Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Can you believe it?

Guess who has discovered the Five star Pet Hotel in the Valley?

CC is for Contented Cat! I wish you could hear him purr!

Ginger above used to belong to the man who occupied our house until two years ago. Like so many expats do, when they leave a country, they leave the pet they've adopted, fed and housed while living there. Strange, but true. Fortunately for Ginger, who is a soft-natured, mature male cat, Wheatcliffe the chef up at the company guest house fed him until now. Last week on the first evening we were in our house, Wheatcliffe walked down here and Ginger followed him. We already have a supply of cat cookies (exactly like Shadow and my other cats eat in South Africa) so I fed him here immediately. That night he slept in the hollow of a tree just outside the front door. He obviously slept there before as he looks very comfortable in his tree bed! The next morning he'd disappeared and we didn't see him that night either. On Friday morning he came to the back door and called plaintively. He's not used to being indoors but I have placed his cookies and water in the pantry just off the kitchen. He is now eating indoors. Just before I fed him that day, though, I crushed one of the cat deworming tablets Grant had brought in from a vet in El Doret. I added it to some raw mince and offered it to Ginger. He sniffed at it, tasted it gingerly, and turned his nose up. I crushed another tablet, placed it in a clean bowl, added fresh milk and put it before His Lordship. One lick and he turned away. So without any further ado, I picked him up by the scruff of the neck (as my dear vet in the Free State had taught me) which is utterly painless for the cat,  immobilizes it completely and the mouth opens naturally. I inserted a whole tablet down his throat and plaaced him on floor again. He couldn't believe what had happened to him and disppeared out the back door. He stayed away all day but that evening I suppose he'd decided to forgive me and was back at the door calling for me to open up. So there you have it: I'm now now employed by a Kenyan cat called Ginger who will have to get to know our Sudanese cat, Shadow when we bring him in from South Africa later this year! (Did you know? Dogs have owners, cats have staff?)

Cows, goats, chickens and dogs abound in the fresh produce market

On Tuesday Caro, the houselady from the Guest House, accompanied me to the market in Kimwarer Centre, as it is known. This is aparently the CBD of the Valley and operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays only! I'd been warned by Sue that the domestic animals wander all over the vegetable stalls while you're making your purchases. This doesn't worry me; I noticed a chicken pecking at a discarded tomatoe and this cow above snuffled at an empty grinadella shell! The dog lying at the tree stump seemed well - fed and happy. Even so, I've decided to keep all Grant's meat bones in the freezer and will take them with me when I next visit the market.

The market was so much like many I've visited in Africa yet quite different too. For instance, these markets are run solely by women. They tend their gardens during the week and on Tuesdays they display and sell their fresh produce.

This lady is called Dinah and sells mainly potatoes and onions. The prices compare very favourably with those in South Africa. In fact, the potatoes per kilo were cheaper than we've been paying back home! (they loved having their photos taken  and seeing themselves on the camera screen afterwards)

Vegetables of all types are available from the market: spring onions (don't you just love these little bulbs?), carrots, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, beans and pumpkin

A little girl and her mum at the market. Fruit is also plentiful in Kenya (Yippee!) The pawpaws, oranges, bananas,  mangoes, passion fruit and grinadillas were placed in my shopping bag for fruit salad back home. Note: passion fruit is similar to grenadilla but sweeter than grenadilla. -I remember having these both types on vines on my garden fence back in Zululand

Caro kindly did the negotiating for me last week
My display of fresh fruit and vegetables bought at the market in Kimwarer centre last week. The total price was (Kenya Shilling)  KES750 = approximately US$11. The smooth fruit in the left bottom corner are mangoes (yummy, sweet and smooth), passion fruit is in the centre, with a grenadilla peeping out behind the pawpaw

Now for something entirely different and quite embarrassing!

On Sunday morning Grant and I drove out to the mine where we did some birdwatching from early morning until about 10am. This all took place because our hot-water geyser was not working. Last  Friday we'd had the copany electrician in who put a brand-new thermostat in our geyser.  He never tested the thermostat; it wasn't working and we had cold showers on Friday and Saturday.
Once he'd installed the thermostat, he set it to the correct temperature and suggested we go out birding while the water heated. We did - me virtually still in my PJ's -  and we saw many new birds. By 9.30 we wended our way back home. I had a gloriously HOT shower and dressed for the day. 

