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June 09, 2012

Mombasa Miscellany

Barbara Durlacher recalls the historic port of Mombasa as it was decades ago.

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May 05, 2012

The Lily Pond

Barbara Durlacher's tale tells of a dramatic conclusion to an unhappy relationship.

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April 28, 2012

Wedding Presents

...All in all, despite the large number of slightly negative comments at the time, my feeling was that the dress was a triumph, a graceful and imaginative design for a young woman the public were more used to seeing in riding breeches and hard hat. I thought it was lovely...

Barbara Durlacher recalls the day she queued to see Princess Anne's wedding dress.

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April 14, 2012

The Little Red Car

Barbara Durlacher tells how she and the little red car remained disunited.

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April 07, 2012

It’s A Hard Live When You’re On Your Own

Barbara Durlacher’s tale contains a shocking confession.

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March 31, 2012

Bookshops I have Know

“All bookshops seem to have this wonderful aura of chummy friendliness,’’ writes book-lover Barbara Durlacher.

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March 24, 2012

Cape Town’s Malay Quarter – Part Two

Barbara Durlacher presents the second part of a vivid word-portrait of Cape Town’s vividly colourful Malay Quarter.

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March 17, 2012

Cape Town’s Malay Quarter – Part One

“The Malays have given South Africans another valued legacy much appreciated and enjoyed all over the country. This is their Eastern inspired recipes such as Bobotie (a casserole of lightly spiced and curried minced meat with a custard topping), koeksusters (narrow doughnut-like pastries, fried in oil and dipped in thick sugar syrup) and sosaties (small pieces of chicken, beef or lamb soaked in a curried sweet/sour marinade and threaded onto thin wooden sticks). These are “braaied” or barbecued (cooked over hot coals outdoors) and much enjoyed by everyone.,’’ writes Barbara Durlacher, introucing us to a flavoursome quarter of the city of Cape Town.

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September 28, 2011

A Tall Story

...“Why’ve you been walking?”

“Well, it’s like this. I’m looking for my son. I’m sure he’s out there somewhere and if I keep on looking, I’m know I’ll find him....

Barbara Durlacher’s story tells of a chance meeting in an all-night diner.

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July 27, 2011

And Then There Was Tresor...

Barbara Durlacher tells the inspiring story of a young man who was determined to be a writer.

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July 20, 2011

South Africa In Transition

“An elderly friend’s son, owner of a large and prosperous mixed farm not far from Johannesburg, is in the process of moving from South Africa, as fears of land-grabs and nationalization grow stronger,’’ writes Barbara Durlacher. “He, and a group of other local farmers are setting the process in motion to lease a huge tract of prime farming land in Angola, where – with the help of several trusted farm managers who will live on the property - they plan to run the new farms, while continuing to operate their South African properties as they wait for the blow to fall here.’’

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June 15, 2011

The 1940s And All That

Musing on the way the world has changed, Barbara Durlacher recalls a flight from the UK to South Africa more than 40 years ago.

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June 08, 2011

The Hill

Barbara Durlacher's story tells of a beating and a terrible secret.

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June 01, 2011

The Last Typewriter

As the final typewriter ever to be made rolled of the assembly line the other day Barbara Durlacher found herself musing on the birth and death of a machine that placed billions of words before billions of readers.

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February 23, 2011

How’s About A Bunny Chow?

Barbara Durlacher introduces us to a tasty South African treat – the Bunny Chow.

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December 08, 2010

Afternoon Tides

“There must be many amongst us who have recollections of seaside holidays and the plumes of spray we were told were ‘sea horses.,’’ writes Barbara Durlacher, going to to tell a remarkable tale.

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November 03, 2010

Indian Miscellany – Part Two

...I was taken up to a sort of mezzanine floor above the shop, where a large wooden trunk was opened and great armfuls of lovely cloth were carelessly thrown onto the bright Persian carpets covering the floor. Despite falling instantly in love with the colour and texture of these delicious garments, I was unable to make up my mind which ones to choose...

Barbara Durlacher tells of a visit to the beguilling city of Mombassa.

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October 27, 2010

Indian Miscellany - Part One

...it became customary for soldiers and merchants on home leave from India to stop over at the Cape for up to six months to recover their health after the heat and rigours of the climate in the East...

Barbara Durlacher has been delving into Indian history.

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October 20, 2010

Memories Of Guy Fawkes Day

Barbara Durlacher recalls the infectious gaiety of Guy Fawkes Day celebrations in mile-high Johannesburg, South Africa.

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October 13, 2010

Not My Problem

...At last the bus was ready and they had it on the road. The brakes were a bit wonky, and the gear shift had to be held in place, otherwise it slipped into neutral. There was a bad oversteer to the left going round corners. But the bus went along well enough if it did not travel too fast...

Could this bus be heading towards a disaster?

Barbara Durlacher tells an African tale.

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March 24, 2010

Not A Pain In The Neck, But In The Legs

...In conclusion, whether you enjoy the many benefits of the advances in medical science and modern inventions, or are one of those stout souls determined to ‘tough it out’ to the last; in today’s world you have the greatest freedom of choice in medical care and medication in the history of mankind...

Barbara Durlacher, outlining the physcal problems suffered by monarchs down the centuries, emphasises that we have never had it so good when it comes to medical care.

