Boatbird’s beginnings..

22 Nov

I’ve never talked here about my previous life on land, before boatbird was born and, don’t worry, I’m not about to now.

It’s just that this picture popped up on my facebook page today…

Littleport

You know how they do – ‘your memories on  facebook’, ‘we care about your memories’. Blah de blah. I do remember the occasion but choose to forget that chubbier version of me.

FB says this was from ten years ago but I dispute this. It was eleven years plus –  July 2006 to be precise. I remember it well. Moored outside the pub at Littleport, where we met up with my brother for lunch/to show Hobo off. It was such an exciting time for me, having just bought my boat and in the middle of an incredible journey to move it to its new mooring.

I knew nothing about boats then, let alone how to drive one. Looking back, I was lucky not to have bought a heap of junk, but I just knew I wanted to embark on this way of life. At least I was sharp enough to know I knew nothing, take some advice from boatie folk, which mostly consisted of ‘Stop thinking about it. Just do it’. And, courtesy of my niece, hooked up with a colleague of hers who might be able to help me move her.

Lorna came to meet with me and Hobo, had a chat, a nice lunch at Welford Wharf and a mini cruise along the Welford arm. We all hit it off and, despite my obvious ineptitude, she agreed to help and a date was set. July 1st it was!

Exciting times!

I furnished Hobo with what I thought was necessary to see us through the two week journey, booked the time off work and was totally puzzled by studied the river maps kindly provided by friend Malcolm.

Tools and equipment were acquired, largely by guesswork, and included new ropes, a big pole and a cupboard full of booze. My niece had told me that Lorna like the odd glass of something alcoholic but, as she hadn’t specified exactly what, I bought a  shed load little of everything.

We met at the boat on the day, went off and did a huge food shop and readied ourselves for what was to come. The Wharf manager fuelled her up, Lorna carried out the pre-flight checks while I panicked watched and learned.

It was a very steep learning curve for me but Lorna was a good teacher and I soon became proficient on the helm, at the locks and emptying the carzy.

I was blissfully ignorant Everything was new to me  – a great big adventure – and I loved every minute.

Our route took us down the Welford arm and onto the Grand Union, then the Northampton arm to the River Nene…

A friendly wave on the NeneThat perfect mooringSwans and cygnets

 

The Middle Levels…Floods Ferry sunsetFlax field at Floods FerryMarmont Priory-sunset

The tidal crossing from Salter’s Lode to Denver Sluice and the Great Ouse…

Ouse-Pike and EelOld West-StreathamThe old bridge at St. Ives

It took us thirteen days in all to reach Hartford Marina near Huntingdon – Hobo’s new home and my new life – a journey that takes about an hour by road.

But what a journey it was. A journey in every sense of the word – physical, emotional, educational and then some. Those two weeks at the beginning of July 2006 were in the middle of a heatwave and we burned to a crisp tanned beautifully, arriving at our final destination looking like we’d just come from the tropics.

Malcolm popped up randomly during our journey, always at the end of the phone and ready to provide us with anything we needed: more booze/chocolate/name of local boat mechanic/whatever. He once walked for miles in the rain, to a particularly inaccessible spot, to deliver a case of Bud. What a hero!

Lorna and I also became firm friends on that trip. The booze cupboard was a resounding success and inspired themed evenings: beer night/gin night/Pimms night/cocktail night etc. We really did get regularly shitfaced have the time of our lives and made memories that will haunt us forever last us a lifetime.

This is but a small excerpt of life before this boatbird became fully fledged…

Did you know....

But there’s much more to tell if you want to hear it…

 

 

Bongo Bongo Land..

29 Oct

No, not me. I’m not in Bongo Bongo land. Not this time. John is doing solo.

Shame. You know how I hate it here on the river. But BB is toughing it out, womanfully enduring all that this awful lifestyle throws at her: cold/damp/cramped/miserable. Rueing the day…

Stop this silliness. You know I’m only kidding right..?

