Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My life these days

Towards mid-May I was a little absent from Blogger due to submitting an article to an adventure magazine. I always have photos to support my articles. As I sent my photos and writing to the editor early on the morning of the 12th, I phoned him and told him that I'd sent my contribution for which he thanked me. While traveling back from Cape Town a week later, I had a frantic phone call from the same editor; he had in his possession my photos but WHERE was my story. I knew I'd sent it but couldn't confirm it as I didn't have my laptop in the car with me. It would have been too late that night when I got home to re-send the story so the editor asked me to submit my story again next month.

Meanwhile the provincial newspaper did a "Focus on Marquard" feature. The newspaper editor wrote about several businesses in town but when she wanted information on the retirement center the sisters and admin manager said they wanted me, Jo, to do the feature. 

Which I did. 

With photos. 

In order to get mood photos I spent the whole day at the center. (I came home at midday and returned after lunch) When you take photos of people in their rooms or bachelor flats or homes, it's not a five-minute session. No, you sit and chat and get them to relax. Then you ask them if you can photograph them, for instance, one resident, Annetjie, was having breakfast on a tray in her flat. The time was 7am and I commented that she looked like a queen - she was already dressed and made up for the day. 
Annetjie enjoying her breakfast 
At the frail care section, I took a photo of a carer helping a wheelchair bound patient with her knitting. When I approached them, I realized that the carer didn't know how to knit at all. The 90 year-old patient, Anna, whom I've known for years, asked if I would cast on stitches for her. She wanted to knit coat hanger covers. I cast on 22 stitches and showed Anna, but it wasn't enough. I eventually showed her what 32 stitches looked like and she was happy. Then she asked if I'd knit the first row! I had visions of standing there for the rest of the morning knitting Anna's coat hanger cover! But this is what it's all about in a retirement center. The residents, especially the elderly, just love attention. 
A  carer helping a patient to knit (or so I thought!)

The retirement center has two qualified sisters  - Christa and Luette and an assistant nurse, Ms Killian. The latter seems to have been here forever; a spinster she's known as Killies. 

Ms Killian AKA Killies is on duty 12 hours a day, every day of the week. Here she sorts through the files in the frail care nurse's station
Maxi Azar is approaching her 90's. She's the widow of one of the three founders of the retirement center. She's my MIL's immediate neighbor
 Patients are wheeled into the garden regularly. Here an elderly patient has been brought out while my MIL can just be seen exiting the door to come and sit in the sun as well 
The newspaper required photos of the outside of the two bedroom homes 
Here I showed homes with garages for those retirees who still drive and want to lock their vehicles up securely
I photographed the interior of Rina's home, which image was chosen for the advert!

The article as it appeared in the newspaper

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here


Monday, May 30, 2016

Old friends

Grant, Rudi and Bertus have been friends working together in the early 90's on the diamond mines of Namibia. Although their paths moved apart for a while, in 2000, Grant met up with Bertus on a gold mine in West Africa. Then in 2006, Grant left the mining fraternity and joined a civils and construction company. Bertus had in the interim contract TB in Africa. After intensive medication he was healed but boarded by the goldmine company and sent home. 

Grant asked me (I was in South Africa at the time) to locate Rudi who was working on the diamond mines in Botswana. He had just completed his contract and readily joined Grant in West Africa on a large construction and earth-moving project. I contacted Bertus, who also flew up to work with Grant. 

The three of them worked together until the end of 2008 when this project was wound up. In March 2009 Grant secured the a position in Khartoum, North Africa.  At the same time I received a call from a earth moving company in Liberia (West Africa) offering Grant a position on  a gold mine. I gave them Rudi's phone number; he was successful and flew up within a few days to take up the position of workshop manager. 

Meanwhile, in August 2009 I flew up to be with Grant and recommenced my African adventures. At the end of that year, Grant had flown (with the UN plane) to war-torn South Sudan to commission a fleet of amoured vehicles owned by the Nepalese delegation. I stayed behind in our apartment in Omdurman on the Nile River. 

Grant needed an extra brain and I contacted Bertus in South Africa. He flew up to Khartoum and subsequently down to Dafur to assist Grant. A few days later, mission accomplished, they both returned to Khartoum. 

Bertus remained with us until January 2010 when he returned home to the Western Cape. South Africa. He was living quite comfortably on a grant from his original gold mining employer (West Africa) but his health had deteriorated quite rapidly. 

Around this time, Rudi had an offer from a gold mine operating in the DRC. He remained there until his contract expired in February 2016.  

Every time Grant and I came out on break from East Africa, we popped in to see Bertus and his wife, Bakke. They had moved to their plot in a beautiful valley called Zuurbraak. Because Rudi was also on a rotation, it didn't often happen that his and Grant's leaves coincided.

This year in March Rudi drove up from his home in Wilderness, Western Cape and stayed over with us here in Marquard. He was on his way to Durban (Kwa-Zulu Natal) to visit family. 

When we traveled to Cape Town in mid-May, we stayed over at Rudi's house in Wilderness. We three drove to Cape Town where we met up with other mining friends from the 90's. On our return trip up the N2, we stopped off to see Bertus and Bakke. 

This was the first time in ten years that all three friends were together.  I thought it warranted a photo.
Mining friends for three decades: Bertus, Grant and Rudi
I set the camera on self-timer so that Bakke and I could be included in the photo! 

