The free newsletter aimed at fostering goodwill among residents, merchants and visitors to Melville
Letter from the Editor
“Procrastination is the thief of time.”
I have always attributed this quotation to Charles Dickens’ character Micawber in his novel David Copperfield, but my Google search indicates it was originally penned by Edward Young, an English poet who died nearly 50 years before Dickens was born. Either way, it remains one of my favourite mantras.
This is a long way of saying that time has lapsed since I last published Melville News and I thank those readers who noticed, thus encouraging me to start the new year without time being stolen. Alas, my best intentions were again delayed by the illness and decision to put to sleep my much loved miniature Schnauzer, Abi, but not before she’d demanded a walk from Margaret Magopa, our housekeeper, with whom Abi had moved in ever since she had an operation to repair a broken kneecap.
Each morning Margaret took Abi and I walked our giant Schnauzer along a similar route to that taken by Toinette Bradley and her two dogs on January 14. According to www.looklocal.co.za, an Alsatian look-alike attacked one of her dogs, Pebbles, a mixed Maltese-Jack Russell, before biting Bradley while the attacker’s owner stood by motionless. Toinette was treated by a doctor for her injuries, but Pebbles died. The vicious dog in question was not on a leash. Which leads me to my next bugbear.
While I quibble with 702’s John Robbie about whether dogs should run free in parks (I support dedicated areas for this activity), I do endorse his view that the by-laws should be applied on the streets of Johannesburg. I frequently see people walking their dogs in Melville without restraint – the owners may feel at ease but others who use our pavements to walk to work, get fit or exercise their own dogs deserve to feel safe.
Recently, I saw a jogger crossing 4th Avenue with two unleashed dogs in pursuit of him, one of which brought the early morning traffic to a standstill. Last year, a resident was driving the streets of Melville in search of two Alsatian-like dogs which she said were tyrannising people and animals in the suburb. She never located them and one of those may well have killed Pebbles and injured Antoinette. The public has been requested to contact the police if anyone can identify the owner as it is, after all, a criminal offence.
Off my soapbox, I wish to also thank Jane Griffiths for insisting I don’t give up on Melville News and for demonstrating her commitment with another contribution. If for no other reason, I owe it to my editorial contributors to publish this issue as they’ve been very patient with me. In fact, my old colleague and mate Geoff Dalglish had to update his story which he did immediately and without complaint.
I will do my best to stay on track with future editions of Melville News.
IN THIS ISSUE
- Geoff Dalglish is an earth pilgrim
- Jane Griffiths makes garden planning easy
- Yoga Therapy for those with special needs
- Bronwen Jones: still caring for fire victims 17 years on
- Auckland Park Florist special for Melville News readers
- Theatre at Montecasino
- Nog ‘n piep: Fred Moss
- Credits and contact details
PETROL HEAD TO PILGRIM
Locals who remember former Melville resident, motor magazine editor and race and rally driver Geoff Dalglish will be surprised at the direction his life has taken. Here he tells us about it.
I’m a former speed addict who has finally kicked the habit and embarked on a 40,075km world walk with an environmental message about living simply and sustainably and treading more lightly upon the earth.
I’ve gone from skid-marks to gentle footsteps, which is a radical change of pace, you’ll agree. And I’ve already taken more than three million steps across Scotland and parts of England, France and most recently Spain on the legendary Camino de Santiago.
Back in the days when I lived in Melville you’d have recognised my place by the high-powered cars in the drive – prompting neighbours to speculate about whether I was a car salesman or maybe a professional car thief.
My life was a wonderful celebration of power, speed, and the passion of like-minded petrol heads everywhere. And I make no apologies for a life lived to the limit. It was a roller-coaster of fun, but increasingly I realised that the way I was living simply wasn’t sustainable – my carbon footprint was huge!
Could I, with my hand on my heart, look my beloved daughters Bonnie and Tammy in the eye and say: I’ve done my best to leave you and your children’s children a world as magnificent as the one I was born into?
I decided to embrace Mahatma Gandhi’s entreaty to Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Deep down we all know that our current way of life isn’t sustainable and instead of burying my head in the sand I’ve chosen to try and make a difference with a high-profile pilgrimage, walking with a message about living more sustainably.
I used to joke that why would God give me Porsches, Ferraris and 4x4s to play with if she intended me to walk. Now I’m doing exactly that.
To find our more about Geoff’s activities visit www.earthpilgrimafrica.com
JANE GRIFFITHS’ SA GARDEN PLANNER
One small seed can produce a miraculous amount of food. One zucchini plant can produce upwards of 60 squash. And so it is in our daily lives. One small action can have an abundant result says author and local resident Jane Griffiths.
