Wattle Crane Cottage

27 December 2016

Sailor’s Gift farm, owned by the Raws, is just a half hour’s drive from Kaag’s Post.   But from there to Wattle Crane Cottage next to the highest dam in South Africa it is another half hour along a steep and rocky drive with several gates to open as you go.   The Ford Everest made it with room to spare!
We only took the boys along this time as Shan is not into fishing and instead accompanied her dad on a golfing trip.

You would think that after years of much travelling my darling husband would have clicked by now that it all comes together in the end.  But even for a short trip such as this he gets himself into a tizz about meeting schedules and fitting everything into the car.  Now we have a huge 4×4 and a trailer and with patience and time we always fit everything plus kids in with ease. But no trip would be complete without the panic.

I saw to the clothing, towels, toiletries and techno travel stuff and was about to check the food story when the dear one appeared with disastrous news – The Blitz was packed in with the sugar and now it’s contaminated. –  No it’s not, I reassured him – the sugar is sealed and so are the fire lighters.   Just relax – the supermarket packer forgot to put it in a separate bag!  NO BIG DEAL.  There were other things missing because he went and panic-packed without me but with careful checking I rounded everything up and the car and trailer were packed with precision.  BUT – because I was slightly rattled by my beloved I forgot to pack the MILK.   I also misjudged the appetite of three teen-aged boys and they complained that there wasn’t enough bread and rolls!  But we had rusks and biscuits, lots of fruit and plenty of meat and vegetables so they did not, as feared,  starve! We arrived at quarter to ten – Fifteen minutes before schedule – so what was all the fuss about!


Wattle Crane Cottage overlooks the dam

The boys were very excited.  Jay claimed the canoe but had to help with the row boat first. It is heavy and was upside down.  When the boys turned it over, what should they discover, but a swarm of bees!  They had made a hive under the boat! A bucket of water later they managed to move the honeycomb to a safe spot and then waited a while for the swarm to find it before they could use the boat.

Simon and Josh fished from the jetty,


Jay tried his luck from the canoe


Grandpa fretted till the rowboat was safe to use.  Then he and Jay went off to the far end of the dam.   Simon and Josh took the canoe and Si almost caught an enormous trout but his line broke off!

There has been a drought in KZN (and the rest of the country) so the water level was very low.  The fish seemed not to be on the bite either because most unusually nobody managed to get a single fish. However, they seemed to have a lot of fun.

The rain came in the late afternoon along with some dramatic thunder and lightning.   The boys were starving and polished off the rolls with some smoked chicken, tomato and avo They also tucked into juice and biscuits.

For supper Grandpa braaied some deliciously juicy chops and sweet potatoes and I made a banana and chutney salad and roasted some veggies. For dessert we had mango and yogurt.


28 December 2016

It rained a lot during the night and it was still overcast when we woke up at 7.   The boys were still fast asleep so grandpa went out in the row boat on his own.


He was back after an hour as it rained. His rain jacket had not completely protected him so his shirt was wet and he had not packed a second one!  So I made him squeeze into my black t-shirt which was not too skimpy.  Fortunately he’d lost weight during his illness in Italy so managed to get into it.   He couldn’t find his fleece either and so once again borrowed mine.  You might ask why he didn’t borrow from Jay or Josh – Well – they hadn’t brought any spare clothing either had they!   After an hour he found his fleece in the car didn’t look too much like a girl once he’d donned that over my t-shirt.

By 8:30 everybody was up and I cooked scrambled eggs, tomato, mushrooms and bacon.  After yesterday’s complaints about not enough bread I expected them to be demanding a second round of toast but – No thanks, Gran – we’re full.   I told them that high fat in their diet would make them cave less carbohydrate and it seems I was right!   They were still satisfied from last night’s meal.

Although it was raining and the lads were ill prepared as far as the correct clothing was concerned they insisted on going out on the dam. Because of the rain we thought we might just pack up and go – but they were having none of that!  Anyway – luckily the rain abated and they did not get too wet.


View across the dam


Healthy looking calves


Misty Conditions


Please don’t get lost, Josh and Si

Nobody wanted to leave the cottage but because more rain was forecast Grandpa thought it safer to leave before it became unsafe to drive. So we packed up and reluctantly returned to Kaag’s Post.  It turned out to be a good decision as it poured during the night.  It would have been a treacherous drive back had we remained till the following morning.


Some of the Sailor’s Gift herd


Sailor’s Gift


Cape Longclaw seen on our drive down


The cause of the baby boom in Kokstad!















3 thoughts on “Wattle Crane Cottage

  1. Some lovely photographs here – I especially like the Cape Longclaw and am thrilled you saw White Storks. We saw several flocks of them on our way to and from Cape Town before Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. great darling do hope Earl will learn to be less stressed sometime or other, he really shouldnt be so stressed what with the recent heart dramas!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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