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Share Your World 31 July 2017

Here are my answers to  Cee’s Share Your World 31 July 2017

If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts? Or what do you use if you need to have your vision corrected?

I had excellent vision until my early 40s and then strange things seemed to happen.   A child at school would show me her work and I would get irritated because she put it right in front of my face and I would pull back in order to read it. They all started this and I realised it wasn’t them it was me.  I was becoming long sighted!  So I bought a pair of those glasses you get from pharmacies and used them for reading only.  But after a few years I realised that I needed a proper eye test.  “My eyes are fine,” I told the optometrist ” I just need reading glasses.”  But she showed me that I actually needed ‘varifocals’ because I could not see properly at all!  My ego was deflated but once I got the varifocals it changed my life!  I did not have to take my specs on and off and I could see properly all the time.  I loved my specs.  I have no desire to wear contact lenses. Spectacles rock!

Difficult question – I will have to say – BOTH.  When I was a kid I adored cats but my mother wasn’t so keen on them – however, she allowed me to have a cat until I developed an allergy to them – my eyes streamed and my nose ran.   We always had dogs and I loved my dogs.  Later in life I had both and I tended not to react to my own cats.   My favourite dog ever was a black cross spaniel type dog that was my constant companion and went running with me every day.  I just had to mention the word ‘takkies’ (sneakers) and the would bark and wag her tail in excitement.  When she became old I had to stop her running with me but still her tail would wag and she looked so sad when I refused to let her come with me.   It was so sad to have to let her go when her kidneys failed.

We had one more dog after that and then settled for cats.   The cats, Shadow and Mia, are still with my daughter and she has adopted another but now that we’re retired and travel often, we don’t keep pets.  We just keep dog biscuits for the ones who visit.

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Mia and Shadow

If you were to buy a new house/apartment what is the top three items on your wish list?

This not going to happen ever again.  I lived in my last home for 30 years.   Our current home was our holiday house and we’re getting it into shape to suit our final years.   I’ve written posts about this from time to time.  Right now we’re working on the garden.   But to answer the question – Kitchen with accessible cupboards for my old age – drawers come to mind!   Plenty of cupboard space.   Pretty garden.

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

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Willie inspired me this week.  He has some great ideas about what we should do with our garden. He’d already helped with some of it but more needs to be done! We had a long chat, looked at some pictures on the internet and planned what we would do in a ‘dead’ part of the back garden as well as what we do in the front.  Today we went shopping for paving, pots and stone and also had a truck load of soil delivered.  Soon the landscaping and further designing of the garden will begin!

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Our Garden before we started the revamp

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Part of the front garden where Willie designed and planted our rockery.

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The other half of the back garden where the Milkwood has been tamed.

 

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Share Your World 24 July 2017

Here are my answers to this week’s interesting questions from Cee

List some of your favorites types of teas

I am addicted to coffee.  But I try not to drink too much so actually I drink more cups of tea than coffee.   Anne over at Something over Tea has encouraged me to be more adventurous in my choices from time to time – but I tend to stick to a South African favourite – Rooibos Tea (Red Bush Tea)  It is made from  the needle like leaves of a bush that grows in Cedarberg mountains of the Western Cape. In most South African homes when you are offered a cuppa you’re asked your preference – Rooibos or Ceylon?   It is not a true tea but you brew it in the same way as you would Ceylon tea.   I like it black with a slice of lemon.

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A cup of chai 

All about Rooibos

Rooibos is believed to have many healing properties and it is often fed to colicky babies. It is also an ingredient in some South African skin care products.

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A variation on my Rooibos may include Chai or lemon and mint flavoured.  I also like cranberry flavoured.   Green Tea is possibly the only other tea I drink.  I never touch Ceylon tea.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

Road sign

I really couldn’t think of a good road sign to describe me so chose this as sometimes I’m so confused!

What are a couple of things could people do for you on a really bad day that would really help you?

My first reaction would be – Leave me alone.  I don’t often have bad days but a few weeks  ago I was feeling emotional and was actually in tears thinking about my aunt who was dying.   My phone pinged and it was my best friend texting me from England.  “Do you want to Skype?”   We hadn’t Skyped in months. How did she know I needed her? She said I’d just popped into her head and she felt she had to call me.  It was just what I needed.

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would do do?   Remember this is SYW, dreaming is always allowed

I love watching gymnastics and ice skating and that would be my dream skill if I had my life over.

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

It’s almost a year since my hubby had his double bypass in Italy.   I am grateful that he is now in excellent health. So much so that he suggested another trip abroad – this time to   Thailand and today we booked!   We will be setting off on 5 August.  How cool is it to be retired!

Thailand

I am looking forward to preparing for the planned trip.

