Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Overnight stay in the mountains

On Saturday morning we traveled the 300-odd kms to visit John, Debbie and our six KZN grandchildren. Eryn turns 13 next Sunday (27th) and Bethany turns seven on the same day. They'll be back in Mozambique so this was our only chance to see the family before they left. 

We arrived at around midday and were thrilled to see that Debbie's parents, Barbara and Mike were also there. We hadn't seen them since Eryn's seventh birthday.
Joshua, who turns ten in July this year, is an excellent biker (why am I not surprised?) He spends hours riding around the large gardens and always has one or more of his siblings on the bike with him. The PeeWee is too small for him and John intends to upgrade soon
Israel (second youngest) got playing with the cricket set I'd brought him
Bethany was making beaded jewelry with the sets I'd brought her. Her Durban granny (Barbara) also brought her a bead-making set and a cookie baking set
Eryn - now almost a teenager - is a beautiful young girl with solid principles and a soft nature
(photos of the other two: Elijah and Kerren are in the groups below)

I love this photo of Barbara! She was asking Debbie to open the large gated door - but looks quite frantic while doing so!
Debbie endeavoring to unlock the many padlocks on this gate
Later I walked out with Grant and Eryn and Bethany. Eryn wanted Granddad to help her sight the airgun she's been given for her birthday (Grant and I brought it down from Bethlehem - where we'd passed through earlier that morning) I've suggested to John that he sets up a target practice area for Joshua (who got his gun last year) and Eryn. It's not good to shoot at the birds (even pigeons which people find a pest) as the other birds will soon stay away sensing the inherent danger
Debbie set two tables on the lawn overlooking the valley and the Drakensberg in the distance

John Mark (who looks after the property while John and family are in Mozambique) was invited for dinner
Dinner was BBQ'd meat (braai), salads and chunky seed bread. I'd boiled up sweet potato and baby potatoes
Grant and I were given the guest rondawel to sleep in
The rondavel is "off the grid" on John's  land so between 9.30 and 10.30 CAT Saturday night, Grant and I did our bit towards Earth Hour! Note the large candle on the cupboard. Unfortunately I didn't photograph the beautifully rustic (but modern) bathroom - it was beautiful 
John believes (and rightly so) that children should help with the chores. After supper the four oldest children washed, dried and packed away the dishes. Aren't they a precious lot?

Rina had sent a beautifully shiny and beaded dress for Eryn. Although I handed it to Eryn, as soon as Kerren had bathed she insisted on wearing this dress
A dress 12 years too old for her and ten sizes too big; but little Kerren wore it! 
I took photos of these two angels playing with their dolls under the mosquito netting
22 month-old Kerren, was quite tetchy when she woke up earlier that afternoon. She was also strange with us. That night she'd really warmed up to me and Barbara; afterwards I showed her the photos on the screen and when she saw herself, she said: there's me! (note she is still wearing the blue dress. She slept in it!) 
The next morning as I walked through the children's bedroom to fetch my cool bag from the kitchen I found Eryn playing a beautiful tune on the guitar. She is the most versatile young lady I know
The next morning, Barbara made huge bowl of fruit salad; Debbie brought out the muesli and yogurt and we breakfasted together under the thorn tree towards the back of the house
The children have healthy appetites, aren't fussy and ate peacefully while the adults ate at the "big people's" table

Around 10.30, Grant and I started to depart. As always, I want a family photo and I had Barbara's backing this time. As we call` for the children (and some adults) to pose for a photo, they all seem to disappear into thin air. Finally, Debbie, Barbara and I managed to arrange everyone in a group. One little lad, second-to-youngest, Israel, did NOT want to be in the photo. Debbie had my camera and asked Joshua to hold his brother. Take a look...
At the back from the left: Mike, Barbara Grant and moi; with Mike is Elijah; Joshua is determinedly holding his rebellious little brother; Bethany as always smiles beautifully for the camera; and big sister, Eryn holds little Kerren (Photo: Debbie Hedges)

For the next photo I requested that John and Debbie pose with their two sets of parents. No problem except four of the six children posed with us as well. Eryn took the photo while Israel disappeared into the house! 
Back from left: Mike,Barbara, Grant and Jo
Front: Elijah, Joshua (sans his burden!);
John, and Debbie (sharing Kerren) and cutey Bethany

Finally it was time to say goodbye. We rode off through the two gates protecting John's property.  Eryn and their two horses were in the driveway to greet us.
Thunder, a retired carthorse and Misty, the white mare,  quite unperturbed at the car driving along the road towards them
Thunder stuck his nose out to greet me. Look at his feet; a genuine carthorse
Eryn is a natural with the horses

At the next exit from John's property, we stopped to say goodbye again to Debbie, Elijah and Bethany! 

Then we did leave! We stopped a few hundred meters on the road through the mielie/maize fields. I photographed a Pin-tailed Whydah. But through the windscreen, the photo was not too good. I opened the door to see if I could get a photo, and the bird flew off! 

What a wonderful stay ! We loved meeting up with Barbara and Mike again. And what a pleasure to spend time with and around John, Debbie and their children. 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here



  1. What a wonderful get-together!

  2. Loved seeing all your beautiful grandchildren from KZN again and to see how they are thriving and growing. I've seen photos in previous posts of John and Debbie's home but I think this is the first time I've seen the scenery and the distant horizon. What an absolutely beautiful spot with a view. Is the Rondavel a new edition? It's a wonderful idea especially to house guests.

  3. Hello, Jo! What a wonderful visit with your family. Your grandchildren are all beautiful. The Rondawel looks like a lovely guest place. Beautiful photos! Have a happy day and week ahead!

  4. This was wonderful to see you all united as a family and having a ball of a time. A trip you and Grant will remember for a long time. Thanks for sharing.

  5. i must say this is one of the most happy posts i have read in a long time. i loved every single one of the photos and your grandchildren are just beautiful, all of them. great family photos.. i like where the table is and the views and love that round house you stayed in... i might need some mosquito netting because i love what it did to the photos.... to funny on the dress. loved this post, Jo

  6. Great series of pictures...have a nice day.

  7. Love to see your family, all smiles on that gorgeous land. The kids are growing so fast.

  8. Such gorgeous grandchildren you have... I've always heard that children raised in large families are MUCH-better-behaved than other children... Glad to see them helping with the chores... That is so important for children these days.

    Why are living part of the time in Mozambique? I assume it's job related...

    What a wonderful family --and SUCH great pictures.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo