Sunday, September 24, 2023

Heritage Day

 Good morning, dear Blogger friends. Once again, I was able to attend church. It's a long weekend here in South Africa, which you can read about here. Tomorrow, Monday is a holiday. The Valley accommodation is full, including my two holiday homes. 

That means my Sunday was freed up and I went to church...

In Swahili dress! 

Great was the reception when I walked into the church. When the priest, Fr Vimba, arrived from the sacristy, he said: Good morning and Happy Heritage Day. 

And the lay minister, John, said: And Jo wins first prize!

Fr Vimba and lay minister, John, prepare the communion sacrements
The priest or Eucharist minister says: 'The body of Christ “, and you, accepting the wafer with cupped hands say "amen:  say “amen”. You place it in your own mouth. After that you say a prayer of thanks while kneeling in the pew.

If you look at the man standing this side of the rail, he is leaning on the exact center beam. This particular part of the rail lifts up and is normally folded back on the rail to the right (where the lady in striped dress is kneeling) The person who collects the offertory, when finished in the congregation, takes the little velvet bag to the priest, who accepts it and places it on the altar. Afterwards the priest says a special prayer offering our offerings to God. 

Meanwhile the man who had handed over the money, picks up the the rail and places it on the other rail, closing the gap. However, the rail has a dowl (peg) at the end, this fits into a round hole in the fixed rail. 

Two weeks ago, as I reached the rail, which happened to be the center section, in order not to kneel too quickly, I leaned on the rail with my weight. The rail had not been "clipped in" firmly; it shot outwards and downwards.  Jenny, my friend, had knelt just after me and grabbed me around the waist which prevented me from falling face first at the priests' feet. No damage done, but quite a commotion to cause at such a solemn part of the service!  

Today, no such near misses, as I was third at the rail and way before the center. After the service, I spotted that Elizabeth was dressed in true Zulu fashion. Phyllis, a friend of mine from Parkrun, insisted we pose together outside the church. 

Elizabeth and I celebrated Heritage Day is true style. Next year I intend to be in Zulu dress. I've been here for seven years, so it's about time!

Driving through town after the service and popping into the supermarket, I saw that all the Zulu ladies were in traditional dress. 

You have all heard me write extensively about Thandiwe, my houselady. She and I are a formidable team when it comes to our holiday accommodation. Thandi has several sisters, one of who is Mavis who works at Thokosiza Lifestyle Centre at the entrance to Champagne Valley. 

Mavis, who speaks impeccable English, in the early days (circa 2016), was invaluable to me when I needed to communicate with Thandi. Now it's a whole lot easier. Thandi understands my Zulu and even helps me with pronunciation of certain words. 

Mavis has also managed a upmarket shoe brand outlet in the center for the past 19 years. Soon after Grant's passing, when I started to sell Avon, I left a brochure with Mavis, thinking she could order from me. Great was my delight when, within a week, Mavis sent me orders from the other employees working in the center. She has continued to sell Avon for me, and I love her dearly. 

Today, after church, I had to deliver Avon to Mavis. As I approached the store along the paved walkway, Mavis spotting me from the shop, started cheering! She, who was also dressed in Zulu tradition, was applauding my Swahili outfit! 
Mavis and I have been friends for more than seven years. She has always shown me respect and I appreciate this beautiful lady so much

As far as I could make out, I was the only European who dressed for Heritage Day today.

The next image is especially for Sandra, Madsnapper  who correctly guessed that I have a ring for most outfits. Apart from the two Tanzanite stone rings on my left ring finger and a 24-carat gold ring on the middle finger, the rest are all dress rings. Many I buy from my own supplies (Avon) and the large stone rings are the ones my sister, Rose gifted me. 

As much bling as I can fit on my 70-year-old fingers!

Um, as you can see, my nails need topping up. This appointment is for Thursday this week, two days before a very important event in Durban. You will be reading a blog about this...

And yes, already I'm considering my outfit! LOL! 


Saturday, September 23, 2023

Woodland Kingfisher and spider's nest

 Good morning, dear Blogger friends. A quick insert between our Spain holiday posts. 

With summer iminent in the Southern Hemisphere, I am hearing all manner of birds in the garden. Early one morning, last week, as I walked onto the veranda, I heard a Kingfisher call, looked across the fence between me and Ron and John, and spotted a Woodland Kingfisher on a shrub.

Of course, I dashed back indoors to grab my camera...

I knew the bird had spotted a meal

The bird had fluffed up its feathers

Woodland Kingfisher - a medium sized bird; electric blue-backed Kingfisher with a distinctive bi-color bill:  red above and black below
The weather was very dull but I hope you get the idea of this glorious bird who is a regular summer visitor to our collective gardens
On a sunny morning earlier that week, I spotted this spider's nest 

Viewing nature in my own garden!

I'm linking to Eileen's Saturday Critters here


Friday, September 22, 2023

Meeting new friends

 Good morning, dear Blogger friends. Yes, we were spoiled by my dear sister and BIL while on holiday in Spain. Rose and Pete picked up all the tabs: all outings, restaurant visits, trips were gifted to me and Celia. With the rate of exchange, we surely appreciated this generosity. But as I know my sister, this is also the order of the day when her grown up family and teenaged grandchildren from the UK visit Granny and Oupa in Spain.

As we arrived home after our day at the Butterfly Park, Rose went straight into the kitchen to prepare dinner. Celia and I (two tired tourists) dived onto an electric recliner each, which we know as Lazy Boys. Within minutes Rose arrived with iced cold juice to keep us going until supper! 

The life of Riley!

Every morning, as we emerged from our respective guest rooms, Celia and I were greeted by an English breakfast, freshly baked croissants (all by Rose) and complemented with juice, which Pete had squeezed from Seville oranges. 

Absolutely 5 star.

Freshly squeezed orange juice, sliced fruit and croissants from the oven, were the starter to our breakfast feast! 

Then it was time to hit the town again. Rose and one group of her friends always meet on Fridays for a coffee and a chat.

Celia and I meeting Rose's lovely friends

Getting this group photo taken was quite a challenge.  At a table behind us were two men and a lady. Rose approached the table to ask if one of them would mind taking a photo of us. The men turned their backs on her; the lady, who seemed very shy, said timidly, she would take it but had never used a Smart phone camera before. You can imagine how we all assured her there was absolutely nothing to it. Rose showed her where the camera function was and said she would see the image appear on the screen. We ladies got into our positions, and with shaking hands, the lady pointed the camera at us. Lifting her chin and peering downwards at the screen, she frowned and pressed something with her fingers. 

We as a group relaxed. Our photographer, looking very stressed by now, asked Rose to check if she had taken the photo. She hadn't.

Rose opened the camera again and showed her where the shutter would appear which she needed to press.  Once Rose had returned to the group, we all posed again; the lady focused and pressed where Rose had indicated. 

Letting out a collective sigh, we ladies relaxed again while Rose checked. Taking the device from her, and nodding that she had done well, Rose thanked her, and she returned to her friends behind us. 

Rose whispered to us that she had activated the video function; we still didn't have a group photo! 

The trio behind us left and two young girls sat down at another table nearby. Rose asked if one of them would take a group photo of us. Once again, we ladies all sat up, sucked in our tummies and smiled.  Click!

We had our photo! 

Back home, when Pete returned from the office, he said he'd like to take us ladies out for dinner!

With our wonderful hosts, my sister Rose, and BIL, Pete. 

After a selection of dishes which we shared between us, the hostess brought us a decadent dessert

Hot chocolate brownie served with cream and ice cream. 
We shared this treat as well

The Saturday morning ladies. 

I was fascinated by Angie, the blonde in the middle. Absolutely gorgeous, she was flamboyant and oozed confidence. My eyes kept returning to a huge dress ring on her right index finger. I had seen displays of these rings in the market stalls. But starting at €25, these baubles were out of my budget. Later at home, I told my sister how I had admired Angie's ring, she went to her bedroom. She emerged carrying a small jewelry box placed on my lap.

Opening the box, my eyes boggled. 

Celia took two of the dress rings set with stones which left  eight rings. My sister told me to enjoy...
What a lovely selection of dress rings which I got to bring home!

That night Rose gave us an itinerary of the road trip she'd arranged...