Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Ho, Ho, Ho, it's that time of the year again! The 'silly season' is here and as I write this I can see our friends beyond the empty plot playing cricket in the road with their grandchildren. I always think back to my early Christmases in England, my sister and I waking up and seeing the present-filled lumpy pillow cases at the foot of our beds, mum and aunty cooking huge dinners and everyone going for a walk in the park in the afternoon. My dad would quietly come home from work in the weeks before Christmas and hide gifts behind the cushions in the lounge before loudly slamming the front door, and we would rush into the hall to see what he had with him! He would spend hours in his shed in the garden making wooden toys for us with mum suddenly saying that it was too cold for us to go and see what he was doing! It's certainly a time for families to be together and it's at this time of the year that I miss my children the most. Rob and I shall be together, alone, and that's fine, we enjoy our own company and the day will be spent being lazy, (so what's new?), having a late breakfast (cooked by Rob!), and probably a braai for lunch (cooked by Rob!), but I shall spend the day thinking about my far-away family and waiting for them to be available for me to skype them.

Our little wooden tree complete with red candles.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Public Holidays.

We are lucky enough to have 12 Public Holidays in South Africa. Now I am retired, every day is a holiday, but when I was teaching I used to circle them in red and mutter if they fell on a Saturday! Thursday was the very best day to have one, as Friday was often given as an extra school holiday and that meant that the parents who were going to keep their children out of school anyway, could do so with a clear concience!!

We have just celebrated Reconciliation Day on 16 December. This used to be called The Day of the Vow, but was changed in 1994. I learnt an interesting fact about this particular day when I was listening to the radio. Apparently, here in the Cape, the 16 December is traditionally the day when people wash the walls of their houses in readiness for the summer! A few women phoned in to say that they had started, and that the curtains were on the line! I found that fascinating, but, let me stress, not fascinating enough for me to join in! Apart from that, it is also the de-facto start of the summer holiday period. I remember when we were building our house, the builders all downed bricks and cement on the 15 December, so we bought everybody fish and chips for lunch and sent them on their way until 12 January.

The day also marks the beginning of the headache season for the traffic police as thousands of people trek to holiday destinations or go home for the holidays. Johannesburg empties as Durban and Cape Town fill! Even our little village is beginning to bulge with 'uitlanders' and we end up longing for them to go home so we can have our peace and quiet back!

This year, we have been granted an extra public holiday as Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. Normally, if that happens we get Monday to compensate! But, Monday, instead of being given for Sunday, is Boxing Day (Family Day here!) and Tuesday should have been back to work! So, Tuesday is now a holiday for Monday being used for Sunday, and everyone goes back to work on Wednesday. Unless you are on holiday anyway like a builder, then it doesn't make much difference anyway! Are you still with me?? Never mind!

January 1 is a holiday everywhere! But here in the Cape, we have the 2 January as well, it is known as 'tweede nuwe jaar' or second new year! It allows everyone to recover from the celebrations of New Years Day, or to carry on for another day!

For us, it means that the holidays are nearly over and we watch the road out of the village carefully, ticking off every car and trailer and bicycle carrier that leaves!

Roll on 2012!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

It's a Bird Dog!

Yes, it's another Alfie picture! I have to admit that I must have at least fifty pictures of him on my computer, but Rob takes the cake, he has Alfie as a screen saver on his mobile phone and regularly whips the mobile out to show people in shops, caravan parks, restaurants, you name it! I tease him by saying that most people our age (maturing nicely like smelly cheese), have photos of their grandchildren to brag about!

The notice reads 'Wild bird take aways'

This photo was taken of Alfie a few months ago. I regularly put the old un-eaten dog and cat food out for the birds and a few minutes later the first 'bird' arrived in the shape of one Alfred. Then we had some fun as Rob challenged our friends and family to 'Name the Bird'. We had some wonderful answers, original, witty and descriptive.
I always wonder how many people read this blog, so, here's my way of finding out! I would like everyone (including those people who sent us their ideas before), to think of a 'name' (in Latin if you like!) and a brief description and post it as a comment at the end of the blog. It will be fun to see how many different answers I get....... please more than 0. Oh yes, and if you are not in South Africa, please put the town and country too!

