olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

Month: September, 2014

girl and the sea


“So I closed my eyes and the salty air filled up my head and covered my face like the gentle hands of every person in the world who was ever in love with anyone.”Nobody Is Ever Missing, Catherine Lacey

Yesterday RaRa and I spent a few glorious hours on the rocks at Gordon’s Bay chatting about all of the things, taking personality tests (turns out I’m INFP…ohhh yes, I am) and devouring The Ladies Reading Circle’s prescribed text, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I opened my eyes as I swam beneath the surface and felt free, free indeed.

Today is the 29th of September and I say happy, happy birthday to a dear friend across the sea.

two years






Somehow I overlooked the fact that this blog turned two last month. Apologies, Olive and Oak – happy belated birthday! I’m quite fond of this space and I do appreciate you popping in to see what I’ve been photographing and mulling over. WordPress stats tell me that more than 60, 000 people from all over the world have visited since my first post in August 2012. That’s pretty cool. Anyway, onward and upward: Here are some shots taken over the last month starting with Bonnie and Matty’s winter wedding.

























All photos developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab

this is what it feels like now


Every morning I roll out of bed and pull on the same ripped jeans and a t-shirt, slip my feet into a pair of Birks, twist my hair up to a top knot. I grab the camera and a book and go. I wind my way through the quiet, leafy back streets parallel to King and am passed by cyclists, joggers and early morning commuters. They’re all being pulled towards the city, carried along by an invisible current. I’m swimming up stream. I keep an eye out for neighbourhood cats, will them to come out of their homes so I can say hello and scratch their furry chins. First stop is the little fruit and veg shop run by the two brothers. ‘Extra ginger, right?’ George makes me a juice and we trade small pieces of information. I know what time he gets up and the TV shows he watches at night. I know that he’s trying to cut back on carbs. I sip my juice and walk a few steps further down the way to my coffee place, Shenkin. ‘Morning!’ beams Joss. ‘The usual?’ Wow, that. I mean, all any of us really want in this world is to be known by our barista, right? For ages Joss called me ‘miss’ but the other day he asked me my name and told me his. This morning he’s playing Melody’s Echo Chamber and I can’t hide my delight. I drink my flat white and read my book and watch King Street chaos out the window. The ‘coffee feeling’ – wellbeing and optimism mixed with motivation and clarity – washes over me and I start scribbling notes on a page of my journal, urgently, before the revelations slip away. I make sense and I make plans. I hand over coins, put a few in the tip jar, and mouth ‘bye’ to Joss who’s now swamped with orders, caffeine addicts in suits and pencil skirts with runners staring him down. As I pass the supermarket I notice someone has spray painted ‘GROW UP!’ on the wall in big red letters. ‘Trying,’ I mumble to myself as I take a photo. The protruding roots of the giant fig tree next to the church provide the perfect place for me to perch and read a few more pages (just a few more, just a few more). I don’t know the time but I feel the responsibilities of the day drawing me home. That invisible current is picking me up, carrying me back towards the city. It’s nice, this start to the day. 


It really is a lovely little life but not one I ever imagined. When I was a teenager I thought about what it would be like to go to uni and I thought about what it would be like to be married and I thought about what it would be like to be a mum. I didn’t think about what it would be like to be 31 and single and living in a terrace house in the city with Rachel. The options, the uncertainty, the fun, the spontaneity, the emptiness, the possibilities, the longing, this way? that way? both. You know, I think I’m in love with all of it and maybe I’d like to stay around a wee while (just a wee while, just a wee while) and get to know this place, this unfamiliar un-thought about place.

Rachel’s getting to know this place, too. She just wrote a special piece about life round here. 

happy birthday, amelia


Happy birthday to this beer brewing beauty. Over the last three years, Amelia has become one of my best friends and closest confidants. We share a desk, a microphone, a love of words, Sharon Van Etten and Bright Eyes. We calm each other through bouts of anxiety and she helps me untie all of the knots in my head and heart. She challenges me to think harder and feel deeper and gently pushes me to be better. Her mind intrigues me, her radiance captivates me and her stories are simply stellar. I love you, AM. 


tonight what feels important is this


Deeper and deeper they talked, baring their souls. Akhmatova confessed her loneliness, expressed her passions, spoke about literature and art. Berlin had to go to the bathroom but didn’t dare break the spell. They had read all the same things, knew what the other knew, understood each other’s longings. That night, Ignatieff writes, Berlin’s life “came as close as it ever did to the still perfection of art.” He finally pulled himself away and returned to his hotel. It was 11 a.m. He flung himself on the bed and exclaimed, “I am in love; I am in love.” An extract from this extraordinary piece: ‘Love Story’

A special thanks to Grizzly Bear for providing my late night soundtrack. Yellow House is still my favourite record. 


friends of mountains



Last month I went to New Zealand with one of my best friends, Lyndal. These photos were taken on the road between Christchurch and Queenstown + Queenstown + Milford Sound. This was last time