Archive for the 'Family' Category

Now That You’re Gone



Aunty Dot.

Granny Dot.






To me….. you were Dot


The world breathes a sigh of relief,

We can eat what we want to now

The world mourns,

Who will challenge us and keep us on our toes?


I never really knew from where you came?

Triomph, in ‘va souf’?

Your’s was a difficult start,

You didn’t ever talk much to me about it.

And while I didn’t know where you came from,

I knew where you were going….

And nothing, and nobody was ever going to stop you.


You were a force. A gigantic force.To be reckoned with.

To be crossed at one’s peril.

For a little old granny,

There was no mistake…. Dot Bramley was in the house


Growing up you embarrassed me

I wore the clothes you made for me

Matched and designed in your style

I don’t dress to match today

I never again want to feel and look like I did growing up


There isn’t a snotty nose you encountered,

Who didn’t get a sermon on the benefits of giving up dairy products.

There wasn’t a verkrampte National Party supporter in your circle of friends,

Who dared open their mouth to express a view

Except Uncle Jack….

Uncle Jack and you, ………. an entertaining relationship, to say the least 🙂


You meddled in my life

You always had a view, and you let me know

Letting it go, and leaving it alone

This was not your style


I still don’t agree with at least half of your philosophies

You were an extremist, with no middle ground

Pragmatic to a fault

With views that came from way, way, way over there

At the edge


But these are not the memories of you that will live with me

These were just the annoying vignettes

That colour my story of you


You gave me permission to be different

To take a road less travelled

To take a view, make it my own and hold on tight

How to go to war for what I believe

And still get a good nights sleep


You showed me that what I believe defines who I am

And that compromising my beliefs,

Leaves the world poorer

Because debate, belief and curiosity takes us forward together,

And ultimately makes us better human beings


You showed generosity in the extreme

And there are people here tonight, who know that, even better than I

The many street vendors you woke up early to make sandwiches for every working day,

2 loaves of brown bread. Cheese. Tomato. Lettuce. Who does that?

You did that Dot.

Without fan fair, no great cause to belong to, no Green Peace T-Shirt


You taught me to drive

You put that little book about boys, pimples and sex under my pillow

It was you who disciplined me. Well, you and fucking Dr Watson!

You got me into University and out of the army


That’s right, Dot Bramley in the house!


13 years ago your Fuzzy, our Fuzzy, left

He left you suddenly, and he left you heartbroken

You were brave and strong, but we watched you break

Slowly, and sometimes quickly, over time, you broke, and you broke and you broke some more.


You kept breaking until last Wednesday,

When your breaking ended.

You’ve left us in body.

But Dottie, you live on in each one of us,

You have left us, never again to be the same


Woolies will miss you. (PS I still can’t bring myself to buy clothes from there)

Your family will miss you

Your grandchildren will miss you

Your friends will miss you

And there’s a whole community of people, who had very little,

But they had you. They’ll surely miss you as well


And I’m certain you’re smiling at me tonight

Because the Warrioress I describe, is so evident in who I am

I am you, and you are me. Your entire spectrum (give or take a tweak here and there).


You did not die last week. You live on. You live on in each and every one of us

We will keep meeting you, in ourselves and in others, for years to come

Every time we have snot sikte, every time we encounter a hungry person

Where we see injustice, and whenever we meet anyone with the surname ‘Karalis’


And when we go, you will still be here.

In our children and in our children’s children

You taught us how to live, and how to eat, and how to help, and how to be brave, how to stand strong, and how to never, ever give up.


And so you’re gone. It’s time for me to step up

To stand on my own

To ask, from time to time, what would Dot do?

Sometimes I’ll do that, and sometimes I wont.

