Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Juvenile Common Fiscal meets Kitty

Today's post is different from the norm. My teenage granddaughter, Eryn rescued a juvenile Common Fiscal and is hand rearing it until it's old enough to fend for itself. Rosie, who is highly responsible especially with animals,  is house sitting for John and Debbie while they and the family holiday in Mozambique. 

Many of my blog friends know the little kitten we have on the veranda at work. Yesterday Rosie and Emily (a friend who stables her horse on Debbie's farm), brought Baby the juvenile fiscal to meet the our Kitty.

The result was most unexpected: at first she was confused as to what this chirping feather-ball was. Then she became suspicious and in the end she decided she was terrified of this bird. (See video)  

The baby bird is taken along wherever Rosie goes and has become quite a well-traveled bird here in the Valley!

PLEASE NOTE: I stress: At no point at all was the baby bird in any danger. Both these creatures are still small and trusting and while the bird seemed interested in the other "birdie", the kitten was very afraid and tries to get away from the "danger" (see video as I said above!) 

Tinkerbelle, our kitten on the veranda relaxes in the garden minutes before the bird arrived
Rosie with Tinks on her right shoulder and the baby bird on her left
Get me outta here says kitty!

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Three months

Today it's three months since Grant's been gone.

As you can imagine, life changed 360 ° for me. 

Once the funeral at the end of November and the memorial service the next day was over, for me, it was business as usual . I returned to work at the beginning of December and in retrospect I realize it was the best thing I could've done. 

Grant was well-known here in the center where I run an art and gift shop. I can't tell you how the community has supported me, starting with the people whom I see for eight hours a day. My friends on the veranda (as we refer to each other) are a different set from the friends I know in the valley, through Probus, through the walking club and through Parkrun.  These again, have popped in from the first to say hello, sometimes to buy a gift or a tub of the immune booster health product which I sell or to bring me a treat! A local farmer and his son, who got to know Grant through Probus, bring me vegetables in season from their crops. 

In between, regular as clockwork, John or Debbie and the children call in and spend time with me. How blessed is that! 

On the personal front, I'm coping. 

I have to. I now have to do everything myself.

Grant used to love to run errands for me especially when it involved driving around. Now I have do the grocery shop myself;  I had to license my car on my own last week; I have to get to the bank to draw money on my own. But as my friend, Jenny said this morning when she and Ant popped in after their hike with the walking club, it's all character-building. 

Knowing Grant for 50 years and living with him for almost all that time, we thought the same; we both loved the outdoors; we birded for many years together while living in Africa and we loved to tour South Africa and neighboring countries on the motorbike. I often catch myself thinking "when Grant comes in from his building project, I'll tell him..."

As I mentioned on my birthday, I had several firsts over the past months. But by the grace of God, I've got through them. I have one more left...

Another thing, with the digital age we live in today, I have literally hundreds of photos of Grant taken over the years. I even came across a video of him while in Tanzania. So he'll live on forever in my heart and my mind.

 Grant with Alan (left) and Ant on the right while on a hike in the mountains last February

Thanks to all my blog friends for the love and support I've received from you;  via blogger, via Facebook and through e-mails. You've been patient when I can't - due to time constraints - always comment on your posts and for this I'm very grateful. 

With this very different world that I live in now, I am linking my post to Our World Tuesday here

A great day to you all!  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hedges Kitties

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose reporting that the Hedges kitties are happy and well. 
 Unca Shadow enjoying the afternoon sun
 Dad Ginger...
 ...playing with a bit of hide
 I, Ambrose and Aunty Chappie 
For more cute pet posts, please visit Bozo's blog here


Saturday, February 24, 2018

ShopKitty Critter Update

On door duty at the bottle shop
 Asleep on a pile of hides
 Asleep on my lap
 Asleep in an Africa bag
It's tiring being the shop veranda cat 

For more cute critter posts, please click here  


Friday, February 23, 2018

The view

For more beautiful sky posts, please click here


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Another first (continued)

