Liz's colonic journey


No guys – this is not a swear word, though it should be an anti-swear word. It comes, I believe, from GK Chesterton, the poet who wrote The Donkey:

 G.K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked 
And figs grew upon thorn, 
Some moment when the moon was blood 
Then surely I was born; 

With monstrous head and sickening cry 
And ears like errant wings, 
The devil’s walking parody 
On all four-footed things. 

The tattered outlaw of the earth, 
Of ancient crooked will; 
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb, 
I keep my secret still. 

Fools! For I also had my hour; 
One far fierce hour and sweet: 
There was a shout about my ears, 
And palms before my feet. 


And he also apparently wrote a book called “Man Alive”, which I really must get hold of. Apparently it tells the tale of a man who courts and marries his wife six times under different names. That appeals to me as a soppy romantic. It’s like Richard Bach’s love story “Bridge Across Forever” – where choices, serendipity and chance, coincidence or synchronicity change his whole world and path in life.


So what is MOOREEFFOC? Chesterton described walking down a street and seeing this sign and spending engaging moments wondering what it could mean, what it was and then had that moment of enlightenment, where he realised that he was looking at the back side of the sign on a glass door – it said Coffee Room. So mundane and ordinary, hardly worth a glance, yet because his perspective changed he was able to take flight into his imagination.


The Great Terry Pratchett says in “Thief of Time” that the 5 elements of the world are Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Surprise!


You can tell that the sun came out for a couple of hours yesterday, can’t you? I didn’t budge from the porch from 6 till 10 when the clouds came up and it got miz. So much to look at – the rose bushes, the busy thrush who hops down alongside the wall every day at 9, checking for insects, the pair of bronze mannikins feeding their baby outside Pat’s office window, the leaves and the light. Mooreeffoc indeed.(Remember the Martian game, Sioux? Driving back from the Polokwane SAAADA conference in that ghastly fog? Martians would love this word.)


Rocky gave us a mooreeffoc moment on Sunday. The dogs are getting cabin fever with all the ‘wet’. Pepper especially needed to run. So Pat and I packed them into Squashy (my lovely relatively new Qashqai), with the back lined with an ex-Army groundsheet that we acquired somewhere, and took them down to the Lahee Park hockey/rugby field (the one where the PDAC ends). It was fairly deserted because of the grey weather – usually there are at least 3 cars of necking couples parked there. The dogs were completely over-excited to be getting out, slobbering everywhere. The field was waterlogged. Neither Pat nor I could have caught them if they’d decided to take off, so they were relatively good. (I had my poop-scooping plastic bags in my pocket – this is one function a paper bag could not serve well.) They went crazy and were tired within ten minutes running back and forth.


And Rocky got hot (it was humid) so he found the biggest, muddiest puddle in a km radius and parked himself in it. Up to the middle of his back. The bliss on his luck dragon face brought tears of laughter to my eyes. Needless to say, I hadn’t thought of taking a towel with us… So Squashy is covered in mud, on the inside roof, down the sides (dogs shake when they get wet) and all over the seats. (Pepper really feels that she should be in the driving seat or at very least the front passenger seat.) I was covered in mud, because I had to lift Rocky into the car because he’d exhausted himself. The aftermath is shown in these two pics – check out the pool turning into a billabong with Rock’s post mud-spa swim!




The whole experience lasted an hour, yet it was exhilarating. Completely uncontrollable, chaotic and alive-making. I probably shouldn’t have bathed before it, but it was fun – risky in a way, but then it reminded me that nothing is controllable, possibly not even our selves. Certainly not our misbehaving cells!

Other moreeffoc moments have been really noticing the flowers that Joan M,  Paulette and Shirley and Mary brought. The bright orange of the roses has been a great antidote to the grey gloom, and the purples, lavenders, yellows and whites of the dahlias and daisies have been serene in moments of fear and anxiety. And the absolute over-the-top indulgence of  the textures of all those petals. Don’t you just love the candle holder/lamp that Sharon B got for Pat for her birthday?


So begins Tuesday, exam day. I’m heading out to go and get my blood tested, to get new cord for the washing line and some planters for the veggie seedlings. How was there ever time to work before? You guys who are working are amazing. I’m starting to feel a little guilty about my self-indulgence. On the other hand, I will be wearing black today (My Pioneers 2010 t-shirt with Kathy’s pink socks) to support the Stop the Secrecy Bill campaign and I will be calling the Speakers office in line with the AVAAZ campaign.

I will also be checking my systems for online participation in Ed Tech’s e-Learning festival webinars that start tomorrow. I’m going to see if I can participate (silently) from the Treatment Centre – tomorrow is my 6 hour chemo day (if the bloods are good). I’ll definitely be there on Thursday. If I’m feeling strong enough, I’d really like to see the Pioneers get their web-based learning certificates on Friday, in the flesh. They really deserve acknowledgement and kudos for finding those two extra hours a week, for nine months, to work on their online pedagogy/autogogy. Thinking too of Bwalya, who once again has picked up my duty of running the consciousness-raising workshop for DUT staff.

