Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Nine years of blogging...

... and a year in the Drakensberg! 

Note: this post is about 15 pages long but as an "old" blogger in more than one sense, with "old" blogger friends, I reckon those who want to read what I have to say, will do so. 

Way back in the second half of the last decade, I came home from living in West Africa.  I had with me our cat Mandu - the first of many times that I'd fly a cat across the Continent. 

Once I'd resettled and involved myself daily working in my indigenous garden, I started to play around on the Internet in the evening. While in Guinea, I had learnt how to "surf" and join chat sites for my writing passion. I also accessed the Weigh Less site as I ran an image club for the very few women who lived on or visited the mine site. 

Through the latter site, I met a young friend, Lynda who was living in Tanzania at the time. She started a blog and sent me the link. I read it and was hooked! With Lynda's help via e-mail, I started my blog and posted for the first time on 1 October 2008. 

I don't have the time to go back and link up to posts that I did at the time. Except for this one. And this one. (do click on this second link - even I enjoyed reading it! LOL!) 

For the first 23 days, Lynda was the only person commenting on my posts. Dear sweet girl. Another blogger "Hill upon Hill" from Oz also commented. 

Through Lynda's blog,  I started "meeting"  other bloggers: Esther Garvi (Ishtar' s  Ark). Esther, a beautiful young woman living in Niger, West Africa, died in a car crash in 2015. Lori (Skoog Farm Journal) Penny, (Snap That;) Peggy from Ireland; Gaelyn (Geogypsy) and Gattina (Writers Cramp.) Diane (Rhodesia)

When I first started to blog, I posted about gardening and also regularly posted recipes; always with a story attached. 

In 2009, I moved back to live with Grant in Africa. Khartoum, Kenya and finally Tanzania. Many of you joined my blog while I was back on mine sites: Betsy (Joyful Reflections) Kay (An unfittie's guide ...) Janie from Utah.

And in more recent years, Eileen (Viewing Nature with Eileen) Diane (Adventure before Dementia) Author Mac Wheeler, William (Ottawa Daily Photo) , Bill (Somewhere in Ireland); Margaret (Birding for pleasure) Anni (I'd rather be birdin') . 

So many of you and all so very welcome. 

Thank you! 

Thank you one and all,  for visiting my blog and commenting.

My life changed oveer the years: I've wandered the streets of Omdurman wearing an abaya (kaftan like covering over my Western clothes) and habib (head covering). I had a tutor and learned basic Arabic. 

Grant and I attended three (one double) weddings and were taken out to dinner (by the company's manager) on several occasions.  Do please click on the links if you have time and read about these interesting cultural events. 
The wedding invitation of one of the weddings probably cost more to print than our whole wedding forty years ago!  
Off to a Sudanese wedding 

Grant and I traveled into the Nubian desert almost every weekend. We rode camels, saw old temple ruins, visited pyramids and picnicked on samoosas and black coffee amongst the golden dunes. (many photo ops in the desert!) 

Moi atop a camel in the Nubian desert 
The Kush Kingdom flourished for 900 hundred years from around 800 B.C. to 280 A.D. and held power over a vast area covering much of the Nile Delta and as far south as Khartoum. Meroe became very important as the Kingdom's center from around 300 B.C. to 280 A.D. Egyptian influence remained strong and Egyptian artisans were used to build the Meroe Pyramids to commemorate dead royalty. The dead were buried in chambers underneath the pyramids. (Source Internet)

Riding through the desert in a 4 x 4 Toyota Landcruiser 

Subsequently our two year sojourn in North Africa ended. We flew home with a new [rescue] cat,  Shadow. We spent three months in South Africa before Grant was head-hunted for a position on a fluorspar mine in Kenya.

During the year there, I crept through the lush African bush in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya 
with my friend, Sue...
My dear friend, Sue with whom I birded and wandered through the bush almost daily 
and across fields birding and taking photos.
A bird's eye view? (LOL!) 

While in Kenya, I entered and won a competition for a recipe which I'd submitted to a magazine. It had a story attached, of course. The prize was dinner at "The Executive Chef's table" at the renowned Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi. Even though it was a six-hour road trip, Grant and I attended, staying overnight afterwards at the company flat in the city. 
Off to the Sarova Stanley Hotel for a chef's table dinner 

Our three-year-stint in Tanzania, was most interesting as well.

I managed the company guest house which housed and fed 21 fussy expats, planning the meals, working with two wonderful chefs and a small kitchen staff; overseeing all domestic issues and going to market every week. I was involved with Grant in everything that happened to the employees .

