Monday, October 31, 2011


Living and working in the mining fraternity for almost three decades, I've met many people and made many friends. Often Grant and I have arrived at a site, and met up with people whom we've known on another mine site.

This happened to me in 2001 when Grant and I flew from Mali to Guinea where he took up the position of Plant Manager of a remote site in the northern part of the country. As I walked towards our house, I saw a lady wave from the house next door. Thrilled, I realised that it was Sonja, whom I'd met three months previously when she and her husband, Karel were on the same flight as I from Johannesburg via Abidjan to Bamako. On our brief stopover in the capital of Cote d' Ivoire, Sonja and I got chatting. She is almost 14 years younger than I but I found her very mature and friendly. In Guinea, as neighbours,  we became firm friends and continued to keep in contact with e-mails, when later she and I were in seperate countries. At the moment she and Karel (who's  a project manager) are living in Tanzania so we're virtually neighbours again!

When Grant and I flew up to Kenya in September, we stayed over at a hotel in Johannesburg. Grant and Karel arranged to meet in the foyer and of course, Karel brought Sonja along too! We'd not seen them in six years but it felt as if we'd never been apart. While the men talked shop (mining) on the one side, Sonja and I caught up on family news (believe it or not, she's a grandmother of two little girls) and people we'd  both known in the mining community.
 My long-time friend, Sonja and I when we met in Johannesburg last month

When I arrived home in South Africa, I found a card from fellow-blogger, Becky. How lovely it was to actually see her handwriting and get to "know" her through this medium. Becky, whom I met through another dear blogger-friend's blog, Kay,  has been a great source of inspirition to me in my writing. You can read Becky's blog here. Kay, too has been a stalwart in supporting me in my writing. (Thanks Kay!)
A handwritten note from Becky was waiting on my desk at home in South Africa when I arrived home (Thank you, Becky!)

So between living the expat life and blogging, I count myself blessed to have many friends around the world.  Thank you to all who've become my friends through cyberspace! 
May you all have a wonderful week.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bionic Cat

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Tranquil Scene

Early morning scene in Wilderness National Park, Western Cape

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Camera specs and Woolly-necked Storks

In March 2010, I changed my Canon EOS 350D for a Canon Powershot SX 1 IS with 10 megapixels and a 20x optical zoom. I was living in the Sudan at the time and enjoyed my new camera immensely. (My Canon EOS was super but the detachable lens was heavy to carry around our African travels and also caused me camera shake.)

In January we moved to Kenya, East Africa and within a few weeks, Sue and I had become good friends, going out into the bush to find and photograph birds. She had a four-year-old Canon Powershot and her photos were not as clear as mine.

She bought an upgraded camera in March: a Canon Powershot SX30 IS with 10 megapixels and a 35X optical zoom. Her photos were suddenly SUPERB ! Even if I stood next to her photographing the same subject, I'd not get the quality and zoomed image that she was capturing After selling my fifth article this year, Grant suggested, that because I was using my photos for articles and aim to write about the beautiful birds of Kenya, I should upgrade my camera. In August I ordered a Canon Powershot, SX 30 IS with 14.1 megapixels and 35x optical zoom.  My friend, Kathryn, collected my camera in Cape Town for me and had it ready when I arrived at her home in Clanwilliam when we visited the flowers. Kathryn borrowed my older camera while we were together and before we left, she copied down my new camera specs. She bought hers recently.

I've posted a few photos of the two cameras and also photos taken with the "older" camera and photos of the same bird taken recently with my upgraded camera.

The older Canon Powershot SX 1 IS on the left with the new Canon Powershot SX 30 IS on the right
Top view of the two cameras

Above and below are photos of the Woolly-necked Stork - I took this photo in August with my older camera.

Below is a photo taken recently of a Woolly-necked Stork in almost the exact same place as the one above. (Note the sandy bank behind the bird)  I thought there was a marked improvement.

Woolly-necked Stork (no prizes for guessing where it gets its name!)

Technology changes with an alarming rate. Recently my brother Phillip, (you can read his interesting blog about his life in the Drakensberg area of KZN, South Africa, here) asked me about my camera specs. I gave them to him as well as the distributors in Cape Town. He phoned them this week and the salesperson told him the Canon Powershot SX 30 IS is being replaced by a Canon Powershot SX 40 H! So he's buying an even newer version than Sue's, mine or Kathryn's which are THIS year's models!  

