The World Of Bren

My World Seen Through My Eyes And All Kinds Of Other Crap

Destruction Of My Wrecking Journal

This is a totally new and foreign concept to me. Destroying a book. Like ACTUALLY destroying a book.

Wrecking Journals are all about this.

I accidentally discovered a Wrecking Journal site on the internet and then fell upon it on YouTube and was totally fascinated. I had never heard of this before and I thought it a bit strange but probably because I didn’t really understand the concept. There were images of an actual Wreck This Journal being shown and I had definitely not seen this journal in any of our local shops.  I was mildly curious…with an edge of anxiety over the thought of “do you actually wreck this book? How can that be possible?”

Literally 2 days after stumbling onto the Wrecking Journal sites I found THE BOOK in our local book store! I was exhilirated although I still didn’t get it. I paged through the book and read the instructions and I was anxiously fascinated. I put the book down. Walked around the shop. Picked the book up. Showed my husband. Got a strange look. Put the book down. Left the shop.

But this book bothered me.  I went back. I picked the book up. I bought the book. I could not resist.

So, that evening I sat staring at the “book” in my lap and wondering how I was going to get over myself to slowly destroy it.  Books are treasured, protected, worshiped territory to me.  I could not do this. It goes against every natural fibre of my being.

But I had bought it and so I must do this thing.

I watched a quick introductory YouTube clip to get me going. I slowly put my Koki pens to the sides of the book. And wrote my phrase.

That was my turning point. Creative Wrecking.

I suddenly realised that I must not think of this as a book of any sort. Books are in a different category.  THIS IS A JOURNAL. A journal is NOT a book. A journal is about doodles, about inner thoughts, dreams, the negatives, the positives, emotions, creativity,  a place to work through emotions….it is not meant to look perfect and beautiful and neat and tidy.  It is meant to look well-handled, used, scruffy, like it is carrying your life. THIS IS A JOURNAL TO BLEED MY CREATIVITY INTO AND ROUGH IT UP IN THE PROCESS.

THIS IS A WRECKING JOURNAL.

I will do this. And I have started with a small bang that has rapidly become an explosion. I am in love.

I invite you to walk through my Wrecking journey with me.

Watch this space.

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She may be a blonde but she is NOT a Golden Retriever!

Her name is Cassey.

I love her with all my heart but she is the blondest dog that I have ever encountered. I think in Heaven when God called out “Please queue here for Brains!”, Cassey misheard and thought “Trains? Why would I need Trains?” and gaily carried on doing what she was busy doing and completely missed the opportunity of being given a full-bodied brain for Golden Retrievers.

I adopted Cassey by default and have had her in my life for about 4 years.  She was just on 2 years old when I adopted her.  You see, I originally had her litter-sister, named Coral, who I purchased from a breeder in Cape Town at the time. Coral also had missed the queue in Heaven for Brains but I think a buddy of hers loaned some to her because she was a tad bit brighter than her litter-sister, Cassey.

We said a sad and sudden goodbye to Coral when she was 1 year and 1 month old. She was knocked over by a car right in front of our house.  It was immediate without any suffering for which I am eternally grateful for.  We still do not know how or where she got out of our property as none of our other dogs have gotten it right in all these years.

Coral & Cassey with their litter mates.

Coral & Cassey with their litter mates.

After a great deal of grief Cassey came our way.  Same litter, same age, but less brain-cells.  The breeder had moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg and Cassey was not coping very well with the continuous thunder storms.  She was spending most of her life on medication for fear and anxiety.  Cassey (and Coral’s) breeder phoned me and enquired if I would be interested in adopting her.  I, of course, immediately said yes.  Why would I not want Coral’s litter-sister?

Cassey arrived at our small-holding amid tears from her breeder and very casually said hello to my other 4-legged FurKidz as if she had known them for years.  My FurKidz must have recognised a kindered spirit or maybe realised she was Coral’s sister because they accepted her with open paws.

Cassey is a beautiful angelic being – just like her sister Coral.  In true Golden Retriever style she has a gorgeous soft wavy coat the colour of pale wheat.  Her colouring is officially known as “pale gold”.  Her ears, tail and back legs are ever so slightly darker in colour.  She has medium length feathering on her front legs, back legs and tail.  She has soft brown eyes the colour of milk-chocolate.   And no brain cells.

Cassey - what an angelic face!

Cassey – what an angelic face!

Such a pretty smile

Such a pretty smile

She may look like a Golden Retriever, but she doesn’t always ACT like one. Firstly, Golden Retrievers are brainy dogs.  No offence to Cassey but she is lacking in this department. The word “sit” falls on deaf ears, “down” is non-existant and the best that she achieves is a hesitant “sit” (after 3 requests) and then gives a slow “high 5” with her left paw – but only at meal times.

