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A full week of smiles.

Here is my contribution to The  Weekly Smile challenge

The weather made me smile this week.   We have such changeable weather here and if you should ever visit the southern tip of Africa and you don’t like the temperature – wait a few minutes and it’s sure to change.   Two days ago we had much needed rain – it rained all night and all day – and it made me glad – because our dams are dry and our farmlands are dying so when I heard the thunder and saw the lightning I couldn’t stop smiling.

But the next day the sun shone again and I was back in summer clothes! Hubby went fishing and that made him smile.  He took his friend Willie which meant Rachel was short staffed at the coffee shop on a Public Holiday so I went in to help her which made her and Jacqui smile and I had so much fun that I smiled too, so there was a lot of passing on of smiles.  The patrons smiled also specially when they enjoyed their delicious chocolate cake and fabulous cappuccinos.  A little four year-old girl really made me smile when I saw her cute little face covered in chocolate icing.

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Along with Willie, Earl took Ben, who’d never been to sea before. Imagine how he smiled when he impressed the Old Man of the Sea by catching some lovely Red Stompneus for our supper. And we all smiled when we dined together on the spoils of the day.

IMG_5846I smiled because I remembered to take my camera with me on my daily walk earlier this week.  The tide was low and the beach called loudly for my presence.  What a broad smile broke onto my face when I found two African Black Oyster Catchers foraging for mussels on the rocky shore.

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We’re gonna get those black mussels

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Got one

I smiled and smiled because I was the only person on the beach watching and photographing these beautiful creatures.

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Black and White/Sepia – R is for Reflection, Rhinoceros and Red-throated Wryneck

This week’s Black and White Challenge is to use the letter Q and/or R.   My submissions are in both black and white and sepia and I have chosen R.

  •  Reflections –  in which my subjects are white fronted plovers which I often see on the beaches in Struisbaai, Western Cape, South Africa. Reflection White fronted plover IMG_5723IMG_5741-001
  • Rhinoceros photographed in the Umfolozi Game Reserve

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Rhyno Hluhluwe

  • Red throated Wryneck photographed near my daughter’s house in Rural Kokstad, KZN.black and white wryneck 6Sepia wryneck best 2
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How deep are our roots

Today’s one word prompt is Roots  Here is my contribution.

Although I am deeply interested in History, I become a tad bored when some ordinary person brags about their blood line and prattles off a list of great things their ancestors have achieved.  I’m more interested in what they have achieved and how they live their lives now.  Only if they tell me how their roots influenced their choices in life do I prick up my ears and pay attention.

If I were to find out that I was a direct descendant of  Aristotle or Archimedes I would be fascinated and quite proud but I’d wonder why their brilliance had not found it’s way down to little old me!  Perhaps over time the gene pool became diluted.

I looked through some old photographs of my grandparents recently and had some nostalgic moments.  Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles are the ones that shape our lives and even then it’s up to us to reach our potential because of or in spite of them.

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My brilliant grandfather

Granny

The sweetest grandmother ever

Family quote

The roots I am more concerned about today are the ones in my garden!  I have this beautiful milkwood tree, indigenous to the area and protected by law.

Everything we do in the garden revolves around the tree. It provides wonderful shade,  the birds love it and it gives us great pleasure but its ample shade affects the growth of lawn and it’s a problem finding something that will grow beneath it. We are in the process of trying some groundcover now and slow progress has been made.

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The dominant milkwood tree

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This little white eye and his friends love it

There is a very famous milkwood tree in Mossel Bay.  It was used as a “Post Office” during the days of the early explorers. It is marked with a plaque reading: “This post office tree stands near the fountains where the Portuguese navigators regularly drew water at Aguada de São Bras (now Mossel Bay) from 1488 onwards. In May 1500 Pêro de Ataíde, captain of a homeward bound ship of Pedro Cabral’s fleet, left a message here which was found on 7 July 1507 by the outward bound ships of João da Nova. According to tradition the mesthat were lsage was placed in an old shoe and tied to a tree”.

The letter told the story of how four ships from Bartholomeu Dias’s expedition were lost.  The writer also warned future readers of the letter, of the dangers along the Indian coast.

In 1962 the South African Postal Service put up a mailbox in the shape of a shoe at the site of The Post Office Tree.   Items posted there are cancelled with a special stamp.

Postal shoe

This shoe mailbox can be seen at the Diaz Museum Mossel Bay (Photo from the internet

Today in South Africa we are celebrating Freedom Day.  Twenty Three years ago new roots were planted with the first non-racial democratic elections and The Rainbow Nation was born.  Our roots go down deep as we collectively strive to build a strong new nation.

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Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge

I am submitting a few photographs for Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge. This week’s subject is Winter and/or Water.  I’ve chosen water and the place where these are taken is called False Bay Ecology Park where there is a wagon wheel of settling ponds that attract water birds.  These were taken on a sunny winter’s day in 2011.