Oh and for photographing baked goods and other recipes I make in the kitchen, I use my little point and shoot Sony Cybershot. I also use this nifty little camera while riding on the back of the motorbike.

I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Sunset, moonrise over the West Coast of South Africa

Writing an article on our recent trip to the Flowers of Namaqualand, I found this beautiful image in my folder. I took the photo from a fast-moving vehicle, hence the slight blur. The sunset over the Cedarberg Mountains on the West Coast of South Africa was beautiful

Shortly afterwards I captured the moon almost fully risen in the same sky

For more beautiful skies, click here

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's a girl!

Our younger son, Angus and daughter-in-law, Amanda are expecting their second child, our sixth grandchild. Recently Amanda went for her first scan and they let us know it's a girl! We're thrilled; by March next year, we'll have three granddaughters and three grandsons.

Yesterday Amanda sent me photos of their son, Joel who's one year and nine months old. Suddenly he doesn't seem like a baby anymore; he's a little boy. One who looks very much like his daddy did at that age.

Always smiling, Joel is a very happy and confident little boy
Watching the world go by from his car seat in the back of his parents' Isuzu

Mmm, now I wonder where he gets his craze for motorbikes

Relaxing in the garden

He loves the drums in the church band and can often be found sitting on the throne drumming a beat!

Thank goodness for modern technology, without which we grandparents here in Kenya would miss out on the lives of our precious little ones.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

African Darter

The African Darter is a common bird found across Eastern, Western, Central and Southern Africa with the exception of Somalia and the Namibian interior. However, a month ago was the first time I'd seen this beautiful bird in the Valley. It was also the first time I'd been out with my new [upgraded] camera. Sue and I were at the dam together at the time and between us we probably took almost 300 photos of this bird.

African Darter as photographed at the dam about a month ago. I love the way this bird turns its neck and head around to the back and then facing forward again, obviously checking for danger

The African Darter differs from cormorants by its long slender neck and head, and long pointed bill. The breeding male has a rufous foreneck with a white stripe down the neck. So above and below is a breeding male.
Creeping around behind the bushes around the dam, some of my photos had foliage in the foreground. I thought it gave the image a certain mystique. What do you think?

When swimming, often only the neck and head is visible, giving an illusion of a snake gliding through the water. In Afrikaans, this bird is known as a Slangvoel, (pronounced slung-fewell) which means Snake Bird for obvious reasons.
I was thrilled when I downloaded the photos of the African Darter. The quality was far better than bird photos taken with my old camera and although I'm not good with measuring things  (to my husband's chagrin, LOL!), I'd guage that the distance between photographer and subject was about 55-60 meters.
In this photo, the darker rufous neck and white neck stripe is clearly visible. You can also see that this bird has had his dinner - er - breakfast. His crop is full. Isn't he a beauty? 

The African Darter is found in lakes, dams and slow-moving rivers. It's rarely found in coastal lagoons and estuaries.

I hope you enjoyed the African Darter as much as I enjoyed photographing and posting about it. For more beautiful birds around the world, click here

Thank you everyone for your kind comments on my post yesterday. I have finished the first article and sent it off for publishing. I did my bit towards the dinner last night which went off very well. (Hopefully I'll post about this soon). I'm on my way to the Journalism Club this afternoon and have submitted my contribution to the school magazine. I will start on the next article tonight and hope to have it "in the bag" by Friday at the latest.

Hope you're all having a wonderful week.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011


It was my honest intention to visit blogs and comment this week and write a decent post today. However, the owner of the mine is paying a flying visit from Canada to the mine over the next two days. Yes, you guessed it: I'm involved with some of the catering. I also have an article whose deadline is tonight at about 9pm. I have another article which has to be ready and burnt onto a disc complete with photos and captions, by the time my neighbour, Theresa flies out to South Africa this weekend. I've also been asked to write an editorial for the school magazine and as usual I'll attend the Journalism Club on Wednesday.

So to all out there, please forgive me and bear with me until I catch up after this unusual rush of events in our normally quiet Valley!

Till later, all have a wonderful week.


For more of other people's worlds, click here

Monday, October 24, 2011

Trip to Eldoret

On Saturday we took a trip up the mountain to Eldoret. Grant, Johan and I drove up at 7am and as usual just before the top of the mountain, we spotted monkeys. Not just ordinary monkeys but Blue Monkeys and Black-and-white-Colobus Monkeys. The first photo of the Blue Monkey was not too clear as I was photographing it against the sky and from quite a distance away.

