Clambering over Melville koppies

Well … over a small part of Melville koppies to be exact.  I went with Jeanette and the boys yesterday afternoon as she wanted to take a ‘bird’s eye view’ photo for her blog:    She wasn’t happy with her pics, until we got close to the exit gate and voilà  .. she finally got it !!

I’ve been up Northcliff hill … awesome panoramic view from there …  but never to Melville koppies

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Great view of the city ..

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Rosebank in the distance and Sandton on the skyline centre of pic (two towers sticking up)  …

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I had fun capturing beautiful grasses and flowers ..

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Love this grass .. looks like whisks :)

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Very pretty pink grass  …

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Connor preparing for the ‘bird’s eye view’ photo …

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She tried another spot but obviously wasn’t happy with it

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“What I have to do for my mom ” !!!

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Thanks my girl, I had fun :)

Posted in autumn, Bradley, children, Connor, flowers, Jeanette, Landscape, photography, plants, sky | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday : 1996 special memories and highlights

Before Thursday comes to an end  … 1996 !!     Two trips to Zimbabwe, two weddings, Carl’s 21st birthday, and Jeanette leaves home !!!

January :  Hubby, Elaine and I went up to Harare for New Years.  We met Pauline, Richard’s future bride, for the first time.   Champers breakfast on New Years Day, with Mum and Dad, Richard and Pauline …

Jan 96 - 1

As well as those gorgeous King Charles Spaniels – Roddy, Hobson and Josie – Richard and Pauline had a new addition to the family … Clara, an 8 week old St Bernard … a huge bundle of cuddlesomeness …

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Isn’t that face, and those paws … and those ears … too gorgeous  !!!

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Elaine was in her element playing with this live ‘teddy’  …

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Richard and Pauline ..

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February :  Carl’s 21st birthday

Feb 96 - Carls 21st

His party was interesting one!!!   Pic above was before he was thrown into the pool by his buddies, hence the change of clothing when hubby gave his speech and presented Carl with his 21st key.   Carl was studying Emergency Medical Care at the Technikon Witwatersrand and it just so happened that one of his friends fell very ill at the party – as one does when attending a party of trainee EMC personnel!!!  –  and an ambulance was called !!!!!   By the time the ambulance arrived, the patient was ready to go … drip up and all!!!


My usual choccie cake :)  decorated with the past and present.
Past – Carl’s first booties !!!!!  I had to put them on the cake no matter how embarrassing it was for him !!!  Carl was tiny at birth, weighing 1.6kg, with tiny feet.   One of the mommies in the maternity ward gave birth to a large baby and had this tiny pair of booties.  I had large booties for my tiny baby’s feet  … naturally we swopped booties :)
Present – Lego ambulance complete with gurney and patient …

Feb 96 - 3

Feb 96 - Carls 21st 1

March :   My first fledgling leaves the nest.    Jeanette and Lance moved into their first apartment – one bedroomed – upper floor, lounge window and bedroom window/patio in the centre ..


They started their lives together with very little … large cushions and garden chairs in the lounge cum dining …

March 96 - J&L  first flat

Also in March … hubby’s niece, Michelle married Mark in Cape Town.  A hectic weekend!!!   We travelled down for the weekend by car .. five of us!   A 14-hour trip there and another 14-hours back!!!    We drove up on the Friday and returned on the Monday.   I will never forget the journey home.  We were all tired especially hubby who drove most of the way.  I am a useless co-driver – I fall asleep!  Hubby rotated the driving with Jeanette and Carl, but he drove mostly.  At one time, I had to take over.  My worst nightmare!!!  It took everything in me not to fall asleep at the wheel!!

March 96 - Michelles wedding 1

Pity this photograph is over-exposed, it’s one of my favourites …

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May 96 -  M & M at wedding

left to right – hubby, me, Carl, Jeanette, Dale (Cheryl and Bob’s son), Mark and Michelle, Bob, Cheryl, and hubby and Cheryl’s Mum and Dad, and Elaine …

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Wedding venue : Lanzerac Hotel in Stellenbosch ..

