Saturday, June 30, 2018

Bovine critters

Winter or summer, on a dairy farm there are always new little cows and bulls. Last week on my walk with Skabenga, I couldn't resist taking photos of these really new calves in the nursery.

 I loved the deadpan stare from this little calf...
 ...with a cattle egret's bill poking out above its ear!
Another new calf in the nursery 
 The much bigger calves waiting in the bottom of the nursery. They're about to be herded to another paddock nearby where they feed on cut-off drums of cereal
 This calf faced-off Skabenga...
 ... who has been taught not to bark at or chase cattle of any size
The farm horse stays in this paddock as well, until the larger cattle are fetched from the field and herded to an enclosure near my cottage for the night 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters here

Here's wishing you all a happy Saturday!  

Friday, June 29, 2018

Sunset over Winterton





The winter sun setting over Winterton main street and a local coffee shop. 

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday here

HAPPY FRIDAY TO YOU!  
 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The road to "guess where" ...

...is paved with good intentions! 

Once again, my best laid plans of posting on my blog early this week, were shot to flames. I had guests in The Bunker over the weekend. Please see my update here.

Once they'd checked out I motored up there with my mop, bucket, cleaning products and fresh linen. Before work that morning I had cleaned the unit and changed the linen before setting up the props for a cheese and wine board to post on my blog.

Back at the shop, I washed the shelves and floor, and while this was drying, I set up my display on the veranda. 

In between networking with the veranda visitors, I set about  meeting my Probus Newsletter deadline. This was Tuesday afternoon.  I enjoyed writing this newsletter immensely. The June meeting's speaker spoke about his experiences as a Private Military Contractor in Iraq. He was incredibly soft spoken and humble stating that his mission during his 13-year stint in the Middle East was not to make war but to protect lives.

He acted as a bodyguard for VIP’s, sheiks, engineers and construction workers who were involved in projected to rebuild the country after the 2003 war. 

A most thought-provoking talk. 
 Johan Raath, retired Private Military Contractor relates his serious topic


I'm back on blogger now again and wish you all a wonderful Wednesday !

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Hedges kitties

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose with a kitty update in our house. (without the new kitty this week!)

We older kitties have had to sleep in the lounge while Missy, the shop cat, settles in to life in Mum's bedroom. I've tried to be friends, with her but she spits at me. OK I did go towards her quite quickly and tap her on the back! 


We vlove it when Thandi comes to work. Then the door is open all day and we can go outdoors; explore and lie in the sun. 

 Meanwhile, we four older kitties live in peace indoors until Mum returns from work.  
 Unca Shadow keeping watch
 Aunty Chappy asleep on Mum's computer bag
 Dad Ginger waiting for his lunch
 I, Ambrose, the kitty author, asleep on the sofa
 Mum took this magnified photo of my ear; cool hey?


For more cute pet posts, please click here




 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Young critter visits me

Earlier this week I had the privilege of meeting Electra, a young German Shepherd. She's a guide dog in training. Young and eager and with an L for Learner on her back.

South African Guide Dogs here   was founded in 1953. Dogs with the right temperament are bred to guide the visually impaired. These breeds are normally Golden Retrievers and Labradors. At seven weeks, the pups are housed with volunteers who train them for six months. This lady below is a puppy trainer.

Do read here to see how guide dogs are used after the puppy training phase is completed.   

 Electra and her "weekend foster mama"  
I just LOVED the L for Leaner on her back - don't you? 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here

HAPPY SATURDAY TO YOU ALL!  




Friday, June 22, 2018

Monday morning business

For those readers who follow my blog regularly they'll know that I've been running an art and gift shop in a shopping mall in the valley. I've been the network executive for this little outlet for the past ten months. And I love it.

The paintings are by a local artist and I only sell his artwork in this shop. His wife make many, many objects of whatever he's painted; mousepads, potstands, utility holders, fridge magnets, mugs, clocks and many more. 

I sell these articles and prints of the artwork during the month. And, by being open every day of the month (including Sundays), I usually sell R25000/US$1850 per month. 

On Monday  morning a lady walked in and said she'd like to see an original painting. I had one in the shop (the best one ever done by the artist)  and showed it to her. She asked the price and when I told her it was R34,000/US$2,500, she said: I'll take it.  

While her partner wrapped the original, she wandered around my tiny shop and chose gifts for people at home. In between, he partner also chose a couple of large roll canvas prints and other items. 

When I totaled up her purchases, it came to R41,165/US$3000. 

Almost two months' sales in about 30 minutes!
 The customer proudly displaying her original

  The customer's partner wrapping the painting


C'est moi with the Monday morning customers! 

HAPPY FRIDAY TO YOU ALL !

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Guess what Mum did?

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose with some news! Guess what Mum did?

Yes!

She brought another kitty home. I remember this kitty from photos. She comes from Mum's shop! 

 Missy, the shop kitty now lives in our house ! 
 Exploring everything! 
Mum says she heard next door dogs barking here and sat up ! 