Here's wishing you all a WONDERFUL Monday! 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Aunty Chappie

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose. I only have photos of one of the Hedges kitties and that's Aunty Chappie. She has taken over our yoomen dad's easy chair in the office. Mum says that Dad Ginger also likes to sit in that chair in the morning. 

Maybe she's Queen Chappie now! 

For more cute pet posts please click here

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday Critters and a walk

Hi everyone, this week I have a rather eclectic mix of critters (a couple still from our road trip to Cape Town last week); some birds and of course, the excitement of my dogs as we resume our walks to the golf course. 
A commercial airline taking off from Cape Town overseas...
As we approached this "critter from the past" Grant and I both said how long last since we'd seen an old caravan as this! 
The Black-collared Barbets are still in our garden but not very vocal  any more

 I took Eddy and Skabenga for a walk on the golf course in the middle of yesterday morning. The dogs were ecstatic. It was very hot out there and I was challenged to take photos with the sun directly overhead. But we managed...

One of our friends watched warily as we approached. He wasn't too sure of us!
He has a new yard-mate - this gorgeous pup - also a little careful of the new critters approaching
The dogs hurtled across the course with great abandon
Skabenga hardly  had all four paws on the ground at any given time!

Skabenga goes to greet the driver on the tractor
I stopped often to take close-ups of these teeny blooms 

The flowers nestle on velvety leaves which are flat on the ground - the course is carpeted with these  bloom in pretty soft colors 
I was challenged with the direct sunlight and had to take photos from different angles
More clusters of pretty blooms
At the dam I managed a silhouette of this cormorant - probably a reed cormorant

And then Skabenga jumped into the dam and had a good plodge ! 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here


Friday, May 27, 2016

May moon phases

Waning crescent visibility 26%; age 25 days; 2 May 2016

Waning crescent; visibility 8%; age 28 days; 5 May 2016
Waxing Gibbous; visibility 84% ; age 11 days; 17 May 2016
Waxing Gibbous; visibility 95%; age 13 days; 19 May 2016
Full moon; visibility 99%; age 14 days; 20 May 2016
Full moon; visibility 100%; age 15 days; 21 May 2016
Waning Gibbous; visibility 98%; age 17 days; 23 May 2016
Waning Gibbous; visibility 94%; age 18 days 24 May 2016 
Waning Gibbous; visibility 81%; age 20 days; 26 May 2016

I'm linking my post to Skywatch Friday here


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Good fences, great tradition

Traveling to the Cape last weekend, it struck me again that Sunday is wash day in rural Southern Africa. I managed a few drive-by photos of laundry on the lines as we passed the houses along the way. 
The house on the left has a baby and a satelite dish to watch cable TV; the house on the right had only a pair of trousers on the line.  A little boy stands in the shadows watching the cars go by
This house has school children: yellow and maroon school uniforms bunched onto the line! (The fence looks rather rickety as well) 
The fence here is acting as a wash line - for MANY clothes!

I'm linking to Good Fences Thursday here

Here's wishing you all a wonderful day! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sombre Greenbul

I recorded this bird call with my phone and didn't realize that by holding it straight, the recording image would be on its side !

This is an iconic bird sound in Wilderness: the Sombre greenbul. I do have photos of this bird in my archives (somewhere) but cannot find it in time for this post. I've posted an Internet image of the bird below.  (please click on the bird name link above to read about it) 
Sombre greenbul (Google image) 

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wind farms

Approaching a small Karoo town on the N1 called Noupoort (Narrow Portal), Grant and I noticed a cluster of wind turbines. I snapped away as much as I could and then I Googled to read about them. (here)

The wind farm at Noupoort is still under construction. There are 35 wind turbines to be installed and connected to the grid. The height of a wind turbine is 152 meters. These 35 wind turbines will supply clean, safe and effective energy to 69,000 homes. 

At present there are ten turbines erected and I managed a couple of photos showing all ten! 

As we drove down to Cape Town, at Caledon, I photographed another wind farm

Denmark, Portugal, Spain and other European countries are leaders in harnessing wind to generate energy. Wind energy is one of the best sources of renewable energy. Wind energy produces no air-or water pollution.

The US and Canada are up there with the leading countries producing energy by using wind turbines. Turbines can be as tall as 200m with blades 60m long. The tallest wind turbine is in Hawai at 20 storeys tall and blades the length of a football field. 

I'm linking my post to Our World Tuesday here


Monday, May 23, 2016

Dog update

I thought I'd give an update on Skabenga after his tail and other surgery (procedure) last month. He'd lost quite a bit of weight but once I'd removed the stitches with the kind help of John and Jacob, he seems to have rallied and become exuberant again. His tail hair is almost grown. Only thing is, Skabenga never stops wagging his tail. And of course, now he hits it on every possible object he passes. And breaks open the scar again. *Sigh* It should heal completely soon! 
The stubby end of his tail is visible in this photo
Here he moves in for a pet from his yoomen Dad!

Oh, and I don't want to say this too loudly; we haven't been for a walk for an absolute age. I hope to rectify this and start walking Eddy and Skabenga a little later in the day as from this week. 

Watch this space! 

You all have a wonderful week ahead. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Three kitties...

Hi Bozo and all Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose. I have a post about three kitties and I'm not in it!
Dad Ginger sunning himself

Aunty Chappie lying on Mum's butcher's block
Unca Shadow dozing on Mum's desk
Unca Shadow kissing the camera lens

For more cute posts about pets, please click here