OK, so some of his pics make me a tad envious…IMG-20171022-WA0004.jpg

MoonAnd hanker for those – oh so – wide open spaces.

But then, I rather like my unique view of the moon…IMG_20171029_173625.jpg

Through the round window.

And it only takes one good English sunset over the river…

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To make it all alright.

I confess to some nostalgia when I see the old bus…IMG-20171011-WA0000.jpg

IMG-20171020-WA0000.jpgReal rustic charm.

But my coal mountain…IMG_20171006_103653.jpg

Trumps his woodpile.

Yes, it is hot there but still needs a little burn up…Toasty at Toast Riveer

Of an evening.

This taken at the house of the first-born. As are these…Flea's place

Spot the dog

IMG-20171022-WA0001.jpgComplete with living roof.

And a solar cooker…IMG-20171022-WA0000.jpg

In which they bake bread, believe it or not.

Some local flora…

black-eyed susn

Black-eyed Susan.

pride of madeira

Pride of Madeira.weaver bird tree

And a Weaver bird tree.

As far as neighbours go – here vs there…

Nothing in it.

He’s been busy clearing the land at Bot River.

And…water tank

Working on the water supply.

As has his mate Ian…IMG-20171022-WA0002.jpg

Maybe not so practical, but interesting.

John is in PE just now with his father, who is doing very well.

As are his nasturtiums…IMG-20171023-WA0000.jpg

Clearly, I can’t compete…IMG_20171025_151752.jpg

Gives me loads of joy though.

He is planning a fishing trip.

In this…IMG-20171026-WA0000.jpg

Good luck with that.

 

 

 

Must-haves for a boatbird..

3 Sep

Totally top of this boatbird’s list of must-haves is a working wood stove in winter…

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And sometimes not necessarily just in winter. Call me a wimp but I don’t do cold so the trusty hot box was fired up earlier this year. In July ffs.

On a more seasonably warmer day when the burning cupboard wasn’t required, I heard the unmistakable sound of the door popping open. Odd; especially as I was nowhere near it and neither was anyone else. Spooky.

And, annoyingly, it would not stay closed. Consensus is that old age and heavy use (allegedly to the point of blistering the external paintwork) had worn down the latch…IMG_20170903_154704

To the point that it won’t… latch that is.

The baffle plate also needed replacing, the flue pipe needed re-sealing where it enters the stove via the collar, chimney needed sweeping and the whole lot would benefit from a stiff rub down and re-paint.

Given the chilly evenings, it needed to be pretty soon.

I’ve been onto Jones Boatyard, my trusty chandlers, who were as usual most generous with their time and knowledge, helping me with the diagnostics. They may be in Cambridgeshire – an hour’s drive away these days – but still top of my pops when it comes to a bit of old-fashioned service.

They’re here

They agreed that it was a wear and tear issue and ordered a new latch, to be delivered to them the next day. I tootled off up to St. Ives on receiving their call to collect this and other parts I’d ordered – and pick their brains some more.

I took the door assembly with me because I could not see how the hell to remove the old, dysfunctional latch, let alone fit the new one – even drew a blank on You Tube. Their boat-dwelling stove expert took one look and declared it was welded in by years of heat and gunk, would need to be punched out and (big thanks to the river gods) that they would do this for me if I could leave it with them… of course I could.

Perhaps predictably, was the phone call a couple of days later to say that they had broken the glass. Whilst they’d be happy to fit a new one free of charge, the door was so corroded that it wouldn’t ever seal properly and – long story short – I needed a new door.

Yeah right, I hear you say and my initial thoughts too, but I trust these guys. Whilst I didn’t have spare cash for this, or particularly want to spend unbudgeted £100’s, it was a no-brainer. As sure as metal will rust and wood will rot in this watery world of ours, a poorly sealed stove will kill you.

So, I may be a little poorer but have a beautifully functional stove door, complete with glass that’s cleaner than I can remember my stove glass ever being. The baffle plate is fitted, chimney swept, flue pipe sealed and all is now repainted and smarter than smart. And, most importantly, is safe and good to keep me warm and toasty for years to come.

