Archive | September, 2016

Boatbird flies south..

26 Sep

It’s been a while, as faithful followers will know, since I last darkened the doorstep of sunny South Africa. Five years to be precise. So I was well ready for some sunshine and looking forward to meeting up with old friends, seeing familiar sights and generally being back here.

We (that’s me and Boatbloke, his friend/co-worker, John, and his son, Jake)  flew into Cape Town on the 9th – minus our luggage and, in my case, plus a stinking, snotty cold. So a good start..

The briefest of re-unions at the Bot River Hotel…100_2733

Not a great picture but, trust me, some terrific honky-tonk piano by the barman going on here.

And a great headline when the hotel changed hands…100_2732

Also a rubbish shot but reads: Next generation takes over the reins in one-horse town. Brilliant!

Hopefully will get back this way and spend some time, check out the bus etc).

Anyway, long story short; picked up cases the next day and headed off in our hire car to **Touws River, where John’s youngest son, Geoffrey, was busy training the latest influx of wannabe anti-poaching rangers. This is a gruelling process, involving much PE and running to the top of the mountain and back, managing their supplies (to be carried on their back through the bush) and generally following instructions.

It’s quite a facility  here and we were given the full guided tour in this…100_2735

Saw this and thought of you Graham Harris!

It was used in Bosnia by the paras, and just the job for the terrain here…

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There’s a wild animal cleverly hiding behind the rear view mirror…honest.

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But in safe hands with Geoffrey at the wheel.

Our friends, John and Jake, were even allowed to have a go on the shooting range with both shotgun and pistol – both proving very useful with both. I could have had a go but didn’t want to damage my reputation of being a useless female by out-shooting them, so declined.

Geoffrey gave us a demonstration of making fire…100_2739100_2741100_2742100_2743100_2744And I swear the braai tasted all the better for it.

Geoffrey and girlfriend, Minerva, have a lovely home here , designed by her father (and Geoffrey’s boss) Marcus. It’s a round house, is perfect, and comes complete with a herd of dogs…100_2738

Two of which are captured here.

We stayed over at the house of Marcus and Hilary; Minerva’s parents – another superb house, also designed by Marcus.

Next day we head for Port Elizabeth and John’s father, deciding to take in the odd dirt road to break the monotony of the N2…100_2748100_2747100_2746100_2745

All good fun.

One of Boatbloke’s shortcuts, even if it did add several hundred ‘klicks’ to an already long journey.

By now, I am wheezing and hacking away like a good ‘un. Anybody think I was a heavy smoker or something…

We wend our way towards PE…100_2731100_2730Spotting the obligatory baboons.

And Arriving at PE in time for a sun-downer or two…100_2765100_2764

With that glorious backdrop of the Swartkops river estuary, as viewed from John’s dad Terry’s house.

The beach is a short walk away and it’s Indian Ocean here in the Eastern Cape, so chances are it might be warm. Or not…

Spring has only just sprung so temperatures are not those of mid summer, which it has always been on my previous visits, but more like 20 something. The sea hasn’t had a chance to warm up and feels bloody cold to me. That said, the spring flowers are delightful…100_2790100_2791100_2792

Even more so the roadside blooms, which I hope to be able to feature soon. A shame we missed the aloes – looks like they are just going over.

Fires still burn in the living rooms at night, when temperatures drop into the low teens, and I’ve not had a lot of use for the shorts and flip-flops that I optimistically packed. Yet.

But I have made good use of the electric blanket. Well, I’m a sick bunny don’t you know.

**It wasn’t until I saw the road sign that I realised this was the spelling. It will be forever known to me as Toast River.

The best of the bunch…?

8 Sep

Could this be the best pier shot from Tuesday’s girlie get-together in Southwold…?

001I rather fancy it is.

Well done Bob Finch for this one, taken with my camera and cropped by me.

It’s not only good, it’s the only pic I have of the day. That’s because, unlike popular practise these days, we were so busy having a fine time that there was little time for recording it.

A special day for us all, as we started at Wellingborough High School together 50 years ago and have remained in touch, despite being a bit far flung nowadays, largely due to facebook. Much maligned, but it clearly has its uses.

And three of us – Higham Ferrers girls – go back even further.

To HF junior school…scan0040

Second row: 1st on left and 5th from right. Third row: 3rd from right. I wonder if you can match the faces then and now..?

Some of us were lucky enough to stay over and meet again on Wednesday morning for more coffee, cake and chat. And that was great too.

I loved the time we spent together and think we all turned out just fine, despite all youthful attempts to do otherwise! I love you all.

A special thanks to the brave blokes who tagged along, fetched and carried coffee and cake on the pier and drinks down the pub – and picked up the tab too. Heros one and all: Bob, Chris and Dave. I’ll hear no more bad about you.

Only kidding..!

And big thanks to Sharon, who had produced incredible portraits and presented each of us with our own spookily brilliant likeness. Very talented lady.

So girls, till the next time, keep going, keep smiling and, most importantly, keep in touch. With luck, there will be a few more of us next year when Jude is over and maybe we can pick a date that suits all. Never easy.

But for me now, South Africa is calling so that’s where my next post will be from.

More soon xx