Blue Monkey

Black-and-white Colobus Monkey

I post photos of these monkeys often every time we see them as I get very excited to know they're still around.

Grant took a side road in Eldoret. These alleys are lined with stalls, informal mechanical workshops, vegetable displayed on the ground, huge bags of grain, maize and other dried goods,  and hundreds of people milling around. We couldn't work out why we couldn't get through when the oncoming vehicle (in the photo) gestured to Grant that we were driving up a one-way street, the wrong way. Looking back it seemed impossible to get out again, but my dear husband reversed all the way back to the entrance and got us out. I think once you've spent two years fighting the traffic in Khartoum, you can drive anywhere!

Here in the valley our house-ladies do the washing by hand. Not in a laundry but on the patio outside the kitchen. Not in a sink, but with a tap against the wall, and three large plastic bowls. Apart from the washing taking ages to dry, your clothes are also ruined by this pummeling and wringing. After Grant and I discussed the problem, he kindly bought a small washing machine today. We decided on a twin-tub; our water - drawn from the river - is often brown and our erratic electricity would play havoc with an automatic machine. I can't wait to see Naomi's face on Monday when she walks in and all she has to do is hang the laundry on the line.
A new twin-tub washing machine will make life much easier for Naomi

On Saturday afternoon, we arrived home in time for the semi-final between our team, the Cheetahs (Free State Province)and arch-rivals, the Sharks (Kwa-Zulu Natal) Unfortunately due to a series of errors on our team's part, the Sharks beat us 20-13.
* Sigh *  (See here, if you wish)
Once again on Sunday it was all eyes glued to the TV watching the World Cup Rugby final between New Zealand and France. The South African referee was lauded as at least being "one South African in the final".  In the hype and build-up a few hours leading up the the game, everyone said that New Zealand would beat France with a 20 point lead. Ha! The French team gave the Kiwis a run for their money. The final score was the lowest points difference ever in a World Cup Rugby match : NZ 8 - France 7!

Last night Grant and I, along with the rest of the company management team,  were invited to the Class 8 (Std 8) pupils dinner. More about this tomorrow.

Have a great week, everyone.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Early morning tranquility

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Picture Perfect

Shadow and Ambrose at the dining table

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Rainclouds over Keirio Valley

Morning clouds gather over the mountains surrounding our valley

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quick trip to Nakuru

On Wednesday, Grant had business in Nakuru and asked if I'd like to ride along with him. Of course I did! We arrived at the security boom at the exit of the mine at 5.25am and our headlights picked up a  group of very small school children waiting for the school bus. I was just too late to photograph them, but you can see by the photo below that it was still pitch dark. As Grant said, what time do these children and their parents get up in the morning to be in time for the bus?

Security guard opens the boom for us to leave the mine yesterday morning

Of course, the early bird, er, photographer, gets the good shots!

A while ago I posted about being ill with typhoid. I finally seem to be over the virus and getting back to normal. Only thing is, I've suddenly (for the first time in my life) developed a lower back pain. I phoned the doctor who assures me this has nothing to do with having enteric fever. His theory is that I'm normally very active but for the past three weeks have been resting so I may have developed muscular stiffness (and pain) because of this. The sister at the clinic prescribed mild analgesic tablets and a rub.

As a last resort to finally shake the whole illness episode off, as this post is aired this morning, I will be next door with Theresa. She has yoga dvd's and invited me to join her in an effort to gently ease myself back into activity. I firmly believe that I will be back to total normality very soon, Please God!

Hope you're all having a wonderful week.



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grey Crowned Crane

Yesterday after market, Sue and I drove to the dam to see what we could find. We weren't disappointed and photographed many birds not least a pair of Grey Crowned Cranes.

The Grey Crowned Crane is a distinctive, long-legged bird with a conspicious golden-yellow tuft on the crown, a bold white cheek patch, a black forehead and red wattles

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shadow boxing

 This morning Shadow, fascinated by the dust mites visible in the sunlight, stood on his back legs and boxed at them

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend 15 - 16 October 2011

Two weeks ago we drove throught the village. The kid below had just been born; I didn't have my camera with me, for the first time ever! This past week I wanted to drop something off at the school so we drove through the village again. This time I had my camera and took a photo of the kid who's already quite steady on its feet.

Two-week old kid in the village

On the way back, we had to slow down for a nanny goat who was lying in the middle of the road. We drove around her and saw had a very small kid lying behind her.
The kid above was still quite new. It was strange to see a black mother with a brown baby

Of course, on Saturday we watched the quarter-finals of World Cup Rugby. Wales was beaten by the French, who go through to the final.

