Max loved his walks in the greenbelt

I have found a few more photos of Max taken at the beginning of December last year when I used my small camera on a walk in the greenbelt.  Max loved his walks.  He trotted along in even but small strides, tail up and swaying from side to side, head held high and the end of ears flapping with every step.   He always looked from one side of the road the other, mainly at barking dogs behind closed gates and not flinching or stopping to respond.  As our neighbour said, as tiny as he was,  it looked as if he ‘owned’ the road!!!!

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Connor and Max having a tug o’ war (which is actually a video but I can’t find it within the depths of all the info on the computer :( )

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Miss you my little Maxie-poo :(

Posted in Connor, flowers, Greenbelt, Jack Russell, Max, memory lane, pets, puppies | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rain in January

So .. January is coming to an end.  What a month it’s been!

Firstly, our little Maxie passed away suddenly and completely unexpected.  I miss him. I miss him terribly :(  We all miss him so very much.

Secondly, we had a fantastic reunion with my cousins in Somerset West.  It was amazing and so wonderful to be together again.  Lots of laughs, food and wine :)   Thank you all for coming and especially to Ian and Kathy for opening your home to us all xxx

And thirdly, we had rain!!!  142mm in total.  The days were cooler .. for a bit anyway .. and my garden has rejuvenated!   Although for the last couple of days it’s been hot again .. so more rain would be welcome please :)

Here are some piccies from a couple of rainy days ..

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‘Germiston Gold’..

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Pride of India ..

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Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ ..

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Ladybird books are 100 years old

2015 saw the centenary anniversary of the Ladybird books.  I was under the impression that it was this year as I’ve recently seen related posts on Facebook and elsewhere, but in fact the first book was published in 1915.  “In 1940 the first pocket sized hardbacked book was produced.  The iconic mini hardbacked format was made out of a single sheet of paper, 40 inches x 30 inches, cleverly printed to make a 56 page book.  They were sold at half a crown (two shillings and sixpence for thirty years)”.  

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I simply love them!   They’re easy to hold, easy to read, and the pictures are delightful.  My children and grandchildren have grown up with them.  I have built up quite a collection over the years, the oldest one being ‘Smoke and Fluff’ which was given to Jeanette by my Granny when she was about two ..

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My library of Ladybird books spanning 42 years !!!

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Bradley loved books .. and still does.  I read to him all the time.  As a small baby I would hold a book in one hand, flipping the pages with my fingers, and feed him his bottle at the same time.  I didn’t need to read the words, I knew them all, or most of them anyway !!!





The three nursery rhyme books were favourites, as they were for Elaine.  Before I purchased them, I used to take one from the library for her, alternating books.  She wanted to feel as special as Jeanette and Carl coming away from the library with a book!   She was two when I bought her own three books (written inside each one is her name and date – Xmas 1988) .. that’s how I know old she was :)

I used to rotate the books for Bradley which were kept in a basket.  Once the first one in the row was read, it was slotted at the back, and so on.  It kept me sane !!  Eventually I had two baskets of books and as he got older, and after Connor came along, my collection of kiddies books grew and grew.

I noticed in a bookshop, the other day, some reprints of the Ladybird books.  They’re in the ‘Read it Yourself’ series.  I must say I wasn’t too partial to the look of the faces in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs …. but Thumbelina wasn’t too bad.

An interesting short video on the centenary anniversary follows on this link :

Posted in books, Bradley, celebrations, children, grandchildren, memory lane | Leave a comment

Papilio demoleus – common lime butterfly

.. or lemon butterfly, lime swallowtail butterfly, small citrus butterfly, chequered swallowtail, dingy swallowtail, citrus swallowtail or

a beautiful butterfly !!

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Reunion with my cousins in Somerset West

My apologies for being a little quiet on my blog.

Hubby and I returned a week ago, from six days in Somerset West, visiting my Mum and having the most amazing time reuniting with my cousins Barry and Gavin.   Unfortunately we only had one day together with Barry, who had spent the Christmas holidays with his family, before he flew back to Ramsgate in KwaZulu Natal.  Gavin and his wife Kathy on the other hand came out from the UK to enjoy our sunshine and our beautiful Cape scenery and as much as they could enjoy from everything the Cape has to offer.  We also had an extra special and the most memorable family time together, all staying at Ian and Kathy’s beautiful home.   Many thanks to you both for opening your home to us all :)

We had fun!  Loads of laughter and a few tears.  It was fabulous!

