Category Archives: Interesting Information.

Winter is here!

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Oh boy, Winter is really here!

My cup of steaming warm and generous hot chocolate is standing close to me where I sit in front of the warm orange and yellow glow of the crackling fire dancing away inside the fireplace … yes; I think to myself, winter is here.

And boy oh boy, how much do I love winter? Well, I struggle to find the words, and that people, is very rare being a writer and all.

Some people out there might and will disagree with me, but hey that’s fine. That is why we as the human race are unique. We all have our own favourites in life. My favourite season is winter and with winter comes warm and cosy fires in the fireplace, steaming cups of hot chocolate, incredible delicious curries and stews and yes, let us not forget the Glüwein!

But there are more reasons for me why I love winter so much.

There is the cosy – comfort feeling of togetherness. It brings people together. In front of fires, groups basking in the sun on bright days, hours in bed under warm and fluffy duvets watching movies and those angels out there busy spending hours in soup kitchens paying it forward in kindness to the less fortunate.

Also for me there is the excitement of new possibilities and new beginnings to come in spring after the winds of change have blown.  Winter always make me reflect with dearness on the words of the famous song, The Rose, made into a hit by the equally famous and fabulous Bette Midler.

“Just remember in the winter

 Far beneath the bitter snows

 Lies the seed that with the sun’s love             

 In the spring becomes the rose”

Just like we need to embrace and enjoy the seasons we also need to embrace the changes that the seasons in our lives bring forward. Yes, we all will experience cold and lonely winters from time to time, but we should never lose focus. Those winters are there for a reason. They allow our souls to take a step back, reflect on our situations, fill our lungs with breathes of crisp winter air and once the winter have passed start our new journeys set out for us.

I dare say winter is a celebration for me. A celebration of life, love and kindness.

Having said that, I do realise that there are those among us for whom the winter cold is nothing but a bleak and lonely desert where the cold winds of sadness keep on blowing them of course. My advice? Reach out to those souls. Embrace them with kindness and love and let them share in the loving warmth and comfort of our crackling fires, let them see they are not alone. Help them to see that after the cold there is life and hope.

I must admit we did wait a bit longer this year for the winter to arrive and when it did knock on the front door it made sure we know it is here. But judging on what I have just shared with you I hope that you will join me in my celebration to welcome winter with open arms, even though my arms will be open under the warm duvet. And join me to see the beauty of winter and reach out and spread the love, and warmth, of new things to come.

I want to conclude with this thought. We have so much to be grateful for. Whether it is the cold, crisp air in winter or the warm and lazy sun in summer, remember that if you can feel any of these things, you are still alive. And that my peeps, that alone will help to you to see the beauty in everything!

For now winter is here, so embrace enjoy and stay warm!


This article originally posted on re-posted here with permission.

Author: Philip J Nel

Short bio: The author contributes articles to websites as a guest writer and specializes in the following topics: life’s trials and tribunals, people and their stories, animals, nature and religion. He is also a proud cancer survivor and that has also taught him more about life. The author started writing at the age of 16 and has written several poems, short stories and even a novel.

Contact details: Email address

Is poor customer service the norm in South Africa?

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Customer service in South Africa

Customer service, or the lack thereof, has been a bone of contention for many South Africans for a long time. Unfortunately, it is a known psychological fact that people exposed to an abnormal situation for a long time tend to accept that abnormal situation as the new normal, in time of course. South Africans have become so used to poor customer service that many now do not even expect good customer service. In fact, many people are taken aback when they are served in a professional, knowledgeable and friendly manner. They immediately experience this good customer service as abnormal! The normal situation is poor customer service; we are used to it and we expect it!

Consumers must carry part of the blame for the poor levels of customer service in South Africa. If more consumers simply move their business elsewhere, and inform the business offering poor service of the fact, perhaps more businesses will take steps to offer better service. If enough people refuse to accept poor service from a particular business, the owners or managers may just be jolted into action. It is of no use to fume in silence and to go elsewhere. Take the trouble to speak to the person in charge, to write a letter detailing the poor service or to lodge a formal complaint on consumer feedback sites. Always provide as much detail as possible: the date and time, the name of the employee that provided poor service and details regarding the nature of the poor service.

