Monday, 30 December 2019

No Picnic for these Teddy Bears!

The aloe

If you look at the photos accompanying this post, you may wonder why we have made prisoners of my precious Teddy collection. Well, read on....

Just outside the kitchen there is a small garden surrounded by klippies, and in that garden is an aloe. It's not strictly speaking a tree aloe, but it has grown fairly tall over the years, and it is the same one that a dove chose a few years ago to make her nest. She built a somewhat untidy and rather precarious bundle of bits and pieces and then laid a couple of eggs and settled down to hatch them. But... and this you may remember... she, eggs and nest completely disappeared one night, just poof, gone! We never did discover what happened, we never found a trace of anything.
But, I digress.

One of the commonest bird species here is the Cape Sparrow, or 'mossie' as we call them and they will build a nest anywhere they can find a spot. Under the eaves, in old pots and buckets.... and between the leaves of aloes!
The very same aloe that the poor dove chose.

The nest is clearly visible.

 We watched them build their nest, we watched through the window so as not to disturb them, and they found bits and pieces from far and wide, lining it with some of Alfie's fur and fluffy seeds from the garden. And they built and built and built.

Then.... they saw themselves in the kitchen window!!

They both decided that their reflections were enemies, come to attack and steal their nest, so they attacked their reflections with gusto. Daily we heard the tap tap tap as their beaks hit the glass time and time again. Then they saw the kitchen door and the same thing happened. Upstairs we hung two old cd's so that they spun and reflected the light. That worked for a few days. We stuck coloured paper rolls on the outside of the kitchen door. That worked until the wind blew a corner off and the birds attacked again.

Help!!! Let us out!

 Finally in desperation, Rob wedged a couple of teddies in the window, held in place by the burglar bars, and that did the trick!! I think that the large eyes scared them into thinking a huge bird of prey was lurking in our house.
Luckily I have several bears, and a few more to spare, so we wedged them in every window that the mossies had attacked.... and there was peace!

Who is watching who??

But from the outside our house looked as though we had taken a posse of teddies prisoner and were holding them to ransom!!

And the birds carried on building. But last week they lost all interest in the whole operation, so we took the teddies away and apologised to them for the rough treatment that they had endured.

But..... guess what??

The birds are back and the teddies are re-lodged!!

What is the collective noun for Teddy Bears?? I like a 'cuddle' of teddy bears.

See you in 2020!!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Caution Cats Crossing!

I know that I have mentioned (most probably cursed about) speeding drivers in our little village. Why is it that a 40 sign is read as the minimum speed on the road and let's see what fun it is to skid and slide round corners and why bother to stop at those big red signs... who is going to stop us???

Anyway, daily I fret and worry and check the whereabouts of the cats... usually fast asleep on the bed! Morris has a habit of lurking over the road and suddenly shooting out from the bushes and straight across the road without looking and we have now banned Basil from his daily walks with us. He always walked with us when we take Alfie for his daily trot, but one day last year we were talking to a new neighbour who has a beautiful German Shepherd cross, and Basil heard our voices. Being the nosy cat that he is, he leaped over the wall to see what we were doing, and ran straight under a car that was coming up the road..... He came out from between the wheels, saw the dog and turned around, and ran straight back into the front wheel of the same car. Bouncing off the wheel, he took off up the road like a rocket, cut in front of the car and disappeared. I was convinced that I would find him dead

When I could find him that was. I called and searched everywhere but he was nowhere to be found. Rob in the meantime went into the house... and there was Basil, sitting on the dining table with a black tyre mark on his head, but absolutely fine!

Anyway, digressing as usual, we now make sure that the cats are in and safe before we go off now.
Alfie too has his own troubles as he is now becoming an old man, we have had him for over 12 years and he was at least 2 when I found him, so adding that up.... and he is getting very hard of hearing and sadly his eyes are clouding too.

So, a couple of weeks ago I saw some warning signs on Facebook!! Where else I ask myself!

Aren't they gorgeous?

I ordered two from Ingrid, and literally the next day there was a message from Post Net to say there was a package for me! I had an idea of how and where to mount them, and Rob did the rest!

We re-used a bird-feeder-holder that our neighbour had made for us, and with some clever drilling and hammering, Rob sorted it out.

You can see how close to the road we are.

And here it is...

Attached firmly to the garden wall!

