Share Your World #29

Here are my answers to this week’s share your world

What is the perfect pizza?

My favourite pizza is never on the menu of most pizza places but I’ve seldom had a problem having them make it up for me. I call it a Greek Pizza – the toppings are fetta, olives, spinach and avo – delicious.

What is your favorite time of day?

I am a morning person but now that I’m retired I don’t get up early in winter! Summer is a different story – I love an early morning walk and swim on the beach.

When in the bush mornings are the best time to get those stunning sunrises and to catch the early activity of the birds and game.

Show us two of your favorites photographs?  The photos can be from anytime in your life span.  Explain why they are your favorite.

The first photograph is precious because it shows all four grandkids really enjoying each other’s company.  It was taken in 2014 when we were all together in Struisbaai.


The next one is special for a similar reason but here they are under the milkwood tree with their precious grandfather – and they’re all smiling at the same time!


Complete this sentence:  I’m looking forward to…. 

our trip to Italy!

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

 It was wonderful having my grandson, Jay and his friends stay with us for a few days and I’m grateful that he doesn’t think he is too old to show affection to his gran in front of his mates.


The boys dwarfing Granny!

I have come down with diverticulitis this week and look forward to getting over it quickly!


Share your World #28

Here are my answers to this week’s Share your World questions.

What is your earliest memory?

I am always intrigued by what sticks in my mind and what doesn’t.   I forget what I did yesterday but my memories from before I was four are still there!  In my earliest memory I am three years old.  Big Brother is already at school. He is six.  I am holding Mommy’s hand and she is pushing Little Sister in her push chair.  She is one.  We are meeting Big Brother who is walking home from school.  I have no idea why this memory sticks – nothing significant happens but I remember my brother looking very pleased with himself while I feel a tad jealous that I am not big enough to be at this important place called school.   Other memories from this time in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg are vivid.  Sitting on the pavement with our nanny Siena – she chatted to other nannies while we played with their young charges.  The gold mine dump near our house, the
“bumpy” road we took as a shortcut to the main road that took us to wherever we were going, our enormous garden with its very long driveway and extremely tall trees – my first bird call memory  is of the turtle doves calling at sunset. We left this house to live in Cape Town when I was five. I returned with my brother when we were in our thirties. He had not been there since he was 8 but he found the house without a hiccup.   I couldn’t believe how the garden, trees and driveway had shrunk over the years!

I do remember one significant thing –  I am standing in the dark street with my father (and mom and siblings) He is pointing to a moving star in the Sky- “That’s Sputnik,” – he said, “One day they’ll put a man into space!” That would have been in October 1957 and I was not yet five years old.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?

I don’t often take photos with my phone but if I see something interesting on my walk I like to show my hubby a proof shot. The last one was of a pair of rock kestrels but they’re too blurred to show here.  Instead I will post one of harbour. I can never resist photographing  it.

Struisbaai Harbour phone pic

Struisbaai on a still, winter’s day.

Have you ever danced in the rain?

I can’t believe I haven’t because I have danced in the oddest places at inappropriate times but I don’t remember any dancing in the rain incidents.

What is the longest you have gone without sleep?

More than 24 hours.  It was the last day of college.   I was in a residence called Lincoln at Grahamstown Training College.  We came from all over the country and had been together for three years. Now we were dispersing to different parts of the country and didn’t know when or if we would ever see each other again.   We stayed up all night to get the very last of each other. The next day there was a final chapel service and we sang, “God be with you till we meet again”  Well, the refrain, “till we meet at Jesus Feet” set me off and I couldn’t stop crying.   A fellow student gave me a lift from Grahamstown to Port Elizabeth where I boarded a plane to Cape Town and I cried all the way in the car and on the plane.  Of course, it was the lack of sleep the amplified all this emotion.   I had just calmed down before deplaning and was ready to meet my father with a smile – but as soon as I saw him – I burst into tears again!   However, it didn’t take long for me to get over it and enjoy the next phase of my life!

