Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Yesterday Steve and Estelle had to go to the city to have Estelle's car serviced. I asked Estelle if I could catch a ride with them and they drop me off at Grant's 82 year-old aunt, Gill.  Her husband, Neville, 84, hasn't been well since June. Now he had contracted pneumonia and now was fading fast. 

Last year Gill and Neville visited us (twice) on the farm. (here)
Neville, Gill, Jo and Grant

I arrived and Gill and Neville's home in the large retirement center, Amber Valley, just after 7am. Grant's other maternal aunt, Carole, had been helping Gill to care for Neville for the past ten days. Both these sisters are professional nursing sisters, and I thought it very special  that Neville was being tended by his wife and sister-in-law this way. They hired a carer for night nursing. 

I'd seen Gill and Neville at the beginning of August when Angus, Amanda and I popped in on the way back from visiting John in hospital. Gill had told me that he had deteriorated rapidly since then but I wasn't prepared for this dear man lying there gasping for breath; not an ounce of flesh on him and his wispy hair snow white. Carole and Gill said he is still aware of people around him and told him "Jo is here". Whether he knew or not, while Carole stroked his hand, I stood on the opposite side of the bed holding his other hand and spoke softly to him. I told him how much Grant and I had loved having him in our family for the past 22 years and thanked him for being so good to Gill.  Carole and I spent a long while with him (which gave Gill a chance to get dressed and see callers, of whom there were many); I, one side,  while Carole told him to rest easy now as everything has been taken care of. Apparently, before he weakened, he was very agitated and it seemed as if he was worried about Gill. 

When I returned to the lounge, Neville's son, Craig - who'd flown in from Australia - had arrived with a bag of groceries. He and Neville's daughter who lives around the corner from Gill, have taken such good care of the two sisters and their visitors, fielding calls when both were busy with the patient and offering vital support in this trying time for Gill. 

The whole morning people called; even passersby from the village just stopping in at the door to inquire about Neville. Gill was surrounded by such love and care from the community, their pastor, their friends and family. 

All the while, we continued doing normal things.  Craig popped into town for Gill. When he returned, he attached Mia, Gill's little dog's harness so I could take her for a walk. Gillian prepared a salad lunch for us to enjoy later. Carole fielded calls  on the landline for Gill. 
Craig putting Mia's harness on after which I took her for a walk through the village 

 Me with Gill on my right and Carole to my left 

At 1pm, Grant's uncle, Dave and his wife, Wendy arrived to say hello to me. Dave was only five years Grant' senior so it felt strange that he was an uncle! Then it was time for Steve to collect me. I said goodbye to everyone and went in to bid farewell to Neville.

On the way home, Steve and I spoke about the fact that I'd felt I wanted to spend the day with Gill and how special it had all been.

Am I glad I did...

This morning at 9.10, Neville passed away peacefully.

Rest in peace, dear Neville. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Haircuts and walkies

Some of you may remember when I inadvertently had a short, very, very, very short haircut. 

Read: shaved head!
This was me mere days after I'd tried to trim my own hair and ended up having to have it shaved!

Yesterday my sweet friend Lynette, who has cut my hair almost since I arrived in the Valley, gave me my first haircut since my own attempts in May! She cut it on my veranda and afterwards we shared a light lunch together, and of course, chatted up a storm! Once Lynette had left, Skabenga started to bounce up and down for his daily walk. 

Returning after doing our allotted Sunday distance, I took a selfie of me and Skabby and sent  it to Lynette thanking her again for taking me home (more about this later) and cutting my hair. 

 Loyalty is....
Blown and styled: Lynette is good at cutting hair


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Missy and Unca Ginger

As last week, I'm still doing the posts for Ambrise. i think he's enjoying his break: Thandiwe (my house lady three days a week) says he makes for the dairy every morning and spends all day there. Well, he obviously knows a thing of two, does Ambrose!

Two days ago I couldn't immediately spot Missy and when I went into the bathroom, I found she'd discovered the dripping tap! 

Fascination is...
 Now ginger is keeping an eye on the young one!  
Ginger with his catnip mouse! 

Have a great Sunday! 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

New arrival on the farm

Earlier this week a horsebox arrived and off loaded this beautiful horse. I 'm sure the resident [white] horse is thrilled to have company ! 

 The groom stopped for me to get a good photo ! 

  Off to the paddock ahead with the young [intermediate] calves  

 During the week, I noticed that spring is almost upon is. The Wild Iris (dietes grandiflora) was flowering prolifically in Colette's garden below her shop rail  

 In the garden below my part of the veranda rail, the arum lily (zantedeschia aethiopica) has just popped out
 In the same garden, my baby spinach are thriving. I have rocket growing here as well, but I had just cut leaves off for my lunch salad so it wasn't looking very photogenic! 
On the veranda outside Colette's shop, her white geranium (pelargonium spp) if which she is immensely proud,  is blooming 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here 


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Egyptian Geese

Walking out of the house to  the car park yesterday, I saw these two birds on a dead tree stump in my neighbor's garden. 
 Egyptian Geese 

The Egyptian goose is believed to be most closely related to the shelducks. 