Here's an example: 'Crested wagtail'. (Waggus crestus). Can be found in urban gardens all over the countryand is easily tamed. Call is a high pitched 'woooof' sound.

The winner will receive an autographed photograph of Alfie! What more could you want!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Dam it's hot!

No, it's not a curse or a spelling mistake, it was HOT! Last week we went to Clanwilliam Dam for another little mid-week break, we find that Alfie needs a change of scenery every now and then, so we oblige! Off we set on Monday morning with the usual south easter blowing to help us on our way. A nice cool temperature of about 21, lovely. We had booked at a private caravan park on a working citrus farm on the banks of the dam, only about 121 kms as the crow flies from home, but just over 200 as the road winds! We arrived at lunchtime and stepped out of the airconditioning to ........................40 degrees! And no wind. At all. By the time we had put the tent up, burning our fingers from the metal rods lying in the sun, I was seriously considering climbing back into the car and coming home!

Almost at the campsite.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sail on, 'Maggie-May'

I love this photograph of our boat 'MAGGIE-MAY'. Ever since we moved here I have been looking for a boat. Let me stress that I did not want a seaworthy vessel, I have no thoughts of braving the waves and getting wet and cold, no, I wanted an old boat that could end her days happily squatting amongst the greenery of the garden.

Our 'Maggie-May'

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Rugby and Roadkill.

Earlier this year I listened to a very interesting talk on the radio about the plight of the Riverine Rabbit. I then decided to join the very worthwhile 'Endangered Wildlife Trust' or EWT, hoping that my small contribution would help in some way. I receive their newsletter via email and each time I read it I see words like 'extinct', 'global warming' and 'endangered species' and I shudder. But, this month (apart from the doom and gloom), I read with interest that EWT is proud to announce a partnership with the Gauteng based Golden Lions Rugby Union, which is putting its force behind carnivore conservation (what else??) by running a competition in which a signed Golden Lions jersey is up for grabs! They are the very well deserving 2011 winners of the Currie Cup. (I am and always shall be a Province supporter, but I must admit that we did not play to the best of our ability this year!)

Sunday, 13 November 2011


It's time I introduced you to the 'Honeysucker'. No, this is not an exotic bird with colourful plumage, this is a machine that quite literally keeps us out of the s**t! A tanker driven and manned by wonderful people and I cannot praise them enough! They must have one of the worst jobs that I can think of, and yet they are cheerful, polite and efficient.

The Honeysucker in position!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

There's (g)no(me) place like home!

We have just returned from a wonderful few days at a caravan park near Hermanus, the Whale Capital of South Africa! And yes, I saw wonderful sightings of them, rolling, wallowing and blowing just below us, putting on a show for me that brought tears to my eyes. They are truly amazing and the image will remain with me for many years. However, this blog has absolutely nothing to do with whales, as the title suggests!

Gordon Bennet AKA Sneezy!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Shipwrecks and near misses!

We have had our fair share of shipwrecks in the 5 years that we have been here. We have huge underwater rocks and large rocky islands close to our shore, one is home to a large number of seals and is called 'Seal Island', not very original, but, hey, it works! So, we expect the odd mishap every now and then. The first wreck happened to a little boat called 'Volante' that bobbed happily in the bay and was our mascot, so to speak. Visitors (and locals) took photos of her and she is in many paintings, keyrings and fridge magnets! Sadly one weekend a few years ago, we had a huge storm, she dragged her anchor onto rocks and ended up in several pieces scattered over the shore. A large bit of her hull remains on the beach, people still take photos of her and children climb in her, but it was a sad end to a noble little craft!

'Volante' in the bay.