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

I am grateful that the cupboards are complete, the workshop is painted, the bunk room is tidy, the burglar alarm is installed and all that is left is for the burglar bars to be fitted.

I am looking forward to my grandson and three of his friends arriving tomorrow for a five-day visit.   We used to bring the boys and their friends for holidays to Struisbaai when they were kids – now they’re old enough to drive themselves here!



Share your world #26

Here are my answers to this week’s share your world questions

What’s your most memorable (good or bad) airplane flight?

I was 7 months pregnant and flying from Durban to Cape Town when suddenly we hit some horrific turbulence.  The seat belt lights went on and the aircraft made the most frightening noises as it adjusted the pressure in the cabin.   It felt like the plane was dropping thousands of metres then rising up again.  I was terrified. Everybody on the plane remained uncanningly calm. My friend, Peggy, was with me and she agreed that she’d never had such a scary flight before.  Luckily nothing happened but for many years after that I was terrified of flying.  Years later I found myself stuck at the top of the Alps in a ski lift.  The view was amazing and I didn’t have the slightest fear – although my legs were dangling thousands of metres above the ground with only a bar across my middle to protect me from falling out.  Why then was I afraid of of flying?  It put things in perspective and I was less nervous on an aircraft after that.

Recently I was once again on a scary flight.  This time it was from Cape Town to Durban when we ran into a storm.  It was dark and the sky was split with lightning.  The plane shook and I turned to my husband and said, “I’m not scared – if we die now it will be okay – I’ve lived a good life!” The whole plane was restless and children were crying.   The pilot had to land in this treacherous weather and it turned out to be the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced. As we touched down the whole plane broke into spontaneous applause.

The flight attendant came over the speaker with the words, “Give that man a Bells”

(This is a quote from a commercial for Bell’s Whisky.  When a heroic deed is done the punch line is – “Give that man a Bells.”)

How many bones, if any, have you broken?

I broke my foot by landing badly doing high jump in Grade 8.  Got me out of athletics for the rest of the year.

When I was 19 I worked as a volunteer camp counsellor.  There were strict rules about leaving the camp at night but some of the other counsellors and I snuck out for coffee at a nearby restaurant.  On our way back some boys bothered us so we ran – I fell down an embankment and broke my leg.  My friends helped me back to camp and we snuck back in.  I spent the night in pain but had to confess the next morning.  The leader was more sympathetic than angry and I was dispatched to the hospital to have it set.  It ruined the rest of my summer holiday!

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? (guest can be dead, alive, famous or someone you just know)

Helen Keller – She was deaf and blind but could talk – I find her story fascinating.

The late Duchess of Windsor – What was her secret?  How did she captivate a king so much that he gave up the throne for her?

Barbara Streisand – my favourite female singer and actress.  Just love her music and her movies.

Make a Currently List: What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating, needing, wanting, and missing right now?

Reading: The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers

Watching:  Tennis at Wimbledon

Listening To: Cape Talk – now that I can get it on DSTV

Eating:  Soups and stews in this cold wintry weather – Oxtail cooked by Hubby – delicious.  Breakfasts at Shipwreck Cafe at least once a week!

Needing: I’m presently living a charmed life -so don’t really need anything.

Wanting: I want a new pair of jeans – actually three pairs – black, blue and white.  But I don’t need them!  Also a white shirt.   I’m planning to shop in London in August.

Missing:  I miss my mother. She often turns up in my dreams and I will miss her forever.

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

The weather here has been freezing so I am grateful for the gas heater.

I am looking forward to spending this weekend with my kids who turned up to surprise Dad/Grandpa for his birthday today.



Spending Quality Time With Friends

We recently had our very good friends, Heather and Peter, spend time with us.  It was an enormously happy time and the Weather Man obliged us with some stunning sunny days.

It was great to show them the improvements we’ve made to our home although they’re not quite finished yet. We enjoyed meals together, immersed ourselves in catching up on each other’s lives and it was a treat to take them to our favourite birding spots.  We have so many shared interests so it was great to have an extended time together to enjoy each other.

