Giving Love

20150211_065444With a theme like GIVING, you do put a lot of pressure on your life, both in the personal and business capacity. So when February and Valentine’s comes around, you are afforded the opportunity to mix business and pleasure without alarming your spouse.

It felt as though the year had only just started, and there it was, Valentine’s Day, marked in pink on the calendar. The media nudges us on to splurge on the other half. Buy him that gift hamper, or get her that massage, or maybe make a reservation at that expensive restaurant where it’s impossible to get in, or, heaven forbid, take the missus to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Come on men, take one for the team. And we fall for this trick very year.

Polvo Dog WalkFor that very reason, we had a different approach to the day traditionally devoted to love. We held a Valentine’s Dog Walk. Now I know what you’re thinking: How does that fit in with the whole GIVING theme? Right? Well, just look at the possibilities of having such an event. All round you can open the board and be unique. You can have a lot of fun in the process, too. Here’s what we did…

20150215_080949Firstly, with doggies being the key focus, we decided there would be an entry fee and proceeds would go to our local animal welfare, in this instance it was the Knysna Animal Welfare Society (KAWS). Immediately it became an event for a worthy cause (or shall I say KAWS), and there was a sincere appreciation by all pet-loving folk. We were also in the fortunate position to involve the Pledge Nature Reserve, a 10ha piece of land with a variety of birds and plants in the heart of Knysna, and conveniently situated right behind Polvo Coffee bar. The reserve had a number of hiking routes, perfect for a dog walk. We decided to split entry fees between KAWS and Pledge, so that both nature and animal welfare could benefit. We went live with the event and involved all manner of social and print media marketing. We roped in the local Curves gym, got Simply Pets to sponsor us a nifty little prize for the cutest dog, and that was it.20150215_084704

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Sadly, not even a crime author can plan for every eventuality. On the day, we were all psyched and excited and game to take doggies through the reserve. That is, until we opened the curtains. Yes, you guessed it! Slap-bang in the middle of summer, on this very special day, just for the duration of our walk, Knysna would face a freak rain storm.

It would be incorrect to say the day rained out, because some folks did pitch and they enjoyed the hike even though they were soaking wet. The harsh reality is that most people imagined the event would be postponed. No matter, we still had fun. And not only did we manage to generate a couple of Rands for a good cause, but we also created awareness about the local animal welfare and nature reserve.

Giving Giving Gone

After a long break, it is time to get back into the writing saddle. Polvo, our speciality coffee bar in the heart of Knysna, has opened its doors and I have shared the entire process here. Now it is time to move on. This blog was always intended to show what an author gets up to when not writing. So here goes…
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Every year my wife and I choose a theme that best describes our intentions for that year. It’s not unlike a resolution, but in many ways it is also different. Let me explain. For 2014 we decided on ADVENTURE as our theme. Whatever we did throughout the year had a sense of adventure about it. Be it operations, resigning work, opening a new business, launching a new novel, or buying a new car. We simply committed ourselves to having fun and enjoying the decisions we made.

For 2015 our theme is GIVING. So how have we resorted to bringing about this benevolent value in our daily lives? On a personal level, we have committed ourselves to giving our time to others, whether they mean only to talk about their personal issues or just wish to vent. On a business front, I wanted to make myself available for community and outreach projects?

So, in light of our new theme, I began January by getting behind the Project Colour SA team. These 7 matric students travelled from Johannesburg to Cape Town in 3 TukTuks, raising funds for St Francis orphanage along the way. I arranged for them to do a pit stop at Polvo along the way and shared with others about what they are doing. Everything was a bit rushed at the end, but it was still the start of a year of giving.

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The team from Project Colour SA enjoying a decent cup of coffee at Polvo Coffee Bar in Knysna.

I believe 2015 has so much in store. So much beauty, so much passion. This year I want to add to that beauty and that passion. I encourage others to do the same. Push yourself a bit. Keep reading to see what else we get up to this year. For February we will be doing what currently seems like another first for South Africa.