Saturday, November 27, 2021

Four years

 Today four years ago, my marriage partner of 46 years, friend and protector, Grant, passed away suddenly. 

After leaving the mine in Tanzania, we lived for two years in our home in the Free State, South Africa. Our younger son, Angus and family lived next door to us. The grandchildren loved being near us and especially loved Grant. They often came to him where he was always busy in his beautifully neat and well-equipped workshop and asked him to fix any and all manner of toys.

Joel sits on the bar stool chatting to Granddad while he repaired a skateboard. Abby had just asked  Granddad to help fix her doll's pram

Entertaining the grandies wearing a child's pink sunglasses 

When we retired to the Central Drakensberg, it didn't take long for us to get involved in the local events in the Champagne Valley. Every Monday night Grant and John [Muirhead] would be part of a four - man team playing cricket bowls at The Nest Hotel. On Tuesdays, we did day hikes into the mountains. Saturdays we did Parkrun. Grant was the regular Tail walker and well loved by the walkers who were recuperating from surgery and starting to exercise slowly again. He was always very patient. Once he asked me to do the Tail Walker job, while he volunteered as timekeeper at the end of the 5km walk. 
A regular volunteer at the Winterton Parkrun, here Grant times old friend, Ant Muirhead 

In October 2017, we took part in the Cancer Pink [bra] Walk held at the same venue as the Parkrun. Grant wore his hiking sandals, the family tartan, his Widows Sons Bikers waistcoat, a pink padded bra worn over a black tee shirt and his Akubra, completed his outfit. 
Posing with his Monday cricket bowls partner, John Muirhead 

Grant won the prize for the best outfit at this event

At the Biker AGM in Bloemfontein mid - 2017 

During the week, Grant built this cottage for us on Caroline's property. Ironically, after his death, I wasn't able to live there. Instead, dear friends John and Ron Muirhead offered me a cottage on the farm where I have lived for the past four years
The last photo of the Hedges family together, mid-July 2016

From the time of Grant's sudden death, and through necessity, I had to take care of myself. Because of his kind nature and outgoing manner, I have a great circle of friends in the Valley. Some of them I work with, through my accommodation; some support me in my direct selling business; still others belong to my Weigh-Less groups and the rest I socialize with on different occasions.  Living on the farm with the Muirheads, I am able to run my three businesses while working in the farm office during the week. Thankfully, due to Grant, I have a firm platform from which to continue networking and supporting myself. 



Sunday, November 14, 2021

Just when we thought it was safe... go back into the water! (with apologies to Peter Benchley, Jaws) 

I see that I last posted on 10th October. Oh wey

I have an excuse. No, I have a month of excuses. I have honestly been very busy with my Weigh-Less groups. Online, I have 120 members from all over the world. And in venue (which means weekly  travel to lead these groups), I have fifty members spread over three groups in two days. 

I have also had wonderful guests in The Bunker and the large family holiday home. Thandi and I clean after check-out guests, and prep before the incoming guests. We also travel 40km round trip for my accommodation. All this takes time and often takes its toll on my back! 

At the same time, I still work mornings in the farm office and presently I am renewing vehicle licenses online for the all the vehicles. Not at all as simple as it sounds here. If there is an admin glitch in any document, it throws out all the applications. I have to find the error, solve it and resubmit all the vehicle renewals. 

However, I am most grateful for my job security on the farm and the revenue from the accommodation. In the course of business, I have met and remotely known many wonderful people. 

Today as we entered The Bunker, the guests had left my guest book at the reception mirror
How did she know I love BLING?

I have Russian guests arriving today and checking out on Tuesday. We will clean on Tuesday morning as I have a German couple checking in at 14h00 and staying for the week. 

I always set out individual chocolates against the towels which are rolled up at the foot of the bed. I also leave a slab of chocolates with a welcome note at the fruit bowl on the table. Today I wrote the welcome out in Russian! 
Each guest receives a chocolate on the bed 
The large slab of chocolate with a postcard of the Champagne Valley with a Russian welcome on the reverse
Welcome to the Morozov family 

I also had a most favorable review from the lady with 17 guests staying in the family holiday home this weekend
One of the five queen guest rooms in Nyati Valley Berg Guest House 
The patio, swimming pool and view of Champagne Castle and Cathkin Peaks 

AND they re-booked: four days over Easter 2022 ! 

In the marketing field, I have reached Avon Top Seller Status   in 2021. I was given a challenge with a favorable reward system,  in June this year.  I took it by the horns and will end the year with a bang. Not only is this income welcome, but I have also made many,  many friends who now support me as customers. Only yesterday, while I was setting up the Parkrun app on my phone, I noticed a brown paper bag with my name on it. Opening it, I found the Avon brochure with several items marked as her order. As I tipped out the bag, a packet of fruit pastille sweets slid onto the table. 

Mmmm, not only do I like bling; I also enjoy a sweet treat! 

An Avon order and a packet of sweet treats from a friend

My social life is also not all that stagnant. While finishing up at The Bunker two weeks ago, a friend from Tanzania phoned me. Louise and Wessel, who worked for the client at the diamond mine in Mwadui, were good friends of mine and Grant's. Louise used to cut my hair on the camp and as she had a nail salon, she gelled all the ladies' nails. Including mine, of course. I have always enjoyed being neatly groomed even tucked away on a remote mine site in East Africa! This day, Louise said they were passing Winterton and would like to meet up with me.
Moi and my East African friend, Louise

On Friday night as I was preparing for bed, I received a call from Lee and Jo,  biker friends in Durban.  They were in the Drakensberg for the weekend and wanted to see me. We arranged to meet at Thokosiza Lifestyle Centre after I had finished volunteering at Parkrun on Saturday. What a lovely catch-up we had over lunch. 
My friends, Jo and Lee with me, Jo in the center 

So while I apologize for my long absence, please know that I miss blogging and hope to reignite the regularity with which I had been blogging -  until recently.  

May you all have a great week ahead.