Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Youngest Grandson's Dedication at the Church

Above Angus prays a blessing over his first-born
On Sunday our younger son, Angus and his wife, Amanda, had their little boy dedicated in the church. This means they brought their child to be "introduced to God." According to the Bible, Jesus was introduced to God even though God knew all about Him just as He knows all about our little grandson because He created him.
Here a church elder prays a special blessing over the grandparents. Amanda's parents are also the pastors of our church so the whole ceremony was very special indeed

Once again, as this post is aired, we will be on our bike and heading south to Kwa Zulu Natal. We visit an old school friend, who has a beautiful guest house on the Mooi River. After this we will spend three days in the Drakensberg with older son, John, Debbie and their children. Saturday our older granddaughter celebrates her seventh birthday on the same day as her one-year-old sister.
Once we have visited mum-in-law on the East Coast of Natal on Sunday, we will ride up the back road and visit the old town I grew up in. (My darling hubby's idea) Many memories will be awakened (he courted me while I lived there so it's a trip down memory lane for both of us) and I'll be sure to take many photos.
We should be home by Monday and begin to pack for our return to the Sudan.
Till then, all my fellow bloggers, be blessed and stay safe.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Parcel from Mississippi

Fellow blogger, Grant sent me a parcel filled with goodies and memorabalia from the USA. In the foreground you can see a packet of jerky which my husband (Grant!) and son, Angus enjoyed yesterday afternoon. I was spoilt with a lip balm made by Burt's Bees, a Ladies home journal and a Hershey Bar. Grant also included interesting catalogues, coins, pebbles, a dollar bill and my all-time favorite, a fridge magnet from Mississipi!

Don't you all just LOVE the wonderful world of blogging? I do! Arriving home from our bike tour to the Cape, I was spoilt by a parcel from Mississippi. It was from fellow blogger, Grant, of Uncertain Horizons. He kindly sent a variety of products and memomtoes from his part of the world. What a lovely treat. Thanks Grant!

We have had a slight change of plan. We came home directly from the Cape and will motorcycle down to Kwa- Zulu Natal on Wednesday next week. Our oldest (seven-year-old) and youngest (one-year-old) granddaughters share a birthday next weekend and we'll join John and Debbie in the Drakensberg for this occasion.

We will then motorcycle inland to visit hubby's aunt. On Sunday we ride down to Durban on the east coast of Natal to visit mum-in-law and her husband.

Finally we will head back home and began our preparations to fly back to the Sudan towards the end of March.

To all who have visited my blog while I've been away, thanks for your well-wishes and comments.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Off on our Bike Tour

All kitted out in our protective leather gear and ready to go!
South Africa: wide open spaces, big blue sky and glorious weather

As this post is aired this morning, we will be on our way to the Cape. Tonight we stop over in a little town called Aberdeen. We have booked a selfcatering cottage where we can relax after our first day back in the saddle since November last year. I've read up about the little town and see there are many interesting places to see and photograph (and blog about later on- ha!)
The next morning we'll carry on south to the Western Cape where we'll visit a friend living in "Wilderness" From there we take Route 62 inland and so we'll "meander up the road" to Barrydale where we meet up and stay with good friends. Then it's onto Knysna, a delightful tourist town on the coast. We'll stay the night with dear friends of ours who have a guest house overlooking the Knysna Heads. The next day we'll stay in a log cabin at Nature's Valley and do some serious birdwatching.
Once on the national road and heading back east up the coast again, we'll drop in on life-long friends whohave retired in Port Elizabeth. We'll spend the night with them. Our last night in the Cape province, we hope to book into a guest house called the Misty Mountain Lodge. The name says it all and I'll be sure to take many photos...
We hope to be in Kwa Zulu Natal by the middle of next week where we'll visit John and Debbie on their land in the Drakensberg. We're going to babysit the three children while John takes his wife away for a few days.
We'll be home, God willing, by next weekend in time for the dedication into the church of our newest grandson.
To all my fellow bloggers, take care and be blessed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Family, Pets, Garden

First morning at home
The littlest Hedges girl stares intently at this lady
who is always taking photos...
An early morning stroll in the garden
Megan is just visible between the sunlight and shadowsA very excited Labrador...
Eddy as always, on the prowl for rats!

Clarice joins Angie and Eddy (see Eddy, looking for rats!)

A tranquil scene in the garden

The littlest Hedges asleep in the dappled shade
of GranJo's garden

Oi, I heard all about this crazy Gran who always takes photos.
Bet you I'll end up on her blog!

