Wednesday, 30 December 2015

It's That Time Of Year Again!

Yes, it's that time of the year when our thoughts turn to resolutions, re-resolutions and re-re-resolutions!! I feel as though I am in a time warp, as I cannot believe that 2015 is sinking into the mists of time like the sun sinks into the sea at the end of a perfect day. A single green flash and it has gone!

Pic thanks to Google.

So, this year I thought that I would begin with all the positive political news and happenings that have kept our country (barely) afloat this year. I thought that after all the doom and gloom of the plunging rand, the soaring petrol, food and daily living prices, the depressing number of rhinos being murdered for a few ignorant 'Oriental gentlemen', and the drop in the number of tourists visiting us due to the ridiculous idea that all sorts of papers are necessary to prevent legitimate people from 'trafficking' their own children across our borders, I would give you some really positive political news.

So here goes....

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Christmas Tinner!

Every year when I sit at my computer to write my Festive Jolly Christmas Blog, I can't believe that a year has passed so fast! And I am thinking exactly that again!

Where has 2015 gone? And 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.......... In fact, where has it all gone? It seems just the other day when 1999 clicked towards 2000 and we sat with candles at the ready and wondered whether our computers would self destruct and all the planes would fall out of the sky! And of course all was well and we laughed and said well we knew that everything would be fine! But I digress!

Christmas always brings thoughts of food! (Mind you, every day brings thoughts of food and thoughts of 'what am I going to cook today?') I remember mum spending Christmas morning in the kitchen surrounded by turkey, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, mince pies, and pudding and custard, while the windows steamed up and the fire was lit in the lounge and we played with our new toys! Then after lunch it was washing up time! Piles of plates and pots and pans, knives forks and spoons, while mum reminded whoever was washing 'don't put the handles of the knives in the water'. Those bone handled knives are still going strong, we use them every day and every time I wash them I say to myself  'don't put the handles in the water'!

Our knives

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Twelve Days Of Christmas!

I know that this may be a day early for 12 days before Christmas, but because I didn't write a blog last weekend, I decided not to wait until the time was right, but to go right ahead and give you my version of that popular Christmas song (and no it is nothing that Boney M have ever sung....hopefully) called 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. I thought that there must be some history behind what seemed to be a simple song, so, yes, I googled it! And this is what I found.

'According to Ann Ball in her book, HANDBOOK OF CATHOLIC SACRAMENTALS:

The two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments
The three French hens stood for faith, hope, and love.
The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The five golden rings represented the first five books of the Old Testament, which describe man's fall into sin and the great love of God in sending a Saviour.
The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit-----Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit-----Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience [Forbearance], Goodness [Kindness], Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, Continency [Chastity].
The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.
The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful Apostles.
The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in The Apostles' Creed.

Original Source: Fr. Calvin Goodwin, FSSP, Nebraska
Printed with permission from Catholic Tradition.'

And thanks to Google.

I spent a lot of time mulling over typically 'Weskus' flora and fauna (lovely names for cats) so I hope that this meets with your approval even though there is no deeper meaning to my words:

So, here in reverse order from 12 days to 1 day.... and you have to sing it out loud please:
 On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Twelve whales a blowing
Eleven crayfish growing
Ten springboks pronking *
Nine gypos honking **
Eight seals a swimming
Seven gulls a screaming
Six tourists leaving ***
Five tor-toi-ses
Four scorpions
Three mole snakes
Two francolins
And a boomslang in a manotoka tree.

* not our rugby team
** short for Egyptian geese
*** not you Michael and Hedwig

One thing puzzles me though. Are the twelve days supposed to happen before Christmas or afterwards? 

If it's before, well, go ahead and sing.

And if not, wait a bit!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Looks Like a Snake, Moves Like a Snake.........

I have seen yet again, that I am never too old to learn!

On Friday morning I did a load of washing and carried it out into the courtyard to hang it up. The wind wasn't too strong at that stage, so I was able to complete that task without too much struggle. Usually the clothing and I have a bit of a tussle before I peg it into submission, so when I had finished, instead of ducking back into the kitchen and managing to grab the door before it flung itself open and crashed onto the wall, I stood and watched Morris bat an empty snail shell around! It made an interesting tinkling sound, so we were both entertained!

Then I noticed a silvery looking thing on the ground near my feet. At first glance it looked like the tail of a lizard that had been brought in and then abandoned by one of the cats, but when I bent down to have a closer look, I saw that it was too long and thin to be a tail. And there was definitely a head on one end. The other end was a bit chewed. And there were some bite marks in the middle. And it was very dead. Hmm, l thought, this looks very much like a baby snake!

The head is on the left. See the stripes?

Monday, 23 November 2015

Baa Baa Black Sheep.......

Sorry this is a tad late again, but I have been herding sheep! (Or should that be 'flocking' sheep?)

Now I can see you all visualising me with a crook, a floppy hat, a faithful dog to help me, and a bunch of 'baaaadly' behaved ovines dodging and weaving in front of me playing 'follow-my-leader' and ending up exactly where they started.

Wrong. In all respects! Apart from the faithful dog who was lying on the couch, that is.

A friend asked me last week if I could make twenty-five sheep, from felt, to decorate her home-made crackers. She always makes her own crackers for Christmas and saw some little sheep somewhere, fell in love with them, and phoned me!

My little cottage key rings

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Now You See It.........

I love Day Lilies (Hemerocallis). I love their colours and I love the fact that they are always green even though they may not be in flower all the time. I have the usual yellow ones that flowered recently, planted where I can see them through the kitchen window when I am washing up!

