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Articles: writing

From time to time, I write, and what I write, I post here. Without a doubt, the article of which I am most proud is the one about Ponte in Berea, Johannesburg, but I also write about useful resources for classics students, articles about communication that might appear on my business websites, the occasional book review, and random notes about people, planet, and sustainability.

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Ponte: Tower of Dreams

Ponte: Tower of DreamsIn 1975, the Ponte tower in Johannesburg’s Berea was sparkling and new and highly desirable. Its 464 apartments were 90% let, including the one- and two-bedroomed luxury flats on floors 41-46; the luxury three-bedroomed flats on floors 47-50;...

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Re-naming and re-framing

Re-naming and re-framingAs a fish hugger (compare with tree hugger), I am always baffled at how people describe sea creatures as ugly. Who do we think we are that we can make value judgements about these extraordinary living neighbours of ours? Perhaps they'd rather...

A thought about small talk

A thought about small talkI came across a thoughtful article this morning on the art (and power) of small talk. As someone who facilitates group discussions, champions meaningful conversations and connections, and spends a great deal of time thinking about creating...

A recipe for cremation

A recipe for cremationBarlow Bonsall, Cook @ 1700 to 1800 degrees for 2 to 3 hours This is the text of a tattoo surrounded by a yellow and orange flame. It belongs to Army veteran and cancer survivor Russell Parsons, who was quoted in NBC News as saying, “It’s a...

Do you inadvertently turn your statements into questions?

Do you inadvertently turn your statements into questions? Here’s why to stop (and how).Read this out loud:You’re giving a presentation? That’s… good news? Except that you’re a little nervous? And hesitant? And so you start raising your pitch at the end of every...

Getting people’s names right = effective communication

What’s in a name? Why getting people’s names right is part of effective communication.A quick summary (for the time-poor) Remembering someone’s name and pronouncing it correctly is a key part of making a positive impression. It’s also part of being a good...

Full-length versions of Euripides’ & Seneca’s Trojan Women

Full-length versions of Euripides' & Seneca's Trojan WomenIf, like me, you're working with Eurpides' and Seneca's Troades or Trojan Women texts, you might find it helpful to see how modern theatre groups interpret these works. Obviously I was, which is why I spent...

A beautiful watch

A beautiful watchAbout 10 years ago, my father gave me a beautiful watch that had once belonged to my grandmother. I wore it on and off, and shortly after my father died, I went out and in the course of the evening, it slipped off my wrist and I couldn’t find it. I...

Being a company owner in the UK: the end of the affair

I grew up with a British-born father, who, even though he moved over to South Africa at the tender age of 3 years old, was quite the lover of the mother country. In some respects, he was more British than that Brits, having been brought up as an immigrant in a new...

The Man in New Orleans

The Man in New OrleansToday I have a story for you from 2001. In December of that year, I took a month off from my job and flew to New York, where I hired a very expensive car. The car itself was nothing special but it turns out that being under 26 adds a significant...

Are we just going in circles? Maybe not.

Are we just going in circles? Maybe not.Have you ever heard of Lorraine Hansberry? No? Me neither, until earlier today. I was listening to one of my current favourite narrators, Adjoa Andoh, read "The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir" by Aminatta...

Making presentations “sticky” with stories

Making presentations "sticky" with storiesI love this story: Christopher Wren was a famous English architect and builder who lived from 1632-1723. Legend has it that he was walking past three stone cutters working on the rebuilding of St. Paul’s cathedral. He asked...

Ponte: Tower of Dreams

Ponte: Tower of DreamsIn 1975, the Ponte tower in Johannesburg’s Berea was sparkling and new and highly desirable. Its 464 apartments were 90% let, including the one- and two-bedroomed luxury flats on floors 41-46; the luxury three-bedroomed flats on floors 47-50;...

In Defence of Open-Mindedness

In Defence of Open-MindednessLast week, we stayed in a lovely B&B in a medieval town called Dürnstein in Lower Austria. The people were wonderful, the food delicious, the wine even better but the weather… Meh. It could have been better, especially considering that...

Literacy first, please

Literacy first, pleaseI’m a big supporter of literacy projects, whatever the language, and whilst oral storytelling imparts a number of literacy skills, the ability to actually read is fundamental, and often something that readers take for granted. With literacy in...

Is Zero Waste Living Really Zero Waste?

Is Zero Waste Living Really Zero Waste?I read a lot of books and articles that talk about Zero Waste living, and at some point I realised that I “thought” that I knew what “zero waste living” meant but that I’d never spent time looking into the “movement” and...

Can I offer you some plastic with your tea?

Can I offer you some plastic with your tea?I drink tea. Lots of it. Sometimes 10-15 cups a day. Austrian tea doesn't do it for me - far too weak. US tea was equally disappointing. Five Roses in South Africa is a satisfyingly strong cup, but my all-time favourite has...

Flora and the Flamingo

Flora and the FlamingoA quick book review today for lovers of beautiful illustration, wordless humour, and dance. And, of course, for parents. Flora and the Flamingo by the wonderful Molly Idle, who started her career as an artist working for DreamWorks Feature...