Sunday, 24 April 2016

Camping With a Wet Dog!

From the title you would be right in deducing what we were doing last week, and what the weather was like!!

Rob heard about a Caravan and Camping park on a citrus farm between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam, inland about 150 km from us. So, being up for a camping challenge, we looked at the website and I decided to send off an enquiry. Having a 'No Pets' policy, I was a little concerned that they would simply say 'Sorry'. But, they had obviously heard about Alfie and realised that he was famous enough to grace their property, so they came back and said that he would be welcome! Now that last sentence is not strictly true (you may have gathered that), but they do relax their No Pet rule midweek and out of season.....

So, we booked a site and also booked our wonderful cat-sitter, and on Monday morning we set off. Not as early as we had planned because Eskom decided to switch off the power for a while and I had a washing machine full of towels! Eventually all was well and off we went.

After a few hold-ups (holds-up, holds-ups hold-up) at the STOP/GO roadworks between Velddrif and Piketberg, we arrived at the camp. We booked in and went off to find our allocated site, number 28 with parking on number 27! This had been pre-booked for us because I asked for a shady site overlooking the dam so we could sit and birdwatch.

The dam with waterlilies. 

The entire camp was empty and we drove past beautiful grassed stands with shady trees and a spotless ablution block until we found 27 and 28..........with a tent, a couple of elderly people nicely settled in chairs refusing to look at us, and their towing vehicle parked on the adjacent stand. Our stands! Refusing to move, they insisted that they were told to park anywhere except numbers 24 and 25. (They lied!) So, after much difficulty in the space he had, Rob turned the car and caravan around and we humped off to find another site!

Beautiful site number 18!!

And we found a beauty! Actually much nicer than 28, and right next to the ablution block, with a wonderful view of the stunning mountains, shade and plenty of bird life, so we really owe the 'squatters' a vote of thanks!

The view from the tent.

And Alfie found a 'tennis ball tree'!

He stared at the tree for ages!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Museums and Moneyboxes!

Today we were out for lunch!

Our friends from Malmesbury phoned yesterday to say that they were going to be in the area today, so it linked beautifully with meeting up for a bite to eat! Actually, most things link up beautifully with a bite to eat, so it's never a chore! As they were going to be in Piketberg, we made plans to meet in Velddrif. I know that sounds confusing, but stay with me!

We left home early as Rob had a couple of things to do in town, so, after promising Alfie that we wouldn't be long,we set off. Of course, because we had allowed two hours to get things done, it only took twenty minutes. (That is the Law of Sod.) This had a ripple effect because then we were too early for our lunch date. So, we decided to see if the Maritime Museum in Laaiplek was open. We have been there several times but have never managed to arrive when the doors are open, so we weren't too hopeful today either.

The Museum entrance.

But it was open and we trundled in.

What an amazing place! Read on:

'The SA Fisheries Museum is unique in that it highlights the history of fishing on the West Coast from the whaling history to pelagic fishing and rock lobster catching.  It also celebrates local history, nostalgically interweaving fishing from the past to the present along the coast.
The Museum is housed in a building that dates back to the late 1800s. It represents a time when Johan Carel Stephan of St Helena Bay owned Laaiplek. He established and oversaw his lucrative trading empire at “Rooibaai” right in front of this building near the mouth of the Berg River.  
Looking out over this picturesque area today, one can easily imagine the scene  when Johan Carel’s cotter of more than 60 boats sailed up and down the Berg River to trade with the Moorreesburg farmers for their grain in return for dried and salted fish. 
In Rooibaai the grain was transferred onto the bigger Stephan boats waiting in the bay and then transported to CapeTown, where it was received to the folk song “Daar kom die Alabama”.
The exhibits in the South African Fisheries Museum include a unique collection of artifacts, photo exhibits, processing methods, models of trawlers, as well as interesting tales of the sea and the intrepid seamen who sail on her.' (Thanks to Velddrif Tourism.)

Monday, 4 April 2016

Goodbye Dear Dopey.....

I shall never, ever get used to the death of a much loved pet.

This morning we said goodbye to our beloved Dopey.

Our beautiful Dopey.

He was the third cat to arrive when we moved into our new home, he followed Daffy and Dilly by a few months, obviously lured by the idea of food on tap! One morning he was there, in the garden, wary but not wild, fearful but not feral, and after a week or two of backing away when we approached, he decided that being an inside cat was pretty good!

And he made our house his home.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Happy Poisson d'Avril!

Roughly translated, or not so roughly actually, the title of today's blurb is  'Happy April Fish'. And why, I hear you ask?

Read on!

Today being April 1, it is April Fools Day! The day when everybody tries to make everyone else believe something that is completely unbelievable and then shout 'April Fool' with great gusto!

I did my usual googling to try to find out the origin of April Fools Day and the general idea is that no one really knows! However several sites hinted that it goes back to the 1500's in France. Apparently the French began using the Gregorian Calendar but not everybody was aware that the new year date had changed. Some people kept celebrating around the vernal equinox, so that is possibly the origin. Another possibility is from Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' from 1392.