I really wish people would get that online teaching is not just about manipulating the technology. I can’t believe that after 10 years of online teaching at DUT, people in authority are still thinking that you can learn all about online learning in a 3 day workshop! Do they understand nothing about how philosophy and pedagogy have to change? Which means changing attitudes to power relations with students, to hierarchies, to the nature of learning interactions i.e. ontological and epistemological change! If anyone reading this post is in this category of thought (unlikely really) – please, please, please – stop it! Read the literature! (Oy – I’ve got the shakes because I feel so passionately about this issue – I’m so tired of trying to explain how online teaching and learning works to people who should know better. Mari must feel worse, she’s been doing it for more than a decade! Guys – how about trusting the experts, rather than managerialist and stupid notions about training in Higher Ed. It’s easy to schedule multitudes of workshops to show measurable activity, but the fact is behaviour, attitudes and thinking doesn’t change in 2-3 days. Transformation takes working the practice into the reality of academic work – a gradual process.

I hope you get a curious crowd of potential Pioneers,B – you are amazing.

 Gotta get goin’!


Comments on: "Mooreeffoc" (12)

  1. rosalinegovender said:

    Hi Liz, I had a really good laugh imagining you and Pat with your dogs. I also have two dogs, Chloe and Snowy. Snowy is a poodle and can fit through the gate to get inside whilst Chloe cannot. So Chloe is always waiting fo the chance to BARGE into the house especially when we visitors arrive 🙂 They are really adorable… What would we do without them in our lives?

    I just received very sad news that one of my friends passed away. He had a stroke and seemed to be recovering and just slipped away. We really became close when we went to England in 2009 as part of the International Inspirations Team. At school , he was a very stern HOD but on our trip I saw the other side of him. I feel so guilty because I’ve been so out of touch with most of my friends and family citing completing my thesis as an excuse for not meeting them.

    Those little moments when we touch each others lives is what counts…so I’m trying…FB helps cos I am in contact with most of my ex-students.

    I really enjoyed the webinars (my first 🙂 The e-learning team (Ed Tech) did an outstanding job. For the amount of work that goes into organising and event on this scale ,it was most disappointing to see the lack of enthusiasm amongst staff members. I really expected more participants. I missed out most of the session today because I had to attend the Faculty Board meeting 😦

    I did attempt promoting the Pioneers course to the FB last week and there was a request that a shortened course be offered…so it seems that people dont want the theory and so forth but just the know how …??

    I pray that I see you tomorrow. Till then…May the Lord shower His richest blessings on you and yours. May His divine healing saturate you. Lots of love Rosaline

  2. “How was there ever time to work before?” There wasn’t (there isn’t): work has to be what you love, or it’s obscene to waste time on it. Every time I engage with my work it grips me like fever, and I come out of it sweating and exhausted, but I was “alive” while it happened. Even so, we need to roll in the mud and smell the roses – Rocky knows this, Bella knows this, although they may tend to chew up the roses! The rain finally stopped long enough for me to mow the lawn yesterday (well, 3/4 of it), a “brush cut” so clean and vivid it looked as if it had just been painted on, and smelt…like cut grass. Last year I was too “recovering from the op” to enjoy this kind of thing, pant, wheez, cell phone in my tracks pocket in case I collapse. Yesterday I sailed though it, and stopped only because it was starting to rain and getting dark.

    “You guys who are working are amazing.” No, we’re just tired. “I’m starting to feel a little guilty about my self-indulgence.” Pleeeease, don’t apologise for being normal – we’re the freakos who buy in to the myth that you can “do it all”.

    “I can’t believe that after 10 years of online teaching at DUT, people in authority are still thinking that you can learn all about online learning in a 3 day workshop!” Yeah, right. Like thinking that you can “learn all” about supervision, thesis writing, article writing, proposal writing, you name it, in a half day workshop (tick it off). I’m running ongoing research courses next year, and I’ll let the visiting experts run the workshops, which are really “campus lectures” (these have their place).

    Gotta go. Sumi send her love (we’re meeting today).

    Big hug,

  3. Joan Conolly said:

    Dear Liz, thank you for this sensitive and hilarious account of the Doings of Number 32!!! I just love the notion of Rocky doing his mud thing! Here i am in the wee hours enjoying a really good giggle!!! It will be so good to see you on Friday! I shall be there to let everyone know the many many extra miles you went to get this Pioneers Multiple DropOut through!!! (I must hold the record for dropping out!) Thank you for sitting all those extra sessions to get me to understand what I was doing and why!!! I must be the toughest teaching assignment you have ever had, and you deserve many medals for your teaching insight, your patience and your belief in me!!! All the best for the chemo session today. Loads of love, Joan

    • Ag Joanie, the ‘teacher’ isn’t really the issue – it’s the student who keeps trying despite having been frustrated! You know this – from working so incredibly hard with your ten brave D students, each one trying to find a way to connect their real lives with the often obfuscating (lovely word!) and bizarre canon of academic life (with it’s 16th Century overtones!). Anyone who takes on that kind of ‘edge witchery’ (Terry Pratchett) – or to put it another way – the role of bridging between the worlds is amazing. I take it as a high compliment that you think I should get medals, I think you are qualified to say! 🙂

  4. Hi Liz

    Have quietly read through the archive of your blog – I am so touched by how you are sharing your journey with us. Have been meaning to get in touch ever since Lloyd told me about your diagnosis, and went to your FB page to send you a message, when I saw the link to the blog.