If you’re paying attention, you will have spotted that I now have knobs that don’t match but, fear not, I still have the older round one and may or may not swap it back. The look is important to me but the newer more cylindrical one does seem to have more leverage, so we shall have to wait and see which will win out – aesthetics or OCD.

Now, as the season changes and all our thoughts turn to making winter as comfortable and bearable as possible, I must build the coal mountain…

th05XAHVK1

And amass wood…

WoodPile

Keep warm and stay safe boatie folk.

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I can feel a fire coming on…

 

Here and There..

28 Jun

I did promise you I’d get out and about to take some pics – better than those in my last post. I don’t make many promises but never let it be said that I don’t keep the ones I do.

One of the ways I spend my time these days is to act as companion to a lovely lady in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She’s great. She’s a happy soul, laughs a lot…

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Karen.

Does arty crafty stuff…

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And of course, I get to play too…

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She enjoys gardening, wildlife…

IMG_20160902_124512IMG_20160705_160815 (1)And loves to walk in the great outdoors. This is good for me because it makes me do these things too.

We’ve had some lovely walks along the river…

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Through Hatfield Forest and around local parks, days at the seaside…

100_3019100_3020100_3021100_3023IMG_20170407_163830100_3022 Frinton-on-Sea, don’t you know.

We’ve visited the likes of RHS Wisley butterfly house…

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100_2981100_2968100_2963Damned difficult to capture these flutterbies.

And RHS gardens at Hyde Hall…

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100_3038100_3039100_3030100_3026100_3055We’ve painted by numbers, done colouring in, sang and danced to Buddy Holly (her favourite) laughed together at the smelly tele, had pub lunches and afternoon teas…

IMG_20170407_155706 It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.

Recently, we went along to Audley End. It’s only about a twenty minute drive away but I’d never, in all my seven years here, ventured there. There’s a miniature steam railway there so, wanting a ride on the puff puff, I headed that way first. We hadn’t even got out of the car (luckily) before it chucked it down – a thundery downpour that came from nowhere – so we made a dash for the tea room. Like you do.

We emerged when it was over but, by this time, my charge has lost the will to accompany me on the chuff chuff and wanted to go home. Well, the seats would have been wet anyway. I’ll be back someday soon for a ride and a listen to the toot-toot,  with boatbloke maybe, who loves steam engines and stuff…

100_1648

As you can see.

By the time we’d walked a few steps, Karen had clean forgotten she wanted to go home so we crossed the road and entered the grounds of Audley End House. Being the muppet I am, I’d brought the National Trust cards – it’s an English Heritage site – but the young girl on the gate let us in anyway. Without the card it’s £19 odd each, with it it’s free, so thanks again that girl.

Karen has been here before and went romping off up the drive…

IMG_20170602_153150

Before I had chance to re-stow the wrong cards in my purse. She’s a fast walker, unlike me, so I have to work hard to keep up. Story of my life.

We were fairly late arriving so didn’t do the house; instead wandering around the grounds…

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IMG_20170602_153842IMG_20170602_153346IMG_20170602_155527IMG_20170602_155352

There’s various different areas…

IMG_20170602_154251IMG_20170602_154734IMG_20170602_154747

A smart henhouse…

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With handsome occupant…

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And interesting buildings…

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Housing stuff like this…

Sadly, we didn’t complete the tour because Karen’s new shoes were hurting. I’ve been there (often) so we retraced our steps…

IMG_20170602_160839

Back to the car and home.

So there’s the here and here’s the there…

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South Africa. There’s snow on those mountains…

IMG_20170609_163817848

Oh yes there is.

Safe in the knowledge it is cold there, I can bear being here, enjoying the heatwave. Well I was.

IMG_20170620_073654250IMG_20170617_133828622

John has flown south – people to see, places to be – but has sent a few images. Stunning as ever.

There’s been nasty wild fires at Knysna…

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Just when he was staying with his friend there. 150 properties were destroyed but fortunately Rudi and his property were undamaged, despite it getting uncomfortably close.

