Friday, 31 May 2013

Flamingo Reflections!

We had a lovely lone visitor paddling in our bay last week, a Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus).While they are very prolific in Velddrif, a coastal town about 30 kms from us where salt pans produce huge piles of salt for the local Cerebos company, this is the first one that we have seen here. And all alone! It seemed very happy as it went about its business, but I felt sad for it all by itself.

Our lonely visitor (Pics thanks to Rob)

They are the most widespread of the flamingo family and are found in Africa, southern Asia, southern Europe (including Spain, Albania, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Italy and the Camargue region of France. They are also the largest and average 110 - 150 cm tall, but most of that is legs! For all that height, they are not very heavy, averaging between 2 and 4 kilos. Our cats are twice that weight! Even the smallest one!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Season of Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness!

I remember learning this poem ('Ode to Autumn' by John Keats) when I was about ten! It matters not that I only remember the first few lines, I am impressed that I remember that much seeing as I sometimes forget what day it is and only realise when I read the TV guide!

We have had nearly a week of waking up to thick mist, or is that fog? And what's the difference anyway? According to Rob, if you cannot see further than one kilometre, then it's fog. But as I cannot visualise one kilometre then it doesn't help! Anything damp, thick and white is mist!

The view of the mist from our bedroom.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Another Maudlin Monday!

Being Monday, again, I did a spot of cleaning! When I do mindless things like that, my mind tends to go off on its own, and today my thoughts turned to my dad who would have had his 100th birthday on Saturday. There are lots of things that remind me of him in our home, he made the rocking chairs in the bedroom and a side table stands next to my chair in the lounge. His old woodworking tools are displayed on an old trunk and I have many photos of him on my desk. But the most precious reminder that I have of him is the portrait that Andrew painted of him, unknown to me, that he gave me for Christmas in 1994.

My father painted by my son!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Aloe, Aloe, Aloe!

I love this time of year! The days are calm and still, the sky is that pale blue that heralds the start of winter, the mornings are still dark at 7 a.m and twilight starts at 5.45 p.m and it's dark by 6 p.m!! The fire is lit after our late afternoon walk with Alfie, and the soup pot takes its place on top ready for supper. We are ready and waiting for winter now, the garden is holding its breath for the rain that is becoming really necessary! As I write this the sun has gone, the fingers of mist are swirling and creeping between the houses but inside is warm and cosy!

One of the aloes in my garde.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, here I am, another year older and deeper in debt!! Not the debt bit thank goodness, but the year older is true. Yesterday was my birthday and mine began at midnight precisely!! Rob and I watched a movie and finally got to bed on Thursday night at about 11.15. Then we tossed and turned, hips ached and shoulders twinged. The dogs around us were disturbed by something and so we lay trying to get to sleep. I heard Rob's phone beep once or twice but by that time I was drifting off. Suddenly the peace was shattered by Rob serenading me as his mobile clicked over from Thursday to Friday! I think that's my very first midnight serenade! Dare I say I also hope that it's the last!!

The birthday girl! (Pics thanks to Rob)

Although it was really my turn to make the coffee (being an even number day), Rob brought me coffee in bed, and then the phone calls started! I felt like the Queen as I sat in bed chatting to family and friends and replying to text messages from afar. For me, the best part of my birthday is that it is my day alone, I am not sharing it with the whole country, no Valentine's hype, just me, me, me! It becomes an excuse to leave the housework, have a glass of wine with lunch, forget the washing and ironing and leave the leaves piled up on the veranda! (Most of those things are a daily thing with me, but there's no guilt on a birthday!)

Monday, 6 May 2013

Maudlin Monday!

Do you ever get days where you feel a little maudlin? The dictionary definition is as follows; weakly or tearfully sentimental, esp. from drunkeness (French 'Madeleine' referring to pictures of Mary Magdalen weeping)

Now, I am not drunk, and certainly nowhere near being weak and tearful, but yesterday would have been my mum's 100th birthday and we used to tease her about getting a telegram from the Queen. (Does she still send them I wonder?) That got me thinking about my childhood and this morning while I was doing some dusting, (yes), I happened to dust the beautiful glass biscuit barrel that used to stand on the sideboard next to the phone when I was growing up. I used to try and sneak a biscuit (or two) when mum was out of the room, but no matter where she was, she would hear me! I could never get the lid on or off without it making the tiniest tinkle against the side and then I would hear 'I can hear you!' from mum! Even if she was upstairs with the Hoover! Again this morning I tried to lift the lid quietly and again it tinkled and I bet that mum heard me and frowned!

The empty biscuit barrel!