My magical jumping beans

I was out running last week when literally out of the blue, I remembered a memory of the magical jumping beans from my primary school days.

Growing up, my family spent every holiday we could dragging our caravan through the Kruger National Park.

We would set up camp as close to the fence as possible in the hope that the smell of our braai tjoppies would lure the hyenas. During the scorching days, we camped out at drinking holes for hours with the zinging drone of insects in our ears just waiting for the Big 5 to get thirsty.

It was on one of these holidays that I stumbled across some magical jumping beans lying under a tree.

I collected them up and carried them around in a used yoghurt cup (most probably a choc chip flavor as this was my favorite and still is). The beans mimicked popcorn kernels and would jump erratically with a life of their own. Magic!

I was mesmerized. It kept me busy for days and instead of scanning for animals on our drives, my head would be looking down, into the cup, with delight.

Magic in my hands!

This was amazing! And I thought that when I returned to school, the kids would fall at my feet, dying to hold the magical jumping beans in their hands.

It was just before the holiday ended that my beans slowed down and eventually stopped jumping. My heart sank. How I was going to convince my schoolmates of my beans and their tricks. I was devastated.

I returned home and threw the cup with its contents in the bin. School holidays ended and for weeks, my eyes drifted out the classroom window, remembering the clickety click sound of those jumping beans. There was no way anyone would have believed me and so I kept it a secret and when we had to report back on our holiday, I spoke only of zebbies and giraffes.

As the leaves of winter have fallen and spring arrives In Jo’burg, there are pods scattered on the pavements along the road where I run near home. Every time my running shoes crunch on the pods, I remember the beans. 

I know that everyone has a similar memory, their own bean story. How absolutely wonderful life would be if we could capture those feelings again, that innocence, and not listen to the naysayers but truly believe in the magic of jumping beans.

So then, magic or not?

The Tamboti tree flowers in September and the pea sized seeds develop in three-lobed capsules which fall, when mature in November, to the leaf litter below. If you stand by a copse of Tamboti trees on a hot November day you may hear a distinctive rustling in the litter and if you look more closely you will see some flicking in the litter due to some seeds jumping intermittently. Collect some of these jumpers and place them on a plate in the hot sun and the jumping becomes more invigorated. Open one carefully and you will find a small larva whose body suddenly contorts causing the bean to jump. This is the larvae of the small grey moth Emporia melanobasis which parasites the seed when still green. ~ http://www.krugerpark.co.za/africa_tamboti.html

Caravan image credit: SANParks

Goodbye twenty seventeen. Keep the change!

The narrative on WhatsApp groups and social media platforms is all focused on saying goodbye to 2017. The emphasis is on the negativity, the difficulties, how bad it’s been. Ironically it’s the same conversations we have at the end of every year. 2017 is no different.

The longing for the year to end coincides with another familiar tradition – the Instagram #2017bestnine – where your x9 most favorite, most Liked Insta images are displayed in a collage to remind you of what your highlights were during the year.

#2017bestnineofnine

It got me thinking…

It’s easy to remember the bad times, and yes, for most people, including myself, this year was pretty damn shitty. There were too many times of illness, too many people dying and most of my days were overwhelmed by stress.

But just looking at my #2017bestnine sparked reminders of a few great moments that I’d like to cherish and hold dear for a little longer before they fade into memory.

I started writing them down:

  • We became entrepreneurs. We took the plunge and bought a small business. Both KK and I are in our 40’s with long careers in corporate, but it’s as if we’re reborn. Here’s to an abundant and successful CW-X SA in 2018!
  • We travelled to Germany on a fantastic holiday & I learnt how much family tradition means to KK. A highlight was spending time with our friends, Lisa & Shaun (and their dogs Merlot and Schnapps) in Munich. It reminded me that these are the special moments holiday memories are made of.

    Walking the dogs on a lazy afternoon in Munich. We fell in love with the place! Shaun & Lisa, we will come back! We promise!

  • My sister lost weight & started exercising. It’s so inspiring but more than that, she has control over her health. She’s a different person! She’s the one that now sends me recipes and reminds me to drink water and avoid Pringles!

    My sister’s very first Parkrun. Since then, she’s become a fan!

