03 April 2009
to get away somewhere as he has not been feeling great with his high blood
pressure and hyper-tension. I phoned
around but really at such short notice its not easy to find accommodation – and
it is the beginning of the school holidays.
So we decided to come to Struisbaai and that’s where we are as I write.
The weather is stunning – temperatures have been in
the 40s in some places in the Western Cape.
It took us four hours to get here as there are road works on the N2 and
we had long waits at the stop/goes.
We stopped to shop for meat at Grabouw and groceries
I was supposed to take Jay to the scout hall for
his camp departure but fortunately managed to get him a lift with Sydonne’s
mom, René. Before we left I went to
Woolworths and bought him some tuck.
I arranged for Grace to stay late and she will come
early on Monday morning too.
4 April 2009
The trip to Struis yesterday was hot and it was still hot when we
arrived. We had an early braai and Earl
went to bed at half past seven. I joined
him at 8. I woke up very early and got
up and took photos of the sunrise. Earl
slept on till quarter to 10! Then got up
and made us a stunning breakfast of scrambled eggs and kidneys. I spent most of the morning fiddling with
photographs on the computer. We also
went to the shops and popped in to see Lynne and Glyn at the shell shop. Clive and Margaret also arrived and told us
that their offer on a house in Struisbaai had been rejected.
In the afternoon we took a drive in the Agulhas
National Park area but the bird life was disappointing. We went as far as Brandfontien and went for a
lovely walk along the beach. We saw a porpoise washed up on the beach – most
unusual. There were a few oyster catchers
and some sand plovers.
Earl braaied in the evening and once again was in bed
by 8 o’clock.
05 April 2009
Drive to Die Mond
Earl did not sleep quite as late this morning and by half past nine had
made us another of his delicious breakfasts.
We decided to take another drive and this time had a very rewarding trip
to Die Mond. There were lots of Denham
bustards, hadedas, sacred ibis, sparrows, bokmakieries, blue crane and
wheat-ears as we travelled the dirt roads.
We also saw a steppe buzzard on the ground, a few jackal buzzards, black
shouldered kites and an immature lanner falcon. We were almost a Die Mond when a black
harrier flew in front of us and we had an excellent view of him.
Fortunately I had my wild card as we had to pay to
go into the reserve at Die Mond. We
walked across the suspension bridge and to the beach. There were lots of bul-buls, yellow-eyed
canaries and sparrows en route. On the
lagoon islands we saw little egret, gulls and oyster catchers. It was a stunning day. At the beach a bomber
flew over and I got a good photograph of it.
One could walk from Die Mond to Struisbaai if you were prepared to go
We got back to Struis at about 2 and went to the
restaurant on the beach for lunch. We both had grilled calamari. We watched a biathlon taking
place on the open field next to the restaurant.
The competitors had to run around the field, then to the beach, swim
some distance around some buoys then race back to the field and run around it
When we got home I fiddled with photos and finished
my cross word puzzle. Earl went for a
snooze and is sleeping still. Its 10 to 6
6 April 2009
Van Riebeeck Day
We braaied late last night and went to bed after
watching some good programmes on T.V.
This morning we packed up and left at around quarter to 10 and took the
Elim Road for a slow drive home. We had
some good birding – Denham’s Bustard, Blue Crane etc but the most exciting was
seeing a buzzard chase a Fish Eagle off what looked like a dead lamb in a farmer’s
Earl missed the turn to Stanford but decided not to
turn around but rather see where the road took us. It was fascinating finding tiny hidden farms
and villages that we didn’t even know existed. Eventually we came out at Kleinbaai.
It was lunch time when we reached The Orchard
farmstall so we stopped there for lunch. Earl had a tuna salad and I indulged
in a bacon, tomato, lettuce and avo croissant.
On this day 357 years ago Jan van Riebeeck and his fleet of three
sailing ships, brought a group of Dutch settlers to The Cape of Good Hope.
Their mission – to start a refreshment station to replenish the supplies of
ships plying their way to the East. He
didn’t want to stay – it was a commission from the Dutch East India Company for
him and he couldn’t wait for his term of office here to end. Well – what would he think now if he were to
return – in just 3 ½ centuries, how Cape
Town has changed. What would he think of
a flood-lit table mountain and streets lined with sky-scrapers and a
water-front that is commercial hub? Oh
my dear Jan – your little refreshment station is the most beautiful city in the
world and we are grateful that you started it all! Unfortunately, we are in crisis once again
and perhaps your pessimism then would be justified today too. Today we heard that all charges against Jacob
Zuma, president of the ANC had been dropped.