When complaining about poor customer service, never become insulting or emotional. The best course of action is to remain calm and courteous. This does not mean that you need to meekly accept a rebuff. Insist on feedback and persist in pursuing the matter. If it is necessary, try to escalate your complaint by speaking to next higher person in the hierarchy and if no satisfaction is obtained, move your business elsewhere and tell your friends and family about it.

It is time for South Africans to day no to poor service. However, things will only get better if we work together in refusing to accept poor customer service as the norm.

This article originally posted on and re-posted here with permission.

Make The Klein Karoo Your Holiday Destination

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Make The Klein Karoo Your Holiday Destination This Winter

By now we are all fed up with load shedding and the loss of power when we most need it.  It is a constant reminder of Murphy’s Law since anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Well, if you get tired of life in the city, it might be time to head out to the countryside where life is simple, and folks live off the grid. Why not make the Klein Karoo your winter holiday destination for 2015?

Just outside of Oudtshoorn lies the small town of De Rust. It boasts a load of attractions for visitors to the region, starting from luxury accommodations to excursions into nature.

A prime example of this kind of off the grid lifestyle can be found on the organic farm called Numbi Valley.

Here life is lived at a pace that closely matches the elements. Although there is no formal electricity, there is solar power and at night your water is warmed by a “donkie” or in other words a little wood stove with lots of spark! Owned and managed by Ross and Kathryn Eybers who have run world class resorts for many years, the whole experience is geared to being one of a lifetime. Vegetables are provided from the garden and are 100% organic. Visiting this haven from the rat race is reason enough to make the Klein Karoo your holiday destination this winter.

What can be better than sitting by the fireplace and having a “lekker kuier” and getting up to a kettle of hot coffee made on a gas stove? Other attractions in the region include the world famous Cango Caves, various Olive farms that sell top quality olive oil and not to forget the otherworldly Meiringspoort. If you visit the Kannaland Liquor store in De Rust you can make the acquaintance of one of the few remaining Meirings of the area, Anne Meiring who has run the store for the past few decades.

Another attraction in the Klein Karoo for meat eaters is the delicious lamb that is unique to this region. The meat has a special flavor due to the fynbos vegetation it feeds on. If this does not attract you to the area as a holiday destination local honey and many kinds of locally concocted medicines, like Jigsimur and Kankerbossie Tea might tickle your fancy. These remedies will make you feel about ten years younger! If you haven’t visited this hidden away corner of our land yet, I encourage you to make the Klein Karoo your holiday destination this winter. Artists who live here year round can tell you that visiting a town like De Rust is almost like walking into a live painting. Enjoy!


This article originally posted on and re-posted here with permission.

You and your GOALS

Does meeting your goals equal success?

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day,
Thou cannot then be false to any man.”

It is a bit annoying that one of my favourite quotes was originally uttered by a rather odious character, preachy, platitudinous old Polonius in Hamlet. Remember though, that in the Elizabethan consciousness he meant that one’s own interests come first. He did not mean self indulgence or some New Age self realization quest.

I suspect he was referring to making sure that you are solvent, strong, healthy and sensible, so that you can look after others. At a deep level we have to take responsibility. There is no escaping that basic fact of being in the world.

The delights of dope may delude you into thinking your purpose is great, but humans have only these three things in common: we defecate and we die, and we don’t get away with anything. I am not a space cadet, but this I know: At the deepest esoteric level we get what we deserve.

Who am I?

A fulfilling life as a goal, has at its core self-realisation. Material or worldly success may very well be one of the goals you set out to achieve, may be a true expression of your innermost self. But say you have all this and the trappings thereof by the time you are thirty; the yuppie dream come true, and you find yourself not happy, what then?

The increase in white colour recreational drugs is telling, no? If you define yourself only by the things you can buy, what happens when you suddenly lose it all? If physical beauty is your goal, what happens if you get old or you are the statistic of plastic surgery failures? This is the trick question of our age.

To be the person you want to be

How can I be the person I really want to be unless I know who that person is? the goal of living only for others can be as much of a denial as an entirely selfish life. Mothers know this give-take conundrum intimately. The empty nest syndrome is a big ‘who am I?’