  • I fell in love with trail running. Reaching the top of the Drakensburg mountains on the Run-the-Berg trail run is truly a highlight of my running career. It was worth an entire blog post of its own!
  • I ran my best 10km road run in Pretoria. And when I say best, it wasn’t the time that mattered, not a PB, but rather how I felt that stuck with me. I felt strong, determined, capable. I “owned” that race!

    It was freezing & I spent the first few meters hating on everything and everybody! But I warmed up… as you do.

  • Annie made it through another year! Almost blind and managing her health day by day with the help of my mom, she still manages to provide us with many joyful moments & laughs.

    She loves to sit on my lap and listen to me talk away. She’s a great listener.

  • Another successful Two Oceans & KK’s 4th Comrades race experience is etched in memory. There’s just something addictive about those two races.

    The nerves before Comrades are something else!

  • We surrounded ourselves with healthy family and happy friends. It’s during all the difficult times that this becomes important in your life. This year, more than ever, did I appreciate knowing my family were there when I needed them. Thank you! XXX

There are so many exciting challenges on the horizon going into 2018. There will be more of the bad times, just like there were this year and years before that. But the key is balance.

I’ve promised myself that there would be more balance in my life going forward. For every hard time, more joy. For all the stress, activities of calm and relaxation. And when there’s hurt and disappointment, to be kinder to myself and others.

Running through June

June truly was a month of highs and more highs! From the euphoria of Comrades, to making memories on overseas holidays and finally getting back into a routine with a new running programme, it feels as if I am ready to give the second half of 2017 a good go. It’s crazy just how quickly the months are flying by. We’ve even booked our accommodation for one of our favourite races in November, Kaapsehoop. It’ll be race day before we know it. See you there?


1. KK successfully finishes his 4th Comrades marathon! Two days later, we jet set off to Germany for a much needed break!  2. Depeche Mode “Global Spirit Tour” concert! It was amazing!  3. Falling in love with Munich.  4. The Berlin Wall.  5. Memorial to the Murder of Jews in Europe was heartbreaking to visit.  6. Running Parkrun with family.  7. Annie & Emma come home from staying at my parents. Annie has recovered from pancreatitis.  8. Finding a new running route from the office through the beautiful suburbs.  9. Back to lazy Sundays & feeding the birds.

Picnic for the soul 

During March, KK’s Comrades training was at its peak. Waking up at 4am, running 100km’s a week, he was exhausted. So I suggested to him that instead of wasting the March public holiday, that perhaps we should go for a picnic somewhere & spend some time together “chillaxing”.

My idea was loading our straw basket with some cut up vienna sausages, blocks of cheese and packets of chips. But when I woke up that morning, he said, “Dress comfy, we’re going for a picnic. It’s a surprise!”

We took a leisurely drive out to Magaliesburg and I kept wanting to stop and take photos of the fields of cosmos that greeted us on our trip.

Cosmos flower in bloomcosmos flowers in bloomWe finally arrived at our destination. The Budmarsh Private Lodge, tucked away in the heart of the Magaliesburg mountains.

Budmarsh Private LodgeKK had pre-ordered our picnic basket so the only thing required from us was to decide on drinks and select a spot around the grounds to have our picnic. Mmm, that beautiful gigantic tree or that sunny chair next to the gentle flowing stream?

It was so quiet! Our voices seemed to pierce the silence that engulfed us. We tucked into the food immediately! It was delicious! With full bellies, we lay back and dozed off…

It was the perfect day. KK has been doing such intense training for Comrades so the day “off” allowed him to relax and sleep, guilt free.

I took a stroll along the little stream next to the house and tried to get the ducks to come say hello. But I was full of thoughts and allowed the beauty of the surroundings to speak to me. The only ones who did come bounding by to say hi (and possibly steal whatever was left in the basket) were two adorable basset hounds. Scrumptious food, wine, warm sun, overly-friendly dogs… I was officially in my element!

There are a couple of public holidays in South Africa coming up. If you haven’t yet decided what to do, consider driving out somewhere unknown and escaping the city. It doesn’t have to be a picnic. It doesn’t even need to be a public holiday. But it’s the silence and time away from the daily chores and routine that allows your body and soul to recharge.

And yes, that includes runners. Be kind to your body. Take some time to rest!