Back at the bus…

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John is maintaining his usual levels of luxury and technology…

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To be fair, he did fit the whole bus with LED lighting the other year. Annoyingly, this has has been nicked while John’s been in th UK, making him very cross. Hence the candles.

I’m glad to say he has installed a wood burner…

IMG_20170611_080946728

For heat and cooking. Needs must.

Beats the before picture…

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He’s driven the long road to PE a couple of times to see his dad, 91 next month, and doing just fine.

That’s the here and there then.

Where to next?

I vote for a boaty mc boat post. See what I can do.

 

 

Hooray Hooray…and a Bit of Banksy

1 May

Hooray hooray the first of May, outdoor sex begins today!

A lovely little ditty that was told to me back in nineteen hundred and frozen to death by a little, wrinkled old lady who used to frequent my pub. She looked frail but boy had she lived. Still drinking/smoking/swearing hard – way into her seventies – she was possibly my favourite punter.

And I couldn’t resist sharing this with you on this first of May, or Beltane if you prefer.

Of course, May 1st follows April 30th, which you may or may not know is my birthday. It’s a tradition of mine to book a few days off around this time because, depending which days it falls on, gives me lots of time off without spending too many holiday days.

Clever eh?

So I am slothing for a few more days and loving it. It’s a good time to take the boat out…well it would be if boatbloke hadn’t buggered off to South Africa. Lone boating doesn’t appeal to me; I find the locks hard work and it just isn’t so much fun somehow.

Never mind, plenty of other mischief I can get up to…

I love a bit of Banksy, don’t you?

100_3057

100_3059I saw this calendar (the only one left) just as I was leaving the local craft shop in December and thought what an excellent stocking filler it would make for someone.100_3060

But you know how it is when you really like something you’d bought for someone else and it just sort of doesn’t get wrapped up and ends up becoming yours?

Don’t lie to me now, I know you’ve done that too.100_3062

Anyway, being a new month, I turned the page in anticipation this morning…100_3063

May: my favourite month. It’s like the start of a new year for me, being the day after the birthday, nature is performing well and the weather is usually on the up.

That said, I like anything new. New shoes. A new day; a new month; a new season; a new year.

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OK, so my indoor photography is a bit shite but you at least get a flavour.

100_3067They might not be his most famous ones.100_3068

But I find myself looking forward to seeing what’s next100_3069

100_3070And that’s what passes for excitement on the good ship Hobo.

OK, I promise I’ll get out and take some proper photos for the next post.

Out of Hibernation..

1 Apr

Clocks on, longer days, sun out and temperature rising. All of which make Hobo and me happy bunnies.

And of course, Mother Nature has a thing or two to say…100_3004

This is what I see as I come home. Dogdirt Alley at its best.

Not just the daffs, but the May blossom in the distance is marvellous.

And on the way out…100_3005

These ‘fried egg’ ones are my favourites…

And – keep it under your hat – I’ve nicked a few for the inner ship…100_3011

John found these on his travels…IMG_20170330_095115551 (2)

A chocolate box shock.

Magnificent Magnolia…IMG_20170330_100333106 (2)

And a bit of everything in Upwell/Outwell…IMG_20170313_161245684

I’m never sure which is which.

Not that it’s been a bad winter, but the onset of spring always fills me with joy and energy. I feel like I’ve been bundled up and shut away for months.

So I’ve started to tackle the giant cleaning task that is Hobo post winter – inside and out both being grimy. Sleeping under a tree means she gets a coating of green on her roof and cabin sides…100_3008

As you can see here.

Though the lovely Emily is doing her best to distract you…100_3007

Isn’t she gorgeous? Also needs a clean.

A stove that burns 24/7 leaves a smoky/sooty film inside. Everywhere. Call me a lightweight, if you will, but I’m not quite ready to stop this yet. I don’t do cold. Time is near though when I will let it go out and find those firelogs brilliant in the interim…100_3018

You simply toss the whole lot in the stove, set fire to the packaging for instant heat that lasts about two hours, so perfect for those chilly evenings/mornings. They are available in all the cheapie shops and only £1 each (funnily enough) from the pound shop.

