Share Your World 30 October 2017

Here is my contribution to this week’s Share Your World from Cee

Where do you eat breakfast?

Funny you should ask, because this is my favourite meal of the day and it is usually quite an elaborate affair.  I seldom eat breakfast in bed.  I like to be up and dressed and seated at the table.  Usually my darling husband cooks it for me, at least twice weekly we go to our favourite coffee shop where they don’t even ask what we want as the just know, and on rare occasions I am the chef.   Properly brewed coffee is essential and no matter where I am the quality of the breakfast is greatly influenced by the quality of the coffee! If the weather is good I like it al fresco, if it’s in a cold place a roaring fire helps otherwise a lovely ambience indoors will do.


Typical Shipwreck Coffee Shop Breakfast – Fried eggs, bacon, cheese grillers tomato and coffee


Scrambled Eggs Al Fresco at my garden picnic table



Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want have a evening with?

My ideal evening is in the bush with friends who enjoy it as much as I do.  There is nothing to beat, sitting outside your caravan, watching the flaming sun sink beneath the horizon,  listening the sounds of the wild, glass of wine in hand exchanging stories about the day’s adventures.  Priceless!

094 Polentswa at the table

My fantasy companion would be Sir David Attenborough because I would love to chat to him about his lifetime of doing wildlife documentaries.  What a fascinating life he has had.  How lucky we are to be able to spend any number of evenings watching said documentaries!

If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be? 

I would choose to be a Baobab Tree.  She is the queen of trees. You cannot miss her standing proud on the African Savannah demanding to be admired.   Not only would I be a wonderful sight to behold I would also be permanently among the wildlife that I love so much and I would be a great asset to their lives. Because the baobab has many useful properties, it is widely known as the Tree of Life.  How wonderful to be a Life-giving Tree.

Baobab products are useful to mankind as among other stuff soap, rubber, glue, traditional medicine and cream of tartar are made from their products.  But best of all it creates it’s own ecosystem and provides food and shelter for animals, birds and insects.

It is a deciduous tree so during the dry winters it has no leaves and its bare branches look like roots  hence it’s nickname – the upside down tree.

2010-10-08 003 Baobab Tree Helen

In Winter it is The Upside Down Tree


In Summer It dons it’s leafy finery



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

The Earl and I left Struisbaai at 6 am this morning and considering the state of his health one year ago I appreciate how fit and well his is now.   He coped well with the driving and we made sure to stop frequently.  We are overnighting in Middelburg in the Eastern Cape and will do another day’s drive to Kokstad tomorrow.  This is the start of a three month trip away and I will be blogging about our adventures as often as I can during this time.

story teller


Share Your World 23 October 2017

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

Was school easy or difficult for you? How so?

In the beginning school was a challenge.  I was a year younger than my classmates and I believe that’s where the trouble began.  However, after repeating Grade 2 things improved and I coped reasonably well for the rest of my school career – no prizes for brilliance though!

School-vs-Life-400x300 (1).jpg

List some of your favorite types of animals

I love wild birds and animals.   My favourites change from time to time.  Right now I’m preparing for a visit Kruger National Park and these are the animals that always give me a big thrill when I see them.

  • Leopard
  • Lion
  • Cheetah
  • Wild Dog
  • Hyena
  • Giraffe
  • Honey Badger
  • Martial Eagle
  • Lilac breasted roller
  • Woodland’s Kingfisher
  • And all the others will bring me joy of course

2009-01-14 111 Cheetah Helen Orpen.jpg

What is your favorite large city you have been to? What is the one thing you remember most?

Next to city where I was born – Cape Town – Sydney, Australia is my favourite.   There is nothing I don’t like about it.   The Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Opera House are really stunning landmarks.   Too many memories to single out just one.   Maybe a ride in a beach buggy from our Air B&B to Bondi Beach was an unusual and memorable occasion

370 Sydney Harbour Bridge.jpg

What’s not to love


357 Riding in an open top jeep

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

I realise that my mind is not as sharp as it used to be but I appreciate that I’m still okay!




Share Your World 16 October 2017

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

If you had to move to a country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? 

I am perfectly happy living right here is South Africa in spite of its problems. There are plenty of negatives, crime being the one that heads the list. But quite honestly the positives are so amazing that even if  I could I don’t think I would move.

I actually believe that I could be happy anywhere in the world. Every country has it’s pros and cons but if I HAD TO leave my first choice would be Australia. I like the people, the weather and the beaches.  Everything works, there is very little poverty and the people are relatively law abiding.  Also there are a huge number of South Africans living there already so I would feel right at home!

Keep calm and go to Sydney

My next choice would be Greece or Italy because of the weather and the food.  mmm – Yes – Maybe Italy would be my first choice!

Keep Calm and eat Italian.jpg


What color would you like your bedroom to be?

My bedroom will never be the colour that I want it to be.  The Earl is far too practical and likes neutral shades.  I would love to paint at least one wall blue or red.

Keep calm and paint a red wall

Maybe not too practical for a beach house?

What makes you Happy? Make a list of things in your life that bring you joy.

