4

Hermanus Weekend

Friday, 08 June 2018

The Earl drove me to Hermanus this morning.  The plan was for me to spend a girls’ weekend with Meghan while he and Tommy would have a boys’ weekend in Struisbaai.  Tom and Earl are old friends who need to catch up from time to time!

Once I was settled into the lovely holiday home we girls had for the weekend, the guys hit the road back to Struisbaai.   After they left, Meg and I went to have her car washed, do a bit of shopping and have a coffee at The Running Rabbit.

A little later another of Meg’s friend’s Sandy arrived with two German exchange students, Lici and Lina. Meg is hosting Lici and she’d brought her friend along with her.

Lici is 15 and is in Grade 10 at Bergvliet High School. Lina is 17 and in Grade 11. Lina is from Berlin and Lici from Munich.   It was so interesting chatting to them about their impressions of a South African High School.

Lina is the product of a Montessori school and has a happy relationship with her teachers.  The approach to learning is more relaxed there than it is here. The emphasis is on teaching the child rather than the curriculum. There is a close relationship between learner and teacher and they are allowed to progress at their own pace.  Lici on the other hand finds school here less strict than the private school she attends back home. They both find it really strange and annoying to have to wear a school uniform! Back home they can wear make-up and any clothing they like to school.  But in spite of the differences they are both very happy at Bergvliet.

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Meg’s Holiday Home in Hermanus

Before dinner Meg and I went with Sandy to walk her beautiful black lab. We laughed when he poohed on command.

 

We went as far as a lookout place where we could see the sea then walked back.

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Meg had a goulash ready for heating and we served it with pasta, spinach that I’d made and green beans.

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Lici, Lina, Meg and Sandy

Saturday, 09 June 2018

The girls were up early and went for a walk. Sandy went to Stanton to meet an old friend. Meg and I had brekkie together and shared our superior wisdom of how to solve the problems of all our friends and family – LOL

Later the girls made the most delicious carrot cake muffins which Meg iced with cream cheese frosting.

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The muffins in the foreground – Sandy cooking chicken curry for dinner while Meg cheers her on

It rained hard in the afternoon so after indulging in my spinach quiche for lunch we all sat in front of the fire and played Rummikub. The girls were Ace at it but we soon caught on.  It was great fun.

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Lici gets a massage from Lina before we start the game

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Rummikub in front of the fire

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Lina has a good hand

 

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Meg made her delicious fruity oats for breakfast, Sandy supplied croissants and we all sat down to enjoy it.    The men arrived around 11 and had some too.

Meg had to go off to meet a friend for lunch so the rest of us piled into the Everest and went exploring Hermanus.

Our first stop was Hoy’s Koppie. It is an isolated hill rising approximately 75 metres above sea-level. In the mid-19th century, the early inhabitants of the town called it Klip Kop (stone hill).

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The steep steps up to the top of Hoy Koppie

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Tom and The Earl 

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The View

Tom had researched the story of Hoy Koppie and shared his knowledge with us.

Sir William Hoy, who was born in Scotland, was head of the Cape and SA Railways in the early 1900s. He spent frequent holidays in Hermanus and loved the relaxed lifestyle. He frequently climbed the koppie to admire the views across Walker’s Bay.

In 1912, he vetoed the building of a rail line to Hermanus. Sir Hoy died at the age of 62 in 1930. It was his wish to be buried at the summit of his favourite hill. A contour path was constructed and his fishermen friends carried his coffin up for burial in a hollow that was blasted out of the rock for this purpose.

Five years later Lady Gertrude Hoy died in England.  Her body was placed in a lead coffin and shipped back to South Africa.  Twenty fisherman carried the heavy coffin up the koppie and buried her beside her husband.  The Hermanus Historical Society takes care of the graves today.

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After climbing the koppie we went down to the waterfront.   There were dolphins in the bay and the girls also enjoyed watching the dassies.

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There were interesting sculptures to be seen too.

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Sitting on the Whale Tail Bench

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The old harbour is also fascinating. As part of the art festival there was a display of sculptures made of the plastic, hooks, fishing line and netting  from our polluted ocean. Hermien welcomed us into the tiny museum.  She is passionate about saving the Sea.   We were given a glass of water and told to drink a toast to the sea.  We were then invited to take a sprig of fynbos and place it on the sea’s coffin.   She then gave a brief explanation of what was happening to our oceans and how it was up to humankind to change their habits to protect them.  It was a very moving experience.

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A Wreath made from sea polution

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An old whaling harpoon

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The Coffin

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Sculptures from sea polution

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The Old Harbour was proclaimed ‘a Museum’ in 1972. Old fishing boats were collected and repaired for outdoor display.

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We then went to have a drink at one of the local restaurants before making our way back to the house.  We stopped at the new harbour and spotted a whale in the bay.

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You can see a barnacle on this Southern Right Whale

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We saw him quite well – but photography was difficult

Earl and I left at 4:15.  We took Lina with us to Cape Town as she has an exam tomorrow.   The others stayed another night.

Monday 11 June 2018

We were in Cape Town to celebrate The Earl’s sister’s 75th birthday.  We took her and her hubby to The Black Marlin for dinner.  It was really lovely.

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Just after Sunset – view across the bay from Carrol and Vere’s home at Castle Rock

 

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Happy Birthday, Carrol.

 

 

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4

Catching Up With The Family

On Friday after enjoying a delicious breakfast at our favourite coffee shop, The Earl said, “I feel like going off somewhere for the weekend.”

“Where do you want to go?” I asked.  It was cold and I didn’t relish a caravan excursion.

“To the kids in Plettenberg Bay!” came his reply.  Well – why not!  It’s a whole six weeks since we saw them last.  And the novelty of having them only five hours away hasn’t yet worn off!

So we rushed home, phoned our son-in-law, packed a bag and hit the road at 10:30 am!

The drive from Struisbaai to Plett is an easy one.   There is very little traffic and the roads are in good condition.  But when we passed through George there was a congestion.  What could be wrong?  The Earl began to get anxious as the traffic police were not handling the situation very well. The road was blocked and the two officers didn’t seem to know what to do.  They were letting a few cars through and only when we got close to them were we told that if we were going further than Victoria Bay we wouldn’t be able to get through. A truck had lost it’s load of beer on the pass.   Sooo we had to turn around and take the narrow, windy Seven Passes Road.   At one point there was a single lane bridge to cross and this caused a huge congestion.  It took us two extra hours to get to our kids.   But such is life and it was all part of the adventure.  Imagine if we’d been in a hurry!   We still made it to Jubilee Farm by just after five pm.

Lauren was teaching when we called our son-in-law so she and Simon only found out we were coming at the end of the school day.  Allan cooked us a delicious lamb curry and had a fire going.   It was, to say the least, a happy reunion.

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A warming curry for supper

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Grandpa and Si in front of the fire – Gramps has the extra warmth of Roger  round his neck

Saturday was a much warmer day.  The sun shone, the sky was blue and there was not a breath of wind.  I was delighted to find that yellow-billed ducks now visit the pond in front of the house.

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This duck called out his joy with gleeful quacks

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Cheddar the cat likes hunting in the long grass and reeds next to the dam

We took the family to town for lunch.  The Table is a lovely Italian restaurant with seating outdoors.

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The Dolphin Statue in Plettenberg Bay

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Lauren and Allan at The Table

Lauren and Allan had delicious pizza, The Earl and I chicken and avo salad and Simon a Blue cheese salad.  Desserts were Creme Brulet and Fruit on sticks dipped in dark Belgium Chocolate.  Yum!

Our granddaughter, Shannon, who attends Glenwood House in George, was not home for the weekend as she had choir rehearsal all Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.  So on Sunday we had a leisurely late breakfast  and enjoyed the morning with the family before setting off to George. Shan was with family friends for the day and we visited her there before taking her back to school.   It was lovely catching up with her and The Bakers.   It was also lovely to see Shan’s school and to meet her roommate.  I am so proud of my well-adjusted granddaughter.   It wasn’t easy leaving her much loved St John’s in Pietermaritzburg at the end of last term.  But after only five weeks she is fitting in so well at Glenwood.  You go Shan, Girl!

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Shan and her roommate, Onika

After dropping Shan we went to Great Brak to see more family – Diane and Carey who live on a small holding in the mountains called Rondomooi.  For my overseas readers Rondomooi means All Around Beautiful.

And all around where they live is truly beautiful!

Carey has a workshop on the property where he builds Motor Homes.  They also grow veggies and keep chickens.  Diane is going to start an orchid nursery.

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Eggs from the Free-Range Hens

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Diane collecting eggs

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Kitty keeping an eye on things

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Lettuce growing like trees!

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Carey showing me the garden

We spent a lovely evening and morning with Carey and Diane and at 11 this morning headed back to Struisbaai.  We stopped in Swellendam to refuel with diesel and coffee!

It was a lovely sunny day and we even stopped to snap this lovely rock kestrel

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What a lovely little get-away that was.  When you retire you can do these spur of the moment things!  How lucky we are!

1

A Week in Cape Town

I have not posted for a week as I have been away from home – not that this usually stops me – but I had a full program of activities to attend to so my usual blogging took a back seat!

I avoid returning to The City as much as possible but when you have to apply for travel documents to Cape Town you must go!  Although that was the main reason for going we also used the opportunity to catch up with friends and family.  As luck would have it there were a few things that I could attend that I otherwise would have missed!  And as much as we love living away from The City we really miss our friends and family.  Leaving the place that was home all of your life is like emigrating to another country so catching up with everybody was awesome.  I got to bond with Chantal and Jeremy, Tony and Sharon, Aunt Violetta and Aunt Dottie, Mary, Hanny, Pat and Tony, Heather and Peter, my brother Michael and his wife, Moira, Earl’ s sister Carol and her hubby, Vere as well as his nephew Greg and of course our daughters and grandsons.

Our grandsons, Jay and Josh, really love sashimi so on the evening we slept over at their house we purchased some fresh yellow-tail,  Earl prepared it and I made their favourite salad.  It was a beautiful evening so Josh set the table outdoors and we had a very special evening with our boys.

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Beautifully set table by Josh

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Sashimi with our boys – Jay, The Earl, Josh

Bonding with friends is always special.   On Friday we went to see where one of my very dearest friends has settled after many years of house hopping.  I love her new location at West Beach.  After enjoying our visit with her she took us to lunch where we enjoyed the views of our beautiful bay and mountain.

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Hanny’s Deck

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Hanny’s flair for decor shows.

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Our stunning Table Mountain on a bad day!

Our lovely friends, Pat and Tony, accommodated us in their spare room for most of our week in Cape Town and treated us to Sushi on Friday night.

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Yummy Sushi with the friends with whom we have so many common interests

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Pat and Tony cooked us Mother’s Day Breakfast too!

Many years ago some friends and I formed a breakfast club which met more or less monthly to ensure we did not lose touch.  What a stunning group it turned out to be.  It’s probably the thing I miss most about not living in Cape Town. I was touched that when I communicated that I would be in town for the weekend everybody made the effort to attend breakfast club in my honour.  I had my youngest daughter join us and we had an amazing catch up.

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Anti-clockwise – Sandy, Margie, Lorraine, Cheryl, Chris, Me, Melody, Dot

As luck would have it the The Cape Town branch of the  Old Girls’ Guild of my college, Grahamstown Training College, met on for tea on Saturday afternoon.   Even though the college was closed down in 1975 (I graduated in 1973) the OGG continues.   GTC was the best teaching training institution in the country, founded by Mother Cecil and run by the St Peter’s Community for many years.   Teachers from this college were the very best and whenever any of us meet another no matter from which year there is an instant bond!   We now range in age from 63 to well in the nineties.  It was therefore not surprising to have a pretty good turnout to the tea at Veronica’s house on Saturday.

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Heather and Beryl – from the fifties

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Our whole group  

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The Seventies Gang

Sunday was Mother’s Day!   We all met at The Earl’s sister for a lunch time braai.  My daughters and grandsons spoiled me with lovey gifts and we invited Jeff and Annaline, the girls’ god parents and boys’ extra set of grandparents to join us.

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The Earl enjoying a beer

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Josh bonding with his great-uncle Vere

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Looking like a rock star with his new hair cut

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Jay – No dress sense but lots of charm and personality

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Our nephew – Greg doing the braai

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Slender Mongoose hoping for get a titbit

And so after a wonderful Cape Town catch-up we left on Sunday afternoon and arrived back in Struisbaai at around 6 o’ clock.  It was good to be home!

 

 

10

Addo Elephant Park – Last Day

I am not lying when I tell you that I saw a lion today but he was far away and lying flat in the long grass – so I’m not even going to bore you with a bad photograph!