On Sunday, we, once again, sat glued to the television watching 80 minutes of hard, tense rugby. The Australians and New Zealand were fighting it out for a place in the final.

The end result: New Zealand 20, Australia 6.

Have a wonderful week everyone!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Van Rhyns Pass

The Vanrhyns Pass on the R27 between Vanrhynsdorp and Nieuwoudtville was built in 1962. It carries heavy traffic from Cape Town up to the Bokkeveld Mountains and Calvinia. During springtime the stretch of road between Vanrhynsdorp and the pass, known as the Knersvlakte, is transformed into a colourful carpet of flowers.

From the look-out point (above) some 800 m above sea level, you will have a sweeping view of the Knersvlakte, the Hardeveld and the Maskam region. The Bokkeveld Mountains contribute to the 180 degree panoramic view. You reach the Bokkeveld Plateau at the top of the pass.

For more beautiful scenes around the world, click here.


Growing like the proverbial weed!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The role of faith

It is through faith that a righteous person has life Romans 1:17

I woke up this morning thinking about God. This is normally my first waking thought. How can I NOT think about Him, when He's given me a restful night and the day's dawned with light, birdsong and beauty? How can I not appreciate the fact that I still have all my senses to appreciate His wonderful creation?

In everything I do, I have complete and utter faith in God. I'm not silly about it; I'm a practical person when it comes to putting my faith into action. And, ironically I cannot have faith in God without His help. Every day I ask Him to strengthen  my faith. I also ask Him for the wisdom to know what  He wants me to do, say and be.

There is no other way to be renewed by God; the role of faith is central. My spiritual renewal began with faith when I began seeking God and surrendered to Him.

Each  key to spiritual renewal requires faith. There is no magical formala for this; it's a daily act of trusting God enough to surrender my will and my life to Him. I also ask Him daily for spiritual renewal. Why not? I ablute every day. I shower, wash and dry my hair, and put on new (clean) clothes. That's why I ask God to clothe my spirit anew every day.

By doing this I put my hand in the hand of the all-powerful God, who promises never to forsake me and love me no matter how unlovable I may feel.

Hope you're having blessed and enjoyable weekend.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Economical packing for the bike ride

Even though I finished posting about our biking trip to the Namaqualand last last month, I couldn't resist sharing a couple more photos.

A brooding sky over the Karoo

Photo stop to capture the flowers and heavy clouds over the Karoo in September

We're often asked how we travel with so little space for luggage. Well, I've learnt to pack lightly. So many of the clothes that we pack when we do have the space, like when travelling in a car, are often returned without being worn. We also seem to be visiting friends or overnighting at a guest house with a friendly landlady, by the time we need to run a few things through the washing machine and tumbledrier.

I've never taken a hairdryer on biking trips; when I do appear in photos, you'll notice that my hair is stuck to my skull! (That's what happens when you wear a helmet, and the name for that "do" is helmet hair!) However, last month Grant bought me a traveller's hairdryer; it's light and half the size of a normal hairdryer.

For the actual ride, in the winter, I wear thermal foundation, (Doll, you ain't seen glam until you seen these long johns!). Seriously, we have good quality thermal wear called First Ascent  which is a blessing in cold weather. I wear cycling shorts and a tee shirt over these. Then I add a light-weight turtle-neck pullover (I have a blue one and a beige one. If you saw my post yesterday, you'd see my comment about having that [blue] pullover for six years. Well, I bought the beige one at the same time) During winter I add a thicker V-neck pullover.

My "leathers" -  a term for biking gear padded with armour plating - consist of leather pants (hips, rear and knees are protected) and a leather jacket. Here the elbows, rib area and back/shoulder blades are protected. I wear a black leather waist-coat over my leather jacket. It has red roses embroidered on the front and back and is probably my only item of "almost aesthetic" clothing while biking.  

A snod protects my neck from the cold. This looks like a wide, open-ended sock. I pull it down over my neck, tuck the bottom end into my jacket collar and then pull the top bit up to under my nose. If it rains, sleets, snows or hails, Grant normally helps me into my Driza-bone . My hands are protected (against the cold in winter) with thin nylon gloves, called inners, and I wear leather gloves over these. The knuckle section of the leather gloves are protected. My leather lady biker boots, made by Vixen ,  fit snugly over my pant legs. They protect my feet, ankles and shins 100%. A full-face helmet on my head and I'm ready for the ride. 