March 96 - Lanzerac hotel

March 96 - Michelles wedding 5

March 96 - Michelles wedding 6

March 96 - Michelles wedding 4

It was our first visit to Hermanus where Bob and Cheryl had their holiday home, later became their permanent home.   We spent the Sunday exploring the surroundings, beaches, cliff paths and drove up the mountain to a look-out point overlooking the town and Walker Bay ..

March 96 - Hermanus

Elaine and Mickey, Bob and Cheryl’s staffie  …

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April :  Jeanette had endless problems with her second-hand Honda and decided to go the ‘brand-new-out-of-the-box’ route.  Her new car …

April  96 - J's new car - Uno

May :    Richard and Pauline’s wedding in Harare (both second marriages)

May  96 - R & P

We (without Jeanette and Carl) drove up to Harare for the wedding.  Kiddies had important jobs .. the girls, as well as Pauline’s niece, carried confetti baskets and Kevin handed out the programme of service …

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Pauline’s cousin, Judy (from England) was Matron of Honour and hubby was Best Man ..

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The happy couple with my Mum and Dad ..

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Ian and Kathy, Richard and Pauline (whose heels were sinking into the soft sloping ground :) ), hubby and I.   It was a wonderfully happy day

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August :   Elaine’s 10th birthday :  A picnic birthday party at Emmarentia dam with friends Netanya, Kerry, Robyn K, Nicole and Daniella ..

August  96 -  E's bday 10th

Hubby attended a conference at Glenburn Lodge in Muldersdrift.   I spent the last night there with him at Heia Safari Lodge where zebra roamed in between bungalows in the morning  ..

Aug  96 -  Heia Safari Lodge

Aug  96 -  Glenburn Lodge

End November :    Our 25th wedding anniversary celebrations began with a delicious breakfast at Ian and Kathy’s

Nov  96 -  25th breakfast

Our wedding anniversary falls on December 4th.  Prior to the 4th hubby and I went away for a few days – on our own – to the Drakensberg.  Two firsts here … we had never been to the Drakensberg and …  we had never been away on our own!!!    Just the two of us … he and me … no children !!!   I had visions and plans of going away to the Seychelles for our 25th.  Way too expensive.   Mauritius.  Too expensive.  We had already travelled, in that year,  to Cape Town for a wedding and to Zimbabwe for a wedding and we were planning Jeanette and Lance’s wedding in January 1997.

Soooo…. the Drakensberg it was.   We loved it.   What struck us most was how green it was !!!  It was beautiful !!!!  The magnificent mountains were hidden under cloud all the while we were there until our day of departure.  We didn’t appreciate their beauty until that day.  We were content with the emerald green lower slopes and smaller mountains, the walking trails, some muddy and sloshy, some steep and difficult, some easy, the birds, flowers, trees and more.

I had been with my parents to the Drakensberg Gardens Hotel when I was about 8 for a few days on our way back home from a disastrous seaside holiday.   Ian was a baby and Richard suffered from bad asthma in the inclement weather.  We were all bundled in the car in the middle of night and drove as far as Richard could breathe easily .. the Drakensberg.   Can’t remember how long we stayed  .. I only remember the bunnies in the kiddies garden area :)  In those days it was a typical family hotel

Getting back to my 1996 story :  Hubby and I stayed at the Mont aux Sources which has the most magnificent panoramic view of the Amphitheatre.  I bought a postcard of the hotel rooms and the view in case my (35mm film) photos didn’t come out

Dec  96 -  Mont aux sources

View from our room …

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Walking in the berg (a few pics) in the Royal Natal National Park.  In those days, the hotel gave us access cards to the National Park, at a nominal rate …

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This was a plateau covered in wheat-coloured grasses and pretty flowers (which you can’t see :( )  I remember it being very pretty, surrounded by cloud covered mountains  …

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Tiger Falls …

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Cascades ..

