I'm currently writing my blog from my cottage in the Drakensberg, Champagne Valley, Kwa-Zulu Natal; South Africa
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
There are certain matters that are settled matters:
Firstly, we should be determined to serve our God.
Next, we should make it a priority to do what God says we should do.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Mission Dustbusters in Khartoum!
This week Grant invited Mohamed up for a Coca Cola and to discuss another project with him. (Nothing is rushed here in the Sudan - copious cups of tea, fresh fruit juice or glasses of Coke are consumed while discussing issues!) Grant has asked Mohamed to build two doors for us. These will be at the top of the first flight of [down]stairs and at the bottom of the next flight up.
The reason we'd like to close off the [open] staircase is that we are on a mission to keep out all manner of dust from now on. Before I arrived in August last year, Grant blocked up all the openings under the unused doors which lead out onto the unused front balcony. Now with the onset of summer which brings severe dust storms, we decided to do it again, but this time we'd ensure that NO dust would come into the apartment. Ever again!
For the past three days we've removed twenty-six floor-length curtains and five terrylene (net) curtains. I've washed them (I had to do each one three times!) and dried them on the line. It's so hot here that by the time the next curtain had been washed, the first one on the line had dried.
Once the windows and walls were exposed, we realised how much dust actually clung to them. I vacuumed and washed each one after which Grant sealed all the window frames with masking tape. We never open windows here because of the airconditioning. While I finished vacuuming and washing the floors, Grant hung the curtains up again.
The outer door (never used) in the spare room. Grant sealed the bottom, taped the rest up and re-hung the curtains
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In February I posted about going out to meet my neighbours across the road. You can read about this here.
The gentleman of the house, Mohamed, is a master carpenter. We'd seen him hard at work in his courtyard, making furniture. I needed a sideboard for my diningroom (none here before as there's never been a woman in this apartment, ha!) so I asked him to come over and meet my husband. He did and during the course of conversation, Grant asked him if he'd make the piece of furniture for us. I had downloaded a photo from the Internet which we gave to him. The two men discussed measurements and the price and soon Mohamed excused himself. He said he wanted to get to Souq Omdurman (the market) to look for good but reasonably priced wood.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Last week I was up on the roof photographing the sunrise when a resident pair of feral pigeons landed on the opposite parapet wall.
Focussing on them, I captured these images (photos 1 - 4)
A few minutes later I came downstairs to our apartment balcony. I wanted to see if any birds had arrived at the fruit platter I place on the wall every morning. I was abundantly rewarded by two Common Bulbuls; one who had come in to land and the second one flicking a piece of banana into its mouth. (See its tongue clearly visible in the photo below)
I'm on guard
As I panned along the rail, I spotted this laughing dove who always comes for the seed which spills from the budgies' cage. Rather a serious looking laughing dove, I thought!
I've been using my new Canon Powershot. While I'm managing to get clear shots across a reasonable distance, I am struggling with colour. Any suggestions and/or criticism from my readers will be most welcome.
Have a wonderful Monday!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Birds Eye View
Near the end of our leave back home in South Africa, we went camping at Golden Gate National Park. You can read about this here. While hiking in the mountains on Easter Sunday, I took many photos, not least of them the one above.
For more beautiful scenes around the world, click here.
Khartoum Cats, continued
I have checked the whole courtyard and the outbuildings and found nothing. Perhaps the kittens are in the yard next door. We will probably never know.
We continue to feed the cat...
For more on pets around the world, click Pet Pride here.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Early morning over Omdurman
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Chickpea, tomato and eggplant casserole
2 eggplants, unpeeled and cut into 2 ins/50mm cubes
3 onions, sliced
1 cup diced butternut or pumpkin of your choice
2 corgettes, sliced
2 tomatoes, thickly sliced
1 ½ cup vegetable stock
10ml olive oil for frying
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C
Add a little olive oil to a pan and heat
Brown the eggplant and onion rings, remove and place in casserole
Brown the pumpkin and corgette, remove and add to casserole
Add the chickpeas and decorate with sliced tomatoes
Gently pour the stock over, cover and bake in oven for 30 minutes
Remove the cover and grill for a further 5-8 minutes
Serve immediately with rice and a green salad
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Khartoum, Jo needs the dentist!
Just before we went out on leave in March, my husband, who is petrified of dentists, needed to see one here in Khartoum. You can read about this here.
On Sunday, while drinking a glass of ice-cold water, I suddenly experienced a sharp pang in one of my molars in the leftside of my mouth. Not being one to procrastinate (like some I know... lol!), I asked Grant to call his now-favourite-dentist and make me an appointment.