It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck, hence the English name.

The sexes of this species are identical in plumage but the males average slightly larger. There is a fair amount of variation in plumage tone, with some birds grayer and others browner, but this is not sex- or age-related. 
A large part of the wings of mature birds is white, but in repose the white is hidden by the wing coverts. When it is aroused, either in alarm or aggression, the white begins to show. In flight or when the wings are fully spread in aggression, the white is conspicuous.

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here

No-brainer for national Women's Day

I'm linking to Wordless Wednesday here

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Anonymous and friends on the veranda!

No the one has nothing to do with the other. To all the regular bloggers out there, are you also having a spate of "anonymous" people /trolls commenting on your posts? I have been inundated with this terrible commenter for the past month or two. Sometimes they comment on the current post but mostly they've read an ancient post and write a load of drivel and sometimes abuse on these. Is there ANY way that I can block these awful commenters? Does anyone have a solution for me? 

Now for something much more pleasant; friends! 

Apart from the strangers which I hope turn into customers, that meander long the veranda daily, I often have friends popping in to say hello and often to buy gifts, the vitamin booster and African Potato Cream which I sell for an organic chemist. 

Ant and Jenny, whom I see weekly at the Parkrun and whom I used to hike the mountains with when I was a lady of leisure pop in  regularly after their weekly hike; Cindy (Ant's wife of 50 years) pops in to buy the energy booster after her session at the knitting club; Lynn, whom I manage The Bunker for, popped in to introduce me to her niece and at the same time she bought two gifts for her daughter; Stella, a friend from Probus and also the hiking club, popped in last week to place her cosmetic order with me (one of my extra projects is selling for a large skincare company);  Hedy, whose little Daschound, Florrie apparently still bristles when they pass the house where we lived in Bergview popped in last week, ordered a coffee for me and a hot chocolate for herself and had it delivered from the Chocolate Shop down the veranda so that we could "have a coffee" together; Betty, also from Bergview, whose two Labradors and my Skabenga, are our main topic of conversation, popped in  a with two lolly ice creams and we enjoyed these together while we chatted - about our dogs! 

And then there's my young friend, DJ. He was our neighbor when we lived on John's farm. Grant and I got to know DJ "through the fence" as it were. He'd stop and bring a pack of freshly picked green maize on the cob while I would have a packet of health rusks for him. These were handed through the electric fence at your peril so DJ would lob the mielies over the top of the fence and I would send the rusks over the same way. 

Nowadays DJ, a busy farmer doesn't always get to stop off at the shop and say hi. His young wife, Tracy, and cute toddler, Jessica take part in Parkrun every week, so I see them there. However, when DJ pops into the supermarket, he always buys a can of cold-drink and brings it to me in passing and gets off to work again. 

Sweet, huh? Him and all my friends. 

Yesterday DJ came past my shop where I was standing out on the veranda chatting to Jenny and passed me this can of soda! 

I'm linking my post to Our World Tuesday here

For those of you interested in seeing more about  THE BUNKER, please click here


if you're interested in rates and more information, please click the links below:


Monday, August 20, 2018

Snowy peaks

Friday and Saturday we experienced a severe cold front in the mountains. It rained all night on Saturday and Sunday when the clouds lifted, the mountains were white with snow. (Note: The snow from last week only lasted a day. It melts almost immediately the weather warms up) 

My guests for the weekend (Friday through Sunday) didn't materialize and I breathed a sigh of relief. I wouldn't have to clean up after closing shop early on Sunday. 

Early on Saturday I received a call from Travelground; the lady, Suzie had two guests staying at a popular and upmarket guest house in the valley. But they weren't happy. They wanted to move. Did I have availability for Saturday night only? 

I did.

Then Suzie said the guests had two puppies; would I be able to have them as well? After asking several relevant questions pertaining to the pets, I was happy enough to accommodate their furbabies as well.

They collected the keys shortly afterwards and checked themselves in. 

On Sunday, they arrived with the pups and he paid me for the night while she chose a few artistic gifts in my shop. Two happy guests who have promised to return and stay for a longer period in my accommodation.

At 12.30 I closed up shop and went up to The Bunker. Estelle helped me to clean up and change linen for the guest arriving on Sunday night. 

A job well done, Estelle and I met up with Steve at their own home and accommodation units about 800m down the country lane from my unit. Then the three of us went out to business lunch at our favorite restaurant a kilometer down the main valley road. 

I was home, had walked Skabenga along the muddy farm roads and ensconced back at home, when my single guest phoned me. He was parked outside the gate entrance to the estate. I opened it remotely from my home 20kms away and he entered. We'd pre-arranged for him to collect the key in a drop-box so a minute later he called me to say he was in and thank you very much! 