A few weeks ago I was at our local nursery and I saw that there were a few left of the old stock. So, I bought two. One had a lovely bud just forming and one didn't. But even though there was no label on them to give me an idea of the colour, it didn't matter because they knew for a fact that they were not yellow!

So, I took my 'Lucky Dip' lilies home and gave the budding one to Emma next door. For two weeks we waited patiently while the buds grew fatter and the stem grew longer. And then, one morning Emma called me over to come and have a look at her flower. It was beautiful!

Emma's Day Lily

Mine is planted in the same bed as the yellow ones and every morning while washing up, I could see it hopefully planning it's first flowers. Just as I was thinking it would never flower, I saw tiny buds on a little stem hidden among the leaves! A surprise in the making!

So, I watched and I waited and I watered and I literally sang to it. And every day the buds got fatter and the stem got longer and I was sure that today would be the day that I could call Emma over to come and see my beautiful lily. And I knew that once I had written about it and shown you all the gorgeous flower and the beautiful colours, the fact that this is a few days late would not matter!
But this morning, this is what I found.

Neatly bitten off!

The bokkie (buck) had beaten me to it! Neatly bitten off with no other damage whatsoever and nothing else touched. Emma came over to ask about the flower and I showed her......

So after much commiserating, she said that I must come over and see her beautiful rose that was about to open. The bud was bursting yesterday evening. She didn't want to brag but it was promising to be spectacular.

We went over to look........... But bokkie had visited her garden too.......

We are so dry here now the bokkies are raiding gardens for any kind of greenery.

And I really don't mind as long as the next flower is mine!

But, I still don't know what colour it is!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Robertson, Donkeys.......and Home!

The day we left Prince Albert was misty and wet! As we drove past the turn-off to the road that we had taken up the Swartberg Pass, my only thought was that no-one would be nuts enough to do it if they couldn't actually see where the road ended and the plunge began!

A misty moisty morning!

By the time we got to Klaarstroom we were feeling a little peckish, so we stopped for pies at 'Ant Dora's Spens'. Now, I am not sure whether Ant Dora was supposed to be Aunt Dora, but it didn't matter because the shop was an Aladdin's Cave! Basically everything in it had been made by the lady who owned the place. (I never did find out what her name was!) Everything from the most exquisite glassware, bead work, hand-made table cloths and napkins, place mats, mosaic work, jam, chutneys, marmalades, pottery, you name it, she made it!

A treasure trove!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Royalty, Roads and Rugby!

Because the dew was so heavy in Sutherland, we cleverly took the tent down the afternoon before we left.That meant that the next morning we were able to simply load up the few things scattered around, (like Alfie who was visiting the bikers and checking up on any 'calling cards' that Trompie had left overnight,) say our farewells and thanks to Jurg and Rita, turn left at the gate and retrace our journey to Matjiesfontein. There we made a sharp left onto the N1 and drove as far as Prince Albert Road. Basically it consists of a railway station, a petrol pump, a church and a bottle store. Turning right, we headed 45 kilometres to our next destination.

On that road to Prince Albert we experienced that strange phenomena called 'somatogravic illusion'. And for those of you who, like me, need that explained in layman's terms, it is the feeling that the road is climbing when it is in fact going downhill or vice versa! We were convinced that we were heading downhill, we could see the road dropping in front of us, but the GPS was telling us that we were in fact, climbing! It was a really strange feeling!

Prince Albert is just beautiful! A corny way to describe a village, but we fell in love with it the minute we arrived!

Clean and green!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Some Days Are Diamonds...........

In the immortal words of John Denver, 'Some days are Diamonds, some days are Stones.'
And our week went from diamonds......and back to stones.

After the happiness and excitement of Tuesday evening when Dilly returned, I never imagined that I would be writing these words today.

Yesterday morning we had to have Dilly put to sleep.

On Friday morning he was fine, ate a hearty breakfast, had his milk as a treat, and spent the day doing what he did usually. And when he didn't come in for supper, we weren't unduly worried......after all, he had been missing for seventeen days so why worry after a few hours?

But when Rob took Alfie for his late night emptying, there was Dilly lying in his kruiwa, and for the first time ever, he did not accompany Rob when he went out of the gate. Rob was immediately concerned, so I went to have a look, but a black cat in the dark doesn't give anything away, and he seemed pleased to see me, even coming into the house and settling on the couch in the office for the night.

I was awake at first light yesterday morning and went down to see if Dilly was in or out. He was still on the couch and when I saw him I knew that our boy was a very sick cat. His one eye was closed and his breathing was laboured. He felt hot and clammy and did not want to move. The vet opened at nine and we were there, second in the queue dead on time.

She tested him for both leukaemia and feline AIDS, and he tested positive for AIDS. There was nothing that she could do and we knew that we had only one choice.

We stayed with him and stroked him and the end was quick and peaceful and painless.

I think that he came home to spend his last few days with us, and I am so glad that when it mattered the most, we were there for him. Dilly was never a cuddly cat, never an 'inside' cat, and he never really lost his 'feralness', but for the eight years that he was with us, he loved us in his own way.

He is now in the garden next to Daffy his old friend, and Clyde who knew them both for a while.

And I can only pray that when my time comes, I have someone to make sure that for me too, it is quick and peaceful and painless, in the company of those people who love me.

Sleep well Dilly.

Such beautiful words. (Thanks to Google)

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Prodigal Cat Returns!

Here are the words of the week:

Dilly is home!