However, freely chosen selflessness is not the same as self-negation – Self indulgence is not the same as owning your identity, being able to “impart meaning and direction to your life of yourself.” This is a question of ‘who you are’, nobody can answer for you, but I think it is in the realm of the heart. Ambitions are great drivers of action, but the goal of the soul is a subtler prompt. Yet, if unmet, it can have dire consequences.

In the Western world, identity is tied up with what one does, one’s work. The Dalai Lama was stumped by the question “What do you consider your primary job?” in an interview. His final answer was, “I just take care of myself. That is my main task.”

How to be the person you want to be? I don’t have the foggiest. But I shall leave you with a Langston Hughes poem, as there is something there that rings true when thinking about goals, not in the mind, not in the practical arena, but somewhere in the region of the heart chakra:

“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”

One of your most important goals should be to Insure all your valuables!



This article originally posted on and re-posted here with permission.


The TOP 10 Bad Driving Habits

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Bad Driving Habits

Bad driving habits that annoy other drivers

South Africa and the UK have something in common; the bad driving habits of tailgating and failing to use indicators especially when overtaking another vehicle or going into and exiting a traffic circle. Actually people all over the world don’t know how to indicate at a traffic circle.

Of all the bad driving habits, two out of three drivers in surveys hated being tailgated and most drivers get extremely agitated when others don’t indicate before changing lanes. Another bad driving habit is inconsideration and lack of lane discipline. In South Africa many drivers think they own the lane they are using, especially on the five lane freeway between Pretoria and Johannesburg.

As long as these misbehaviours go unpunished in both countries, it will become more common. It might seem less serious, but it is equally dangerous to other traffic offenses.

In the UK drivers are disappointed at the behavior of fellow drivers who don’t show gratitude for being let through or allowed to pass. This is the case in SA too! No more emergency indicators used to thank the driver that moved into the yellow line so he/she could pass.

South African drivers, come on, lets show some consideration to other road users again. It is up to you and me to avoid poor and dangerous driving habits.

Top 10 bad driving habits

• Tailgating, driving too close to the car in front. What became of safe following distances?

• Drivers cutting in and reducing the gap between you and the vehicle ahead. The gap that you created for safety.

• Talking on the cellphone and steering with only one hand.

• Drivers not indicating before turning.

• Drivers turning around to talk to passengers in the back or to yell at the kids.

• Driving much below the applicable speed limit. Crawling actually.

• Trucks attempting to overtake other vehicles when their speed is too low.

• Drivers scrounging for things in the backseat

• Drivers not letting you in and preventing you from moving/joining lanes.

• Drivers pushing into a parking when another driver already indicated the intention to park and was waiting their turn.

Get Excellent, Affordable Car Insurance NOW


This article originally posted on and re-posted here with permission.

Your Financial future is in YOUR hands

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Take responsibility for your financial future

The current global economic outlook should be considered a wake-up call to take responsibility for your financial future. The International Monetary Fund forecasts muted growth of 2.1% for South Africa in 2015.

Recently, at a post-budget breakfast hosted by Deloitte, finance minister Nhlanhla Nene reportedly stressed that “much higher levels of economic growth” is needed to curtail South Africa’s main challenges, poverty and unemployment.

The losses to the South African economy so far for the 2015 calendar year due to load-shedding is calculated at a staggering R4.6 billion, according to Dwaine van Vuuren from PowerStocks Research in a post published in the March 2015 edition of MarketViews.

The South African consumer is under severe strain and faces challenges such as high levels of consumer debt, the rising costs of electricity and fuel, and e-tolling to name a few. The rand isn’t performing optimally and is a struggling Emerging Market currency. With labour unrest almost a given and rating agencies keeping a strict eye on South Africa’s credit rating, it’s no wonder that the ordinary South African is rethinking his or her financial position.

It’s imperative that you immediately start taking responsibility for your financial future and ultimately your financial fate. The sooner you take control of your spending and start saving for the proverbial rainy day, the better off you’ll be in future.

The number one rule is to save more than what you spend. Guard your savings jealously and resist dipping your fingers in the money box when a gorgeous pair of thigh-high boots winks at you flirtatiously. Compound interest earned on your savings will add a rosy glow to an uncertain tomorrow.