In the biking world, we have a saying: "Are you dressed for the jol* or are you dressed for the fall?"  Note: *Jol, pronounced "Jawl" ,  is colloquial South African for a party. So if you're riding a bike dressed in jeans, a tank top and sneakers, you'll look super at the jol, but you have absolutely no chance of protection should you fall off the bike. In full protective gear, however, you're ready for any mishap, and even, heaven forbid,  an accident.  

Back to the luggage: the back box (which I lean against while travelling) is for my purse/wallet, my lipstick and perfume. It also houses our binoculars and my Canon camera. Now that Grant has my previous Canon, this will also fit in the top box. Grant and I share a Bible while we're on a trip. Ours is a little light-weight leatherbound copy of God's Word. We only use one cell phone / mobile while in South Africa, and this is turned off while we're riding and stored in the back box. My little Sony point-and-shoot is always in the right-hand pocket of my leather waistcoat, ready for me to whip out in the ride and take photos.

One of the sideboxes is for my luggage. A square "tog"/sports bag fits into the metal case, so when we stop for the night, we lift our bags out and carry them into our accommodation. I pack a small tube of toothpaste, small pots of face cream and minimal make-up. I have a pair of jeans, a pair of pedal pushers, two pairs of khaki shorts,  four tee-shirts, flat sandals, socks and of course, my lingerie. I always pack my pashmina which is light and comes in handy when we go out in the evening. Grant has a smaller box on the left as it's been designed to fit over the exhaust. He sees to his own clothes although I carry the toiletries in my bag. Our respective Driza-bones are stored in each box. Grant rolls these knee-length coats up tightly and they fit into small bags which makes for easy storage.

We also have a tank bag which, as the name suggests, fits over the fuel tank. (see photo above) Grant packs tools for the bike, a puncture repair kit (never needed, thank goodness), and comfortable walking shoes. A little moonbag (the silver bag just visible at the bottom of the tank bag) clips onto the front and contains driver's lisence, passports, ID books, bike registration papers, and Grant's wallet.

So, what more do we need? We fuel up, turn on and ride off into the great blue yonder!

Have a happy and healthy weekend, everyone.


For more beautiful skies around the world, click here

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Biking to the Flowers of Namaqualand, South Africa Part VIII

After leaving Mossel Bay on Monday afternoon, we continued on the N2 to Wilderness National Park where we spent the night in Ebb and Flow camp.

Our en suite log cabin, had a small kitchen inside, with a fridge and eating area on the deck. It's fronted by the river which ebbs and flows according to the tide, hence the name of the camp

Later that evening, we met up with friends, Rudi and Nazette and had dinner at a seafood restaurant called The Blue Olive. Rudi worked in Grant's team in the Namibian diamond mines during the nineties and with his first wife, Rene, we all became firm friends. (Sadly Rene died in a motor accident in 2009.) In 2007 - 2008 Rudi worked for Grant in West Africa. He now works in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the the Congo) and was home on his three-week break.

It was the first time we'd met the [new] lady in his life. Nazette, who has an Arab father and Moroccan mother, lived  in Belguim until five years ago when she moved to South Africa. She teaches French classes in George and because Rudi'd told her I learnt Arabic while living in Khartoum, she insisted on speaking to me in that difficult language. Fortunately she spoke slowly and put up with my shaky grammar and accent! (LOL!) As you can imagine, we had a fun evening.
Rudi and Nazette; Jo, Grant and Rudi (my camera setting was on manual and came out all yellow!)

The next morning Grant and I wandered around the beautiful park looking for birds.  The Touws River runs through the park emptying into the sea about a kilometer away.
Yellow-billed Duck

Jump, Forrest, jump! (or not!)

Mmm. Is "prosecution"  waiting to jump in after the perpetrator?
One of the many birding routes through the park which delivers a variety of birds (see below)

Knysna Turaco

The camp and accommodation is immaculate. The lawns, fields and edges along the main road leading to the camp, were a mass of Gazania regens, (Creeping Gazanias)  The gardens around the Parks Board offices and resource centre, were filled with indigenous plants. I forgot to photograph any of these!

After a relaxing couple of hours of birding, we loaded the bike and left. We've been coming to Wilderness National Park for many years and will return again.

Now our ride took us on the N2 heading east up the coast with the sea on our left and passing little coastal villages with lagoons running into the sea.