When I drove UP the valley at about 4.30pm,  to my birthday dinner with friends, I crossed this dip. It wasn't even wet. An hour later Caroline arrived and said it was flooding. Caroline emerges from the Bergview turnoff - the red direction signs  which you can see behind the white car. She turned right to drive to the restaurant where were waiting for her. +Aroudn this time someone photographed this car which only just managed to ford the stream and get to "this" side of the road. The photo appeared on a local Berg CHAT group which I belong to. When I'm out in public, I never check my phone so of course, I didn't see this!
Above: the low drift which was being flooded as we sat at ate dinner five kilometers up this road
The photo above was taken at 7.20 a few minutes before I approached from the opposite side. the photographer, a friend of mine, was sitting in high-clearance pick-up truck which easily crossed the now raging and swirling waters
As I stopped behind another small car that night, I could see the waters rushing across the road. I thought: here's another first without Grant who had owned a large, high-clearance diesel powered Isuzu and which would've cruised through the submerged dip without a splutter.  

Not my little petrol Ford which, if it could hold while riding through the two-foot deep swirling water, could have water splashed up onto the plugs, splutter and stall in the middle of it all.
The driver of the car parked in front of me got out, walked to the water's edge and then gingerly waded into the water. I got out of my car, kicked off my sandals and followed him. Together we got to the middle and the part where the water was really cascading strongly across the road.  The man, who spoke with a German accent and I became firm friends, discussing the perils of venturing into the - now-swirling-around-our knees-waves with our small cars. 

I got back into my car, turned around and drove up the road to Highlands. I have a remote to the estate's gate, let myself in and drove to Estelle and Steve's house, which was in darkness when I pulled up on the gravel! I phoned Estelle, and when she answered, I said: Guess where I am? and when she said, she couldn't begin to guess, I said: I'm at your front door and need a bed to sleep!

She duly opened up and showed me to "the blue room" which I occupied for several weeks after Grant's death. She found a new toothbrush; I'd had my laundry done here in the center that day so had my PJ's and a clean towel with me!  I also phoned Ronnie, my neighbor and landlady to say what had happened. Being cut off because of low-level bridges flooding the roads, is a regular occurance in the summer time here, so all she asked were my pets OK? Could she help in any way? I said no, the cats are safe and sound inside my cottage and Skabenga is fine sleeping on the veranda. 

Early next morning  while having a cup of tea with Estelle, I checked the local CHAT group where I learned that the bridge was now open.
The same spot I was parked at the night before. This time the water had subsided and I could cross the drift quite easily. (note the river still raging on each side of the bridge

When I got home, I thought Skabenga was going to hug me. You'd think he was this fragile little dog who cannot spend a night without Mum.  The cats came to to door, stretching and yawning and looking completely bored with life. 

Until I opened the fridge and brought out their meaty chunks in gravy. THEN they remembered why they needed a yoomen around. 

I dressed for work, got into my car and was at work about 45 minutes later than normal. Ronnie phoned to ask if I'd found the farm road passable (which I had) and reminded me that they'd pick me up for the Valentine's dinner at The Nest Hotel that evening.

On Wednesday afternoon, I made use of my complimentary voucher and had my nails done at the beauty salon along the veranda. 
Me and Ronnie at the Valentine's dinner toasting with our soft drinks in wine glasses!
Shelley and Stuart, who own The Nest, had beautifully decorated tables for Valentine's dinner
Moi, Ronnie, John, Ann and Ant Gray and Lily
The dessert, called a Chocolate Bomb was a creation in ingenuity and decadence. A 3-D heart shaped chocolate filled with fresh fruits like cranberries, gooseberries and grapes   
Me with my sweet friend Lynette who is also my personal hairdresser  

I hope you're all having a wonderful Thursday! 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another first

There have been several firsts since Grant passed away 11 weeks ago: a first Christmas and New Year without him; the first phoning of our youngest grandson Liam and then second oldest grandson, Joel on their respective birthdays. Grant and I always sang Happy Birthday to the children over the phone! 