The sunny days made it all the more exciting and although winter birding is not as productive as spring and summer we managed to do pretty well each day.   Tuesday found us on the Arniston Road.


Jackal Buzzard


Rock Kestrel


Denham’s bustard


Denham’s in the foreground – steenbok in the background


There were hundreds of our national bird, the blue crane in the farmlands


A malachite sunbird enjoying the aloes


A bee, his only competition


Cloud Cisticola?  Not sure about this LBJ’s identity


The Arniston Hotel where we enjoyed a great lunch




Arniston fishermen coming in from a day at sea

On Wednesday we chilled at home till later in the afternoon when we set off to Agulhas Light house.  On the way we enjoyed some birds and then went to see the light house museum.


There were literally dozens of African Black Oystercatchers on the rocks


A little egret soaking up the sun


Enjoying the lighthouse museum

After the museum we took a drive to Suiderstrand picking up a couple of birds and enjoying the views.


The famous “Pietie se huis” which is now part of the Agulhas National Park Rest Camp.


A Black Shouldered Kite with a hapless mouse for dinner




In the evening we introduced our old best friends to our new best friends over a stunning braai of ribs, chops and sausage

The next day we took off down the Elim Road and were thrilled with all the birds we found before having lunch at The Black Oystercatcher Wine Estate


A gaggle of Spur-winged geese


Cape Robin singing happily



A delight to find a fish eagle


Scores of Denham’s Bustards about


Flamingos on the Salt Pans


The Black Oystercatcher


Lunch was excellent – we all had the sticky chicken salad

The sun was setting when we returned and so we popped in at the harbour to see how the boats had done.  A few fish were caught but not as much as the fishermen had hoped!




One of the ski-boats returning from a day at sea

Friday’s weather matched our mood as we bade farewell to our friends as they made their way back to Cape Town on a cold and wet day.

What a delight to have been able to share those few days with our dearest friends!










Share your world #25

Here are my answers to Cee’s Share you world Week 25

How many languages do you you speak?

English is my Home Language. Most English speakers are lazy about learning other languages as no matter where you go in the world you can almost always find somebody who knows English.  But I like languages.   I speak my second language, Afrikaans, fairly proficiently.   Now that I live in a community that is 90% Afrikaans speaking I am becoming even better.   I will soon be spending two months in Italy so have begun a Duolingo online course in that language and I’m loving it.

My father was Greek but all I ever learned in that language was a few greetings, to count and to swear!

What are some words that just make you smile?


Stunning, super and fabulous are words I use a lot and I guess they make me smile. A sentence that would make me smile – We’re going to Kruger!

If you were the original architect of one existing building, which building would you select?

When I was in Australia I couldn’t get enough of the Sydney Opera House – so I guess it would be that one!

Would you rather have telepathy or telekinesis?  (Telepathy is the communication using your brain waves, telekinesis is channeling the energy onto physical objects to cause substantial, observable physical changes.)

Telepathy – My husband thinks I already have it and can’t understand why I don’t know what he wants before he asks.

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

I am grateful for an amazing week with friends visiting us and the fun we had birdwatching and exploring the area of the Southern Tip of Africa.

Next week I am looking forward to a quick visit to Cape Town to collect my British Visa and to collect my repaired car.  Also I am anticipating that all alterations here is Struisbaai will be complete!


Share your World #23

Here are my answers to Cee’s questions for this week.

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?

I had only three student jobs before I graduated with my Teachers’ Diploma. The first was at a bakery on Saturday mornings – it was hectic and I was paid R2.00.  I was 16 years old and only did it for a few months.  After that I had a vacation job in an office in the city.  It was for three weeks and the experience was awesome.  The permanent staff in the office were so interesting and I learned a lot about life from them – perhaps more than was age appropriate!  Then at age 17 I had a vacation job at the local hospital as a Nurse Aid.   Well!  That was an even bigger experience – It was very hard work – making perfect hospital beds, emptying bed pans, doing bed baths, dealing with vomiting patients and the highlight – watching the birth of a baby!