We stopped for tea and a scones at one of the villages

Our next stop was Knysna where we were staying at friends, Pete and Mart in their beautiful Guest Lodge. Grant and I have known Pete for sixteen years, suffered with him through a difficult divorce but now enjoy a wonderful friendship with him and Mart, his beautiful [new] wife-of-seven years.

Mart wasn't in when we arrived;  she was at a show in a neighbouring town. Pete, Grant and I drove down to the Knysna Keys for lunch. The men headed straight for Oyster World where they enjoyed a dozen tasty molluscs while catching up on news from the past year.  (Pete lived in Marquard for many years before moving to Knysna in 2005) Pete also rode a bike for many years but has since gotten rid of it as Mart doesn't ride with him.

I had vegetarian spring rolls with guacamole on the side. Afterwards I wandered around taking photos.

No seafood should be eaten without Tabasco Sauce!

Two old bikers deep in conversation (If they read my blog, which they don't, they'd lynch me for calling them "old" lol!)
How much fresher can the oysters be?

A Cape Canary on a wooden fence post

Mart arrived home later that afternoon. Pete barbequed  a  flattie (spatchcock chicken); as a side dish he sauted large mushrooms and made  Greek salad. A hot crusty loaf of bread completed this simple, yet satisfying supper which we enjoyed while chatting and laughing about old times.  
A Common Slug-eater slithered into the courtyard where we sat and chatted while Pete barbequed the chicken (Note: with me and Mart around, NO harm came to the snake which isn't venomous; Pete took it into the large garden and released it)

The next morning, Grant loaded the bike while I took photos (well, somebody has to do the job!)

Pete and Mart's Guest Lodge is very French Provencal, right down to the cat posing on the table...
Amber adds to the French chic of the lodge's decor

By 9.30 we greeted our friends and were on our way.

We took the N12  inland to George. We had one more overnight stop about 550kms up the road. But first we had three sweeping mountain passes to travel.

 The Outeniqua Pass over the mountains of the same name, links George (in the Garden Route) with Oudtshoorn (in the Little Karoo). A few kilometers from Oudtshoorn are the famous Cango Caves, one of the world's greatest natural wonders. 

The flowers were still prolific along this route

We bypassed Oudtshoorn, linked up with the N9 and enjoyed half-a-day's ride through the vast Karoo.
Flowers lined the road as far up as Aberdeen
More flowers and...
...more mountain passes!

We arrived at our last overnight stop on our trip - Colesberg. and Kuilfontein Stable Cottages.

This farm has been in the Southey family for five generations, since 1875, and has borne witness to a rich history, from wars, to drought, and floods.
The original homestead was built in 1818 and has been an ostrich, sheep, racehorse and stud farm, and today is a mixed farming operation that produces South Africa's world-famous Karoo lamb. There are still herds of the original springbuck roaming the plains.

A Karoo oasis built conveniently close to the N1, Kuilfontein Stable Cottages owned by Leigh and Penny Southey, is a unique experience.(courtesy: Kuilfontein website)
Grant and I stayed over at this farm in May 2005 when we did our first long trip from Marquard to Knysna on our Harley Davidson. Penny Southey recognised us. She said she doesn't know many people who work in Africa (back then we were in West Africa) and tour South Africa on a motorcyle. 
After we'd unloaded our luggage into our stable, we changed into comfortable clothes and went for a walk. On our last visit, I'd taken photos of the trees reflected in the dam near the stables. This time I took photos at the same spot. In 2005 Grant took a photo of me standing under the slave bell. This time, he took another of me in the same place!
All the photos on the left in the collage, were taken in May 2005. The photos of the right were taken in September 2011. You can see I don't spend much money on clothes. The blue pullover I'm wearing in  2011, is the same one I had on in 2005!
After breakfast the next day, we loaded our bike, greeted our hosts and left. At the farm entrance, near the  National road, we stopped to take photos at the sign.
We turned north onto the N1 and headed for Bloemfontein. Less than two hours later, we stopped at the Engen One Stop for a cup of tea at the Wimpy and then it was the final leg home.
The regional roads in the Free State are in a terrible condition. It's not at all unusual to see vehicles driving on the wrong side of the road (as we're doing here) to avoid the huge potholes and cracked tar
At 2pm Thursday we arrived home. We'd been on the road for nine days, had clocked up 3200 kms, seen hundreds of flowers and other beautiful South African scenery and met up with many friends along the way.
I hope you all enjoyed the bike trip to the Namaqualand flowers with us!