You are with me, and I am with you

Posted by Barrie Bramley on June 4th, 2013 .
Filed under: Family | No Comments »

Dot Bramley 1934 – 2013 :-(


Posted by Barrie Bramley on May 31st, 2013 .
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That Beautiful Noise

This morning, as I lay in bed, preparing for a day of Mentor Facilitation, I was reading some Parker Palmer to help get me into the space I felt I should be in. It’s little gems of his like this,

“I want to learn how to hold the paradoxical poles of my identity together, to embrace the profoundly opposite truths that my sense of self is deeply dependent on others dancing with me and that I still have a sense of self when no one wants to dance.” 

…. that move me into a space I wouldn’t easily go on a full and busy Tuesday morning.

As I got up and entered into the busy routine of things that must get done in order to be at school on time, I became aware of the ‘noise’ of my two daughters as they too were doing what had to be done to be ready for school.

Last night I was scanning through my Facebook feed and came accross this….

It seemed an attractive invitation last night at the end of a busy day, but this morning I didn’t see it in the same way. This morning as I heard my two girls giggling and faffing about plats and shoes and other things, I wanted to be in their ‘noise’ for the entire day.

I’m a single dad (I’m other things as well), who has the privilege of being a full time dad for an entire week, every second week. It’s not the norm for many divorced dads, and I feel like I’m the luckiest guy in the world that I’m able to to have that. During the week that my daughters are with their mom, it’s a very quiet and often lonely home I live in (I share it with a cat and a bird), and I don’t easily do quiet and alone.

But on ‘my week’ it’s a noisy, busy, laughing, shouting, exploring, exciting, frustrating, schooling, gyming, Wii playing, cooking, cleaning, crying, negotiating, loving, hugging, playing, baking, homeworking, full and satisfying week.

Ignore the noise? I shall not. Dance with my daughters at every opportunity? You damn right!!!!!

: )

Posted by Barrie Bramley on September 11th, 2012 .
Filed under: Family | 1 Comment »

Cheeki’s First Birthday Party. And Sadly, His Last

We got Cheeki just over a year ago. It didn’t take him long to become a very integral part of our family. We even had a cat, and the two of them roamed the house freely together. He’d shower with us, watch TV with us, play with us, and at times irritate the crap out of us : )

Last week he flew away. His wings had grown a little too long and before we could clip them, he took flight from the 4th floor balcony. He’d done it before, and we’d simply retrieved him from the trees below. But this time he flew out while we were away for the day. We arrived home to no Cheeki. And later were told a pack of Indian Miners had attacked him.

The video clip below is of his 1st birthday party we threw for him.

It’s a quieter sadder home we have at the moment : (

Posted by Barrie Bramley on August 11th, 2011 .
Filed under: Family, Non-Human Family Members, Video | No Comments »

The HOOHAH! Challenge

Last Saturday night I took Jordi, Carli and a friend (Em) of theirs, to Steers in Illovo for our own HOOHAH! Challenge.

The Challenge was straight-forward. Order 4 of the biggest HOOHAH! Burgers we could, and see who could finish them? None of us had lunch in the lead up to our big competition.

So we had one 41 year old, two 11 year olds, and an 8 year old. The results…. only one winner. Jordi was the only one to finish.  Our excuse for losing was that we had chips and Jordi didn’t. Of course she wasn’t accepting that. Them burgers were BIG!

You can see other pics here

Posted by Barrie Bramley on June 28th, 2011 .
Filed under: Family, Friends, Fun, Photos, Weekend | No Comments »

The Girl’s Gymnastics Display [video]

This past Friday and Saturday was Jordi and Carli’s Gymnastics Display. The culmination of all their work over the past year. It was a stunning performance from both of them.

Two shows on Friday and two on Saturday. An exhausting two days.

To top it off they both received their Central Gauteng Gymnastics Half-Colours.

Below are two short video clips of some of what they did. One for each of them. Carli’s first, and then Jordi’s.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on November 22nd, 2010 .
Filed under: Family, Fun, Gymnastics, Video, Weekend | 1 Comment »

Idols Finals

Last Friday night the girls and I went to watch Lloyd and Elvis Blue do their final 3 songs, before the vote that saw Elvis win Idols 2010, this past Tuesday.

