5

Midweek Spa Break

We had our bathroom basin replaced on Wednesday last week and couldn’t use it for two days.  So we used this as an excuse to go away for a midweek break.

In the heart of the Cape Winelands, on Route 62,  lies Robertson also known as the Valley of Wine and Roses.  This is where Trip Advisor found us Rosendal Spa which had an attractive package that included Dinner, Bed and Breakfast and 2 spa treatments each.  Just what we needed!

Roses and grapevines have the same type of soil and sun requirements.   Farmers plant rose hedges near the vines not only to make their farmlands look attractive but also to attract bees and to provide a habitat for beneficial insects which will prey on harmful insects that cause damage to the grapes. Robertson is a particularly fertile valley where everything grows well making it a very pretty place to visit.

After driving the hour and half picturesque route we arrived at our stunning accommodation.

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Reception and Restaurant

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View of Rosendal from the other side of the dam

Our room opened onto the pool area and as the weather was hot the pool offered welcome relief.

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Looking toward our room from the pool area

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A bit chilly at first

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But so refreshing

The dam had a variety of birds to entertain us and on a walk around the estate I found some others too.

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A confiding Cape Robin showed up quite frequently

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Black Crowned Night Heron hiding in the reeds

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Red-knobbed Coot

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Cape Canaries in the vines

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Cape Canary

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Red-knobbed coot

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Common Moorhen

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Little Grebe – but I prefer it’s former name – Dabchick

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Female Bishop

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Farm Dam passed on my walk

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Yellow-billed ducks seen on farm dam

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Speckled Mousebird

On Thursday after breakfast I had a facial and Earl a pedicure.   Our therapists were excellent and we enjoyed an hour of pampering.  We then went into Robertson to do a bit of shopping as it offers a slightly larger variety of stores than Bredasdorp.  Even so we struggled to find any that still had men’s shorts in stock!  But we did not return empty handed after finding the required item at Jeep.

 

In the afternoon we went for an African Wood Massage – an hour and a half of pure bliss.

Our meals could be taken in the restaurant or on the deck overlooking the dam.  Even in the evenings it was warm enough to sit outdoors.

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Sunset over the dam

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Earl’s shot of the crescent moon

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The Lamb Shank was delicious

 

We always feel proudly South African when we meet tourists who tell us how much they have enjoyed visiting our country and usually they tell us about the excellent service they receive from establishments they stay at and restaurants they visit.  We met two German girls who were having a very adventurous time.  We gave the some tips on what to do when in Cape Town.

 

Another couple who were our age and from England told us that they’d had a great time up until that day!  I’m sharing their story here as a warning to others who visit our beautiful land.   Crime is a problem here!  Be aware and watch out for scammers! This couple were driving in their hire car from Paarl to Robertson when they a BMW hooted and flashed lights at them, indicating that they wanted them to pull over and stop. Not wanting to break the law they obliged.  “Where are you going?” an official looking man asked.  They told him.  “Well you need a pass to go there.   Follow us and we will show you where to get one.”   They were taken to an ATM. “Put your card in there and your pass will be issued.”   Unfortunately the gentleman obliged and his card was cloned.  He realised this when the machine did not spit it out again.  The scammers, of course, were gone and nowhere to be seen. He went into the bank and his card was cancelled.   Then it was a two hour session at the police station before he could continue his journey.  Please people,  demand badges and names before agreeing to this kind of thing not only in this country but in any one.   Be on your guard and vigilant at all times.  And in this country avoid driving long distances at night.

Naturally this incident upset our new friends but they said that other than that their experiences here had been positive.  They’d enjoyed an amazing trip to The Kruger National Park and were now about to do the Garden Route.   Hopefully, the bad incident will soon be forgotten.

On our way back to Struisbaai I couldn’t resist taking this photograph.

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A refreshing change from your usual scare crow!

