6

Right Place, Right Time

The Earl and I needed to see our accountant in Stellenbosch last Friday.  Not wanting to do an overnighter we set off bright and early on the two and half hour drive that would get us our appointment on time.   As luck would have it the Rapport Holiday Show started in Stellenbosch that day too. We’re having a caravan built by Gecko in Haenertsburg and as they had a stand at the show we thought it might be a good idea to check it out and see if there was anything else we needed while there.

It was almost midday by the time we got to the show and  all we’d consumed was a good cup of coffee offered to us by the accountant.   We chatted to Keith and Alison, took some measurements, ordered an aircon and a storage bag and then headed off to look for food.  Well foolishly we’d come without cash and the food vendors didn’t have card facilities so we decided to head back home with the intention of stopping in Franschoek for lunch.

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This is what I caravan kitchen will look like

Did I mention it was a beautiful day and the drive there and back over the mountain passes was stunning.

Franschhoek is an hour’s drive from Stellenbosch and we were listening to Pippa Hudson on Cape Talk as we drove.   I was getting hungrier and hungrier and then she interviewed Pieter de Villiers – a local chocolate maker!  Pippa – please – I was drooling!   I had never heard of de Villiers chocolate and it is only available from certain Woolworths outlets or his own chocolate cafes.   Living in Struisbaai I would not have easy access to this delicious sounding chocolate – Probably just as well as I am a Banter and only occasionally eat 70% dark chocolate – But ooh I was dying for some as I listened to this mouth watering interview.

Pieter only uses UTZ certified cocoa beans grown in Africa. UTZ certified stands for sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet.

Everything is made from scratch – from sourcing and roasting their own cocoa and coffee beans, to making their own ice cream and a wide selection of confections.   His wrappers are also very special and have an African look.

We were five minutes away from Franschhoek when the interview ended and we’d discovered that there just happened to be a De Villiers Chocolate cafe in town!

I said to Earl, “I’m having lunch at De Villiers Chocolate Café.”

“You can’t!” he said  “You’re banting.”

“So what,” I said “This is serendipitous. I am meant to have chocolate today. I need chocolate today.   Why else would I hear this interview just as I’m entering a place where that cafe is calling to me.”

Well of course I didn’t exactly have lunch at the café – we first dined at MC, googled the address of the café and then went there for coffee.  My two favourite things in life – coffee and chocolate.  Preferably together.

Lunch at MC for Earl was springbok pie and Eggs Benedict for me – the Banting version.

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Franschoek is the prettiest town in South Africa and has wonderful eateries

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The cafe where you can taste before you buy

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The patio area

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Coffee for me, ice cream for The Earl, and all the ‘lekkergoed’ we bought

The coffee was excellent, the ice cream delicious and I walked away with a packet of drinking chocolate, three slabs of 70% chocolate – the cinnamon and chili is to die for – and two bars of chocolate nougat.

Yes I was certainly in exactly the right place at the right time.

De Villiers Chocolate

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1

Cape Agulhas Presents Its Best Face For Kokstad Junior School

Today it was our privilege to meet up with our grandson Simon when his school tour stopped to visit the Southern Tip of Africa.  The teacher in charge alerted our daughter to the time they would be coming through Bredasdorp, she alerted us and then we timed it just right to meet them coming through Struisbaai.

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Here they come – a very excited granny takes the photo!

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A close up and then they all pulled over so we could say hi to Simon

After an initial big hello to Simon our grandson, Aiden our great nephew and Robyn, daughter of our kids’ best friends, we followed them to Cape Agulhas

The Kokstad Junior Grade Six classes were two weeks into a three week tour takes them from Kokstad to Cape Town and back.   En route they stop at interesting places and it forms part of their Life Skills programme.   It’s epic and hats off to the teachers and helpers who take these sixty-eight lively pre-teens on such an amazing, educational tour.

The kids are exceptionally well-behaved.   On this trip they’re divided into groups and have chores and responsibilities that are character building. Many have never been away from their protective parents before and so this is a huge learning curve for them.

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There are developments afoot at the Southern Tip and road works meant a little wait before entering the car park.

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The controlled but excited group getting ready to do the touristy thing at the southern tip

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Our gorgeous Robyn Baker

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Si-Si pretending not to be embarrassed by his grandparents attention

There were some other tourists at the view point but being a Monday the kids had the place virtually to themselves.

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Aiden

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Robyn with her group

The kids were given relative freedom to explore after the compulsory photographs had been taken.

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Robin and her group at the Southern Tip of Africa

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Simon waiting his turn

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Simon and Aiden’s Group

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Michele’s group

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Simon playing a stone kicking game with his friend – BOYS!

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A lot of fun was had throwing pebbles into the rock pools

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Collecting rocks and exporing the rock pools was also fun

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Where’s your rod Simon?

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Not today, Gran – I want to see how far I can skim this stone!

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That’s a good bowling arm he has there!

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Robyn rock hopping with her friends

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Smiling for Mom and Dad

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Hand away from face please Rob – Nice one of your friend though!

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Thank you, that’s better

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Aiden and his gang of rock exploring friends

The kids have been to Robben Island, The Science Museum, Cape Point and other wonderful places.  I asked Simon what his favourite part has been so far – first he said that he liked the movies at Somerset Mall!  Then his friend, Liam, said The Science Museum and his eyes lit up and he said – Yes definitely that!   One lad said he liked Robben Island but – Too much history!  I think it was all too confusing for him.

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The whistle blew – time to go

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Liam (I think) and Simon

What a great morning – the weather cooperated, the kids were delightful and we enjoyed our interaction with them all.   Bon Voyage for the next week, Kokstad Junior – Grade 6 and Teachers!  Thank you for letting us join you for the morning.

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The Famous Agulhas Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

3

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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Photo of the Week 15 June 2017

This week’s challenge for Photo of the Week is Ships and Boats

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Tall Ship in Sydney Harbour

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Meisho Maru – Japanese fishing boat wrecked near Cape Agulhas, Western Cape South Africa

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My husband’s ski-boat, Kiora – Struisbaai Harbour, Western Cape South Africa

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Rowboats on the hard at Struisbaai Harbour

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Narrow Boat on a waterway in Hertfordshire, England

5

How deep are our roots

Today’s one word prompt is Roots  Here is my contribution.

Although I am deeply interested in History, I become a tad bored when some ordinary person brags about their blood line and prattles off a list of great things their ancestors have achieved.  I’m more interested in what they have achieved and how they live their lives now.  Only if they tell me how their roots influenced their choices in life do I prick up my ears and pay attention.

If I were to find out that I was a direct descendant of  Aristotle or Archimedes I would be fascinated and quite proud but I’d wonder why their brilliance had not found it’s way down to little old me!  Perhaps over time the gene pool became diluted.

I looked through some old photographs of my grandparents recently and had some nostalgic moments.  Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles are the ones that shape our lives and even then it’s up to us to reach our potential because of or in spite of them.

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My brilliant grandfather

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The sweetest grandmother ever

Family quote

The roots I am more concerned about today are the ones in my garden!  I have this beautiful milkwood tree, indigenous to the area and protected by law.

Everything we do in the garden revolves around the tree. It provides wonderful shade,  the birds love it and it gives us great pleasure but its ample shade affects the growth of lawn and it’s a problem finding something that will grow beneath it. We are in the process of trying some groundcover now and slow progress has been made.

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The dominant milkwood tree

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This little white eye and his friends love it

There is a very famous milkwood tree in Mossel Bay.  It was used as a “Post Office” during the days of the early explorers. It is marked with a plaque reading: “This post office tree stands near the fountains where the Portuguese navigators regularly drew water at Aguada de São Bras (now Mossel Bay) from 1488 onwards. In May 1500 Pêro de Ataíde, captain of a homeward bound ship of Pedro Cabral’s fleet, left a message here which was found on 7 July 1507 by the outward bound ships of João da Nova. According to tradition the mesthat were lsage was placed in an old shoe and tied to a tree”.

The letter told the story of how four ships from Bartholomeu Dias’s expedition were lost.  The writer also warned future readers of the letter, of the dangers along the Indian coast.

In 1962 the South African Postal Service put up a mailbox in the shape of a shoe at the site of The Post Office Tree.   Items posted there are cancelled with a special stamp.

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This shoe mailbox can be seen at the Diaz Museum Mossel Bay (Photo from the internet

Today in South Africa we are celebrating Freedom Day.  Twenty Three years ago new roots were planted with the first non-racial democratic elections and The Rainbow Nation was born.  Our roots go down deep as we collectively strive to build a strong new nation.

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1

Cee’s Share your World 17 April 2017

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

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

Ah writing!   The only time I pick up a writing implement is to jot down a shopping list or to do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku.   And then it’s usually a pencil.
The best thing I learned at school besides Reading – was typing.   I have always found handwriting a struggle. My fine-motor co-ordination is not good!

In my early days of teaching filling in the attendance register – and balancing it at the end of each term, writing reports and keeping records accurately was a nightmare – I always had to rewrite things – no tippex was allowed. I was the first person at my school to start doing it all on the computer.  Yay for technology – I embrace it passionately. It certainly made my life a lot easier.

Having said all this – I did learn Italic – and loved it.   But writing by hand is a struggle for me and I very much prefer my devices.

Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer?

I would love to be both but am not talented in either in the least.  Much to my children’s dismay I break into song at the drop of a hat and Hubby and I are always the first on the dance floor.

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If you were on a debate team, what subject would you relish debating?

I would love to debate anything about Education – like – to give homework or not to give homework.

What are you a “natural” at doing?

I guess I will have to answer that I’m natural at working very hard at anything I tackle because I have no talent for anything!  When I tell people I have no talents they respond with – nonsense – everybody has a talent but they can’t come up with a good one for me. I will tell you, however, what I love doing.  Teaching, writing (creatively and factually), doing stuff on a computer or electronic device – and showing others how to do it.

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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? 

Easter brought home to me how lucky I am to have such an amazing extended family and even though I don’t see all of them all that often I’m grateful that they’re in my life.

No plans for the next week but I’m sure something interesting will happen.

5

Share Your World 10 April 2017

Here are my answers to Share Your World 10 April 2017

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

My first fun run was 5 km which I ran with my friend Chantal (She features later in this post too) – I was in my forties and she was in her thirties.   Then in my fifties I ran an 8km fun run with my grandsons who were about 8 and 9 at the time.  They were both fun events but like Cee I was not ever a competitive runner but enjoyed jogging for exercise.   The last time I ran more than 1 km was when I was 60.   I’ve decided it’s time to slow down to a walk.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

My life is an open book.  Most of my friends have known me for a very long time and I can’t think of anything they might not know about me.  I lived in my home town most of my life before retiring to Struisbaai but some people may not know that from the age of 2 to 5 I lived in Johannesburg and started my formal schooling there.

What is your favorite flower?

My favourite flower is the South African National Flower – The Protea

Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

I am very happy with everything I have in my house (all of the above except the hot tub) l’d only change one thing – the floors.  I’d like either wood laminate flooring throughout or tiles that look like wood laminate.

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

As much as I love living here at the southern tip of Africa, I do miss my Cape Town friends and family.  So I’m always grateful when they come to visit for a few days.  After much re-scheduling Chantal and Jeremy made it here this past weekend.  How wonderful it was to have a good catch up and not have to try and get all the news in during a quick dinner date fitted in when we go to Cape Town.

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The placemats at Potpourri in Cape Agulhas suited each of us appropriately

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Chanty certaily loves her songs

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Translation for overseas readers – That what we have is enough!  Definitely The Earl’s Motto

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And everyone knows how much I love my coffee

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Jeremy wants all those gorgeous girls out there to know that he is taken!

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The sky was amazing at the Southern Tip on Sunday

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A yellow mongoose or six greeted us on the way to Arniston

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This morning we had breakfast at the harbour

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The gang waiting for service

Next week I am looking forward to Easter.  The kids will be coming in large numbers!