Gavin is a minister at an Elim Christian Fellowship Church in the UK and his main aim for their visit to SA was to see, pray and read scriptures to my Mum.  I have always wondered if she sees me and listens to my voice.  In my heart I know she does.   Well she does.  She knew who he was and what he was saying.   It was very emotional for me to watch him speak to her.  Her face changed completely.  She was talking back, we just couldn’t hear her

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View from Mum’s room in Frail Care ..

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When in the Cape winelands, what better way to enjoy these beautiful surroundings than to do some wine tastings followed by scrumptious lunches.  A perfect place to start and as it’s not far down the road from Mum’s Frail Care, is one of my favourite places .. Lourensford Wine Estate

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Big smiley face here …  I spotted the book ‘The Wine Kingdom’(top right of photo above) in which I have a double page spread of photos taken on our walk through the vineyards of Bouchard Finlayson.    Lourensford is one of the farms committed to conservation and is a member of the biodiversity and wine initiative

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Delicious lunch at Lourensford’s, Millhouse Kitchen.   I had the ‘catch of the day’  which was Red Roman served with chilled Lourensford Chardonnay.  To be precise, Ian and I shared our fish as there was only one serving of Red Roman left (we had got there a little on the late side).  Between the two of us we had half hake and half Red Roman – both yummy !

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My two very special cousins … Gavin

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…  and Barry

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It was sweltering in the Cape while we were there.  I had the perfect dessert – rose water and strawberry sorbet

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Our two families were very close and, as children, we grew up together  (a great pity Richard, our eldest brother wasn’t with us :( )   One day we’ll all be together again

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Vines at Lourensford …

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Every evening we sat on the deck of Ian and Kathy’s home watching the scorching sun go down, dipping the temps only a fraction … chatting, heaps of laughter all round and enjoying simple dinners served with loads of salads .. and wine ;)

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A stroll on The Strand Beach, the following morning, to dip feet in the sea (False Bay)…

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From The Strand we drove through Gordon’s Bay and along Clarence Drive (R44).   It is a beautiful winding road that hugs the coast all the way to Kleinmond.  We drove as far as the spot where we scattered my Dad’s ashes and onto Rooi-els for coffee ..

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I have taken many photographs from here of the mountain range and sea which I’ve included in various blog posts on our Cape visits.

My Dad must have the biggest and best tombstone ever :)  (midway in pic is the area where his ashes were scattered)

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On our way to Somerset West’s,  Vergelegen, another one of my favourite wine estates, we stopped at Ian’s corrugated cardboard box factory, Keay Trading, to show Gavin and Kathy.  It seems a simple operation to make a box, but it isn’t when many specifications with innards are required by customers.  A box isn’t always a basic square or rectangle ;)

Vergelegen’s herb garden and Stable Restaurant

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Scrumptious lunch served with chilled Vergelegen Chardonnay.  It was lovely and cool inside .. hot as hades outside !

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Kathy and I had a simply delicious calamari salad …

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Vergelegen was Mum’s favourite place.  I always took her for light lunches, with wine, and a walk around the beautiful gardens which she loved

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The Library is housed in the old wine cellar built in 1816 …

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Manor House built in 1700 by Willem van der Stel, Governor of the Cape, under the shade of the immense Camphor trees planted by van der Stel in 1705 …

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Through the door, above, and through the door beyond, is the other side of the Manor House ;)

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Another one of our favourite wine estates is Rust en Vrede, Stellenbosch where we introduced Gavin and Kathy to the most scrumptious, tender and succulent steaks.  Coming from England, they were in awe !!

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Our charming waitress :) serving Rust en Vrede’s 2012 Estate Wine which accompanies the sirloin steak lunches.  There is a salmon dish for those who don’t eat red meat.

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Wine tasting room behind large wooden doors ..

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Cappuccinos served with miniscule koeksisters – a traditional South African version of a doughnut soaked in syrup.  Terribly sweet but these tiny ones were yum!