 

 

 

 

 

6

Sunday visit to Arniston

Cara and Shaun cooked us a wonderful breakfast on Sunday morning and we discussed what everyone would like to do on their last day.   Swimming and/or body surfing was on the list so we suggested packing cossies and heading off to Arniston where we could also include a visit to The Waenhuiskrans Cave.  The Earl and I secretly hoped to stop to see a bird or two but time was of the essence so we didn’t stop for too many.

 

You can only get into the cave at low tide which Earl said would be at 14h00.   We were a bit earlier than that so we explored the area a bit and then went for a swim.

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Shaun and Cara with Casper

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Be careful Cansu

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Lolz and Cansu watching the surfers at Otter Beach

 

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Casper also wanted to swim

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Cold – but lovely once you’re in

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Fun jumping the waves

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Recovering from a dump!

The boys did some body surfing and the girls some tanning and then we dried off and set off to see if the cave was doable.

The last time I did it with friends it was spring low tide and looked like this.

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Easy to make your way along these dry rocks

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Not so easy when you have to wade through the tide that is not quite out yet

I decided not to risk slipping on the route to the cave just in case I fell and had to deal with weeks of recovery – not a good idea at my ripe old age.  But the young ones being more sure-footed bravely went ahead.

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Shaun the gallant gentleman giving Cansu a hand

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The Earl watched from the top of the cliff and yelled out directions

To get to the cave you have to go through a smaller one and then crawl through a tunnel.  The kids missed the way at first but Earl was watching from the cliff and gesticulated frantically until they caught on that they’d gone to far. Cara found the tunnel and in they went. As I wasn’t there I couldn’t take photos but these are some from a past trip.

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Inside the cave

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The opening to the sea

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The crawl through tunnel

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Was this Hayley?  I called her name but she could not hear me above the crashing waves

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She was a braver woman than I  – It was indeed Hayley and we had a lovely catch- up when she returned.

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Our adventurers returning

The young ones needed to get back to Cape Town so we decided not to have lunch at the motel which was busy and we would have had a long wait to be served.

On the return I had to yell for The Earl to stop as I spotted a Denham’s bustard – a bird I have to see when doing this drive!

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We saw very little else in the way of birds but it was still and most enjoyable excursion.

 

 

 

5

Share your world 6 February 2017

Here are my answers to Cee’s Share Your World 6 February 2017

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?

Funny you should ask because if I’d read this question this morning my answer might have been quite different.

Of course I like my fridge to be neat and organized but for the past few days it has been in a bit of a state so today I sorted out the chaos!   I threw out left over food from last Monday’s anniversary party, poured mayonnaise from an almost empty jar into an almost full one, checked to see that the milk wasn’t past its use by date and put veggies into containers instead of leaving them in their punnets and plastic wrappings.   I didn’t know this was going to be a question today so don’t have a before photograph – but here is what my refrigerator looks like after its clean out this morning!

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Well the above is how my fridge looked when I started this post but then my adopted grandson, Sam and his friend, Daniel who are staying with us for a few days, came back from a night time fishing trip with four geelbek and a skipjack so they now have pride of place till tomorrow morning when they can be cleaned.   Guess what we will be having for dinner tomorrow!

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Sam (left) and Daniel had a great evening out on Sam’s boat Red Head

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Lovely fresh fish   

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

Depending on what the meal is – I like each vegetable to have  its own place on the plate but I eat them together with the meat or fish – a bit of fish and a bit of veggie on one fork is the proper way to eat isn’t it?  I do not eat one food group at a time – first the peas, then the carrots and leave the best till last – that’s crazy.  I like mixing the flavours.

Sushi of course is fish, vegetable and rice rolled together in a sheet of seaweed and I love that.

