Monday, August 29, 2016

Blog catch-up II

Last night I posted about a whistle-stop visit to John, Debbie and family in the Drakensberg. On Friday, Angus and Amanda (our younger son and DIL who live next door to us in Marquard) suggested we all make a weekend trip to visit John and Debbie. Angus and Amanda hadn't been to visit since 2010 which meant the last time they were there, John and Debbie and their first three children were living in a caravan on site. Debbie was pregnant with her fourth, Elijah. 

Today John and Debbie's home and property are beautifully established with a natural garden overlooking one of the Drakensberg's most beautiful valleys below and the majestic mountains in the background. 
The view from John and Debbie's home in the Berg

We left on Saturday morning; four adults and three children in Angus' estate wagon family car. The two older children, Joel and Abby were terribly excited at seeing their cousins again - we hadn't been together as a family since November last year when John and Debbie stopped over here en route to Mozambique. 

I always make padkos (food for the road). This is traditionally South African and works out more economical (not to mention healthier) than buying takeaways on the road. I had made grilled boerewors, cut up into bite-sized pieces and sandwiches to suit all. Cheese and tomato for the vegetarian (moi); cheese sandwiches for Amanda who doesn't eat tomato; savoury mince sandwiches for anyone who preferred a meaty choice. For Joel I made gouda cheese and Bovril; Abby had peanut butter sandwiches. 

There was coffee from a flask for the adults and juice in traveling cups for the little ones. 
Our three Marquard angels enjoying padkos on the road

When we arrived at John and Debbie's place, there was great excitement as cousins greeted each other and immediately ran off to play. There's no end of  natural, healthy entertainment indoors and outside. 
Bethany and Joshua assist Joel who made his way to the top
 of the climbing wall in John's house
Liam found his way to the pee-wee in the corner of the room
Kerren, not the baby anymore, offers little Liam a drink

After each of the older children had had a turn on the climbing wall, Joshua saddled up Misty and guided her around the large property with Joel in the saddle. 
Eryn, who's unbelievably gentle with the younger children, wove a crown for Princess Abby

Later that afternoon, John BBQ'd meat and Debbie made a huge salad. Sliced rye bread and farm butter - all set out on the lawn overlooking the mountains, and dinner was enjoyed el fresco by the whole Hedges family.
As grandparents, these nine gems are our most valuable assets to date! 

The children played until it was too dark to see. Adults sat at the table and chatted when Eryn pointed to two bright stars above. We suddenly remembered that Jupiter and Venus were going to be visible together that night. Eryn and I grabbed our cameras while Debbie and Amanda snapped away with their smartphones. 
Venus and Jupiter visible in the west over John's house: 
Saturday 27 August 2016

I posted several photos on Facebook while the parents prepared their children for bed. For this post, I've only placed this one photo below: 
Little Abby exhausted but utterly contented after a hard day's play with her cuzzies

Grant and I slept in the mezzanine in John's house so that Angus and family were together in the rondavel. John and Debbie and their children slept in a large bedroom below. 

Early on Sunday morning, I awoke to a red glow shining through the dormer window - and the waning crescent moon above. 

Waning crescent moon; visibility 6%; age 26 days; 28 August 2016
Looking down into the garden, I saw that several of the smaller children  still in their pj's - were already at the stables: obviously discussing the horses
Early morning juice and fruit: Joel, Kerren and Abby

Then it was time to pack and go home. (Joel was in tears, he didn't want to leave - he'd had such a fun time - they all had!) 

Granny being granny then called for a group photo. Luckily Debbie and Amanda rounded up the children (Angus joked that you need to do a head count); Angus set up my camera on self-time and voila! 
The Hedges family - strength (and numbers) is unity! 

Debbie had packed a lunch box for our trip home. Stopping along the way with children, not only means nourishment; they're able to stretch their legs and get rid of excess energy after being strapped into their car seats for a couple of hours.
Enjoying a cheese and ham roll and stretching our legs
Joel the intrepid really let off steam by climbing the sign board 
 at the National Parks reception

Once again, Grant and I returned home (this time with Angus and Amanda) after a wonderful time with our precious families. 



  1. I have very much enjoyed your travel tales, the family photo is priceless to get everyone in it together. I would not have wanted to go home either with all that fun...

  2. forgot to say did you get a photo of the Rondavel? I think I spelled that right

  3. Nice to catch up with all the news. Made me feel like booking a trip to the berg! x Caroline

  4. It seems you had a wonderful weekend ! and the situation of your eldest son has very much improved according to what you write and when I see the surroundings and the climbing wall ! I also prefer to take food along then eating on the highway, it's expensive and mostly not good !

  5. Hello, Jo! You do have a wonderful and big family. All the grandchildren are beautiful. You must be very proud. Looks like a fun time and great memories for you all. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  6. What an awesome family...... Little did you know 10 years ago that you'd have 8 grandchildren now... Mercy Me... I had FIVE ---from 3 sons.... SO glad you all could be together though... I know you made lots of memories to hold onto for years to come. Glad you got a 'family picture'...

    Hope you have a great week. I published a blog post this morning showing some of our Hostas....


  7. What a BRILLIANT time you all had togethers Jo

  8. What a fabulous family you have. It must have been so much fun for the children to play and the adults to catch up.


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