Monday, 28 July 2014

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind!

(This is the post that was meant for last week. Since then, we have had more rain, storms and strong wind, and my poor garden is not looking quite so chirpy!!)

I have shown you our 'tree' before, it's the one we bought in Montagu a couple of years ago. Rob attached it to the house-wall facing the road, and many people have stopped to have a look. One or two have asked us about it, and laughed when Rob tells them that the tree was straight when he put it up! It was the wind that blew it sideways! Then they ask 'Does it really blow as hard as that?'

Our beautiful metal tree.

Rob always answers, 'No, sometimes it blows harder!' 
Look at this tree.

Looks similar to ours, but crafted by nature!

It is just round the corner right on the edge of the bay and gives you some idea of the strength of the wind and how our gardens struggle to stay straight! (Some of the inhabitants also find it hard to stay straight, but that has nothing to do with the wind!!) This last week has been quite a stormy one, with strong wind and seas so rough that the remains of the barge Margaret, wrecked here in 2009, are now barely visible. The night before last we heard the wreck banging late at night and when we walked there this morning we were not surprised to see further damage to the remaining bits. It's only a matter of time before she disappears completely and all that will remain is the wooden cross to mark the place where John Charles Mitchell died. (See 'Margaret Day' in the list of 'posts about')

Monday, 21 July 2014

Sleep Tight, Daffy.

This is not the post that I had planned for today, that one is written and waiting to be shared with you, but sometimes life gets in the way and plans have to change.

This morning we had to say goodbye to one of our beloved cats.

Daffy in the garden as a youngster.

Daffy arrived in the garden as a kitten six years ago, feral and wary. Together with an older cat, (Dilly), he would wait for me to bring food but would never let me near him. Months later I was able to touch him, and then he moved in.

He was always around, he was the one cat who seldom ventured past the front door, unless I hauled out the vacuum or strangers arrived. Then he would streak out of the door like black lightning, only returning when the coast was clear.

Daffy with Alfie on the couch, move over!

He had two favourite sleeping spots, the couch in the lounge and our bed. Every now and then he changed over to the chair in our bedroom, and on winters nights he loved to take over Alfie's bed. Being black, he blended in with the black blanket and the only thing we could see was a white whisker, or an eye. Then Alfie left his bed to Daffy and slept on the bed with us.

Daffy and Dopey on the bed.

He was quiet and unassuming, until Rob rattled the butter dish, or cut a piece of cheese. Then he would come and sit next to Rob and bite his leg until he got a little bit of butter. Every evening he would appear in the kitchen at the precise moment that Rob made his evening coffee. The he would always have a little milk before heading back to bed. He was never a problem and never sick. But the only time he ever sat on my lap, was last Friday evening.

Then on Saturday we noticed that he had not come down for breakfast and he spent the day quietly on our bed. He seemed fine, purred when we spoke to him, went out when he needed to but by the evening his breathing was laboured and his third eyelid was beginning to appear in the corners. Yesterday we knew that he was ill. There was no vet on duty and nothing that we could do until this morning. We kept him warm and as the vet opened this morning, we were outside.

Our beautiful boy.

He had feline leukaemia. He was in pain and there was only one choice for us.

Beautiful words, and so true.

We stayed with him until the end and then brought him home to lie in the garden next to Clyde, our old boy who had come with us from Johannesburg.

Our hearts are spilling over right now.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Wine By Any Other Name..............

I must admit that I enjoy a glass of wine (or two...) in the evening, or at lunchtime when we treat ourselves and eat out, or meet up with friends. For home consumption I buy the 'Casa de Plonk' variety, i.e. 5 litres in a cardboard box with a tap that never ever does as it should and usually results in a tussle and a curse! (I know somebody who once tried to prise the box open with a knife and ended up with wine all over the place!) 
I have two lovely wine-box-holders that cleverly disguise the fact that it is a 'No Name' brand, one contains red and the other holds the white and they have been admired by many people.

The wine box holders.

But, every now and then when people come to dinner, or we are going to visit friends, I buy a larny bottle to take with us. It has to be a screw top bottle because so few people actually have corkscrews now. Then it becomes a case of pushing the cork into the bottle and pouring round it! This usually happens at a picnic when it is far too late to nip back to find one. And screw tops are very handy when there is wine left in the bottle and it needs to be transported. Not that this is a problem that I normally have!

I fully admit that I am a bit of a peasant when it comes to choosing wine. In summer I like a dry white, crisp and cold with plenty of ice, and in winter a red is very welcome but don't confuse me with 'noses' and 'bouquets' and 'hints of chocolate and raspberries with a lingering taste of grass' etc. Words like 'elegant' and 'vivacious' are not what I would use to describe a wine. I would use 'very drinkable', or 'goes well with rugby and biltong', something that can be understood by people like me!! So, as all that wine-speak is lost on me, I tend to check the prices first! We have really excellent wines here in the Western Cape, after all they are produced here, so pretty much anything is chooseable. And then, when I am tossing up between a Merlot and a Pinotage or a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay, I do the sensible thing.

I look at the label and choose the one I like best!

A Prancing little taste! Energetic and sound! And delicious!

The labels are an art form in themselves, ranging from fat people to painted dogs, from horses to sisters or cousins, from tongue-in-cheek to up-market and no nonsense.

And here is the last one I bought.

Poor toad, gone but not forgotten!

Isn't it lovely? I'll never forget that name!
And it tasted wonderful!


Monday, 7 July 2014

Angels On The Corner!

Remember Pieta the goose who lives on the corner? She is now a large lady and weighs quite a lot, as you see below!

Nicola hidden behind Pieta!

And she loves her 'pond' that Emma and Coert gave her.

Her private swimming pool!