Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday's chatter

This is what our skies have looked like all week ....

Pot plant of pink Anthuriums
Thought I would get a pot plant of pink anthuriums for J and L for their anniversary last Sunday. Connor has destroyed quite a few of her pot plants and she says she "doesn't 'do' pot plants very well" but they looked so pretty - thought I'd give it a go!! Plus a bottle of red wine!

I'm feeling a little guilty as I should be doing an email to my Mum as I haven't done one this week but this blogging is quite addictive!!

My Mum won't get the email until Monday anyway as the office in the home is closed over the weekend .. so as long as I do one before Monday morning, I'm OK! My sister in law, K, has just sent me a text to say that every time she pops in to see her, she's asleep and the sister tells her not to wake her up as she gets very agitated for at least 20 minutes after being woken. My brother went yesterday and it was the same - she was sleeping - so he left her.

She does, I think, notice that she hasn't seen anyone for ages, as she mentioned that on the phone last Sunday but what can one do. Wake her and cause panic within her, or leave her to sleep and miss out on visits?

The sun is shining today - after days of rain - we have sunshine! Yay - lots of gardening to be done now! After the rains come all the bugs! Flies, mosquitoes and lots of other flying bugs and creepy crawlies - Connor does not like flies and he once saw me shooing one out of the window with a soft covered book as he was freeking out with it close by, and now he does the same thing. As soon as one flies on the window sill in the lounge, he grabs the same soft covered book! Hope the book can take all that slapping but I know it's not a thing to teach a child (all the book lovers and librarians would cringe!) but it was the only ammunition I had on hand!! Mosquitoes LOVE him and he is now full of 'mozzie' bites - I suppose they love his 'baby' skin and fresh blood!!!

Bradley has this 'thing' about mosquitoes and told me the other day "to get the mozzie spray 'cos the mosquito wants to taste his blood" !!!

I wonder if the 'mozzies' have any affect when tasting wine infused blood!! ??

This is one of the wines I have had this week .. mmm .. sounds bad .. but I do enjoy a glass or two of wine every evening as I've mentioned before -
It's a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and shiraz. The KWV wines come from Paarl in the Western Cape. As the label says this "all occasion, easy drinking, medium bodied red wine has summer berry aromas and flavours complemented by hints of chocolate and spicy vanilla oak." We have a friend who is not keen on blended wines and definitely won't drink it if it's a blend of more than two wines .. but I'm OK with it and this one tastes yum!!

I must do a post on some of the wine estates we have visited and add some photos - the scenery is absolutely beautiful but we haven't been to the Paarl area so don't have any photos to share!!

Three photos to wet your appetite ...

Update on Elaine - she is loving her new job but she is a sick 'little puppy' this weekend. I suppose it's the new environment and air conditioning! This photo is for a 'cover shoot' that she is doing. She has to present a one-slide presentation "about herself" so she is making a magazine cover. It's amazing in draft form so far - will share it when it's complete. psst .. she loves shoes!!

Connor gets so excited when 'Lainey comes home. As soon as he hears the dogs barking he runs to either the door, window or gate .. depending on where he is at the time .. and calls out "Mama" or "Papa" or "Naine" or his new one "Byan" (Elaine's boyfriend). When it's Papa, he will help his grandpa carry something from the car, ie newspaper. The other day he helped Elaine with her handbag ....

... and then he helped her clean the inside of her car!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Skywatch Friday : .. over the wing ...

of a plane ... sunset ....

Better late than never ... my contribution to Skywatch Friday ... two of my favourites.
For more ... have a look here

Skywatch Friday ... is coming ...

Watch this space .. the little teeny tiny computer people inside the laptop won't let me download a photo for today!!

.. and need to go to my 'jumpy jumpy' gym, then shopping (food shopping), then do the kiddies pick-up which includes the karate story, back to fetch Connor, back to collect Bradley, take Bradley to a party then hopefully .. take Connor back home with me. I have visions of him wanting to stay at the party which means I would have to stay. No .. not for this Granny/Nan! The party is at a Spur steakhouse - a nightmare for those who do not have little kiddies !!!!!! When your children grow up, a Spur steakhouse is the last place you want to frequent. When you have children it's the BEST place to be. The kiddies LOVE it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rain .. and being Nan

Flooded .... again! That's our patio. It rained most of the day yesterday ... and at one time the really really black clouds burst!! Was driving home from doing some shopping in the morning, after my yoga class, and the heavens opened!

And I do not like it when it rains at lunch time! That's when I do the 'kiddies pick-up' - and there's nothing worse than fiddling with 'brolly's' and rain jackets in and out of the car! Waited a little at home for the heavy rain to ease .. then dashed to Bradley's school. Had to help him dress into his karate suit (looks so sweet and will take camera .. when-not-in-rain) !! He had done karate last year but now has the proper outfit - as I said looks 'so sweet' in it! We both weren't sure how the belt went and I couldn't tie it properly. Both huddle under 'brolly' (I forgot my rain jacket at home!) to get him to the Dojo - they have one on the school grounds - how cool is that! Kiddies have to be taken there by Mum or Gran or someone (actually there were several grans and grandpas) - they .. the kiddies .. not the grownups .. are not allowed to walk around the school on their own. At first I thought it was crazy - I have to go to the school, collect Bradley - walk him about 100 metres .. within the school grounds - then either wait and watch the class or go home and come back in three quarters of an hour. In my case that's what I have to do as I have to fetch Connor at 2.00. Actually, I still think it's crazy but they are little still so it makes sense!

On the way through the soggy grounds, belt falls off in mud, I get soaked brushing passed bushes and then we wait under the dripping shade-cloth for the karate teacher to come. I know they are called Sensa but have no idea how to spell it .. so karate teacher will do!

Strict instructions to Bradley when they pile into Dojo - "I am taking your school bags to the car, going to fetch Connor from his school, then I will come back to fetch you .. stay right here and I'll be back".

Was raining still and one mom commented under her breath that she was glad she didn't live in England - "how do they cope with weather like this .. all the time!"

Decide to dash home to fetch my rain jacket before collecting Connor .. rescue him from noisy cooped-up kiddies who are not used to being indoors! .. dash back to collect Bradley. Raining now at B's school again ... so find Connor's rain jacket .. struggle getting it on (in car!) .. getting cords all caught up in car seat. He thought it was fun and wanted the hood on first! By the time I reach Bradley .. which was only a few minutes past 2.30 .. he's in tears "I thought you weren't coming back to fetch me". Oh my .. ... I huddle him under my rain jacket and we skuttle off to the car .. ... another 10 minutes or so before I can actually drive off again .. rain jackets off (it's hot in the car) .. organise B with some juice and something to nibble on - and, of course, to share with C - and explain .. again .. that I needed to go home to fetch my rain jacket, collect Connor (and always have a short chat with teacher and helpers - always need to know how C got on for the day!) .. and I would "never ever leave you anyway. I will always fetch you .. maybe a minute or so late sometimes ... but I will ALWAYS be there". "And you must stay right here and not go with anyone, anywhere."
Actually we had this little drama because last Friday when he was supposed to go to karate, he didn't get there because we didn't know of the 'procedure' to get to the Dojo (100 metres away)! and when I got to the school ... with Connor who weighs a ton and insisted on being carried, until he saw the jungle gym and scampered up .. making Granny climb up to get him .. !! ... I traipsed around the school looking for him - couldn't find him anywhere .. eventually when I was back at the car about to phone his mommy .. not to send panic through her spine .. but just to make sure I had the right day and that he wasn't at a party .. as I had heard mention of a lunch time party sometime .. .... ... I saw this little tearful figure waving at me through a security gate! Found!! I now know the procedure on where the kiddies go when the parents/grandparents/care givers are late!!!
Now - two happy boys on the way home .. nibbling, chatting and singing along to nursery rhymes I have permanently in the CD player of the car.

Deep sigh out here ... looking forward to a nice hot cup of tea. That's only possible when I get a DVD playing .. one which BOTH want to watch! Had to be a DVD because the TV doesn't pick up the signal when there are storms around - just like the little box on top of the telephone pole!)

Make sure they're happy before I can get my 'nice hot cup of tea'! ... which I often never get a chance to finish .. but I do so enjoy the first few sips!