Many, many things make me happy but to be specific the following top the list:-

  • My husband
  • My kids
  • My grandkids
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Travel
  • Eating breakfast outdoorsIMG_1877
  • Holidays in the bush
  • Spotting a leopard in a tree2010-10-12 004 Leopard in tree Helen
  • Birds visiting my feeder
  • Seeing birds in their natural habitat
  • Visiting game reserves.

I am going to be blissfully happy for the next three months because we’re trekking up north to visit the Kokstad Clan, collect our new caravan and visit the Kruger National Park.

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

In preparation for the Great Trek I had to go to Cape Town for a week to shop, attend a function and catch up with family and friends.   I really appreciate everyone fitting us into their busy schedules.   We had a fantastic time.


Breakfast at Pastis with the family


Share Your World 9 October 2017

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

What do you consider is the most perfect food for you? (It can be your favorite food to something extremely healthy.)

I think I’ve mentioned before in my blogging that a good South African braai is my favourite meal.

I also love anything Greek – Roast lamb Greek style is to die for, Moussaka is irresistible and if spanakopita is on the menu, I’ll have it!


Are you focussed on tomorrow or now?

I believe in savouring the moment and living each day as if it’s your last.  But also enjoy planning for a future event like a holiday.  Part of the fun is getting ready for the coming event and if it’s to go somewhere new I do research what to do and what not to miss.  I do not stick rigidly to a plan though.  I enjoy spontaneity and going with the flow.

Live For Today Quotes Live For Tomorrow Quotes Quotesgram

If you could interview one of your great-great-great grandparents, who would it be (if you know their name) and what would you ask?

This is the domain of my youngest brother.  He enjoys researching the ancestors and finding out about what they did in the distant past.  I love hearing about it from him but he has not managed to go too far back.

I have no idea who my great-great-great parents were. They would have lived in the 1700s. Were they peasants or lords?  Some would have lived in Greece, some in Italy. Then there’s the British and German ancestry too.   Perhaps it would be nice to hear from a  great-great-great grandmother. There would have been sixteen of them!   In those days I believe women were seen as being inferior to men and that their sole purpose was childbearing. Perhaps they were subservient to their husbands – perhaps they or some of them rebelled against that and were in fact the real rulers of their homes.  Certainly they had no civic rights and probably did not attend school.  But perhaps they were educated at home?   It would be fun to find out whether they had dreams or aspirations of doing more than becoming a wife and mother or perhaps they were content with their lives and just got on with what had to be done.  I can’t believe that all my 16 great-great-great grandmothers had fabulous lives but perhaps some did.  Perhaps they were beautiful society ladies who attended the king’s caught regularly.  On the other hand perhaps some were parlour maids or cooks in grand homes and worked hard just to keep body and soul together.

They were certainly all from different countries and would not have been at all like each other.  It would be fun to get them all together now to say – Hey -look at your descendants – would you ever have believed that this is how things would work out for them?

Hopefully it will be easier for my descendents to find out about me and get to read my blog!





Share Your World 2 October 2017

Some great questions again from Cee’s Share Your World

Here are my answers

If you were given the opportunity to ride in a helicopter you would go?

For many years I suffered from aviophobia so even getting onto a Boeing was a challenge.  So in 1999 when the opportunity to take a ride over The Great Barrier Reef arose I was most reluctant.  But my FOMO (fear of missing out) won out in the end and I boarded that scary craft and have never regretted it.

When I saw the copter coming in to land on a floating platform in the middle of the Pacific I nearly backed out.  So glad I didn’t because it’s the perfect way to fly – far less frightening than an airbus.



The Scary Helicopter


The view was certainly worth it


What are some of your favorite types of proteins to eat? (meat, seafood, eggs, soy, cheese, nuts)

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day so I’d have to say egg and bacon!  Also I am a South African and The Braai (barbeque) is part of our culture – there is nothing nicer than chops and boerewors grilled over the coals!


Fried eggs on a bed of home grown spinach and served with bacon and grilled cherry tomatoes.  I live with a wonderful chef!

010 Braai 2014-01-26 03-31-08 AM 4000x3000

The braai ritual in progress

What would be your preference, awake before dawn, at dawn, or awake before noon?

Most of my life I was an Early to Bed, Early to Rise kind of girl.   I never had any trouble getting up at six o’clock or earlier be it weekend or not.    Now that I’m retired and not following a proper routine I find I go to bed later and therefore rise later too. However, when in the bush – it’s back to early to rise! Nothing nicer than sunrise in the game reserve.

001 Giraffe in the sunrise Namutoni Etosha

One wouldn’t want to oversleep and miss this 

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

This week I have appreciated the place where I live.   Our harbour is so pretty and the spring weather is getting me outdoors more often.