Then we had a fishing boat that ended up on Seal Island in the middle of the night! I woke up to see a strange orange light in the room, and being me, I just went back to sleep! The next morning we saw the NSRI boat heading towards the island, and a helicopter hovering overhead. The orange lights that I saw were distress flares! Looking through the binoculars we saw a wreck on the rocks and men in orange suits waiting to be rescued. (A friend of ours looked through his binoculars and commented on how many men were wearing brown suits on the island. They turned out to be seals of course! I often wonder what they thought of the invasion!) Happily everybody was rescued safely. The boat had the unfortunate name of 'Silver Reaper' and quickly became known as the 'Grim Reaper'! Now, a few years on, there is nothing left of the fishing boat, the sea has claimed it all.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Eating out Weskus style!

There are three words that can bring me to the brink of despair and those are 'What's for lunch?' If I was very, very, rich I would have a full time cook and never have to worry about food again! So, yesterday lunchtime when Rob asked me if I fancied some fish and chips at Paternoster, it was a race between Alfie and me as to who got to the garage door first! Before he changed his mind! Fish and chips! The very thought of it brings moisture to my mouth and we have found a few places that rate very high on our re-visit list! One of these is 'On the Rocks' at Paternoster. A short stone's throw from the beach, it is a small whitewashed building built next to a paved and strip-roofed area that was originally intended for the fishermen to clean and sell their fish. There are picnic tables where you can eat, or you can take your paper-wrapped parcel to the beach, and eat while the gulls mill around waiting for scraps.

Pity you cannot smell the mouth watering aroma!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Run Rhino Run!

I thought that I had better show you what a White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium sinum) looks like before the poachers have slaughtered every last one of them for their horns. Rob took these photographs a few years ago and there is a very good (?) chance that they are no longer alive. Look carefully, you may see the tears in the corners of their eyes.

Look, show your grandchildren, they may never see a rhino.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Nine minus Three!

They say that a cat has nine lives. We have three cats, all ex-feral who have given up a life of hardship and uncertain meal times, for the luxury of having servants to cater to their every need. The first two to arrive I named Daffy and Dilly and the last one in I called Dopey. I should have called them Austin, Morris and Bentley, names that at least sound a little different from each other, as I end up saying 'Mind Daf, uh Dop uh Dil' just before I trip over one of them. Anyway, Dill is usually called Dilbert, we call Daffy, Daphne (don't ask), and Dopey, well, his name actually suits him. And, he is gradually working through his nine lives. And once those are used up, I imagine that he will move onto the other eighteen that belong to his pals!

Dopey, bird watching!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Living with a celebrity!

Rob's photo of Alfie in 'home' magazine

For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, the name 'Alfie' conjours up a picture of a small, almost white dog with scribbly hair and a long tail! Well, fame at last, as our 'pavement special' who is well known in our little village, became a celebrity almost overnight! We have a wonderful magazine in South Africa called 'home' that is produced monthly, and I buy it and read it from cover to cover each month. They have a 'Pets Page' that answers pet related questions and prints a selection of photographs that readers send to them. Rob must have over three hundred photographs of Alfie, (he is very photogenic!) and decided to send one to them a few months ago. They mailed back to say that they loved it, and so, this month, on page 80, our boy can be seen sitting on the garden wall, his ears delicately swept sideways by the prevailing wind!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Spring has Sprung!

We seem to be well into spring now, the South Easter is winding up and each day it seems to blow a little stronger! Sadly, that also means that our rain is a thing of the past, not that we had much this season, and I am pretty sure that we shall have strict water rationing once summer arrives in force. Soon after we moved into this house, Rob had the sense to buy two tanks that catch the rainwater off the roof, one holds 2 500 litres and the other holds 5 000. So, we have 'free' water to use on the garden and to fill the bird baths. Talking of birds, they seem to bath as much during cold, wet days than they do during the hot, dry days! And some birds use a lot more when they bath than others! The weavers tend to fling themselves around and splash furiously, whilst the tiny white eyes take a long time to build up courage to get into the water (like me into a pool!), and then do a quick dip and go! The starlings arrive by the family, plus grandma, and simply take over the space! We have counted up to eight at a time shouting and shoving and splashing!

Starlings at Bath!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

There she blows!