For many years I have read articles by Barbara Pleasant, an American vegetable gardener and author. I have been inspired and enriched by her wealth of gardening knowledge. So I was somewhat surprised to read a comment of hers, responding to a reader’s letter, that she rarely received feedback.
I immediately wrote her an email, thanking her for her inspiration and information which had reached across the hemispheres to a South African gardener on the other side of the planet. This one small thank you email led to far more than I expected.
Barbara introduced me to British gardening enthusiast, Jeremy Dore. He promptly invited me to write a guest blog from a South African gardener’s perspective on his web site. This led to conversations about developing a South African version of his online garden planner.
A few years ago Jeremy realised that one of the biggest problems facing novice gardeners was their inability to plan sowing and planting times to result in a balanced harvest. Being a computer guru, he designed a vegetable garden planner that takes the pain out of planning.
I started playing with the planner and was very impressed by how simple yet sophisticated it was. You can draw up any size or shape vegetable beds, add plants and move them around to get the perfect layout. It has over 130 vegetables, herbs and fruit with detailed growing information just a click away. As you add vegetables, the space they require is clearly shown by a coloured area around each plant and it calculates how many plants will fit your beds. And it very smartly knows where you are by using a postal code which adapts the planting information to your area.
It helps with crop rotation as it warns you where you should avoid placing each vegetable based on what was in your previous years’ plans. Much easier than writing it all down in the muddy pages of my gardening diary. And so I set about taking the vast amount of information on his planner and adapting it to our South African climate, plants and regions. The result? Jane’s Delicious Garden Planner, which is now up and running and is an incredibly useful tool for both novice and guru gardeners. And it all began with one small seed . . .
For a free 30 day trial of the garden planner go to: gardenplanner.janesdeliciousgarden.com
Jane Griffiths is the author of Jane’s Delicious Garden and Jane’s Delicious Kitchen published by Sunbird Publishers, a division of Jonathan Ball Publishers.
HEALING WITH YOGA
Auckland Park resident Orlene Olwagen is a yoga teacher with a difference. Dedicated to working with those with special needs, her approach to Hatha Yoga Therapy is compassionate, holistic and individualised.
For the past 39 years, Orlene has developed programmes for people with a variety of ailments.
“It’s a meticulously designed individual journey of self-discovery through the medium of movement, breath work, inner visualisation, meditation and relaxation techniques,” says Orlene, “while working in conjunction with mainstream healthcare professionals in the ‘allopathic’ and alternative medical field.”
“Yoga has a profound influence on the body and mind and empowers one in the healing process,” she says. “It is not about dogma, it is about enabling and nourishing the individual when working with special needs students, rather than aiming at perfecting poses.”
“The point of Yoga Therapy,” she continues, “is to develop a programme without aggravating the individual’s condition and to build confidence so that quality of life can be improved.”
Orlene reiterates that what she does is not a substitute for medical attention, especially in the case of very serious or acute conditions. She sees her role as giving each student the tools to practise in a way that’s safe and healing for them.
“When you have a life-threatening or serious condition, you can’t rely on what could be relied on before,” she says.
Orlene’s scope of treatment has extended to patients suffering from Aids, arthritis, breast cancer, chronic illness, fibromyalgia, hernias, head trauma, strokes, scoliosis, spinal injury, spinal fusions, sciatica, among multiple other conditions. She also works with paraplegics.
Reinforcing the success of what she does, Orlene tells a story.
“If you visit the Sacred Valley in Peru you might meet up with an energetic, young mountain climber and cyclist who exudes a wonderful energy and life force,” she begins. “And he might tell you his life story of a crooked back from the age of eight, back braces, rods to straighten his spine, operations, ongoing pain, a shortened leg and how a simple recuperative movement of easing himself backward in a kneeling position brought tears to his eyes because ‘It was the first time I have felt movement in my spine for many years’.”
That, says Orlene, is the power of Yoga.
The founder and originator of Holistic Yoga SA, Orlene has trained teachers to international standards and has lectured locally and internationally. She gives classes in Auckland Park and Melville. Email email@example.com Phone 011 482 6177 C: 082 711 0877.
HOME FOR BURN VICTIMS IS A MELVILLE LANDMARK
Children of Fire is a beacon of hope for victims of fire. Seventeen years after it opened its doors, it continues to be a sanctuary for the abandoned and forgotten. Linda Piegl spoke to founder Bronwen Jones.
Melville resident Bronwen Jones is the founder and director of Children of Fire, a registered charity that helps young burn victims in Africa get medical treatment and facial reconstruction.
Formerly from the UK, Bronwen is an engineering geologist and BBC producer-turned-human-rights-crusader. On her arrival in South Africa, she launched a publishing company but the turning point in her life came in 1995 when she was moved by an article about a six-month-old baby, Dorah Mokoena, who had been disfigured in a shack fire and abandoned by her biological mother.