We had a spare ticket and the girls voted to take Carli’s friend, Ollie. It was Ollie’s first trip to a live Idols show, so she was completely taken by the event. This became obvious when she joined the throngs of girls in their high pitched screams, right next to me. How do people hit those notes : )

I’m sure I’ve said it somewhere before, but for R40, Idols puts on one fantastic show. For R100 they put on an amazing show. If you’ve got kids, it doesn’t really matter how you feel, Idols is a great outing.

For a couple of extra pics, click here.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on November 5th, 2010 .
Filed under: Family, Friends, Fun, Photos, Weekend | No Comments »

Cheeki joins the family

Yesterday the girls and I went to Peter Bee Pets (if you haven’t been, you gotta go) to fetch the newest member of our family. His name is Cheeki, and he’s a Cockatiel. Wikipedia has this to say about him and his kind:

The Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), also known as the Quarrion and the Weiro, is the smallest cockatoo endemic to Australia. They are prized as a household pet and companion parrot throughout the world and are relatively easy to breed. As a caged bird, cockatiels are second only in popularity to the Budgerigar.

Carli made a short video of Cheeki this morning. We posted it to YouTube, and it’s available with a click on the video below : )

If you’d like to see some pics of the girls with Cheeki, go here.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on October 24th, 2010 .
Filed under: Family, Fun, Non-Human Family Members, Photos, Video, Weekend | No Comments »

A morning of art

I’ve taken up art. I say that reservedly. I’m no artist. I was reminded recently that there is a difference between ‘artistic’ and ‘creative’. I fancy myself creative. But artistic I am not.

Still it’s in that category of cooking and gardening for many of us. Something we wish we could do, and take it up more for therapy and hobby than anything else. Thankfully we usually go on to both enjoy it and pick up some skill that has us feeling somewhat competent.

Right now it’s more therapy than anything else. A new outlet to express, discover and explore. I’m trusting in the skill component down the road. For now that’s not important.

So I headed into Rosebank, to the Mall, and found me the Mr Magorium equivalent of art shops. I can see how people get so hooked into art? Like computers, it’s a black-hole for money if you let yourself go. I picked up the beginner set, which included real canvases. I felt arty walking out, even though I wasn’t sure what I was letting myself into? I got enough for Jordi and Carli as well.

This morning we settled down and did some painting. My learnings from the morning were simple and profound. You know how they talk about all children being creative, and we knock the creativity out of them? I think it was Picaso? Well it’s true. Jordi and Carli tore into their projects with little to no thought and did things with a paintbrush that left me in awe. I received several lessons with regard to colour, technique and style as we went. There’s no doubt in my mind that whatever I once had by way of being able to paint, that I’ve lost much of it.

Click here if you’d like to see bigger images of the girl’s paintings.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on October 16th, 2010 .
Filed under: Family, Fun, Weekend | No Comments »

June – what a month – woop woop : )

June’s almost over. And what a month it’s been for us : )

School holidays in South Africa to accommodate the World Cup. Little to almost no business for me because of support of the World Cup : )

And so I accepted the no-work reality and worked from home, and played with our family. And play we did. I won’t go into detail on each event, simply point you to albums of pics that we took to record the events.

First Gautrain ride – we attempted to go on the first public Gautrain ride. We didn’t get onto the first one, but darn close

Bafana parade through Sandton – what a day. School closed a day early and we went to join the masses to celebrate and support our National Team

World Cup prep – Jordi and I went shopping for decorations. For our bodies, our cars and our home. We all supported Bafana, and then each picked a 2nd option. Carli took England. Jordi took Brazil. Leish and I took Spain.

World Cup game in Durban – I managed to secure tickets on the Friday morning, and we hit the road (by car) to catch the Japan v Netherlands Game the next afternoon. Home on Sunday

We still have two weeks of holiday to go – woop woop : )

Posted by Barrie Bramley on June 30th, 2010 .
Filed under: Family, Football, Holiday, Photos, Travel | No Comments »