Every year between June and November I spend a goodly part of the day standing on the veranda and staring at the sea until the little squiggles start to dance in front of my eyes and everything looks green when I go back inside! The reason? Whales! The Southern Right to be precise, so called because they were the 'right' whale to hunt. They have a lot of blubber, they float when they are killed and they swim close to the shore, 'good' reasons to hunt this noble mammal almost to the point of extinction. When whaling began five centuries ago, there were an estimated 300 000 Southern Rights and by the end of the 19th Century, 99% had been killed. In 1940 they were finally given protection and today there are 10%-15% of that number. Although they are increasing at around 7% per year, they still face dangers like collisions with ships, entanglement in fishing nets, pollution and starving to death due to over fishing in the Atlantic.

A mother and calf

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Go Bokke!!

It's World Cup time and our Boks are hard at work in New Zealand, hoping (together with the entire nation) to bring the cup home..........again!! To date, we have played three games, and won all three, one very convincingly against Namibia (87-0) and one only just against Wales (17-16, eish!) So, at the moment, it is not impossible to imagine us winning the final on October 23 in Auckland. However, between now and then there is a huge amount of rugby to be played, beer to be consumed and bets to be made. I was watching the game this morning against Namibia and suddenly the picture squeezed into the corner while an advertisement for deodorant appeared with the endorsement 'Official deodorant of the Springboks' and a few of our brave lads holding the ball. That made me chuckle, honestly. I can understand beer and cars and even airlines being fairly official, but deodorant? Does it make a difference in the scrum when a face is buried under an armpit to suddenly think 'I hope my deodorant is working!'? And where does it stop? Half our team is held together with bandages and electrical tape, I wonder if the words 'Official sponsor of electrical tape to the Springboks' will be added to the packaging?
Our team by Denese Lups/Rugby 15

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Aerobatics West Coast Style!

Inland from us is the Langebaan Weg Airforce Base. At least twice a week, more if they are practising for an air show, we are treated (subjected?) to our own private display of aerobatics that turn my stomach just to watch! There are usually four, but Rob has photographs of sixteen roaring, twisting, diving, rolling and climbing aircraft. To me, they are little red and white planes flying too darn close, but according to Rob (who can tell what the plane is simply by listening to the engine!), they are turbo prop Pilatus  basic trainers. They use the abandoned WW 2 airstrip just next to our village to line themselves up and then hurl themselves around while I stand waiting for their wings to touch and for them to spiral out of control towards either the sea, or the houses. The fact that one of the pilots is a young lady makes it worse!! Surely she should know better, what do her parents think when they watch her? Do they remind her each time to 'Buckle up, remember which hand is right, your watch is on your left hand remember, don't get too close to the chap in front and phone me the minute you land please!'


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Caravans and Creatures!

One of the perks of reaching retirement (apart from aching joints and high blood pressure, not to mention sagging skin, a widening girth and several visits to the loo during the night), is the fact that we can head off on a mid week break out of season, thereby avoiding school holidays! So, seeing that the weather was perfect and the timing was right, we decided to pack a few essentials, load the dog and head off for a few days in Gemsquash our trusty old caravan! Why Gemsquash you ask? Because she is a real gem, but a bit of a squash with the 3 of us on the bed. We did take Alfie's bed with us last time, but he prefers to guard us closely at night! So Rob surfed the net for small, out-of-the-way camping and caravan parks, and he came up with a winner! Situated just 6 kms from Montagu, it had everything.........and we were the only people there! For us that's a bonus!

Nearly there!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Beehives and Blomme!

My last blog was about weather, so it seemed logical to follow on with the seasons, well, Spring anyway. Towards the end of August and into September, our countryside literally explodes with colour. Our wild flowers are well known almost world wide, and we often see tourists hung about with cameras, bending over a perfect "blom" (flower). Sometimes we see a wife or husband, sitting in a field of daisies, squinting into the sun, swatting bees and sneezing, while the spouse fiddles with the camera and implores the partner to 'say cheese!'