Three hospitals had turned Dorah away. Doctors did not expect her to survive but she did, despite losing most of her face and her hands.
“I went to visit her every week on the Far East Rand and the doctors said she would never walk; that it was impossible to reconstruct her lips and then they wanted to remove her eyes as they said she was blind,” Bronwen recalls.
She refused to accept any of this and instead launched an appeal for donations in The Times (UK) to establish the Dorah Mokoena Charitable Trust, which later became Children of Fire. Thanks to Bronwen’s tenacity, Dorah received reconstructive surgery in the UK which saved her eyesight, rebuilt her lips and despite all odds, she can walk.
Dorah also found a home with Bronwen who adopted her. It was just the beginning. Bronwen was inspired to help others like Dorah throughout Africa and she is active in the squatter camps, educating people about fire prevention and the dangers of fires.
Today Bronwen has legal guardianship of 80 children and some 250 others have received surgery through Children of Fire.
In recognition of her work, Bronwen has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Hannah Neil World of Children Awards, regarded by many as the Nobel Prize for those who help children. For more information go to www.firechildren.org or call Bronwen on 011 726 6529.
BLOSSOMING IN 4TH AVENUE
Remember Auckland Park Florist in 7th Street? Residents will be happy to discover that owner Louise Daneel has opened its doors again in 4th Avenue, Melville.
It may be odd that a shop mostly based in Melville for 35 years is called Auckland Park Florist, but what’s in a name?
Two years ago, Auckland Park resident Louise Daneel bought the shop when it was still in 7th Street. She sat out the high rental for a time and then moved her blooms to her garage for six months, while looking for a new shop.
In January 2011, the shop sprang up without announcement next to Junkie near Main Road but much as she loved it, it was just too big for purpose.
So her search continued for a spot in this suburb.
“I love Melville,” she says. “I go a long way back. I grew up here. I used to work in the Allied for Peter Baskind, opposite Soi when Hugo & van der Merwe was across the road.”
A musical theatre student way back when, Louise describes the florist as a dream come true and fortunately she didn’t have to look too far for the ideal position.
“I found this little place in 4th Avenue,” she says, “and we have found home.”
“We” refers to Louise and the aptly named Rose Mdidimba.
“Rose does most of the flower arranging because she is just so wonderful with what she does,” says Louise.
Rose’s flair was developed by an elderly colleague when she worked elsewhere and subsequently Louise sent her on a course where she’s learnt new skills as a wedding planner.
Rose and Louise exude enthusiasm and will happily provide floral arrangements for weddings, functions, birthdays, funerals or any other reason for that matter.
Currently gearing up for Valentine’s Day, Melville News readers can take advantage of a 10% discount between February 15 and 29.
Pop in to Auckland Park Florist at 61, 4th Avenue next to the video shop or phone 011 726 2116. Free delivery is within a 35km radius.
THEATRE MUSTS AT MONTECASINO
Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP is still playing to packed houses in London 60 years after the curtain rose on the first performance.
Catch Pieter Toerien’s production at the Montecasino Theatre until February 26. With a cast that includes Clare Marshall and Ashley Dowds, it is directed by Alan Swerdlow.
THE LAST FIVE YEARS promises to be an exciting event on the Johannesburg theatre calendar.
The winner of multiple awards, the musical is described as an emotionally powerful show about two New Yorkers in their 20s who fall in and out of love over the course of five years.
Written by Tony Award winning composer Jason Robert Brown, the production stars Talia Kodesh as Cathy, a struggling actress, and Niall Griffin as Jamie, an up-and-coming novelist.
The Last Five Years is directed by Gina Shmukler, and the musical director is Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.
The Last Five Years opens at the Montecasino Studio Theatre on March 16.
Bookings for both shows can be made at the Theatre Box Office 011 511 1818 or Computicket.
THE BARBER OF MELVILLE
Barber to the famous and infamous, Fred Moss sent a short statement to Melville News.
“I’m not dead,” says Fred Moss who has been giving close shaves and haircuts to clients from near and far for over 40 years. “Please spread the word to all those who think this nasty rumour is true.”
Visit Fred at Scala barbershop in 4th Avenue, near 7th Street. No booking required.
HOME TYPING JOBS Contact Monica Gradwell. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 011 462 3089 or 073 6222 858.
JUNKIE BENEFITS TBF The Theatre Benevolent fund has been added to the beneficiaries of Junkie charity shop in 4th Avenue, near Main Road, Melville. It’s a fitting tribute to the artists who inhabit Melville. Please contribute by taking unwanted or unused items to the store and remember to pledge the proceeds of sales to the TBF. The TBF assists actors in their time of need.
PROWRITE WRITING SERVICES for all your outsourced writing needs. Contact Suzanne on 011 482 1072 or email email@example.com
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