On my walk on Sunday I went along the main road then along the board walk to the beach and back to the harbour. When I looked out to sea I thought I spotted a seal in the shallows but when I got closer it had disappeared. I chatted to my friend Earnest who is always hanging out at the harbour  and he said yes indeed my eyes were not playing tricks on me.  There had been one swimming around for a while. We haven’t seen a seal in the harbour for some time.   As I continued toward the next boardwalk I heard a splash and there was Sealy coming up onto the rocks in front of the restaurant car park.  I yelled for Earnest and he was thrilled to get this excellent view of this lovely sea creature too.  It wasn’t long before a small crowd gathered and were snapping away with cameras and cell phones.  I only had my phone but rang Hubby to bring my Canon which he did.  Two young  guys were trying to take a selfie so I offered and they were thrilled to have themselves with a seal in the background. It was such fun.


He wasn’t shy at all


He think he enjoyed the attention


This is a good scratching rock



Share Your World 25 September 2017

Here are my answers to this weeks share your world from Cee

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

I enjoy a long daily walk with my camera – sometimes I take photographs sometimes not.  In the summer I swim too.

Birdwatching is another activity I am very into so of course I’m looking for birds on my daily walks but I also enjoy going on organised birding excursions.

My new hobby is gardening and so that is another thing I enjoy doing outdoors.

In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger?

Now that I’m retired I’m with my husban 24/7 and hardly ever drive as he prefers to be in the driver’s seat!  He has not faith in my driving skills whatsoever.  I used to drive a lot on my own or transporting others.   I don’t mind driving and in the past I often had to transport children to and from outings and functions.  I was always relieved when I managed to get my passengers there and back without mishap.  My own driving skills were fine – it was the other idiot on the road that worried me.

If you could have three wishes granted for you alone, what would they be?

  • The garden in perfect shape – no weeds, the lawn green, everything blooming.
  • The building extensions over and done with.
  • A world cruise booked and payed for.

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

It was Heritage Day in South Africa on 24 September.  A day for us to appreciate our  beginnings.

We are a rainbow nation and our people have descended from a variety of amazing backgrounds.   Each group embraces, preserves and celebrates its unique culture.

We also celebrate our natural heritage.  We are fortunate enough to have a country full of beautiful ecosystems, amazing flora and incredible wildlife.

During the month of September museums and galleries have put on special exhibitions, there has been a week of free entry into national parks and much has been done to showcase different aspects of South Africa’s diverse heritage.

My daughter, Laurie,  and her friend Cara, came up to visit us for the weekend.  They were keen to visit the shipwreck museum in Bredasdorp so we went there on Saturday afternoon and were reminded of the many ancient sailing ships that went down on the Agulhas Coast during the age of discovery.   What a lot of lives were lost during the quests to find better lives in new far flung lands.   Some of course survived and there were many interesting stories about them too.

In a large shed there were also exhibits of old ox wagons and coaches.   We certainly have come a long way since those days.





Share Your World 18 September 2017

Here are my answers to this weeks Questions from Cee’s Share Your World

Complete this sentence: I want to learn more about …

I want to learn more about lots of things.  You’re never too old to gain new knowledge.  It’s just that learning new skills is perhaps a bit harder?  I don’t know – I actually have more time to read and also I’m less stressed about getting it right because it’s for my pleasure and not with any particular aim in mind.  I have been learning Italian for a year now and my husband points out that I still can’t speak it!   My response is that I know more words that he does! Perhaps I can’t quite have a conversation yet but I’m really enjoying the process.   My app tells me I’m 45% fluent in Italian.  Three months ago I was 23 % fluent so some progress has been made!

I’ve never been too good at gardening – I tend to kill my plants but I am learning more about how to do it correctly now in my old age.    The internet really helps with researching how to care for what I’ve planted.  I am having great fun with my new hobby.

On a vacation what you would require in any place that you sleep?

Usually when I’m on vacation it’s in a caravan and in it I have everything I need.  When travelling abroad I just want a comfortable bed, shampoo and soap in the bathroom and the facility must be clean.  It doesn’t have to be luxurious because I’m not going to spend much time there – I’ll be out exploring and I’ll just need a place to rest my weary head at the end of the day.

As regular readers of my blog will know, my husband was hospitalised in Italy last year.  I stayed in the hostel nearby and all I had was a tiny room with a narrow single bed. But it was clean and I had my own shower.  It was also very cheap!   What a great idea to have accommodation for families of patients.

Bed in Italy

Bed I slept in for three weeks in Italy

What is your greatest extravagance?

I’m not too sure how to answer this one. The dictionary defines extravagance as lacking restraint in spending money or using resources.   I honestly don’t think I lack restraint but in the eyes of some, things I spend money on, may seem extravagant.   For example – we go out to eat breakfast at least twice a week.  We also eat dinner out from time to time but not as often as when we lived in Cape Town.   Another extravagance is having my nails done professionally twice a month.    There are many other luxuries that I enjoy – so yes, perhaps I am extravagant!

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

The Western Cape is a winter-rainfall area but this winter has been very dry.  This has affected not only the human population but the animals and birds too.  I was inspired when I saw this little bird taking pleasure in a puddle of water on the side of a dirt road – the only water for miles around and he found it!


Three-banded plover enjoying his great find – a puddle on the side of the road.