Well, the time and date is set. I see Dr Hamo of Smile Dental Clinic at 8pm tonight. That's right. Eight o'clock this evening. This is Africa and you can have doctors' and dentists' appointments at these weird times. I count myself blessed that it's not at 10.30pm!
So tonight it's off to the dentist with me. Oh well, I know I will get a good sunset photo while travelling across the city.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Khartoum, my world from the rooftop
For other worlds around the globe, click here.
Thanks to Klaus Sandy Wren Fishing Guy Sylvia for this amazing meme.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Glowing Mushroom Rock
While there has not yet been opportunity here in Khartoum to take photos of pretty scenes, I'll continue to use images captured while motorcycling through our beautiful South Africa last month.
For more beautiful scenes around the world, click here
Khartoum Curry is well
By golly my man, you haven't lost your touch
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Sunset over East Africa
As the sun was setting to the left of the plane, I took this photo from where I was seated on the right . For more beautiful skies, click here.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Khartoum Shopping and a New Camera from South Africa
I always longed for a good handbag. I've had many cheap, plastic handbags whose stitching unravells within a week of purchace and worse still, gets caught in a cheap zip. About ten years ago my husband, who had realised by now that I'm never seen without a handbag (except when we're riding our motorbike or climbing a mountain) decided I should have a good leather one. He took me to an exclusive shop in Durban which sold only handbags - leather handbags.
My heart sank when we walked in because there was a man in attendance. No lady in sight. My husband told him what we were after and he began to take down bags for my inspection. The shelves were accessible to the customer, so hubby also found a bag which he showed me. What he and the gentleman was showing me, was not my taste. (I mean, what do men know about handbags, ha!) Bag after bag was taken down by the two men and proffered. I'd take it, open it, hang it over my shoulder and hand it back. Too small, not enough pockets, not the right colour.
Just then my husband found a deep brown handbag, with shoulder straps, pockets on each side, a sturdy zip which concealed beautifully-lined large inner space and two sections on either side of this with their own magnetic clips. Just perfect, I said. Until I flipped over the price tag and almost fainted.
Before I could change my mind, hubby told the assistant we'd take it, paid for it and I had a new handbag.
On Saturday evening in the plane, after opening my bag to use my handcream, the zip would not close properly. The catch had come off the zip-rails completely but I managed to thread it on again. I closed it carefully and did not open it until we were in the flat where I noticed that the zip was "stripped". Nothing else for it but to buy a new handbag to use while in Khartoum. When we return to South Africa, I will take my handbag to be repaired and hopefully I'll have my trusty handbag with me when I return to the Sudan.
Yesterday we visited Chinatown in Afra Mall across town. There I chose a servicable, large handbag to use while I'm here. It has no seperate sections inside - just one large area - and a small zipper section to place my lipstick and cell phone. Hubby paid SDG20 / US$8 for it.
In my post on Monday I mentioned that I had a new camera. Gaelyn has been asking about it so here goes: I still have a very good Canon EOS350D bought in 2007. It is an SLR and has a detachable zoom lens. I used this camera extensively in my work as a newspaper reporter while living at home in South Africa. It takes beautiful photos and I have more than 30,000 images on computer taken with this camera.
While at Natures Valley in the Eastern Cape last month, Grant and I were walking at the forest edges on the lookout for the elusive Narina Trogan (a beautifully coloured bird which I've seen on two occasions but Grant has not yet seen). As we were spotting the vividly coloured Orangebreasted Sunbirds and singing Southern Boubous among other more common birds, we saw a gentleman walking along the road towards us. He kept stopping and not using strong birding binoculars like we were, he was photographing the birds way up in the branches above us. Only thing is, the camera didn't have a long zoom lens and we wondered what his photos would be like. Drawing nearer, he called out a greeting, to which we responded then Grant asked him what type of camera he was using. He told us that it was a Canon Powershot with an optical lens which magnifies the image 20x. Therefore the birds are being photographed with the same magnitude as we have when viewing them with our Zwarovski birding binoculars. Wow!
Back home while discussing this camera with our brother-in-law, Lourie, he took out his new camera: a Canon Powershot. Grant was able to have a closer look and was most impressed. While we were in the city in South Africa last week, he bought the same camera for me.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Cheering up with Garden Scenes from home
It's just that the weather has turned very hot here in the Sudan with the onset of dust storms. The air is heavy with dust and the sun, although baking down, is not at all visible. I will photograph a dust storm soon and post it on this blog. Meanwhile, I just felt I had to browse through my recent garden photos and enjoy the cool lushness of each scene. Of course, the animals were there as well. (Just to give my heartstrings and extra twinge! The three the dogs and two of the seven cats.