Friday, 28 February 2014

Nick Nack Paddy Whack.................

Give a dog a bone.............
I am sure that you know which dog I am referring to?? Yes, Shaggy!!

For the last couple of weeks I have been very anxiously waiting for news of him. The last I heard was that after his arrival at Lanseria he was immediately quarantined. He would have to undergo several blood tests and if they were not clear, well, he would have to be put down. It was unthinkable.

For the first few days he didn't eat or drink, and his rescuers were very concerned. Then on the 17 February, Johan sent the following update:

'Shaggy was taken for a walk today
Discovered his first lawn, rolled and rolled and rolled.
Apparently it was quite an effort to coax him back into his cage !
Bloodtests were done, results will only be available on Friday.'

We were thrilled, and waited anxiously for Friday!

'Shaggy needs to remain in quarantine for another fortnight 
And blood tests have to be done again'

That was the 23 February. More anxious waiting.
Then this morning Johan sent the following:

'Good news !
Shaggy is fine and well
And being set free today !
A bank account has been established for the chap !
Shaggy's Pocket Money Fund
Awaiting bank details....'

I emailed back saying how thrilled we were at the news, and asking for a photo update. Johan replied:

'Wonderful indeed !
No updated pics, but sure to be on his facebook page
The Life of Shaggy
Bet there is going to be a huge party in Jnb tonight !'

Then Johan forwarded this message:

'Greetings all, 
On behalf of Cheronne, Alicia, Carla and Shaggy himself. 
"For those of you who may be interested:" Shaggy now has his very own account and debit card. 
Shaggy Account 
Savings Account 
C. Wheeler 
Account number: 9292 5732 66 
Benmore Gardens 
Clearing Code: 632005 
Reference: Your name please 
Fond regards, 

Wonderful news, a fitting end to a story that should never have been. Rob has sent some pocket money for him from Alfie, and I'm sure that a lot of like minded people will do the same.

And, I am very glad that he is here in South Africa, among people who will love him and remember the important part that he played in keeping many people safe. And my sincere thanks go to those who cared enough to rescue him.

What a pity that his own countrymen couldn't have done the same!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Dry as a Bone!

I know that I mentioned the heat in last week's post. Together with that comes the wind and the dryness. We haven't had rain for a while now and I think that we are as dry as we can ever be. Even the lamp posts are wilting! And my sister in Pietermaritzburg just told me that they had over 60 mm of rain during a violent storm that did lots of damage last night. We could certainly do with some of that...........without the damage though!

Dry and drab, dead and dormant.

This is what the surrounding 'green' areas look like now. Hard to imagine that in a few months time they will be a colourful carpet of yellow and white. Hopefully!

A tiny puddle left! (Pic thanks to Rob)

This is what our little waterholes on the way to town have shrunk to! The white that you see is salt, even though they are over three kilometres from the sea! In the seven years that we have been here, they have never dried up completely. But I think they may do that this year! The water is now too salty for even the flamingos! There must be a small fortune in rock salt lying there waiting to be harvested. With a fair amount of sheep and cow poo mixed in for flavour!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Arctocephalus Pusillus!

You'd better say that slowly or you could be in trouble! That is the larney name for our Cape Fur Seal, or South African Fur Seal as it is now known.

We have had some very warm weather lately, our 'air-conditioner' has not been working too well, and we have waited until nearly seven o'clock to take Alfie for his daily walk. Even then, he drags behind or finds any bit of shade that he can to sit in and catch his breath! When we stop to chat to people (which happens very often!) he sits in Rob's shadow to keep as cool as he can! (Rob is losing weight though, so the shadow is becoming thinner!!) Sunday registered 35 C on our veranda, but I know that it was over 40 C inland.

The sea has been calm and tranquil lately too, but over the December period we had some huge waves that we could see crashing on the rocks in the bay, and we could see Seal Island being bombarded and pounded, with spray lifting high into the air. Sometimes the young seals get washed off the rocks and we see the tiny corpses lying on the beach. One youngster arrived unharmed during the December holidays and managed to get itself onto the rocks where the fishermen stand almost daily. When we walked nearby, we could see the tiny glistening form lying on the rock in the sun and I was hoping that it would be safe. Some fishermen blame the seals for the lack of good fishing, and will happily beat them to death, or shoot them.

Seal Island is way beyond the houses on the right.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Shaggy Has Landed!

By the time you read this, Shaggy will have landed at Lanseria Airport, north-west of Johannesburg.
Who or what is Shaggy, I hear you ask?
Read on, and all will be revealed!

A friend of ours sent Rob an email yesterday. This is what Johan wrote:

'Shaggy in cabin
 Has just taken off from Jeddah in ZS SKA
 En route Djibouti'

Rob answered with the obvious question:

'What is SKA?
 What is the story of Shaggy?'

And Johan wrote back:

'SA charter group operating out of Baghdad, smallish Flying Fokkers, this
one a F70. Shaggy was an Iraqi stray that the boys adopted A welcome braai is
being arranged at Lanseria for Shaggy and his crew !'

Shaggy in his flying cage! (Pics thanks to Johan)

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Trains and Boats and Planes! (Not really Planes though!)

Well, here I am, better late than never! Home again after a wonderful few days lazing on the banks of the Berg River. We arrived on Thursday morning after a journey of 45 minutes, and were unpacked, tent up and relaxing, an hour later! Alfie stayed in the car until everything was in place and then came out to inspect, and find a convenient tree!

All set up and ready to do nothing!

What a beautiful spot. We identified 54 bird species without moving away from the campsite! The list contains 180, so we didn't do too badly! From the large flamingos to the tiny mossies and everything in between, they can be seen here.

Iron ore heading to Saldanha Bay.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A Fish in Time....or....Cast in Stones!

This morning it was Rob's turn to get up first! (I love odd-numbered days). The early chores consist of opening up, opening the blinds, feeding the cats, making sure that Alfie actually goes outside and not pretends to, feeding the birds and feeding the fish and last but not least, making the coffee. We kind of do it on automatic pilot, but this morning Rob counted the fish and saw that there was one short! The orange one that he had named 'Outspan' like the oranges that are exported to far shores, was missing! And a flat rock that is usually on the edge of the pond was lying on the bottom.

Then he saw Outspan.

Lying on the stones about half a metre from the fish pond. Not moving. Not a good sign.

He picked it up and was about to bury it, when he saw it move very slightly, so he put it back in the water. It listed left-hand-down and kind of floated. By now I had joined him and the two of us stood and watched. I put my hand in the water and gently held it upright, but the minute I let go, it rolled over again.

Outspan looking a little sideways! (Pics thanks to Rob)

I did this a few times, I even thought of giving it mouth to mouth resuscitation as it kept either rolling over or bumping into things but we persevered and finally it looked as though we had won the battle! It started to swim the right way up, it's fins came unstuck and started moving, and it started to eat!

A lucky fish!

And now it is fine! What a tale to tell it's friends. I wonder if it's life flashed before it as it lay on the stones? I wonder if it saw a huge pond with all it's old friends waiting for it, beckoning with golden fins? Sort of 'On Golden Pond'. Sorry, that's awful!

And I wonder how it got there in the first place? Basil, you ask? No, he was with us on the bed, and he was dry!

A mystery that will probably remain unsolved.
Outspan. A good name for it as it turns out!