Last night I took Alfie out for his final emptying before bed, and as usual he dallied and sniffed and wandered around and as usual Basil and Kindle came too.

So, there we all were in the road, in the dark, when from down the road came the shape of a cat! A dark cat. I first assumed that it was Morris, but as he had never accompanied us before I realised that it was not him.

And then I looked again and saw our Dilly coming towards me and meeowing with every step!

I scooped him up, took him inside and called to Rob who was upstairs.

We could not believe it. He is fine, a little thinner than he was when we last saw him, 17 days ago, but all in one piece and happy to be home. He ate a large supper and then joined us on the bed where he purred the entire night, in between trying to climb into either my nose or Rob's ear!

Basil and the other two were a little put out I must admit, but they all finally settled down and we managed to get some sleep around the furry bodies.

He is wandering round now and doing a lot of calling. I think he is as happy to be home as we are to see him again! And he has found his kruiwa too!

Carol was right, he was expanding his territory, and I am so grateful to her for all her help.

She truly is an amazing lady!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Sky, Space, Stars and SALT!

And that just about sums up Sutherland!

After leaving Fynbos, we headed through Ceres and over the Hottentotskloof Pass, where brave men are erecting and wiring new pylons that march like broad-shouldered soldiers over the hills and valleys to goodness knows where!

Turn left at Matjiesfontein!

We joined the N1 just before Touwsrivier, and popped in to the Petroport to fill the car and empty us! Then we bought a few necessities like bread and a couple of packets of potato crisps to take with us to Sutherland. At the Matjiesfontein turn-off, we turned left and headed into the most beautiful, empty, vast, open farmland, dotted here and there with sheep, much to Alfie's delight! And we left the Western Cape behind us near Kruispad, as we crossed the unseen border into the Northern Cape!

Welcome to Sutherland!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

If I Could Talk To The Animals.......

Remember these words.... '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.'?

It's happened again.

I have shared interesting, funny, odd and sometimes sad, snippets of our life with cats. Daffy and Dilly were the first feral cats to share our lives, and since then we have welcomed Dopey, Basil, Kindle and Morris (who has had his visit to Aunty Vet and is now recuperating in our garden!) Dilly has been an 'oddball' since he arrived, never taming down to become a full member of the household, but tame enough to be around for meals and on a cold night to spend an hour or so on my lap before meandering off to pass the night in his 'nest' in one of my kruiwas.

Dilly's nest!

He would never allow me to carry him, and refused to stay inside any room that did not have a way out. He disappeared once for three months before re-appearing as if nothing had happened. He regularly stayed away for a few days at a time, but always returned.

Dilly and friend in the garden.

Until last week.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

A Key in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush!!

Here I sit, trying to remember what day of the week it is!

We are back from a lovely two week trundle round the Karoo, well the Klein Karoo really I suppose as there is a vast area to the north that we need to explore in-depth! But it was a wonderful trip and we are ready to head off is Alfie I must admit!

Our first stop was at one of our all-time favourite places, Fynbos Farm. People say that animals don't remember places and people, but Alfie remembered exactly where we were, he remembered the ablution block and the walks that we took previously. He remembered the dogs there and I swear that Layla greeted him like a long-lost friend!

Even the chickens remembered us!

Anyway, Evening One and we were just relaxing, wine poured, chips in the bowl, braai planned, loving the absolute peace and quiet of an empty camp, (apart from us), when my phone rang. And on the other end was our house-sitter, with a slight problem! She could not get into the house! We had given her the remote for the garage as usual, but, the garage door was not opening as it should have been doing when she pushed the button! She had even replaced the battery in case that was the problem! And, she didn't have keys as we had neglected to give them to her, and they were lying inside on the little table where we told her that we would leave them this time!!! And we didn't have keys either! And we didn't leave a spare set with anyone else! No problem, we simply assumed that it was the usual Eskom mess-up and the power would be back within an hour or two and all would be well.........

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Karoosing We Shall Go!

We are lucky living here.

In front of us we have the sea and behind us, not too far away, we have the Karoo. In between, we have mountains! On Thursday we are going to turn our backs on the sea, hook up Hyacinth, load Alfie into the car, head over the mountains and explore the land on the other side!!

Being retired is tough. We have days and days to fill, and all the time we need to fill them! We have places to go, caravan parks to check out and roads to follow, and this time we are heading into the Karoo. That vast, empty, endless-skies and uncountable-stars paradise, where sheep marinade themselves from the inside by grazing on a limited supply of herbs and fynbos.

We have booked our wonderful house/cat/fish/bird-sitter, we have made sure that there is enough food for all the above mentioned species, and we have started to load vittals for us (and Alfie) into Hyacinth.

We shall explore Sutherland, Prince Albert, Albertinia (that may take an hour), and Robertson. We shall find little places to eat and I shall sample the wines of the area.  Morning fry-ups for breakfast and evening braais are the order of the day and we can't wait! I need to do a lot of in-depth research so that my next blog will be the usual informative and witty writing!

So, two weeks of meandering, reading, eating and exploring.

Normal service will be resumed around the 4 October!!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Plumb Crazy!

Did you hear the joke about the Irish tap-dancer?
He broke his ankle falling off the sink!!

I laugh every time I hear this.
As I write this, we have the plumber lying on his back with his head in the cupboard under the sink!!
Shame poor man, this is the third time he has been here since Friday! When we built the house we purposely chose taps that our hands would be able to grip if they were ever riddled with arthritis, you know the kind, big sticky-outy things at right angles so your fingers didn't slip round and round! I thought that they were stainless steel and that they 'would last forever'. In this place, forever seems to be about five years if you are lucky! But Rob said that they were in fact chromed!

