Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lavender and neighbours

"Lavender blue dilly dilly ..
Lavender blue .... "

I love lavender ... have tried it in various spots in the garden but this is the most successful. This is the Margaret Roberts variety .. there are seven in a row here. Towards the end of last summer they all got 'rust' .. I was devastated and thought I'd 'lost' them but the lady at our local garden centre gave me a magic potion and viola! they recovered. Instead of spraying them, I poured the 'potion' on them - drastic - but it worked!

They are in the back garden, which used to be very ordinary - patch of lawn and very large evergreen shrubs to hide the neighbour below. The ground slopes slightly and from my kitchen window I can see into the house below, hence the need to block them when we first planted out the garden (we built the house 28 years ago!!!!!!) Time passed and the shrubs got HUGE and hubby was worried about the roots attacking the sewage pipes so they all came out. I then had space .. what to plant next! I am not good at veges but have herbs. Tried going 'indigenous' but I needed roses and other stuff too.

So now I still look into the neighbours house - again (!) but I have a pretty garden that I look at first through my kitchen window whilst I wash dishes! On beautiful mornings like this one, the flowers are bright and fresh, bees buzzing and the garden birds come to the bird feeder.

And my goodness - that house has had interesting folk! The husband of the first young couple, Gerry, was fanatic about the moles that popped up and would wait, sitting on the ground, with large garden spade in hand .. and he would wait .. and wait .. ! Very occasionally he would pounce with his spade but am sure the clever little moles were just teasing.

A variety of occupants since then, including a brothel!! Fortunately they - the brothel - didn't take care of the garden so it went a little wild and bushy, hiding most the activities - thank goodness. Once they left, the present owners took over - gave the house a good cleaning and a coat of paint inside and out. Now it looks like a nice warm family home with a young couple and toddler - as it should be.

Off to visit my Mum in the Cape tomorrow ... will take a bunch of lavender ..

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tippy toes !!

Erin on tippy toes

Following on my previous post - just had to add this photo of Erin on her tippy toes - and she walks around like this, quite happily!!
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Can't, shan't and won't

We popped in to Jeanette's house on Saturday afternoon as Jeanette was helping Carl, our son, with some of his photos. Couldn't miss an opportunity for a family gathering!

Erin - contemplating the slide .. yes ... I can do it ..

.. no .. I won't

.. or .. maybe I will ..

.. come fetch me, mommy
I must add - she has no fear, with a Dad and Mum who are both paramedics and insist that Erin will go absailing at a very young age.! Elaine and I are plugging the ballet route as she is always pointing her toes and walks around on tippy toes! Maybe gymnastics? And she had been whizzing down the slide all morning before we got there.. just a little shy when we arrived .. but that lasts just a moment.

No family gathering would be complete without me taking photos of all the children! Poor kiddies - they always have cameras pointed at them. Every gathering, the cameras get whipped out of their cases!

Connor - our little toughie!

.. and Bradley - deep in thought

Sorry guys - my avid followers !! I can't get it right - I keep pressing 'publish post' and Jeanette tells me that you get emails every time! Oops! Need to perfect that one!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Look who dropped by ..

There is a family of guinea fowl living in the grounds of a primary school not far from our house. I drive past the field most days, after picking up Bradley from his school .. commenting on the 'family' and, we have noticed they have increased in number. He always reminds me of the days we used to stop at the school field to look at the guinea fowl .. and then, being the only ones around, we used to run ... and skip ... and twirl ... round and round with arms stretched out wide! Something you do as a child but it's the most wonderful feeling to do as an adult!! We must do it again .... he keeps asking .. just need to pick up Connor first and make sure I have cool drinks with me .. sunblock too .. Connor would love it too now, he is old enough .. yes .. must do it.

