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.


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.


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


The cafe where you can taste before you buy


The patio area


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


Share Your World 2 October 2017

Some great questions again from Cee’s Share Your World

Here are my answers

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

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

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



The Scary Helicopter


The view was certainly worth it


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

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


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

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

The braai ritual in progress

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

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

001 Giraffe in the sunrise Namutoni Etosha

One wouldn’t want to oversleep and miss this 

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

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

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


He wasn’t shy at all


He think he enjoyed the attention


This is a good scratching rock




Here is my submission for Linda’s Saturday Stream of Consciousness prompt:-

Your prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “do/dew/due”. Use one, use two or use all three. If you start and end with two of them, you get bonus points. If you use all three AND start and end with two of them, you get Linda’s bonus points plus, I’ll match hers – from me to you. And, lest we all forget – Enjoy!

Do not leave a due assignment outdoors overnight.

Because in the morning it will be covered in dew.

And you will have this dilemma:-

“Do I hand in a due assignment all wet with dew?”





Share Your World 25 September 2017

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

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Black and White Challenge 21 September 2017

I love this week’s black and white challenge – The back of things

Here is my contribution.


Checking out the shipwreck – Cape Agulhas

2010-10-09 054 Earl at Orpen Dam Hide Helen

Orpen Dam Lookout – Kruger National park

2010-10-06 047 Waterbuck Helen

Target Bum of the Waterbuck

2010-10-07 053 Zebra Bums Helen

Stripy bottoms


Woolly-necked Stork – Back view

2010-10-12 030 Giraffe Helen

Journey of Giraffe

2010-10-12 033 Elephants Helen

Elephant Mums and Elephant Bums


Share Your World 18 September 2017

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

Complete this sentence: I want to learn more about …

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

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

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

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

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

Bed in Italy

Bed I slept in for three weeks in Italy

What is your greatest extravagance?

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

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

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


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