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

If it is printed I read it.   But if the first few pages don’t grab me I have no qualms about setting it aside.   I like well written fiction. My favourite authors are Anne Tyler, Chaim Potok, Bryce Courtenay, Barbara Trapido, Mavis Cheek,Maeve Binchy, Anita Shreve.  I also love books by South African authors about South African life.   Michael Heyns, Rayda Jacobs, Pamela Jooste and Maire Fischer have written some amazing fiction.  I am reading a book by Deon Meyer’s Icarus at the moment.

I have/had a huge collection of coffee table/reference books.  I had to give most of them away when we sold our big house in Cape Town – it broke my heart but there’s no room for them in Struisbaai. I still have too many.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?

I’m thirsty – time to have a lovely cold glass of water.   If I don’t drink enough water my blood pressure drops and then I wonder why I’m so exhausted.

 

 

 

 

12

The Long Road to Struisbaai

Since our ‘holiday’ in Italy, The Earl’s health has improved, we’ve sold our Sun Valley Home and had a great holiday with The Rural Family in Kokstad.   There was a hiccup with chest pains in Kokstad but they were caused from Fly Fishing and not his heart!   However, it did prevent us from taking our grandchildren to Tala Game Reserve.

Once that settled down it was time to return to the Fiefdom of Struisbaai.  We decided to take it slowly and take the scenic Garden Route.

6 January 2017

It was raining again this morning.   We were up and packed by 5:30, went to say farewell to the family and then hit the road.

We stopped at Stone Junction in Maclear for breakfast.  It was lovely.  We had eggs, bacon, pork sausage, mushroom and tomato. The coffee was good.

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Delicious Breakfast at Stone Junction, Maclear, Eastern Cape

Our next stop was Queenstown where we fuelled.  The roads were not too bad but we had to look out for cows, goats and donkeys.  The scenery was stunning.

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img_2674We arrived at Casa Mia near Addo Elephant Park at 15:30 had some coffee and rusks and a bit of a rest then went to dinner at Lenmore Family Restaurant about 5km away.   We met a young family – Mom, Dad and five-year-old Noah from England.  They were on a round the world trip.   Tomorrow they’re doing Addo and we gave them some advice as to where to go and what to do.

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Saturday 7 January 2017

The alarm woke me at 5 and I had no trouble in jumping out of bed to ready myself for a day in Addo Elephant Park.   I was not anticipating too much as we were there just a couple of months ago and the sightings were average – no big cats and nothing unusual. But just being in the park again would be enough for me.   We packed our picnic breakfast and set off in high spirits.

It was 6:00 am when we entered the main gate and were slightly put out when we were told that reception would only open at 7:00 and it was there that we had to get our day passes for the game viewing area!  Never mind – we could have breakfast at Cattle Baron  and eat our picnic for lunch – no such luck – The Baron opened even later!

So we went to the waterhole and enjoyed the birds then got our day pass, had a coffee at Barons and set off to find what we could find.

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The Egyptain Geese were feeling frisky

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A good start to the morning

By 10 o’clock we had photographed some lovely birds, kudu and zebra.

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Ant-eating chat

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African Pipit

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Lone Buffalo

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Beautiful Male Kudu

 

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Malachite Sunbird in transitional plumage

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Southern Boubou

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Karoo Scrub-robin

But what we really hoped to find were the Bat Eared Fox cubs that everyone on The Addo Facebook page was raving about.  And we were in luck – a single car was parked on the side of the road to Carol’s Rest and pointed out the den to us.  We spent half an hour enjoying their antics and taking photos and soon there were several other cars joining in the fun.

 

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After that we headed up to the Zuurkop Outlook.   “Look at all the dung beetles and worms on the road,”said Earl  trying hard not to run over any of them.