For more posts on other worlds, click here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Home in South Africa

The countryside is green and beautiful
after the plentiful rains last month

I'm just checking in to say we arrived in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon. No delayed flights, no missed connections, praise God! Yesterday (Sunday) was family day. Today I'm in the garden with my dogs and cats. I will post again later today and hopefully catch up on reading and commenting.

For more scenes around the world, click here.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Khartoum last sunrise, last sunset

Sunrise from from the rooftop, taken earlier this week
Sunset captured from our moving vehicle

Today we may still be somewhere in East Africa, perhaps Addis Ababa, due to delayed flights/missed connections... or we may already be at home in South Africa. Just in case, I 've posted a last sunrise and sunset in Khartoum.

For more skies across the world, click here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Khartoum Flying Home

As this post is aired, we will be flying home to South Africa on a three week break. We should have left by 06h35 but the take off is normally thirty minutes late. We have an hour to make the connection in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and normally do this by the skin of our teeth. The last time we flew out, we were met at the bottom of the aircraft steps by an official who was calling desperately for Johannesburg passengers. Two young ladies, Grant and I were the only ones. He asked us if we had checked in baggage. We only had hand luggage but the ladies said theirs was checked in. At the official's urging, we sprinted across the tarmac, into the airport terminal, past/through queuing passengers, down the escalators, through another hall. All the time, I felt as though we were in a movie scene where the baddies are chased by the police. Only thing: we were in hot pursuit of the uniform not vice versa. Eventually we exited a sliding door onto a bus which sped us to the waiting aircraft. We never saw the young women board our plane and suspect they had to spend the day in Addis Ababa and catch the Johannesburg flight out the next day.

In the light of the narrow time limit, we may be in Johannesburg just after lunch, or we may be in Addis Ababa until tomorrow. Either way, I will only be online again on Saturday morning in South Africa.

Our wedding day, 4th March 1972

Today is also our wedding anniversary. Grant and I have been married for 38 years. We met at school in 1968 and have made it together through thick and thin. On that momenteous day of our lives, my sister, Rose was my chief bridesmaid. My sister-in-law (then still my brother's fiance) was the other maid while a young cousin, was a sort of in between flower-girl/bridesmaid. Grant's best friend was his best man while his brother was the groomsman. We all look like school-kids in the photos.

This photo was taken at Angus and Amanda's wedding in 2007. (They are the couple who have just presented us with another grandchild)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Khartoum Budgies New Home

Rambo and Sweet Pea in their cage suspended above our desks in the office

I always seem to surround myself with pets of some sort. So going home to South Africa on break, I have to find someone to look after our budgies. Our general manager, Issam has agreed to have them in his house downstairs. We inherited Sweet Pea from him when he went over to the USA last August.

I've asked Grant to make an elbow for the cage to be suspended in Issam's flat. I also asked him for a second elbow. This would be fixed to an outside wall for the budgies to get some fresh air.

The only wall in the courtyard which gets no sun at all

I've been watching the course of the sun in the courtyard below. Every wall of our building gets full sun at some stage during the day. To hang the budgies there would mean slow-death-by-roasting. Poor things. Then I noticed that a storeroom opposite had a wall that never received the sun. Grant will suspend an elbow there today.

Mirriam works for Issam on Wednesdays and Sundays and will come in to clean in our absence on Thursdays. I have shown her how to change the birds' water and food daily. She will also ensure the birds are indoors when she leaves work in the afternoon.

I'd been concerned about Calico Cat. She seems to be thinner so perhaps she's had her kittens. Every evening and many mornings, she waits for her food which Grant takes down for her. Now I have asked Mirriam to leave food (which is stored in my fridge) for her every time she comes in to work.

Now, I'd better get packing for my holiday back in South Africa. We cannot wait to see our new grandson who is already five weeks old!

God willing, I should be back online and blogging on Saturday from my own office back home! Until then, everyone take care and be blessed.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Khartoum Neighbours

The view of our neighbours' courtyard from our balcony

My husband and I noticed, while sitting on our balcony in the evening, that the elderly gentleman of the house opposite, was making a wardrobe. On Monday three weeks ago, I decided to visit him and the two ladies we'd seen in the courtyard.

I rang the gate bell while a number of customers at the shop in the street looked on curiously. Soon I was being ushered into the courtyard by a beautiful woman. With gestures and much arm-waving (I’m getting SO good with charades-lol!) I managed to convey that I’d like to speak to the man of the house. On her call of “Mohamed”, he appeared from the house next door. He spoke English and introduced himself and then the lady with us as Harda, his sister. He said his wife was out, but please would I come in.

