Carla’s Golden Thread Pottery

My niece, Carla, is an extremely talented young lady !!

She makes the most amazing ceramics.  I have been following her on Facebook and have admired every exquisite piece she creates.  What a surprise I got when she brought me gifts of beautiful pieces when she came to stay with us for a few days, together with her mom and dad, Kathy and Gavin (my cousin).  They came out from the UK for another niece’s wedding which we all attended last weekend, and which marriage ceremony was conducted by Gavin (still to share on my blog.  A beautiful wedding in the Midlands with family and friends from near and far :)

Isn’t this beautiful !!   Wafer thin and delicate porcelain tea light.   Exquisite !!!

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A beautiful set of wonky hummingbird plates …

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Thank YOU Carla !!      I love, love, love them xxx mwah

Posted in art, blue, cousins, crafts, decor, England, family | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Cavern in the Northern Drakensberg

Before hubby and I head off to the Midlands again for the weekend, this time for a family wedding, here are some more pics from our stay at The Cavern in the Drakensberg

It was rainy, misty and chilly on our arrival …

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Our lovely room …

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Things to do on rainy, chilly days in the lounge with a roaring fire:)

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The following morning the weather cleared and we went for our walk in the mountains (see previous post).  The Fern Trail runs through this forest opposite our room, on the other side of the valley  …

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A new addition to the pool area since our last visit … a larger and longer water slide (the original smaller slide is still there which ends in the main swimming pool) ..

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Chain ladder is also new in the kiddies play area  …

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I had a wonderful back and neck massage at the Forest Spa:)

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A personal touch from the Cavern’s owners and staff ..

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Time to go home …

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The majestic Amphitheatre is hiding under clouds …

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Crossing the Tugela River flowing strongly .. .

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Tugela River with Amphitheatre under cloud in the background

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At last, after many years of driving on a poor conditioned, potholed road Oliviershoek Pass, repairs are finally being done..

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Took this pic from our stationery car, about midway up the Oliviershoek Pass, as we sat here at the stop-go, waiting our turn ..

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Posted in countryside, Drakensberg, holiday, hotels, Kwa Zulu Natal, mountains, South Africa, travel, trees | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking in the Berg

Hubby and I arrived in the rain at The Cavern, Northern Drakensberg, from the Midlands.  It rained most of the night and by morning, even though cloudy, the rain had stopped.  We had had visions of spending most of the day reading in one of the cosy lounges but we decided to take a chance on the weather and go for a walk .. not a hectic trail with steep ups and downs, slippery rocks and muddy streams.  We started at The Cavern’s main entrance and walked down the road before veering left towards Sungubala Mountain Camp ..

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My thoughts were with my Mum so much that day as my brother Ian had phoned the previous evening to say she had suddenly ‘gone down’ and it wouldn’t be long before she goes.   She was with me every step … crossing the tumbling stream, walking amongst the grasses, flowers and trees, looking across the vastness of this beautiful land and the majestic mountains reaching to the heavens ..

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Sungubala Mountain Camp …

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We turned back at the camp’s gate …

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I didn’t want to carry extra lenses in case we got caught in the rain .. my wide-angled lens was in our room.   Breathtaking view from the gate.   The hills and grasses were actually greener than this.  I can’t adjust the photos to the correct green, but you get the idea – it was green!

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Three people are only just visible on the road at bottom of pic about quarter of the way into the picture.  We stopped for chat as our paths crossed.  They were an elderly couple with a guide, who had taken the easy trail up to the Camp while the rest of the guided walkers had gone along the Fern Trail.   Hubby and I went on a guided trail the last time we were at The Cavern, which is very interesting as plants, mountains etc are pointed out and named, some with a story behind them.  Your reward at the destination is tea and the famous Cavern’s crunchies!!!

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We decided to take the Fern Trail back to the hotel.  The path went up quite steeply before levelling out …

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Sungubala at the end of the road …

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Blue sky!!   our path leads round to the left and over the other side ..

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Crossing paths with the guided walkers and extra guides.  Not sure why they were all there (maybe part of a training exercise?)  … and the hotel’s doggies:)

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Clouds were lifting ..

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Beautiful large Pom Pom tree (Dais cotinifolia) amongst otherr indigenous trees ..

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The path follows the contour of the mountain opposite some of the rooms, ours included (middle of pic, situated on left) A river flows in the valley between where we were standing and the rooms …

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Forest Spa – reception on left with three secluded treatment rooms to the right  ..

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Buddleia (looks like a buddleia to me😉 )  .. there were many of these indigenous bushes, as were the protea …

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Our room was at the end of the path ..  (last one in the block of four rooms)

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Posted in bridges, clouds, countryside, dogs, Drakensberg, flowers, fungi, holiday, hotels, Kwa Zulu Natal, Landscape, mountains, plants, South Africa, travel, trees | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Old World charm in the Midlands

Three years ago, on the eve of Elaine and Bryan’s wedding, our two families gathered at Rawdons Hotel for drinks in the pub and patio.  It was a perfect way to meet up with friends and family members, some from far and wide, before the big day.   Hubby and I, and our friends from Colombia, Terry and Paola,  also stayed a night after the wedding festivities came to an end, before the four of us drove to a game reserve in KwaZulu Natal.  So this time, we returned, after our holiday in the Transkei, for a night before heading to the Drakensberg.