Goldies are meant to be gutsy dogs that live for and love their food.  Cassey’s meal times are not exciting for her.  She wags her tail and perks her ears forward towards her bowl but that is the extent of it.  She also eats slowly and carefully which is definitely NOT a Goldie trait!  Secondly, her tail is all wrong. Goldie’s tails should lie on the horizontal with their backs and should wag lazily in this position as well.  Cassey’s tail is like a mast from a ship.  Straight up while standing, walking, running and wagging.  It is like a flag that announces her arrival to all and sundry.  We have very high beds and couches in our home and when Cassey walks behind them anyone can track her progress as the tip of her tail acts as a navigational beacon. Straight up.

Other things that she does are very obviously Golden Retriever so some of the traits have carried through from her gorgeous Goldie parents.

She is clumsy.  We have watched her run head first into a parked car on our property because she has been leaping and bounding along looking over her shoulder to see who is following.  A loud thump was heard as her tough head collided with the car door, she stumbled backwards onto her bum and slowly stared at the car with a thought of “Where did THAT come from?”, which was then immediately followed with the thoughts of “Oh well” after which she leapt straight up and carried on with her leaping around.  No harm, no foul.  She never felt a thing.  Her head is surprisingly solid for something that should protect a brain that is not there.  She has earned the nickname “Cascade” as she tends to cascade into things like an uncontrolled waterfall or “Cavalcade” because she has the ability to make it sound like a large cavalcade of horses is approaching when she is on top form.

She will lie like this for ages - on the grass, on her dog bed, anywhere...

She will lie like this for ages – on the grass, on her dog bed, anywhere…

She spends many happy moments rolling around on the grass or her dog bed on her back, making a desperate scrabbling action on the ground with her front legs and paws.  This is accompanied by the sounds of groaning and grumbling.  It is really very funny to watch but I have never managed to catch it on film.

She produces, what we call, popcorn noises when she cleans herself.  This is achieved by scrunching up her nose to reveal her incisors which she then uses pushed up against her body to gnaw at the desired area.  She breathes out while doing this as well which produces a sound not unlike a popcorn machine with gas.  Talking of gas….she will sit on her bum and happily wag her tail at you while producing small sharp farts with every wag.  Thankfully they don’t smell.  It makes us laugh but the other dogs are horrified and tend to all look in the other direction until she is finished.

She is a polite lady though and will always wait for you to go through a door first, let you lead up the steps and never push past you.  Very often she hangs back until you tell her it is okay and call her forward.

Her other FurBuddies love playing rough with her as her coat and skin are so thick that a good bite around the back of the neck doesn’t so much as get a squeak out of her.  I don’t even think that she notices the other dog tenaciously hanging from her coat.  She is always playing the ham in the sandwich to the other dogs – meaning that she gets pushed between Cheveyo and Kaci during running games with both of them trying to trip her up by grabbing her neck, shoulders or legs. They normally succeed.  And it is a humorous sight to behold as she tends to plough face first into the dirt.

She loves her water!  Just like all Goldies.  The beach, the river, the muddy puddle, the horses drinking bath, the bowl of drinking water…it does not matter how big or how small the water mass is, she will find it and make a plan to submerge herself in it.  She adores mud.  She often comes trotting inside looking like a black retriever and very proud of herself.  We regularly take the dogs to a deep muddy dam near to our farm where they can jump and swim and splash to their hearts content.  I love watching Cassey here as she submerges herself in the water and swims round and round looking like the Loch Ness Monster.

Cassey contemplating life at the beach

Cassey contemplating life at the beach

A selfie of Cassey & me at the beach

A selfie of Cassey & me at the beach

She is a little bit camera-shy when she knows that it is focused on her so her face tends to go all long which you can see in the photos.

Flower-child

Flower-child

Cassey & me on Christmas 2013

Cassey & me on Christmas 2013

Despite Cassey being an odd form of a Golden Retriever, she is unique, funny, gentle, respectful and a truly special lady in our lives.

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I have been Missing In Action…

…but I am back now.

After more than a year of blogging MIA I am on a mission to rectify this sad situation.  What a hectic year it has been with so much going on and so much to do and keep up with.  Blogging (and many other happy hobbies) have had to take a back seat.

I am now recharged and ready to go!

Watch this space!

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The Funny Farm…sounds like a place where you get put into a straight-jacket…

….and maybe we all SHOULD be in straight-jackets at a place called The Funny Farm!

This is a name that my friends have given our home and it is very apt and very fitting. Our home is a haven of mismatched stuff, mental animals, and humans that border on the dotted line of crazy.  If anything is going to happen…it WILL happen at The Funny Farm.

Proof of the name...

Proof of the name…

I live on a small holding with my dinosaur-man (and I mean this in the BEST possible way – no sexual connotations attached!), my mum and a bunch of excitable animals of various shapes and sizes.  The mixture of our various careers and animals makes for an interesting life filled with colours that don’t actually exist in the real world.