 I joined the three other ladies at pottery every week, and ultimately became very involved in the school for endangered (Albino) children in Shinyanga town nearby. We made toys, trinkets and game boards for the children. We also baked cookies, made soup and popped popcorn which we'd take to the school and serve the children. 

Below I'm doing a presentation on hygiene and health guidance at the school. (I was in the grip of a high malarial fever at the time!) 
Omary  translates my talk on hygiene while I stood by in a fevered daze!

Grant and I did lots and lots of birding in Tanzania.  I posted regularly about the beautiful (and new) birds we saw.  We also had social outings with other expats. 

In February 2015 we returned to South Africa, ostensibly to "retire" . 

During our 16 months at home, the dogs and I went walking every day. 

Dear sweet Eddy  shaking off after a swim in the dam 
Skabenga still chest deep in the water 

With Grant's health failing in the Free State, our son, John asked us to come and live on his small holding in the Drakensberg while the family was in Mozambique. 

Once again, while Grant recuperated, the dogs and I established a regular walking routine on the property 

When the children put the property on the market, Grant and I moved to a house in an estate a little further along in the valley. 

At the same time, good friends, Steve and Estelle asked me to re-open Steve's art shop in the local shopping centre. Apart from selling Steve's eclectic art and Estelle 's popular souvenirs, I also have a natural multivitamin booster which I've been promoting in the shop and on Facebook. (one of the many positive results of taking this powder, are beautiful nails) 

(I had fun playing with Lunapic when posting the photos below) 

The rest is history...

Thank goodness for blogging; there are many things which I've almost forgotten but managed to find and relive again in the blog archives. 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here



  1. Congratulations on none years quite a feat in any matter. Love this update. I really miss Lynda's blog, somehow following her on FB is not quite the same. Well done Diane

  2. Hello Jo, what a wonderful post. Some I remember and some is new to me. I will go back and click on your older links. I am so glad to have found you and your blog. You have been blessed with a wonderful life, seen and enjoyed many experiences. Great memories, thanks for sharing. Happy 9th blog Anniversary.

  3. I very much enjoyed all the YOU photos and my favorite is the reflection you at the bottom. have not tried the smoke thing in lunapic, maybe for Halloween. I love your dress for the wedding. you have lived such an exciting life, mine is boring next to yours. ummmm perched on that camel looks dangerous to me... and I thought camels were much bigger than that... I can see your first posts were a lot longer. when I started in Aug 08, mine were one pic and about 10 words,

  4. You have lived, and are living a rich and adventurous life.
    And isn't the blogosphere wonderful?

  5. Many congratulations! Nine years of blogging is a wonderful achievement!
    Loved reliving some of those memories with you!
    Best wishes!

  6. Hi, WELL---I'm still here.... I have followed you for years and loved every minute of it.... I started blogging in 2006 (June) ---and many of my original 'friends' are no longer blogging... I don't blog nearly as much as I used to --but still love it.

    You are a very talented lady --and so glad that you and Grant are doing SO well in your new home.... Hope you (and I) both continuing blogging as long as we can...

    You should write a book of your life/experiences....


  7. Very interesting! I like the two 'off' photos; off to the sudanese wedding and off to the hotel's chef dinner table.
    Happy blogoversary!

  8. Hello Jo, what a fantastic post. I enjoyed reading about the places and things you did. Sounds like a very interesting life but then again isn't life just plain old interesting. :) Time sure flies by doesn't it.
    Have a wonderful day and keep on doing the wonderful things that you love.

  9. Bravo on nine years! That shot of you on the camel is my favourite of these.

  10. Jo ~ congratulations on your 9 years? of blogging ~ and what a life you have led for an American ~ very creative and you make a lovely couple ~ love your dogs ~ do wonder how you would get them back to the USA if you ever wanted to come back? Thanks for sharing your blogging years ~ ^_^

    A Shutter Bug Explores ~ aka ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  11. Hi dear Jo, I enjoyed walking with you through memory lane, I haven't been with you over the 9 years but have been lucky to find your blog and read you for many years since you were living in the Sudan, through Kenya, Tanzania and now back in South Africa. You have certainly done a lot over those years and lived several lifetimes of experiences!! I'm so glad you and Grant are now settled and have made a new home with your pets. I know our beloved pets usually don't live as long as we do but they sure do bring us joy. I hope to continue reading you for many years to come dear friend. Big hugs, xx

  12. I started blogging in July 2007 ! and yes a year later we met and then even life in London ! I wouldn't know what to do without it ! It is so interesting to be in contact with people all over the world and share their joy and worry.

  13. Congrats!! This post brought back a lot of memories from following your story almost from the beginning.


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