding. I emailed him. No bounce back but also no reply. His own website is gone. He’s no longer on Discord. His Steemblogs Club Discord channel has been deleted.


In the intervening time, his Steemit blog is updated and his personal URL removed.


My website is down. My domain reseller and various other providers tell me that the domain is “blocked” and that there has to be permission from the host to release it.

How can I even begin to do that if @gmuxx cannot be contacted and all the providers are literally kicking the can up and down the road and between each other?

From insult to injury

I paid for some coverage for our Sunday Supper offering which went live on Friday. With a link to my website.

Having spent two days contacting providers along the value chain to to get access to the domain I purchased independently and where my content should have been safe. I am more than disgruntled. I am livid.

My potential new host confirms that should we be able to get the domain unblocked because the content is on the WordPress platform, it should be safe.

Right now, that seems like a very big but.

I feel completely helpless.

This is not atomic, considering other events on the blockchain and in the world, but it is, to me.

I paid over my SBD in good faith, but feel as though I’ve been hung out to dry. Zord and I are not the only ones. I know of at least one other – @mountainjewel – who’s also trying to recover her site and her content. There may well be others.

So, if anyone has suggestions as to how this can be resolved, please comment below, or tag me in the SteemPress Discord.

Why should we be hung out to dry because @gmuxx has ducked?

Post Script:

  1.  If you signed up to get email notifications via the social media and didn’t get notified about this post:  it’s because that data is lost to me.  I am sorry.  If it’s important to you – it is to me – please sign up again.
  2. The date for this is set for the date it was first published to the block chain and to give you a little context as to why it appears that I’ve not posted for some two years.

Until next time
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.
  • If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.

  • Should you join the Steem platform, you are welcome to contact me on Discord on be sure to look out for the Steem Terminal – a dynamic team of folk who will happily guide you through the apparent quagmire of blogging on blockchain.
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats as well as posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

Not Posted to my cyptoblog with SteemPress but posted via SteemPeak and re-pubilshed here