Getting back to the guinea fowl - this large fellow, who was squawking loudly this morning, was obviously calling for a mate, or buddies, and was high up in the neighbours pine tree. We have never seen anything like it before ... one more bird visiting the garden to tick off in my bird book - although he wasn't technically in 'our' garden -

The fellow sat and squawked near the top of the tree
These are the tall trees - and he was near the top

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bradley's animals

I have loads of plastic animals .. amongst many other toys ... for the boys to play with when they come every day. I have always had some here, in my home, and Jeanette (my daughter and their Mom) has had loads in their home. Over time, Bradley has brought more and more, from their home, to play with here. As a result, from only having one bag full (a Woolworths shopping bag does the trick here - those colourful material ones) ... I now have 3 ... full to the top ... and I also have one with Transformer toys - just to keep things separate!

Dinosaurs, wild and domestic animals strewn on my floor Bradley playing with a few animals Bradley with two dinosaurs fighting each other
He knows all the dinosaurs by name too .. and what they eat, their length etc etc - our clever Bradley .. what is it about dinosaurs that fascinate little boys!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Mum

'Sylvia' rose

As I had spoken about my Dad last time, and his rose (!) I thought I would add my Mum - and her rose (!) I have the rose, called 'Sylvia' in my garden. I planted it in the back garden - mainly because the back garden is better suited to roses because of the sun position. But I thought 'she' would like to be there as 'she' is amongst other roses, a row of beautiful fragrant lavender and other pretty flowering shrubs and creepers. I also have bird feeder there .. Mum loves birds.

My Mum loves flowers, shrubs and trees. Growing up we always had a beautiful garden .. she loved and belonged to floral groups all her life (amongst all the other activities she participated in - tennis, bowls, bridge, a fast and skilled knitter, and a fantastic seammistress - made all our clothes. I learnt to sew at a young age and then made my own.) She always saw the beauty in everything she looked at .. and still does. She is now in an Old Aged Home in Somerset West, aged 80 and still enjoys the beauty around her.

Mum and I on her 80th birthday earlier this year

As her eyesight is failing she opts for the easier way to see the beauty around her. She is always proud to mention that my Dad taught her to do this - as they had done in the war years!
In the Home, she is known as the 'binocular lady' as she is always walking outside to look at the trees, birds, the mountain range close by and will describe at length the beauty of the colours.

I thought I would just add the very comfortable lounge at the Home where the elderly gather to have their tea and chat, watch movies, do their exercises etc. She's happy there.

I am going to see a huge change in her though, when I go and visit her next week, as I have been told that her condition - dementia - has deteriorated rapidly. I can tell by the conversations I have with her on the phone every Sunday evening .... I shall see ....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Dad

Koeelbaai area in the Cape

'Daddy's Rose' - Sharifa

I am always reminded every year of my Dad when the rose Sharifa, which I call Daddy's Rose, bursts into flower. It always seems to wait for the 21st October to flower when all the other roses in my garden are in full bloom. I took this photo this morning and by evening it should be open - the most beautiful bloom, all frilly and with a glorious perfume. I was planting this rose on 2nd September 2001 when I got the phone call from my sister in law in Harare to tell me that my Dad had passed away. Hence .. my name for the rose. On the 21st October 2001, my brother, his family and I scattered my Dad's ashes in the Koeelbaai area. We climbed up a mountain as far as we could and scattered them there - overlooking the beautiful bay. Miss you Daddy.

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More photos - Breast Cancer Awareness Walk - Zoo

Hundreds of 'pink' walkers

... mmm.... interesting folk!

Ready to cut the pink ribbon to start the walk through the Jhb Zoo
Squeezed along bridges through lion enclosure

Photo opportunities when we could not move forward

The elephant with his 'grass hat'

Now .. he had the right idea !