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The mighty dung beetle cleaning up the landscape

At Zuurkop we hopped of the car and were joined by a few other tourists.  We got chatting to a Mom and daughter, saw some elephants a short distance away and I lingered to look,  a few feet away from Earl while he chatted to some people.  My back was to him and when I heard him call to me to look at something. I turned around and my heart almost stopped.  He was teetering backwards in the most alarming way – I ran – and as he fell I heard a gurgling sound, his eyes rolled back in his head and he dropped flat on his back – out cold.   Crazy thoughts raced through my head – he’s dead – what am I going to say to the girls, I’m not ready to be a widow – I have to get him breathing again – I pinched his nose, put my mouth over his and started blowing what I thought was life back into him – not holding out much hope that it would work – what the hell did I know about CPR – nothing! Suddenly he shook his head, giggled and said, “What’s going on. I’ve just had the most beautiful dream.”                                                                                                                                              I freaked out – “You fainted – I thought you were dead!”

“Keep calm,” said a soothing voice, the lady to whom we had been chatting.  “If you’re calm he’ll be calm.”   I found out later that her name was Ayshia.  She put a pillow under Earl’s head and it was then that I realised he was bleeding.   I ran for the first aid kit, couldn’t find the wipes so Aishia gave me hers, I cleaned it then put a plaster on his wound.  We checked that he wasn’t hurt and he insisted that he was fine.

“I just bent down to pick up a worm to show you,” he said, “I did feel a bit light headed so I must have passed out when I stood up.  I really am fine now.”

Well – it’s not normal to just keel over like that.  I wanted to take him straight to a doctor.   He agreed to let me drive and after we both calmed down I got behind the wheel and drove to reception to get names of doctors.  Not helpful at all – You have to go to Port Elizabeth, they said.

So we drove back to Casa Mia and Earl said his neck was sore.  He just wanted to rest.  I massaged him with Traumeel and gave him an anti inflammatory.   I then asked reception hostess for the name and number of a doctor.  She suggested a practice in Kirkwood.  The reply from them was – the doctors are going off duty now you must go to outpatients at the hospital.

Earl thought he didn’t feel up to driving anywhere. He just wanted to rest.  I allowed him to do this but after consulting with our Jeffrey’s Bay friends who we were due to visit the following day we decided to go straight to St George’s Hospital Outpatients just to be on the safe side.

It was about 3 o’clock on this Saturday afternoon when  we arrived at the hospital. We parked the car and trailer in the street and a car guard offered to give the vehicle a wash.  It really needed it so we agreed.  It cost us R100.

Earl was ushered straight into the emergency room and given an angiogram. I remained behind to fill in forms and it was half an hour later before I was allowed in to see what was going on.  The staff were amazing and after Italy we were delighted that everybody spoke English!!!   A young lady doctor with the gentlest bedside manner broke the news – “I have spoken to the cardiologist and as your husband is a high risk patient he would like to do some more tests and so he must remain in hospital overnight.”

I was devastated.  Stupid thoughts raced through my mind. Where would I go?  We had a trailer – where would I park it – how would I get it off the car.  I have no sense of direction – I will get lost in Port Elizabeth.  You would swear I hadn’t dealt with worse in  Italy!

I heard Earl say to the doctor –“Can’t I just take my wife to a B&B and come back later?”

No – she said.

It must have been the fainting episode that had put me into panic mode.   I felt like I was falling apart – my arms and legs didn’t belong to me, I had to take control of them and instruct them what to do. I had to gear my mind to the right thinking paths. I had to assure my husband that I would cope!

I heard myself say, “I will be fine, Darling.  I can tow a trailer – nothing to it.  And I will find a B&B with space to park it!”

The doctor said, “You can ask the nurses at reception for if they know of accommodation nearby.”

But I started googling.   A few minutes later the doctor reappeared.  She handed me a slip of paper – My fiancé’s parents have a B&B in Summerstrand.  They have space for your trailer and will help you unhitch it.

Wow  –  The Lord once again sent an angel to our aid

I rang the number and made the necessary arrangements.

After getting lost for an half an hour because I entered the address into the GPS incorrectly, I finally made it to the B&B a mere 10 minutes away if you have your mind functioning correctly.

Bev met me at the gate.  “You must be stressed out,” she said and gave me a comforting hug.  Another one of God’s Angels.  She told me she had been a nursing sister and had looked after her own dad who was a heart patient too.   Her stories were most reassuring and she told me that St George’s was an excellent hospital and that E would receive the best care.

After settling myself in I walked to the shopping centre just around the corner and had a glass of wine and some sushi at Taste of Asia.

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I felt much calmer when I went back and was able to contact the girls to give them the news.

Sunday 8 January 2017

I was confident that Earl would be discharged today.  I phoned the hospital and they said, “Your husband had a good night. No pain and no dizziness when mobile.  The doctor still needs to see him but we are don’t see any reason for him to remain another day.”

So I cheerfully packed him some clothes and made my way to Life St George’s arriving around 10 o’clock.   When E saw me he said, “Why have you brought my clothes? I sent you a text to tell you I have to stay another night.” The Port Elizabeth doctor needed to consult with the Cape Town doctor and as it was Sunday it would have to wait till tomorrow.  “Oh, I’m sure that he will let you go and you can stay with me at Le Fishermans and then see him in his rooms tomorrow.”

We got into conversation with the 2 other women in the ward.  They were convinced that they were going home today too.  “I’m not staying here another minute,” said the one next to the window.  “Neither am I,” said the one across the way.   Nobody’s going to make me shower at 4 in the morning again!”  They dug in their heels and prepared for battle against the great doctor.  The staff who were in and out, looked on with knowing smiles.

Earl was first on his list. I introduced myself.   “So your husband has been picking up worms and then keeling over unconscious,” he said.  “Yes, he is not in my good books at the moment.”

He asked me my version of the story and then checked the dosage of his medication.  He said to stop taking the Cardicor so now all Earl needs to take is Pritor for blood pressure, cardio aspirin and Crestor for cholesterol.

I asked him if Earl could be discharged and see him in his rooms tomorrow morning.  He was appalled – “Absolutely not,” he looked at me in horror. “I need to monitor this man’s heart!”

“But I thought everything was fine.”

“No it’s not.  There is something strange about his cardiogram”  He spoke to the attending staff member – “how was he last night?” – and he looked at the chart. “No irregularities” said the nurse.   But he wanted to see if the strange thing came up again and he wanted to know if it was a new phenomenon or whether it had been seen on his angiograms before.  That is why he needed to speak E’s cardiologist in Cape Town.

He then went to speak to each of the other patients in turn.  Each of them begged to be discharged.  He wasn’t having any of it.  “Doctor, I promise it won’t happen again,” said the one old duck.   “O really,” came the reply “and how did this happen in the first place?”  “I don’t know, Doctor.”  “And neither do I so that’s why you’re staying so I can work out how to fix you!” And that was that.

When he left and the nurse returned to check on the patients, she smiled and said – so you’re staying, you’re  staying and you’re staying!
I said, “Now ladies – I hope I can trust you with my husband.”

“Ha ha,” said Mrs wont’t shower at 4 am.  “We’re too weak to do anything.  Your husband has more energy than either of us – can you trust him with us!”

At 11 I left and went to the coffee shop for breakfast.   I phoned each daughter to break the news – Laurie – Oh no man – now listen all this travelling around has to stop.  You have to make dad take it easy.  No more travelling for the next six months!”

Lisa – “So hasn’t the bypass worked?”   “Yes it has darling. This is something new.”  “Oh well then it’s good the doctor is doing something about it.”

Lauren – “Oh dear – How are you handling it? Are you taking strain –  Don’t worry – it will all work out.”

After several long conversations I finally drove home.   On the way the phone rang.  I stopped to answer.  A friend of mine when she heard I was in Port Elizabeth asked her friend who lives nearby to contact me.  I also knew Brenda when she lived in Cape Town so it was great to hear from her.  We arranged to meet for coffee later in the afternoon.

So after I’d visited E she collected me from Le Fishermans and we went to the Beach Hotel which was wonderful. We sat on the deck on comfy couches and chatted and chatted.

 

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Thanks for a lovely afternoon, Brenda

Monday 9 January 2017

I packed up but left everything in the room and by 8 o’clock I was ready for breakfast.   I was the only guest there and Bev provided a delicious meal.  I started with Greek Yogurt sweetened with something delicious she makes herself.   I added some fruit to this.  Then she asked how I would like my eggs – medium – and it was served with bacon, tomato and fried zucchini – fabulous.  The coffee was excellent too.

I then dashed off to the hospital with high hopes the The Earl would be ready for discharge.  I was allowed in but when the doctor arrived was asked to wait in the foyer.    But all was well. The two cardiologists had consulted and they concluded that the strange pattern in Earl’s cardiogram was normal for him  – so no further intervention needed. The fainting was simply due to a fluctuation in blood pressure when he stood up too quickly.

So after 2 nights of excellent care – in English! – we went back to Le Fisherman’s, hitched up the trailer, bade farewell to my amazing hostess and headed to Jbay.

We had a great time with our friends there and the following day stopped at Great Brak for a visit with relatives.  We are now back and settled in good old Struisbaai!

 

 

 

 

0

An interlude in Port Edward

Hilton invited us to spend some time with them at their holiday home in Port Edward while we’re here in KZN.  We needed to take Lolz to the airport yesterday so we decided to stop over with them on our way back.

King Shaka International Airport is a three hour drive from Kokstad so it was a crack of dawn start on a beautiful clear day.   We were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and had a golf cart come by and give us a lift from the carpark to departures.  It took half an hour for Laurie to get through the bag drop queue and then we went to Mugg and Bean for breakfast.

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Bag Drop was busy!

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Brekkie at Mugg and Bean

The drive from the airport along the South Coast of KZN is one of the most beautiful in South Africa. It has a subtropical climate and everything is intensely green.   The old railway line is still in existence for industrial use but sadly no passenger trains use it anymore.

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A mix of traditional and modern housing

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The railway next to the sea

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A very scenic route

In 1979 I stayed with a friend whose family farmed in Boston.  At that time I had no connections with anybody in KZN!  Together we took the train from Durban to Port Shepstone – a beautiful scenic ride which took about six hours.   Another friend collected us from there and took us to Port Edward.  I still have amazing memories of the mud huts in which we stayed, the trees and the unspoiled beach.   Returning there this year to stay with Hilton and Glynis was a thrill.  Progress of course, is inevitable because those thatched, mud huts which nestled on 640 ha of pristine land, bordered by two rivers and one of the most unspoiled beaches in Southern Africa, have been replaced by The  Wild Coast Sun Hotel and Casino.  Heather’s husband, Gundi, also remembers the site, as he too spent many family holidays there.

Although a lot of development has taken place, the beaches are still unspoilt and it is a delightful area in which to have a holiday home. Hilton and Glynis have one close to a small beach where the kids can mess about in rock pools, there is space for the boat and tractor that pulls and launches it and there is also a pool.

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They usually have this beach all to themselves

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Glynis and the dog

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Just watch out for grass snakes before getting into the pool

Soon after we arrived we went down to the Ski-boat club which overlooks the main beach.   We enjoyed a drink and then returned with Nathan who had just been discharged from hospital and was a little tired.  Recently Hilton and Gareth entered a species competition and they and Earl returned to attend the prize giving.  And Gareth was thrilled to get R2000 in prize money!

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Gareth posing with photos of past catches that line the walls of the living area

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An old landrover is what is used for most of the driving around Port Edward

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Hilton at the wheel – even the windscreen is missing

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It’s a really fun ride

In the evening we went to the spectacular Wild Coast Casino for dinner.  It was busy and full of gamblers but we enjoyed wandering around the place and the restaurant, Chico’s was lovely.   For a set price they serve soup, Mongolian stir fry, roasts, seafood, vegetables, cold meats and salads and a variety of desserts.   You may help yourself and eat as much as you can manage!  We had an amazing evening.

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Chico’s

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Lit up for Christmas

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Tropical Fish in the ponds

This morning we were up very early and met another niece Heather and her hubby Gundi for breakfast at Bobbie’s – which also overlooks the main beach.

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Gundi, Heather, Glynis, Hilton and me

Afterwards we went for a walk along the beach.   The swimming flags were up and a good number of life guards were on duty.  Once again we thoroughly enjoyed our morning bonding with our younger relatives.  We are very keen to visit them there again in the future and when Earl is stronger Hilton wants to take him out to sea – the KZN way!

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View from Bobbie’s

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The sea was 20 degrees C – Hilton said it was cold but it was not!

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Life Guards keeping a close eye on the bathers

It was an hour and a half drive from Port Edward back to Lauren’s.   We took the short cut which involved a game of “dodge the pothole” and watch out for pedestrians, cows and goats but once on the N2 it was smooth going again.

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Tonight we are having a quiet evening and may or may not stay awake to see the New Year in!

2

Birthday Celebration

29 December 2016

We celebrated 37 years of joy with Laurie today.

While the neighbours are overseas Lauren, Lisa and the boys are staying in their house. Their dogs looked at her pleadingly this morning so she and I took them for walk  after breakfast.

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It was a perfect morning for walking

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Major and Blackie agreed

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It rained hard last night resulting in ditches of water for Major to swim in

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It was a scenic route

Ann and Dean invited all 10 of us to join them and their kids for lunch.  Jacob was here for the day  so he joined us too.

Ann is the youngest of the Mackenzie children and of course we always think of he as the baby – but now she is a working wife and mother of three and has the most beautiful home with a wonderful view over Brooklyn Farm.  Dean bought a lot of the Brooklyn land as well as the neighbouring farm.

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The house on the hill

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Birthday Girl

As we downsized this year we really felt emotional about parting with some of our much loved possession.  Our Blackwood dining room table was one such item and so we offered it to Ann and Dean if they would pay to have it transported from Cape Town to Kokstad.  And wow – what a delight to see it looking just right in their dining area.

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Dean, Ann and Baby Sarah

Even though there are varying ages among the cousins they always connect and get on well together.  Caitlyn and James adore Simon and Shannon and having Jay and Josh and Shan’s boyfriend Jacob was an extra bonus for them.  There is so much space for the kids to have fun and even the big ones enjoyed the trampoline and swings!

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The View

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Lolz getting birthday attention from Sammy

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Simon reading a story to the little ones – the older ones enjoying it too

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James is king of the castle on Jacob’s shoulders

Lunch was lovely and Barbara and Andrew came over after to have tea and deliver a gift to Lolz.

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Barbara with Sarah – her 12th grandchild

Later we went to Brooklyn to collect some beans from Barbara’s garden.  Margaret was beside herself with excitement to see Laurie.

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Nicoline came for sundowners and then we had a delicious stew with sweet potatoes and Barbara’s green beans.  We finished the day by watching an episode of Master Chef Australia.

 

3

Wattle Crane Cottage

27 December 2016

Sailor’s Gift farm, owned by the Raws, is just a half hour’s drive from Kaag’s Post.   But from there to Wattle Crane Cottage next to the highest dam in South Africa it is another half hour along a steep and rocky drive with several gates to open as you go.   The Ford Everest made it with room to spare!
We only took the boys along this time as Shan is not into fishing and instead accompanied her dad on a golfing trip.

You would think that after years of much travelling my darling husband would have clicked by now that it all comes together in the end.  But even for a short trip such as this he gets himself into a tizz about meeting schedules and fitting everything into the car.  Now we have a huge 4×4 and a trailer and with patience and time we always fit everything plus kids in with ease. But no trip would be complete without the panic.