Nan it is .. not Gan, Gwan, Gran, Granny .... it's Nan. Connor couldn't find me (I was hiding for just a few minutes of ... shh! ... peace) and then I hear this almighty .. Nnnaaann ... Nnnaaann !! It's Connor .. calling me! Yay ... for the first time I have a name!!!! I am referred to as Granny as that's what Bradley always calls me ... always has done. Started off with "Ganny" then went to "Granny". Grandpa was always referred to as "Grandpa" when Bradley was tiny (being the first born grandchild) but when he started saying words and talking, he insisted on calling hubby, Papa .. and so that stuck.

Talking of grannies and grandpas - congratulations to C and B on the birth of their newest little grandson, Nathan Stuart in London .. and congratulations to his very happy and proud, brand new mom and dad. Welcome to the world, little one, and may you be blessed with a full and happy life!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday :

Sign outside a primary school gate ...

For more Wordless Wednesday's have a look here

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oh no .... catepillars and 'worms' !!

I am all for "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small ..... "

... but not when they are having breakfast, lunch and supper on my Clivias !!

Spotted these catepillars having a feast on my Clivias when I came home from my 'brisk' walk this morning.

Needed to get into some 'training' before hubby and I go off for a weekend to the Drakensberg in two weeks time. There are always such beautiful walks and trails in the mountains - we are not 'hikers' but do enjoy a couple of hours walking the mountain trails. We are heading off for the Central Drakensberg this time - our usual stop is Northern where there is the magnificent Amphitheatre but this time we are going Central to the Champagne Valley. Been in that area years ago, so thought it was time for a revisit.

More info on this breathtakingly, beautiful part of our country -

We've also had the 'lawn catepillar' having a nibble at the lawn too. Managed to stem that before it became a huge problem and kill off the entire lawn. They are nasty little things too ... in a couple of hours the whole lawn can go from lush and green to brown and dead!!

With the children and the dogs, I am always reluctant to use the chemical poisons but in this case that is the only solution. I also wait until the boys have gone home and the dogs are inside before I go around with spray or 'poison stuff' in the watering can. Fortunately I curtailed these little green worms, but I am left with a little brown patch ... explaining to the kiddies the following day, not to walk on that area as the poison hasn't sunk in yet.

Connor now avoids 'this little brown patch' and runs around it when he plays, telling me of the "worm" !!
Showing mommy where the "worms" are !! ... in mommy's shoes!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekly Winners : 18 - 24 Jan

Coffee in the garden

Dirty bucket .. clean cars

More crayons?

My calendar

Our beautiful Robbie...
.. and our beautiful Jackie

Teeny tiny toadstools

'Australian' violets

Lastly ... another sunset ... yesterday ... through the neighbour's trees

Now - shall see if I submit this properly - this time !! For more Weekly Winners go to a very patient and helpful Lotus!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wine ... and gumboot dancing !!

There is nothing nicer than to sit down in the evening with a glass, or two, of wine! Hubby has his cold beer .. I pour myself a glass of the red stuff !!

I go through stages where I buy 'my flavour of month' - usually take it off the supermarket shelf and then usually pick another - a different one. Umm .. yes - two bottles a week!! For more than a month now I have been partial to this one ...

'Scuse the glass but it's my everyday one - has a 'frosted' tortoise on it! .. and not a dirty fingerprint!

Since our weather has been very hot lately, I have moved from the Shiraz to the Merlot as I find it lighter. This one is a blend of the heavier Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It's yummy! I have been partial to the Shiraz's which I find heavier than the Merlot's but not as heavy as the Cabernet Sauvignon. Summer-time has meant a change to 'lighter side' !!

I know VERY little, about wines, in fact nothing at all really - just like the taste!!! But I am a convert - from a white wine drinker to a red. That stems from a weekend spent in the Cape winelands going to various vineyards doing the wine tasting 'thing'. What a glorious weekend we had!! Have always, always wanted to do a 'wine tasting thing' but never had the opportunity until this time last year when hubby and I went down for a weekend with a few overseas friends.

We spent one of those days with a wine 'commentator' who writes for the Sunday Times and others. Have a look at his blog Very, very interesting!! A real privilage .. listening and learning. But that is a whole story on it's own - will share it ... in the future!!! After that weekend .... tasting so many red wines, as well as whites, I acquired the taste for the reds ...

