Monday, July 6, 2015

Pension day in SA

Since we've been home in South Africa, Grant and I have been to the ATM to cash MIL Pam's and Rina's monthly state pension. Now... you have to experience pension day in SA to believe it. In our small town (and all other small and larger towns) in the Free State, the banks cannot cope with the volumes of people cashing their state pensions from the 1st of every month. 

The population in the town of Marquard is about 3000; the population in neighboring Moemaneng - 3km from town - is 88,000 souls. At least 60% of those in Moemaneng draw either an old-age pension or a child benefits grant. The latter was implemented when South Africa became a democratic republic in 1994. It's a positive assistance for those single mothers who had been dropped by the child's natural father; each child receives a social grant of R330/US$30 per month. On the other hand, it also created avenue of abuse whereby the young girls have babies from the age of 13. Often two, three and four children in order to receive this grant. The result is thousands of fatherless children whose mothers are too young and inexperienced to look after them properly. Street children are the norm and not the exception in our society. 

Back to our monthly visits to the ATM/cash machines. We learnt very quickly that if we tried to go and cash the money after the sun rose on the 1st you stand in a L O N G queue for ages; when you get to the machine, the money is finished. That's our little town. We have three banks with ATM's and they all run out of money within the first few daylight hours. 

Grant and I set the alarm for 4 am, get up, dress in our warmest hoodies, boots, socks and knitted hats. Then we drive down town, stop at the ATM which Rina tells us charges the least for pensioners drawings and cash her and Pam's state pensions. Not a soul is around and the banks are still full of money. YaY! We've effected a no-fail system and will do this every month until we leave for a contract again. Then Rina will wait until the 3rd or 4th of the month when the queues have lessened and take Pam to cash her pension. 

Last week at 9am we collected Pam at the center, gave her her pension money. Then we drive down to one of our local did her supermarkets where she does a little shopping for the month. Rina helps her around the shop and to the till. Grant and I, having done our bit for the day, just wait in the car. This week, I'd taken six dozen koeksisters in a basket and sold them all to the pharmacist next door and the shop assistant before she put Pam's order through the till. 

Back at the center, we helped Pam to her room; she hooks in with Rina while I carry the shopping bags. She likes to unpack them herself. Meanwhile she reached into her wardrobe and brought out a rattle for Skabenga, the pup. (who is always with us) 

When we got home, I gave Skabenga the rattle. He grabbed it in his jaws and dashed around for ages enjoying the noise. I had to take a video...

Happy Monday to you all!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hedges Kitties and a pup!

Hello  Bozo and Mum's blog readers. This is Ambrose with the latest of the Hedges Kitties and newest pup. I don't see photos of Great Aunts Eddy and Megan.They spend most of their day either lying in the sun on the patio,  or in their baskets next to their wall panel heater in the garage. 
Cousin Chappie loves an apple box 
Doesn't she look pretty?
Cousin Tipsy posing against Mum's flowers
Cousin Tipsy is handsome but we're not together with him in this lounge
Unca Shadow, me Ambrose and Dad Ginger are all on the lectric blanket at the time Cousin Tipsy is in the lounge
The pup continues to grow and we kitties are getting used to having him around
Here he plays with his toy in Mum's winter garden

You can see more cute pets here

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday Critters in July 2015

During the week, while photographing the moon, I also took snaps of our patio, garages and driveway at night. 
The security lights above the four garages. The patio remains damp in the shade of the buildings during winter
The security lights lining our driveway and beyond the gate

The driveway lights have a story to tell: at least the second one (center of the photo). On my birthday in February one of the guests (no names, no pack drill!) reversed up my drive instead of driving out normally. Her left-side mirror connected this light, ripping it from the stand and tripping the electricity! Totally unaware, she continued, turned in the street, waved and drove off. Needless to say, Grant wasn't impressed!

Last week Grant and I were on our way to town. As he reached onto the consul for the gate remote,  it wasn't there. He stopped the car, tried his jeans pocket. Still no remote. He opened the door and smashed his door into the same lamp! He was furious! A scratch and dent which - although quite small - has to be repaired at no small cost! 

A portrait of Chappie (the-lady-on-the-diet) against the miniature rose in a pot
Tipsy in a pensive mood
The resident spider which has moved towards the heat of the fire
Skabenga the pup chewing a beef bone ...
...wearing his new animal print coat

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here

A belated Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends. 

Happy Independence Day
 to all in the USA