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January 13, 2010

Fresh Fish For Lunch

“Last night I cooked myself a deliciously simple meal of beautiful fresh Kingklip (fish) and this suddenly triggered a memory of a sunny Saturday morning in Cape Town in about 1964 when I paid a one and only visit to the famous District Six.,’’ writes Barbara Durlacher.

“I hope that I've managed to convey some of the feeling of vibrant life and colour that was such a feature of the place during its heyday, and that although everyone knew it was a dangerous slum, there were still many appealing facets of this historic area.

“After the demolition, the public outcry - which reached many people overseas and put sufficient pressure on the Nationalist Government for them to decide it was a potato too hot to handle, also meant that apart from the District Six Apartheid Museum and the Cape Technikon, the land has been left completely undeveloped in the 40 years since the place was razed to the ground.’’

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December 30, 2009

The Endless Journey

An elderly man leaves his home and flies thousandsof miles to live with a woman in need of companionship.

The woman, once noted for her beauty was being betrayed by her sagging muscles and tissues. "As the slow destruction continued and her fabled beauty became a memory, her underlying cruel streak came to the fore. Her selfish lack of concern and interest in others, never very strong at the best of times, disappeared with increasing age, and she, who’d always been the centre of attention in every gathering, felt no need to entertain her visitor or provide for his comfort.''

What a ghastly situation for the old man. How can he escape from it?

Barbara Durlacher tells a satisfying tale.

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December 23, 2009

Health For The People – Philophela

...Experienced and sympathetic translators are always on hand to ease the fears of patients unused to medical procedures and every member of staff has experienced a catch in the throat at the end of a successful operation to see the joy and happiness of a sufferer when their pain has been eased...

Barbara Durlacher tells of a train which brings expert medical help to people living in remote country districts in South Africa.

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December 16, 2009

Friends For Tea

...But there is one particular bird of whom I have become extremely fond. He, or perhaps it is a she, is a small black and white fiscal shrike who has developed a passion for grated cheese and who invariably arrives within a few seconds of me taking a seat on the patio...

Barbara Durlacher enjoys the company of friends who visit her garden.

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December 09, 2009

An Island In Crisis

Robben Island, the key site in the history of the new South Africa, is facing a major crisis as Barbara Durlacher reveals.

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December 02, 2009

Cat Burglars

...Wandering around, what do you think I found? The most beautiful, marble baby’s foot – the carving was so perfect, you could almost feel it warm in your hand...

Barbara Durlacher, from her Highveld home, recalls travel adventures in Greece.

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November 25, 2009

Christmas At The Assembly

...‘And you, dear Miss Ernleigh,’ a cultured voice interrupted the introductions. ‘I take it you are also here at the invitation of Lady Chisholm?’

Glancing up, she took in the imposing figure of the Duke, a richly liveried man-servant at his side.

Rising quickly to her feet, she dropped him a deep curtsey. ‘Yes indeed, Your Grace,’ she replied, while glancing at him with brilliant green eyes through a thick fringe of lashes. Her eyes gleamed as she noted his interest...

Belinda meets her match at a ball in the Bath Assembly rooms, but will she be happy?

Barbara Durlacher tells an intriguing love story.

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November 18, 2009

The Fall Of The Iron Curtain In 1989

Barbara Durlacher tells of a trip into East Germany three years after the fall of the wall which divided the country during the Cold War years.

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November 11, 2009

Gauteng’s ‘Gautrain’

Barbara Durlacher brings a detailed report on one of the world’s biggest civil engineering projects – the building of an underground railway to serve a large commuter population in in South Africa’s Gauteng province.

To read more articles and stories by Barbara please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/joburg_days/

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October 28, 2009

Strawberry Feast

...In doing so, she moved the Castor Sugar in the light blue box to stand behind the Epsom Salts, also packed in a light blue box. Always methodical, she gloried in the regimentation of her cupboards – not for her the slapdash methods of other housewives. Lordy, lordy, no! In her kitchen and pantry, everything had to be perfect...

Barbara Durlacher’s tale confirms that it always pays to check the label on the box.

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October 14, 2009

Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust

...Scott’s attempt to protect and nurture the thousands of migrating birds in this area has, over the years, matured into a vitally important link in the bird migratory routes from as far afield as Siberia and Kazakhstan to southern Europe, north and South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique, and it is encouraging to note that the success of Slimbridge has led to the creation of six more areas in Britain and one in Scotland which help to preserve and consolidate the world’s wild bird population...

Barbara Durlacher tells of the Slimbridge Wildfowl Sanctuary and its founder Sir Peter Scott.

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September 30, 2009

Games With The Littlies

Barbara Durlacher’s disturbing story highlights the dangers of dreaming up a new identity for oneself.

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August 05, 2009

Live Steam

Columnist Barbara Durlachercame open this article recently and is eager to trace its author.

To read Barbara’s own words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/joburg_days/

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July 15, 2009

On Finding Alistair Cook

...Unless one has access to the commercially produced, and more expensive “Audio Books” from the Listener’s Library, or is a registered blind person and able to make use of the wonderful free service from ‘Tape Aids for the Blind” there is simply no access to any form of entertainment for the blind in South Africa..

Brabara Durlacher highlights a social need.

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June 24, 2009


In the first of a new series of weekly columns Barbara Durlacher introduces us to the ghastly sound of the vuvuzela.

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