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Share Your World 17 July 2017

Here are my answers to another set of fun questions from Cee in this week’s share your world.

What is your favorite cheese?

Funny you should ask because I love cheese in all shapes, forms and flavours.   Camembert and Brie are particular favourites. It also depends on what you’re in the mood for. I love a bit of roquefort in an omelette or scrambled eggs.

Once when I ordered a cheese sandwich in France I was presented with half a baguette filled with a whole camembert. It was to die for specially as it was served with excellent coffee!

On Saturday there was a food fair at The Shed in Struisbaai.  One stall had a variety of goats’ cheese to try.  All delicious so we bought a punnet and got one free!

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Cheese from Giggling Goat

Are you left or right handed?

I am right handed – absolutely right handed.  I’ve been to creative writing courses where the facilitator would say – Now we’re going to wake up your creativity by writing/drawing with your non dominant hand!  Screeeeaaaaam – I hate those non dominant exercises!

However, there is something very strange about me – I am right dominant in hand, ear and foot – but LEFT eyed!  Go figure!

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

When my child had to write about her family in Grade 7 she emphasised that her mother was a health fanatic who exercised excessively.   I wouldn’t describe myself as fanatical about anything but I did try to eat right and keep fit.   Up until a few months ago I was still doing a daily exercise routine and trying to walk at least 10000 steps per day.  Right now I’m going through a rebellious stage and I’m not doing much other than the odd walk.  I’m blaming the cold weather but really that never stopped me before.  Perhaps I’ll get back into it – perhaps not.   I do try to make sure I do daily tasks that require me to stretch and squat.   They say it’s when you stop that the troubles begin – so far I’m fine but I’d hate to regret the neglect!

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Me upside down on my 60th birthday!

Brain exercise is now more important to me – I do cross words and sudoku and I’m learning a third language.   There’s alzheimer’s in my family – I’m trying to ensure it doesn’t strike me!   Of course, physical exercise is also important to keep dementia at bay – so I guess I’ll go for a walk later on today.

Complete this sentence: Hot days are …

Hot days are welcome!  I can say that now as it’s freezing.  We have snow on the mountains in the Overberg.   On Sunday we took a drive to take some pretty snowy photographs.  We went to Barrydale and Swellendam but didn’t find any at a level we could reach.  You had to go to Ceres for that.

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Snow on the peaks of a Swellendam mountain

In the Western Cape the summers are warm but not too hot. Further North it gets extremely hot and we often head north to the game reserves in summer.  I can handle dry heat – humid heat – not so much.

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

Our Struisbaai house is freezing as it is geared for summer weather. Now that we live here permanently we’ve found it necessary to get it bearable for winter.   So my hubby Earl, and friend Willie, put in a fireplace!   What a difference – we light it around 4 in the afternoon and it warms the whole house beautifully.  I’m thankful for all the hard work Willie, Earl and Magnus put in to make it all possible.

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Magus on roof, Earl and Willie – The  Earl should NOT be on a ladder!

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Almost done

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Our lovely new fire!

Today is Nelson Mandela’s 99th birthday.  I am grateful for what our Madiba did for this country. We still have our problems but if we follow his example we can still make it a great nation.

Mandela

 

 

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Cee’s Share Your World 10 July 2017

Great questions from Cee’s Share Your World this week.  Here are my answers.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

Where I live we have a Mediterranean Climate which means warm dry summers and cool, wet winters.   So when it rains – it’s usually cold.  That’s when I love to cosy up in front of a fire, drink hot chocolate and read.  Right now I’m grateful for the rain that has fallen this season but we really need a lot more!  I feel guilty when I enjoy the sunny days that pop up too frequently – like today.

In most parts of the rest of the country the rain comes in summer and is accompanied by thunder and lightening.  These storms usually occur in the afternoon, cool everything down and then out comes the sun again.   If you’re out having a picnic, you simply shelter in your car for half an hour or so then carry on with the fun when it clears.

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Storm brewing in the Kgalagadi Sky

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After the storm at Nossob Camp

List at least five favorite treats. (They do not have to be sugary).

  • Lindt  Dark chocolate with mintLindt
  • Greek Yogurt flavoured with chocolate chips in itGreek yogurt
  • Chocolate CheesecakeGreek yogurt
  • Croissant al Cioccolato – the type I ate almost every day when I was in Italy!Croissant
  • Hot chocolateHot choc

Did I mention that I love chocolate?   I follow a Banting/Paleo type diet.  Chocolate is very restricted!

Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town guests?

I love taking out of town guests around.   If I had to choose a career other than teaching I’d choose Tour Guiding.