Rain Daisies on the side of a road

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Mention the word 'weather' and people immediately start thinking of England! Rain and lack of sun become important issues, and even now when I chat to my children the question "What's your weather like?" always pops into the conversation! Before we moved to the coast, the only time weather was of a concern was when I was teaching! Then, I would pray for a dry day if I was on playground duty, or a wet day if I was refereeing a soccer match after school and we could go home early! Then, when we moved to the coast, we swapped the hot wet summers and cold dry winters of the Highveld, for the hot dry summers and cold wet winters of the Cape West coast! Our summer evenings linger until gone 9 o'clock and I forget to cook, while in winter it is dark by 5.30 and we have the log fire warming the house and the kettle whistling while the soup or potjie (stew) bubbles away for our supper.

Today we have had all four seasons in one! We woke to mist, gloomy and damp, rain followed, and now as I write this, the sky is blue, the sun is shining and the breeze is tickling the wild flowers

A sunny winter morning

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The house that isn't.........

One of the wonderful things about living at the coast is the fact that we can go for a drive and not be desperate to spend the day at the beach! We are extremely fortunate to be able to head off in any direction (away from the sea that is!) and go exploring along routes that take us through fynbos and farmlands, up hills and over mountains. One such route has become a favourite and if we have friends to stay for a few days, we always suggest an outing to see 'The house that isn't there'.

The first time we saw this was quite by chance. We wanted to go to Elandsbaai, north of us, via an inland route and then follow the more direct road home. So, off we set. The first little village we came to was Aurora (meaning Dawn Light), tucked against the Piketberg mountain range with a view almost to the sea. A tiny place, a few houses, a few Bed and Breakfast establishments, a small church, a cafe and a bottle store. And friendly people.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Lighthouses on the Air

This weekend, being the third one in August, is the 'Lighthouses on the Air' Amateur Radio weekend. Now, Rob and I are both qualified Radio Amateurs (HAMS), so for us this is interesting, especially as we live close to a lighthouse!! (South Africa has 45 lighthouses around its rocky coastline). Cape Columbine lighthouse is situated just south of Paternoster and was built in 1936. It is a lovely square art deco tower, painted white, with a red lantern dome and is one of the last stations on the West Coast to have a resident keeper. It was named after the barque 'Columbine', wrecked in 1829. We see the light sweeping round at night, and on a misty day we hear the foghorn moo-ing through the gloom.

Cape Columbine - by Steve Crane

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Buried Treasure!

Three times a week (more or less; less if we can think of an excuse - too wet, too windy, too hot, too cold) a friend and I walk. Briskly I might add, not the usual meandering that occurs when Rob and I walk with Alfie, but an hour long, brisk, arm-swinging, cardio work-out walk that makes me feel really good when I get home and can stop! We usually stick to the same route, along roads that eventually lead to a small group of houses up a fairly steep hill. (Extra cardio workout!) From there the sea view is amazing and the sea breeze always cools us, before we turn and head home again. On the way there is a track that veers away from the road into the grass and disappears into the fynbos, and every time we passed it we'd say 'next time we walk we must follow that and see where it goes.' Well, this morning we did.

Where the track begins......

Friday, 12 August 2011

Ready, Steady, Cook!

I am really not a person who enjoys cooking. I love eating. The odd thing is that I love to read and buy cookery books and I collect recipes from wherever I can, magazines, family, friends, the internet and of course that wonderful programme 'Masterchef Australia'. Rob and I watch it every day and often download and print the recipes from Masterclass. (Now, for those of you who do not watch the show, this has not made very much sense at all, but bear with me!)

Nicely set marmelade

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Literally translated to mean 'coloured little man' this is the wonderfully descriptive Afrikaans name for a Chameleon.

The journey begins

We have the tiny dwarf chameleons here, although sadly they are not as numerous as they should be, as the very thing that keeps them safe in their natural habitat, is their downfall! Their ability to blend in with their surroundings means that on the dust roads in our village, they become invisible to motorists. Unable to dodge out of the way, or dash across the road to safety, they add to the horrifically high death rate of wildlife on our roads. You would think that with their ability to look both ways at the same time, they would wait until the road was clear before setting out on their perilous journey.