Our taps brought him to his knees!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Bonsai Bonanza!

No, it's not an Australian Public Holiday, although it certainly sounds like one!

I have always been fascinated by the art of bonsai. When I was little I planted an acorn in a very small flower pot, and it grew! When the root pushed through the hole at the bottom of the pot, my dad said that I should cut it off and keep cutting it if it grew again. After a while (not sure how long actually, it's all a tad hazy!!), I ended up with a tiny oak tree, in a very small pot. I loved it and watered it and kept cutting the root. And then it died!

So, now to the point of the story!

Yesterday we drove to Cape Town to do a transfer from the Kirstenbosch area to Riebeek Kasteel. And because we were a little early, we went to have a cup of coffee at the cafe in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. I had never been there before, so Rob promised that we would go again and spend the day as there is so much to see.

The mountains were shrouded in mist.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Dark Clouds and Silver Linings!

You may have noticed a gap between my last writing and this one!

The reason?

I have been away! I went to Knysna and spent a wonderful few days with both my children and one amazing grandchild!

It was supposed to have been a few weeks ago, the end of July to be precise, but incompetency ruled the day.

So I guess I shouldn't mention the idiotic ruling about children travelling with one parent. I am not going to dwell on the fact that the Embassy in Madrid gave him the wrong information regarding the necessary documentation, or that the requirements changed between then and him boarding the plane. So, I shan't bore you with the fact that they were not allowed to fly when they should have flown, or that it cost a fair amount to change the tickets and the planes were full for the next two weeks, or even that Andrew missed his dad's birthday (the whole point of his visit actually!) And I shall be very quiet about my anger, frustration and sadness when I received the message from him at Madrid airport to say 'They won't let me on the plane and I'm not joking.' (And the words 'bungling inefficiency' will never cross my lips!)

Anyway, the Silver Linings................ He managed to re-book his holiday and he was able to spend two more days with us in Knysna! And I still had my holiday to look forward to when really it was supposed to have come and gone!

Monday, 3 August 2015


No, the title has nothing to do with the Illicit Buying of Diamonds. Have a look at the picture below, it will give you a clue!!

Beer!!! (Pic thanks to Google)

Beers. Lots of them.

And with good reason, because Friday is International Beer Day!It was founded in 2007 in Santa Cruz, California (where else?) and until 2012 it was celebrated on the 5 August, regardless of what day of the week it fell on! Then, somebody with some sense decided that it was probably not a good idea to have it on a working day when there was another working day to follow! So, it is now celebrated on the first Friday in August, thereby having a weekend to recover before work on Monday!

Cheers! (Pic thanks to Google)

Having said all that, International Beer Day is celebrated in 207 cities in 50 countries on 6 continents and has three purposes (apart from having a good excuse to go out and get smashed!)

1. To gather with friends and enjoy the taste of beer.
2. To celebrate those responsible for brewing and serving beer.
3. To unite the world under the banner of beer by celebrating beers of all nations together on a single day.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Nose Twister Soup Anyone?

I bet the title has you all puzzled and wondering what on earth I am talking about?
The other day I was washing up and idly staring out of the kitchen window. I do a lot of idle staring in one way or another, but I multi-task and do a lot of my indepth thinking at the same time! This is my view (actually I went outside to take the photo as the window is rather grundgy and grubby and you have to screw your eyes up to see anything.)
A nasturtium jungle!

And I happened to notice that the nasturtiums that self-planted themselves from the mother plants that I had purposely planted last year, were spreading and were rapidly getting out of control.
So I said to Rob 'I must pull out some of those, they are taking over the garden and there's other stuff underneath them.' Then I said 'It's a pity that you can't do something with them. I wonder if you can make soup out of the leaves!' and he said (all together now…..) 'Google it!'
So I did, and yes you can!
I was amazed!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Baby Steps!

It's been a funny old week all told, one step forward and three back, two forward and one back, but I think, taking all the forwards and backwards, we may be slightly forward!!

On Tuesday we dropped Kindle off at the vet at eight (in the morning!! A usually unheard of time for us pensioners!) and then we headed towards Riebeek-Kasteel, a village about 100 kms from us. Why? Read on. About 10 kms out of Vredenburg, we heard a bang from under the car, it sounded as though a stone had been flung up into the wheel arch by the tyre, but as we couldn't see anything and the car didn't wobble at all, we carried on to Hopefield, a little town that has a cafe that sells the most delicious toasted sarmies (sandwiches). As it was breakfast time, we decided to pop in, buy some bird food in large sacks like farmers do, and grab a sarmie to keep our strength up. It was 3 degrees!!! That's cold!! But with snow on the mountain tops, we understood why!

Snow dusting the mountain tops!

And we saw that we had a puncture!

Monday, 13 July 2015

A 'Fourgone' Conclusion!

Well, who would have guessed what happened next?
Have a look at the picture below.......

Isn't she beautiful? And she knows it too!

It wasn't planned!! I was still in the 'pondering' stage on Thursday evening when I went to feed Kindle. At that stage I was thinking that I would catch her on, say, Sunday or Monday evening and book an appointment with Aunty Vet for her operation sometime during the week. Or, maybe wait until the weather warmed up a bit. And I mulled and meandered  into Marie's drive carrying food and milk and a variety of clean bowls. And there was a car! Marie had come home from visiting her daughter and they were standing near Kindle who was head-down-and-chewing on a piece of snoek.
Marie was more than happy to allow me to carry on feeding her in the same place, but Nicola warned me that the rest of her family were arriving the next afternoon for the weekend, with their two dogs who were not cat-friendly! The best thing would be for me to go on Friday lunchtime and catch Kindle then and there! Before she headed into the bushes never to be seen again. So, my mind quickly came out of 'vague mode' and I made plans!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Come In Number 4...............!