Saire, Mohamed and Harda

Once inside Harda's home where a friend whom she introduced as Saire, was seated on a divan, Harda motioned for me to sit down. The women immediately wanted to know all about me: where do I come from, how many children do I have, where does my husband work. That day, our fourth grandchild had just been born. I explained this to Mohamed who relayed it to the ladies. They in turn, clapped their hands then leant over to pat my knee in congratulation.

Meanwhile Mohamed disappeared outdoors and returned within a few minutes with two bottles of Pepsi Cola. Harda brought out two wine glasses which Mohamed filled. He gave one to me, took one for himself and gave the remainder of the two bottles of Pepsi to the two women.

Mohamed and his wife, Zenab pose in front of the wardrobe he built
After chatting a while longer and learning several important Arabic words and phrases from these kind people, I asked if they would pose for a photograph. They sat on the divan opposite and at first they looked very somber. Lowering my camera, I smiled at them and dredging up a newly –acquired word to depict “happiness”, I asked them to daheka /laugh. Immediately their faces broke into wide smiles and I continued to click away amid much laughter.

As I started to leave, another beautiful lady entered the yard. Mohamed introduced her as his wife, Zenab. While greeting Zenab, I suddenly remembered the wardrobe that Mohamed was making. I asked them if I could see it. They took me around a shoulder -high wall to their home. After admiring the wardrobe and asking Mohamed if he’d make an item of furniture for me, they both posed in front of it.

When I finally left, they asked me to please come again.

For more worlds around the globe, click here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Khartoum Low GI Bread

Last year I posted about a Low GI whole wheat bread I baked for the Bible Study held weekly at my home. You can read about this here.

Why low GI? What is Low GI? According to a Diet and Nutrition Health website, eating low-GI is a key nutrition message that goes hand-in-hand with other healthy eating guidelines such as eat less saturated fats and eat more fruit and vegetables.

The Glycemic Index (GI) was devised about 20 years ago when researchers looked closer at the dietary recommendations for diabetics; which was to eat more complex carbohydrates (starch) because they took longer to process and digest than simple carbohydrates (sugar).

How does low-GI promote better health? Research has shown that very high glucose levels after meals, called glucose spikes, are damaging to our arteries and various blood vessels, and they promote far too much insulin to be around.

Eating low-GI foods means you avoid those spikes and dramatic falls in blood-glucose so you get a much steadier stream of energy. You, therefore, reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases that are implicated by those blood-glucose fluctuations.

Last week we found wheat flour in the supermarket. This is similar to the whole wheat we get in South Africa except not so "whole" ! I decided to bake my Low GI bread here.

When I removed the sunflower seeds from the packet, I realized they'd not been shelled. It took me forty five minutes to shell them (ewgh!). Finally I could get on with the preparationsFrying the sunflower seeds filled the kitchen with a delicious aromaThe bread turned out well and was delicious

I've posted the recipe again.
Low Whole wheat bread (Fresh Living Magazine July 2009
¾ cup (187ml) sunflower seeds
1 cup (200g) crushed wheat (couldn't find in Khartoum, omitted)
3 cups (420g) whole-wheat flour
1 cup (120g) white bread flour
1 ½ tsp (7g) salt
1 x 10g packet instant yeast
1 cup (42g) All-bran flakes (e.g. Kellogg’s)
2 tbs (30ml) milk
3 tbs (45ml) molasses or honey
1 tbs (15ml) olive oil
1 tbs (15ml) lemon juice
2 ¼ - 2 ½ cups (560ml – 625ml) lukewarm water
Toast sunflower seeds in dry, hot, non-stick pan until golden
(Set aside ¼ cup (60ml) for garnishing)
Mix seeds with molasses/honey, oil and lemon juice
Add water and stir well

Sift together flours, yeast, salt, crushed wheat and All Bran flakes
Add to liquids and seeds and mix well
Pour dough into loaf pan of your choice; (I used 28 x 10 ½ x 9 ½)
Sprinkle top with reserved seeds and crushed wheat
Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 200°C and bake for 45 minutes
Remove loaf from tin and bake on rack for 19 minutes. (For a crisp bottom crust)

Makes 7 mini loaves, 3 rounds, or 1 large loaf

Dimensions of alternative tins:
Round tin: 12 ½ x 4 ½
Mini loaf tins: 11 x 6 ½ cm