    I really hope that we see you on Friday – I will be making a guest appearance. Like you, I wonder these days how I found time to work!

    Anyway, I am with you in my thoughts – you are such an amazing woman, and your bravery and great heart show in every line of this blog, as they did in every one of those Pioneers sessions.

    • Hi Tanya – you know whatever brave is – it easier to be that when so many people are rooting/routing (which one is it?) for one. I think that’s the missing link in most of what ails our communities. When people as people become invisible, due to shear numbers or overwork, identity disappears. ‘Being seen’ by all of you special people makes it much easier not to ‘fade out’!
      Then again, I think brave might be all kinds of things, like being there for one’s son, when Daddy’s not home and any time one thinks for oneself and acts on that thought rather than the ‘normed’ expectation of a crowd.
      I’m so glad you are going to be there Friday – enjoy your accolades and seeing everyone again. DUT is it’s people!

  5. Check out this article, Liz, that was in this mornings Daily Mail. It sounds promising.
    I read with interest and of course thought of you. Love to you and Pat. xxxx

    • Thanks Judy, this is incredibly hopeful news. I’m constantly amazed at how science progresses and it is heartening that scientists and researchers keep on picking up these ‘batons’ and relaying them to the next generation of scientists and thinkers. Anybody who thinks that Higher Ed and Research is too expensive for the State to pay attention to – isn’t thinking straight. At least that’s what I think. When you think of all the knowledge that has been created in the 21st Century based on all that’s gone before it’s pretty miraculous!

  6. Well heavens to betsy Liz, I’ve just been to the Artspace gallery where I saw Pascale Chandler’s painting of a donkey accompanied by the same Chesterton poem! Is this a complete coincidence or did you see the pic of Pascale’s painting in the M&G?

    Anyway the donkey painting is- is- well so like what donkeys are like, incredibly self possessed animals who seem to have a sense of the ridiculous (no art critic, me). William and I as doting dog parents call our Bella ‘little donkey’ because she moves like one and would look fetching in one of those hats with holes for ears and flowers on. Of course Bella things this just another way in which William and I are a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

    We take Bella and Archie to the Greyville racecourse where Bella, if not carefully watched, will do what Rocky did and get into a pond filled with black slimy mud. When she comes out you can’t even see which is the front end of her. William tried to prevent Bella’s mud bathing but I’m always pleased when she gets away with it because she loves it so much.

    So glad you’re having these heightened sensory experiences with flowers – I do too.

    Love to you and Pat and Rocky and Pepper

    • Hey Philippa, your Southern/hillbilly accent made me laugh! I had a vision of you with a corncob pipe in your mouth – not to mention a disreputable straw hat – probably stolen from a passing donkey (or Bella!). I like your alter ego! I didn’t see Pascale’s painting at Artspace and I didn’t see the M&G pic of it. I do however have friends at Rhodes who are passionate about donkeys (the donkey rescue centre in Grahamstown) and understand why they care!

  7. Thank you Liz for the support, you have just given me the strength and confidence to pull this off. I will make sure that I am not just introducing the tool to them, I will get them engaged in topics on what they really think and feel about online learning. I will make sure they get your message, I cannot let such passion end here on this blog. I must say that I have big shoes to fill in standing in for you, but I accept the honour.

    I went and signed the secrecy bill and I was impressed to see how quickly people are signing in and posting their protests, I am impressed at the level of team work from all around South Africa and the world. I wish people could unify anyway regardless of political issues like this one. I also have come to work wearing black in support.

    Good luck for today with the blood tests and for tomorrow with the hours of sitting with chemo. It will be good to see you online and in person if you do come on Thursday. I have a new Pioneers T- shirt for you . Have a lovely day 🙂 My love to Pat, Pepper and Rockey

    • Yes the fact that people of every hue and class are objecting to the Secrecy Bill as it currently stands, really heartens me that we are becoming a thinking and caring society. The defence of the bill by ad hominem attack was so pathetic as to be laughable. I was angry that the defence was that people who were against the Secrecy Bill are only so because they want to keep PW’s old Act. Remembering the black out patches in the SA newspapers in the 80s – which showed where stories had been censored, and how many liberal media were shut down is exactly why I object to anyone I vote for having the blanket right to tell me that I don’t need to know! Thanks for signing the petition!

      As for Friday’s workshop, you have the strength and when you are there you will have the confidence, just have fun and the audience will have fun too! As for filling shoes – those particular shoes haven’t been designed yet – you are busy doing that!

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