Saturday, 29 March 2014

Surprises and Celebrations!

Isn’t technology wonderful? When you read this in ‘real time’ next week, I shall have written it last week…………But, thanks to Rob and the power of forward planning, it’s all on time and perfectly done!
Puzzled? Let me explain!

On Wednesday the 2 April, I am slipping secretly into Spain with my daughter! Why secretly you may be asking? Well, it's my son Andrew's fortieth birthday on the 3 April, so it seemed a good idea to combine a visit to my far-flung children and enjoy a birthday celebration at the same time! He had some idea that we would be there for his birthday, as I had hinted last year that I would hopefully be visiting in March or April as the weather was perfect at that time of year, both in Madrid and in Dubai.

Then Irina (Andrew's wife) mentioned that it would be a wonderful surprise for him if we simply arrived without telling him (this is familiar territory, I tried it with my sister last year and ended up giving the game away, remember?) Catherine and I thought about it and agreed, and so, the back-peddling, deception and re-planning began!

Dopey keeping my case safe from harm!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Turbines and Rhubarb Crumble!

Last Friday we had an Outing! Sadly Alfie couldn't come with us because we firstly went to visit friends on a farm, and they have dogs and horses and sheep and chickens and cats (remember Wally?) and Alfie would have been a little overwhelmed by it all! So we set off early to be with our friends in time for tea! Our route took us past the tiny town of Hopefield and between the two fields of wind turbines.

Completed and working!

Begun in June 2012, we have watched these being built, counting the completed ones  each time we drove past, which wasn't often! The pieces were shipped to Saldanha, being the nearest port to Hopefield, and from there they were taken by road on the back of enormous lorries. We saw several of them when we were heading off with Gemsquash, and very often there was no room to pass them until they pulled off the road for a quick break.

Friday, 21 March 2014

A Fishy Tale (Tail?)

We have a mystery here.

As you know, we have a fish pond. A very smart one took the place of the old half wine-barrel, where the fish swam in circles as they grew. It took them a few days to discover that they could swim in ovals, straight lines and big sweeps of the new, up-market pond, but once they were settled they explored with gusto!

We bought a few more, a couple died, and two we saved from 'suffocating' by throwing them back into the water when they jumped out. One lost it's tail as it dried out due to being out of the water for so long, but amazingly, the tail actually grew again!! For a while the fish swam a bit oddly, but up until two nights ago, all was well.

Then, it disappeared. Overnight. In the evening it was there, the next morning when I went to feed them (an even day, my turn to do the chores), it was not there! At all. We went to bed being the owners of five fish, and woke up being the owners of four! I doubted myself actually and had to ask Rob how many fish we had, he confirmed that we definitely had five.

And we have no idea where it went! We thought immediately that Basil had gone to 'play' with them, but he had been on the bed all night (it's getting cooler now and he likes his comforts), and the other three were dotted about in their usual places. And nobody had 'fishy breath'.

No stones were dislodged from around the pond, nothing was amiss, except we were one fish short.
Rob thinks it may have been Blackjack/jackie, a feral black cat who is the image of our Daffy. I put food out every evening for him/her as I cannot bear to think of him starving. I know that he drinks from the pond, all the cats do, but I somehow cannot agree that he managed to catch the fish that spends the night at the bottom of the pond, without dislodging rocks. I think that the victim leaped out of the water on a suicide mission, and was found by a hungry someone later!

We'll never know!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Winter's Coming!

There's a lovely saying that goes something like this: 'You can tell the warmth of the day by the length of the cat' That being so, our cats are now becoming curled up like hedgehogs in a sunny patch as the days cool down and the autumn chill sets in! Basil tucks up so firmly that it's hard to tell where he starts and stops!

Dopey last week.

In fact, two nights ago Rob lit our little stove for the first time this season, a fact that is now recorded on our chalk board in the kitchen. Originally put up as a shopping reminder, it now records the facts that we need to remember, like the last rain figures, or when we defrosted the freezer or last but not least, when the 'Honeysucker' last came to empty the tank! More important than a simple shopping list, it's easy to go without milk, but it's impossible to survive with a loo that refuses to empty!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Trouble in Heaps!

Basil brought us a gift a couple of mornings ago. At least we presume it was him, it usually is! Under the table on the veranda he had left a piece of animal. Well, two pieces, a head and a foot! The head had some really lethal teeth and we immediately recognised it. This is what it should have looked like!

(Pic thanks to Google)

It was the Cape Mole Rat, or 'Georychus Capensis', a little creature well known to all gardeners in the Cape region!! These little souls are rarely seen above ground, I think they realise that they would be in serious trouble if they dared to show themselves! They feed on bulbs (especially the expensive kind that have just been bought and planted), corms and tubers, and their burrows can be 50 - 130 metres in length. They have extremely poor eyesight and are mainly nocturnal. The only time that they do venture above ground is to forage for food or to found new burrow systems. Then they run the risk of being caught by jackals, mongooses, owls and grey herons. (And gardeners!) They are also solitary except when the female is raising young, with only one mole per burrow system and are highly aggressive towards other moles. No wonder there are so many burrows all over the place! The green belt is full of tunnels and as they run just under the ground, you end up sinking up to your ankles with every few steps you take!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Mother Hubbard's Cupboard.............!

At this rate there will always be a bone in it for Shaggy!!

This email from Johan came in this morning! It seems that he had a few chaps round for a drink and sent the collection plate round!
Well done!!
The challenge is on!!

The gauntlet has been thrown!!

Please forward this to Shaggy and his fan club
Had a few local guys in for drinks this afternoon
Told them Shaggy's story, the little I know
Depositing R130,00 into the account on Monday
Courtesy of the 'Friday Afternoon Meeting at River House' club !

Alfie is collecting from his pals in Jacobsbaai too!