For those who want to know what this wine tastes like - besides YUMMY - the label reads "shows classical cigarbox and chocolate aromas on the nose with a hint of cinnamon spice. Good maturation potential." (Not a chance in this house!!) "Will complement any fine meal". (Um - also not a chance - just a good 'ol ordinary home cooked meal!!) and also good for sipping once the kiddies have gone, toys and chaos been put away and ... we have ... deep slow breath here ... peace .. calm .. quiet!!

Friday was one of those hectic days. Starts off with me going to 'jumpy jumpy gym' - my once-a-week-heart-rate-up aerobic class at a local church hall. (my doctor said I need to go to more get-the-heart-rate-up classes at 'my age' so am ashamed to say I only go to one a week) As I've said before I prefer a yoga class to all this huffing and puffing!

As the electricity was out for most of the day - because of cable theft - we had to do our class without music. Not such a good idea as everyone's huffing and puffing could now be heard above the sound of our shoes banging (sorry, tiptoeing and tapping!) on the tiled floor - no sprung boards here - remember it's a church hall! Eventually we were all laughing as it sounded like gumboot dancing. Our instructor said as much and said - "right girls, lets do gumboot dancing"!! So this is what we ended up doing - for a short while - anyway !! It's exhausting !!

Gumboot dancing "originated in the gold mines of South Africa during the oppressive Apartheid Pass Laws". Black labourers worked in almost "total darkness, chained to their work stations and were forbidden to talk to each other. They stood up to their knees in infected water causing skin diseases and ulcers resulting in lost time from work. The bosses discovered that it was cheaper to provide them with Gumboots (Wellington boots) than to drain the mines. The miners used the Gumboots as a method of communication by slapping their boots and stamping their feet and rattling their chains".

"During their free time, the miners would sing and dance and drink together and remember their families ... "

"The tradition of the Gumboot dancing was born".

There are videos of Gumboot dancing on 'youtube' - this one called "Gumboot Dancing - Grahamstown Festival SA 04" is worth watching. - I have no idea how to copy a video onto a blog!! So if you want to see it, you will have to find it yourself - sorry !!

A fascinating, rhythmic dance to watch. Photos below show dancers in action at The Cavern Hotel in the Drakensberg. These men are diningroom waiters who dress up every Saturday night - after dinner - and give the hotel guests, us included, an enthralling performance. (Traditionally, they fold their overalls over so they are bare chested and don't wear funny hats !!! )

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cloud over Lions Head - Cape Town

Our power has just been restored to the whole of our area - we have been without electricity for 10 or more hours (we were sleeping when it went off) ... and it was apparently due to cable theft !!!! OMW, these 'people' who steal cables drive everyone nuts!! They not only steal electricity cables, they also steal telephones cables - it's the copper that they're after. Some homes and establishments are without phone lines for months - Bradley's school included in this category - their phone lines have been stolen on several occasions - and the other day - there was a notice saying that the thieves have been at it again!!!!
Anyway - managed to get in a photo to Skywatch Friday before fetching the boys from school and then spending the afternoon amongst the chaos of toys scattered throughout my house - it's worse when it rains .. as it is today!!
I took this photo - through the windscreen of my sister in law's car weaving through homeward bound traffic - on one of my visits to Cape Town.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

She ..... loves it !!!

"Oh Mom ... it was sooo nice" ... "the people are sooo cool" .. and "friendly, willing to help with anything" ... "and the buildings are great" ... and "I even have my own office" .... "it's so safe there - between buildings - they have their own security people .. all over the place" .. and so it went on!

Phew !! Relief for Mom !

..... that's my little girl! A day never to be repeated .. the first day of her first job!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My baby has joined the workforce!!

Monday morning ....

Well .. she's gone! Up early this morning .. hair, make up, new clothes, new shoes .. not much to eat (butterflies in tummy do not mingle very well with other stuff!) ... reminded her that she must always have petrol in her car and .. always have money in her purse .. cell phone charged ... there's no popping back home for anything !! And also armed with the map book .. she is working in town - Johannesburg City Centre - where there are lots of one-ways, loads of taxis who think they have the right of way .. the whole time .. and lots of really dodgey people. Windows must be closed at all times, and bags and anything of value - in fact anything - must be tucked away or locked in the boot. If, for any reason, a walk along the wibbly wobbly pavements is necessary, then hang on tightly to the handbag and under no circumstance does one wear jewellery!! Insignificent jewellery maybe but that's about all. (otherwise it just gets ripped off!)