Monday, October 20, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Walk - Johannesburg Zoo

At the start of the 5 km walk

I joined friends to participate in a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk at the Johannesburg Zoo on Sunday. A 5 kilometre walk - stroll actually - around the Zoo. Have never walked in any organized events before. It was fun! .. although I was told that it was badly organized compared to others. Note to self - must do more of this kind of thing!
- we felt the starting time was too late in the heat we experience at this time of year
- there were obviously hundreds more participants than they were expecting so they ran out of 'goodie bags' which are apparently given to each participant. (Need to do another walk to see what comes in those 'goodie bags' as we didn't get one)
- lack of facilities to buy water .. we only found one
- only 2 water points en route .. the first one had large containers of water (about 4 of them) which was fine if you had a bottle in the first place to fill up as there was nothing else available with which to drink the water!
- the second water point had little empty plastic sachets strewn on the ground and nothing left
- the 5 Km walk took us all around the Zoo which is OK but we had to be channelled into pathways and over bridges where only three at most could walk abreast .. this held up the pace of the 'stroll' and we had to stop several times - at least there was something to look at ..! animals in their freshly rained on enclosures - at least it wasn't dusty.

All sorts of people took part in the walk, young and old and quite a number families with babies in pushchairs. As the walk progressed, people veered off the route to stop to look at the animals and even stopped to have picnics along the way (they were prepared!).

Jeanette - HELP ! pressed the centering 'thing' to put the title of photo in centre and now EVERYTHING is centred! SIGH!

Also wanted to add another photo - that will go at the top then - help again!! wanted it follow at under text.
Deep yoga breathing here !! Oooommm!
Oh no - WORSE - Elaine has tried to help and now the typing has gone all strange! Ooooommm !

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A spit and a spot

Bradley waiting for more rain

Jackie hiding from thunder
We have had extremely hot days lately and when the clouds came over .. and even better .. a bit of lightening and thunder, Bradley and I got so excited! Rain - we haven't had rain yet this summer and everything is so dry. My garden is battling - and the water bill is high!

Then we heard a spit and a spot on our patio roof - yes, it was rain! We dashed outside to stand under it and Bradley got all excited and asked if he could get the umbrella so that he could stand in the rain. I told him to wait for it to really rain as that would be more fun. Disappointment - no more than a spit and spot! Poor Connor didn't know what we were doing, and couldn't quite understand where the drops were coming from. I think he has forgotten rain .. there is a long time between rainy seasons and he is not yet 2 years old! So as not to frighten him, I explained about how wonderful the rain is. When the dark clouds come, we have to have thunder (he was not sure of the noise) and then God brings the rain to water the garden and make things grow etc, etc. Then hard and heavy drops fell on the patio roof .. loudly. Not a happy boy .. he screamed! Oh dear - shall have to do lots of comfort talking when we have our next shower. (Our rain is usually accompanied by lots of lightening and thunder and our house is in a lightening belt - we have had to cut down several large trees which have been struck - but that's another story .. tree split in two, hole in a conifer, and the lounge ceiling collapsing in a heap! (but that was apparently caused by the swirling wind!)

Jackie, our Jack Russell, is equally as scared of the thunder. During the day she will not venture far from us, with her eyes wide with fear! And at night she hides under the table in the TV room! Poor little girl! More comfort talking here !!
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sweetpeas, Kookaburras and Hippos


Trying to copy photo from Picasa this time to see how it works ! Title of photo needs to go above .. mmmm .. can't remember what I did! Will get there, slowly!!!!!

I was going to chat about 'sweetpeas', one of my favourite spring flowers - love their beautiful soft and sometimes vibrant colours, and the fragrance is just so lovely. I always plant some in the garden, sometimes the tall climbing variety and, like this year, the short knee high ones. Spring went straight into summer - very quickly - and we have had extremely hot days lately (well over 30 degrees C). Poor sweetpeas have wilted already, except for the ones I planted at the back which are somewhat sheltered ...