I saw to the clothing, towels, toiletries and techno travel stuff and was about to check the food story when the dear one appeared with disastrous news – The Blitz was packed in with the sugar and now it’s contaminated. –  No it’s not, I reassured him – the sugar is sealed and so are the fire lighters.   Just relax – the supermarket packer forgot to put it in a separate bag!  NO BIG DEAL.  There were other things missing because he went and panic-packed without me but with careful checking I rounded everything up and the car and trailer were packed with precision.  BUT – because I was slightly rattled by my beloved I forgot to pack the MILK.   I also misjudged the appetite of three teen-aged boys and they complained that there wasn’t enough bread and rolls!  But we had rusks and biscuits, lots of fruit and plenty of meat and vegetables so they did not, as feared,  starve! We arrived at quarter to ten – Fifteen minutes before schedule – so what was all the fuss about!

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Wattle Crane Cottage overlooks the dam

The boys were very excited.  Jay claimed the canoe but had to help with the row boat first. It is heavy and was upside down.  When the boys turned it over, what should they discover, but a swarm of bees!  They had made a hive under the boat! A bucket of water later they managed to move the honeycomb to a safe spot and then waited a while for the swarm to find it before they could use the boat.

Simon and Josh fished from the jetty,

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Jay tried his luck from the canoe

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Grandpa fretted till the rowboat was safe to use.  Then he and Jay went off to the far end of the dam.   Simon and Josh took the canoe and Si almost caught an enormous trout but his line broke off!

There has been a drought in KZN (and the rest of the country) so the water level was very low.  The fish seemed not to be on the bite either because most unusually nobody managed to get a single fish. However, they seemed to have a lot of fun.

The rain came in the late afternoon along with some dramatic thunder and lightning.   The boys were starving and polished off the rolls with some smoked chicken, tomato and avo They also tucked into juice and biscuits.

For supper Grandpa braaied some deliciously juicy chops and sweet potatoes and I made a banana and chutney salad and roasted some veggies. For dessert we had mango and yogurt.

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28 December 2016

It rained a lot during the night and it was still overcast when we woke up at 7.   The boys were still fast asleep so grandpa went out in the row boat on his own.

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He was back after an hour as it rained. His rain jacket had not completely protected him so his shirt was wet and he had not packed a second one!  So I made him squeeze into my black t-shirt which was not too skimpy.  Fortunately he’d lost weight during his illness in Italy so managed to get into it.   He couldn’t find his fleece either and so once again borrowed mine.  You might ask why he didn’t borrow from Jay or Josh – Well – they hadn’t brought any spare clothing either had they!   After an hour he found his fleece in the car didn’t look too much like a girl once he’d donned that over my t-shirt.

By 8:30 everybody was up and I cooked scrambled eggs, tomato, mushrooms and bacon.  After yesterday’s complaints about not enough bread I expected them to be demanding a second round of toast but – No thanks, Gran – we’re full.   I told them that high fat in their diet would make them cave less carbohydrate and it seems I was right!   They were still satisfied from last night’s meal.

Although it was raining and the lads were ill prepared as far as the correct clothing was concerned they insisted on going out on the dam. Because of the rain we thought we might just pack up and go – but they were having none of that!  Anyway – luckily the rain abated and they did not get too wet.

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View across the dam

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Healthy looking calves

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Misty Conditions

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Please don’t get lost, Josh and Si

Nobody wanted to leave the cottage but because more rain was forecast Grandpa thought it safer to leave before it became unsafe to drive. So we packed up and reluctantly returned to Kaag’s Post.  It turned out to be a good decision as it poured during the night.  It would have been a treacherous drive back had we remained till the following morning.

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Some of the Sailor’s Gift herd

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Sailor’s Gift

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Cape Longclaw seen on our drive down

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The cause of the baby boom in Kokstad!