In any event, it will have to go off soon so I can clean and paint it!

And just about everything else needs painting too. It’s not that I’m at all houseproud or anything, and more than happy to turn a blind eye to a bit of muck; bugger I’d be forever cleaning otherwise. Life is way too short and, besides, I hate cleaning.

It is a little harder to ignore though, now I’m sporting spectacles full time, I can actually see it.

It’s a job to be tackled in bite-size pieces – the hardest part is making a start. Like a lot of things. And, like the proverbial banging your head against a brick wall, it’ll be good when it stops.

Shame there isn’t a floating car wash type arrangement. Or an army of offspring I could bully into helping.

I’m not the only one getting stuff done…100_3015

Smart new gates for the yard.

My neighbours are back…100_3003

Dinkeys. Bit manky looking but really friendly, nice creatures.

Talking of donkeys…100_3016

My smart new butch barrow, which is more than good enough for carzy carrying and, indeed, pretty much anything else. Good investment.

Apart from the change of season giving me the will to get things done, I swear I’m walking differently too. More upright and shoulders back – now unecessary to hunch against the bitter wind and/or rain.

I expect its not so different for the house dwellers among you, although I doubt you have far to walk to your car from your home… out the front door and straight onto the drive, mostlike. Whereas, I for one, have a field and a muddy yard to cross before reaching mine – also thoroughly grubby and muddy inside and out.

And those of us who cruise continuously will, more than likely, be faced with the towpath trek with all its associated hazards… but that’s another story.

We boatie folk are more in the line of fire from the elements but, you know, that’s fine by me. In my view, a whole lot better than the alternative.

Nene-course it will

Each to their own.

Reflections..

27 Dec

100_0886Good name for a boatie blog.

But this isn’t that; it’s just what I do at this time of year – me and millions of others I suspect – reflect on the year that’s passing.

I hate to be negative but 2016 hasn’t been a great year, one way or another.

I lost a brother.

Countless celebrities lives ended – we lost such a lot of talent in 2016, many of whom were great inspirations of mine. I suppose we tend to see them as immortal.

Several of my friend’s husbands have been unwell, some having received that diagnosis we all dread. Another friend has suffered throughout the year with infections that the antibiotics struggled to kill. They eventually manage this and now he has to face surgery for renoval of lumps from his chest. And a very dear friend of mine is sruggling with hairloss – most distressing.

I wish them all well for 2017 and good luck with their treatment

And I received a dodgy diagnosis of my own: something called Scleroderma or Systemic Sclerosis – a rare auto-immune disease – which is incurable and needs careful monitoring and management. At least it’s nothing common! Rare = interesting to the medical profession, so at least I’m getting plenty of attention.

It probably won’t kill me but then again it might.

Then there was the trip to South Africa, which saw me in hospital for three days on intravenous antibiotics to treat a nasty chest infection – picked up on the aeroplane I suspect. Not quite what I had hoped for and competely putting the mockers on the holiday. That said, I haven’t smoked since so some good came out of it.

And on coming home, to add insult to injury, the wheels really fell off…

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The wheels bloody well fell off my carzy carrying trolley. Bugger. However, I should soon take delivery of a new, improved and generally much butcher version. Pics on next post.

Then, the chimney I’d ordered (partly to cheer me up and partly as a Christmas present for Hobo) didn’t bloody fit…100_2935

Double bugger. My fault of course – being a girl misinterpreted the measuring instructions. Easy mistake-a-to-make-a.

Still, the lovely man I ordered it from will replace it (even thought I’ve used it) with the right size for just a small fee and the cost of postage. It’s a company called Smokie Joe’s up in Derbyshire and they produce some pretty spectacular chimneys and cowls – IMHO. First seen on another boatie blog – thanks Steve.

Will post pics of the correct chimney and cowl, once received and fitted… you’ll be impressed, promise.