Yes, you only live once and it’s understandable that you want a semblance of a social life – meaning you want to have a cappuccino with your friends when the opportunity presents itselfwithout having to always think twice before you splurge money on yourself.  By all means draw up a budget and allocate funds for the occasional treat but stick to said budget religiously.

Taking responsibility for your financial future means you need to be creative with your money. Invite friends over for coffee at your house. You’ll save a lot and if you can persuade someone to bring a sweet with, you may just have your cake and eat it too. Save every cent and think outside the box when it comes to having a great time with as little money as possible.



This article originally posted on and reposted here with permission.

Boost your Business NOW!

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Your Business should be Visible On-line

It’s a jungle out there. It is vital for all businesses, specifically small business, to have a highly visible online presence. And their online presence, specifically their website, needs to have absolute quality content.  Why is this so vital? We live in a Google era. People will find your company online, rate your performance online, and crucify, condemn or commend your business in that same space.  You need to be prepared.

Make sure that you are highly visible in all Google searches. Ensure that your Search Engine Optimization is maintained, current, relevant and visible, so that when companies search for you, they not only find you, but they contact you. Pull them in; have them fill out their email address in order to access certain information, so that you have a guaranteed manner in which to contact them again. Enthrall them with the content of your site. Do not overload them with frivolous facts, but ensure that you have just enough to answer any questions they may have, all the while convincing your reader that you are, without doubt, the only subject-matter expert in this field worth consulting. That any other searching would, in fact, be futile.

If you can engage your reader with quality, they shall come back with quantity. Repeat visits, increased curiosity and vast faith in your brand will abound.

Boost your business by giving it a website to be proud of. A website that does it justice and will generate all the business you can handle. Ensure that it gets repeat visitors which will ensure repeat business for you. Many happy returns!


This article originally posted on and reposted here with permission.

Cell Phone Addiction

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Are YOU suffering from Cell Phone Addiction?

A satirical, personal look at cell phone addiction

Cell Phone Addiction  and Rehab for mobile addicts

I had never felt the need for a cell phone; I am far too available already. I have lived in a self-created grand central station, with hordes of children and a pathological inability to cook for fewer than twenty people. But always there has been the desire to write, and writers need solitude (sic). I acquired a door mat that read, “If you really have to see me, bring a warrant”, laid down boundaries for the children, and ruthlessly took the phone off the hook when I was busy with the definitive seminal all time great novel, so why would I want a cell phone?

I was given my first cell ‘phone by a friend who had to upgrade. The ‘phone was a dinky number that flipped open and had a sticky out aerial thingy. He said it suited me as it looked like a powder compact with a make-up brush. Family life does not allow much privacy and I rather liked the idea of a private conversation. Confidentiality was not so much the issue as being able to complete a sentence without interspersing directions to the location of clean socks.

I informed a select few that I was in cyberspace and got on with my life. Later I packed the ‘phone prior to a journey, and saw missed call and sms records stretching to infinity. People seemed to assume that I now had to be in contact constantly. I checked. Nobody had anything to communicate, yet they were hurt or furious. Only one was funny- “Anybody out there, or shall I send a message in a f-n bottle? “

Identifying Cell Phone Addiction

Cell phone addiction presents classic signs of dependency:

1. Usage increases (as tolerance builds up and the original dosage no longer provides relief)

2. Personality changes (rudeness in social exchange when the need for the product allows concentration lapses, inability to sustain listening, blackouts in areas of etiquette, everyday responsibilities become secondary)

3. Social withdrawal (to protect and indulge in secret)

4. Continued use after the need is met, going to lengths to obtain the product, preoccupation with the quest and mixing with people the addict would otherwise not be attracted to in order to prolong usage.

5. Emotional changes (other interests no longer bring joy)

6. Forgetfulness (not retaining instructions as blanks will necessitate use of ‘phone)

7. Defensiveness (lashing out to defend the need, covering up by false logic implicitly believed by addict.)

Prompt intervention

If you notice more than three of the above behaviors in anybody you love, you must intervene immediately: throw the cell phone out of the window.


Ref: N/A

This article originally posted on and reposted here with permission.

Retrenched? What now?

Composition of people with different expressionsRetrenched? This is what you should do

Get every benefit

If the company offered a health plan, use it while you still can. If your boss offers a letter of referral, get it right away.