The creatures on this property include the following: 6 dogs, 6 cats (is that one dog for each cat?? – something like “our cats each have a pet dog” …), 3 horses, 2 donkeys, 3 hens, 1 rooster, 1 duck, and 1 ring neck parrot.  Oh, and then there are the 3 humans that rent the house from the animals.

Our home is never neat or clean (to the degree that I am sure my friends would like it to be!) and it is certainly an animals paradise.  All our couches are constantly covered with throws of various mismatched colours and patterns that are forever lined with a fine layer of animal hair.  Washing does not seem to help them.  It only seems to embed the           fur-lined-layers into folds of the blankets where the overused washing machine cannot reach. Black clothes and the couches are not good bed-fellows – even teetering on the edge slaps you with a neat fur-lined stripe across your rear which seems to remain embedded and evident in all forms of lighting.  It is safer to stand and drink your wine when coming home after a long work day.

We do vacuum….about once a month.  It is pointless doing this more often as our house is a constant thoroughfare to dogs, cats and the occasional feathered creature.  Our doors are always open for animals to come and go as they please.  The wind tends to whip around our house in a spiteful way that targets the back door alcove, forces its cold fingers around the door into the kitchen, gets sucked through via the dining room door into the lounge and out through the lounge doors onto our sun-patio, carrying with it bits of leaf, fine grains of sand and the tumbleweeds of animal fur.  The other wind-sucking action is created from our bedroom which opens onto the dogs patio (yes, they have their own patio), sweeps through our room, into the passage, meets up with the kitchen-whirlwind and whips through the lounge, out the lounge doors onto our sun-patio carrying additional bits of leaf, fine grains of sand and the larger tumbleweeds of animal fur.  We could create our own Savannah with the amount of sand, twigs, grass, and the wildly unpopular animal-fur-tumbleweeds.

Our home has been known to contain some odd creatures over the years.  We once had a Cape Fur Seal pup that spent a night in our bathroom (IN the bath) before it was crated and taken to my previous work with me the next day for rehabilitation and eventually release.  Adult and baby African Penguins have also been regular wanderers in our kitchen, lounge and bedrooms.  They have remained with us in our home from anything on 2 hours to a good number of months.  My mum and myself were at one stage heavily involved in marine animal rehabilitation and both worked at a local oceanarium which, by default, became a facility for rehabilitation of penguins, seals, flying ocean birds, turtles, and basically anything marine that required assistance. I do also remember a large Loggerhead Turtle that I transported from Jeffreys Bay (in my 1972 Combi Camper) through to our house where it spent a happy night splashing in the large water-crate that we created for it in our bathroom.

How do our animals react to all these sudden, strange additions in our household?  With interest, wariness and grace.  They have become so used to odd additions that they look at us with an expression of disdain that very clearly says “Oh no, not ANOTHER one!”  Some of our cats have become extremely fascinated with the creatures and will spend hours congregating around the box holding a penguin just to get a glimpse of a penguin-eye or beak above the level of the box rim.  The braver ones have stood up on back feet resting front paws carefully on the box and peer inside to get a good look at this bizarre creature that smells of fish but looks nothing like one.  We even had a dog that would lie on guard as close as possible to the weird additions and become very concerned about them when the time came to work with and feed them.  We used to ask her “Where’s the baby?” and she would go to stand at the door of the room where they were being kept for their own sanity.

Our property is approximately 1.8 hectares and is a free-roaming home for our horses and donkeys which is great for them, but for us…..??  Not so much.  Our horses are very well behaved but the donkeys are sneaky, clever, annoying, destructive, and many other adjectives that I would not be allowed to type in a blog-site.  But they provide laughs all the same.  They wake us up at ungodly hours of the morning demanding breakfast with foghorn-type bellows that have the harbour masters about 20 kilometers away looking out their windows for fear of a runaway ship that they did not spot.  They destroy items that you think would have no interest to them.  They eat stuff that would cause any other animals system to shut down and scream for help.  Stuff like fibreglass, resin, pratleys putty, magazines, boxes, foam rubber….and the list goes on.  They eat it all.  They show no signs of discomfort.  They survive.

My boss gave me a hanging wooden plaque that states boldly and clearly “Welcome to the nut house” – the nut house indeed.

The Nut House Indeed

The Nut House Indeed

A magnet on our fridge also states “A clean house is a sign of a wasted life” – another reason to vacuum less.

...less vacuuming needed...

…less vacuuming needed…

Although we don’t have a home that is filled with beautiful, neat, clean pieces of furniture, where everything is spotless and in its place, we have a home that is lived in.  It is a small hub of activity, rushing animals, fur-lined seating areas, items that are functional, and placed in areas where tails and noses cannot reach.  It is a place that each one of us calls home.  

And if you don’t like it…..then don’t come and visit.

The Funny Farm

The Funny Farm

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