Tuesday, August 31, 2021


 Dear Blogger friends, it's been a while since I've posted about the books I've read. I am often asked (normally by people who DON'T read) where I find the time to read so many books. I don't know but read do I read! I tend to devour a book a week; mostly fiction and every so often I find a non-fiction book to read. 

Recently the Dominee (reverend) of the Dutch Reformed Church in our town died from Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. My neighbor had just been lent a book about a young Capetonian girl who passed away from the same cause. 

Get me to 21 - the Jenna Lowe story: 

After an extraordinary four-year battle, Gabi Lowe lost her beautiful, talented 20-year-old daughter, Jenna Lowe, on 8 June 2015 to pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare degenerative lung disease, following a double lung transplant.

Jenna was young, bright and articulate. She was LEAD SA’s Youth Hero of the Year in 2015. Her death was mourned by thousands of people whose lives she had touched. During her short but full life, Jenna and the Lowe family raised much-needed awareness around this rare and devastating disease, highlighting the dire need for access to medication and organ donors locally. Although desperately ill, Jenna became the face for organ donation in South Africa through the hugely successful #GetMeTo21 campaign in which she invited all South Africans to attend her twenty-first birthday celebration by clicking on a link to become an organ donor. Tragically, Jenna died four months before reaching her milestone.

Brilliantly written, riveting in all its terrible truth and pain, in this brutally honest memoir Gabi Lowe shares her family’s desperate fight to save Jenna’s life. Get Me to 21 will inspire us to believe that the ability to face even the darkest, and most unimaginable, lives deep within us all.

Gabi Lowe who wrote the memoir,  with Jenna 
Jenna, a beautiful teenager who modelled for Cosmopolitan
Jenna's younger sister, Kristi is a renowned singer Top photo: Kristi sings a song jenna wrote at a national rugby match in Cape Town. Bottom left: Jenna thanks the people for their support. Bottom right: Gabi prepares the medication which, in the early stages of her illness, helped her to live reasonably normally as did the mobility scooter which she is sitting on next to her sister on the rugby field 

 I knew how the story ended; I had read the blurb. I knew that Jenna died just four months short of her 21st birthday.  I never read during the day (I don't have time) I had started this book on Thursday night. On Saturday I picked up the book at 11am and by 2pm, reached the part where she had a lung transplant. Nothing warned me how emotionally involved I would become in this story. Her mother and other family members took turns to nurse  Jenna in ICU:  24/7. 
 The eight-hour surgery lung transplant was successful but her 42kg body was wracked by gastro paresis, appendicitis, kidney failure. Her mother was with her the day before she died, never once believing that her beloved daughter wasn't going to get through this. 

I had reached this part at 3.30 and had been sobbing for an hour and a half. 

When I finally turned to the last page, I sent my neighbor an WhatsApp message telling her how the book had affected me. She said she had had the same reaction and couldn't put it down until it was finished.


Believe it or not, the next book I selected from my bookshelf - I buy previously owned books very cheaply from my friend's second hand shop; from the laundry (!) And from a local coffee shop - was called Immortal Bird.

I was a only a few pages into the book, that I realized: here we go again. ANOTHER heartbreaking, choke-me-up  book about a young child written by its parent.

A searing account of a father’s struggle to save his remarkable son from a rare heart condition that threatens his life—“a powerful and lyric portrait of a son and a vibrant family” 

Damon Weber is a brilliant kid—a skilled actor and a natural leader at school. Born with a congenital heart defect that required surgery when he was a baby, Damon’s spirit and independence have always been a source of pride to his parents, who vigilantly look for any signs of danger.

Unbowed by frequent medical checkups, Damon proves to be a talent on stage, appears in David Milch’s HBO series Deadwood, and maintains an active social life, whenever he has the energy. But running through Damon’s coming-of-age in the shadow of affliction is another story: his father Doron’s relentless search for answers in a race against time.

Immortal Bird is a stirring, gorgeously written memoir of a father’s fight to save his son’s life.

At the moment I'm reading Honor Among Thieves by Jeffrey Archer; after reading a riveting Jack Higgins novel, Thunder Point in which a Nazi U-boat carrying Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler's henchman was sunk in 1945. It was discovered in 1992, on a reef by a professional diver who retrieved perfectly preserved Top Secret documents, signed by the Fuhrer, containing evidence so sensitive that it would rock the British government to its very core. 

I aim to read a romantic novel next! 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Snow brings the visitors

 Good morning dear Blogger friends. As posted earlier, it snow on the mountains on Saturday afternoon.  By Sunday morning the Drakensberg mountains from the Southern Berg right up into the Northern Berg was covered in snow.  

I took Skabby out for a walk before 8.30 and managed several photos from the top paddock. 

I was pleased to see the calves were none the worse for the wear after the night's cold conditions 

I drove into the Valley to clean The Bunker after guests who checked out on Sunday orning and before guests checking in on Sunday night

Every eatery, gift and clothing shop was patronized by visitors who had come to see the snow. Our snow only lasts a few hours but, boy, it brings the visitors! 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Knick Knack Paddy Wack

 Skabby loves  walks, food, meaty bones and me. In that order! 

Every night he is given a bone which my friend, Henry,  supermarket butcher cuts for Skabby. Henry knows that they cannot be small bones; Skabby devours them in half a minute. Henry has reached a happy medium but once he gave me several large, very large bones.

This bone was almost nine inches long with a huge knuckle

Skabby waits obediently for my sign ... pick up the bone

The immense size of this bone is quite clear here 

Skabby took about an hour to eat most of the bone. Next morning I threw the remainder into the garbage can.

Have a great Sunday! 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Winter weather update

 Good evening dear Blogger friends. It is snowing in many parts of South Africa and especially in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province where I live, Durban, a city on the eastern seaboard has had SNOW this afternoon. First time in living history. 

Reports of snow from all over are coming in on the social media. Here in the Central Drakensberg, the weather gone from very cold this morning, to very very cold this afternoon and to icy this evening. The mountains are not visible but as soon as the cloud disperses and the sun appears tomorrow morning, I shall be photographing it!

Snow on the offramp leading to the National Freeway in the Southern Drakensberg 

I know snow is commonplace in Europe and North America, especially Canada where my darling Skabby is bred, but for South Africans, snow holds a really great fascination. So I ask you to bear with me as I post about this unusual phenomena in our country. 

Enjoy your Saturday! 

Inquisitive calves

  It's been hot and windy for days. While snow is predicted on the nearby mountains! Skabby and I walked most days, and I managed to capture the young calves watching him snuffling in the grass next to the fence.

In my experience, the bovine critters are very inquisitive. If you walk up the the paddock fence, cows will come from far off to the fence to see what you are doing. This week was the first time I'd seen calves doing this. Skabby was investigating the grass polls (and munching on cow pats -ewgh) on the road so the calves inside the paddock came right up to fence to see what he was doing. 

The calves watch intently as Skabby snuffles up a tasty treat on the road ! 
When he turned back to investigate lower down on the road, the calves turned around to watch! 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen, here

Sunday, August 22, 2021

A well-groomed dog and the cats

 Hello dear Blogger friends. As I hinted in my previous post, Skabby is now a shaved dog; looking so well-groomed, slinky and slim! Although it's still technically winter here in South Africa with another cold snap this weekend, Skabby enjoys being cool. He's a Canadian bred animal and South African heat gets to him, He also sheds hair when his pelt grows. His last haircut/grooming was in December so he was over due for a haircut.

A shiny dog. He gets very embarrassed when I photograph him hence the sheepish look 
He's all muscle and quite a slender dog without the double pelt 
The groomers left a tuft at the end of his tail, resembling that of a lion's tail! 

A rain spider on the wall above my bed this morning 
Missy is fascinated by spiders ! 
Chappie asleep next to me on my bed as I type 
Mama and Missy asleep at my feet 

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead! 

Longclaws, coots, sugarbirds, a fluffy dog and a cow and calf

 Good afternoon dear Blogger friends. I'm a day late, but here I am!

While waiting outside The Bunker gate (before the guests checked out), I snapped a Gurneys Sugarbird on the aloes in the driveway. 

A very cold Gurney's Sugarbird on the aloes 

Cape Longclaw snapped on our daily walk

Skabby, the fluffy dog - you'll see why I say this in my Sunday Hedges Pets post 
Red-knobbed coot photographed on the dam at a holiday resort in the Valley 

Cow and calf in the pasture, captured as I drove home earlier this week

I'm linking to Saturday Critters here

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Grassy art

 The skies are sharp and clear during the winter and reflections on the water abound. Last week I stopped on the bank of the dam, knelt down and took several photos of grasses with the sun's reflections shining through them. 

and then...

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Staying warm

 The cold weather set in for the weekend and come 5pm, there was only one place the Hedges kitties and dog wanted to be. In bed. Warm. And near Mum!

Missy and Mama at my side
Chappie at my feet 
Skabby on his own blanket not far from Mum 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Nuggets on the walk


Hello dear Blogger friends. This past week the weather wared up considerably lulling us into thinking spring was around the corner! Then,  on Friday the cold front hit us. With a vengeance! As Thandi and I drove up to the Valley,  she pointed at the peaks. They were covered in a light dusting of snow.

A brooding image of the mountain peaks on Friday

And on the dam...
Egyptian Geese 
Cape Wagtail

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Going it alone!

 On Friday, after checking on my large holiday home which had seven guests arriving that night, I drove down the mountain to my two sleeper Bunker. Thandi and I had cleaned the unit on Monday and I hadn't had any guests during the week. However, on Friday night, I was expecting a family of four from the Eastern Cape. So, here I was alone, setting up extra beds for the two teenage children.

Not easy to set up the camp beds on my own...

...but I managed! 
The Bunker, all set for a family of four 
Outside, I took in the beautiful mountains


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Magic forest art

 Early last Friday, while driving through the gate to the large holiday home I manage, I stopped to photograph the forest on the edge of the property. 

The forest with the sun rising behind me (the photographer) 
Facing the forest in the direction of the sun rising

Monday, August 9, 2021

Women's Day South Africa

Women's Day 2021

9 August 2021

Every year, in August, our country marks Women’s Month. We also pay tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. A system meant to control women even further and reduce women to passive beings, at the mercy of men.

We will celebrate this year’s Women Month under the theme: “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”.  The concept of Generation Equality is a global campaign and links South Africa to global efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030.

As an influencer, and Weigh-Less Group Leader, I have several posters and motivational pieces which I have been sharing with my members over the past week. Tomorrow on Facebook and on our Community WhatsApp group, I will share the posters which I have posted here below.