The Western Cape is a stunningly beautiful place and I can list many places that I could take you to see.  Everyone wants to take the cable car up table mountain and I’ve been up countless times with guests but usually let them do that on their own as it does not require a guide.  I choose where to take my guests depending on their interests.  My favourite place to take Nature lovers is False Bay Ecology Park.  Dirt roads wind around a wagon wheel of the old sewage works’ settling ponds.   The birdlife is amazing especially the flamingos.

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One of the old settling ponds

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Purple Swamphen

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Greater Flamingos taking off

Where we live now at the southern most point of Africa it is compulsory to go to said southern most point and climbing to the top of the Cape Agulhas lighthouse is another must do.

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Grandson and friends at the southern most point of Africa

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At the top of the lighthouse

You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with?

Before I read Cee’s answer the first thing that came to mind was – Macgyver or someone with similar skills.  My husband comes a close second as he is pretty much like Macgyver himself.

But if it weren’t a good practical man along with me in that feted lift (elevator) then I would be happy to have someone who was interesting – like Sir David Attenborough.  He would at least keep me entertained for hours – and I just love his voice.

This is a my favourite David Attenborough quote:  I like animals. I like natural history. The travel bit is not the important bit. The travel bit is what you have to do in order to go and look at animals.

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

I am grateful for technology.  It was just not possible for my siblings and me to go to Australia for my aunt’s funeral.  On Friday we were able to be part of her Celebration of Life service because my cousins live streamed it to a closed Facebook Page.   It was so worth rising at the rude hour of 3:00 am to be part of this final farewell to a very  much loved aunt. It was the most beautiful mass celebrated by a priest who knew her well.   How amazing it was to be able to see and hear my cousin, Wayne, give his heart-felt eulogy . I wrote an email to my aunt just before she died and my cousins asked me if it could be read at her service.  Of course I was honoured and her grandson, Jack,  read it gently and beautifully to the congregation.   At one point  during the service the priest asked everyone to turn to the camera, to wave and say Hello South Africa!  It was almost as good as being there in the flesh.  Just Awesome. RIP My Darling Aunt

 

 

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Share Your World 3 July 2017

Happy Independence Day to all Americans reading this blog today – 2017/07/04.

Here are my answers to Cee’s Share Your World 3 July 2017

For your main meal do you prefer sweet and sour, hot and spicy, spicy and sweet, bitter, salty, bland or other?

I love food and as long as my meal is High Fat Low Carbohydrate, I tuck in with relish.  I enjoy most cuisines.  For our main meal we are pretty basic – meat, fish or poultry, sweet potato, vegetables and/or salad.  The South African braai features at least three times a week.  We also cook in a kettle braai.   I enjoy Greek and Italian food, curries and sushi.   When I’m in a foreign country I eat what the locals eat while still trying to avoid too many carbohydrates.

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The coals are ready – the fish goes onto the grid

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The end result

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My friend Willie even ate the eye – we’re funny that way in South Africa – well some of us!

Where do you hide junk when people come over?

A great deal of junk was disposed of during THE GREAT MOVE.    Still some was brought to Struisbaai with us.  Some is stored in the garden shed. The photographs, Video Tapes and CDs are in the spare room cupboards waiting patiently to be sorted.  One day …….

Otherwise the entertaining area is okay – not perfect but the guests just have to turn a blind eye.

What daily habit would you like to introduce to your life?

I’ve stuck to good daily habits my whole life.  I’m giving them up now!  I do like to take a daily walk but when it’s cold I think – what the heck!

No seriously – I need to sort out the stored junk – so perhaps half an hour a day?

If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?  

I would only work in a circus that excluded animal acts. Animals belong in The Wild. I enjoy watching trapeze artists, tightrope walkers and acrobats.  The trapeze is probably what I’d like to do but it’s a bit late to start that now!

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

The last two weeks have been tough.  After two months in hospital my beloved aunt was finally diagnosed to have inoperable cancer and two weeks later, on Sunday, she died.  I am grateful for the care she received from family, friends and hospital staff and that her suffering did not drag on.  I am also grateful for the happy times we had spent together.  May she Rest in Peace.

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Leonie and Me on the last holiday we shared – Tasmania 2013

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Share your World 26 June 2017

Here are my answers to this week’s share your world questions

What goal are you working on now? Your goal can be something fun or extremely serious.  Have fun with this question.

Ah goals!   Since I can remember I’ve always had goals – or dreams – or lists of things to do before I die.   And I’m proud to say that I have achieved most of them. It started with:- get an education, find a career, get married,  raise a family.  Then the goals changed to – get fit, lose weight, give yourself me-time, be more organised, get promoted, spend more time with kids, pay attention to your husband, get kids through school, sort out the junk in house, see the world etc. etc.