Earlier on Sunday morning, Grant went to the empty house next door and removed the thermostat from the hot-water geyser. (He'd told the financial manager, Johan what he was doing just to ensure someone else on site knew about it in the absence of the managing director) My practical Jack-of-all-trades-and master-of-many-of-these-trades husband replaced our geyser thermostat with it.  In one of his stints between contracts during the mid-nineties, Grant worked for more than a year in a friend's electrical business. This guy also employed Angus and today both Grant and our younger son can turn their hand to anything electrical. Most of all they were taught to always test appliances before leaving the  place where you installed it.

 This flat-topped thorn, Acacia tortilis , also known as the Umbrella thorn, grows all over the bush. Of course, I regularly ask my long-suffering husband to stop so that I can take photos of the sun setting, rising or just shining through these trees!  

While having breakfast, I remembered it was a friend's birthday.  I asked Grant to replace my SA SIM card in my  phone as I wanted her cell number to phone her.When Grant asked where my SA SIM card was, I was utterly dumbfounded. See, in our relationship I do a lot of things, cooking, cleaning  feeding the pets (like Mr Ginger here on camp, and nine animals when we're back home in SA!) I also all the admin in our household. However, I've left all travel documentation in Grant's capable hands. He deals with our passports, visas, yellow cards (innoculation cards) and anything pertaining to travel and living in different countries,  like aforementioned SIM card.  I had no idea where my SIM card would be. So we started to search the house. Not much place to search as we have no extra "stuff" in cupboards like we have in South Africa. I first checked through my black-lined handbag for the little black valcro bag which houses our SIM cards . Nothing. Then my bedside drawer. Blank drawn. We took down the cases from the top cupboard in the spare room, checked all the pockets. No SIM card. Grant went to the office and looked in his desk drawers. He returned empty-handed.

I don't know if other late-fifty-something couples are like us. We periodically mislay something and then go all out trying to find it. Retracing our steps, asking each other when was the last time we'd seen, used, had the item. And we don't like to give up. We keep looking, keep trying, keep on keeping on! All very stressful! I can handle closing up our home and moving to another country in less than a week, but I don't enjoy looking for something we've mislaid!
The TV stood on a "table" which was covered by a cloth

I went down into the lounge and checked inside the small desk under my laptop. Which revealed nothing! Then I looked around the television set and lifting the large cloth over the table on which this stood, I opened each drawer. No SIM card. Then I stood back and looked at the "table" again. It was a HUGE desk! Imagine! Here I am sitting at a school desk, unable to place my knees under it,  with no space for the mouse. Yet there's been a large desk behind me in the lounge. Ha! Probably its been laughing at me all this time! I called to Grant who came running thinking I'd found the SIM card.  I told him, no, I'd not found the SIM card, but just look what I had uncovered. Literally! He was just as excited as I,  and said  I should move the desk facing the North-eastern window where I'd be inspired beyond belief.

My new office. Don't you just love it? I do!

On Monday morning my dear houselady, Naomi,  Stanley, the gardener and I moved the TV and decoder to the food-warmer cabinet (which had stood beside my school desk) and moved the desk to the window. Now I have the most beautiful view of the garden while the louvred windows provide the light and cool breeze as I sit here and type.
Inspiration is... the view of my garden from my desk

As my heading says today: Can you believe it? (that I 've had a decent desk all along and not known it!) What I couldn't understand is how unobservant I've been and not noticed the large desk under the TV set. I mean, we've looked at this for the past week and not seen it was a DESK under the TV.  Embarrassing to say the least!

Oh BTW, after all the excitement of discovering the desk which had been under my nose all the time, I was looking for some handcream in my black-lined handbag. And there was the SA SIM card!  

I rest my case...

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  1. It drives me nuts when I can't remember where I put something. And living in a small place it just doesn't seem possible. Nice new desk.

