An explosion of gold shatters my early morning kitchen excursions.
My kitchen has been re-painted. It is now a gentle cream except for the main wall. This erupts in a golden yellow that shimmers, glistens and gleams. It is a wall that now causes an early morning smile to crease my cheeks.

I had noticed grey mould in three places in my kitchen. Also on the outer wall of the kitchen which faces the lounge, there were cracks decorating it in long squiggly lines.
Cracks and mould in your kitchen is liable to cause a mini-heart attack amidst floods of tears! I instantly called our complex supervisor before these conditions worsened causing even more disruption and devastation in my kitchen! 

Dewald is our supervisor and over the years he has become a wonderful friend.
Studying my kitchen cracks and mould, he said: “You’ve been here since these flats were built which is…” he cast about for the figure.
“Fifteen years,” I supplied.
“Right,” he affirmed, “do you remember the geyser above your bedroom which burst, resulting in you having to have your whole ceiling replaced.”
“Glory, yes, I had forgotten about that.”
“Maybe some of the water also leaked through to your kitchen, this would explain the mouldy marks. But these long cracks in the wall,” he exhaled. “Gaynor, I think your kitchen needs redecorating.”
My heart sank.
Getting a crew of painters in during these Covid times was not an appealing thought. No, I would just have to live with mouldy and cracked kitchen walls. My thoughts were interrupted by:
“I’ll do it,” said Dewald.
Two days later, the kitchen stripped of everything, my fridge and microwave sitting in my lounge looking embarrassed and ungainly but working nonetheless, Dewald began work.

My sister suggested that I paint one wall a different colour to the rest of the kitchen. I loved that idea. Originally, the whole flat was painted a mellow buttermilk. I liked the colour very much but now the kitchen deserved a change. I decided to paint it this soft cream. Apart from the main wall. This was going to be a startling bright daffodil gold.

Dewald spent four days completing my kitchen. It wasn’t simply a case of painting the new colours onto the walls. There was scraping, sanding and filling more cracks than I cared to see. Then the right colour paint had to be chosen. Dewald had a gentle cream colour which I liked. I went off to Paintsmiths where I finally found a terrific daffodil yellow gold.

I watched with bated breath as Dewald began to apply the yellow.
“Oh glory, have I chosen the wrong colour? Is it too brash and…and a yucky yellow?”
Dewald was becoming impatient with me peering over his shoulder. When my friend, B arrived five minutes later, he said with relief: “Please take her out for the next few hours. I feel like a small animal being watched by an eagle. One wrong move and I’m done for!”

It was a cold, grey day outside when I returned to a kitchen full of sunshine. The golden yellow seemed alight with an energy all of its own. My wall seemed to say: “It doesn’t matter what it is like outside. Here where I reign, is a sunburst of light. This is a place for smiles and laughter!”

My golden wall is now decorated with art that means so much to me: My cousin Antonia’s painting that she did when she was seven. She is now a gorgeous married woman of twenty-three. My niece, Megan’s painting done five years ago. I have an abstract Lisl Barrie landscape and a ‘Green Door’, a painting of Perdita by my friend Dessie Evans and the first painting that B ever did. All of these contain memories of happiness buried deep within them.

It is small wonder that my golden wall causes a smile to blossom with my first cup of coffee!

Sitting on my microwave beside my wall are three duck candles. They have been there for years.
“Now you match perfectly!”
These golden waxen ducks were a gift from Dawn Lindberg. To me, my ducks are priceless. They conjure up the image of Dawn’s big smile. Mums recently told me that when I was a schoolgirl, she used to drop me off at Dawn’s for guitar lessons. I want to say to Dawn: “You see, this is one of the reasons I don’t remember being introduced to you as an actor. You had already won your place in my heart years previously.”
This explains the feeling of Dawn always being there.

Four years after my fall, I went back onstage in my one woman show My Plunge to Fame. I had discovered that I was no longer able to learn words. You can imagine my fear standing in the wings awaiting my stage entrance not knowing what I was going to say. An hour later I took my curtain call to a standing ovation. My family were in the front row. I looked at them and smiled. And then I gazed out at the rest of the audience. Isn’t it strange how I can remember one person out of a theatre filled with masses of friends. Standing in the back row at the left of the theatre, with a glorifying smile was Dawn. Her facial expression was wide and beaming with affirmation.

The Naledi Awards, were created by Dawn in 2004 and she and her husband, Des established them as the most respected theatre awards in South Africa. In 2016 I received an email from Dawn explaining that they were introducing a new category, The Lesedi Spirit of Courage Award. They wished to present the first one to me. Mums and I were given air flights to Johannesburg to attend the ceremony.
What an utterly shiny, bright golden moment that was!

Dawn Lindberg fell victim to that killer, Covid. She died on the 6th December 2020.
I look at my golden Dawn ducks with gratitude for everything she meant to me as a youthful guitarist and later as my special friend.
I miss her.

Turning from my golden kitchen wall, my eyes are caught by yet more gold. My beautiful mongoose painting by Peter Pharoah is caught by a ray of sunshine and seems to glow.
Many years ago, I had the good fortune to make a film in the Mala Mala game reserve. It was there that the pert, cheeky mongoose introduced himself to me. In my mongoose painting  differing golds abound creating the image of a curious, peering mongoose. It’s wonderful how a photograph or painting can transport you to another place. Those differing golds intertwine and carry me to a Land Rover bumping it’s way through the veld, watched by the eyes of zebra, lion, elephant and those of the inquisitive mongoose.

I look out at my small garden. It is a sunny but chilly day. A leaf is caught in a vortex. It performs a golden dance all it’s own, glinting and glistening as it pirouettes in the breeze. I stand watching it move – gold, dark, gold again.

Such is life. There are incredibly dark times. And then brilliant golden moments. The recent horrific looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, followed by the gold of people working together to clean up the mess. I think of my golden wall and the joy it brings me, the golden sunlight falling through the trees, the wonderful golden smile of Mums as she greets me each day.

My life is overflowing with gold……………


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