Friday, September 17, 2021

Five years today

 Today marks five years since I arrived in the Champagne Valley, Central Drakensberg.

So much has happened since the day Grant and I arrived on John's farm with Skabby and Eddie , and four cats (in carriers) in the back of a pickup which we'd borrowed from a friend in Marquard.  

For one: Eddie (our old Jack Russell), Grant, and three of the original four cats, Shadow, Ginger and Ambrose are no longer with us. These are listed in chronological order, not in order of importance. 

The rondawel (roundhouse) where Grant and I lived happily and quite comfortably, with two dogs and four cats 
Eddie took to farm life like a duck to water 
Shadow enjoyed the wide open spaces 
Ginger enjoyed the shady garden and spent all day under his favorite shrub

Ambrose checking his new surroundings 
Chapppie contemplating where to catch a nap 

Ambrose  quite unperterbed as Missy the horse popped in to see why we were still in bed 
Skabby and Eddie loved that I took them out for several walks every day, starting at sunrise and again during the day when we'd meet up with the horses, Missy and Thunder grazing in the paddock above the house 

Here Eddie and Skabby inspect the area around Thunder 

Thunder and Skabby having a chinwag!

Missy was always nearby too 
Because the land was elevated above the Valley. I always got great shots of the moon; here is full moon in mid-December 2016
And spectacular shots of the sunrise to the east over the lesser bergs (hills)  

I loved capturing the wildflowers in the veld
Wildlife was abundant just beyond the boundary fence. Above is an African Hare 
A mongoose pricks its ears as I take the photo
White-backed Mousebird 
White-fronted Bee-eater 

This is the last photo of our family together 

When we arrived here, we had no transport, except a small motorcycle on John's farm. Grant would pop into town once a week and buy whatever supplies we needed.

Four months down the line, we bought a pick-up truck. This was liberating. We joined Parkrun, which was new in Winterton.
Grant striding to the finish line with Ant Muirhead behind him 
We enjoyed this weekly outing which provided much needed exercise for Grant and got us involved in the community. This was a godsend in view of the fact that later when I was widowed, we had made many friends. So much so, that Ron and John Muirhead, now my neighbors, landlords and employers, offered me their farm cottage when I was no longer able to stay in the house which Grant was building at the time of his death.  My stay is coming up for four years on this farm! 

As Penny said in her comment, we are blessed to have brains which still remember and can relive the good memories. When I look back at my life when we first arrived in the Drakensberg, I realize that I had much more time to walk and take photos than I do now. However, Skabby and I DO walk once a day (even with a sore leg!); I still take many photos, which I am grateful for. 

Who would've thought that day in September 2016, what twists and turns my life would take...


  1. The shot of Skabby and Thunder is my favourite.

  2. An action packed five years, with joys and tragedies, and plenty of beauty.

  3. It was lovely reminiscing with you Jo. You have so many wonderful memories in between the sad and life changing moments are sprinkled. I can see the hand of God over you and your life there. Praise His name. Much love from Canada.

  4. You have been very strong to make a new life for yourself. I hope you are comfortable and happy.

  5. Hello Jo,
    The five years seem to fly by, you have wonderful and happy memories. I enjoyed seeing all the photos. The horse coming by the house is one of my favorites. I always love your Skabby and the birds you see there. Stay strong and take care. Have a great weekend!

  6. You are the bravest, most hardworking and incredible person I know. I am honoured to be your sister. God bless you Jo.xxxx

  7. What great memories you have of those beautiful photos. Life changes so fast and you've done a fantastic job in creating a life for yourself. Well done, Jo.

  8. Hard to believe it's been five years. Living where you do is truly a gift in many ways.


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