  2. My, my, you have been a busy woman, lol. So glad it all worked out for you about the SIM card and the nice desk. You do have a lovely office view for sure. I just love the markets in Kenya with all the huge and colourful fruits and veggies.

  3. Hi Jo, Glad you have a great desk now---and what a fabulous view!!!!!! I'm afraid that I would be staring out of the window all of the time, and not getting much computer work done!!!! ha

    Glad you found your SA SIM card....

    The little produce market looks neat.. AND--you got some great fresh fruits and veggies.. That is NEAT.

    Wonder if Shadow is jealous---knowing that Mama has a new love, Ginger???? ha ...

    Have a great week, Jo.

  4. Thanks for taking us to the market. It's like looking at National Geographic. I'm sure you are enjoying the desk by the window. What a setting.

  5. You are very fortunate to experience all these wonderful things.

    I missed the contact on the lady in Eqypt...I was unable to get it to work. Do you mind linking tht again?

  6. I am still chuckling, the fact that you finally SAW the dest,took your mind off searching and you could give your subconscious time to remember where it was.

    Nice new cat you have accumulated in double quick time.

    Love all the photos of the area.

  7. You have indeed been busy!! Glad you have the desk and what a view! Hope Shadow isn't too jealous of Ginger! Your life is very full and rich, Jo, and you make the most of it! You and Grant do get things worked out around your house and that's great, too! Hope you have a wonderful week and thanks for sharing the fun with us! Love your photos as always!


  8. I recently found your blog and am enjoying it so much!

    Also, "Hi" to Ginger from my cat, Mandu.


  9. Your world sounds a lot like my world, Jo. Things turn up when we stop looking for them.
    So happy about your big desk. I was a little concerned about the small one!
    If you don't encourage Ginger to become a completely indoor cat, Shadow shouldn't mind.
    I'm not home this week - am in British Columbia visiting my family - but will try to catch all your blog posts, to see what exciting events come up. Shopping looks like fun. I love mangoes and I think what you call pawpaws are what we call papayas. Delicious.
    Luv, K

  10. Oh, I love the beautiful faces of the South African people.

    Your new office is great!

  11. Jo, you are so lucky to be able to travel as much as you do. I wish I lived somewhere where we could have an outside cat. I LOVE cats, and still miss Miss Kitty terribly, but DH does not like to have any pets in the house. Also, our daughter is back with us and she is allergic to cats. Enjoyed reading your post today, and glad you found your SIM card.

  12. Once again, the MOST DELIGHTFUL post, Jo! Absolutely loved reading every single detail and thoroughly enjoyed every single photograph!

    As far as discovering both the desk and missing SIM card, what a happy ending to a great story all round!

  13. You are a cat magnet. Glad you can get fresh fruit and veggies in the CBD ( not many traffic lights there). I'm so glad to hear other people can't remember where they put things. It happens to us often.
    What a great find under the cloth. No stopping you now unless the connection drops out.

  14. I knew it wouldn't last long and you would inherit a new cat, hahaha ! That would happen to me too !
    Looking for a SIM card and finding a desk doesn't happen every day ! Unfortunately SIM cards don't ring !d

  15. Hi Jo,
    I think that you are a cat magnet! haha!
    Your desk story made me smile, what a lovely spot you have for your office.
    Your market pictures are so fascinating, and the produce looks yummy.
    ☼ Sunny

  16. Glad you found the SIM card sweetie! Love the new kitty!

  17. Ginger is a beautiful cat! He'll love you in no time. I'm glad that you have a 'Fruit & Veggies Market' near you - I too love mangoes and grenadillas! (Thanks for telling the difference between passion fruit and grenadilla - always thought it was the same thing!) Your home and the view from there looks lovely - enjoy it!! (((Ida)))

  18. This is a delicious post, Jo, so many great pictures and your always captivating writing. I loved the tale about Ginger...I would have done the same, and your comment about cats having staff is so cute, and true!

    How wonderful the women have this market...I recall seeing similar ones when in Kenya...such hard-working souls they are.

    As for your desk...oh, my're bound to be inspired sitting there. Thank you for sharing your African life, so I can soak it up vicariously!

    Imagination Lane


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo