Saturday Stream of Consciousness – Grill

The one word prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness is Grill.

All over Southern Africa if one wants to grill meat it’s over a braai that one will do it.    Barbecue is what it is called in most other countries.  But just to be clear – Braai is really not the same as barbecue – we do NOT grill hamburgers or hot dogs on a Braai!   Wood is  key – it must be hard and dry so that it burns hot and long.  The whole process of sitting by the fire for an hour or so while having sun-downers is all part of the ritual.   In the Western Cape we have the alien invader, Rooikrans (red-eye wattle) which is excellent to use as braai wood.


A typical braai scene

The word braai is shortened from the Afrikaans word,  braaivleis,  loosely translated to grilled meat.

The word can be used as a noun or a verb.

We are having a (n) braai where braai means a meal that includes meat cooked over the fire.

We will cook on the (n) braai  where the word means a construction in which one makes a fire and meat is placed on a braai grid and cooked over this fire.

Dad will (v) braai the meat where the word means grill.

South Africans are so crazy about braaing that many have both an indoor and outdoor braai at their homes.   The die-hards will braai no matter what the weather

086 Braai in the rain

My grandson, Jay, Braaing in the rain

– we have even been known to braai in the falling snow.


Crazy South Africans braaing in the snow – Verbier, Switzerland – that’s me in the pink hat

It’s also not only meat that we will braai.  Fish is a very popular choice and every fisherman I know has his own unique way of doing a snoek or yellowtail over the coals.   The Earl’s specialty is Yellow-tail basted with what was once his secret sauce.  He recently shared the recipe, much to the horror of his children,  in an article in Ski-Boat Magazine!

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Grandfather teaching Grandson the fine art of braaing a fish

Not only is meat, fish or chicken grilled over the braai, other foods can be cooked in the braai coals too.  Sweet potatoes wrapped in tinfoil are absolutely delicious cooked this way.  Constantia sandwiches are another winner.   Place cheese, onion and tomato sandwiches on the grid and toast on both sides.  Delicious.   A favourite way to cook butternut squash – stuff it with a mixture of chutney and tomato and onion mix, wrap in tinfoil and cook in the hot coals.   I could go on with many more delicious ways to braai your veggies.

The Braai is traditionally the domain of the Man of the House but no braai is complete without the salads – usually made by Mom. Potato salad, rice salad, pasta salad, Greek salad – any salad will do.

From it’s humble beginnings as a method of cooking while out in the bush, The South African Braai has become an elaborate way of entertaining and is an integral part of South African Social Life.   Don’t mess with the Braai Master -His braai is sacred and his woman let’s him think so – It’s one way of not having to cook the whole meal herself!


The Braai – Best way to enjoy a meal with friends!


Warm Hospitality in Kokstad

It’s summer  in the Southern Hemisphere and in KZN you would expect the weather to be super hot!  But there has been lingering snow in the Drakensberg and Kokstad was  gripped in some winter-like weather for over a week. Thankfully it’s warming up now and yesterday, instead of complaining about the cold, we complained about the heat!

One thing we’re not complaining about is the warm hospitality of the Kokstad friends and family.   I don’t know what it is about this place but everybody is incredibly friendly.  Perhaps it’s the beautiful environment in which they live and their relaxed lifestyle that causes them to be warm-hearted and kind.  Most of the people we know here live on farms or small holdings and they are surrounded by beautiful mountains, streams, trees and have amazing gardens.   Some might say that small places are friendlier but that’s not always true.  Some small places are very cliquey and it may take years to be made to feel welcome there.   Here in East Griqualand, we have found, you’re made to feel one of the family immediately.

So while the weather has been chilly we’ve been visiting.   Thanks to the Clarkes for a lovely morning of catching up on their amazing four-month adventure off-roading through Africa with their two boys.   The pancakes for tea were scrumptious, thanks Bryan.

The Flemmings had us over for dinner which was delicious. And sitting before their roaring fire was wonderful.  Rose, your roast dinner was to die for.


Rose whipping up a Master Meal


Anti-clockwise from front – Neil, Rose, Lauren, Shannon, Allan, Simon, The Earl

Of course we have been catching up with the extended Stone/Mackenzie family too.  We reminisced about spending so many Christmases together when we were still raising our own kids. They’re all grown now with kids of their own and what a great bunch those kids are.


Just a few of the extended family who popped in for tea


Barbara and Andrew’s cottage on The Farm


An outhouse used as an office and guest flat

Our kids went off for a golfing weekend to Pennington this weekend so we were left to our own devices.  On Friday we had lunch with Barbs and Andrew and yesterday another of our clan arrived from Bloemfontein so we went to The Farm to greet them and have family braai.

Soon after the Bothas arrived, The Earl invited the kids to go to the dam to fish.  I knew the Mackenzie boys would not hesitate.  Rebecca, however, is a girlie girl and I expected her to decline.  How wrong I was.  “I’ve got my fishing rod,” she said.   “Are you sure?” said Mom.  “I don’t think we packed it.”  “Of course, Dad did!”  she insisted and went off to fetch it.

So off the merry little band went.   How delighted we all were when they returned with two fat bass – both caught by 8 year-old girlie girl Rebecca!


Becca with her Bass

While the fisherfolk were off adventuring the rest of us enjoyed Barbara’s shady garden.


Caleb decided that the fishpond would be a good place to cool off.

The Earl cooked the bass as a starter before the braai.  The kids insisted that they would not be eating fish – but all of them did!  Becca only had a tiny bit but got a bit of scale so that put her off!  The others were back for seconds.


Becca trying some fish


Little Emma loved her sisters fish


Seth said no way was he eating Bass – but here he is enjoying it!

The Earl had some willing helpers with the braai.  Aiden and Seth helped chop wood.  Henk has some braaing skills of his own and saved the day when the wood wouldn’t burn.  The food was delicious and the bonding even better.  And what a perfect evening it was after all the cold weather we’ve been having.


Getting the braai going


The essential Boerwors


Henk grilling the steak and chops


Share Your World 15 May 2017

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

How many languages do you you speak?

I speak two languages – My first language is English.   My second language is Afrikaans which I understand perfectly.  When I obtained my Teaching Diploma my Bilingual qualification was Ea.  The capital E meant I was competent to teach in English medium school and to teach Afrikaans as a second language.  I could not get a teaching position at an Afrikaans medium school.  You needed EA  for that.  I began my career as a Speech Correction teacher and taught at both English medium and Afrikaans medium schools so I worked at upgrading my qualification, wrote another exam and did an Oral and passed!   So I am quite proud of bilingual skills.  However, my accent tends to let me down and I can’t pretend that I am as fluent as one who has Afrikaans as her Mother Tongue!   Some Afrikaans speakers are pleased when I speak to them in their language and those whose English is not great are even grateful, but others break into English to spare themselves from listening to me murder their language.


They’re too polite to actually say this but maybe they want to? (Speak Afrikaans or shut up!)

I am trying to learn Italian using the Duolingo App.   I am enjoying it and I’ve reached a level that says:  “You are 20% fluent in Italian!”   So I just need to get the gestures right!


What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?

I read a lot of Blogs.  I also read Go magazine, Promerops (Cape Bird Club quarterly magazine), Fair Lady, a popular South African women’s magazine and sometimes a caravan and camping magazine.  I am reading a Deon Meyer book in Afrikaans on my Kindle.


I am watching “House” on Netflix.   I listen to BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour on a podcast and Cape Talk on AM radio.   The last thing I ate was a ‘braai’ of Lamb chops and salad.   I eat a Low Carbohydrate, High Fat diet.


What was the last photo you took with your phone?

A picture of my husband giving his brother-in-law a foot massage.


What is your favourite time of day?

Early morning is definitely the best time of the day.  At the coast it’s before the wind gets up.  In the bush its calm and quiet and the sunrises are spectacular.   Before I retired I was always up early but now it’s a lot later!   But when we travel it’s early rising again and I love it.


Early morning in The Kruger National Park

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

We love our Off-Road Caravan – an Imagine Comfortvan – and have enjoyed some amazing trips with it.  But the time has come to look for a slightly bigger one.   First we did some research on the internet.   We found two that we liked but wanted to see them in real life before ordering one.  The showroom of the Echo was in Cape Town – not too much of a mission to get there. The Gecko was in Johannesburg – that required a flight and an overnight stay – rather expensive – so we asked the agent if he knew of anyone close to us who had one. He gave us a name and number.   This owner was in Paarl – a doable three hour drive away.   So on Wednesday we drove to Cape Town for the day and on Friday to Paarl.  They were both very nice caravans but we have decided on the Gecko Xtreme which the owner in Paarl showed us.  I am so grateful to him for pointing out the pros and cons of this caravan as well as a number of others that he has pre-owned.


We will be putting in our order for one of these this week

I am looking forward to spending a few days at Warmwaterberg (we arrived today) and then having friends to stay with us for a couple of days.


View from our Bath House as the sun was setting


Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Saffies and Aussies on Safari – Day 22

23 June 2015

I am late for school  – again. I rush into the building and race toward where I think my classroom is but I can’t seem to find it. I panic – the girls will be fretting, wondering where I am. They won’t know what to do. Some will be crying –  I dash across courtyard after courtyard searching for a familiar room but mine does not appear and there’s a lion roaring really close by. He’s getting closer – I must find my classroom!

A distant voice yells, “Lion! Lion!  Get up there’s a lion outside.”

I wake up  – it is just the same recurring dream – I am at Gharagab and finally a lion has come calling.

It is 5:15 and it is Earl who alerts me to the lion’s roar. We listen but it does not come again. We check the water hole – no sign of them. Earl gets dressed and sits at the glass door, while I snuggle under the blankets a little longer. When it’s light I get up too. The Schoffls have heard them too and Erich says he heard the first roars far off at 3 earlier this morning. While Earlybird is packing Dawid comes to show him the spoor of two lions going past our cabin – so they were here!

At 7:30 on the dot Earlybird has us in the car and off in search of the cats. We find spoor on the road and just near Dankbaar water hole, Eagle-eye Wendy calls, “what’s that?” and there in the grass sit two beautiful young black-maned lions.

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We are delighted that the lions are still in the area and that we found them!

Eagle Eye Wendy spots something again. “Are those ant hills or animals?” she says.

We scan with our binos and at first see nothing then they materialize – 7 very cute suricate a but quite a distance away. How did she spot them!


We are delighted with this lovely sighting and continue to enjoy the steenbok that appear quite often, red hartebeest in playful mood and gemsbok getting their morning exercise by racing across the veld.


It’s a long trip over the desert dunes and much like a rollers coaster ride. We are delighted by the Disco 4’s  performance.


We stop at all the waterholes but apart from some bird activity there is little to see.


At Nossob we have brunch at the picnic site.

Upon arrival at Bitterpan we see another CA Land Rover. Another couple arrive just after us – Dave and Jeanette from Hogsback.  The land rover owner introduces himself as Lee and we chat for a whole. Later his wife Shannon joins us. The six of us braai together but Dave and Jeanette decide to do their own.

We have a delightful evening.




Me. Earlybird, Erich, Wendy, Lee


Australian Adventure – Day 29 – Dental Disaster and Australian Barbeque

“Shall I put this biltong away now?” said Colette. “No,” I said, “I will snack on it during the day” and I popped a piece into my mouth – then I felt something hard in my mouth – what do you think – a piece of tooth!   Uh oh!  Just to keep Aunt company I now needed an emergency dental appointment.  Lucky for me we managed to get one for 11 0’clock this morning – just an hour after my small disaster.

A very friendly young dentist greeted us and asked what had happened.  “I bit a piece of biltong and out came the filling,”  said I.  Earl had to explain what biltong was.   “Where are you from,” he asked and then said we didn’t sound like South Africans.  But when I said “Yes”  he said aha now that sounds South African!  Oh dear those flat vowels!

Once I was settled into the chair the nurse presented me with a pair of sunglasses- so that the bright light wouldn’t hurt my eyes!   Have you ever!

Of course this is all part of the adventure so the photos have to illustrate the Australian Dentist Experience.

Me in the hands of an Australian Dentist!

Me in the hands of an Australian Dentist – note the sunnies!

It all went off very well and the Travel Insurance that I thought I would never need is going to pay the bill!

On our return Aunt took me to visit her neighbour who has an elephant fetish.   Every room is crowded with elephants and elephant decor.

Some of the elephant keepsakes

Some of the elephant keepsakes


Earl has been missing the traditions of South African and been nagging about doing a braai for the Australian hostesses.   Well today he could stand it no more and insisted on using the gas barbecue in the back garden.  A great deal of fuss was made about the correct preparation of the sweet potatoes and vegetables and what sausage would take the place of boerewors.   Eventually all was ready and he nearly platzed when he found that the gas took only a few minutes to heat the barbie! What happened to enjoying a few beers while waiting for the coals to be just right?  Sorry – total fire ban in this part of the world in summer.  Finally the meal was done and all turned out well – a very good meal indeed!