Missy hisses at us and we have chased her a little bit. So she stays in Mum's bedroom while we Hedges kitties stay in the lounge area. With all our sheepskin lined donut-shaped beds and toys and food bowls.  

For more cute pet posts, please click here

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Feathered and hairy critters


Earlier this week I stopped to photograph the resident flock of guinea fowl in the cattle paddock next to the farm road which takes me home.


 Helmeted Guinea Fowl
 A hairy worm found in my house

I picked it up on a sheet of paper and put it on the lawn outside  

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen, here

HAPPY SATURDAY TO YOU ALL!  

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Human endurance race - Comrades Marathon



Every year in June, the Comrades Marathon is run in South Africa. 

The Comrades Marathon is an ultra marathon of 89 km (approximately 56miles) is run annually in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, South Africa between the cities Pietermaritzburg and Durban. It is the world's largest and oldest ultra marathon race. The direction of the race alternates each year between the "up" run (87km) which starts in Durban and the "down" run from Pietermaritzburg, now totally a distance of 90.184km.  

The field is capped at 20,000 runners and entrants hail from more than 60 countries. You can read more about this incredible race here 

I've always followed the Comrades. But this year, I had a personal interest in it: my older son, John was running it for the first time. 

And technology being what it is today, this year the Comrades had an app which you download onto your phone. You enter the runner's number and you track his progress.

It was incredible: from the time the gun went off at 5.30 am in a dark Pietermaritzburg, on Sunday 10 June, 2018,  I tracked John from the first kilometer.

At around 8am, my younger son, Angus in Marquard sent me a screen shot tracking exactly where John was at the time. I hadn't seen this options so he phoned me and explained where I could find the "tracking and results" on the app. Which I did from then on!

At 12.30 Estelle and Steve came into the shop.  I showed Steve where John was on the app; he was fascinated. He said to Estelle imagine that you can track someone running this race by clicking on an app!  

At 1pm, I packed up the shop and on the way home, popped in to see my friend, Marelize who owns Scrumpy Jack's - a honey retail outlet along our tourist route. She immediately asked me how John was doing on the run and I showed here his progress on the app.After a cup of coffee with Marelize I left for home promising her I'd keep her informed about John.

By the time I'd done my Sunday afternoon chores at home, and I checked the Comrades app, John was within sight of Durban where the race ended. This didn't mean he was home and dry yet; no, he still had 10km to go. I sat at my desk and on YouTube. watched the last hour which has unbelievable vibe at the stadium.

In between I was checking the app which showed John getting closer and closer to his goal of finishing his first ever Comrades. And to add to the tension I had WA friends all over the Valley, in Durban, my sister in Spain all asking "has he arrived yet"? Charmaine, who manages the shop next to mine was at home and waiting on tenterhooks to hear how John was doing. Estelle, Steve and Caroline and Marelize from the Valley, kept sending me messages asking how far was John. My biker friends and a supplier for the shop - all living in Durban - kept sending messages to find out if John had finished the race yet.

Phew! 

The last 45 minutes of the race was the worst in my life! With 4km to go, I punched John's Comrades number into the app; you had to do this every time you logged on.  And there was no result! The worst thoughts raced through my head: John was cramping so badly, he had to be picked up by the "bailing bus"; a fanatical spectator had lunged into him knocking him to the ground. (this has happened to a contestant before); he's tripped and fallen and couldn't continue. Oh dear!

I sent Angus a Whatsapp who said he'd also "lost John" on the app. I WA'd Charmaine, who was so tense waiting for results, she apparently burst into tears! 

Then Angus sent me  a screenshot showing John was on the move and was almost at the end.  

What a relief.

As the map showed his number at "Durban", I checked his tracking time:
 And minutes later,  Debbie sent me a message saying:

John's in!

Estelle sent me a message saying that hundreds of runners where pouring into the stadium all bent on making it before the end gun was fired at 17h30.  I told her John had made it.

Then I received a photo from my sister-in-law, Shelley. It was a single frozen frame on television showing John  behind a couple of runners being interviewed. He was striding purposefully to the end ...
John, in blue peak,  a determined look on his face, finishes his first Comrades Marathon

 1h 42s 29s was highlighted in the digital clock above his head.  

Here I must admit that I was very choked up. Seeing John realize his dream of almost 40 years, made me shed a bucket of tears. I never cry; I didn't cry when I lost  Grant, my lifelong friend and husband tragically at the end of last year. But now the tears (possibly pent up from then) flowed freely . **

In between crying and feeling proud of my son, 
I managed to WA everyone who had been routing for John all day!

At 10 to 6, Debbie phoned me to say although John was in the stadium, she hadn't seen him. There were thousands of spectators and she was waiting for him to phone him so she could collect him in the car. 

And shortly after 6, she sent this photo with the caption: Champion! 
 Indeed a champion ! 


Well done John ! 

