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Methodius Hayes [userpic]

Where's my journal?

July 28th, 2016 (11:47 am)

current location: South Africa, Pretoria
current mood: frustrated

When I log in to LJ, I can't find my own journal. I can see it OK when I'm not logged in, but the moment I log in it's gone.

Methodius Hayes [userpic]

Notes from Underground, a 10th blogiversary

November 28th, 2015 (07:10 am)

Ten years ago I started a new blog, Notes from Underground, which eventually let me to post less on LiveJournal, because it had an easier-to-use editor.

It reminded me, however, that LiveJournal is still here, and if WordPress mess any more with their blog editor, I might be posting more here in future. For now, however, the others make it easier to post photos, so I prefer to use them for illustrated posts.

Some that my LiveJournal friends (if there are any left) might like to see are of a holiday trip we took last spring to the Western Cape via the west coast, and saw fields of spectacular spring flowers in Namaqualand.

Methodius Hayes [userpic]

UK holiday May 2005

May 10th, 2015 (06:08 am)

In May 2005 Val and I set off on a holiday trip to the UK. We didn’t blog about it as we went along, because we did not always have internet access, so this is written after the event.

Most of the family bits in in our family history blog, and some of the parts where we visited friends are in our other blogs, but each post is linked to the next so anyone interested in following them in order can do so. This page lists them all, so people interested in a particular place or people can go straight to what they are looking for.

Because of our interest in family history, we visited relations, some of whom we had never met before, and also some of the places our ancestors had come from. We visited old friends, some of wwhom we hadn't seen for many years.

Val had visited the UK in 1971, and I had gone there for postgraduate study at St Chad’s College, Durham, from 1966-1968. It was over 30 years since either of us had been there, so there were many changes, some expected, and some not.

Here, then are the links to the posts.

Methodius Hayes [userpic]

My blogging year: 2014

January 3rd, 2015 (04:45 am)
current location: Gauteng, South Africa

Here are some of the highlights of my blog posts in 2014.

They are not necessarily the most popular, or the most commented-on, but the ones that I think were worth reading, and the ones I would most like to see comments on.

January 2014

February 2014
March 2014April 2014
May 2014
June 2014

July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
Could there be said to be any outstanding highlights for the whole year?

Probably it is
The clergy with Archbishop Damaskinos after the Divine Liturgy in St Demetrius Church. Deacon Stephen nHayes, Fr Elias Palmos, Archbishop Damaskinos, Fr George Cocotos, Archimandrite Athanasius Akunda

Methodius Hayes [userpic]

Politics and stuff

May 18th, 2014 (06:59 am)
current location: Tshwane, Gauteng

Here in South Africa we've just had a general election, so we've been thinking a lot about politics lately. My comments on the election results are here and here, if anyone is interested. My thoughts can be summarised in a verse from the Psalms: Put not your trust in princes, nor in any child of man, because there is no help in them.

My wife has now retired, so we've been doing a lot of family history research together, and that has meant there's less time for blogging.

I've been posting less on LJ and more on other blogging platforms because on the others it is easier to include pictures.

Methodius Hayes [userpic]

Back again...

March 28th, 2014 (10:11 am)

I can't remember when I was last on LiveJournal. Our phone was out of order for 6 weeks, but it's been longer than that, so that isn't a real excuse, Most of my LJ friends seem to have stopped posting anyway, and the only ones I see regularly are seraphimsigrist, meadowskete and poliphilo, and they've probably given up on me anyway.

If anyone is interested, you can read about our return to the Dark Ages here, and some reflections on recent events in Ukraine here, since I seem to be doing most of my writing about things in other places than here.

Methodius Hayes [userpic]

New web address

January 16th, 2014 (08:43 pm)
current location:

I've now found a new home for my web pages, which you can see at


I used to keep my web pages on Bravenet, which, however, went belly-up about 18 months ago. I hope the new host will provwe more reliable.

Methodius Hayes [userpic]

Spring is here

October 28th, 2013 (11:18 pm)

We’ve had a few rainy days in the last couple of weeks, and on Sunday last week my wife Val bought some Barberton daisies in various colours to plant outside out bedroom window.

Barberton daisies

Barberton daisies

They are planted around a bush with pink flowers that seen to flower several times a year. We are not sure what it is called. A friend on Facebook, where we also posted the picture, suggested that it was a “pink bottlebrush”, but I’m not sure if that is correwct — does anyone know?

