Sometimes I realise afresh how extreme the South African climate is. Yesterday our lawn was frozen, the blades of grass sharp icicles that hurt the dogs’ feet when they went out for a piddle. (The photograph is blurred, because I was shivering.)

I chose, instead, to look upward, where the skies were blue and the sun was doing a pale imitation of summer.

And so onto Sidey’s weekend theme: poetry. When I came to WordPress over a year ago, from another blogging platform, my intention was to only post poetry and creative writing here. (*Points to sidebar / list of categories.*) Life, however, has its own agenda. It is no big secret that I suffer from fibromyalgia and sciatica and, on some days, am laid almost paralysed with pain. Some time ago, my lovely Doctor Neighbour prescribed Cymbalta and – largely – made the pain go away. Cymbalta is an anti-anxiety drug, but research found – coincidently – that it eased fibromyalgia symptoms. One of the downsides is that it somewhat dampens creativity and it almost immediately put my poetry muse into a coma. Food and wine took over this blog, which is not at all distressing to me, after all, as Mister Berchoux said “A poem was never worth as much as a dinner.”

And so to dinner and the weather. Only a curry would to against these sub-zero temperatures. I, homesick for Simonstown, yearned for a bowl of Mrs Patel’s biryani and set out to recreate the taste from memory.

Satisfying and spicy, I was flooded with thoughts of gratitude. Looking at my wine quote of the day this morning, I can only wonder at the synchronicity of minds, how perfectly appropriate: “Wine is bottled poetry.” Robert Louis Stevenson.



  1. My GP has recommended I go on an anti depressant for my rib pain! Hope your poetry muse emerges healthy and whole 🙂 Lovely photographs – even of the grass, and I am so glad not to have to face JNB winters xxx

  2. Yay for your lovely Doctor Neighbour who prescribed something to make most of the pain go away albeit that is has dampened your creativity. It has however allowed you to share wonderful food and personal posts with us.
    Stay warm in cold Jo’burg.
    🙂 Mandy

  3. Ah, that Robert Louis Stevenson quote….so HIM… it. Medication has it’s ups and downs, doesn’t it? I have never forgotten your black dog poem, which sat in my mind much as the greats do. I hope the muse can hack his way, prince like, through the thorns round your castle. I’d love to read more one day.

  4. I didn’t know about the Fibro; I’m sorry, because I know how debilitating it is. I’m glad you got something to help, but what a shame about the side effects.

    As for the poetry, I remember thinking a while back that I was sure you used to make regular poem posts and wondering what happened to them. But your food posts are so entertaining I stopped wondering. You will never suffer a shortage of readers 🙂

  5. It sucks that we have to depend on pills for our well being. The breyani looks yummy and warming. I hope you muse comes back though. I miss reading your poetry.
    Have a splendid day Cin.

  6. Hi ,I was browsing my friends spaces and came across your delightful space , thoroughly enjoyed your pics and writing
    Wishing you much love and happiness
    Ian aka Emu

  7. I was looking at that grass, thinking: ice? But yes, winter is nearing for you – oh, wouldn’t you love to skip it? Or maybe it’s a relief after a warm summer?

    Our summers only occasionally get very hot, usually it’s nice without a coat (and that’s it). We’re having some great days here but it’s going up and down. About 20C today – lovely!

      • We have 20C during the day, too, but that’s almost summer! But at night, it doesn’t get that cold, it’s about 10C (15C in full summer).

        I’m not a winter person either, but I think I may prefer your winters and my summers. 🙂

  8. I had no idea you suffered from so much pain… ‘courage’, Cindy. (French for be courageous or something) When that happens I think mental creativity is often just submerged but cooking is soothing on so many levels. And we get to share it too! (virtually)

  9. I never knew you had a ‘condirion;, Cindy or that you qwere into poetry, my first love; I only know that conditions in Adelaide are similar to wher you are as we had frost on the ground yesterday morning though the minimum in Adelaide rarely goes below – 1 degree

  10. While I love your poetry, I also thoroughly enjoy your food and wine post. I, too, have fibro. My pain lessened severly when I had a hysterectomy almost eight years ago…I was told it would most likely cause it to worsen. I do have some bad days and had wondered about Cymbalta. I took antianxiety meds years ago (after a hold up and then for migraines)…it shot the muse all to hell. I try to manage now without them…wine therapy LOL!!!!!

  11. Your writing about food and wine take me on a journey 🙂 I love to read something new here everyday.
    Sorry to hear about your condition… I hope you are better nowadays 🙂

  12. No one believes that joburg can get so cold. They all think I am on a different planet.
    Everone you don’t need snow to be cold!!
    But you do need wine when it is cold!!!haha.

  13. Spicy curry for a cold, grey day? Right on target, Cin! Glad you are feeling better these days (I didn’t know about your fibro struggle either). And speaking of port, I have a fabulous bottle from Murati that I will happily send your way – just say the word! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  14. If I could take Aderall for my ADD without the side affects then everything would be really great!!!! But I had to stop taking that. 😦

  15. Interesting. For me, I came to my current blog thinking it would be a great repository for memoir-based creative nonfiction, which is mostly what I was writing a year ago… but very quickly, the poetry muse took over.

    Cin, I would hardly say you (or your blog) are short on creativity – and after all, poetry is just one form, and being pain-free is not without its merits. 🙂 🙂

  16. “Wine is bottled poetry.” Robert Louis Stevenson.

    Mister Berchoux said “A poem was never worth as much as a dinner.”

    When I visit The Only Cin . . . I enjoy dinner AND a show! Complete with wine (and no whine). 😀

  17. I’m sorry to hear you have Fibromyalgia. My daughter suffers with it. Sciatica is no fun either. I’ve had bouts of it. I like curry, too. Yummy. Blessings to you, Cindy…

  18. I find regular shiatsu and walking in the sunshine helps enormously, Cin – and, of course, as you point out, a good red and delicious spicy curry doesn’t hurt 😀

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  20. Och! I dinna kin!! Fibromyalgia and sciatica – poop!

    Cin, this makes your whole “going to the office” experience a much bigger deal. Bravo for having the courage to not let the conditions stop you. Wow. I’m still floored.

    Hope all that good wine doesn’t neutralize the meds. Oh, wait…maybe that’s the way the muse slides through.

  21. Cymbalta – not one I know: but I find it fascinating when one drug made for one treatment helps in an unexpected area.
    I know Amitriptyline (Elavil, Tryptizol, Laroxyl, Sarotex, Lentizol) is an anti-depressant that helps hugely with chronic pain, in much smaller doses that would be used for depression, and that one of the anti-epileptics is used for treatment of trigeminal neuralia.

    I sure there are many other examples… of course the drug thalidomide being a prime example of when treatments went wrong back in the 60’s: however a new use has now been found for thalidomide

  22. I had no idea, Cindy. It is late and I’m spiraling down, but I shall revisit tomorrow to read your poetry…I’m so excited.

    (As an aside, I spent years on different meds that killed my muse. My heart goes out for I remember that battle.)

  23. I’m so sorry for your health problems: I didn’t know about them. Well, I must say that, though you aren’t writing poetry, well, your posts are so witty and pleasant that they’re just like poetry. I’m only sorry that I haven’t time enough to read them all. 😦

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  25. A good meal is poetry solidified.

    Thanks for the tip on cymbalta. I know someone who could use some help. Fibromalgia is no fun at all. So sorry about that and still you slug on with smiles … Hugs!

    So that’s where your poetry is. I look forward to freeing some time to mine it. Wonderful! 🙂

  26. I do so enjoy the way you write! even if poetry isn’t happening at the moment. I also wrestle with pain and recurring illnesses, so understand what you say, and my creative muse has abandoned me. I love reading your blog, even though I don’t always leave a comment 🙂

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