As I said on Friday when I posted about his birthday, we celebrated our birthdays within days of each other and both loved to do so!  And so my 65th last Tuesday was another first. 


I was so spoiled. Out of my shoes! 

From early on that morning,  friends and family phoned, sent Whatsapp messages , Facebook birthday greetings and also beautiful e-cards to my e-mail. Thanks to my wonderful Blogger friends, Penny, Sandra, Margaret, and Rosemary (my sister who lives in Spain) for these lovely messages. 

Once I got to work and opened up shop, I had people popping in to wish me. Two ladies, Georgia and her daughter, Tasia, who own the beauty salon along the veranda, couriered cakes from the supermarket to me. As they walked in, they asked if it was my birthday. Never coy, I said yes, and thanked them for bringing the eats. I had counted 30 people who I'd deliver cake, tart and scones to in the various shops in the center. 

Fortunately, as I started to cut and arranged slices of gooey Red Velvet Cake, milk tart and buttered cheese scones onto plates (a challenge in my small shop with no ready surfaces to work on!), Debbie and the children arrived. So I harnessed Eryn and Bethany in to helping me take cake to the people. Debbie ordered herself a coffee and rooibos herbal tea for me. The children had plates of cakes and tart while sitting on the veranda floor next to my display. 
   Debbie and the children joined me for my birthday!  

A new BFF, Marcia, who hails from Gauteng but regularly spends time in her home here in the mountains, brings shrubs and herbs to Collette. She (Marcia) says it's part of her garden insurance. Because she cannot give her local garden permanent attention and care, she brings sprigs and heels of cuttings to Collette who has an incredibly green thumb, to plant up. Marcia says she can always get from her should anything of hers die from lack of companionship and care!  Last week she brought me this potted plant below. For my birthday. How cool is THAT? I immediately said: Oh, it's a ginger plant. And she came back with: No, it's a tumeric plant!

 So that's a new one for me. And here below is my tumeric plant which I proudly displayed for the whole week. Yesterday I brought my trowel to work (which stays here now that Collette has reignited my love for gardening) and I transplanted the tumeric plant into the garden below my veranda rail.
 A tumerica plant 

While I was dealing with a customer, I noticed Georgia (my friend from the beauty spa who brought the party eats earlier that day) waiting on the side with a card in her hands. 
 She handed me this cute postcard which I flipped over to reveal...
 A birthday wish from Georgia and Tasia and a free gel manicure!  I went for the treatment the next day, which was Valentine's day. 
Charmaine who manages the off-sales next door to me,  
gave me this pretty handbag (purse) ornament 
 I attached it immediately! 

 Collette gave me a tub of organic hand and face cream made locally

That night Estelle, Caroline and I met at Dragon Peaks restaurant for dinner. Steve was unwell so it was a girls' night out where they treated me for my birthday.  I kept meaning to have someone take a photo of the three of us and never did. 

A younger friend of mine,  Estelle, her husband James and their son Josh, arrived to have a celebration dinner. I met Estelle last year on my birthday and while we were chatting another friend approached and wished her for hers. She and I share a birthday! (we share the day only - I'm 16 years older than her) She came to my table and asked if we could have a birthday snap together.
Estelle and Jo share the 13th of February as a birthday  

Caroline gave me a birthday with a generous cash note inside while Estelle and Steve spoiled me with this beautiful set of bath and lotion care products  

After a lovely evening out, it was time to leave. We ladies said goodbye outside; Estelle drove up to Highlands (and poorly Steve) Caroline drove up to Bergview. Remember this is where Grant and I were supposed to live - next door to Caroline;  and I drove straight up the regional R600 road which leads to the farm where I live with Skabenga and the four cats.  It had been raining since mid-afternoon and it was still raining heavily as I drove along.

Five kilometers along the road, I peered through the misty windscreen and saw two cars stopped with taillights flashing. I stopped and activated my hazards. A few meters ahead of the cars ahead,  facing us, was another car, headlights flashing. Separating us was a torrential river racing across the tarmac. There was no way on earth that I'd be able to cross this raging water in my little car.

