Tuesday, July 27, 2021


 Good evening fellow Bloggers. While I have been absent from blogging and visiting for the past half year, I fully intend to rectify this and am BACK in full force now. Thank you to you all for your patience and for still commenting on my posts. I really appreciate your support and friendship.

However, once a week I have managed to stay in touch with a fellow blogger, Gaelyn, from Geogypsy whom many of you follow as well. Gaelyn has a Fun Foto post every Friday and it's this post which I have visited most weeks. Gaelyn has beautiful landscape photos and photos of her travels, many of her two visits two South Africa, one of which we met up in Knysna in 2014. 

I aspire to take photos like Gaelyn does. She often has photos of a tarred road going off into the distance, drawing the viewers eye into the future. She also has posted iconic photos of railway lines. 

Last Thursday, I traveled to the neighboring town of Estcourt to have my second Covid vaccination. Notwithstanding the recent unrest and terrible looting and destruction, Estcourt was very calm and safe. There was a definite army and police presence, but otherwise, it was like any other weekday in a small Kwa-Zulu Natal town. Warm, peaceful and pleasant.

Returning home, I have to pass my friend's home on a small holding where she lives with her daughter and son-in-law. I popped in to have a cup of tea and long awaited chat as we'd all stayed safely in our homes rather than venture out when there was trouble. 

Crossing an old disused railway line, I stopped and took a photo. I'm hoping Gaelyn pops in for a blog visit and sees how I aspire to take this type of photo like hers!

Living on a farm where the farmer was born 76 years ago and his brother was born 81 years ago, I have heard them telling about the train taking them to school in Estcourt along this selfsame railway line. The siding (not a station) was in Loskop, the township where Thandiwe, my houselady lives, about 2km fom the farm. 

Have a wonderful day wherever you are. I am about to go to sleep... 


Monday, July 26, 2021

Estimated damage


Estimated damage caused by the recent riots in our province 

Small and privately owned businesses are always hit the hardest. One Zulu restaurant and club owner, stood outside his trashed premises with tears coursing down his face. He has built up his business over the past ten years. We have been in Lockdown for 16 months and only recently were restaurants permitted to operated under restricted hours. He said on the weekend of the 10th July, four large double-cab pick-ups stopped outside his club.  A dozen or so people stormed his club, stealing laptops, cash registers, and divested terrified patrons of their valuables.  They smashed the furniture and windows.  They then loaded his four large refreshments fridges onto their pick-up vans.  This just puts the kibosh on any business let alone a hard-earned private enterprise such as this.

Peps stores, Massmart, Edgars and Spar are a few of the retailers who are supported by the majority of South Africans. Doesn't make sense.

 As I posted yesterday, South Africans got up,  dusted themselves off and have started over again...

Sunpuddles and warm beds


Chappie on my electric blanket 
Mama and Missy soaking up a sun puddle on my bedroom carpet

IT IS COOOOOOLD here in the Central Drakensberg. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The week from hell

 From Friday, 9th July to Friday 16th July 2021,  it was as if the world was ending in our small province at the South Eastern point of South Africa. The first unrest began on a national Freeway linking Durban to Johannesburg. The masses torched lorries and car carriers and stoned vehicles. Kzn came to a complete standstill on that first Friday Looters converged on the major cities and carried away fridges, stoves, microwaves, chest freezers, state of the art TV sets  and everything and anything they could lay there hands on. They then also torched or destroyed several hundred buildings and infrastructures. Several hundred large shopping malls, warehouses, container yards and factories were burnt and/or vandalized. One chemical factory damage has leaked into the ocean causing pollution of magnitude and dead animals and fish washing up on the shore. More than 150, 000 jobs have been destroyed through this willful and thoughtless destruction. 

Just does not make sense...

On Sunday 18th July, things had calmed down and the communities lost no time in getting together to clean Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The sights of everyone working together was heartening. 
Families came out and helped clean up the cities 

Stolen goods were retrieved and sorted. They were then donated to the NGO's 
Everyone, absolutely everyone who could, helped clean up the terrible mess 
A man steps gingerly through the terrible devastation with smoke still smoldering all around 

I recognize this area - it was previously a beautiful green hillock adjacent to a filling station . Within  a few short hours, the masses has trampled it causing desertification as well as destruction! 
People have worked tirelessly to clean up and sort out the mess 

Above shopping center is one of the 161 that was destroyed, ironically normally patronized by the actual people who have now trashed it 
A video of this woman playing the piano went viral, She was interviewed on our local radio station this week. She said she and her family were trying to salvage her brother's stuff which was in storage here. It had all been stolen or smashed. The piano (not hers) was pushed into the alleyway and she said she just began to play.

I had my second vaccination on Thursday. I marveled at how life has returned to normal in a few short days. I was the only white South African in the clinic amongst about 200 people.  I always enjoy interacting with people, especially when waiting in a queue. And every one of the people I chatted to spoke of their horror at the mindless destruction. One man told me that if you grab a looter and ask him why he did what he did, he would merely shrug and say: angazi ("I don't know") 

We continue to hope and pray that law and order will prevail from now on. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Skabby and the cows

 Good evening dear Blogger friends. The weather has dipped this week; it's very cold but Skabby and I still get out for walks and yes, he still plodges in the dam which level has sunk somewhat. 

