6

Fun Photo Challenge 27 June 2017

This week’s fun photo challenge calls for all kinds of furniture.  Here is my take on it – Shabby Chic at Diesel and Creme, Barrydale, Western Cape, South Africa

IMG_7800

I love the cushions.

IMG_7804

Relaxing in the winter sun, waiting for coffee

IMG_8415

Fabulous outdoor decor!

12

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.

goalsetting

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.

skiing

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!

Teach.jpg

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!

direction

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.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

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

 

2

Day Trip to Robertson and Barrydale

The Autumn weather has been awesome in our neck of the woods.   We’re desperate for rain so it’s with a smidgen of guilt that we’re enjoying the sunshine.   May it not last too long!

They were upgrading the electrical services in our section of Struisbaai on Wednesday so the electricity was cut from 8 until 5.   We used this as an excuse to go out of the day.   After all we couldn’t use the internet for banking and other online chores.

Such trips just bring home to us how privileged we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country.  In spite of the lack of rain the scenery is still stunning.  All the farmlands looked like they’d survived the dry spell and the sheep and cows were all in good health.

At midday we stopped at Stormsvlei Restaurant and Farmstall.  It’s on the R317 half way between Riviersonderend and Swellendam.  You have to go a little way down a dirt drive until you come upon it.  They also have self catering cottages next to the river.   The last time we passed this way it was closed so it was great to find it open for lunch on Wednesday.   What a picturesque little place it is.   We could choose a table either inside or out.  As it was such a beautiful day we sat on the patio and enjoyed the gorgeous garden.   The Earl had a chicken wrap and I the chicken salad.   No complaints from either of us.

IMG_8285

The gorgeous garden

IMG_8302

Interesting table decor in the form of a very pretty white and ginger tipped cat!

Our next stop was Springfield Wine Estate in Robertson.   I am rather partial to their Sauvignon Blanc – Life from Stone – so we had to pick up some supplies.   It is my only vice.  And it’s a very pretty estate to visit.

IMG_8318

One drives along an avenue of autumn colour to get to the wine shop

IMG_8321

So peaceful to sit and enjoy the dam in the shade of the trees

IMG_8330

An Egyptian goose enjoyed the peace too

We continued our drive enjoyed more scenery and then  stopped at Barrydale.

IMG_8317IMG_8370IMG_8393

The quaint little town of Barrydale is on the border of the Karoo and the Overberg and is named after Dr Jame Barry who has an interesting history.

Dr Barry (1789 to 1865) was a surgeon in the British Army, served in Cape Town and did much to make the lives of wounded soldiers better. Dr Barry also improved the conditions of the native inhabitants.  This dedicated doctor also performed the first caesarian section in Africa in which both the mother and child survived the operation.   However, it was only after his/her death that it was discovered that Dr Barry was a woman.  He/she’d lived his/her whole adult life pretending to be a man so that he/she would be taken seriously in the medical profession.   How awful that a woman of her generation had to go to such lengths to live her dream.   More interesting facts about James Barry here

Barrydale, like the person after whom she is named, is a unique little town.   It is culturally mixed having both English and Afrikaans residents and a number of people from Europe have also settled here.  I would describe it as a colourful town filled with arty restaurants and shops.

IMG_8408

How cute is this bright yellow house with its hot pink window frames!

IMG_8409

Why not have a purple pizzeria

IMG_8413

I’m loving the Orange Pots with Karoo type designs

IMG_8405

We bought some Karoo lamb from the cheerful butchery

IMG_8402

I just love the windpomp!

The most intriguing restaurant is the very rustic Diesel and Creme.   It was getting towards afternoon tea time when we got there and I was craving a bit of sweetness.   Nothing nicer than their granadilla cheesecake for me and lemon meringue for The Earl.  He also indulged in a double thick chocolate shake.

IMG_8433

The coffee was good too

IMG_8439

It’s a place that is calling back the past

IMG_8438

Now that’s a cool caravan

IMG_8428

A bike and car collector’s dream

IMG_8427

IMG_8415

Don’t you just love it!

IMG_8419

House sparrow looking for crumbs

It was certainly an interesting visit – always fun to go to Barrydale.

IMG_8450

4

Taking the Waters of Warmwaterberg

It was chilly in Struisbaai on Monday and we knew our friends Tom and Meg were at The Warmwaterberg Hot Springs enjoying the warmth of the sunny Karoo days.  They were due to stop over and visit us on Wednesday.  “Let’s drive up there and surprise them,”  suggested The Earl.  “My bones could do with some warming up.”

This is the beauty of retirement.  You can just decide spur of the moment to do something and work just doesn’t get in the way.   We’ve caravanned at Warmwaterberg before but this time we decided to take a luxury bath house.

The two hour drive is super picturesque especially over the Tradouw Pass.