Of course there has been a huge reaction to this but it looks like the
next president of South Africa is going to be a fraudster and a crook. He sings and dances in Zulu warrior garb and
the song on his lips is, “Bring me my machine gun!’ Is this a joke or what?
Let’s just hope that the people of South Africa
catch a wake-up call and rush to the polls to at least strengthen the
opposition. I can’t, however, help the
feeling of dread that South Africa is going to end up like Zimbabwe. How people allow these things to happen to
themselves is a mystery to me.
10 April 2009
Jay returned from his Scout Camp after half past six on Monday
evening. I had to go to a committee
meeting so I didn’t see him till the next morning. But I did notice that he was coughing in his
sleep and sure enough he picked up a bug at camp. In spite of this he had a fantastic time.
One of the highlights was paddling a canoe 12 km down the Breede River. “Mine was a heavy rubber duck thing – I should
have had a lighter canoe more suited to my size!” But he managed and loved it. I asked him whether his wrists were sore as
I got ‘paddler’s wrist’ when I did the same trip 15 years ago. “No – but my forearms are sore.” They also did things like foofy sliding and
jumping into the freezing river. “It was
scary but fun,” was Jay’s comment. He
didn’t have much else to report but clearly had a brilliant time.
On Tuesday the boys had a gang over to play and
there was much activity and noise indoors and out. I made two banana loaves and after two ‘tea
breaks’ there was not a crumb left. They
played in the playroom, on the computer, on the bikes and scooters, with the
water pistols and in the pool. My only
rule was “NO RUNNING OR SHOUTING INSIDE THE HOUSE” I had to remind them once or twice because it
is so tempting to take a short cut from the back door to the front door when
you’re being chased by villains – but on the whole they were very
well-behaved. If this continues through
the holidays I will be eaten out of house and home because boy do those kids
have healthy appetites – fortunately I keep loaves of bread in the freezer and
plenty of cheese in the fridge as toasted sandwiches are the easiest to whip up
in a short time.
On Wednesday Lisa took the boys to an early dental
appointment in Claremont and I went to collect them at 9 o’clock. Josh said that his tummy was sore because he’d
swallowed some of the solution the dentist gave him to rinse with. I suggested that breakfast at a restaurant
might make him feel better. He was
doubtful but agreed that he would have a little to eat. He ended up devouring a huge plate of eggs,
bacon and mushrooms and Jay had no trouble with two eggs, bacon and grilled
tomato and both thought coke would be a wonderful breakfast drink. Afterwards they begged for cake but I said if
they wanted that they would have to use their pocket money. There was much discussion about how much
they were prepared to “waste” on such a treat and Jay ended up settling for a
chocolate biscuit thing for R4.50 and Josh a butter finger biscuit with
chocolate at each end for the same price.
This treat was eaten with relish as we drove home to Fish Hoek.
We got home at about half past 11 and I started
making sushi. I got everything prepared
and made fashion sandwiches and vegetarian rolls then waited for Earl to bring
the fish. By half past three I rolled the last tuna nori and then left Grace to
clean up while I went to Steve for a back treatment. My lower back was beginning to play up and I’m
glad I went for an early treatment as it is now perfect.
On Thursday Sharon and I walked from the Kalk Bay
side of Boye’s Drive right over to the turn-off to Lakeside, down to the main
road and back to Kalk Bay. It was
fabulous. It was a cool, clear day so
the views were great. We started at 7:30 and were back at the car by 9 o’clock.
I went to teach Kath Lee a computer lesson at
10. She is getting on really well but we
won’t have a lesson for the next three weeks as she is having her two daughters
and their husbands from England and Canada to stay. It is really rewarding to see how Kath has
lost her fear of the computer and is keen to get ADSL Skype and a digital
camera! She even wanted to know about
The boys had Brian and his little brother Daniel
over to play and they begged for a sleepover so we gave in.
I made meat loaf, mash and butternut and salad for
supper. Daniel only ate the vegetables.
Brian didn’t eat anything – his mother had given them soup before they
They left soon after getting up this morning so at
the moment we have peace and as it is a public holiday perhaps we will have no