.. but - when I woke this morning, I had a tune stuck in my head. I must have dreamt about Kookaburra's - why - have no idea - we live in South Africa and it's an Australian bird! There is a very pretty kiddies song about Kookaburra's and it's on one of the many kiddies CD's I have. I have loads, some in the house and most in the cubby hole of my car. Great for singing along with the grandchildren, while we go 'here and there' everyday. It really is a pretty song and is sung like we would sing 'Row row row your boat gently down the stream' (when one person sings a few bars and then another joins in, and so on). No idea what that's called but we used to do that in singing lessons at school - way back!

So I woke this morning, singing to myself about Kookaburra's whilst our usual garden birds twitter their morning songs!

Singing kiddies songs reminds me of a braai (barbeque) over a weekend some time ago. P (hubby) had several colleagues over here on business (from Columbia and Belgium) and they love our braais - relaxing in the garden, sipping very good South African red wine ... ! We had never had the chappies from Belgium before here and they were interested in what I did .. as my house is strewn with toys etc. After proudly showing them photos of the grandchildren (as all good grannies do!) and telling them that I look after two of them so the conversation went on and turned to kiddies songs ... remember we are sipping glorious red wine! I then had to sing to them the song about the hippopotamus - in the deep, slow voice just like on one of my CD's!!! I cringe to think about it - these are work colleagues of P's but hopefully they've fogotten about it.

Just imagine, memories of a traditional South African braai with the hostess singing about hippopotamus'!
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hello world - again!

My garden -
another view of my garden -

With encouragement from my eldest daughter and a sister-in-law who always says that if you want to do something .. 'just go for it and do it' .. well here goes ..
I am not really computer literate but am learning all the time ! (hence the labels for photos - J - need your help again - can't do it!) but I have decided to start this blog to share thoughts and photos with friends. I have always written letters, from when I was little and we moved to Salisbury (now Harare) from my home town - Bulawayo (both in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)) ... letters to my grannies and my cousin in Bulawayo. When I married and moved down here to Johannesburg, South Africa with a toddler and pregnant with our second baby - letters and photos to my parents back home in Harare keeping them up to date with our news. Letters changed to emails and my Mum and I learnt how to use computers to keep in contact more easily .. and instantly. She is now in an Old Aged Home in Somerset West, in the Cape, having had several minor strokes, but I still email her every week. I never get replies anymore but always refer to my 'letters' in our weekly conversations on Sunday evenings. She now doesn't remember receiving my 'letters' and any news of my family and only looks forward to the phone calls - but I carry on telling her our news as I know she reads them and at that moment 'remembers'.
Hence the desire to communicate - I think - to put thoughts onto 'paper' as I've always done.
My garden - in the photos above - will feature often! I am always taking photos of 'everything' - from plants, flowers, sunsets and sunrises, family, and especially grandchildren - two of whom I look after in the afternoons. Have always had children around the house - 'thirty-something' daughter and son, a 'twenty-something' daughter (in her last year at University), and three beautiful grandchildren .. aged five - Bradley, and two littlies - Connor - 20 months and Erin - 18 months. Have looked after both boys since the age of 4 months - now only in the afternoons - to give me some 'me time'.
In a nutshell, that's me!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

At Carl and Nicole's

How do you get the writing on top - ie you start typing your text then you put a photo, then you type more text at the bottom of it. This automatically goes under the photo. How do you label the photo too? Now I shall try and add another photo and see what happens.
OK - I see it gets added on top of the first one !!
Will try one more - am I allowed to put in photos of other children like Joshua (isn't he cute?) No - it won't let me add any more - I tried to change the title while it was downloading and the download 'thing' disappeared and now it won't let me do it. Note to self - don't try that again !!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

learning curve

Oh my .. this is a learning curve !! I was doing so well with downloading a photo and adding a 'story' and then I deleted the whole thing trying to go back to edit it. Think I need help there, J ?!! How do I label photo - 'tiny deep blue lobelia' ? and how do I change layout (photo back to centre and text below it) - let me try 'publish post' again- pls don't be deleted again !!!!!