2016 has been a funny old year, politics in particular: Brexit. Trump. Corbyn. Strikes.

But my friends, be happy and look to the skies…100_2928

Keep the faith.

Seasons Greetings..

25 Dec

from Hobo…

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Wishing you all the very best this Christmas time. May peace and joy be yours.

BB xx

 

 

Homeward bound..

8 Nov

Time is coming when we must make another move and our thoughts turn to how the hell we’re going to get back to Cape Town and the airport.

Normally, we’d have a longer stay – three times longer. Normally I wouldn’t have got sick. Normally we’d have spent more time at the bus and liberated the car from storage. Normally we wouldn’t have spent a small fortune on car hire. But it’s been a funny old trip.

However, I’m not complaining. And what is normal anyway..?

There’s been some definite high spots and we did get to spend time with friends and family. John’s Dad is doing just fine and he and his welfare were after all the main purpose of our visit. And I will be travelling home under my own steam and not in an urn, as John at one point feared.

So… how are we going to get back to Cape town?

There seems to be a couple of options:

  • Cadging a lift to the bus with Geoffrey and Minerva as they are – sort of – heading that way at – sort of –  the right time. Then it’s just a matter of getting a ride over the mountain (an hour’s drive).
  • Splashing out more cash on car hire and travelling many, many miles to visit a virtual friend of mine up at the Pilanesberg National Park and possibly even run in a visit to John’s other son, Conrad, now at a private game reserve near Hoedspruit, at the same time.  Time would be tight but it is just about do-able and I’d really love to meet Tony for real, as would John.

Naturally, the latter is the most appealing, even if it is not the most sensible. We have a prolonged shall we?/shant we? moment, then decide to check if it fits in with Tony and…

It doesn’t – our dates being the only ones when he can’t accommodate us, already having visitors then. Bugger.

Decision made then. Shame, but that’s timing for you. We’ll make a plan for our next trip for sure. And that’s a promise.

Here we go then…100_2888

This is the transport they – tactrac – use to ferry their victims trainees around and, now they’re all dropped off, there’s plenty of space for us two.

Do click on the above link to see what they do. Very interesting.

We break the almost 500 mile journey with a stop at Paradise Beach, where Minerva’s parents have a place. Here, John gets to go a’hunting for and removing those nasty bad snares, with Geoffrey and co, while I chill out with the girls.

And Jasmine…100_2885100_2822

Aw..  a gorgeous Miniature Schnauzer. Seven weeks old.

We overnight, once more, at Rudi’s who is conveniently placed around the halfway point.

There is an ulterior motive…100_2887

John wanted to buy the kids one of these for their lovely home. And we managed to utilise it on the journey.

We’ve done this trip loads of times but I never tire of the view…100_2899100_2897100_2906100_2894

Ostrich…?

Yep.

And I still love those Clarice trees. To bits.

Fast forward and we’re at the bus. Looking a bit forlorn and neglected but so would you if you’d been left alone for two or three years. Nothing a bit of TLC wouldn’t sort out.

I’m very fond of the old bus but, sadly, we’ve no time to spend here. No time to get the power or water hooked up so…100_2908

This is the way we brew up.

And what on earth sort of spider made this web..?100_2913

Some sort of mutant that I sure as hell do not want to meet. Ever.

That aside, I wish we had longer here.

Friends Rosemary and Piet, who  live up a mountain, took pity on us invited us for a braai and gave us a bed for the night. Lovely people.

Piet drove us round his farm and showed off his new venture – he’s always busy and doing something.

Holiday homes…100_2919100_2917100_2915

He and his son have got the building of these down to a fine art and they are superb. All have fine views and none overlooked. Internally they are brilliant too – sorry I didn’t get a pic. Those that are finished are booked up well into next year.

Piet’s home, that he built himself and is constantly improving, and surrounding land is lovely…100_2921

As is the fybnos there…

It smells delicious too.

Turns out they have to be in Cape Town on the same day we fly. Sorted.

