Thursday, 31 May 2012

There's a Wally on my stoep!

The story of Phez led me to share one more rescued cat story with you! Remember the photo of 'Twin' cat coming to eat at the table? Well, here is another one of him to remind you.

Thin and hungry, our Twin feral.
He first appeared in our garden over a year ago, thin and hungry, and would sneak into the house at night through the cat-flap to finish off the 'crumblies' that the others had left. Never one to hang around, he appeared, ate and left. As time passed, he became bolder and braver and would arrive at twilight to eat the food that by now, I was leaving on the outside table for him. The minute he saw us watching him he left, helped along by Alfie who decided that he did not like him at all.

Friday, 25 May 2012

There's a kitten in my coffee!

I was going to be making everyone jealous by writing about our last caravan trip, but my sister Diz (a nickname since I was small)), sent some photos that her husband Norman had taken of their latest rescue kitten, and I couldn't resist sharing his story with you.
That tastes good!

Meet Phez, he is the one with his head in the coffee mug! He is the latest (but not the last I am sure), in a long, long line of rescued, donated and abandoned cats, ranging in age from elderly and doddery, to young and skittish. Each one is loved and cherished and when their time has come, they are buried with love and sadness in a corner of the garden. I seem to remember that at one stage they had about twenty two or so. What is the collective noun for cats? A purr? I like that! A scratch? My daughter suggested a cuddle or a knead! Anyway, several weeks ago their vet phoned to say there was a tiny kitten wanting a foster mum, was Diz interested? Her first reaction was 'No', and that was that. Five minutes later she phoned the vet back and off they went to fetch Phez. They thought that he was about four days old, but two days later his eyes opened, so he was about ten days! And weighed less than 100 gm. That is less than an average size tomato! Go and weigh one to see, I did and couldn’t find one small enough!
Weak and wobbly.......and tiny!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Facelift for an 'Old Girl'!

No, I am not the 'old girl' in the title, although I really feel that I could do with some sort of re-vamp, having had my 65th birthday last week! At the time we were away in Gemsquash, as we were last year, so we have started another family tradition, let's hope there are lots of birthdays ahead to carry it on. But, as usual I digress, and my next blog will be all about the wonderful time we had.
The 'old girl' is actually our dear old Gemsquash herself. She is a vintage caravan really, (or is that veteran? Or classic? Or simply old?), as she first hit the road in 1981. So, we decided to do a couple of things to spruce her up. I had already made new blue and white striped curtains for her, cleverly made from a huge, quilted bed cover that we brought with us when we moved and had never used! After much unpicking and measuring and cutting and sewing, voila, brand new curtains. And they made a huge difference in brightening up the interior. So, our thoughts turned to the walls which were plain marine ply. Sturdy and brown and  boring! Off to the paint shop where we chose the palest of grey for the final coat, and armed with sandpaper, undercoat, rollers, brushes and paint tray, we headed home to tackle the job!
Still smiling at this stage!
Alfie was horrified as we literally stripped everything from inside and he refused point blank to return until the cushions were replaced and the bed was made!
Alfie left soon after this picture was taken.
The bed has gone!
Suddenly we were faced with acres of wall to paint and what seemed a good idea at the time started to fade a little as we strained our shoulders and neck sanding every piece of wall and getting into and under all the nooks and crannies that a caravan has. Plus, a caravan is not the largest of spaces anyway and Rob and I were doing soft shoe shuffles every time we wanted to change ends! I was doing the twiddly bits around the windows and cupboards and he was in charge of the roller. The undercoat looked ghastly, patchy and thin and I was wondering whether we would manage to cover the wood properly. We left it for two days to dry properly and then we did the first coat of grey. What a difference, we just loved it. The second coat went on the next day and the walls shone with pride! So did we, and aching muscles aside, we were very pleased with the result.
Compare this picture to the 'before' shot!
But, we were not yet finished! The knobs on the cupboard doors needed replacing as there were two different kinds. As the original plastic knobs had broken over the years, they had been replaced with wooden ones, so off they all came and we bought lovely stainless steel ones to match the grey walls! See, we planned it all very carefully!
Alfie approves! See the new knobs?
But, we were still not finished! The curtains had originally been on stretchy wire and although it is practical, it isn't pretty, so Rob bought curtain track instead and we used proper hooks!
But, we were still not finished! Off we went to track down new flooring and found the perfect one, a soft yet tough floor covering in a mock limewashed wood pattern which would bring out the colours of the walls and reflect the new door knobs. It was perfect and we enquired the price of just 3 metres. We gasped, gulped and left!
Who needs a new floor, the old one is perfect for the next 30 years!!

Saturday, 12 May 2012


We have a full moon every 28 days, obviously, and we always look at it and say things like 'wow, doesn't seem that long ago that it was full last time' and 'we'll have a high tide later today' and then we carry on with life for the next 28 days!

But this month we had perigree moon!

We had this amazing 'Supermoon' on Sunday 6 May. We were told that it would be enormous and 16% brighter than normal as it was at it's closest approach to the earth, a mere 356,955 kms away in fact. Apparently there will be several in 2012 but they vary by 3% because the moon's orbit is not perfectly circular.

Apart from being a day early to go out and ooh and aah, (we were given the wrong information and rushed out to look at a nearly full moon), when we finally got it right, it was beautiful. We watched and waited and it rose behind our house and climbed above the small hill behind us. We always have a wonderful view of the moon and stars here as there is very little light pollution. I tried to take a photo of it between the houses but it did not do it justice at all.

Perigree moon between the houses

I remember when I was small, mum used to talk about 'Harvest Moon', and farmers only planted when the moon was right, I remember something about no rain if the moon was lying on it's back. And then there's Blue Moon, where there are four full moons in a season (3 months). The word 'lunatic' comes from the Latin word lunaticus meaning 'of the moon' or 'moonstruck'. The moon plays an important part in our daily lives and I was most impressed when Rob found the following information on the names of the different moons.

January:   Old Moon, or Moon After Yule
February:   Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, or Wolf Moon
March:   Sap Moon, Crow Moon, or Lenten Moon
April:   Grass Moon, or Egg Moon
May:   Planting Moon, or Milk Moon
June:   Rose Moon, Flower Moon, or Strawberry Moon
July:   Thunder Moon, or Hay Moon
August:   Green Corn Moon, or Grain Moon
September:   Fruit Moon, or Harvest Moon
October:   Harvest Moon, or Hunter’s Moon
November:   Hunter’s Moon, Frosty Moon, or Beaver Moon
December:   Moon Before Yule, or Long Night Moon

I presume these names are for the northern hemisphere as we would never have a Snow Moon in February! Hopefully!

Friday, 4 May 2012


We have had some rain!

Sometimes I feel like a farmer when I walk round my garden and see how dry it is. Now, I know that we are only supposed to have winter rain, an average of 390 mm spread over the year with the bulk being May to about August, easing off on either side of winter. Our driest months are February (average 8 mm), and November (average 12 mm), but we should have a splattering throughout the year and this summer has been unbelievably dry, dusty and desperate! We keep a record and write down every drop faithfully, and most months have had 'nil'.
But, on Wednesday, the wind changed direction from a south-easter to a north-wester, the clouds rolled in and we watched the rain head towards us over the sea. Our dust roads turned to mud and the animals decided that there was no need to head out at all, Alfie crossed his legs and hung on, and the cats found the litter tray that is always available but seldom used!