Klaas's cuckoo (Sunbird update)

I found a picture of the Klaas's cuckoo I mentioned in my Sunbirds post - here it is!

such a pretty parasite

Friday, 5 August 2011

The Sunbirds return

We have a very busy (euphemism for cluttered!) veranda as you can see from the picture, but what you can’t see are the numerous dangly bits that hang from the rafters! We have shells, wooden fish, fishing corks, lanterns (we can’t use them as the wind blows the candles out!), a beautiful warthog wind catcher, a wooden bird that flaps its wings, a small green watering can, rope, various old kitchen utensils collected from Hospice shops, and a star-shaped wire ornament. We also have two half barrels that contain ficus trees (one thriving and one a little wind-swept), plus the usual table and chairs. Last winter we noticed that a pair of Malachite Sunbirds were showing an interest in the star-shaped ornament and before too long they had started to build an intricate nest with spider web and dried grass. These beautiful birds are supposed to be shy, our bird book says that they ‘do not frequent suburban gardens.’ Well, obviously the birds haven’t read the book. Not only were they in the garden, they were nesting a metre from our door! Once the nest was completed, the female sat herself down and only left occasionally to sip nectar from the aloes and to bath in the watering can that spurts into a half barrel fish pond! She didn’t mind us at all as we came and went past her door, but she was not happy with strangers on the veranda. She tolerated Alfie, but not the cats!! We always knew when a cat was outside by the volume of the call and the male would actually dive-bomb them!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Saldanha Bay

Rob and I often go for a drive to the nearby port town of Saldanha. We love to sit and watch the birds for one thing, and for another we enjoy watching the huge ore carriers arriving (or leaving).

hungry birds waiting for their lunch
The best place to do both of these things is from the narrow, man-made causeway that joins the mainland to what was once an island, Marcus Island (17 ha). (Rumour has it that there is a wreck buried beneath the causeway, but I still need to find some information on this*). This island is one of five that are near to the port entrance, and although they are small, rugged islands, they are home to some 250 000 coastal seabirds. The 2 kilometre causeway was built in 1976, and between it and the huge ore loading quay there are man made mussel beds that quietly allow the delicious mussels to grow until they are harvested for the table! But I digress!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Wind and washing

Yesterday we woke to wind.

We usually do here on the coast, but there is wind and there is WIND. I think it gusted to about 50 kph just at walk time, so, because it was Sunday and no Eastenders music to excite Alfie, we battened down the hatches, lit the fire and hoped that the roof was nailed on tightly!!

old advert for Hills Hoist Clotheslines (1955) / thanks to Wendy in Tasmania

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Our family grows

Soon after we moved into our new house, I noticed that there were a few cats that visited the garden but would not let me near them. They were fairly well fed so I presumed that they did have a home and were simply exploring. Clyde ignored them and Alfie tried to play with them. Then, as they became bolder, but not friendlier, I realised that they were in fact homeless cats, domesticated cats that for one reason or another had become stray, either through being abandoned or lost. Food was plentiful as the surrounding areas are alive with mice, but, as none of the cats were neutered or spayed, I was concerned that they would breed rapidly too!

One morning I looked out to see Clyde sitting in his usual position, his back to us, surveying the garden; and sitting close to him was a small, sort of ‘Clyde Mini-Me’. As soon as I went near it, it ran, but came every day and spent time in the garden. I decided to feed it, and then, when it was used to me, I would grab it, box it and take it to our vet for neutering, before releasing it into the garden. So I started putting dry food out for it. Clyde thought this was wonderful, he had inside and outside food now! A few days later a tiny, pitch black kitten arrived with ‘Mini-Me’, so, more food went out. I began to feel a little nervous, how many cats would I finally be feeding?? And, more to the point, what would Rob say??