John often says that things will sort themselves out. Seems he’s right.

We board the big white bird, me clutching my huge cache of drugs. I’ve even been prescribed an inhaler – just in case and only to be used in emergency.

What could possibly go wrong..?

Things can only get better..

6 Nov

While I do my time – three days and nights – at the Plett Mediclinic, John continues with a much-modified plan and sees our friends onto their aeroplane bound for Blighty. He then returns as far as Knysna (about a half hour away from the hospital at Plett) and stays over at friend Rudi’s place, just outside the town on the road to Rheenendal.

I’m due to be discharged the following day around noon so John duly pitches up to collect me. John settles the bills I’ve racked up (because I’ve managed to get my cards frozen due to consistently entering the wrong pin no – I really wasn’t well) and then I’m free to go. Free is not the best word to use here mind; my stay was actually extremely expensive. But of course I am worth it and, not wishing to critisize our wonderful NHS, I wonder if they could have cared for me so well and in such a timely manner. Besides, I am hoping the insurance will cough up (how very fitting) once I get the claim in.

So, I’m out, feeling much, much better, though perhaps a little more mortal than normal. Final diagnosis was a chest infection and not pneumonia so am thankful for small mercies.

We head once again for Rudi’s, via a pharmacy at nearby Sedgefield to collect my mega amounts of muti, which should keep me going.

Rudi is a very talented chap. He made these…100_2779100_2781

Such workmanship. Stunning.

It’s all in the detail…

As these insets show. Love ’em.

But his first love is sculpting and he’s really churning it out now. His current favourite subject being his Great Dane Ziggy…

Incredible. As ever, click on image to enlarge.

And here’s the real thing…100_2886

Ziggy, in the flesh, more a small horse than a dog.

We overnight and spend the next morning here, a great visit, then it’s off again to PE.

The ever-so-special Evelyn takes it upon herself to look after me…img_20160923_093734431_hdr

All part of the recovery programme. Also making my breakfast, coffee and biscuits and anything else I need. I want to take her home with me.

John reads about solar powered cars that are travelling from Jo’berg to Cape Town via Port Elizabeth so this we have to see. We assemble ourselves at the beachfront car park where they’re due to pitch and wait. It’s blowing an absolute hooley (typical of PE – AKA windy city) so our walk on the beach was a little worrying – I’m well wrapped up but afraid I might be blown away!

We’ve no idea what to expect but are truly blown away when they start arriving…100_2808100_2806

They’re quick!

And on display in the ‘paddock’…

100_2813This one was our favourite…100_2810

More practical, with space for two seats and panels inside…100_2812

A Polish entry.

You got to love this one though…

An old Beetle with a random solar panel strapped onto a roof rack..hee hee.

Some team action…100_2799

Re-charging…

And the innards…100_2805

Not sure about the driving position…100_2804

And these things travel on the road!

Hell of an entourage though – horns, hooters, flashy lights – real African style.

Speaking of African style…100_2785

This epitomises Africa really.

We saw this on the way to Sundays River mouth, which turned out to be very special indeed. We were charged a nominal entry fee – enough to keep out the riff-raff – and after a bit of a drive…100_2829

There was this…100_2832100_2833100_2834

100_2825Almost otherworldly.

Easy to think you were at the seaside…

100_2827100_2826

But no, it’s a river mouth…100_2860Special eh?

It’s a huge site with walking trails, picnic/BBQ areas, pool, kids area, holiday cottages, fishing and so much more. Probably best to let the pictures do the talking for a while…

And I adore the Prickly Pear…100_2869

Look like big flat feet with lots of toes…100_2851

Toes that burst into flower…100_2876

Wish we’d been a bit later, when in full bloom.

But needed to be earlier for the Aloes…

Just past their best before date.

A heron before John drove at it…100_2835

And after…100_2836

And this is Kudu dung..100_2875

Apparently.

Sundays River…100_2874

A great place.

This has been our transport…100_2840

An ancient Toyota Venture.

And this…100_2879

Is where I want to live.