New Gold Rush in Gauteng!

Gold is the magic that pumped through the earth’s veins giving life to Johannesburg on land that was otherwise not suitable to attract and sustain a large human population. Primarily, it is unsuitable land because there is no natural water source to support the consumption needs of a vast landlocked city and the joke runs that the only reef to be found anywhere near here is the Witwatersrand Gold Reef.

Johannesburg sprang up virtually overnight when the first gold rush started after the discovery of gold in 1886 and is known as the City of Gold.  It now looks like we could see a second gold rush 130 years later….

On Easter Sunday we went to an Easter Egg Hunt at Birnisan Farm to the North of Johannesburg. What we actually found (or rather what Pickle found) was far, far more exciting.

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‘Diamonds’ gathering dust on the windowsill.

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These Easter Eggs are a No-Glow

We haven’t had any blackouts here in our neck of Johannesburg for a while (fingers crossed, touch wood, famous last words), nevertheless South Africa is now fully prepared for Easter next week should the power go off.

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Load Shedding Easter Eggs are glow in the dark eggs.  Small torches are included in the box to help you hunt for the eggs in the dark.  It sounds like a fun idea.

However, entertaining as they are, these load shedding eggs have a fatal flaw, a catastrophic flaw in fact.

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Which School? An Expat Parenting Dilemma

Parents everywhere want the best education for their children.  However, when you move to a different country every few years, the decisions, trade-offs and problems multiply.IMG_3435

American School? British School? French School? German School? Local School? Home School? Boarding School? Anywhere-that-has-a-place-for-my-child-School? Which school is the right school?

This is a conundrum faced by many expat parents.

There are a whole host of factors to consider and I’m sure I’ll have more to share on this subject in future, but in the first instance I’m including a nifty little table I’ve put together to assist you in working out which grade/class/year equivalent your child may fit into moving from one system to another.  It’s something I would have found useful to have over the the last few years, so I figured it might help a few other people too. Continue reading

Powerless and Powerless

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The Blank Screen of Death

Increasing numbers of South Africans have electricity meters at their properties. They are popular with landlords, because it forces the tenant to pay up front, thus avoiding nasty disputes about electricity bills during a tenancy. We didn’t realise our rental property came with one of these delightful pieces of equipment until after we had moved in.


“Ja, you just go to Spar and buy a voucher”, the estate agent said vaguely.


So after years of Direct Debit convenience where electricity supply was constant in return for the power provider debiting amounts due on a regular basis, we were in a situation where we had a meter on the wall. We checked it regularly to make sure it didn’t run out.   We religiously bought the 20 digit vouchers and on the occasions when the meter frowned and beeped at us with displeasure, ran frantically about the house trying different sockets until we found one that the meter was happy to communicate with.  Then we would get a smiley face and newly topped up balance showing on the screen.


However, we now know what happens when the meter gets to zero or malfunctions… Continue reading

Sterling Work

South Africa is famous for its gold and platinum mines, for diamonds from Kimberly and Cullinan and also has limited silver mining.  So it’s a great place, to learn more about gems, metals and jewellery.

In previous post, Hot Metal, I wrote about how I took up a shiny new hobby to help fill my time as an expat wife. I started Jewellery School.Geometric chain 1

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Scotland vs South Africa Rugby – Supermarket Special

South Africans are gearing up for their Rugby World Cup match against Scotland today.  Locals are already strutting their stuff in green and gold.  Our son, (who is technically a quarter Scottish and an eighth South African) is firmly routing for the Boks.

Pickle is ready to support ‘his’ team.

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Blood Moon Buffoon

Blood Moon Monday, Johannesburg.  I leapt out of bed at 4.30 am, cameras (yes multiple cameras from point-and-press – my usual modus operandus – to a complicated multi-lens version that I don’t actually have a clue how to use) at the ready to capture the supermoon lunar eclipse.


I was being considerate and trying not to wake the rest of the family. I couldn’t work out how to switch camera on in the dark and was stumbling about hefting doors open. Eventually, I switched a camera on and took some photos. They were rubbish.

I didn’t look quite how I had expected.

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Lesedi Cultural Village where you can Eat Worms and Spit on Stones

As promised in my last post, Heritage Day, here’s a little rundown of what you can expect on a visit to Lesedi Cultural Village. If you are visiting or living in Johannesburg or Pretoria, it’s certainly a great place to spend half a day and learn about some of South Africa’s peoples. It’s located in the Cradle of Humankind, to the North of Johannesburg and West of Pretoria.  You will need your camera handy because there will be  lots of great photo opportunities.

Lots of great photo opportunities.

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Heritage Day

September 24th is Heritage Day in South Africa. It’s a public holiday to celebrate the rich and diverse melting pot that is the Rainbow Nation. Unofficially, it’s also dubbed National Braai Day.  Many families and friends certainly use the day to get together a chuck a boerewors on the braai*.

The braai is serious business here in South Africa. It tends to be a huge step up from your average soggy-sausage-British-barbeque. Many homes here come with built-in braais and just take a look at this supermarket section. Continue reading

Hot Wheels in South Africa

There’s always something left-of-centre to see when you are out and about on South Africa’s roads.  The reasons I don’t have an endless reel of pictures to share with you are that a) it’s not advisable to wave a smart phone or camera around for all to see when stuck in traffic and b) I’m rarely in the passenger seat and in general when you’re driving, you should’t be taking photos.  Here are the few that I have captured.

Sticky tape bus

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