To be continued... 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Hedges Kitties

Hi Bozo and all Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose with photos of the Hedges kitties. There is also one of the kitty at Mum's which she told us she used to attract people to her display on Valentine! 
 Me and Unca Shadow
 Aunty Chappie

 Dad Ginger behind the sofa 
 The work kitty

For more cute pet posts, please click here

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Critter update

A young calf I photographed several weeks ago, also having a drink that time, now takes a quick sip!
A bucolic scene as I arrive home after work
This is that very small calf which I photographed and posted last week. He's grown very leggy
The above calf's large black mama
And all the while...
...Skabenga runs ahead...
...enjoying every minute of the walk!
 Aha: Here's Junior!
Warning Skabenga not to come any closer!  

I'm linking to Eileen's  Saturday Critters here


Friday, February 16, 2018

A birthday...

... not celebrated

Grant and I loved our birthdays which were three days apart; my birthday was  earlier this week which I\ll post about shortly.

Today, 16th February is Grant's birthday and he would've been 67 years old. 

I put together a collage of photos of Grant in 2017.
Top images: Grant chatting to friend, John; Grant the Parkrun sweep. Center images: Grant scanning participants cards; Grant Parkrunner of the week; bottom images: Grant and builder Amon go through the plans; Grant checking the bricklaying process 


Monday, February 12, 2018

Parkrun update

For my regular readers, you'll know that I returned to Parkrun on 16 December 2017.I did three volunteering stints in memory of Grant who had been a regular sweeper at this local event. 

Then on 6 January 2018, I started to take part in the 5km walk again. I had my camera with me. I finished 49 minutes. The next run I finished at 47 minutes. The third time in January Ant caught up with me after 2km and then we met up with a Parkrunner from the South Coast. We ended up chatting faster than we were walking and I finished after Ant and my new friend at 55 minutes. Two weeks ago I really set my mind to improving my time and arrived at the finish with 50minutes and 51 seconds to my name! 

This week past, I had a dull headache. I decided to jog and walk and see if it helped to get rid of the pain. Just before the start, John and five of our precious grandchildren arrived. While I was panting along on the first 500 meter, my speedy grandson, Elijah passed me calling hello Granny. Then came John but he had his head down and didn't see me. After him came oldest Hedges grandson, Joshua who passed me with Hello Grandma. I wheezed hello in reply and slowed to a walk. Soon Eryn, pushing Israel and Keren in the double buggy, caught up with me. We kept up a steady pace and then Eryn broke into a run, motivating me to put a pace on it again. 

By now we'd passed the 2km mark, ascended the slight  incline up onto the first dam wall and Eryn slowed down to talk to a friend who was walking her Toy Pom. I passed these two young ladies and also slowed to a walk. At 3km, the heat of the day was really beating down on us. I couldn't imagine that I'd complete the 5km. Then suddenly I was on the second dam wall and the breeze from the water made things much easier. On the last 200m I tried to jog again but without much success. 

Passing the clock-in volunteer at the finish, I asked my time: he glanced at his clock and said 47 minutes. I stopped with John who was resting on the paving with the two young lads. John had finished second at 21 minutes. Elijah 23 minutes and Joshua just behind him.

Later after opening the shop I set up my laptop. An e-mail came through with the Parkrun results. Imagine my delight when I received my time as a new personal best:
43 minutes 46 seconds! 

Granny and five of the six grands at the Parkrun

And as if that wasn't exciting enough, today I was at my shop display on the veranda when a gentleman approached me. He asked where he could find a toilet. I looked up and saw it was Norman, one of our friends from Marquard. He had recognized me and being a jokester, thought he'd try and catch me out! 

A few minutes later his wife, Hester arrived and of course, it was excited exclamations and hugging each other and how are you keeping... Hester is the sister of my daughter-in-law, Amanda's father. In a community like Marquard, we considered ourselves extended family. 

We spent a good few minutes chatting and catching up.

I called my friend, Charmaine from the shop next door to come and take a photo of the three of us. 
Norman, me and Hester