This cow looks as though she's about to give birth

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Farm critter and pets

Dear fellow Bloggers. On Tuesday evening a young family arrived at my holiday accommodation. There were returning from a visit to the Kruger National Park to their home in Hillcrest, Durban.  They stayed there until Friday morning while they arranged joining a convoy of vehicles leaving from the Central Drakensberg, via the N3 and side roads which were open. 

Thandi and I went in on Friday morning early to clean up. The guests left this note below...
A young family: dad, mum and two young boys

It was my oldest grandson's birthday on Monday, 12th July. He will tell his children and grandchildren that on his 15th birthday, the world as we know it, changed...

Back on the farm,  Skabby and I walk every day. 

Back home, I spotted Chappie perched on the edge of Skabbys plodging bowl. With the temps a low 13 degrees Celsius at midday, I held my breath...

And remember the kitties asleep  on the warm bed last week?
Well, they are still asleep on the warm bed. 
I snapped these happy kitties at 00h23 this morning. My feet are visible on the left! 

I'm linking to Saturday Critter with Eileen here

Thank you for you comments, concern and prayers for South Africa💔🙏

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

It took five days...

 Good evening dear Blogger friends. I desist from posting images  (of the millions on the Internet and doing the WhatsApp rounds) to show exactly what is happening in South Africa. In the province of KwaZulu Natal. Violent protests erupted which lead to looting, burning and destroying major infrastructures such a main freeway linking Johannesburg to the harbor city of Durban.  Hundreds of malls, supply chains, warehouses and container yards were invaded, looted and then burnt to the ground. Total destruction. 

This isn't political blog. I won't be going into the reasons for this harrowing time of unrest in our beautiful country. See the Internet for more information.

What I will discuss is how quickly the food supplies have been depleted. How quickly the medical supplies are drying up. And the Covid vaccine drive which was gaining momentum has ground to a standstill. I have had my first jab at the end of May. My follow-up injection was due on Saturday 10 July. Well, it didn't happen. On Friday violent protests had erupted in the towns and we were cautioned not to travel. 

Law enforcement hasn't been equipped to deal with the crises. They have enlisted the help of civilians all over the province. This South African nation has come up trumps. The men are guarding and protecting residential areas and estates. They have barred the entrances to the last few remaining shopping centers and malls and, with the South African Police, are guarding them against looters. Only rubber bullets are used. 

I am on a WhatsApp group based in Durban. Seeing the men post that they are going on watch from 6pm till midnight and others returning home at 6am, reminds me of my youth in Rhodesia. There was unrest in 1960 and my dad and other young men from our small community would board a Landrover, armed to the teeth and head off to check on farmers in remote valleys and dales. I remember asking my Mum once why it was safe for Daddy to leave her and two small girls in a tiny village,  while he guarded other families. I don't remember her reply. 

Here on the farm, we have a young farmer from the neighborhood watch who parks his vehicle in our driveway at night and holds the fort. All other farms are also assisted in this manner and the entrance to the Valley is similarly guarded. We are still blessed; unlike the cities who need 24/7 protection. 

On a slightly lighter note; this morning I submitted an online shopping list to the local supermarket in town. The manager, Riaan phoned me and said: "Jo,  of all the items on your list, we have only two." I said "Riaan, I hope it's the cat pellets" He answered in the negative. An hour later Ronnie, my neighbor entered the supermarket after queuing down the street for 40minutes. Riaan rushed up to her and said: "I have two packets of cat pellets for Jo. Will you take them home for her!" So, bully for the kitties. They are sorted for a while.  

Please spare thought for us and help us pray that law and order will soon be restored in South Africa. That peace will reign. And that we will have the stamina to rebuild the already fragile economy after the mindless destruction of the land.


Monday, July 12, 2021

Hedges menagerie warm and happy

 Dear Blogger friends. There's not a day goes by that I don't miss dear Ambrose. 

Nevertheless, the other three lady kitties are doing well as is dear Skabby.

Curled up like three prawns on my bed! 

Skabby cooling his foot pads after our daily walks 

While he's cooling his heels, he drinks deeply from the trough! Crazy dog 

During the day, the cats enjoy the garden. Here Chappie stretches which she insists help her keep her figure ! 


Sunday, July 11, 2021

Regular walks on the farm

 Good afternoon dear Blogger friends. Covid has hit us with a vengeance this winter. To control the rising numbers of infections and deaths, the Government has once again, placed South Africa under Lockdown. But thank goodness this time, although Gauteng has been LOCKED into their province, the other parts of SA are still reasonably free to move around. So hospitality has been ongoing for me. Thandi and I have been up and down to The Bunker three times a week, cleaning after guests' check out and prepping for the next ones arriving. Hard work, but hey ho, we're not complaining.

Skabby and I continue to enjoy daily walks on the farm. This week, while he was plodging in the dam, and I was focusing my camera on the ducks on the opposite side, I spotted a movement - a small movement. I zoomed in and saw my first Three-banded plover since leaving Tanzania in 2015! 

Dumela, on herd duty with cows and calves going to the paddock after the afternoon milking 
Winter in the Drakensberg 

The "dry" cows, cooling their hooves in the dam. I love the peaceful scene

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen, here