My first real job was as an itinerant Speech Correction Teacher – and from then on a very chequered career in teaching – I don’t regret a second.

What is your favorite month of the year?

I would rather answer this as my favourite season of the year – Autumn/Fall.   Here in the Western Cape this is the most beautiful time of year.  The weather is changeable but in a good year May/June produces windless, sunny days that are neither too hot nor too cold.   It’s the stillness that I love – the clear days when the sea is a calm as a millpond and it is a delight to sit in the sun and drink in the fresh air.  I just love it.

What three things in nature do you find most beautiful?

Birds, the bush and the sea. Birds are all around us – they sound wonderful, they look beautiful and they fill me with joy.  The Bush in South Africa is amazing – my spirit is renewed every time I enter a wildlife park and experience the isolation and wonder of the wild.  The Sea – ever changing and dramatic – who can live without it.

List at least five of your favorite spices? (excluding salt and pepper)

Garlic, origanum, Ina Paarman Rosemary and Olive, Basil, ginger, cinnamon.

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

I am grateful that the process of applying for a UK Visitor’s Visa is over – what an intense and expensive experience – Schengen was so much more pleasant. I have the latter – hopefully the former is as successful. Travel for South Africans is complicated!

I am looking forward to a week of getting our Struisbaai home into shape – the extensions are complete and the new cupboards almost all done.  Now for the final decorating!




Share Your World #22

Here are my answers to Cee’s Share Your World Questions

Every country in the world has lost men and women in some kind of Armed Forces.  When does your country celebrate  their deaths?

We remember Poppy Day – 11 November – but it is not a public holiday.

Here in South Africa people lost their lives in their fight for freedom and so perhaps Human Rights Day celebrated on 21 March is when we remember those who lost their lives in that kind of war.  Specifically the events of Sharpeville are remembered.  On that day in 1960, 69 people died and 180 wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd who protested the Pass Laws.

Similarly 16 June – Youth Day is an important day of remembrance. On this day we reflect upon  the young protesters who were ambushed by the apartheid regime police in Soweto on 16 June 1976. Over 500 youths were killed.  They were students from a number of Sowetan schools who took to the streets to protest against having Afrikaans at the medium of instruction in their schools. About 20 000 students took part in the protests which took place over a few days.   This was in 1976.

What is your favorite holiday or holidays?

Of course this has to be Christmas although I find it stressful to have to think of how  best to celebrate.   With as large an extended family as we have, it is difficult to please everybody. So over the years, the way we do it has changed several times and is changing still.  But in the end whatever we do turns out to be fun.

Easter is also great – who can resist all that chocolate?

How do you celebrate that holiday?

With overindulgence of course!   Last year we celebrated in Cape Town – very unusual!  We had a tree and opened gifts  before breakfast. Then at midday we had a roast turkey and roast lamb with all the trimmings.  We did not have the traditional pudding but usually we do.  This time we had my sister in law’s amazing trifle.

Even though our grandkids are quite big now, we still have an Easter Egg hunt.  Great fun.

I know that some people take holidays very seriously and while we appreciate the significance of each one, we treat the day as we would any other – grateful for what they signify but we don’t attend events that make a big thing of them.

What are you grateful for in the week that’s past?

A great deal!   So much change has taken place in our home.  The highlight was receiving our recovered recliner.  I just love the colour and it makes a huge difference to our lounge.  The workshop extension to the garage is almost complete, the desk unit in the lounge is in use and the bedroom cupboards and bookshelf in the braai room will hopefully be completed by the weekend.


This chair had become quite shabby but I had a sentimental attachment to it so I couldn’t part with it – love the result of the reupholstering. 


Our new double work station

What are you looking forward to in the week to come?

Our Schengen Visas are ready for collection and I need to apply for the UK Visa.  Am I looking forward to that?  Well it will be a chore and another trip to Cape Town but at least it’s a step closer to what’s needed to go on an overseas trip – and who can complain about that!  It is also great to see the kids and friends back in our old home town!