Saturday 23 April – Later
The walk down the beach was long and hard but the boys had a ball. On the way back Earl left them on the sand dunes and they walked back in their own time. They were worn out when they returned at six o’clock. Their fatigue lasted five minutes and then they were out on their skate boards again.
There were squeals of delight when Earl lit a braai and announced that there would be no fish for supper tonight! Instead they tucked into spare ribs, steak, sweet potatoes and salad followed by chocolate ice cream.
As usual the evening ended with hot chocolate and rusks and the hi jinks finally died down just after 10 o’clock.
SUNDAY 24 APRIL 2011 De Hoop Nature Reserve
Grandpa is almost 67 but doesn’t realise that he can’t keep up the pace he did 10 years ago! I was first awake this morning and it was already quarter to 8. I checked the weather and it was still with just a few clouds coming over. “Are you taking the younger boys fishing today,” I asked. “I should,” he said “but I’m just too tired.”
I snuck out of the house and he passed the Easter Eggs through the window for me to hide. Yesterday I’d told the kids that the Easter Bunny had met with an unfortunate accident on the busy N2 so wouldn’t be delivering eggs. “We’d better get some road kill then,” piped up one of the smarter ones.
The lads were snug in their beds when I roused them with “Hey guys – I’ve just seen a bandaged bunny hopping away – perhaps he’s hidden some eggs.” They were out like a shot and in no time at all had found their treats. I don’t think you ever grow out of the thrill of finding chocolate on Easter Morning.
But these were not the only eggs we had for Easter – Earl cooked us one his famous breakfasts and then we tidied up and headed for De Hoop Nature Reserve.
We insisted that the six lively boys quieten down and keep their eyes open for birds and beasts on the journey there. They were all equipped with binoculars and some had cameras. There were the usual crows, hadedas, fiscals and starlings. They found the blue cranes and were thrilled to see a Denhams’s bustard although it was quite far from the road. The little capped wheatear posed beautifully and when we stopped to look at pack of yellow mongoose and a tiny lark, Josh called – look an eagle. And right there next to us climbing on the rocks was a lovely steppe buzzard. Perhaps he was finding lizards or mice but I’d never seen one hunt in this way before.
We arrived at De Hoop at about 11 o’clock and drove around slowly looking for wild life. We found baboons, bontebok and lots of ostriches.
Before lunch we went to Koppie Alleen and the boys had fun scrambling over rocks, exploring their cave and skimming stones on the water. Grandpa was sleepy and lay on a towel on the beach and dozed off!
A young mother came to chat to me and said her 5-year old son was intrigued by the six boys and wished he could join them. She couldn’t believe that all six were staying with us for 10 days!
Although we’d told the boys to bring bathing costumes, towels and warm tops we really didn’t expect them to swim! Yes – rock pools, perhaps they’d catch a klip fish or two – but walk to the end of the rocks and allow waves to splash over them – NEVER. Unfortunately Leo took his towel across the rocks with him and it too became drenched. When I saw the waves splashing over them I was convinced they’d be washed out to sea and ran to yell at them to come back – but Earl opened one eye and said – Leave them – they’re boys!
Eventually they did come back to the beach and then all headed straight into the sea. Brrrrr They seemed not to realise that sane people do not enter the sea if it’s below 18⁰C! They splashed and played and swam and dived and there was no getting them out for at least an hour.
Daniel gave me his spectacles to take care of and I put them in my pocket. But when he asked me for them later they were gone! Then followed a half hour combing of the beach and lots of hard praying and just as I was about to give up hope I found them – at the edge of the beach where the tide was coming in to wash them away!
That whole experience aged me 10 years and we’d all built up a good appetite so headed to the restaurant for lunch. The waiter was cute and oh so camp and ushered us to a table with a flourish.
“We’ve just finished a big lunch group. Will you be joining us for lunch too?” We were a bit late – it was almost 3 o’clock but he handed us menus and took our orders with great aplomb. Earl and the boys had gourmet burgers and I settled for a toasted temazinini with feta, tomato and basil. The meal was excellent and the boys ate with relish.
We arrived home after 5 o’clock and the boys went straight to the harbour on their bikes. The younger ones returned quickly as Jaryd had another puncture. They then decided to do a quiet activity indoors but not before Daniel had fallen off his skate board!
Nobody was hungry so I gave them some juice and crisps and I will see if anybody is in the mood for soup and rolls later on. Otherwise I think it will just be hot chocolate and rusks before bed.