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We mentioned to our waitress that Gavin and Kathy were from the UK (originally from Rhodesia/Zim) and Kathy was dying to taste her micro morsel of a koeksister as she hadn’t had one in many, many years.  Our waitress came back with a plateful !!


Finger licking good !!!

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Superb dinners are served in the main restaurant at night.  Hubby and I experienced an incredibly delicious food and wine pairing dinner there a few years ago…

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Stunning view from the lawn and garden  ..

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Unfortunately, unbeknown to me – as I didn’t check – my camera was on the wrong settings so the landscape photographs didn’t come out as well as I had hoped

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Lunch with our dear friends Ray and Carol at The Goatshed, Fairview Wine and Cheese, in Paarl …

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Ian and Kathy’s stunning stone garden.  Ideal for the Cape’s Mediterranean climate

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Our last glorious sunset from the deck ..

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Golden hues turned to reds, pinks, and purples …

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So sad to leave and even sadder coming home to Max’s blankets, beds, collar and toys, which I hadn’t had time to wash and put away before we left :(

Posted in beach, Cape, clouds, coffee, cousins, dining out, family, flowers, food, garden, Ian, Kathy, mountains, Mum, restaurants, sea, sky, Somerset West, South Africa, sunset, travel, wine, wine estates | Leave a comment

Our little Max : 27.03.2015 – 08.01.2016

It is with really, really, really heavy hearts hubby and I have to share the passing of our little Maxie-poo :(

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In his short little life, he crept into everyone’s hearts.  We will all miss him so very much.  I missed the sound of him running down the passage this morning, for a quick lick on my hand, and his rub around his ears before dashing off outside, as he did every day.  His bed is empty except for his favourite Duck which he used as a pillow.   Some toys are still scattered on the floor.  His doggie bowls are empty.

I was in the throws of putting together an update of his ‘cleansing-of-the-stomach’ operation with pics of the grandchildren and hubby gathering macadamia nut shells .. a mammoth task as I had used them as mulch almost everywhere!!!!! … and anything else that would harm his little tummy!!   My blog post was also to have a pic of his 15cm long cut along his soft spotty tummy.  This isn’t relevant anymore although the only thing I can say is that the operation went well.   That was not the cause


As I said he was doing so well.   When he was home played boisterously, discovering his toys again, pulling out his favourites.  ‘Flavours of the month’ .. his Santa and his new squeaky balls.   He tired easily, which was understandable after a major op.

Hubby and I went out that evening to celebrate our son in law’s birthday, leaving Maxie indoors for fear of rain (which didn’t happen of course).  When we got home, it was still so hot at 10pm (31.5 C)!   We spent a long time playing with him on the lawn.  Me, sitting and being licked all over while he bounded about and hubby playing fetch with his Santa.  He was so good at ‘fetch’.  Always brought the toy back for more .. and more.

Yesterday morning he was full of beans.  Playing ‘fetch’ with hubby up and down the passage, pulling his cushion around the garden, putting his nose into his toy basket to see what next to play with.   Even on his own, he played with his small balls.  He would drop it from his mouth so it bounced .. he would catch it.  Push it with his nose like a soccer ball then pick it up.   Another favourite game was to push the ball under a chair or low table and look at you with big brown eyes until you retrieved it.

Later in the morning and within an hour or so, he was so weak he couldn’t stand on his own.   Then the seizures began.  They started off short and grew progressively stronger and longer.   Raced him to the Vet.  By that time he was in a terrible state.  He had swallowed his tongue, he foamed at the mouth, his tongue turned blue, his little body shook violently :( :( :(   All this happened within an hour.   We felt so helpless.  Simoné, the Vet, was wonderful.  At first she thought he’d been poisoned but the symptoms (mainly the seizures) showed signs that it was a liver shunt.  (Never heard of it, but I’m not in the medical field at all) In consultation with a specialist over the phone it was decided Max needed a scan to ascertain the type of shunt and intensity.  But before a scan could be done she needed to do an acid liver test which requires an overnight starvation period.  Then food is given .. then another test done.

Liver shunt :  The main blood vessel runs through the liver, which in turn cleanses the blood of toxins, but in the case of a shunt, the vessel runs outside the liver, missing the cleansing process.  It is usually genetic (so he has always had it) but she said signs of symptoms only show in puppies at this age (around 9 months).  It is treatable with a special low protein diet.