Pink bottlebrush?

Pink bottlebrush?

Here is a close-up picture of one of the flowers:

Pink bottlebrush?

Pink bottlebrush?

We like it, because we used to have such a bush in the garden in Melmoth in Zululand, where we lived 30 years ago, and so it reminds us of home.

And when we were driving to Johannesburg last Saturday evening for Vespers at St Nicholas Church, there were rain clouds all over, with a hole in the sky through which the sun was shining, just when we got to church.

St Nicholas Church, Brixton, Johannesburg - clouds at Vespers

St Nicholas Church, Brixton, Johannesburg – clouds at Vespers

So spring showers bring pretty flowers.

Methodius Hayes [userpic]

A memorable journey through Namibia and Botswana

June 20th, 2013 (05:20 pm)

In May 2013 we, Steve & Val Hayes, went on a three week holiday in Namibia and Botswana, which we have chronicled, with photos in a series of blog posts. I didn't write any of them on LJ, because putting photos in is a bit of a schlepp, but here's a list of links to the various posts, in case anyone is interested.

One purpose of the journey was to meet old friends, some of whom I had not seen for 40 years or more. I knew them when I worked for the Anglican Church in Namibia from 1969 to 1972 (when I was deported by the South West African Administration, acting under orders from the South African Security Police). We also visited some of Val’s cousins who were living in Windhoek, Namibia, and did some family history in the archives and church records. For part of our journey we followed in the footsteps of Val’s great-great-grandfather Fred Green, who in 1855 travelled up the Taokhe and Okavango Rivers by boat from Lake Ngami to the Popa rapids. One could not do that today, as you can see from some of the photos.

Okavango River at Rundu

Okavango River at Rundu

So here are our blog posts, with photos, more or less in chronological order.

  1. Kang: ver in die ou Kalahari | Notes from underground — from Tshwane in Gauteng to Kang in the middle of Botswana, in the Kalahari desert, 6 May 2013

  2. Trans-Kalahari Highway, Kang to Windhoek | Notes from underground
    Windhoek: family and old friends | Khanya. In Windhoek we stayed with Enid and Justin Ellis. Enid is Val’s cousin on her mother’s side. We also saw Bishop Assaria Kamburona of the Oruuano Church, and Kaire Mbuende, son of Gabriel Mbuende, the late secretary of the Oruuano Church, whom I knew in the 1970s.

  3. Elusive Namibian families | Hayes & Greene family history. We did some family history research in the Windhoek archives, looking mainly for descendants of Francis and Frances Stewardson (nee Morris). We found some, others remain mysterious.

  4. Books and worms and things | Notes from underground. We visited a Windhoek bookshop, which seemed to have lots of things not available in South African bookshops. And found that Enid and Justin Ellis keep some strange pets.

  5. Sunday in Windhoek: Quaker meeting and walking the dogs | Khanya. We couldn’t find an Orthodox Church in Windhoek, so we went with Enid and Justin Ellis to their Quaker meeting instead, and met another old friend, Hiskia Uanivi, whom I had known when he was a student at the Paulinum Lutheran Theological Seminary. He is now Archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Diviane Word — a title bestowed on him by the Namibian government, which said he could not register a church with the word “God” in its name.

  6. Tracking down elusive Namibian families | Hayes & Greene family historyA rather unproductive morning in the Lutheran Church Archives, but finding more useful material at the Windhoek Scientific Society, and dinner with Mburumba Kerina

  7. After a week in Windhoek we went North to Outjo | Notes from underground. We observed the change, or lack of it, in small Namibian towns and in the countryside, and stayed at the Sasa Safari Camp near Outjo, in tranquil surroundings with a magnificent view.

  8. In the Etosha National Park 15-17 May 2013 | Notes from underground. From Outjo we went to the Etosha National Park, where we spent a couple of days looking at wild animals.

  9. Ovamboland, Namibia 17-20 May 2013, with flashbacks to the 1970s | Khanya. In Ovamboland we met more old friends, and made some new ones. I recalled my previous clandestine visit, hidden under a matress at the back of a bakkie. This time it was open and above-board.