Making do with a gas  barbercue

Making do with a gas barbecue

Delicious, Thank You Darling

Delicious, Thank You Darling



Catching up with the Kokstad Clan – Heritage Day

Today is Heritage Day in South Africa.  On Heritage Day we recognise and celebrate the diverse cultural wealth of our country.  Being here in KZN in a rural environment has got me to thinking about what a privilege it is to live in this country in spite of its past atrocities and present problems.   South African has been through many phases – the conquerors have conquered and like all other conquerors in the world realised that dominance is not a route of prosperity.   Tribes have fought against other tribes and nations have battled for possession of a new land.  The people affected are the citizens who have rebelled and trekked and set up new regimes which have had various levels of success and failure.  We are now a rainbow nation of tolerance and yet there are still enormous problems to be overcome.   It is up to us to learn from the past and what I see is a single thread running through the history of our country.  One thing is certain – hard work – only hard work will ensure that the next generation will proper no matter what the political situation is.    Think about it – in the past it is those who got up a did something about their situation who got the most out of their country.  We should not forget the atrocities and the wrongs but we should follow the good examples from those who came before us.  Each culture has something to offer.  South Africa is an amazing country – fabulous scenery, mountains, sea and wildlife and extra specially fantastic people.

Here in rural Kokstad I have noticed that although the people lead a chilled lifestyle they all work very hard.  My daughter has a full time teaching job 10km from where she lives, but it’s cool to have the kids there with her.  She lives in a small house on a big plot, raises calves and keeps horses.  She has an orchard and a vegetable garden.   She is constantly busy but never complains about how stressed she is.  She has a wide circle of friends all who lead rural lifestyles and support each other.  The neighbours are far enough away not to see but the fence has a gate between them for easy access to each other.  Other neighbours are further away but the visit often, swap kids and go off on weekends together.  Social sport plays a huge role in their lives – there’s tennis and golf and Lauren’s favourite – endurance horse riding.  If she rode in Cape Town it would cost more than she could afford – what a heritage, what a lifestyle she and all her friends enjoy.

Before leaving Cape Town, I asked my Grade Ones, “If your granny came to visit you from far away, what would you like her to bring you?” I got a long list of things from ‘Footy Pyjamas” to cool clothes, Action men to Barbie Dolls, Craft Books to pet kittens, puppies, bunnies and hamsters and finally a TRAMPOLINE.   Well I got the cool clothes and some sweeties and when we got to Kokstad we purchased a 10ft trampoline from Game.  What better gift for kids who have the garden to accommodate it.

Dragging th box to the right position

Dragging the box to the right position – Lucy wants to help

The frame is up

The frame is up

Simon concentrating on those screws

Simon concentrating on those screws

Granny gets the first bounce

Granny gets the first bounce

And is soon joined by Shannon and Simon

And is soon joined by Shannon and Simon


Gran now leaves it to the experts


Go Shannon


Oh Boy – this is fun!

On the land on which my daughter lives, a river runs through it.  After bouncing for a bit Shannon and SImon packed a picnic and rode their bikes down to the where the river was shallow.   I walked down a little later to see what they were doing. The brook gurgled, the birds were in full song.  The dogs panted beside me and I eventually found them in the nook of a shady tree building a fort.   Then they went hunting for crabs and frogs.  Simon helped me over the slippery stepping stones giving careful instructions as to where to put my feet without slipping.

No fear of bikes being stolen

No fear of bikes being stolen

Shady nook

Shady nook

Sheeba exploring

Sheeba exploring

Off to find crabs

Off to find crabs

Scary Monster

Scary Monster

A princely frog

A princely frog

After lunch it clouded over a bit and we thought it might rain.  I expressed relief that it didn’t but the family were most disappointed.  “We welcome the rain!’ was their response and they’re very disappointed when it doesn’t come!

Later in the afternoon Lauren and I went for a fairly strenuous walk. We checked on the calves who are now almost cows.   The view was amazing and it was good to get some exercise and air into the lungs.  The dogs enjoyed it too.

