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.