Cut back on your expenses when retrenched

Cut back financially as far as possible, to reduce stress while you search for a new job.

Know the crisis point

Don’t take the first job that comes along if you don’t absolutely have to, but don’t take a loan to extend the crisis point. This will just make the situation worse and put you in debt.

Update your CV

Polish your CV while you have time. An improved CV will increase your chances of finding a job.

Know what job you want

Assess the likes and dislikes of your previous job. If you don’t have to take the first job on offer, figure out which job and responsibilities will suit you best.

Register on job seeking websites

Don’t panic. Register your updated CV on job sites and have relevant jobs sent to you.

Stay motivated during the job hunt

Though job hunting is challenging, it’s important to remember that nothing is impossible. Start practicing ways to stay motivated. Never stop your job search.

Set up a timetable

Allocate an hour or three to job hunting, but don’t let it take over your entire day. Stick to this time table. Do something constructive with your spare time, such as volunteering or upgrading your skills.

Follow up

After applying, don’t dwell on the outcome too much. Follow up after a week. If the application was unsuccessful, ask for constructive criticism. Fine tune your CV and cover letter.

Control your stress levels

Manage your job search stress levels. Participate in pleasurable activities. Exercise, eating healthy, learn something new or chat to a friend to relieve stress levels.

Don’t take Rejection personal

There are candidates who are better than you. Rejection is not personal, don’t let it get you down.

A positive attitude and hard work will get you through this tough time!



This article originally posted on and reposted here with permission.

Writing Tips from Science Fiction Author

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6 TOP Writing Tips from Science Fiction Author

Louise Viljoen, a South African author, just celebrated the successful launch of her Afrikaans science fiction novel, Die Roofdier (The Predator). Die Roofdier is published by Thompson Boekdrukkery who, together with Afrifiksie, aims to promote authors who write science fiction and fantasy in Afrikaans.

What is science fiction?

Science fiction writing is all about creating imaginary worlds and civilizations whilst incoporating sience and technology. Authors can create totally new worlds or simply write about our own world as they imagine it to be in the future. There’s no limits to possible scientific and technological innovations and advancement in the genre – the only rule is: know your created world’s reality and stick to it. Magic has no place in science fiction; all action should be based on scientific theory.

Keep the following in mind when writing science fiction:

  1. Don’t even think of trying your hand at science fiction writing if you don’t read the genre.

  1. Never forget the human element when writing science fiction. Readers need to identify with human emotions and limitations. The more human the protagonist is, the more the reader will relate to him or her.

  1. Characters drive the plot. Know your characters well and do not depict them as perfect. The ideal character is complex and flawed and do not have all the answers. He or she makes mistakes like any other person.

  1. Use ordinary language that your readers can relate to. If you do invent a new world where an alien language is spoken, use the alien vocabulary sparingly.

  1. The SF reader is a gamer who brings a problem-solving intelligence to the story. This is the SF writer’s one great advantage. Use it.” Thus states Terry Bisson, a succesful science fiction author.

  1. According to Allison Emm, a writer and illustrator from Colorado, a science fiction author should ask the following questions when plotting a story: “How does technology change human interaction, global economy, and everyday needs such as food and transportation? Do the same rules of physics apply in your fictional world as they do in the real world?”

Die Roofdier makes science fiction seem ordinary

Bekka Malan owns a farm and grows organic vegetables for a living. Strange things start to happen and Bekka is convinced that her life is in danger. She is shot at and her shed is burnt to the ground. Hector Krige wants Bekka’s farm and is willing to do anything to have her sign the offer to purchase.

Nicholai Craigg is a handsome stranger who rides into town on his Harley Davidson. The colour of his eyes spiral and he can read Bekka’s mind. Bekka receives a hologram-message from her late parents wherein they warn her that a predator is coming for her blood.

Who and what is Nicholai? Is he the predator? Why does Hector want Bekka’s farm? Exactly who or what is hiding in a cave in Kransberg, the mountain on Bekka’s farm.

Louise Viljoen’s Die Roofdier can be ordered here. Louise Viljoen is a writer, proofreader, editor and manuscript developer. Contact her at for all your freelance writing needs.