**Note: A week ago John messaged me and said how he always remembers watching the Comrades in our home while growing up. He and "Pops" as he called Grant, would watch together (I was probably making tea!) and they'd say how the two of them could do this race. Grant and John did complete a half marathon together in the late nineties. Then Grant and I worked as expats in Africa and John went to sea and the dream of doing the Comrades took a backseat. When John returned from Mozambique last year, he started training for the 2018 Comrades. After Grant died, he abandoned the idea. Then a colleague of his who'd also lost his dad,  and asked John to run the Comrades with him. Together they ran in memory of their respective dads!





Monday, June 11, 2018

Working Cats

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose with a post of WORKING kitties! 

Unca Shadow and I discovered how to get into the beeeg truck parked next to our garden...




 Kitty technicians checking under the hood of the truck! 

 Skabenga and Aunty Chappie helped Mum with the water bowls

Dad Ginger was watching us work from where he was lying in the sun. Mum didn't want to bother him with photos. 

For more cute pet posts, please click here 


Friday, June 8, 2018

Back again!

Phew!  

Apologies to all my wonderful blogger friends. I'm still here but been busy with almost all of the five projects which I run to keep the pot on the boil.
 Last week., we had a tad of snow on the peaks and behind
The valley is looking beautiful with the trees sporting warm bronzy hues

At month end,  it's always wrapping up sales at the lovely little art and gift shop which I manage for Steve (the artist) and his wife, Estelle.  After a good month in April which included two long weekends and the school holidays, I was warned that May would be a "wet squib" regarding sales.  

But...

I had a bumper month, Praise God!

Around the same time, I also distribute cosmetic orders and collect money from customers who'd ordered from me during the month. 

Meanwhile, to promote the accommodation which I manage for a businessman here in the Valley, I've  joined two more websites. I already feature my accommodation on Airbnb 
(do click on the link to see my beautiful vacation stay here in the mountain). However, friends in hospitality have suggested I also join Booking.com.

 I've also linked up to Lekkeslaap which caters for the local Afrikaans-speaking   guests. The latter was reasonably easy to join, although it involved two weeks of e-mail communications between me and the new-institution consultant; supplying information which ensued in a bit of a paper chase! Eventually yesterday at 8.04 am I received a text message on my phone from Ilana saying my accommodation is now LIVE!    By 8.34 am I had my first inquiry for a three-day mid-week stay in July! Hallelujah!

Booking.com was slightly more complicated. To access my Booking.com dashboard, their European office had mailed the verification code to my physical address. When I phoned the number I had in Cape Town (South Africa) to explain this item would never reach me at the given address,  they suggested that the office in Rome make a video call to me while I was at my accommodation.  We scheduled Monday at 8.30am. On Sunday night I checked up on Google that the time in Italy is the same in South Africa. It was. 

Being punctual by nature, I was at The Bunker (a 20km trip from my home into the Valley) shortly after 8am.

I waited. 

8.30 came and still I waited. 

At 8.45, I turned off the beside lamps (which I'd lit for good effect on the video), drew the curtains,  closed the door and left.

At 9.15 my phone rang. It was the Rome office. Full of apologies. I said: sorry, I was on time and you are 45 minutes late. I told them I was at my retail business and couldn't possibly return to the accommodation . We then re-scheduled for Wednesday morning. Same time. And on Wednesday exactly at 8.30 a video call came through and I "met" the attractive Italian girl who told me how to hold my phone so she could take screen shots. Within ten minutes our business was concluded and the consultant told me my accommodation would be live within 24 hours. Yesterday (Thursday) morning I went live and I now feature on three vacation stay websites.

I also have my details at a local booking office here in the Valley which has phoned through one firm booking for August and one inquiry for the end of June.

So, I think you, reading this post, may forgive me being absent from Blogger for a few days. 

Oh, and I have started a blog about The Bunker here . If you have the desire and the time, do click on this link and let me know what you think! I'll be posting quite regularly there ; the buzzword in hospitality is to BLOG your business. I've heard other hospitality owners groan when they heard this, but we "old" bloggers have the advantage here. I may even offer my services to people who want to promote their accommodation with a blog. 

Mmm. 

I need to find some more hours in the day! 

I hope you've all read to this point and got my point on why I was away from Blogger for almost a week. 

Have a great day.



Sunday, June 3, 2018

Nothing changes

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose and because Mum says nothing changes, I suppose we're still all doing the same thing...mostly sleeping!
 Dad ginger has his hind leg resting on my neck!
 Unca Shadow and I relax on Mum's bed
Aunty Chappie keeping an eye on  us boys! 

For more cute posts, please click here

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Cuddly critters

With no apology to the none cat lovers reading my post today. 

More cuddly kitty critter images...
 The  new kitten
Missy and Lips explore the garden 
Lips posing on the steps 
 The new little lad checks out the scene from the top of Missy's chair
 Missy, new kitty and Lips enjoy the sunny steps leading up to "their" veranda

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here

HAPPY SATURDAY TO YOU ALL!