A couple of weeks ago we had a fleeting glimpse of a small tabby cat that raced through the garden and over the wall and down the road. Not far behind was Blackjack, the large, long-haired feral that we are feeding in the garden. As wild as a goat, he waits for us to put food out most evenings and glares at us through yellow slits if we get too close.

We didn't see the tabby again until the week before last, when she (as I saw) came into the garden again and cried for food. Her haunches had that caved-in look that a really hungry cat gets, and she was obviously living rough. Also wild and terrified, she wouldn't let us get anywhere near her, but as we backed away, she came to eat, cramming the food into her mouth as fast as she could.

This happened for three evenings running. Rob and I watched her eat and then he asked me what I was going to call her. I thought about it, and then he said 'She is a small tabby, more like a tablet'
And I said 'Kindle!'

So Kindle she is! It also is the name for a litter of kittens which I thought was very appropriate. And we are trying to kindle a friendship with her.

Kindle arriving for food.

Monday, 29 June 2015


Rob and I went shopping last Tuesday morning. I love going shopping with him because we go early and pop into the Mall to have breakfast! Our local pizza parlour has breakfast specials, either a breakfast pizza which doesn't really appeal, or the good old fashioned bacon, eggs, tomato and toast with a cup of coffee! And no hassle with 'previously lit' problems as they specially advertise the fact that they have a generator to keep the lights (and stoves) working! A perfect way to start the day, and no washing up afterwards!

So, after our leisurely breakfast, we meandered off to Checkers, our local supermarket. We always look for the cheapest items, being poor pensioners, and found some lovely pure orange juice that was a couple of rand cheaper than any other brand.

So, it came home with us and into the fridge.

The next morning at breakfast Rob was reading the blurb on the side of the box.
'This is by appointment to the Queen', he said.
'Really?' I answered. 'Wow, a South African product by appointment to the Queen!' I was impressed!

See the crown above the flying 'e'?

Until we looked at where it was produced. England! Now, England doesn't grow oranges. We do.
We also produce orange juice. But so does England by obviously importing either the whole oranges, or the pulp which they then re-construct. And then they sell it to us! And it is cheaper to buy than our own juice that is grown, squeezed and packaged here.

Home grown, South African oranges!!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Water Water Everywhere!

'Water Water everywhere 
And all the boards did shrink
Water, water everywhere
Except the bath and sink.'

(Apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge and 'The Rime of The Ancient Mariner')

We have had RAIN!! Last week we had a humdinger of a storm with lightning and thunder, our roads ran like rivers, ducks were swimming in the puddles, and the wind blew the rain sideways, so much so, it was knocking on the front door! It also managed to find a gap in the chimney and splashed onto the top of our little stove! It didn't do much to clean the windows though, but it did wash a lot of bird poopies off the walls and the roof..................and it filled our two rain tanks!

The smaller of the two tanks.

I have mentioned our tanks before I think, we have one of 2500 litres and one of 5000 litres and these catch the rain off the roof. A week ago they were almost empty, so you can work out the volume of water that fell in one go! We had 15 mm in about 10 minutes and the tanks were actually overflowing.
Just as well as it turned out.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Poachers Ahoy!

What comes to mind when you read the word 'poacher'?

I think of men with high powered rifles, and knives to hack off rhino horn, creeping and dodging through the bush in a game park, evading capture. Some, luckily, are shot, and those that are captured deserve to be stripped naked and sent to play with the lions for a while.

But, I digress (those words again!)

I seldom think of poaching taking place under our noses, literally! So, when Rob and I stood on our upstairs veranda a couple of days ago, looking at the sea and idly watching a little boat bobbing up and down in the mouth of the bay, the last thing we thought of was illegal fishing, or poaching!

Especially in broad daylight in full view of everybody!

No, we thought that the men on board, dressed in black wet-suits and wearing flippers, were doing some fishing and because the water is very cold, they were being sensible! We watched them through the binoculars but we just could not make out the name of the boat, Rob thought it was 'Miss' something. And then we went inside thinking that they were perhaps a little daft to be out on a cold day!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Postcards From The Edge!

Yes, this is a day late, but yesterday ran away with me! It was such a lovely day that I decided to do a spot of gardening and had every intention of blogging after lunch, and did in fact start one. But, then Andrew whatsapped to ask me if I was watching the tennis final, and I abandoned my computer to cheer for Djokovic. But, not loudly enough obviously, as he sadly didn't win.

So, here I am!

Saturday was Catherine's birthday, so I phoned her and Rob and I sang to her and we had a chat and then her mobile phone was ringing, so we left her to it. As it turned out, she had put a photo on her Facebook page and had over a hundred comments by the evening! Plus she had texts, emails, whatsapps, and probably a tweet or so, all safely and electronically delivered. Instantly!

Isn't technology wonderful?

But, I don't think that she had one actual card. Where the sender chooses a card, writes a touching or humorous message, addresses it, sticks a stamp on, and physically finds a post box or post office and sends it on its way! And then hopes that it will get to its destination without being opened, stolen, lost or destroyed!

How many of you have posted a card to someone in the last year? (Not many here in SA I bet, as the Post Office has been crippled with strikes where the post piles up, and people lose confidence in sending something that may never arrive!)

Sunday, 31 May 2015


We have had a wonderful week of mist, fog and..........rain! Beautiful damp days that force you to stay in and loll around in front of the fire, reading or knitting!

It's funny, but cold, wet, inside days always turn my thoughts to knitting. I love knitting and in my time I have turned out hundreds of different things, some successful and some not! (Sorry kids for those ghastly orange and yellow jerseys and tank tops that came out of the cupboard with horrifying regularity!)

I remember my mum and my Aunty Julia knitting up a storm every weekend in the winter months when I was growing up. Because their knitting was so similar, they would share the task of knitting a jersey or jumper, one would tackle the sleeves and the other would do the front and back. They bought the wool in skeins and then needed to wind it into balls, so either my sister or I would sit with our arms out and our hands stiff, thumbs up and fingers straight out while they hooked the skein round our outstretched hands and wound it into balls. (And our arms ached with the effort!) My aunt had a way of winding the wool round her thumb somehow, and the ball would end up with a neat hole in the middle. I tried that a few times and was thrilled when the skeins were phased out and the ball arrived, ready rolled!

But, I digress!!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Feathers and Fur.

This is the post that I was planning to write this week, except for the ending. And the middle.

While I was away, Rob said that a dove had built her nest in our tree aloe in the newly improved bed outside the kitchen window. And just before I arrived home, she laid a second egg and was now sitting tight! She had chosen a safe place, surrounded by spiky leaves to ward off any pawed intruders, but our three lads didn't even notice her sitting quietly day after day.

Look below the flowers, right in the middle of the photo, see her?

We noted the date and looked up all there was about doves, and waited patiently along with her. We chose the right time to rush out to gather wood for the fire and replenish the water in the bird bath, and I noted with horror the amount of grass that I wasn't able to pull out!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Friends and Angels!

I realise that this is a day or two late, and I apologise profusely! But yesterday I went to a birthday lunch with my oldest and longest-loved friend!! (I am actually four days older than Cathy, so we have a four day window where I was a whole year older!!!) We met in February 1959, on my first day at my new school in Lusaka, and became firm friends. We rode together, spent weekends with each other, and got up to the sort of fun mischief that used to happen in those drugs or trouble, just fun!

1959 or 1960! Look how thin I was!!!

Anyway, on the way to their farm, I was actually pondering about the blog and what to write this week! (Genius doesn't come easily, and I put a lot of thought and planning into my witty and  thought provoking blogs!)
The countryside is still dry and looking really desperate now, many farmers have already ploughed with the hope that rain will follow, but the vines are turning the most beautiful shades of yellow and red.

So as I drove past small dams that are slowly drying up, I saw birds; herons and small water birds. We always notice birds, Rob and I love to 'bird-watch' wherever we go.
And that was my 'Eureka' moment!! A bird update!!

Read on:

Sunday, 10 May 2015

East, West..........................

Well, as promised, here I am again!

Home, safe and sound (as sound as I can ever be), after a wonderful holiday, eating, laughing, eating, playing with my gorgeous grandchildren, eating, cheering for the Lions and Stormers rugby teams and Real Madrid and Barcelona football teams! And, did I mention eating? And lots of vino blanco!

Friday's lunch......paella, what else!!

Catherine and I flew from Cape Town on the 14 April. Our Emirates flight was scheduled to leave at 17.55 (our time) and arrive in Dubai 05.30 (Dubai time). That gave us a clear two hours before our Madrid flight left at 07.40 (Dubai time). Plenty of time to get through the hugeness of Dubai airport, and make our way to the departure gate.

Yes. Well.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Ground Hog Morning!

Do you ever have days where you think that you should go back to bed re-play the day properly tomorrow? Like that wonderful Bill Murray movie called 'Ground Hog Day'?

I had one on Tuesday!

It started like any normal day, slow wake up, roll out of bed, straighten slowly and with much grunting, shuffle downstairs, feed the birds/cats/dog, make coffee, clamber back into bed and plan the day! Rob was away, he was swanning around in the Kruger Park with people, so I was keeping Alfie's spirits up by singing to him and spoiling him and that sort of thing.

My Tuesday was planned and went something like this: Nip to the Post Office and post a parcel to my sister, then pop into the Bank and organise some money movement ready for my trip next week (yes, it's stomach churn time again as I fly to Spain on the 14 April!!! And I can't wait!) Then another nip to the Pharmacy to collect a month's supply of my tablets, up the road to have my hair cut (so I look fabulous for said trip), a leisurely stroll through the local mall to gather the last minute things for everybody to take with me. And home.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Do You Know The Muffin Man? Or Woman?

It's not often that I get the baking urge, in fact it is very seldom! But every now and then I bake my one and only speciality, namely 'Cheese, Olive and Poppy Seed Muffins'! Note the capital letters there to really underline their yummyness.

I tend to make them more to give away than to eat, usually to our wonderful MOH (Meals on Heels) dentist friend who regularly arrives at the door with grapes, braaied meat, curries and stews. How to reciprocate when this man makes Gordon Ramsay look like an amateur? In a short answer...........Muffins!

My award winning muffins!! No award yet though!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Gardening Forever, Housework Never!

Every now and then I get the urge to work in the garden and do a re-vamp somewhere. I never get the same urges for cooking and housework however, funny that!!