It’s a lovely hotel in a beautiful setting with all rooms decorated with antiques collected by the original owners who built it in the early 1950’s

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The Midlands was misty and rainy, interspersed with heavy rain, a welcome relief from the drought and extreme heat they had been experiencing up to a day or two prior to our visit but also causing a bit of a problem at the hotel.   Monkeys, searching for food and water,  have moved into the area where monkeys have never been before, and have become a nuisance.  They had ripped out bits of thatched roofing and now with the heavy rain management had to deal with dripping ceilings in some places.   We hadn’t been in our room very long, (long enough for me take piccies ;)) when water dripped down the wall onto a window sill.

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Management were very apologetic explaining the monkey/thatched roof problem and moved us to another room.  A large suite!  The Pattrick Suite complete with passage, a large second bedroom, bathroom with shower, tea and coffee station behind a door, and a lounge with a view over the lawns and dams …

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Those pesky, destructive monkeys came out to play when the rain stopped for a short while ..

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Went back under cover when rain started again ..

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In the cosy pub ..

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A few pics as we drove out next morning  ..

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Posted in animals, countryside, flowers, garden, holiday, hotels, Kwa Zulu Natal, lakes, Landscape, Midlands, rain, travel, trees | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Junction at Nottingham Road

The weather forecast for the Drakensberg, where hubby and I were off to for the last two nights of our holiday, was similar to what we experienced in the Midlands .. chilly and rainy.  Hubby needed another book and we were advised by the receptionist at Rawdons to either go to the bookshop at The Junction or a second-hand bookshop behind the garage near the Spa .. no idea what that little shopping area is called !   When she described the whereabouts of The Junction we were under the impression that it was a kiddies playground area as that’s what you see from the road.  We had no idea it was a quaint shopping experience.  Originally an old dairy farm dating back to 1962 and after converting the dairy shed to a coffee shop, it became Nottingham Road’s “nostalgic meeting and shopping place”.

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The bookshop is the building with the ‘stoep’ and hanging baskets.  Not a huge selection of adult fiction but hubby managed to find one the authors he enjoys and a book he hadn’t read before ..

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Several shops were closed with signs on the doors saying they were ‘closed on Tuesdays out of season’.  It was out of season but it was Wednesday!!  Maybe they hadn’t woken up yet !!

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There is a pretty dam but I was getting wet taking these pics … a warm dry car with the thought of’ Blueberry Cafe’s coffee up the road was a better option than traipsing around in the rain

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Posted in books, chocolate, countryside, garden, holiday, Kwa Zulu Natal, Midlands, shopping, South Africa, travel | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Misty Midlands of KwaZulu Natal

On our return from Umngazi in the Transkei, hubby and I stopped for a night in the Midlands. What a change in temperature from the hot and humid coast of the Transkei!! The Midlands was misty, rainy and rather chilly!!

As we couldn’t book into Rawdons Hotel in Nottingham Road before 2pm, we stopped for a welcoming hot cappuccino and scones with jam and cream at Piggly Wiggly

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I love this ‘easy-to-move’  bench outside the leather goods shop ..

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Piggly Wiggly is always a pleasant shopping experience too, with local produce and handcrafts, etc  for sale in the surrounding shops.  I cannot resist popping into Lavender and Co. to stock up on bath salts.    The fragrance that wafts out the door is soooo enticing!!

We then made our way to Caversham Mill for lunch overlooking the Lion’s River tumbling down a waterfall, a popular spot for light meals.  We’ve only been there for lunches, which are delicious:)

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Thick mist came rolling in later that afternoon.  View from our bedroom window at Rawdons …

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…. and from the bathroom window.  I will feature Rawdons in a future post (those two windows are part of the suite we were given in compensation for the first room we were allocated.   Management moved us due to a leaking ceiling!!  These were the first heavy rains after months of drought

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After a cosy breakfast the next morning watching the pitter patter of gentle rain we drove to Nottingham Road in search of a bookshop recommended by the reception at the hotel.  Hubby needed extra reading knowing the weather in the Berg wasn’t going to be any better than the Midlands, as was the forecast

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We didn’t have too far to go to the Drakensberg where we spent two nights so we stopped at one of our favourite spots in the Midlands for cappuccinos at Blueberry Café.  Inside was warm and cosy with a central fireplace

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Posted in bench, coffee, countryside, crafts, dining out, food, holiday, hotels, Kwa Zulu Natal, Midlands, restaurants, South Africa, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More birds, cows, kiddies and a sunset

Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa :   http://www.umngazi.co.za

Sunday’s braai (BBQ) at the hotel, cold beer for hubby and my delish strawberry daiquiri    was calling !!!!    Making our way to the estuary after a 5km beach walk,  hubby and I came across a flock of Terns.  With camera in hand, naturally, I had to take some pics to add to our holiday album  (horses hoof prints can be seen on the beach)   As we walked forward so they swooped up, flew around and came back, until they got fed up and landed behind us:)

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Love the way they all face the same way:)

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While having drinks on the hotel’s deck that evening, and chatting with one of the managers,  the ‘sundowner cruise’ docked for the night.  I wonder if they had had any luck with the Fish Eagles catching fish being flung into the air by Kevin ?  …

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Glorious sunset ..

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Every evening a small boat takes those of the staff who live across the river, to the other side and from there they walk to their homes.  He keeps going back and forth until the last group …

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‘Til next year !!  (we’ve booked for the same time next year .. yay! )

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Posted in animals, beach, birds, holiday, hotels, sand, sea, South Africa, sunset, Transkei, travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment