Delightful Weekend with Good Friends

We love having our Cape Town friends to visit us in Struisbaai from time to time and last weekend Tony and Sharon came up to spend Saturday and Sunday night with us.  The weather couldn’t have been nicer.

During our many years of friendship, Sharon and I have waked many miles together so it was great to have her company on my daily strolls.   Of course we did the mall, the harbour and the beach but on Sunday we headed toward Cape Agulhas where we planned to meet the guys for coffee at Potpourri.


It’s compulsory to visit the harbour

We didn’t make it to Potpourri as we bumped into our mutual friend Sheryl who was working in the garden in front of her B&B.  She was delighted to see Sharon and invited us in for coffee. So we rang the guys to join us and spent a few hours with Sheryl and Alan instead


Sheryl showed us round her beautiful B&B, Agulhas Ocean House


Each room has stunning sea views


The en suites are so luxurious

On Monday we drove to Arniston and looked for birds and wildlife on the way.


We saw a few birds including blue crane, bokmakierie, pied starlings, sparrows and canaries but I’m always delighted to find the Denham’s Bustard


Also a little bokkie resting in the veld.


This rock kestrel at the car park overlooking Otter Beach


View of Otter Beach


Tony and Sharon enjoying the view


It was an amazing day


View from the deck of The Arniston Hotel


The cake and coffee was to die for


Not the Banting Diet!

Sadly our friends had to leave when we got back to Struisbaai but it was so good to spend those two days with them.





Cee’s Share your world Week 49

Here are my answers to Cee’s Share your world week 49

What do you value most in a friendship

That depends on who the friend is. Each person is valued in a different way. Some friends are new, some are old, some stay and some go but even those from the past have contributed something to my life and I value them still.  I believe people come into our lives at different times for different reasons and if they move on, that’s okay – life happens, circumstances change and often when we meet up with that person again we pick right up from where we left off – that’s friendship.

I also tend not to expect anything – ask not what your friend can do for you but what you can do for your friend.  Having said this all these are the things I do value in a friendship.

  • Having fun together – chatting, laughing, sharing
  • Common interests
  • Travelling companions in some
  • Unconditional love

Do you prefer eating the frosting of the cake or the cupcake first?  Do you prefer a specific flavor?

I will make sure there is frosting left at the end to eat with the last of the cupcake.  Chocolate is an absolute favourite.

Have you ever been in a submarine?  If you haven’t, would you want to?

I have – but not when it went under the sea.   No – I wouldn’t want to go on a submarine trip – but if the opportunity came up I probably would – just to say I had that particular adventure!

If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

I should imagine that there would be some who led very interesting lives but I’m not sure if I could compare their satisfaction to mine.  I love my life, it has been full of events – both difficult and wonderful and I’m sure most people my age could say the same. I have just returned from a college reunion where we ranged in age from 61 to 96  and everyone had a story.



Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

The college I attended closed its doors at the end of 1975. The buildings were sold to Rhodes University and so it still stands although somewhat altered.  I went to a reunion there last weekend and once again felt enormously grateful that I had the ato attend when it was the best teachers’ training college in the country.


GTC Old Girls from the 1970s  Me seated on left of second row from front

I am also grateful for the many happy years in our Cape Town home which we finally helped our children vacate last week.   We cleared an enormous amount of junk, sold and donated some treasures and kept several boxes of “should we chuck or shouldn’t we” Next week I look forward to sorting those last treasure/junk boxes and deciding what to chuck and what will be useful in my Struisbaai home.


My forlorn family on Moving Day




It Happened in Italy – Physiotherapy in Italian

Before the Italian Doctors would discharge The Earl, they insisted that he should spend some time in their rehab facility.  This would, of course, all happen in Italian.  So down to Piano Zero he went. He still had a private ward separated from his neighbour by a curtain so not quite so luxurious.  And the view was not as good either.   Each day he would have at least three sessions of physio with qualified and student therapists. There was very little English spoken or understood so Lady Helen brushed up on the names of body parts and words for instructions she thought The Earl would need to understand.  Stand up, sit down, bend your arm, breathe in, breathe out etc.   She was then equipped to serve as interpreter during all his sessions.  The therapy was excellent.   His pulse was checked every few minutes and he was asked if he was dizzy or had any pain.  L.H. was glad she’d been diligent in her study of all the terminology as most of the time she was able to help her husband answer the questions. Of course Itranslate helped too.  The trouble with this app though, is that it is slow and if one mis-types a word it won’t give an accurate translation!  Lady Helen’s accent and pronunciation were not perfect and there were some confusing and funny moments.  On one occasion the nurses needed to help The Earl into a chair. Lady Helen saw that he was in pain and  called out – Mela, Mela thinking she’d said pain, pain.  But when they stared at her with a question mark on their faces she realised her mistake and said – No I don’t want an apple – Male, male.   The nurses burst into fits of laughter.


This gorgeous girl was the only nurse who could speak English – and she was Polish!

The word for cough was learnt very quickly as it formed a large part of the therapy. “Aspirare, espirare, tosse” Breathe in, breathe out, cough.”


See the look of concentration (and fear for the coming cough) on the Earl’s face

Oooh and it was so sore!   But The Earl was cooperative and worked hard with his therapists – he wanted to get well sooner rather than later!


Perhaps he should take up ballet now.


The amazing staff – Nurse, Duty Doctor and Physiotherapist


Student Therapists doing their thing


Student doctors


Anything to keep a pretty girl happy


Expressing his appreciation!


The teacher – “Ha fatto bene”  (He did well)

The Earl made good progress and while he was in rehab the days were busy. All the therapy exhausted him though so he slept a lot between sessions.   Lady Helen was sure to take breaks and would take long walks around Arechi or take the train to Salerno to buy airtime or do some sight seeing.

On one such trip she’d returned to the apartment to pack up all their belongings in preparation for the time when they would have to move out.  On her way back to the station she stopped at a coffee shop and sat down to enjoy a croissant and Americano. The tables were all taken when two Italian signoras and a bambino came looking for a place to sit.  L.H. invited them to share her table.   How lovely to discover that one of them could speak English! Not the bambino. She couldn’t even speak Italian. No, it was the friend of the mama. She was an English teacher and interpreter! She asked L.H. where she was from and how she was enjoying Italy.     “Wonderful of course except that my poor husband is in San Leonardo recovering from heart surgery.” She told her new friend.


Lady Helen still keeps in touch with Svetlana (centre)

She was very kind, gave her ladyship her card and said if she could help in any way she was to call her.  Lady Helen doubted she would need to but it  was heart warming to know that she cared!   The friendly company,  excellent caffѐ and wonderful English conversation improved Lady Helen’s mood a hundredfold. She returned to San Leonardo fortified and ready to face the language struggle again.
NaBloPoMo November 2016



Share your World #Week 46

Here are my answers to Share Your World #Week 46

Are you a traveler or a homebody? 

I am a traveler and use my home in Struisbaai as a base although I love it there too!  Most of my travelling is done within South Africa and mainly to places where the game roam free.

What kind of TV commercial would you like to make? Describe it.

I would like to make a TV commercial encouraging parents to make reading to their children a bedtime ritual – there are so many benefits to this – special bonding time, improving vocabulary, creating a love for reading. Too any parents thing having children read to them for homework is what creates a good reader.  They are wrong – it’s the other way round.

Describe yourself in a word that starts with the first letter of your name.

Here are a few –   Happy, hopeful, hilarious, hip, honest, hungry for adventure.

List some fun things for a rainy day.

Definitely not playing board games.  Snuggling up with a good book, blogging, reading blogs or watching a good movie.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

We have sold our family home in Cape Town and were there to pack up last week.  I am grateful that most of the junk has been sorted and moved off to places where it will be put to good use.   Our much loved and very old piano has gone to a little girl who is beginning lessons next year and this really makes me happy.

I am also grateful that we have found somebody to landscape our garden in Struisbaai – The rockery is done and I just love it!


The Cape Francolin also likes the new rockery

Next week will require another trip to Cape Town – I am sure I’ll be grateful for what is achieved there but I am not looking forward to going back so soon!




A Wild Adventure – Chapter 1 Off to the Kgalagadi

A wild adventure with  Lord and Lady Grum-Peigh and Mr and Mrs Frend-Leigh is based on a true story. Names have been changed to poorly disguise the true identities of the guilty.

Chapter 1-

“When are the children coming to stay,” asked the First Earl of Struisbaai of his wife after a particularly busy few months of organising building plans and other business matters.

“In just over a fortnight,”said Lady Grum -Peigh.

“Well I feel like getting away somewhere,”said the Lord – “Try and book something.”

So she tried but nothing seemed to work out quite right.  Addo was booked up and the only camping available at Kgalagadi was at Twee Rivieren.  So she tentatively suggested – “We did have a loose arrangement to join the Frend-Leighs at Kgalagadi if we got the chance – If we leave straight away we could fit in  10 days or so and share their campsites. The only problem is we can’t contact them as there are no internet or cell coms where they are at present.”

“Good idea,” said The Lord  ” If they can’t have us we’ll just spend a few days at Twee Rivieren then come home.”   And two days later the caravan was packed and sorted for a long trip to the semi-desert.   The first night was spent at Molopo Lodge and then the next day (3 March) they were able to enter the park by 8:00 am.  They booked two nights at Twee Rivieren where they set up camp and then set off to find their friends.

Luckily Lady Grump-Leigh had their itinerary.  They would be making their way from Mata Mata to Rooiputs that day.  The latter is just 30 km from Twee Rivieren and so getting there would not take long.   “I predict that they will be there around 11ish,” said her Ladyship who knew that Mr Frend-Leigh would make no unnecessary stops along the way.   And sure enough they were just about to pin a note to a tree on their allotted campsite when along they came.

“We thought you wouldn’t come!” cried Mrs Frend-Leigh in surprise.

“Sorry we didn’t let you know but we decided at the last minute that we could fit and few days in!  We’ll stay at Twee for two nights then come and join you here.”

Rooiputs is rustic, unfenced camp the Botswana side of the park and booking in had to take place at Twee Rivieren.  Lady Grum-Peigh duly went to book in but the official on teh Botswana side said they would have to get Mrs Frend-Leigh to check them in personally so it was just as well that they’d booked two nights at Twee Rivieren.

The Grum-Peighs were delighted to be back in the wild and spent the rest of the day enjoying the park.


Wattled Starlings at Samevloeing


The beautiful Namaqua dove eyeing them from a thorny tree


It’s called the Green Kalahari for although there’s little rain when it comes the grass grows and the flowers bloom – Here is a Red Hartebeest enjoying the bounty


The Grum-Peighs were pleased to see large herds of healthy Springbok. Fodder for the lions!  It was hot and they wisely found a shady spot to escape the burning sun


Why when there are plenty of waterholes do the creatures drink from puddles in the road?  It must contains salts that they crave.  Those white specks are butterflies!


The Grum-Peighs found them all over the park in huge numbers


So delicate and pretty


A southern black korhaan had a lot to say!








Proudly South African Expat Catches Up With Friends

After she retired three years ago, my friend Margie, packed for Perth to be near her son, daughter and grandchildren.   For her it was a good move but it is not without its challenges.  Today our Breakfast Club met so we could all catch up with her.

Our favourite breakfast venue is Bistro Sixteen82 on Steenberg Wine Estate. “The Aussies think their Wine Farms are fabulous,” declared Margie.  “They have no idea!  There is nothing like this over there.  And this is the first time I’ve been out for breakfast for three years as it’s just too expensive!”


Margie enjoying Mushroom Benedict at an affordable price

Margie said she didn’t realise how much she’d missed the mountains till she landed back in Cape Town.  “Cape Town,” she said, “is the most beautiful city in the world.”


A wonderful ambience at Bistro Sixteen82

“You’re biased,” I laughed.

“NO!” she insisted. “Really – there isn’t a more beautiful place in the whole, wide world!”  A truly proudly South African statement – and just proves how you can take the girl our of Cape Town but you can’t take Cape Town out of the girl.

Emigrating at retirement age is not easy on a South African Teacher’s pension.  Margie still has to work and getting employment is not easy.  She has done a number of courses to improve her qualifications, mainly to enable her to work with children with special needs.  She has had to register a business in order to take on private pupils – even though she does not have many. She also does supply teaching and baby sitting!  In order to work with children in any capacity she has had to get Police Clearance!

Studying in your sixties is daunting but Margie has achieved excellent results and has enjoyed the challenge.   She embraces every opportunity that comes her way but still it’s not easy to get full time employment.

Yes, it’s tough living away from your homeland and she misses her friends but the rewards are great as she gets to be near her kids and to see her grandchildren growing up.

You’re looking good on it, Margie.  We admire you hugely for what you’ve accomplished in three short years away from home.  All the best for 2016 and may many good employment opportunities come your way!


Back with the Breakfast Friends




Pelicans and all at False Bay Ecology Park

I’ve missed my Happy Place not having had a visit there for months so Early and I took a drive there on Thursday afternoon.  It was a gorgeous day but there was a bit of a South Easterly wind blowing.

As we expected the flamingos were out if full force, scattered across the first two pans.


It’s the best place to find Greater Flamingos 

Most of them were in deeper water upending like ducks.


A flamingo impersonating a dabbling duck


There were a few fraternising with geese and ducks on the shore


Of course the Red-knobbed coots were everywhere


One of the many black-winged stilts wading in the shallows


The one at the back is a juvenile


Cape Teal gathered in large numbers


quack quack quack with a feather on his back


Not always seen so commonly is the White-faced duck


Pelican Island


A Flotilla of Pellies


Gliding gracefully across the pond



A real poser is the black-headed heron


The light on the glossy ibises didn’t make photographing them easy!

The highlight of the day was an African Snipe but he the reeds were either in front of his face or he turned his back to us – these were the best I could get!


First he looked one way


And then the other


I think this is my best side?

We know a place where nine times out of ten we find the spotted eagle-owls.  Today we found mother, father and the baby who is quite big now.  Photography was not good.


The best I could get of the youngster – look carefully and you will see mom in the shade behind him.

Among many others we also had good sightings of purple swamphen, grey and purple heron but they didn’t pose for long enough.

So with a contented feeling we made our way home but I’m sure it won’t be the last visit we make to False Bay Ecology Park while we are here for the holidays.