Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cousin Tipsy and Unca Shadow

Hello Bozo and all Mum''s blog readers; this is Ambrose with a post for the week. Mum and our yoomen Dad went to a F A A R R place this week. 

What's that, Unca Shadow?

Oh, is it where WE come from?

I thought we'd always lived in this kitty paradise! 

Anyway, Mum came back with photos of Cousin Tipsy. Ooh , I remember him. He and Unca Shadow used to fight tooth and nail IF they got together. But Mum would always make sure they didn't ever meet up. I also used to growl if I saw Cousin Tips in the garden even though I watched him through the bedroom window in Mum's room.

Cousin Tipsy is actually Aunty Rina's kitty and sleeps on her car roof in the garage. Aunty Rina tells Mum that with the door from the kitchen opening into the garage, Cousin Tips lies on the car roof and watches his Mama while she cooks and bakes in the kitchen.


As long as he stays F A A R away from this place...

Cousin Tipsy in his donut on top of his Mum's car roof! 

For more cute pet posts,  please click here

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A very special critter

Today I'm posting about a very special critter. First I have to tell you how we heard about and "met" this dear little old critter. We got to know one of the valley's most talented artists, Steve Bull. Please do pop over to the site and read about his artwork and also the beautiful and most unusual accommodation he built on his property in the Berg. 

Steve is a character and a real people's person. When you visit his art shop in the small shopping center, you are regaled with stories about the valley and happenings all down the years. One of Steve's famous paintings of meerkats, shows a Jack Russel standing up exactly like the meerkats. 
Muthi. Steve and Estelle's 21 year-old Jack Russell posing exactly like the meerkats in the above painting

Grant and I asked about the little dog and it turns out that this fur baby of Steve and wife, Estelle's. is most famous. You have to pop over and read about Muthi (here

On Thursday we visited Steve and Estelle at their home just nestled under Cathkin Peak. Steve took me and Grant (and a visitor who'd just booked into their accommodation) on a quick tour of the caves. 

 Steve explaining how he did the artwork on the bathroom walls

Another cave lower down on Steve's property. They were expecting the Ambassador of Cuba that afternoon

Although we'v "met" Muthi in Steve's shop, this week it was wonderful to see him in his own environment. We were visiting at midday and Muthi, like any self-respecting ageing gentleman of 147 years, was just getting up out of bed! 
Returning from viewing the caves, we saw Muthi tottering onto the lawn
As I bent down to pet him, he rolled over for me 

I'm linking my post to Saturday Critters with Eileen, here


Friday, April 28, 2017

Sunrise over the valley

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday here


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Old home, new home

In my previous post blogger friend,  Eileen (from Viewing Nature with Eileen) said she gets confused about which is our home, the one in the Free State or the one in the mountains, where we have horses!

Apologies dearest Eileen; I'll try to clarify.

Until October last year, we had our own home in Marquard (Free State). Although we'd lived in that town for 22 years, 15 of those Grant and I only used our South African house as a base when we came out on leave from his work in Africa. 

Grant's health began to fail from mid-2016 and our older son, John convinced him to pack up and store our furniture and effects; sell our house and move onto his land in the Drakensberg, Kwa-Zulu Natal. He, Debbie and our six grandchildren were living in Mozambique at the time. They've since moved to the Western Cape where he's undergoing tanker conversion training. Ultimately they'll all move to the East Coast of South Africa. 

On 17 October, 2016, we loaded our four cats and two dogs into the bin of our pick-up truck, packed our summer clothes and drove down here . The rest of our household is stored in a friend's large closed-in veranda in Marquard.  
The red arrow depicts our trips from Marquard to the Drakensberg and vice versa. The blue arrow shows the 3000km round trip we made on the Harley Davidson last month visiting John and family in the Western Cape

We are only 313km from Marquard. We always travel inland over the mountain pass between Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Free State; and through the beautiful Golden Gate National Park. I always post photos of the trip on Face Book which is what blogger friend, Sandra referred to in her comment on my previous post. 

Now Grant needed to collect several large tools of his trade which are stored with garden implements and furniture in the friend's garage;  and I wanted to look for our winter boots, jerseys and coats as well as jeans, gloves and socks! 

While rummaging through the boxes,  (an awful job, to say the least) I was amazed that, although I came across several storage containers and other kitchen paraphernalia, I realized that having managed without them for the past seven months, I didn't need them at all! We have de-cluttered our lives in a big way! 

Apart from our winter clothing I also packed about a dozen blankets and bedspreads. The newer ones will come in handy on our bed in the rondawel. This will be our first winter in 20 years where we don't have an electric blanket. Grant, with our erstwhile gardeners, John and Jacob helping him,  came across Skabenga's large tire bed. They loaded it and I have a selection of older blankets which will come in handy in future for the dogs. I also found a couple of thick grey blankets which we hope to turn into blankets for the horses, come the really cold months of late June and July. 

So although we loved living in the Free State for more than two decades, we have settled in so well in the Drakensberg, that yesterday when we saw the mountains ahead, we both sighed and said: 

We're home! 

We're back !

We arrived home in the mountains yesterday at 3.30pm. 
The view which greets and re-energizes us! 