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Leaving the National Park we had passed a sign for bushman paintings numerous times and decided on the last day to see them.  On the map, hand-drawn and not to scale, it didn’t look far.   Well, it was!!  We climbed and climbed .. and climbed!!  We had gone so far, I didn’t want to turn back without seeing the rock paintings even though the rain was coming (on the right of picture)  Our (tiny) white car is parked on the left hand side of the road going uphill.   For those who know this area, today, the village in the valley is now built up and spreading

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We made it !!!  This is the only photo I have ..

Dec 96 -  bushman paintings

On our way home – sunny skies and at last the view we had been waiting for .. the majestic Amphitheatre

Dec 96 -   amphitheatre and village

December 4th :    We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with our children.  Nothing fancy .. just us.  Very special

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Festive Season :   Nicole, Carl’s new girlfriend,   joined us on Boxing Day


That was a busy year !!   What was in store for 1997 !!   A wedding for starters!


Posted in art, birthday, Cape, Carl, celebrations, children, Christmas, countryside, Dad, Drakensberg, Elaine, Hermanus, holiday, hotels, Ian, Jeanette, Kathy, Kwa Zulu Natal, Landscape, memory lane, mountains, Mum, New Year, Nicole, P and me, Richard, special occasion, Throwback Thursdays, travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Browsing through handcrafted creativity at Kamers

Kamers is ‘South Africa’s pop-up treasure trove of handcrafted creativity’.  The Autumn market is currently being held this long weekend at St John’s College in Johannesburg.  What a beautiful old school for starters !!!!   It was founded in 1898.

I went not once, but twice, to this amazing market!!   Hubby and I went with Elaine yesterday where I took my camera but was sorry I only had the 50mm lens as I couldn’t get decent photos of the magnificent buildings.   Yesterday I went with Jeanette and her friend Madelein with only my mobile phone!   I knew Jeanette would have her camera, so I left the photography to the expert ;)  please read her blog post and view her fabulous photographs  :-

My photos from Saturday  ..

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Giant crochet rugs – about 1 metre round (or slightly more)!!  Really cool!!


Beautiful bench made from oak wine barrels … hubby bought this one !!   I spotted them at the last Kamers and fell in love with them

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I bought a gorgeous ceramic vase and jug from Storm in a teacup.  Speaking to the stall owner of these stunning items, I was told the skilled throwers are from Zimbabwe ..

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Note to Elaine – we missed this on Sat. Design Team cushions are fabulous (inside classroom)

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Love these giant clothes pegs ..

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The chapel door …

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My photograph of the interior didn’t come out well so I took an Instagram pic today which came out better …


Opposite the chapel door is the dining hall …

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A Hardy look-alike :)!!!!

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… and another !!!   Hardy sits just like this :)

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I love Masquerade’s fine linen ..

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Stunning Barbie dresses ..

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Local champers by the glass – Kanu Geselle MCC from Stellenbosch ..


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Yesterday, Jeanette and I had a glass of Saltare MCC, a boutique winery in Stellenbosch ..


Back to Saturday :    Hubby had a glass of craft beer ..

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Chapel at St John’s College ..

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What lovely mornings I had with both my gorgeous daughters, and hubby xxx

Posted in art, autumn, Elaine, gifts, Jeanette, Outing, P and me, wine | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Do your children read comics ?

My daughter Jeanette has written a post on comic books and comics …

When my children were quite small, I read an article on the advantages of allowing your children to read comics.   There were parents who were dead against buying them for their children, but I was always in favour of buying comics and comic books for my children, as my Mum had done for us.

I remember so looking forward to Fridays when it was our treat to go shopping with her, and if we were good, we would pick up our favourite comic from the shelf.  We must have been very good, as we always came home with our favourite comic.   My favourites :  Andy Pandy – when I was very small;  Jack and Jill and Playhour.  I then advanced to Casper the friendly ghost, Little Lotta, Little Dot, and Wendy, the good little witch.  My brother I think went for Richie Rich.  I do remember Beano, Dandy, Archie, and Hot Stuff in the house too.   Each Christmas, we always got an Annual .. for years!!