He's at a citrus conference at the large conference center opposite our shopping center with 700 other delegates. 

Who spill onto our veranda when they have breaks...

I've posted on The Bunker, here

For more on my accommodation please click these links.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Kitty update

While Bozo is still on holiday and Ambrose has taken journalistic leave, I'm doing the kitty posts.

Of course, I have to give an update on our miracle cat, Ginger. This old gentleman has come along in leaps and bounds. Well, not exactly leaps and bounds. But in gingerly placed (excuse the pun!) one paw in front of the other. That is; WHEN he gets out of bed.
Ginger is genuinely resting and healing his bruised body. He seems to walk with a slight, very slight limp in the left rear leg. But a stiff-legged gait rather than a pronounced limp. Other than that, he's spending all day in my bedroom with a nubile young maiden kitty. 

 At night, Ginger has his own personal security guard 
 By day... 
... his very own personal nurse! 

When Missy is off duty, she can be seen playing hide and seek in the lounge with Ambrose! 
 Where are you, Unca Ambrose? 

How pretty am I, Mum? My blue eyes match my collar! 


Saturday, August 18, 2018


New, new newborn! 

I know that blogger friend, Sandra,, (Madsnapper) will say: awww! Hence my post title

Driving home after work yesterday, I noticed a new calf in the paddock which its mama.  I spent a few minutes watch it and the mother cow and taking photos. 

Very relaxing...

I'[m linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here


Monday, August 13, 2018

Ginger's back!

This morning my friend, Molly was at the vet in Berggville, a town 60 km from the Valley. She had taken her furbaby, golden Lab Marley, who'd developed an abscess on his eye to Arina. Once Marley had been treated, Molly phoned me to say she had Ginger in the car and would bring him to my shop.


 Just released from hospital; note bandage on left arm
 Checking where he's been brought to! 
Out of the cage

Thank you to each an every person who sent messages via my blog and e-mail. And the prayers. Who says you can't pray for our pets? 
Proverbs 12:10 “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.”

For those interested, I've done a blog post on my accommodation The Bunker

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Winter has arrived!

Said tongue-in-cheek...

The winter in the Drakensberg supposedly starts at the end of May. But we've had warm dry weather and slightly chilly evenings since then. At the beginning of this week - the first in August - the winds arrived and with it dust! Ergh! 

And the days were warm and summery.

We woke on Thursday morning, 9th August, which was National Women's Day in South Africa, to icy weather. Single digits! I opened up shop but had a notice on the closed door saying just that. It was freezing. Being a public holiday, there were many visitors on the veranda and many pushed open my door and entered into my warm shop! 

On Friday morning at 3am, I awoke to heavy rain on my roof. As soon as it was late enough I phoned Thandiwe and told her to stay home. She could come in to work next  week again. I couldn't bear the thought of that dear lady slipping and sliding along the muddy roads in pouring rain just to come and clean my house. 

The mountains were enshrouded in heavy clouds; in fact the skies were grey and overcast. 

Later that morning a man bought a gift with a painting of the mountains. I told him when the clouds lifted he would see them and there'd be snow on the peaks. He called his wife and repeated this to her. 

Lo and behold,  a while later the sun appeared, the blue skies shimmered above us and there in the distance were the mountains...

Snow capped and lots of snow on the colder  mounds and valleys beyond. 

This morning I stopped at the exit of the farm road and took the first two photos below.  

 Halfway to work,  on the road through the valley, I stopped to photograph a hot-air-balloon 

 The occupants were certainly getting beautiful photos of the valley below and the mountains ahead
  Closer to the mountains, I managed these photos... 

And update on John who was deserately ill a week ago: he was moved from ICU to a medical ward on Monday which meant that Debbie and all the children could visit him at the same time. He had a sinus op on Wednesday and my SIL, Shelley, who'd visited him regularly, told me he said he can smell and taste properly for the first time in years. He was discharged on Thursday and is resting at home. So all's well with John!

Regarding Ginger who's still at the vet, I've had good reason not to post. Since leaving him there on Tuesday, he's not eaten a morsel of food. Arina tried to tempt him with upmarket "vet's choice" canned cat treats. He wouldn't touch it. So she kept him on a drip. 

This morning I phoned her and she almost bounced through the phone. A breakthrough, she said. She'd changed her strategy with Ginger and bought sachets of lamb cuts in gravy. I had thought to tell her that Ginger was my fussiest cat when it came to food and only ate cuts in gravy. But I'd thought he was too ill to be fussy! Not so: she says he finished half the sachet while she watched yesterday and this morning he'd eaten the rest she'd left in his cage. He'd also drank most of the water in his bowl and used the litter tray. So he seems to be on the mend! 

Here's wishing you all a great Saturday.