  10. Across northern Namibia | Notes from underground — travelling from Odibo in Ovamboland to Rundu in the Kavango Region of Namibia, with notes on social and economic change

  11. Drowning in the Okavango: in the steps (and wake) of the brothers Green | Hayes & Greene family history –following the Okavango river, where one of the Green brothers drowned, from Rundu in Namibia to Shakawe in Botswana

  12. From Shakawe to Maun via Lake Ngami | Hayes & Greene family history — Fred Green and his companions went from Lake Ngami to the Popa Falls by boat in September-October 1855. We went the other way, by car, in May 2013.

  13. A day in Maun and another boat ride, to see a spectacular sunset and moonrise over the Okavango Delta.

  14. The Botletle or Boteti River – in the 1850s Fred Green and his brother Charles were often to be found hunting on the Botletle River, so we followed the river to find what its attraction was. They also left their mark on a baobab in the area, which is known to this day as “Green’s Baobab”.

  15. Homeward bound — having seen most of what we had come away to see, we headed homewards to Pretoria.

Methodius Hayes [userpic]

Book launch: "Die Onsienlike Son"

August 27th, 2012 (05:47 am)
current location: Tshwane, Gauteng

Die Onsienlike SonDie Onsienlike Son by Jacobus van der Riet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last Saturday we went to the launch of a new book, a book of Afrikaans poems on the lives of the saints.

That in itself is a fairly unusual thing.

There was a time, not all that long ago, within living memory of some of us, when those in power defined an Afrikaner as someone who was white, spoke Afrikaans, was a member of one of the three Dutch Reformed Churches and supported the National Party.

Fr Kobus chatting at his book launch

Back in those days, none of the Dutch Reformed Churches did saints, though things may be changing now. Some of them do candles nowadays, which they didn’t do back then, so can saints be far behind?

But these poems are by Fr Kobus van der Riet, an Orthodox priest. Or, to give him his full title, Archimandriet Jacobus van der Riet. At the back of the book are brief hagiographies of the saints who are the subjects of the poems, and who go back as far as Abraham, but also include 20th century saints like St Nektarius of Pentapolis and St John of San Francisco.

The book is also illustrated with ikons painted by our daughter, Julia Bridget Hayes.

Fr Kobus signing copies of his book “Die Onsienlike Son”

Fr Kobus was originally from Harrismith in the Free State, and was educated at Stellenbosch. He was receiuved into the Orthodox Church in 1994, and was ordained as a priest in 2002. He has visited Greece, Russia and Romania, and spent about a year at a monastery in the Peleponese, and about 3 months at monasteries on the Holy Mountain. He studied theology at St Tikhon’s Seminary in Pennsylvania in the USA.

In introducing his book of poems he said that he had written mainly about saints in countries he had visited, so that he could get a feel for their lives and circumstances.

People asked questions about the role of saints in the life of the Orthodox Church, and the place of ikons. Fr Kobus explained that people were recognised as saintsa in the Orthodox Church because people could see the glory of God in them, either in their life and ministry, or sometimes even after their death. For example, there is St Phanourios, who was a lost saint, and was rediscovered when people found an ikon of him. People ask for his prayers when they have lost something, and sometimes make cakes, which he asked people to make for his mother, and pray for her, since she lived an immoral life. He is commemorated on 27 August.

The saints are thus like friends, whom we can ask to pray for us, and, as in the case of St Phanourios, we can sometimes honour their prayer requests too.

These kinds of themes and subjects are unusual for Afrikaans poetry, so it will be interesting to see how the book is received, and whether it makes a lasting contribution to Afrikaans literature. There is some very good poetry written in Afrikaans, which is in some ways much more expressive and poetic than English, which seems more suited to prose than poetry.

There were about 40 people there for the occasion, at the premises of the Protea Boekhuis in Clydesdale, Pretoria. Some came from St Nicholas Parish in Brixton, Johannesburg, where Fr Kobus was received into the Orthodox Church in 1994.

Fr Kobus with some of the Orthodox Christians present at the book launch: Dn Stephen Hayes, Marios Joseph, Carol Hamman, Fr Kobus, Rita Sullivan, Zoe Joseph, Val Hayes

I’ve written about this in English, though really someone should write about it in Afrikaans, and I hope one or more of my Afrikaans blogging friends will do so — there is one blog mention here. You can find more about the book here: Jacobus van der Riet bespreek sy gedigte oor heiliges in Die onsienlike son. And you can buy a copy in various bookshops, or here: loot.co.za or in other online book shops.

You can see the original version of this post here.

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