The calves

The calves

The View

The View

The wetland

The wetland

Cows in the fields

Cows in the fields

Traditionally on Heritage Day, South Africans braai!    We were no exception.

The Fire

The Fire


The Braai Masters

We enjoyed braaied chicken, pork rashers, boerewors (farm sausage) and sweet potatoes wrapped in tinfoil and cooked in the coals.   A fab way to end Heritage Day!


Catching up with the Kokstad Clan

Schools broke on Friday and I was looking forward to having a long free afternoon to pack and organise myself for departure to KZN instead of my usual trick of going directly to the airport from school.   However, there was something I had to do before I could settle down to the packing.  I left school at 12:30 after setting it up for the new term and then as I have been suffering from an infection which has left me feeling rather low I went to Constantiaberg for a bladder and kidney scan just to make sure all is in order.  Phew – yes everything is fine and I just need to get over myself!

The best way to do this is to get out there and have a holiday!   Saturday morning found us packed and ready for Lisa to take us to Cape Town International and we were in the air at 10:30 a.m.   The sun was trying hard to shine and we took off in only slightly overcast conditions.  Sitting in the second row of Mango was delightful with Earl at the window disturbing my reading by pointing out the fabulous landscape below.  I am not usually a happy flyer but this year has seen me in the air several times and hey – I’m now quite blasé about the whole affair – didn’t even listen to the safety instructions – I now know to grab the flippin’ mask before helping the next guy and kick off the heels to go down the slippery slip after following the well-lit arrows to the exit. And who cares anyway – if we crash I hope it’s over in a flash – I don’t want to be floating in the icy ocean below!

Durban did not put on its best face for us – temperature – same as Cape Town and raining too!  Come on KZN – we need some cheering up!  Too long have we suffered the winter blues back home – it has been the longest, coldest and wettest winter we’ve had since 2004!

Our hire car is a Toyota D4D Double Cab  much like the one Earl used to drive so he is a happy chappy.   We have booked to go to Wattle Crane Cottage high in the mountains and this requires a 4X4 – more about that later.

Ahhh KwaZulu Natal – how different to the Western Cape. It’s the colour that is the first thing to strike you – different shades of green and more green.  The mountains are green, the fields are green unlike the Cape   KZN is lush and sub tropical – The Cape is mild and Mediterranean.   The further away from Cosmopolitan Cape Town you go the more you feel that you are truly in Africa.   We travel along the South Coast for a while and stop to buy some fruit from the roadside informal traders.   I have never seen such enormous avocado pears.  The traders bring barrows full of produce and sit in front of their huts and sell to the passing motorists.

Informal Trader on the side of the highway

Informal Zulu Trader on the side of the highway


Hut with a view

Hut with a view

When we turn inland and travel through a part of the Eastern Cape to get to Kokstad at the foot of the Drakensburg Mountains.  The roads can be treacherous to travel along because of potholes and livestock who think the road is there for them.  Today the condition of the road is mainly good – maintenance has taken place but the livestock are there.

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Along the way the fruit sellers are there but also some enterprising people who braai mielies on an open fire and provide sustenance for hungry locals and travellers alike.   I wanted to take a photograph but the lady shouted and put her umbrella in front of her and the person next to her sent her child across with the wares so you can just make out the fire of the one and shy brolly of the other in the background.

Not for us but thank for the photograph

Not for us but thanks for the photograph

We made it to Kaag’s Post at exactly 4 o’clock precisely according to Earl”s planning which gives him great satisfaction.

A fork tailed drongo greets us at the bridge

A fork tailed drongo greets us at the bridge

Then flies into the willows

Then flies into the willows

The wild peach trees offer some welcome colour to the eternal green of KZN

The wild peach trees offer some welcome colour to the eternal green of KZN

Simon was hiding when we arrived but the dogs and Lauren were there with the dogs and Shannon and Alan not far behind.  It’s wonderful to be with them again. Shan has grown in the seven months since seeing her last and  she’s now almost as tall as me.    Good thing I decided to get the 12-13 jeans and t-shirt I’ve brought her!

Lauren and the dogs

Lauren and the dogs

Simon was finally persuaded to come out of hiding and had a rough and tumble with his grandfather.

Rough and tumble with Grandpa

Rough and tumble with Grandpa

The Bakers came for supper and we enjoyed a wonderful Weber of pork and chicken and the excellent company of kids’ best friends!   More – much more to follow.