Anyway, when we moved into our new house here in 2007, I was into the garden before the paint had dried on the walls, digging and planting, and Rob and I carried and spread a few tons of 'klippies' (small stones) onto the paths around the actual planting areas. These areas changed daily however, as I tried to get a fork into the soil and either managed and planted, or hit a rock and moved on! The garden kind of grew where it could, and it was a thing of wonder!

And now, eight years later, some of the shrubs have come to the end of their lifespan. Sadly, the lavenders and 'salies' have a shorter lifespan than a lot of other shrubs, so I have patches of dead bits in between live bits! Plus, the 'pavement' area outside that looked stunning a few years ago, looked sad and unkempt with aloes and gazanias all tangled and the odd bit of dog poo balanced on top. Goodness knows what dog it is that enjoys hovering above a sharp bit of aloe, but it got to the stage that it all had to GO!!

And 'go' it did!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A Guinea in the Hand is worth Twenty in the Bush!!

What is it about the Helmeted Guinea Fowl, (Numida meleagris) that is so appealing? Paintings (I have one), carvings (I have one), knitted toys, table mats, table cloths (I have one), they lend themselves so beautifully to art and craft.
Such characters!

When we first moved here to Jacobsbaai, we could hear them calling from a distance, well, you would have to be deaf not to hear their raucous shouting, but we rarely saw them in the village.
Basil with his retinue.

That has recently all changed. For the last several months, drinking our coffee in bed every morning while we decide how to while away the day, Rob and I watch them scratching and shouting and chasing on the vacant land over the road from us. Basil has a fascination with them, and sits close by watching them while they chase and squabble and kick the dirt around looking for things to eat. They seem to find him equally fascinating and often go quite close to him. I guess they work on the 'safety-in-numbers' idea, as there are sometimes twenty odd birds. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

On the Road Again............and Again.............and Again!

We have just returned from a week's adventure in Hyacinth. It wasn't planned as an adventure, we had booked to spend the week in one park, but we ended up going to three!

There must be something strange about caravanners. Here we have a lovely three bedroomed house with private bathrooms and showers, all the mod cons, and we choose to live in a 'room' smaller than a single garage! Plus, to share bathrooms and loos with total strangers, cook over open fires, sit under a canvas sheet that gets hot in the sun and cold in the wind, spend ages unpacking and repacking, and praying that it doesn't rain or the tent will be too wet to fold and put back into the bag and place under the bed again! And we just love it!

So, our week went something like this:

Monday morning we loaded up, dodged Basil and headed off towards Cape Town. We had made a booking at a Caravan Park overlooking a golf course, that we had found in the Caravan Magazine. It had a good write up, so Rob phoned. To be fair, they did tell us that they didn't usually allow dogs as they had two large ones that roamed the park as security, but that we could take Alfie, so we headed off. Well, the minute we drove in we could see that it was not for us. No view of the golf course, but a lovely view of a huge pylon and right on the approach path for Cape Town Airport. I love to watch the planes but not every few minutes and so low!! To add the final touch, a lady staying there had parked her car in the only bit of shade in our 'row' and then told us that the dogs were vicious and would rip Alfie to pieces! So, we did the right thing..................we left! They refunded our money with no problem and we headed towards Stellenbosch and 'Mountain Breeze', one of our all time favourites. Yes, they had room, so in we trekked and set up camp. Alfie spent a happy time watching squirrels and we sat back and decided that this was perfect! We should have gone there in the first place.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Fire! Fire!

When my son Andrew was in Grade 1, he set a new record for the 60 metres sprint at the school's annual Sports Day. Very excited he said to me 'I broke the record' and then in a somewhat more subdued voice he said 'What's a record?' That record stood for many years I am proud to say!
Well, on Tuesday 3 March 2015 a new record was set.

Not for running, but for HEAT!

At noon at Cape Town Airport, the temperature hit an all time high at 42 degrees C. That is the highest since records were started a hundred years ago in 1915.

And here in our little village we suffered the same searing heat and an all time high. When we woke up at just after 07.00, it was already 24 degrees C.
At 10.48 it was 34
At 11.35 it was 41
Then at 12.44 the wind swung round completely, we had a few minutes 'whiff' from Seal Island, and the temperature dropped in minutes to 30 degrees. At 13.28 it was 28 degrees. By the time we took Alfie (and Basil) for a walk at 18.00 it was actually quite chilly at 19 degrees! And during the night we had fog and a splattering of rain!

Wednesday it was 21 maximum!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

And The Cat Comes Too!

I know that I have written about 'World Sauntering Day'  (June 2012, wow, how time flies!). And the fact that you have to have a dog with floppy ears. What they failed to mention was that a Ginger Cat is becoming obligatory. And a challenge.

We walk every afternoon after watching 'Eastenders'. As soon as Alfie hears the closing theme music, he becomes animated, (AKA hysterical). And, this is now the signal for Basil to arrive from wherever he was and whatever he was doing, and join the party!

Most times we walk with friends who have a Standard Poodle and if this is the case, Basil sits under a bush in the road and howls. He is not scared of Cocoa, far from it, but she likes to 'mouth' him on the back of the neck, among other places, and leaves him literally soaking wet! So, he tends to avoid that as much as possible! And their little dog who is only just bigger than Basil, likes to chase him, so that also puts him off!

Me and my friend!

Sunday, 22 February 2015


I may have mentioned this before, but I am a collector of note! So is Rob I might add. My children call it 'my junk' and have promised to bury it all with me! Along with my Beatles records!

And since I have been working at the Hospice shop, I have managed to broaden my interests and collections! I have old jugs and coffee pots, meat mincers and kitchen utensils.