Hubby works in the City Centre and has done 'forever' and I used to work there and in the 'old' days it was OK .. back then. I used to walk about 5 large blocks to the main shopping area (in my high heels and at a fast pace!) where all the very large department stores were and always shopped there during my lunch breaks.

Things have changed .. and most businesses moved to the suburbs like Sandton, Fourways etc. But there are still some businesses in the City Centre and there are plans to re develop and re introduce businesses back. It will take a long time - but in the meantime, the die-hard businesses keep going.

That's where Elaine has her job - in one of the large company's that are still in the City Centre. They have parking available for employees as parking on the streets is a 'no-no'.

So ... hopefully .. she is finding her way to the underground parking and will find her way to the designated meeting spot.

In the meantime .....

... this was yesterday (Sunday) - relaxing with Jackie !! ... or trying to anyway !!

Tell me a secret !

I'm going to miss you too !

.. but I'll see you later .. you silly 'girl' .. I will be back after work !!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weekly Winners : 11 - 17 Jan

Hoepoe ...
.... this was the closest I could get (with zoom) as he was hopping about pecking at grubs and bugs and just wouldn't stay still for me!! Inconsiderate birdie!

My ol' faithfuls ...
..... including my really really old trowel which my mum and dad bought me as a present from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) when we moved into a garden cottage ... way, way back in the 70's !!!! An extremely well-used gift!!

Connor inside the cardboard house...
.... we bought this cardboard house for Bradley - before he was born - and it's still going strong!! I pull it out when the weather is grim or if I'm desperate for peace!!

Ooooh !! Tiger's big eye !!

... Connor 'reading' to Teddy, Huggy Bear and Barney

Bradley 'reading' to Connor

.. then it starts to get a little boisterous and 'bang' goes my peace and quiet !!

A quiet moment !!
Well .. for just a moment - that grin tells another story!

A 'golf ball on a golf tee' !!

Sorry, Fairies .. you never got to dance around the 'toadstool' - it was destroyed by the lawn mower before it blossomed into a beauty like this one below (photo taken last year)

Just wine ..

... and lastly .. the sunset from our kitchen window on Thursday evening ..

For more Weekly Winners ... visit Lotus

Friday, January 16, 2009

Water-colour moon

Ballito, Kwa Zulu Natal
For more spectacular skies visit Skywatch

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fire in Hermanus - Jan 2008

I seemed to have got imaginations stirring with my photo of the chimney. Sadly there was no romantic, mediaval, or goblins tale to tell.

It was a devastating fire that swept along the mountain range in Hermanus last year. We happened to arrive for a family visit on that very same day. Burning cinders were carried by the wind and set fire to this once beautiful old thatched roof home. By the time we got there, the owners were standing, bewildered, next to their smouldering shell of a home. I think, if I remember, they were out at work at the time but lost everything in the blaze. (The mountain is in the background)

Jeanette - I took you there when we were visiting last month and all that was left was the empty stand, the fence and the gate. I took a photo of the gate and posted it in a previous Weekly Winners - 14-20 Dec

Below - Jeanette again - this is the house that was boarded up and you took a photo of the window. This house is a block away from the first one and on the sea front. It also was a beautiful old thatched roof home. There was also no-one in the house at the time of the fire.

The next photo is across the road which runs in front of the house pictured above.

The mountain ablaze - photo taken from my brother and sister in law's home - the fire vehicles are visible at the top of the mountain ..

This is at the foothills of the mountain - not one modern house was touched by the blaze even though the fire swept passed their garden walls and fences. This wooden fence didn't stand a chance. On our recent visit last month, we drove along this road passed this house, and noticed that a large brick wall has now been built. (pity about the reflection on car window which was closed because of the smell of smoke)

Firefighters on the mountainside
The fire still burned into the night - (photo taken from SIL's home with full zoom lens)

A year later - when we were there last month - it was so nice to see that the fynbos (indigenous vegetation) has recovered well. There are still vast areas of blackened bushes but in-between the new growth is visible - green with pretty little flowers. On the way to the church, where we had my father-in-law's memorial service, I noticed a bunch of red poppies growing amongst the blackened bushes - and I didn't have my camera!