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Yellow-billed ducks making a splash

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In calmer waters with a red-billed teal

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A Little Grebe (Dabchick) in reflective mood

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Aren’t I a handsome fellow – said the Purple Swamphen (Gallinule) 

 

 

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Grey

Today’s one word prompt is Grey – or Gray as they spell it in the USA where they have more sensible spelling rules!

What comes to mind when you hear the word grey? The risqué novel “Fifty shades of Grey?”   I did try to read it – but was bored after five sentences.  Sooo I’ll go onto something different.

Sometimes our beautiful blue sky turns grey – I miss this colour right now as we really need some dark clouds to bring rain to the parched earth and empty dams of the Western Cape.

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Theewaterkloof Dam is dangerously low

Grey water is what everyone is talking about here.  Do you use your grey water on the garden – how do you collect it etc etc.  I collect the shower water in a bucket and haul it off to the garden so that not a drop is wasted.

I like to wear the colour grey -buy I usually dress it up with something bright – like lime green or pink or even red.

When I retired I decided to stop dying my hair and allowed myself to become naturally grey.  It was a good idea – I look slightly older but it’s saved me a fortune in hairdressing fees.

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Me with my sister before I stopped dying my hair

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Me today – wearing grey with a lime-green scarf 🙂

Grey is a common colour of birds and beasts but they seem to look amazingly beautiful in spite of their drab feathers and fur.   Sometimes they too will add a bit of colour to add a bit of sparkle.

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A Cape Robin cheers up its plumage by adding a touch of red to its breast and tail

Grey Heron

A beautiful grey heron

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Elephants looking magnificent in grey with a powdering of red dust.

 

So when skies are grey and you’re feeling blue remember those are both colours that can be cheering too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Share Your World 24 April 2017

Here are my answers to Cee’s Share Your World

Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?

There is only one thing that can quench one’s thirst – WATER. I’ve been told that you are dehydrated before you feel thirsty. Strangely I feel thirsty at night and so always have a glass of water on the night stand – maybe because I drink a couple of glasses of Springfield’s  Life from Stone before and during dinner.   I’m actually sipping a glass right now as I write!  It’s a sauvignon blanc to die for.   But certainly not a thirst quencher.

Made from Stone

Coke, my daughter tells me, is the only satisfactory drink to take if you’re really thirsty.  I only use it medicinally after a tummy upset!

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Complete this sentence:  Never In My Life Have I…. 

Never in my life have I done a lot of things including:

  • Been to Robben Island – and it’s not that far away but I have been to every province in my country.
  • Travelled to the USA
  • Travelled to the Far East
  • Travelled to New Zealand – but I have been to Australia
  • Travelled to the North or South Pole and I never will
  • Been on a Mediterranean Cruise – but I’m planning to next year
  • Learned to speak Greek – but I am learning Italian and I am fluent in English and Afrikaans

Italian

 

If you could be given any gift what would it be?

This is a question I can never answer adequately.  I am privileged enough to have everything I need.   Also I never know what gifts to give!   But of course I love receiving gifts and giving gifts.  What I receive does not matter.   But I’m going to go to the impossible with this one. If I were to be given a gift I would love to get a round the world cruise.  Not gonna happen – ever!  But I know I will get to travel to many more exotic places.

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QE2 leaving Cape Town without me

What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep, toss and turn, or get up and try to do something productive?

When I was a child I had no trouble sleeping. When I was pregnant, sleep was difficult and prepared me for the many months of sleepless nights.  It took years to get back into a good sleep routine but probably when my baby reached adulthood I managed to get 8 hours uninterrupted sleep again – and then the grandkids arrived and sleep patterns were once again disturbed!  However, we sorted that out soon enough.   Finally I got into good sleep patterns and even when I had a late night managed to rise at an hour that enabled me to get my act together and get to work on time.   Rising early was never a problem. Energy levels were always high.  Of course strong black coffee helped enormously.

NOW that I am retired – aaahhhh – sleep eludes me.  My 9 pm bedtime has gone to 11 pm and then I battle to get to sleep so often it’s midnight. I used to wake at 5:30 without an alarm and leapt out of bed with fresh enthusiasm for the new day.  NOW a chorus of birdsong on my phone encourages me to rise at 7 – but I am in such a deep fog I can’t rise till 9!   Why?!    Of course I don’t need to get up early but how did these sleep patterns make such a change! Anyway, once I’m up all is well and the energy is still there and I do manage to get things done – at a slower than pre-retirement pace.

When I really can’t sleep – I watch netflix!   Dr House and Grace and Frankie are my favourites at the moment.

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Oh the decadence of retirement!

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am always grateful for where I live.  But right now I’m grateful for my health and my hubby’s improved health.

We are looking forward to a caravanning week away at Gariep Dam in the Free State next week.  Ten of us who live in different provinces will gather to celebrate a 70th birthday. I am soooo looking forward to it.

Gariep