Sooo .. my children read comics and every Christmas they got Annuals.   Jeanette and Carl were a ‘comic-generation’  older than Elaine whose choices were more modern ie the Little Mermaid, Barbie etc but she still enjoyed reading the old girly ones we had left.    I eventually had to throw away all the well-worn, well-read, torn and tatty ones and am only left with a few ..

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Posted in art, children, grandchildren | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Wine tasting at Stellenrust

I am back from my brief visit to the Cape.  Always too short :(    My Cape family is going through a tough time at the moment so I needed to be there, even for a few days, and especially as my favourite niece is home from overseas for a couple of weeks.   Spending precious time with my very frail Mum is also heart-breaking.  Not the happiest of visits, but we did have a few good laughs.  Laughter is definitely the best medicine – as they say in the classics … it doesn’t take away the situation but it eases the pain. Daniella invited me to go along with her to meet up with friends over a wine tasting at Stellenrust, situated on the R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch.   I had never been there before, and I’ve been to many ;)   What a lovely morning!!!    Vines dressed in autumn/wintry shades, backdrop of mountains, gorgeous blue skies, good wines and super company!!!  What could be better than that!   It was lovely listening them chatter about their experiences overseas working on yachts on the Mediterranean, and interesting places they’ve seen. The tastings were very good and of a generous proportion and only having had a banana for breakfast, my cheeks glowed after the second one!!   My favourites were the 2013 Chenin Blanc 49 Barrel Fermented, 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, and 2012 Timeless (Cabernet Savignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc).  I’m not terribly keen on Chenin Blanc but this one is good.   Nice for hot summer days Copy of IMG_6033 Copy of IMG_6034 Copy of IMG_6029 Copy of Copy of IMG_6022 Copy (2) of IMG_6031 Copy of IMG_6032 Copy of IMG_6045 Copy of IMG_6024 Copy of IMG_6026 Copy of IMG_6035 Copy of IMG_6038 Copy of IMG_6046 Copy of IMG_6052 Copy of IMG_6053 Not a good spot for the spittoon !!! Copy of IMG_6056 Copy of IMG_6050

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Thank you so much ‘oh favourite niece of mine’   for a relaxing and enjoyable morning  xxx …

Posted in autumn, Cape, countryside, family, mountains, Somerset West, travel, wine, wine estates | 1 Comment

Cake and scones down memory lane

Hubby and I have a coffee date almost every Tuesday :)   It’s the only weekday morning that we don’t go our separate ways.    We have tried most places in and around our area, and depending on how far we want to travel and what delectable cake/croissant/scone we desire,  we choose the appropriate café.  This morning we went to Petits Fours – Heathway Centre – for their good cappuccino and delicious scones, served with strawberry jam and whipped cream.   Moroccan, in Lifestyle Garden Centre, serves a fabulous cappuccino .. tipping scales on Petits Fours .. and their scones with jam and cream are simply yummy too.   Petits Fours scones are lighter in texture but the overall taste sensation is better at Moroccan due to the cream!!!   Yummy cream !!!  Cheese Café also serve scrumptious scones, with jam and cream plus a few thin slices of cheese.

All this preamble leads me to the point of this post.  As we were sitting over our cappuccinos and scones this morning, we both agreed on the two best places we will never forget;   one was a cream tea in Bradford-on-Avon in England and the other was a coffee with fresh out of the oven cake topped with strawberry jam and served with cream in a café in Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland.

Cream tea at a quaint ‘olde’ English tea house and restaurant – The Bridge – in Bradford-on-Avon.  The scones were amazing !!!   .. served with clotted cream and jam (this was my first introduction to clotted cream!!)    – June 2008

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Slea Head Café, Dingle Peninsula :  I can still remember walking into the warm café, from the cold and windy outdoors, with the smell of freshly baked cakes and pies !!!   We were the only ones there at the time and were warmly welcomed with the offer of something warm to drink and freshly baked cake!!!  How could we resist!!!   .. and it was fresh out of the oven!!   It was still warm with the jam melting on top, served with thick fresh farm cream !!!!  Yummm!!!

