Throwback Thursday : Hubby retired 5 years ago

Five years ago today – 30th July 2010 – my hubby retired


Is he enjoying retirement ?   I think so :)


Posted in dogs, Max, Peter, pets, puppies | 1 Comment

Max goes to Puppy School

We decided to take Max to puppy training, mainly because Elaine and Bryan took Hardy and they all seemed to enjoy it, with humans and puppy learning how to behave with each other.     We have been to 3 classes so far, run by   Shannon McKay   owner of  McKaynine Training Centre in Honeydew.

‘Shannon holds a cum laude BSc Zoology Honours degree and is also an accredited canine behaviourist and certified Super Pup trainer.  She has handled dogs to multiple champion titles and has been featured on Animal Planet, BBC Channel 5, local tv and radio and is also a regular writer for All About Dogs, Animal Talk and Showdogs.’   ‘McKaynine Puppy School is recommended by leading professionals in the field, and is one of the biggest full-service dog training facilities in South Africa on private premises.’

We are in good hands :)

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Keeping a close eye on Max is a Neopolitan Mastiff – gorgeous dark silvery grey .. all skin and large paws !!!

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Shannon explaining dog bones … femurs are best .. whole and raw !!!!!  I think no bones for our little Max !!!!!

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Duck attends all puppy classes … on the other side of the fence of course !

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Look at those wrinkles!!

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Free play:  at the first class, all pups were wary of each other, taking a while for them to actually play together.    Now that the pups are getting bigger, the ‘weanies’  and ‘others’ have separate free play.  Two large pups, Great Dane and Black Lab joined our weanie group, as I am assuming they were a little timid for the large group.  Max and Great Dane gelled instantly !   David and Goliath !!!!  Max is the smallest pup in class!!

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Max had great fun chasing Timid J.R.  All he wanted to do was play and this little one wasn’t so sure about a stocky smaller-than-her pup wanting a rough ‘n’ tumble game ..

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Sad looking Black Lab and friendly doggie in car caught Max’s attention ..

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Giving it another go with Timid J.R.  ..

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‘Re-call’ .. back to leads and handlers, with treats ..

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Maxie loved all the attention from little humans …

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Focus !!!    Good boy !!!

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Can’t resist that wrinkly brow, nose and jowls !!!

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Obstacles are fun !!!   Max is a star !!

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Loose lead walking.  We do it all the time with him on our walks …. he doesn’t really need the treat :)

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He aced the maze first time !!!

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Apparently lots of dogs, mainly the larger breeds, don’t like going into small spaces like this.  The next step is to hide a treat in the tyre .. we’ll see if Max will find it next week

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It’s an amazing experience for puppy .. and his/her human family, even if you’ve had dogs forever like we have !!   Looking forward to our next class :)

Posted in dogs, Max, pets, puppies, school | 2 Comments

Max is 4 months old !!

I haven’t posted anything on Max for a while, who is now 4 months old!   I’ve taken so many photos which have ended up on my Facebook page, neglecting my blog page.  For the last two weeks we’ve been babysitting Elaine and Bryan’s, Hardy and in that time little Max has grown.   Rough and tumble playtime, exhausting for us, but so much fun for both doggies, with little Max growing in confidence as he learned to stand up for himself.


Hardy loved his ‘winter camp’ with us and we all miss him now that he’s gone back to his home.  He also gained confidence whilst being with us.   Having the boys on a daily basis encouraged him to get used to being around more humans all the time, as well as playtime with the boys and exploring our garden.  We also went for walks every day .. all of us!


Max has missed his best friend for the last few days and was delighted when Hardy came for a visit yesterday :)    Today, he’s had fun too.   Apart from our daily walk, he’s been gardening with me.  I am edging a flower bed with small log edging.  While I was digging the small trench, Max was having a ball, jumping in and out, scratching on the loose earth, darting in and out of flower beds and … grabbing my gardening gloves!!!  I had a new pair so gave him the older ones.   What fun he had!!!   Shaking them vigorously and bring them back to me to be thrown once again.  He’s very good at bringing back toys, balls etc  ..

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One more pic taken about 2 weeks ago … I love Max’s odd markings!!  Especially his eyes and eyelashes !!


Next post on Max  …. he goes to Puppy School now and loves it :)

Posted in Bradley, dogs, Elaine, Max, pets | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday : 4 years ago – 23 July 2011

It was fours years ago today, hubby and I were in Somerset West, for a few days.  It must have been a weekend.   My dear SIL Kathy had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was going through chemo, as a result of which she had lost her hair

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My hubby must have driven up to Hermanus on this particular day as he was not with us when Kathy, Ian and I went for coffee and a walk-about in Stellenbosch.  We had an awesome day with lots of laughs!!   I remember it being quite windy and we were laughing about the possibility of Kathy’s wig being blown off her head and flying down the road :)

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I had borrowed Jeanette’s 50 mm lens for the short trip to get the ‘feel’ of hubby’s Canon, by using different settings without zooming.

Beautiful buildings in Stellenbosch …

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It wasn’t the best lens to use for these gorgeous buildings, so I reverted back to my pocket Panasonic  …

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That evening we went wine and food pairing at Rust en Vrede.  What an amazing evening!!!   Daniella joined us as Kathy wasn’t feeling well

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Courses and wines were superb !!

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Kathy is again fighting cancer, sadly, but is always up-beat, positive and strong.  An inspirational and amazing woman, who has taken over a huge junk of the running of Ian’s factory.  Definitely keeping her on her toes !!!  :) :) :)   Love you lots and lots and more xxx

Posted in Cape, dining out, family, food, Ian, Kathy, memory lane, restaurants, Somerset West, Throwback Thursdays, travel, wine | Tagged | 1 Comment

My last walk-about and salute to breathtaking golden peaks

Final weekend of our fortnight holiday, in May … to Ballito, Midlands and lastly,  Champagne Castle Hotel  in Central Drakensberg

I went for a walk-about in the afternoon …


Potting shed it was … aviary it is now .. and filled with all sorts of birds.  Tricky to get decent pics through fine mesh


Hungry bunnies in the kiddies farmyard ..


‘Tis no wonder !!  They are busy bunnies ..



Blue Crane, our national bird …


Beautiful setting for a chapel ..







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Wish this was clearer but little ducklings waddle fast !!!


When I came along with my camera, mommy duck hopped into the water leaving all her little ducklings on the bank  (how many ducklings can a mommy duck have?  Is she a surrogate mommy duck too?  I wonder)


Panic set in with all the ducklings so she hopped out and waddled off with her brood …



Self-catering chalets …


Large picture window of the chapel …



More Blue Cranes …



As evening fell, the air turned chilly …


Last morning and the final sunrise before our return home.  First golden rays touch the highest peaks …


A sight to behold !!!



Cathkin Peak 3149m


Champagne Castle 3377m


The Drakensberg is a truly beautiful part of our country.   ‘Til the next time …


Posted in animals, autumn, birds, church, countryside, Drakensberg, holiday, hotels, Kwa Zulu Natal, mountains, sunset, travel | 3 Comments

Walking in the Berg

Final weekend of our fortnight holiday, in May … to Ballito, Midlands and lastly,  Champagne Castle Hotel  in Central Drakensberg

Good morning majestic mountains !!





It was a toss up between ziplining across the Blue Grotto Forest : Drakensberg Canopy Tour, which is an incredible experience …. or a walking trail up to the Sphinx.  Both of which we’ve done before.  We decided on the mountain trail …


It’s a lovely trail which is not too difficult at all ..





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Lush fern and moss at Crystal Falls where you can drink the cool fresh mountain water …

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Our destination .. the Sphinx (centre of pic) …

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Rounding the mountain.  Sphinx is insignificant from this angle (left and upward) as it’s made of various rock formations and only looks like a Sphinx from further back …


I’ve slotted in photographs from February 2011 – midsummer and green – showing the rock formations that make up the Sphinx






And while I’m at it, I shall slot in a few more for comparison .. then and now ..

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In 2011 the mountains were covered in cloud ..



Champagne Castle – 3377m (flat top) can clearly be seen behind Cathkin Peak – 3149m ..


Descending … x marks Champagne Castle Hotel.  Such a pity it was very hazy











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Back to the level of the hotel grounds ..


Great morning walk :)


Posted in countryside, Drakensberg, flowers, holiday, hotels, Kwa Zulu Natal, Landscape, mountains, plants, travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday : 16 July 2012 .. Loire Valley, France

Three years ago, hubby and I were on the fabulous ‘Best of France’ Trafalgar Tour, and on this day, we were in the beautiful Loire Valley, stopping at the 16th century Château de Chenonceau .. stuff fairytales are made of !!   Only in children’s fairy stories had I seen pictures of castles like this!!  And there it was, in front of us as we walked down the tree lined road.  We had a fascinating tour of the interior and walked around the formal gardens.  Links to my posts are below

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16th century farm buildings : vegetable and flower gardens

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Our ‘Be my Guest’ dinner that evening was on Beatrice’s goat farm in Tours (Loire Valley).  A warm, friendly and delightfully charming woman ..


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What a wonderful day and very special evening!   Great, great memories !!!

Links to posts :- .. Beatrice’s goat farm
Château de Chenonceau 1
Château de Chenonceau 2
Château de Chenonceau 3

Posted in chateaux, France, holiday, memory lane, Throwback Thursdays, travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment