Visiting the Kids in Kokstad – Wattle Crane Cottage

Monday 27 April – Week 2 in Kokstad

It has been another pleasant week in Rural KwaZulu Natal. What a pleasure it was to suddenly come upon a flock of crowned cranes landing and grazing in a wheat field near Lauren’s place.

Crowned crane landing on a hay bale

Crowned crane landing on a hay bale

IMG_1404We attended Glynis’s birthday tea on Thursday.  In the evening we enjoyed a delicious ‘Banting’ dinner at Nicoline’s.  Lauren and Allan ‘bant’ most of the time too and they are all looking fabulous.  Nicoline lent me her book and said – Just read it this weekend and see what you think.

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Tucking into Nicolines delicious HFLC food

The weather was beautiful on Friday. Nicoline dropped her two kids, Scott and Robyn off and lent Lauren and Alan her 4×4 bakkie.   With both cars packed to the hilt we set off at about 3:00 pm and arrived at Wattle Crane Cottage an hour later.  Shannon and Robyn travelled with us and did an excellent job of taking turns to open and close the gates.  They appreciated the sparkles they received in payment for the task.

Wattle Crane Cottage is on the Raw’s farm and is next to a huge dam.  The drive up is picturesque as it can only be in the mountains of East Griqualand!

Calves hoping for a treat

Calves hoping for a treat

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Beauty everywhere

As soon as the unpacking was done Allan and Earl went straight to ‘sea’ in the boat.  Allan caught two lovely trout.

For supper I cooked my very own version of bobotie as we forgot to pack some of the essential ingredients like sultanas and other dried fruit!   So I just threw in a can of tomato and onion and sliced in some fresh bananas.  I hoped the custard topping would not clash with the tomato and to my relief everybody enjoyed it.  The rice was also forgotten so I served it with mashed sweet potato which went down a treat.

Where there are dams there will be frogs.  On Friday night we hardly slept as the glorious amphibian choir entertained us till the early hours of the morning.  Allan was up early and took Scott and Simon out on the boat.  They returned triumphant each proud catchers of a trout each!

Earl cooked us a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, banana and two cheeses and as I had begun to read the Tim Noakes book I’d already decided that Banting might not be a bad idea so I skipped the toast.  Lauren and Allan usually cut out carbohydrates but include them in their diet when on holiday and some weekends.  I am embracing the new regime with the fanaticism of a new convert! (Although it goes totally against my previous low fat convictions I am always one to try something new and Tim makes a lot of sense.)

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Robyn and Simon with his lovely trout

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The girls on the lake

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The boys and the boat

After breakfast Earl went fishing on his own, Allan went back to Kokstad to play Golf, the boys fished from the jetty and the girls rowed on the dam in the canoe.   Lauren and I cleaned up and then relaxed with our books.

I did go for a long walk before lunch though.  How divine to ramble in such gorgeous surrounding your only company being the cows on the mountainside, the beautiful, crickets, bugs and butterflies and the variety of birds that refused to pose for photographs!

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Red-collared widowbird in transitional plumage

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Ant-eating chat and lizard on a rock

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Another beautiful dam on the farm

The results of the fishing were gratifying – Simon caught two from the jetty!  Earl got a few nibbles and caught and released one or two.

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Allan returned from Golf and then went for a cast with Earl and was triumphant with another catch!

We had a lovely braai in the evening which was very Banting friendly!

On Sunday Allan took the boys fishing – there were more catches – Shannon tucked into bed with us and wouldn’t let her grandfather up.   She has become just as much as a tease as he is!

Finally he managed to escape and went off in the boat to get his last catch.  The packing up did not take long and after lunch we were on our way down again.  Lauren had to ride on Monday and the girls had a music practice to attend so another day was not possible.  At lunchtime we went to the neighbours for a braai.  Simon got involved with the cooking of the excellent meat.

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Shannon got a chance to practise her music as she doesn’t have a piano at home.

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Today is Freedom Day in South Africa. We commemorate the first ever democratic voting in South Africa.   What a long way we have come since 1994.

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