My collection!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

What Big Teeth You Have!

Remember the picture from last week?
Leila and Alfie with Rob comparing sizes!

One of the things that I remember clearly from the first time we stayed at Fynbos Farm, was The Dog!! Not just a dog, but a DOG. An Anatolian Shepherd, to be precise, originally from Anatolia (where else?) and bred specifically to protect livestock in the fields.
Just like Leila (Pic thanks to Google)

Leila (her name) would loom out of the darkness like a friendly ghost, say hello, have a chat to Alfie, devour some wors, lie with us for a while, and then disappear. We never saw her during the day, and I just assumed (as would you) that she was off with the horses in the field, doing her job and chasing off predators, keeping her eyes peeled for any danger, before rounding them up and bringing them home at dusk. I had visions of her sitting on the top of a rock with her paw to her eyes, whistling at a horse who ventured too far from her protection, and drinking water from a cool stream running through the field. (I did stop at imagining cold meat sandwiches wrapped in a spotted handkerchief though, but only just.)

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

A-Camping We Did Go!

I realise that this is a little late, by a day or so, but I have made it extra long, so hopefully you will forgive me!

We have just come back from a long weekend caravan trip! A return trip to Fynbos Farm, where we went for our first caravan trip after we bought our beloved Gemsquash, three years ago now. In fact, that was my very first ever caravan trip!

So, for the last three years, we have been saying 'We really must go there again, it was such a super place........', every time we drove past the turnoff. And, now we have been there twice, but, I am happy to go back every month for a week or so!

So, off we set on Thursday morning. I have mentioned the wind farm near Hopefield before now and as we got closer, we saw what appeared to be a black blob thing on one of the blades.

See the black blob on the blade?

Have a closer look.

People in there!!!

It is people! In a basket thing! Working on the blade and hanging miles above the earth suspended by little bits of wire and string! Doesn't it make the hairs on the back of your neck rise? It does mine!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Hello Darling!

No, it's not a new way of greeting you, my dear reader! Read on!

What do these things have in common?

Jam, marmalade, chutney, paste, bath salts, soap, hand cream, bread, and chocolate? To name but a few!

Some of the products.

They are all the by-product of olives! As well as oil and the actual fruit. But if I had said oil and fruit, it would have been too easy! I know that I have mentioned the Darling Olive products before and showed a photo of some of the them, but I wanted to write again about the farm as we went there on Wednesday to buy more oil, and of course came away with a few more things as well! We were on our way to meet friends for lunch in Yzerfontein, so Darling is a short detour away!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Dry and Dusty!

Rob was looking up our rainfall statistics this morning, and the last time we had rain here was the 5 November. No wonder the bushes are running after the dogs!

The green has turned to khaki! 

I know that it isn't our wet season, but we should have some rainfall , the average over the last goodness knows how many years, shows that November's average is 12 mm (we had 17), December's average is 15.5 mm, (we had 0) and January's average is 13.7 mm, (nope, not a drop so far!) So when I tell you that we are dry and dusty here, you better believe it!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Heaven in Hopefield!

On Friday we headed back to Brackenfell to fetch Hyacinth. We nearly didn't go actually as on Thursday night we had a storm. When I say 'storm', I really mean 'STORM'. Or should that read 'STORM'.

The wind woke us both, and then Alfie abandoned his bed and clambered onto ours as he was worried about the rattling and banging of the roof. So were we, but we stayed strong for him! A smattering of drops in between the howling and crashing was all we got in the way of rain, as  I think the wind simply blew most of it back up into the clouds! So we lay in bed just after 3 and discussed the merits of ice-cream vs coffee, and also whether it would be clever to tow a caravan if the winds were that strong and we were giving a really wide area to blow onto.

But, by Friday morning proper (by that I mean the sun had risen and the birds were up), it looked good to go, and after Rob had a quick look on 'windguru', we loaded Alfie into the car and headed south. (I think!)

On the way, we passed a lovely farm dam between Hopefield and Malmesbury, and there must have been ten or so flamingos in the water, flapping their wings and showing the pink underfeathers, so I said to Rob that I would like to stop on the way back and take a photo or two. (Were they there on the way back?? You guessed it. All gone.)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Hyacinth Goes To The Doctor!

No, this is not the title of a children's story book, although it would make a good one!

Rob decided that it was time that our caravan Hyacinth had a check-up, brakes and necessary things like that! There is no Caravan dealer near us, the closest is in Cape Town, so at the beginning of December last year Rob phoned them to book her in for the once-over before we use her again. We have had her since August 2013, and goodness knows how long the last chap had her or when she was serviced last. And she does a lot of standing around and waiting! So before we had a wheel fall off and overtake us down a hill, it seemed like a good idea.

And that's not all......... Look at the floor!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Menta de Gato!

You didn't know that I was fluent in Spanish did you?

Well, I am not actually, but I just love the phrase above. In French it is 'Herbe a chat', and I think the Italian is 'Herba Gatera'

And in English? 'Catnip'!

And the reason I am writing about Catnip? (Nepeta Cataria). I have two cats with dilated pupils who are drooling and rolling on the floor. And it is all thanks to my sister who sent them a little gift in the shape of two felt fish stuffed with dried catnip. The fish arrived in a parcel that contained two books for me, as Dizz regularly sends me super books from the SPCA in Pietermaritzburg, and once I have read them, I pass them on to a small nursery in St Helena Bay as they sell them for Animal Welfare. In that way the proceeds are still going to the animals who so badly need it.

The fish, still looking fishy!