Hopefully people will take note and slow down and think about it. Maybe they will slow down to read it and have a chuckle.

But if it can save the life of any of my cats, or any 'refugee' AKA feral, then I am happy.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Happy V's Day!

Just look at the date..... need I say more?

Valentine's Day has never loomed large on my horizon, mainly because in my life I have received precisely two cards.... one from my best friend... and one that I sent myself!! To myself!

I love the cherub's face!

To me, it's just another day with the same challenges that we faced yesterday (load shedding) and that we shall face today (load shedding) and tomorrow (guess what??)

And as I write this I am keeping one eye on the clock as we are in Stage 3 of Stage 4, and that means more off than on!!

Let me explain the stages:

Stage 1. Eskom (affectionately known as Eishkom) has to shed 1000 megawatts, so they 'share' the power that they have, and that means 1 load shed of 2 hours daily.

Stage 2. Upping the shedding, they have to shed 2000 megawatts... so 2  'outages' of 2 hours daily.

Stage 3. Yes, that means 3 x 2 hours 'outages' daily!!

Stage 4. You guessed it, 4 'shares' of 2 hours daily.

Stage 5. Now, this is the fun part.... Eishkom come to your house and blow out your candles!!!!

This is much funnier to read than to think about!!

We are teetering on the brink of a complete shutdown..... great fun. Eskom is bankrupt!  And basically it all comes down to complete incompetence and lack of skilled people at the top... they are all in Australia, Canada and wherever!! And of course the fact that millions of people do not pay , so every month the losses add up. Throw in corruption and it doesn't take a genius to see that this situation has one ending.....

We are lucky here, we can easily cope with the 'rolling blackouts' as our traffic is light, we only have 3 traffic lights in our nearest town and people here are very patient and well-behaved. Our main shopping centres have generator power. But the bigger cities are a nightmare with traffic snarls and taxis pushing and shoving and small business' struggling to keep going.

Anyway. To all of you who are celebrating Valentine's Day, I do hope that you have your special scented candles at the ready.

Not to make the meal romantic... simply so you can actually see what you are eating!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

On Line Selling!

Every year, without fail, I decide that this is the Year Of Losing Weight! And about three years ago, while I was still volunteering at the local Hospice shop, a rowing machine came through our doors.....
Once it was processed and priced, I decided that this would help me to shed those unwanted kilos and end up with biceps and thighs like Cher.....
I love rowing machines. I love the rhythm and the freedom, sliding backwards and forwards in time to whatever song is in my head at the time! Many years ago I had a very dear friend who lost a leg due to Diabetes. I took her for physical training to one of our now-retired well-known cyclists, and while she was trying to balance on a huge ball, or  fight down her fear and tackle her crutches, I would happily row in the corner until it was time to take her home.
So, I bought the rowing machine! Rob and I wrestled it into the back of the Nissan and then staggered and shuffled up the stairs once we got home, where we placed it carefully next to the window. On I hopped to try it out.... but because our floor is wooden, the machine gradually moved across the floor as I rowed! I had visions of actually rowing down the stairs and ending up on the beach, so Plan B.
Next stop... the Hardware shop where I bought some non-slip plastic and once I had cut it and placed it under the machine, it worked. It wobbled a bit but stayed in one place!
But... It hurt my knees to the point where I just could not use it!
A rather dusty rowing machine in perfect working order!

And since then it had just glared at me as it gathered dust.
So, a week or so ago, I decided that it had to go. It, and a little washing 'machine' that I bought especially for camping and never used! In fact, it has never left the house as we go camping for a few days at a time and several camp sites have washing machines anyway. I did have ideas of using it during the drought that we had last year, but I had cut down so much on the amount of weekly washing, that I decided to just use the big machine and catch the water to put on the garden. Which I did.
Brand new...

So I now had two items for sale! Out with the camera and then onto a local Facebook page that is only for items for sale. A quick write-up, description, price, pictures and contact details, posted them and waited.
And wondered whether anyone would buy them.
I could not believe it! In a few hours, both the items had been sold, collected and gone and I had the money in my hot little hand! My daughter said that it was because they were too cheap, but I reckon cheap and sold beats expensive and unsold any day.
I am now looking round the house to see what else I can sell!!
There is an exercise bike upstairs that I borrowed from my neighbour.........