Archive | December, 2018

A Funny, Sunny Christmas…

24 Dec

 

Christmas here is somewhat queer

Down in the southern hemisphere

The days are long instead of short

And where a suntan can be caught

No cosy nights around the fire

No carol singing outdoor choir

No scarves and gloves and fleecy tops

Just skimpy shorts and flippy- flops

But don’t you think there’ll be no drink

‘Cause many a glass we shall sink

Of beer and wine and spirits too

As on the beach they barbeque

They’ll sing and dance in celebration

People of the rainbow nation

Santa hats and festive fun

Their smiling greeting second to none

I for one won’t miss the chill

But bask in sunshine just until

It’s time for me to homeward go

To my beloved boat – Hobo

But till I do there’ll be no moans

Of missing Slade’s non- dulcet tones

The thought alone fills me with dread

That I should hear them in my head**

My best to you and festive cheer

Here’s hoping for a great new year.

 

**Which of course I now do…

 

ear

 

Bugger. Self-inflicted brain damage.

 

 

 

Game on…

19 Dec

When in the land of the big five, one has to go see what all the fuss is about. So last Thursday saw us here…

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Where we saw these…

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And lots of these…

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The most photogenic animal on the planet.

We’d heard tales that the buffalo…

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Could be a little grumpy, so I didn’t linger. The rules say that you shouldn’t park next to the animals, but the car in front had and was blocking my escape route, so I prepared to do some high speed reversing if I had to.

I’m driving us round in Terry’s little car, so apologies if the photography is a bit iffy. Nothing at all whatsoever anything to do with being scared witless by the close proximity of Big Scary Wild Animals.

Entering the cheetah enclosure, with proper game fencing and double gates that you enter like an airlock, is somewhat fear-provoking but, naturally, they saw us coming and hid. We speculated that they were all safely tucked away behind the greenery having a laugh at our expense. Bit like the Kit-Kat advert with the pandas.

But that’s not to say we didn’t see cheetahs…

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We did.

They call these ones tame – though I have my doubts about any wild animals ever being properly tame – and this is feeding time. Conveniently below the café area, where it was our feeding time too.

First class coffee and souvenirs on sale…

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BB can never resist a fridge magnet, and this one is so South African. Except there’s too few passengers – there would normally be at least another couple of dozen crammed in.

I have, on a previous visit to SA, stroked so-called tame cheetahs. They were behind a wire fence and we were instructed to present a fist, rather than an open hand, through this in order to pet them. They didn’t seem too bothered and apparently used to human contact as they were used in the film industry. Anyway, I still have both hands, thumbs and all my fingers.

We saw a Mongoose, Cape Hare, Warthog, Springbok, Bontebok, Impala, Water Buck and a Bushpig with babies. No Rhino, Porcupine or Ostrich though. They’ve recently introduced Lions, which we didn’t see either.

But it’s your luck on the day and we had a lovely time there.

There were other diversions, like this walkway through the treetops…

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But my companion wimped out. Being 92 years young is no excuse Terry.

The drive there and back wasn’t a long one, but interesting. We passed through some very affluent areas. Such disparity here – huge wealth and abject poverty existing side by side. I suppose that isn’t peculiar to Africa though, but rife the world over.

On a recent shopping trip, I am once again transported back to the 60’s…

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Popular brands I remember my mum using.

And if you didn’t fancy these…

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Then I guess these are OK…

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It says so on the tin so it must be true.

But the prize for best product names this week goes to…

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No mistaking what these are for!

But the clear winner (see what I did there?) in the ingenuity stakes, without a doubt, goes to…

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Glad wrap – aka cling film.

Not only does it have a roll almost empty marker, it is perforated. How useful is that? Never seen this in the UK – or anywhere else for that matter. I need this in my life.

Meanwhile, in the garden…

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Frangipani putting on a lovely show.

And…

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A Sunflower – many more in bud – seed scattered by the John.

You’ve heard of Dances with Wolves…

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Well this is Swims with Dogs.

The dog lady at the dam up behind John’s place.

Could have done with some of this myself today: 30c in the shade, little or no wind.

Scorchio.

Not gloating…

 

Ducks in a row…

10 Dec

Always good to get one’s ducks in a row and these guys certainly seemed to have nailed it.

On the other hand…

That’s just showing off!

More than I can say for the power company here – Eskom.

They are calling it load shedding, a term I’ve not heard since the 60’s. Back then, it made the tele picture go wobbly, but here the power goes off completely, twice a day…

But Terry is, as ever, prepared. Except when his marvellous tip-you-up chair gets stuck in the fully reclined position! But he remains cheerful as we discuss the headline: Old man trapped in electric chair..

The cuts usually last a couple of hours each and this is happening all over South Africa. Word is, years of little or no maintenance is to blame and has led to such drastic measures.

There’s also some shocking allegations being bandied about. I’ve read that over a 14 year period, production has remained flat, employment increased by 50% and the average annual salary quadrupled.

Interesting way to run a business.

All the more reason to get out and about…

Schoenmakerskop.

I think that translates to shoemaker’s town, so Northampton on sea..?

Hardly. It’s one row of houses and a café. There’s plenty of parking, strategic seating at viewpoints and good steps down to the beach. I gave them the swerve though, bearing in mind the company I am keeping.

So, I’ve been to the beach, sort of, but not felt the sand between my toes. Yet.

Another drive out…

To a wild flower reserve – sadly largely charred after the wild fires. There’s every chance this will regenerate though – see here for how – just not the best time to visit.

Great views though…

Van Stadens bridge.

We took the pass, which winds you right down to the bottom of the gorge, so you look up at this bridge (the main freeway) before climbing out the other side. Breath-taking stuff.

Closer to home…

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The sparrows are nesting.

And, as I type, it’s raining fairly hard – that’s always welcome here – thunder and lightning too. I love a good storm.

Be interesting to look at the rain gauge tomorrow and see just how much we got. Sounds significant to me.

Never seen these in flower before…

And the obligatory sunset…

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Over the estuary.

From planet John…

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Lotus bud.

And…

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Loving this.

Both from a visit to a garden somewhere near Stellenbosch.

In John’s own garden…

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A Moonflower.

If you don’t like creepy-crawlies, look away now…

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Scorpion. Found under his grandson’s cot! They do live in the desert mind at Touws River – or Toast River as I like to call it.

Puff Adder…

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Shedding its skin.

Oh so cute…

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Little stripy mice.

Cape Chameleon…

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Found at the nearby dam…

 

At a local steampunk museum…

 

I so want to go there.

Remember Zola…

mange

I promised an after shot but not quite there yet, so this is during…

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Much more like it. Now that’s attitude.

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Good work Helene.

A lovely African image…

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Louis, happy in his work. Nice half lap joint, using machete only.

This post wouldn’t be complete without…

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Pilchards. But not as we know them.

I must now get my own ducks in a row and pay some attention to that little project of mine. 

Tick-tock.