Fenwick Family Holiday 2010/2011 Part Two

Tuesday 21 December 2010

How amazing to wake up to Sani Valley scenery.   It was not a perfect day being overcast and rather cold but it made no difference – the perfect stillness and beauty of the lake and mountains still did something to my soul. Earl donned some warm and waterproof clothes and was on the water by 7:00 a.m.   “It’s too cold to take the boys,” and they slept peacefully on.   They were a bit annoyed when they found him missing an hour later but soon got over it when they saw the chilly weather.   The parents were supposed to arrive for breakfast at 9 but sent a message to say start without them.   I cooked eggs and bacon for Jay and Josh. Simon and Shan only wanted cereal until they saw the boys enjoying the more exciting fare and then demanded the same.  I didn’t think they would eat it all – but they did!  It was all washed down with large cups of rooibos tea!

Earl came in chilled to the bone at 9:00, showered and then made us each an omelette.   There was no cheese – it was still coming with Lauren – so he made a plan as he always does and used feta – delicious combination is feta, tomato and bacon.

The kids ran off to the petting farm although it was raining, came back soaked and all jumped into the bath.   Princess came to clean and wash up – what a treat. And at 11:30 the rest of the family arrived and just as I was about to get something ready for lunch there was a knock on the door – Princess with a huge picnic basket.  “What’s this?” I asked    “Compliment of the Chef,” she replied.  What chef?  Sani doesn’t cater – you can only get the maids to cook but you have to provide the food. Well we accepted gratefully and opened up our treasure box – seven chicken mayonnaise rolls, a delicious salad, seven apples, seven juices, seven chocolates and cheese and biscuits – to die for!   Wow!  I found out later that it was a gift from the manager and perhaps because we were ‘friends of Sani Valley’   The receptionist had no idea and neither did we and we’re not complaining.  She also did not know where the massage came from.

Earl and I moved to our lodge Morning Mist 3 at 2:30 after he’d had his massage (paid for)   It is a new one and just stunning. It is right one of the minor dams with a view to die for.   Birds are active and we have darters, cormorants, hamerkop, pied kingfishers, dabchicks, crowned cranes and may more perched and flying constantly and all visible from our deck, bedroom and lounge.  There is also a Jacuzzi on the deck but it is cold.   I called reception and somebody came but it still doesn’t work.

Allan Gloating

Earl and Allan went fishing when the rain stopped – it has carried on all day – and Allan caught a nice sized trout.  The sun came out made everything look fresh and clean and it promises to be a sunny day tomorrow.  The kids came to see our lodge and then walked back.  I dealt with emails and unpacked then Earl and I drove down for supper – spaghetti bolognaise and salad made by Lauren and Laurie followed by sago pudding made by Lisa.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

I heard Earl calling Lauren at 7:00 a.m. – “Where’s my boat” Just then Allan knocked on the door.   The two of them were on the water in no time.   What a stunning day – the water was sparkling in the early light and I almost envied them being out there – but not quite. I made myself a cup of coffee and enjoyed the birdlife. 

Crowned Crane

A dabchick came in close, a darter preened on the dead tree, a heron made a brief appearance, pied kingfishers skimmed the surface and crowned cranes dropped down on the opposite bank.  The zebras were conspicuous by their absence. I expected them to be down for an early morning drink.

Earl came back at 8:30 and I was bathed and dressed by then.  At 9 we drove to Rainbow.  Jay and Joshua were out in a canoe.  They’d wanted to paddle to us to hurry us to breakfast.   The soon appeared and said they couldn’t have got onto our dam anyway.  They had thoroughly enjoyed the paddle and told me about all the birds they’d seen.   Neither of them have got into fly fishing. Earl says it is a bit difficult and they need to be stronger as the rods are heavy.  They can do some bass fishing later.

Hi Cuzzies

The boatmen

Lauren cooked us a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and banana.   I was just clearing away when Shannon yelled for me to come and look at the vultures and sure enough overhead a flock of white-backs were circling.  Later we took the kids to the vulture restaurant but there was nothing to be seen. We did other bird watching and picked up some beautiful red-shouldred widowbirds, buff-streaked chats, weavers, red bishop, white-throated swallows, zitting cisticolas, stonechats, black-headed herons etc.  We took the children half way up Sani Pass to see if we could get the Guernsey Sugarbirds but no luck.  We did, however, find amethyst sunbirds, malachite sunbirds, familiar chats, black-eyed bulbul and a steppe buzzard.

We had not packed enough juice and it was hot and the kids were getting thirsty so we

We stopped to admire the view and look for birds and Joshua scared the life out of me when he stood on the edge and looked down to the meandering river below!

Jay and Josh fooling around

The View

The kids climbed down a little way and were very excited when they found this happy couple.

All along the route to Sani Lodge there are blackberries growing wild.  Joshua was desperate to pick them so on the way home we dropped them off and allowed them to gather the tempting fruit into a bucket and their mugs.   It was at least 4km from home and Earl said they should walk back but I felt sorry for them in the heat and returned to fetch them – they’d come a long way by the time I reached them and although they were enjoying the adventure they were pleased to see me and said, “Thanks Gran, we are really glad to see you!”

Earl walked to the bottom dam but could not concentrate on fishing because there was a naked sunbather in full view! He came home for a nap instead.  (I’d returned to Morning Mist after giving the kids lunch.)  Lauren and Alan took their kids on the fishing boat and Jay and Josh went out on the canoe again.  Horses were grazing outside Early Mist and the zebra were drinking at the edge of the dam.


Earl had an afternoon nap and I settled down to write my diary then had a sleep too. I woke up and went to the loo quite sure that the mound next to me was my sleeping husband but on my return the mound turned into a pile of cushions and Hubby was nowhere to be found.  The Caravelle was gone so I guessed (rightly) that he was out on the boat again. This gave me time to read my book until I noticed a strong wind had arisen and the usually still pond was rippling violently.  It was not yet dark but the sun was sinking quickly. I called Earl on the cell and he said, “what storm?”  Ha! Ha!  Yes he was on his way back to the jetty.  Allan was with him. But it was ages and when I rang again the thunder and  lightning had begun and the rain was bucketing down.   They had only just got back to the jetty – “I don’t know why you’re stressing – it’s just a little storm!”  Yeh right!

Finally he came to collect me and we returned to Rainbow where we enjoyed Allan’s birthday dinner of a delicious, spicy curry.

Thursday 23 December 2010

The morning dawned sunny and calm and there was no sign of the angry storm of the day before.  The boys’ life jackets had blown away but we were confident that we would find them later in the day.

I hopped into a bath at half past seven and was relaxing in the soothing hot water listening to the soft snores emitting from the bedroom when I heard a scuffle at the front door.   The wind? I got out of the bath and wrapped up in the towel warmed from the heated towel rail, stepped into the passage and perceived a slight movement in the bedroom – sure enough there were two small grandchildren in the form of Joshua and Shannon!  “How did you get in,” I cried.  “Through the lounge door.”   I had not realised that you had to lock both sides of the sliding door so the one side was left unlocked all day and night!

These two monsters had walked from Rainbow, found the missing life jackets and been to the boat house.  They thought they would just come to Granny and Grandpa for tea. I thought that I only had filter coffee – no milk – no sugar – but Shannon found tea/coffee/sugar/milk sachets provided by the lodge for such emergencies.  So we sat and had a cup of rooibos and coffee together while they told me of their morning adventures.

Eventually we went off to Rainbow to make breakfast.   Lauren and Allan had to leave at 9 to go to a funeral in Kokstad.   The kids were behaving like hooligans in the house so we sent them off to the dam up the hill and told them not to come back until breakfast was made.  What a mission to get them to go and have fun!   Eventually they left but Shannon and Josh went to the animal farm while Jay and Si went to the top dam.  They returned full of their adventures and couldn’t wait to go back.  By this time I had cooked brekkie for Lisa, Earn and me and so made them all sit down and have theirs – scrambled eggs, bacon and banana.

Earl and I decided to leave the bairns to Lisa and Laurie and headed back to our lodge at 11 o’clock.   Let’s organise a massage, he said.  So we stopped off at reception and managed to get one each at the same time for 12:30.  Gareth turned up and I complained about the Jacuzzi and he immediately set about putting that to rights.    I thanked him for the complementary picnic basket.   As it turns out – it wasn’t meant for us at all!   There had been a mix-up.  Bushman had ordered a basket and somehow the kitchen thought Rainbow was included in the order so an extra one was made and delivered to us.   No charge – as we’d questioned it and were told it was definitely for us.  The massage?   Another mystery that we don’t have to pay for although we said we were quite prepared to.

After a divine massage we had a lovely nap and then got into the Jacuzzi – it was divine but cut out after 20 minutes.  Earl went to investigate and thinks he knows what the problem is.  Gareth came round to collect the spare mattresses in our spare room and we chatted about the problematic Jacuzzi.  Earl told him how to fix it.  He was impressed with all the repairs that Earl has done since being here – he fixed the boat too and offered him a job.  Well – relief work when he goes on holiday.   Earl said it was an option he would love to take up.  We would get free accommodation in one of the lodges for the duration of the relief stay!  I’m keen!

Jay popped in and had a go in the Jacuzzi then went to fetch Simon and both had fun together.  Josh and Shan didn’t seem too interested.  

Today between massages, naps and Jacuzzi I have relaxed and read my book.  The kids have played at the dam been out on the boat and paddled canoes and sometimes popped in to say hi to Granny.  Earl has also relaxed for the first time and only walked round our small dam with a fly rod and tried his luck without success.  At 4 he went out on the boat with Allan and I now await the results.  It has been hot today with the wind getting up and dying down at odd intervals.  Right now it is calm but we might get a late thunder storm.  Time will tell.

24 December 2010

Well yesterday no fish were caught.  Fishing this year at Sani Valley Lodge has not been good. 

This morning early Josh and Shannon turned up for their turn in the Jacuzzi.  When I opened the cover a huge frog jumped into the very hot water.  Goodbye frog – what a horrible way to die!     I had to scoop the corpse out with a teacup.  The kids were horrified and amused at the same time.   The water had really heated up during the night and it was too hot even for me.  I added cold water and eventually managed to emerge myself in the bubbles.   Simon and Jay turned up too and the four of them had a ball dipping first in the Jacuzzi then in the dam to cool off.

Jay and Josh


Cooling Off



After breakfast we packed everything up, Lisa, Alan and Jay went to fetch Granny from Peter Maritzurg and the rest of us went home in the Caravelle.

Once back Lauren and the kids went to help Glynis set up for Christmas Lunch. Earl and I went to town to get a new jocky wheel for the trailer.  Thank Goodness we didn’t have to shop – it was murder in town. 

In the evening, we had a delicious salt beef and chicken dinner, watched some T.V. and then went to bed in preparation for an early visit from Santa.


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