What concerned Simoné was his recovery after an anaesthetic.  He took two days to fully recover which shouldn’t happen.  She saw on his records that the same happened after his neutering.   At this point, I can’t remember what she said about that.

Simoné was very very  fond of Max.  And he of her.   All the vets at the surgery were fond him, including the receptionists.  Max was very special.

All this took place around midday yesterday.  She kept him heavily sedated throughout the afternoon and the plan was that she would take him home with her in order to monitor him all through the night and do the acid test first thing in the morning.   Well, that didn’t happen.

Both hubby and I waited impatiently for her phone call in the evening with an update.  It wasn’t good.  Every time he came out of his sedation he went into a seizure.  She kept having to administer sedatives, which I’m sure isn’t a good thing.    It was time to say goodbye :(

Too many severe seizures caused neurological damage.   We saw it in his eyes.

We held him close while she administered the injection, she in tears too.

Our little Maxie crept into everyone’s hearts.  Those who got cuddles and  those whose paths he crossed, whether in the flesh or on Facebook or my blog post.

He was very special.  A unique puppy with one black eye with black eyelashes and one white eye with white eyelashes, his slight under bite, his black and white toenails.  A favourite with all at puppy training.  A playmate for Hardy and Lily.  A cuddlesome, lovable, mischievous, boisterous, feisty cutie pie.

Rest in peace my baby boy.   My Maxie-poo.  We will always love and miss you so very much .. all of us

Play well in doggie heaven with Robbie and Jackie


Posted in Jack Russell, Max, pets, puppies | 2 Comments

Max and the garbage collection

For some time Max has not been well.  We put it down to the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing.  Time after time, visits to the Vet end up with a clean bill of health.  Even at puppy training we were told that dogs feel the heat like humans.   Some days he would be perky, bouncy and eating well.  Some days he wasn’t interested in playing or eating.

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A few days ago he looked very unhappy and seemingly in pain.   Back to Vet once more.   Because of his history of back and forth visits, the Vet decided to do xrays as he looked sore and uncomfortable

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Surprise, surprise .. there was a small spring either in his stomach or intestines (difficult to see exact location).  My first thought was the little spring in a clothes peg.  The following day he was back for more xrays to see if the spring had moved.  No luck.  It looked as if it was hooked.    Next plan of action …. a scan to pinpoint exact spot of offending item before having it removed by surgery.  The problem was it was the New Year holiday weekend where no-one is available except a 24hr emergency specialist Veterinary Surgery which costs more than an arm and a leg.   We decided to wait ’til today to see if we could have the scan at our Vet.   They have someone who brings a portable scanner but, as we found out today, was only available later on this week.  Another surgery close by was fully booked for today

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Our Vet, in collaboration with the head Vet and owner of surgery decided they would do the op today as Max was in pain.   I remember our Robbie, at 6 months old,  had a piece of bone stuck in his stomach and had to cut open to retrieve it.  But if I recall, he was vomiting and constipated, quite different to what Max was going through.

Vet phoned to say all went well.  No damage to intestine or stomach lining.  Offending spring was in the stomach with a whole heap of foreign objects!!! .. which didn’t show on xrays, I suppose because they weren’t metal.

Max’s little tummy was filled with feathers, plastic, wood and all sorts of stuff!!  The object that seemed to be causing the discomfort and pain was a piece of a hard plastic ball with jagged edges.  Wished I’d asked her to keep this piece as I’d like to know what ball it was.  It could have been a ball from way back played with by the children and lost in the garden.  Hubby and I have been careful giving him suitable doggie toys and balls

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And the spring?   Well, it turned out it wasn’t the right size for a clothes peg spring.  I finally fathomed out what it was.  It came from a toggle which tightens/loosens a cord running around the top of Max’s round doggie bed.  I cannot remember off-hand when I discovered it went missing!!!  Definitely weeks ago!!!  So, in other words he had eaten the entire toggle!!

We are going to have to be extra vigilant as what goes in that mouth of his!

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~~~~ Photos taken two days ago after the most welcome storm accompanied by hail unfortunately …. and only 12mm but at least it rained!!! ~~~~

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