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I worked hard to achieve and do what I should have done to reach those goals. I’m happy with the old person I have become. I’m neither too fat or too thin, I’m reasonably fit and I enjoy good health. So now I spend time with my nearest and dearest and go on wonderful vacations.    Life is good.

Goal

What is one thing you’re glad you tried but would never do again?

The thing I tried only once and would have loved to do again but didn’t and never will was snow skiing.  That’s because we have a shortage of ski slopes in South Africa and getting to Switzerland is a bit tricky!  I can get to ski slopes now but I’m too old for skiing.

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Did you choose your profession or did it choose you?

Well according to an aptitude test I did in high school, Teaching was what I was born to.  So I chose it and it chose me too.  I can’t imagine entering any other profession. They say it’s a calling and I usually heard the call through a telephone line when a principal phoned to see if I could fill a position.  If after we die we are reincarnated I’m pretty sure I’ll find myself back in the teaching profession!

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Have you ever gotten lost?

Oh please!  Plenty of times.  I have absolutely no sense of direction whatsoever.  I have to set the GPS to Home after driving to the local supermarket!

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

At the moment I am going through a sad time. My Australian aunt is dying and I am so grateful for the many beautiful times we’ve had together, for the love she’s poured into our family and the fabulous memories we will always have of her. I am grateful to her sons for the wonderful care they are giving her in her last days and for them keeping my siblings and me informed.   I am just so sad that it’s been impossible for us to go over to say goodbye but grateful for modern technology that enables us to send daily messages.

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My aunt right with my mom, her sister taken in Australia

 

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Share Your World 15 May 2017

Here are my answers to this week’s Share Your World

How many languages do you you speak?

I speak two languages – My first language is English.   My second language is Afrikaans which I understand perfectly.  When I obtained my Teaching Diploma my Bilingual qualification was Ea.  The capital E meant I was competent to teach in English medium school and to teach Afrikaans as a second language.  I could not get a teaching position at an Afrikaans medium school.  You needed EA  for that.  I began my career as a Speech Correction teacher and taught at both English medium and Afrikaans medium schools so I worked at upgrading my qualification, wrote another exam and did an Oral and passed!   So I am quite proud of bilingual skills.  However, my accent tends to let me down and I can’t pretend that I am as fluent as one who has Afrikaans as her Mother Tongue!   Some Afrikaans speakers are pleased when I speak to them in their language and those whose English is not great are even grateful, but others break into English to spare themselves from listening to me murder their language.

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They’re too polite to actually say this but maybe they want to? (Speak Afrikaans or shut up!)

I am trying to learn Italian using the Duolingo App.   I am enjoying it and I’ve reached a level that says:  “You are 20% fluent in Italian!”   So I just need to get the gestures right!

Italian

What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?

I read a lot of Blogs.  I also read Go magazine, Promerops (Cape Bird Club quarterly magazine), Fair Lady, a popular South African women’s magazine and sometimes a caravan and camping magazine.  I am reading a Deon Meyer book in Afrikaans on my Kindle.

Promerops

I am watching “House” on Netflix.   I listen to BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour on a podcast and Cape Talk on AM radio.   The last thing I ate was a ‘braai’ of Lamb chops and salad.   I eat a Low Carbohydrate, High Fat diet.

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What was the last photo you took with your phone?

A picture of my husband giving his brother-in-law a foot massage.

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What is your favourite time of day?

Early morning is definitely the best time of the day.  At the coast it’s before the wind gets up.  In the bush its calm and quiet and the sunrises are spectacular.   Before I retired I was always up early but now it’s a lot later!   But when we travel it’s early rising again and I love it.

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Early morning in The Kruger National Park

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

We love our Off-Road Caravan – an Imagine Comfortvan – and have enjoyed some amazing trips with it.  But the time has come to look for a slightly bigger one.   First we did some research on the internet.   We found two that we liked but wanted to see them in real life before ordering one.  The showroom of the Echo was in Cape Town – not too much of a mission to get there. The Gecko was in Johannesburg – that required a flight and an overnight stay – rather expensive – so we asked the agent if he knew of anyone close to us who had one. He gave us a name and number.   This owner was in Paarl – a doable three hour drive away.   So on Wednesday we drove to Cape Town for the day and on Friday to Paarl.  They were both very nice caravans but we have decided on the Gecko Xtreme which the owner in Paarl showed us.  I am so grateful to him for pointing out the pros and cons of this caravan as well as a number of others that he has pre-owned.

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We will be putting in our order for one of these this week

I am looking forward to spending a few days at Warmwaterberg (we arrived today) and then having friends to stay with us for a couple of days.

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View from our Bath House as the sun was setting