Sunday, 24 July 2011


When we first arrived in Jacobsbaai we had the idea of doing a fair bit of meandering around, footloose and fancy free, lock up and go, as Clyde our dear old cat was extremely independent and could be left overnight as long as there was food, a litter tray and an open window. He was used to being on his own, and in fact, even when we were at home he usually ignored us anyway. He would sit just out of reach with his back to us and pretend that we were not there. You have not been ignored until you are ignored by a cat.

how could we refuse this face?
A few months after our arrival, my sister came to stay. My one sadness about leaving Jo’burg - it's no longer a simple day’s bus trip or an easy five-hour drive to visit her - it's a lot further now. Anyway we were heading into town one morning in early January when we saw a small woolly looking dog running in the main road, dodging between the cars and trucks and very obviously lost. We stopped (after doing a spectacularly illegal U-turn) and managed to get him to come to us. Diana gingerly felt below to establish whether it was male or female as he looked like Boomer on a bad hair day. We took him to the vet, who promised that she would keep him overnight and, if he was unclaimed, he would go to a nearby farm that had some kennels. When we got home we relayed the story to Rob, (with a lot of embellishments I might add) and he said “So what do you want to do?” Easy. I phoned the vet, and said that if he was still there the next day, we would adopt him. The rest, as they say, is history!!

That first day, with Clyde in the foreground

Monday, 18 July 2011

Mandela Bay

Although July 18 is not a Public Holiday (we have a lot of those here in S.A), it is a cause for celebration, as it is Nelson Mandela's birthday.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in the Transkei on 18 July 1918, so he will turn 93 this year. Mandela Day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009 and the first one was officially celebrated in 2010, although for many years the day has been remembered by South Africans in all walks of life. It is a day to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, and his values, through volunteering and community service for 67 minutes. This number represents the number of years that he was involved in politics. This year the 'Bikers for Mandela Day' left Monte Casino in Johannesburg very early on the morning of the 11 July and set off on a 7 day, 13 hour and 37 minute tour to travel the 2200 kilometre route planned for this year, ending in Pretoria. Celebrities and Sports personalities are taking part, making stops along the way to work with several different community organisations. (Let me hasten to add that Rob and I shall not be doing anything quite so strenuous! In fact we are selling our bikes as I keep getting punctures and the spokes on all of our wheels keep snapping!)

But I digress.

"Mandela Bay" in 2010

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Another Sunset

I just had to share this amazing sunset with you all, and make you a little jealous?

There are 365 days in the year and I would estimate that for 300 of those days, we have a sunset worth recording. Rob must have at least 400 photos of sunsets over the sea. But last night was truly amazing. It seems that the ash cloud from the Chilean volcano that erupted in early June this year is responsible. (What a negative word for such a positive sight). We had taken the dog for his usual walk and were standing chatting with the neighbours (another usual occupation, often accompanied by a glass of wine), when we saw the beginnings of a what I call a 'wow' moment. Rob walked a little way down the road towards the sea and sat on rock with Alfie our dog, while he recorded the majestic end to the day. By the time he came back, a little group of people were gathered on the corner, silently savouring the moment and watching until the last tiny, red sliver had slid into the horizon.

The moment passed, conversation resumed, but the memory lingered.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


keep saving!
This week (4 to 8 July) is ‘Savings Awareness Week’ here in S.A. It seems that many or most people like to spend what comes in every month, and a lot of those like to spend more than comes in every month!! So, it appears that we have a huge number of people who are hopelessly in debt, whether on their credit cards, or accounts at shops, or borrowing in some form or another from whomever they can find to borrow from. The problem is that the ‘loanee’ then has to find some way to pay back not only the amount that was borrowed, but huge add-on amounts of interest. The result?? A downward spiral that leads to more of the same as Peter tries to pay back Paul and Paul hires a heavy to help Peter pay!!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The beginning

one of my kruiwas with indigenous lachenalias
Where to begin this? I have so many ideas and thoughts, that I really should have started years ago!! Never mind, I shall simply fast forward to present time with several posts that will keep you interested and looking forward to more!

When we first left The Big Smoke, fondly called Johannesburg, in 2006, our family and friends all said to us... "But what will you DO all day?" I must admit that I had the same thought, until, after a 2-day drive with a howling cat in the car, we breasted the hill and saw our future spread below us. White walled houses with an aquamarine sea spread to the horizon where it met and fused with a sky so blue it hurt our eyes. Then it didn't matter what we would do all day, we would make a new life and enjoy it to the full! We rented a little house while we re-planned and built our home on a piece of land a stone's throw from the sea, which we had bought a few years previously.