We've been away for a few days; to the Free State where we collected a couple of bags of warm clothes in preparation for the winter ahead. We arrived here in the early summer months last year and only brought our summer clothes (and cats and dogs, of course!) 

It's so good to be home! 


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My life [status] these days

Grant has always been a hands-on, very handy, technical man. He can and does fix anything. He can and does fabricate things with steel, wood, electrical wires and components. Only problem is, until eight months ago, Grant always had an assistant. In fact, in Marquard when he ran his farm quads and ag-bike repair and maintenance business, he had TWO assistants: John and Jacob.

Now, here in the mountains there is! Yes, I've become the assistant electrician, mechanical assistant, assistant carpenter. Not that I sit idle. With the animals in my care, I have more than enough to do. But if Grant is busy repairing or creating something and he calls, I have to assist. 

I suppose it's never to late to learn. I'm learning all about two-stroke engines; negative and positive electrical wires, air cleaner elements and oil filters.  

I always remember him telling  me in the early years of our marriage: the FIRST thing a mechanical apprentice learns is which is the number ten spanner. 

Last week he was busy with some task and called out: "Jo, bring me the number 10 spanner." And guess what? I knew exactly which tool he was waiting for. Not bad for someone who, up until a year ago, didn't know the difference between a star screwdriver and a pair of pliers!  
No. 10 spanner! 

I'm linking to Our world Tuesday here

Monday, April 24, 2017

Misty Monday Morning


Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Boy Kitties

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose and my post is only about the boy kitties. 

Mum and our yoomen dad came home from being out last week and left the car doors open. Dad Ginger and Unca Shadow climbed in and explored the inside. 
Unca Shadow jumped in first and then Dad Ginger jumped up onto the back seat
Both of them sniff the air and look around
Dad Ginger climbed between the seats into the front of the car
Our Mum called our yoomen dad to come and see how strong Dad Ginger is to get up onto the open window ledge
My Dad Ginger is just the best! 
I came along a little too late; Unca Shadow had already left (see him walking around the corner of the house) and Dad Ginger had jumped out of the car window

For more cute pet pictures please click here 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The humble donkey

Donkey - original
 Donkey - photo in drawing
 Donkey - floral vintage
 Donkey - sketch
Donkey - old photo effect 

We saw this donkey at the resort where we hiked on Tuesday. I like the "old photo effect" the best. Which is your favorite? 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen, here


Friday, April 21, 2017

Champagne Valley Walking Club - Drakensville Painted Caves

Apologies for not being on Blogger this whole week. I'm back now and hope to be posting and visiting regularly again.

Last week we had the most interesting hike since we've joined the CWC. At a pre-arranged meeting point, eight of us hikers hopped into two cars and motored to our destination about 50km from home. We were off to see the Painted Caves starting at Drakensville Holiday Resort .

I, as a South African, have seen many Bushman paintings in my life. I find them fascinating but won't go out of my way to view any more. However,  these paintings were in a cave which was at the top of a grueling hike and also not open to the public. On this hike we also had a Park Ranger guide who would tell us all about the paintings. 
 The palm trees in the resort have ferns growing up the stems
 Waiting to start the hike 
 And we're off 
The steady incline - challenging to most of us
A flat part of the hike which lulls you into a false sense of security! 
The views as we gained elevation
The hike takes place on private property so the cows shared their space with us as we passed
Kwa-Zulu Natal at its autumnal best! 
Walking up and up the track to the top

The first four and half kilometers was on a wide path and although not too difficult, kept on going up and up. I found the uphill pull quite challenging and with a few other hikers, stopped several times to catch my breath.  
The steep and rocky descent to the cave
Fellow hiker, Trish negotiating the tricky bits on the downward path

Lynette caught the other two ladies in the group clambering down the steep rocky path
The cave overhang on the left with a crevice into the bush below on the right

Then the last 200 meters as the guide had warned us, was a steep path descending onto a wide ledge with a crevice on our left and the cave overhang on our right. 

Lynette, the other hiker who takes photos, asked me and Trish to stand right there...
...which is what we did! 
Because we're always behind the camera, I normally take a photo of Lynette with her Smartphone and then she takes one of me with my Canon camera (note the steep crevice on my right!) 
While waiting for Johan, the guide to start his lecture, I took photos of the view below
Johan about to start explaining the Bushman Paintings to us
I swung around again and photographed the waterfall cascading over the cliff above
Johan, who's been in this camp for 17 years, proved to be a dedicated conservationist and most knowledgeable about his subject

Please click here for an interesting and in-depth explanation of Bushman art and culture. Do read up about it to better understand the captions under my photos. 
Hunters with arrows following the shaman (holy man) 
The shaman has various accouterments of his trade attached to his person: feathers, bones, pieces of horns, animal hides etc

The San people dancing
A group of men fishing

A shallow cave which boggles the mind as to how people lived in there
Another dwelling cave/cave dwelling 
An overview of the group by Lynette 
The view below framed by the rocky overhang
Moi, Grant and Trish 

Then the talk was over and it was time climb out and have tea above the caves.
I turned around and managed to photograph Grant climbing up the steep, narrow path to the top
Grant relaxing before we enjoy our coffee and sandwiches 
Ant holding court
The way down
Our group of hikers last Tuesday

Another great day was had by all!