There are more interesting things to write about but this will be a short post.  I took dozens of photographs;  too many to post and difficult to know which ones to choose.   So I am going to be brief and hope you enjoy the photo story instead.

In a small park like Addo it’s easy to get around the whole game area in a day.    It’s always wise to try to stick to early morning and late afternoon but as a day visitor this is not so easy.   We might have had a chance to see lions had we stayed on till the end of the day but that would be exhausting.

The main stars of Addo are definitely the elephants. Zebra can be mighty entertaining too and even though the warthogs are everywhere, I just love them and can watch their antics for hours.

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This poaching monitor and his anti poaching dog kindly posed for a photo at the entrance. Dogs like this one are invaluable in keeping poaching to a minimum

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A Pale-chanting Goshawk was more obliging than the lions we saw nearby

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Such an attractive antelope is the male kudu

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So easy to ignore these guys after a while – but they’re really cute

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Hapoor Waterhole hosted a huge herd of ellies this morning

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They just kept coming

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Group Bath-time!

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Breathing with a built in snorkel!

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Fun fun fun

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Here we go again

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Elephants just wanna have fun

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We came across three zebras having a group hug!

At Marion Baree Waterhole another group of ellies were kicking up mud

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Glorious Mud

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Water and mud play is good for kids, Mom

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This little one certainly enjoyed it

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Mommy Pig and Baby Porkie looked on enviously waiting for their turn.

It was our last day visiting Addo today but we will be back another time.  It’s such a fab place to visit.

 

8

A Visit to Addo – Carol’s Rest is Elephantastic

Today we left Jubilee Farm and headed to Addo Elephant Park. Their camping was fully booked so we had to find accommodation outside The Park.  Our intention was to stay  at the south end near Colchester.   However, we heard on the radio that there was rioting on the N2 and in the village.   Rocks and burning objects were being thrown around so we thought it best to stay out of the troubled zone.    News 24 Report

The other end of the park was not affected so we booked into The Homestead just 10 minutes away from the Addo Rest Camp entrance.   By 2:30 we were set up and ready to go adventuring.

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There were lots of black-headed heron around

After enjoying a variety of zebra, red hartebeest, kudu and millions of warthogs we stopped at Carol’s Rest where one male elephant was hogging the water hole while another two were fooling around and a fourth made a later appearance.  A thirsty zebra was too nervous to drink while Jumbo was taking up most of the space

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Please can I join you for a drink?

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Clearly you’re not sharing with me!

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The cheeky warthogs had no fear and joined right in

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Still the zebra was not too sure

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A jackal decided to make do with a muddy puddle further away

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Thirst drove the zebra to take a few steps closer

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Brave boy – you did it!

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Aaah that’s better 

The zebra got his drink then what the camera missed was hilarious.  The elephant squirted him with his trunk!  We nearly fell out of the car laughing and the zebra leaped out of the pond!

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I think he’s telling his friend all about it

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These two entertained us with their interaction

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They twisted their trunks together

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And seemed to really like each other

We spent ages just watching these wonderful creatures interact, push, pull, chase and scratch each others ears with their tusks – it was amazing.

But as we had to leave the park by six we made our way back to the gate and out again.  On our way home we stopped at Lenmore to shop for fresh veggies at their deli.  We also decided to go to their restaurant for supper.  What a great decision as their lamb shank was to die for.   It was served with delicious veggies too – green beans, cauliflower cheese, creamed spinach, glazed carrots and roasted baby potatoes.

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A fabulous ending to a perfect day

 

 

 

 

8

Plettenberg Bay – More Exploring

The trouble with having gel nails is that when you’re away from your usual technician for any length of time you have to find someone else to fix them when they’re due for an upgrade!  Google is a great help and this morning a quick search got me making an appointment at Divine Salon for 9:00 am.   One hour later and I was very happy with the results.

Afterwards we decided to try one of the little coffee shops near Central Beach.  The brekkie of scrambled eggs, fried tomatoes and avocado pear was lovely, the coffee was excellent and The Earl enjoyed his cappuccino.

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We can highly recommend La Cafeteria

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It has a great vibe, fun waitrons and today was a gorgeous day if you wanted to sit outdoors

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Coffee is important – and ours was perfect

Afterwards we went exploring.  There are two rivers that attract tourists to Plettenberg Bay – The Bitou and The Keurbooms.   We drive past the former on the way to Jubilee farm so we decide to check out Keurbooms.

We found a lovely beach called Keurbooms Beach which has the famous Enrico Restaurant next to it.   There is a boardwalk linking another beach on the right of the restaurant.  I walked along the beach to the left and then we walked along the boardwalk to see the other secluded beach.    Even though the weather was stunning today we only saw about five other people!    I am sure it is very different in the summer season.  There are some beautiful holiday homes overlooking the beaches.

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Enrico’s Restaurant

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The beach to the right

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African Black Oyster-catchers on the beach

I was upset to see an oyster catcher’s foot caught in a tangle of fishing net and seaweed.

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The Earl admiring the view

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This is what he is looking at

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The Beach on the other side of Enrico’s

After enjoying the beaches we headed to Keurboom’s River.  If you’re into boating this is the place for you.

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You can book a ferry trip or do a sun-downer cruise

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Canoes can also be hired

There was a fair bit of activity on the river.  There are houseboats, ferries, motorboats etc.  It looked like a lot of fun.

On our way back to Jubilee we stopped to take photos of birds on the Bitou River.

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Grey Heron

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We watched a male pied kingfisher catch this fish and give it to his mate.                                                 She is about to swallow it.

 

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A Jackal Buzzard refused to pose on the telephone wire but I got him in flight

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Then he settled into a nearby tree.

It was indeed an interesting morning.  Next time we come to Plettenberg Bay we will be a bit more informed about the best places to visit.

 

 

 

7

Plettenberg Bay – The Kids’ New Home – Exploring

How amazing it has been to see our kids happily adapting to their new lives here in Plettenberg Bay.  Lauren has been to meet a few colleagues at her new school, set up her classroom and has Simon’s uniform sorted.  Tomorrow they start their first day – Lauren to teach a class of 22 Grade 2s (what a pleasure) and Simon to finish his final primary school year.

The Earl has been busy doing handyman stuff around the house and I have enjoyed the wonderful new kitchen so much that I’ve done a lot of the cooking!

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Grandpa busy with his screw-driver

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Me in kitchen heaven

On Friday Earl and I took Lauren and Simon to George.  The excursion was to find school shoes for Simon and the only ones that would do were the Woolworths brand.   Plettenberg Woollies could not oblige and nor could Knysna so it ended up being a two hour but scenic drive the the larger town.  It was shopping paradise and we managed to complete it all in time to meet our relatives, Diane and Carey, for lunch.  They drove the hour from Great Brak to meet us.  It was a really good bonding time for us all.

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Diane, Simon, Lauren, Carey

The weather has been pretty awesome.  At this time of the year it can be iffy.   Jubilee Farm is in the mountains so gets a bit of mist but it doesn’t last all day and we’ve had some really sunny clear days.

On Sunday it was glorious so Allan and I took a long up hill and down dale hike while the others followed in the Everest.  I found it somewhat exhausting but totally awesome.

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One of the dams we discovered

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The Everest negotiating the steep track

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Shan, The Earl and Allan admiring the dam

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A view towards the farm house

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Yet another dam

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Hosting a lone yellow-billed duck

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Allan and Shan walking across the lands which will be good for the cattle

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Breath-taking view

Today was another glorious day but rain will follow as a berg wind was blowing.

Lauren had to go to school for a few hours, Allan took Simon to get the remainder of his uniform and we met up at The Lookout Deck for breakfast.

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Lookout Deck – Plettenberg Bay

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The View  over Lookout Beach

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Steps to Gina’s secluded little beach

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Shan and I had Baby Benedicts – (spinach and mushroom)

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Simon fancied the savoury/sweet French toast with bacon and maple syrup

After breakfast the family went off shopping while we explored a bit of Plettenberg Bay.  We used often to visit the Beacon Island Hotel in the old days so it was a bit of a trip down memory lane.

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Sand Art on Central Beach

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Sunbathing is fun when you’re made of sand

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African Wildlife on the Beach

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The Beacon Island Hotel in the background of Central Beach

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Central Beach

 

We had a  very brief thunderstorm – not unexpected after all the heat. After the thunderstorm we sat out on the deck and enjoyed the view while Allan had a business meeting in the dining room.

It’s so great seeing our kids settling in and enjoying their new home – and we just love it too. They’d better watch out – we will be visiting frequently in the future!