IMG_7257

We stopped in Barrydale for a bite to eat.   Diesel and Creme were closed for renovations so we tried the Country Pumpkin instead.  It was a quaint place and it was pleasant sitting in the sunshine but service was slow.  A tourist bus arrived at the same time as we did so the staff were extra busy.  I didn’t think I’d get lucky requesting making a Banting issue so we just ordered toasted egg and bacon.  The waitress thought I was a bit odd leaving the bread on the plate!IMG_7273

IMG_7280

The Pale Chanting Goshawk is a common bird in the area and one obligingly posed for us as we approached Warmwaterberg.

IMG_7305

Check in went efficiently and we were assigned Bath House 3.   Tom and Meg were in Number 4.

IMG_7310-001

The enormous bath in the room is the main feature of this accommodation.

IMG_7314

The accommodation is on two levels – The Earl is standing in front of the bath above.

The public pool area had three pools – two hot and one cold.  They are fed with untreated water from the artesian spring where it is 44ºC at the source.   The water is rich in iron and pleasant to drink too.

IMG_7430

We made friends with another couple in the pool and after a relaxing afternoon of languishing in the warm water we went to have a cup of coffee with Sandy and Shirley at their caravan.

IMG_7321

Bonding with new friends

Our  accommodation overlooked a beautiful valley and the mountains were beautiful in the setting sun.

IMG_7446IMG_7458

IMG_7332-002

We no longer have furbabies so the feral cats that roam the estate found themselves welcome at our cottage.  They are all really pretty and healthy; clearly because the visitors feed them well.

IMG_7326-001

On of the friendly feral cats or rule the slaves that visit the spa

Peacocks also graced the grounds and came scrounging for scraps.  There are lots of shady trees and we enjoyed watching the Cape Weavers and Cape Sparrows were busy building a nest in our eaves.

IMG_7447

Mr Peacock trying to woo Ms Peahen

IMG_7408

Mrs Cape Sparrow inspecting a new nest

IMG_7400

I’m sure this is good for lining, my love, said Mr Cape Sparrow

IMG_7388

Meggy enjoying a rest in the shade of an acacia tree

We enjoyed the outdoor pools but having our own bath to luxuriate in, in the privacy of our own room was also fun

IMG_7477-001

The water is hot, soothing, relaxing and drains your energy – so is perfect just before bedtime

The two nights spent at Warmwaterberg were perfect.  We had fantastic weather and even the evenings were warm.  If ever you pass this way, do not give Warmwaterberg and Barrydale a miss.

More on Barrydale and Struisbaai to follow.

 

 

 

6

Share Your World 8 May 2017

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

When you’re alone at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

In the summer you might find me barefoot.  Right now I am wearing shoes, but I often kick them off and wear slippers.   I like my feet to be comfortable and in winter I might put on Ugg Boots.  They may be ugly but they’re comfy.  I have the generic version – not the overly expensive ones.

IMG_6909

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

When I was very young, I was an extremely fussy eater but for breakfast I loved my  Jungle Oats. My mother told everyone that if it weren’t for that one meal, I would probably starve because for the rest of the day I would eat very little else.  My uncle teased me constantly and would make me cry by telling me the factory had burned down.

jungle oats

 

Perhaps that’s why I went off it and started on eggs instead.  My sister and I would share a boiled egg – she would eat the white and I would have the yolk!

Yes – I was a very picky eater and would not eat cooked vegetables but being of Greek origin we always had salads with every meal and those I ate quite happily.    For a packed lunch, my mom would give me polony or chunks of cheese and carrot sticks because I wouldn’t eat my peanut butter and jam (jelly to the Americans) sandwiches, although I loved them freshly made.  My mother despaired of me ever eating properly but thinking back, I wonder why she worried – I ate lamb, beef, chicken and fish and plenty of salads.   Pretty healthy I think!   I didn’t like pasta, rice, potato or anything that looked suspicious. I had a fear of food and stressed if I had to eat away from home. This changed when I went away to college.  The food was awful but it was eat it or starve!   I got fat at college but lost it all in my last term – by starving myself!   My fight with food continued into adulthood but only as far as  trying to keep the weight off was concerned.  Finally in my old age I have discovered Low Carb High Fat and it fits in almost exactly with how I used to eat as a child, the only difference being that now I will eat the veggies cooked.picky-eating

Are you a listener or talker?

I enjoy conversation – both listening and talking.   Friends tend to come to me for advice and I do listen but then I try to fix things with lots of advice – not always the right approach.

women chatting

Favorite thing to (pick one):  Photograph?  Write? Or Cook?

I can’t pick one so I’ll tell you what I like to photograph, write about and cook.

I like photographing birds and wildlife.

IMG_1896

A striated (Green-backed) heron

I like cooking omelettes.

omelette

Bacon, onion, tomato and Feta omelette

I like writing about my trips to wild places

computer

“Then suddenly we came upon a leopard languishing on the branch of a tree”

 

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 the wonderful week we had catching up with family at Gariep Dam, Free State.   The weather was pleasant and we just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.

IMG_6263.JPG

 

I am looking forward to planning our next trip away in the caravan.

 

0

Sibling Reunion Gariep Dam – Part 2

May, all over the country, was likely to have changeable weather.  In the Western Cape we were praying for rain as our dams are empty and the earth is dry.  We also hoped that it would fall at Great Brak to dampen the fires around Rondom Mooi!   We heard that they received a spit and a spot but not enough to kill the fire completely.
In the Free State there are currently no water problems!  Gariep Dam is full and while we were there we had rain every day.  The wonderful thing about this part of the world is that it thunders, lightning flashes, you get a downpour and then it clears up beautifully till the next shower.    It didn’t dampen our spirits at all.  The squatters still managed to spend most of the time outdoors, but we ate the rest of our suppers at the bungalow.

IMG_1042

Andrew (farmer and pastor) gave thanks for our meal and gathering

IMG_1036

John and Karly’s chicken potjie was delicious

IMG_1034

Karly sharing words of wisdom with Eddie

My amazing hubby was moved to give all the ailing ones a therapeutic foot massage. Nothing better!

During the day each couple was responsible for their own breakfasts and lunches but most often Earl and John joined forces to cook bacon and eggs and sometimes the others joined us at campsite.  And before supper you would find us chilling on the ‘verandah’ of The Mount Nelson on Wheels for sundowners.   It was a chilled and happy time with lots of bonding, chatting and encouraging each other.

The environment was delightful.  Our campsite was shady and many of the trees were wearing their autumn colours.  The birds were chirpy and the fish were biting.

IMG_6571

But the plebs enjoyed their squatter camp too. This poor relation is cooking brekkie

IMG_6561

We often had visiting cousins who unfortunately had to be chased back into their trees

IMG_6517

Sundowners before dinner

IMG_6278

The sunrises were spectacular

IMG_6472

The Cape Robins were quite friendly

IMG_6305

African Pied Wagtail

IMG_6310

This Common (Indian) Myna had a wonky leg but managed very well in spite of it

IMG_6509.JPG

A lovely yellowfish caught and released

IMG_6602

So pretty

IMG_6621

After the rain

IMG_6581

The two caravan sites

IMG_6838

The Rondawel

On the Thursday Barbara, Andrew, Diane, Earl and I took a drive around the Gariep area and were impressed by the size of the Dam.    Gariep Hydroelectric power station is 300 meters downstream of the dam wall n the banks of The Orange River on the Eastern Cape side.  Gariep’s first two machines went into commercial service in 1971 and the last two in March 1976.

IMG_6655

View showing the vastness of the dam

IMG_6671

Big Sus and Little Sus with the dam in the background

IMG_6677

The Orange River with hydroelectric plant on the left

IMG_6568

A lot of time was spent on the “Mount Nelson on Wheels” front verandah

IMG_6571

But the plebs enjoyed their squatter camp too. This poor relation is cooking brekkie

IMG_6561

We often had visiting cousins who unfortunately had to be chased back into their trees

IMG_6517

Sundowners before dinner

IMG_6278

The sunrises were spectacular

IMG_6472

The Cape Robins were quite friendly

IMG_6305

Enter a caption

IMG_6310

IMG_6509.JPG

A lovely yellowfish caught and released

IMG_6602

So pretty

IMG_6621

After the rain

IMG_6581

The two caravan sites

IMG_6838

The Rondawel

On the Thursday Barbara, Andrew, Diane, Earl and I took a drive around the Gariep area and were impressed by the size of the Dam.    Gariep Hydroelectric power station is 300 meters downstream of the dam wall n the banks of The Orange River on the Eastern Cape side.  Gariep’s first two machines went into commercial service in 1971 and the last two in March 1976.

IMG_6655

View showing the vastness of the dam

IMG_6671

Big Sus and Little Sus with the dam in the background

IMG_6677

The Orange River with hydroelectric plant on the left

The Orange River is the longest river in the country.  It rises in the Drakensberg in Lesotho and flows westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean.  It is part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia between South Africa and Lesotho.  It also forms the borders between several provinces of South Africa.  The Orange River provides water for irrigation and for hydroelectric power. The river was named by Robert Gordon, the commander of the Dutch East India Company garrison at Cape Town,  in honor of William V of Orange. The original Khoi people called the river Gariep.  In Lesotho it is known as the Senqu River.

IMG_6702

It was a chilly day and when we got back Shirl treated us to some freshly baked scones with jam

IMG_6703

They were delicious, thank Shirl!

IMG_6805

Sunrise on our last day

IMG_6842

All of us before saying farewell – Earl, Barbara, Andrew, Diane, Shirley,

IMG_6846

The Four Stone Siblings – Shirl, Diane, John and Barbara

On Friday when we left we all agreed that this should be an annual event!   Next to turn 70???   I believe it’s John next September!