P1090135-absolutely delicious-freshly baked strawberry cake- was still warm

P1090139-from carpark of Cafe Slea Head

Stunning view from the café


By the way the very best croissants and coffee are at  Patisserie de Paris, in Blairgowrie  .. a little further afield for us

And on this note, from tomorrow, I will be away for a few days until the weekend.  I am flying down to Somerset West in the Cape to spend precious time my very frail Mum and my family who need my support right now

Posted in baking, cake, coffee, England, holiday, Ireland, memory lane, restaurants, travel | Tagged | 1 Comment

Last day in Dublin : Travel Reminiscences

Travel reminiscences of our wonderful holiday in Ireland 2009

Technically, this wasn’t on our last day in Ireland.   It was the evening before we started our fabulous 10 day self-drive tour of this beautiful country.   It was the evening after our tour of Dublin on the ‘hop on-hop off’ bus (following on from my previous post on Dublin : Travel Reminiscences)

We had a meal at The Bank Bar (The Bank on College Green) which was voted by Licencing World – National Bar of the Year in 2007, and Best Bar in Ireland in 2010 by Hospitality Ireland.   A magnificent building, construction of which was completed in 1894 for the Belfast Bank …


P1040402-The Bank - pub was originally a bank

P1040403-The Bank (pub)


From where we sat –  a pianist was tinkling the ivories close by …


… and our table was up against the original bank door …


Near the entrance to the pub is a copy of the Book of Kells under glass …


A short walk-about on our way back to our hotel.  I hadn’t many encountered narrow streets up to 2009, as this was only my second overseas trip.  I found it intriguing and quaint!    Even more so with this one as there was a small church tucked away behind the ornate gate …

P1040407-entrance to a small church tucked away down sml street

Our last day, or part there-of, in Dublin.   We had driven from Sligo in the North West of Ireland, across country to Dublin.  We dropped our bags at the hotel (the same one we had stayed at on our arrival in Dublin 10 days before) and went for a walk-about ….  passed the Tourist Information Centre situated in an old church ..

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Popped in for a cup of coffee here … (If I remember correctly it was a Parisienne café with pastries and yummy nibblies!)


Grafton Street … one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin .. .


The street is famous for its ‘energetic buskers and talented street artists’ as well as department stores and trendy shops …






One end of Grafton Street is St Stephen’s Green, where the glassed St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre stands opposite the Dublin Fusiliers Arch erected in 1907 dedicated to officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought and died in the Second Boer War 1899-1902 …


St Stephen’s Green, ‘originally one of three ancient commons in the old city, St Stephen’s Green was enclosed in 1664.   The 9ha (22 acre) green was laid out in its present form in 1880, using a grant given by Lord Ardilaun, Sir Arthur Edward Guinness.  The green is dotted with memorials to eminent Dubliners, including Ardilaun himself’ ‘  ..



Ardilaun Lodge/ Gardener’s Cottage :  gorgeous ‘dolls house’ !!   It was built by Lord Ardilaun as a home for the Park Superintendent …




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Hubby and I decided to walk back down Grafton Street to Trinity College to see the Library and Book of Kells before it closed (we didn’t take this vehicle!)


Beautiful harp music on the corner near the entrance to Trinity College ..


Entrance to Trinity College – statues of Edmund Burke on left and Oliver Goldsmith on right ..



Campanile – 30m (98ft) bell tower was built in 1853 by Sir Charles Lanyon …




Unfortunately we got there soon after the doors to the Library and Long Room closed.  It’s on the other side of this building …




Our last look at the River Liffey from Ha’penny Bridge …


Walking through the district of Temple Bar heading back to our hotel to freshen up before going to O’Neills pub for supper ..



O’Neills Pub was so full we had to share a small table with a local in a corner.  There had been a football match during the afternoon (finals of two rival teams) and all pubs were full!!!   Photo of hubby was taken as we sat down.  Within minutes this small room in O’Neills was teaming with soccer fans!!!


And so we say a fond farewell to Dublin …

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…  and beautiful Ireland


Posted in memory lane, travel, holiday, autumn, Ireland, restaurants, Dublin | Tagged , | Leave a comment